THE PROBLEM OF GOD’S EXISTENCE

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Product Code: 00001380

No of Pages: 88

No of Chapters: 5

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TABLE OF CONTENT

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM OF GOD’S EXISTENCE

1.1   BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

          1.2      STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

          1.3      SCOPE OF THE STUDY

1.4   THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

1.5   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

1.6   METHODOLOGY  

          1.7      LITERATURE REVIEW

        END NOTES

 

CHAPTER TWO

“GOD’’ AND THE ARGUMENTS OFFERED IN HIS

DEFENCE

2.1   WHO IS GOD?

2.2   ARISTOTLE’S ARGUMENT (THE UNMOVED MOVER)  

2.2   ST. AUGUSTINE’S ARGUMENT

2.3   ST. ANSELM’S ARGUMENT

2.4   RENE DESCARTES ARGUMENT

2.5   BISHOP BERKELEY’S ARGUMENT


CHAPTER THREE

THE ARGUMENT OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS IN DEFENCE OF GOD’S EXISTENCE

3.1   THE BIOGRAPHY OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS

3.2   THE PROOF/ARGUMENT OF ST. THOMAS     AQUINAS IN DEFENCE OF GOD’S EXISTENCE

3.2.1 The Argument from Motion

3.2.2 The Argument from Efficient Cause

3.3.3 The Argument from Possibility and Necessity

2.3.4 The Argument from Gradation to be found in         Things

3.3.5 The Argument from the Governance of the World

 

CHAPTER FOUR

A CRITIQUE ON THE ARGUMENT OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS IN DEFENCE OF GOD’S EXISTENCE

4.1   THE IMPORTANCE OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS       PROOF OF GOD’S EXISTENCE

4.2. SOME POINTS OF CRITIQUE OF ST. THOMAS         AQUINAS PROOFS OF GOD’S EXISTENCE                             

4.2.1 Objection of David Hume

4.2.2 The Objection of Bertrand Russell

        (1872-1970)

4.2.3 The Objection of William of Ockham (1280-1329)

4.3.4 The Objection of Arthur Schopenhauer

        (1788-1860)

4.3.5 The Objection of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

4.3.6 The Objection of Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980)

4:3:7 The Problem of Evil

4.3.8 The Theory of Evolution

 

CHAPTER FIVE

EVALUATION

5.1   PERSONAL REFLECTION AND SUGGESTIONS

5.2   CONCLUSION

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ARTICLES

 




 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM OF GOD’S EXISTENCE

 

1.1   BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The possible existence of a super-natural being has drawn the attention of philosophers, beginning from the ancient Greek times to this contemporary time. For centuries, philosophers have been reflecting upon the source of the world, the primary element of all things, but still no account of the source of the world has received a consensus acceptance. Hence, it is still an issue.

        The argument of God’s existence involves primarily the disciplines of Epistemology (The nature and scope of Knowledge, Ontology (study of the nature of value), since concepts of good and perfection are connected to notions of God.

        The Western tradition of philosophical thought and discussion of the existence of God began with Plato and Aristotle who developed arguments that are cosmological in nature. The argument that came after were those proposed by St Anselm, who formulated the first Ontological argument, Descartes, who said that the existence of a benevolent God was logically necessary for the evidence of the senses to be meaningful, Immanuel Kant who argued that the existence of God can be deduced from the existence of good, and then St. Thomas Aquinas, who presented an improvement of the Cosmological argument of Plato and Aristotle.

        St. Thomas Aquinas was a Catholic theologian and philosopher, who wrote about topics far beyond the traditional scope of Catholic theology. St. Thomas Aquinas presented five logical proofs to defend the existence of God; the proof from motion, causation of existence, contingent and necessary being, degrees of perfection and design.

        These logical and Cosmological proofs asserts that every being that exists or ever did exist is either a dependent being or a self-existent being, but not every being can be a dependent being, so there exists a self-existent being.

        With this insight into the background of the study of God’s existence, I would then proceed to state the problem of God’s existence.


