Simply the most influential philosopher in the Catholic world.
Does God exist? Lots of people wonder if God is real, including Thomas Aquinas. He knew that it was hard to imagine a supreme being out in the universe without seeing evidence of his work here on Earth.
Using Natural Law, Aquinas developed five ways to prove the existence of God, and people still lean on his process to this day.
When looking for a way to prove the existence of God, people often start with themselves.
It’s normal to ask if God is real and then to wonder who He is and why He does things in a certain way?
If God exists, and His purpose is connected with planet Earth, then where is He now and why does he allow bad things to happen?
These questions and arguments in favor of or against the existence of God have led to the practice of Christian and Catholic apologetics.
Apologists argue not only in favor of the existence of God, but how humans should relate to him, what the rules of man and nature are according to God, and the practicing out of a person’s faith and religious doctrine.
Unlike many Catholics who argued during that time period using the Bible, Thomas Aquinas, an apologist, knew that the only way to convince nonbelievers what to use logic and reason.
Thomas Aquinas is one of the most prolific writers of natural law in history. His so-called “Five Proofs” was transformative when it came to arguing for why we could have a creator of the world — using reason and logic.
There are 5 proofs rooted in natural law that support the existence of God. If you wonder whether or not he exists, or debating with someone that He does, here how Thomas Aquinas approached the topic.
The first proof for demonstrating whether or not actually does exist was the argument of motion. In the argument of motion, something that is moving has to have had something else to move it.
Aquinas argued that for the earth to spin a mover, or creator of the spin had to start the momentum. A great mover “aka God”, Aquinas argued, was responsible for where we are today. Our universe expands every second, which would require a beginning from somewhere in the universe, and God had to be it.
Cause and Effect
Thomas Aquinas’s second argument related to the law of cause and effect. The argument of cause basically associated the existence of one thing because of something else.
Just like the argument of motion, there has to be one superior cause agent. In his mind, a person can’t have an endless amount of causes without first starting at a certain beginning. To Thomas Aquinas, the beginning, again, was God.
Connection through contingency
Aquinas argued that if all things are contingent then there will ultimately be decay or a decline in the future. Aquinas states that you need an entity that is eternal and will never decay to hold the universe in place.
Aquinas argues that if you’re going to measure anything on a scale you need some ideal to look towards. That ideal, he argues, is God.
The most famous argument, if you look at the complexity inside the universe it is only reasonable to think that an all mighty creator could make something like this. If it wasn’t a creator than Earth as we know it could be a lot worse.
In honor of his achievements to the Catholic faith here 45 noteworthy Thomas Aquinas quotes of all time.
1. What was true yesterday is true today.
“Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.”
2. When the mind is set, it’s set.
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
3. Peace on earth is tough because … humans.
“How is it they live in such harmony, the billions of stars, when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds?”
4. Fear is a threat.
“Fear is such a powerful emotion for humans that when we allow it to take us over, it drives compassion right out of our hearts.”
5. Love people.
“We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have laboured in the search for truth, and both have helped us in finding it.”
6. What we love matters.
“The things that we love tell us what we are.”
7. Big dreams make us all think.
“Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.”
8. Value your friends.
“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”
9. Love learning.
“The Study of philosophy is not that we may know what men have thought, but what the truth of things is.”
10. Seek God.
“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.”
11. Be loving.
“To love is to will the good of another.”
12. Science is important.
“Every practical science is concerned with human operations; as moral science is concerned with human acts, and architecture with buildings. But sacred doctrine is chiefly concerned with God, whose handiwork is especially man. Therefore it is not a practical but a speculative science.”
13. Think broadly.
“The best institution of rulers belongs to a city or kingdom in which one person is chosen by reason of his virtue to rule overall, and other persons govern under him by reason of their virtue. And yet such a regime belongs to all citizens, both because its rulers are chosen from the citizens and because all citizens choose its rulers. For this is the best constitution, a happy mixture of kingdom, since one person rules; and of aristocracy, since many govern by reason of their virtue; and of democracy (i.e., government by the people), since rulers can be chosen from the people, and since the choice of rulers belongs to the people.”
14. Everyone sins.
“If forgers and malefactors are put to death by the secular power, there is much more reason for excommunicating and even putting to death one convicted of heresy.”
15. Laws must adapt to the times.
“We call laws just from three perspectives: (1) from their end, namely, when they are ordained for the common good; (2) from their authority, namely, when the laws enacted do not surpass the power of the lawmakers; (3) from their form, namely, when they impose proportionately equal burdens on citizens for the common good.”
16. A narrow mind is a dangerous one.
“Beware of the person of one book.”
17. You need people you like around.
“Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.”
18. People who care should make the laws.
“Law: an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community.”
“Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.”
20. Love is important.
“Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.”
21. Salvation is a process.
“Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire and to know what he ought to do.”
“Good can exist without evil whereas evil cannot exist without good.”
23. God matters.
“If you want to be saved look the face of your Christ.”
24. No man exists alone.
“Human beings are by their nature social and political, living in the community even more than every other animal.”
“We should eliminate sin if we wish to eliminate the scourge of tyrants.”
26. We need more of these.
“An angel can illume the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision.”
“Yet no-one can say that God has not a Word, for it would follow that God is most foolish.”
28. No one likes to wait.
“…deliberation we may hesitate, but a deliberated act must be performed swiftly”…
29. Ah, the rich, let’s not go there.
“The rich do not act improperly if they before others take possession of property that was, in the beginning, common and share the property with others. But the rich sin if they indiscriminately prevent others from using the property.”
30. This is one way of saying God exists.
“Reason in man is rather like God in the world.”
31. Just think. Do it.
“The intention of every man acting according to virtue is to follow the rule of reason, wherefore the intention of all the virtues is directed to the same end, so that all the virtues are connected together in the right reason of things to be done, viz. prudence…”
32. Being nice is good looking.
“The splendor of a soul in grace is so seductive that it surpasses the beauty of all created things.”
33. It sure does.
“Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.”
“A man has free choice to the extent that he is rational.”
35. Some fights are not worth pursuing.
“If our opponent believes nothing of divine revelation, there is no longer any means of proving the articles of faith by reasoning, but only of answering his objections — if he has any — against faith. Since faith rests upon infallible truth, and since the contrary of a truth can never be demonstrated, it is clear that the arguments brought against faith cannot be demonstrations, but are difficulties that can be answered.”
36. It’s all about your attitude.
“The times are never so bad that a good man cannot live in them.”
37. You can’t be pro-faith and anti-science and vice versa.
“For it is essential to opinion that we assent to one of two opposite assertions with fear of the other, so that our adhesion is not firm: to science it is essential to have firm adhesion with intellectual vision, for science possesses certitude which results from the understanding of principles: while faith holds a middle place, for it surpasses opinion in so far as its adhesion is firm, but falls short of science in so far as it lacks vision.”
38. Smart people are blessed with brains.
“Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.”
39. Traditions should change to meet the needs of the people.
“It is absurd and a detestable shame, that we should suffer those traditions to be changed which we have received from the fathers of old.”
40. Use common sense.
“Now in matters of action, the reason directs all things in view of the end:”
41. How you accept a gift depends on you.
“Whatever is received into something is received according to the condition of the receiver.”
42. Overthinking happens.
“Temperance is simply a disposition of the mind which sets bounds to the passions.”
43. The truth will set you free.
“The truth can be perceived only through thinking, as is proven by Augustine.”
44. Men are equal but that doesn’t mean financially.
“By nature, all men are equal in liberty, but not in other endowments.”
45. Friends complete us.
“Friendship makes you feel as one with your friend.”