Saturday, May 23, 2009

Study : Quinquae viae

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The Quinque viae, Five Ways, or Five Proofs are five arguments for the existence of God summarized by the 13th century Roman Catholic theologian St. Thomas Aquinas in his book, Summa Theologica. The five ways are; the argument of the unmoved mover, the argument of the first cause, the argument from contingency, the argument from degree and the teleological argument. Aquinas left out from his list several arguments that were already in existence at the time, such as the ontological argument of Saint Anselm, because he did not believe that they worked.

The Argument of the Unmoved Mover
The argument of the unmoved mover, or ex motu, tries to explain that God must be the cause of motion in the universe. It is therefore a form of the cosmological argument. It goes thus:
Some things are moved.
Everything that is moving is moved by a mover.
An infinite regress of movers is impossible.
Therefore, there is an unmoved mover from whom all motion proceeds.
This mover is what we call God.

The Argument of the First Cause
The argument of the first cause (ex causa), tries, unlike the argument of the Unmoved Mover, to prove that God must have been the cause, or the creator of the universe. It is therefore a form of the cosmological argument. It goes thus :
Some things are caused.
Everything that is caused is caused by something else.
An infinite regress of causation is impossible.
Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause of all that is caused.
This causer is what we call God.

The Argument from Contingency
The argument from contingency (ex contingentia):
Many things in the universe may either exist or not exist. Such things are called contingent beings.
It is impossible for everything in the universe to be contingent, for then there would be a time when nothing existed, and so nothing would exist now, since there would be nothing to bring anything into existence, which is clearly false.
Therefore, there must be a necessary being whose existence is not contingent on any other being or beings.
This being is whom we call God.

The Argument from Degree
The argument from degree or gradation (ex gradu). It is heavily based upon the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. It goes thus :
Varying perfections of varying degrees may be found throughout the universe.
These degrees assume the existence of an ultimate standard of perfection.
Therefore perfection must have a pinnacle.
This pinnacle is whom we call God.

The Teleological Argument
The teleological argument or argument of "design" (ex fine), which claims that everything in the Universe has a purpose, which must have been caused by God :
All natural bodies in the world act towards ends.
These objects are in themselves unintelligent.
Acting towards an end is characteristic of intelligence.
Therefore, there exists an intelligent being that guides all natural bodies towards their ends. This being is whom we call God