See Article History First cause, in philosophythe self-created being i. The term was used by Greek thinkers and became an underlying assumption in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Themes, Arguments, and Ideas Theology as Superior to Philosophy Aquinas is a theologian who employs philosophy in an attempt to provide, insofar as possible, a rational explanation of doctrines that are revealed knowledge, or matters of faith.
Although the Summa Theologica is in some respects a work of philosophy, its primary purpose is as a work of theology. This distinction was important to Aquinas and his fellow Scholastics, who held that theology and philosophy proceed according to different paths.
Theology concerns itself with knowledge that has been revealed by God and that man must accept on faith. Philosophy, at least as defined by Aristotle, is concerned with knowledge that man acquires through sensory experience and the use of the natural light of reason.
In other words, philosophy attempts to arrive at general principles through a consideration of that which is perceived by the senses and then rationally evaluated. While some subjects, such as knowledge of the existence of God, are common to theology and philosophy, theology also encompasses subjects that reason cannot fathom, such as the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
While reason and philosophy have their respective roles in the acquisition of knowledge, they are inherently limited in their ability to apprehend all truths. Rather, philosophical knowledge is a subset of theological knowledge: The fact that theological knowledge is based on revealed truth and faith rather than on sensory experience and the exercise of reason does not mean that theological knowledge is in any way inferior to philosophical knowledge.
On the contrary, theological knowledge is superior to philosophical knowledge not only insofar as it deals with issues of the utmost importance but also insofar as it alone can actually afford us complete knowledge of those issues.
See Chapter 2, Aristotle, Physics, p. The Four Causes are 1 material cause, 2 formal cause, 3 efficient cause, and 4 final cause.
Matter is potentiality, that is, that which something can become. The formal cause is the form or pattern that governs a particular thing, or the genus to which it belongs. For example, the formal cause of a particular human being is his or her humanity, the essence of what it means to be human.
God is the only creature embodying pure actuality and pure being, and God is thus the only pure formal cause. The efficient cause is what we normally understand by the word cause and indicates something that has an effect. The final cause is the goal or purpose toward which a thing is oriented.
The concept of material cause is crucial to his view of how humans gain knowledge of the external world and also appears in his proofs for the existence of God.
The concept of formal cause is essential to his theory of knowledge and the nature of man but also defines his conception of God, whom Aquinas sees as complete actuality and thus without potential. The concept of efficient cause predictably appears in his theory of knowledge about the physical world but also explains human action, which is directed by the will.
The concept of final cause explains the nature of the will itself, which naturally strives to achieve its goal of beholding the Divine Essence. Existence as Superior to Essence Aquinas revolutionized a thousand years of Christian tradition by rejecting Plato in favor of Aristotle.
Plato maintained that ultimate reality consists of essence, whereas Aristotle maintained that existence is primary. For Plato, the world around us that we perceive with our senses contains nothing except impermanent, ever-changing objects.
Plato reasoned that for our observations of the world to count as true knowledge and not just as anecdotal evidence, our minds need to make a conceptual leap from individual instances of things to general ideas.
In other words, God is pure existence or Being itself. In the traditional church view prior to Aquinas, the difference between God and his creatures was one of kind, as existence was something that in itself separated us from God.
Prior to Aquinas, traditional church thought maintained that existence was the chief impediment to the realization of our spiritual destiny. Aquinas held that our spiritual destiny consists precisely in the enhancement of our existence.The First Cause Argument.
The most famous of all arguments for the existence of God are the "five ways" of Saint Thomas Aquinas. One of the five ways, the fifth, is the argument from design, which we looked at in the last essay. On the Five Ways of Proving the Existence of God of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The Five Ways of Proving that God Exists-- Summa Theologiae Ia, q.
2, a. 3.
(See also Aquinas' other discussions of God's existence and his Natural Theology).. Video Presentations on the Five Ways. The arguments for God's existence are variously classified and entitled by different writers, but all agree in recognizing the distinction between a priori, or deductive, and a .
Aquinas: Philosophical Theology. In addition to his moral philosophy, Thomas Aquinas () is well-known for his theological writings. He is arguably the most eminent philosophical theologian ever to have lived. To this day, it is difficult to find someone whose work rivals Aquinas' in .
Aquinas' Argument from Efficient Cause. The Argument: 1. There is an efficient cause for everything; nothing can be the efficient cause of itself. 2.
It is not possible to regress to infinity in efficient causes. By the first premiss, if God is something, then we can ask what caused God.
2. Perhaps causes run through time like a circle: a. In this book Dennis Bonnette investigates the legitimacy of Aquinas’ principle (the per accidens necessarily implies the per se) and how it functions in Aquinas’ proofs for God’s existence.