          1.2      STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

        The problem of God’s existence is a very complex one. This is due to the fact that the Universe could not have come from nothing and as such, there must have been an origin of the Universe. But then, admitting that God created the Universe and also created Himself would be invalid because it would mean that God would first have to be in existence, to be able to create Himself. But then, what is the origin of the Universe? Is there any super-natural being responsible for the Universe? What then is the origin of this super natural being? If this super natural being is all-good and all powerful, how come there is evil in the Universe?

        No consensus could be reached among the early philosophers regarding the existence of God. Most philosophers rejected the idea of God’s existence because there was no logical proof to defend it. Those who believed in God’s existence especially the Christian philosophers then set out to propound proofs in its defence.

        Our interest in this research is to, through a critical evaluation of St. Thomas Aquinas proofs, proffer a lasting solution to the age long debate on the existence of God, to show the relevance of St. Thomas Aquinas proofs of God’s existence in contemporary times, to evaluate criticisms that have been raised against the possible existence of a super-natural being, and to show justifiability or non-justifiability of these criticisms.

 

          1.3      SCOPE OF THE STUDY

        This work does not intend to exhaust every aspect of St. Thomas Aquinas Philosophy, which in fact is not possible because of its diversity.

        The intention of the researcher of this work is focused on an aspect of St. Thomas Aquinas metaphysics and epistemology; the problem of God’s existence. Since other philosophers have tried in some ways to solve this problem, I shall delve into the areas of these other philosophers to have a more detailed study.

        Thus, the scope of this work, although majorly centered on St. Thomas Aquinas, but will also comprise of the thought of other philosophers which also influenced the view of St. Thomas Aquinas on the existence of God.


1.4 THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

        The purpose of this work is to make an exposition of the proofs offered by St. Thomas Aquinas in defence of God’s existence.

        From the implication and consequence of the erroneous views held by some philosophers about the existence of a super-natural being, this study attracts importance because it is centered on the various proofs offered in defence of the existence of the super-natural being.

        This thesis also aims at providing a material for any serious research work among University students to enable them express their thought in academic piece, and to guide the immediate and future students in their essays and to stimulate further research in the area of Metaphysics and Epistemology.

        The study aims to show the validity of the proofs offered by St. Thomas Aquinas in solution to the problem of God’s existence.   

                

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

        The significance of this study lies in the demonstration that far from being a myth, God exists and is very relevant to our daily life. St. Thomas Aquinas was able to enlighten us on the existence of God by offering Cosmological proofs in His defence.


1.6   METHODOLOGY        

In the Aristotelian sense, a work becomes scientific because of its methodology. The methods show the pattern in which something is done. It therefore becomes imperative that a researcher of this nature must adopt certain methods against which our conclusions can be validated.

        The methodology of this work is expository, analytical and critical. To this effect, this work is divided into five chapters.

        Chapter one deals with the general introduction under which the background, problem, scope, purpose, significance of the study and the related literature are stated.

        In chapter two, I delved into the areas of other philosophers like Aristotle’s. Augustine, St. Anselm, Rene Descartes, Bishop Berkeley who also formulated proofs in defence of God’s existence.

        Chapter three takes up an exposition of St. Thomas Aquinas solution to the problem of God’s existence. We started with his biography, before going further to analyze his proofs.

        Chapter four examines how successful Thomas Aquinas proofs have been, in form of a critique. I employed the critical method for a thorough analysis of his cosmological proofs.

        Lastly, chapter five includes my personal reflection and conclusion to both the problem of God’s existence and St. Thomas Aquinas solution to it.


          1.7      LITERATURE REVIEW

It is a well known fact that different scholars and experts have opined or written one thing or the other not only on St. Thomas Aquinas proof of God’s existence but generally on the issue of God’s existence. By virtue of this, the reviewed books below therefore, are of importance in this research.

The first book to the reviewed here is the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas (London; Trans by Dominican province, Boms Oales Arol Washbourne, 1942)

In this book, St. Thomas Aquinas maintains that the proposition “God exists” is self evident only to itself but not to us and as such, a demonstration is needed and is possible. Aquinas then went further to offer “five ways” as proofs for the existence of God. Arguments one, two and five are based on the observation of the natural world, whereas arguments three and four are based on rational speculations.

