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Thomas Aquino Essay

1291 words - 6 pages

God existence
In the Middle Ages the existence of God was unquestionable to theologians. They simply knew that He was not an invention of humans. Even so, many of them tried to prove that God was real.
The main conflict in the XI century was between two social groups: First of all, those who saw theology as a Bible commentary –and said that God was unreachable and a mystery-. Secondly, those who thought that rational analysis would be better -and were in favour of a more empirical and rational knowledge-.

Religion and philosophy were largely mixed. The task of philosophical theology was to clarify, determine and explain the existence of God. How were philosophers supposed to do ...view middle of the document...

Because he understands and has in mind this statement, he comes to a contradiction letting us know that God exists. In his discussion, Anselm also refers to the relationship between what we know (epistemology) and what something is (ontology). It would be Gaunilon who oppose Anselm’s point of view.

Anselm’s ontological argument represents the most known example of the demonstration a priori. St. Anselm was sure that he had proved God's real existence, because he had the concept in mind in which God is the maximum thought. Therefore, just because of thinking about it, necessarily must exist in the reality.
On the other hand, Saint Thomas argued from the sensitive experience. The being (finite and limited) was done by something superior and infinite. St. Thomas also wanted to prove God's existence, but through sensitive experience. He said: “Only rational creatures can possess God by knowledge and love”.

Thomas Aquinas was one of the greatest medieval theologians of the Catholic Church. Aquinas rejected Anselm’s ontological argument holding that God’s existence is not self-evident to us. Therefore, God requires demonstration. He proved this in his “Five Ways”, offering five arguments for the existence of God. He said that the human being cannot know in an immediate way that God exists (this opposed medieval general thought). Thus, it is indispensable to take the sensitive as starting point. These “Five Ways” are based on empirical observations.
Five ways are argued following a similar method (based on Aristotle principles): first of all we start from data of the empirical world. Then we apply the principle of causality. Afterwards we reject the existence of an infinite process. Finally we reach God as the cause of the observation of the empirical data.

The first way was the “mover not moved argument”. Senses show us that in the world there are things that change and that there is movement. Everything that can move is moved by something else. However, infinite sequence of engines is impossible. Then we must find a being that moves without being moved: the Prime Mover unmoved: God.
The second way was the “first cause argument”. All beings created in our world have a cause. At the same time they are the effect of a cause. They cannot be its own cause. This is impossible. As we cannot apply to the infinite succession of causes, we reach a First Cause and uncaused: God.
The third way was the “necessary argument”. All things are contingent and possible –things can either be or not be, because they are perishable-. Its existence depends on something external to them, depends on another being. As always, we cannot apply to the infinite succession of cause, so we conclude that there must be a reality, which has in itself the reason for their existence. There must be a Necessary Being: God.
The forth way was the “perfect being argument”. In the world there are many degrees of perfection. This grading requires a maximum term of...

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