Having presented these five ways or five arguments, Aquinas goes on to discuss God in terms of perfection, simplicity, goodness, knowledge and other attributes.1

The second book to be reviewed is History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell (London; George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1995)

A history of western philosophy is a conspectus of Western Philosophy from the pre-Socratic to the contemporary   philosophers.2  

Bertrand Russell in this book presents the philosophical and theological views of St. Augustine, Rene Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, George Berkeley, David Hume, Immanuel Kant and St. Thomas Aquinas.

The third book to be reviewed is Frederick Copleston’s History of Philosophy (New York; Double day, 1974).

This book provides an extensive coverage of Western philosophy from the Socratic period of the contemporary period.

It also expresses Fredrick Copleston’s Roman Catholic (Thomas) point of view.3

The fourth book to be reviewed is Pantaleon Iroegbu’s Metaphysics, Kpim of philosophy (Owerri; International Universities Press, 1995)

In the eleventh chapter of the book, Iroegbu places emphasis on St. Thomas Aquinas theology and clearly states the five cosmological proofs offered by St. Thomas Aquinas in defence of God’s existence.4     

The fifth book to be reviewed is Pantaleon Ireogbu’s Kpim of theodicy: Proving the existence of God via Hermeholiontica (Ibadan; Hope Publications, 2002)

Chapter two of this book includes the various proofs that have been offered in defense of God’s existence; arguments from Cosmology, Ontology and teleology while chapter three focuses on the critiques of the existence of God; arguments from Empiricism, Skepticism, Agnosticism, Rationalism, Positivism and Atheism.5

The sixth book to be reviewed is Frederick Copleston’s Aquinas (New York; Unwin Brothers Ltd, 1955).

Chapter three of the book focuses on God and creation in St. Thomas Aquinas philosophy. Frederick copleston’s states that Aquinas did not deny that people can come to know God by other means than philosophical reflection but that familiar facts which can imply the existence of God can be found in St. Thomas Aquinas five ways which are Cosmological and a posteriori. Aquinas also states that when terms like “Wise” or “Good” are predicated to God, they are predicated only in an analogical sense and when negative terms are predicated to God, something is being removed from God.6

The seventh book to be reviewed is in form of a journal: Arguing for the existence of God in the age of Quantum Indeterminacy by Evan Cockshaw (New York; Quodlibet Journal, 2013)

Evan Cockshaw, in this journal explores the traditional arguments for the existence of God, most especially those of St. Thomas Aquinas and Immanuel Kant’s critique of these arguments. He also delved into the biblical traditions, Paul’s theology relating to God’s existence.7

The last book to be reviewed here is a Historical-Critical Evaluation of Aquinas argument for the existence of God by Frank David Chance (New York; American journal of biblical theology, 2006)

The journal claims that the text of the summa theologica was written at the particular period of time to the people of that time because of their conception of God.8

        The journal also makes reference to the question two, the Existence of God in the Summa Theologica and also the Bible.


 

ENDNOTES

1.          T. Aquinas; Summa Theologica, (London:      Dominican Province boms oales arol Washbourne, 1942) P.2

2.          B. Russell; History of Western Philosophy,(London:    

        George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1945) P.446-448

3.          F. Copleston; History of Philosophy, (New York:        

        Double day, 1974) P.24     

4.          P. Iroegbu;‛‛Metaphysics’’Kpim of  Philosophy, (Owerri: International Universities press,1995) P.155

5.          P. Iroegbu;‛‛Kpim of Theodicy’’ Proving the existence of God via Hermeholiontica, (Ibadan; Hope Publications,2002) P.29

6.          F. Copleston’s; Aquinas, (New York: Unwin Brothers Ltd, 1955) P.108-110

7.          E. Cockshaw; Arguing for the existence of God in the age of Quantum Indeterminacy,(New York: Quodlibet Journal, 2001) P.3

8.          F.D Chance; Critical evaluation of Aquinas argument for the existence of God, (New York: American Journal of Biblical theology, 2006) P.1

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