TABLE OF CONTENT
INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM OF GOD’S EXISTENCE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE
1.3 SCOPE OF THE
1.4 THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
“GOD’’ AND THE ARGUMENTS OFFERED IN HIS
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
THE ARGUMENT OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS IN DEFENCE OF
3.1 THE BIOGRAPHY OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
3.2 THE PROOF/ARGUMENT OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS IN DEFENCE OF GOD’S EXISTENCE
Argument from Motion
Argument from Efficient Cause
The Argument from Possibility and Necessity
The Argument from Gradation to be found in Things
The Argument from the Governance of the World
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
Objection of David Hume
The Objection of Bertrand Russell
Objection of William of Ockham (1280-1329)
Objection of Arthur Schopenhauer
Objection of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Objection of Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
The Problem of Evil
Theory of Evolution
5.1 PERSONAL REFLECTION AND SUGGESTIONS
INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM OF
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
this insight into the background of the study of God’s existence, I would then
proceed to state the problem of God’s existence.
OF THE PROBLEM
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
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.
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.
OF THE STUDY
work does not intend to exhaust every aspect of St. Thomas Aquinas Philosophy,
which in fact is not possible because of its diversity.
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.
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.
THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
purpose of this work is to make an exposition of the proofs offered by St.
Thomas Aquinas in defence of God’s existence.
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.
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.
study aims to show the validity of the proofs offered by St. Thomas Aquinas in
solution to the problem of God’s existence.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
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
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.
methodology of this work is expository, analytical and critical. To this
effect, this work is divided into five chapters.
one deals with the general introduction under which the background, problem,
scope, purpose, significance of the study and the related literature are
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.
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
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
chapter five includes my personal reflection and conclusion to both the problem
of God’s existence and St. Thomas Aquinas solution to 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.
first book to the reviewed here is the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas
(London; Trans by Dominican province, Boms Oales Arol Washbourne, 1942)
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
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
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.
third book to be reviewed is Frederick Copleston’s History of Philosophy
(New York; Double day, 1974).
book provides an extensive coverage of Western philosophy from the Socratic
period of the contemporary period.
also expresses Fredrick Copleston’s Roman Catholic (Thomas) point of view.3
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
The fifth book to be reviewed is Pantaleon Ireogbu’s Kpim of
theodicy: Proving the existence of God via Hermeholiontica (Ibadan; Hope
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
sixth book to be reviewed is Frederick Copleston’s Aquinas (New York; Unwin
Brothers Ltd, 1955).
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
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)
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
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)
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
journal also makes reference to the question two, the Existence of God in the
Summa Theologica and also the Bible.
T. Aquinas; Summa Theologica, (London:
Dominican Province boms oales arol
Washbourne, 1942) P.2
B. Russell; History of Western
George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1945) P.446-448
F. Copleston; History of Philosophy, (New
Double day, 1974) P.24
P. Iroegbu;‛‛Metaphysics’’Kpim of Philosophy, (Owerri: International Universities
P. Iroegbu;‛‛Kpim of Theodicy’’ Proving
the existence of God via Hermeholiontica, (Ibadan; Hope
F. Copleston’s; Aquinas, (New
York: Unwin Brothers Ltd, 1955) P.108-110
E. Cockshaw; Arguing for the
existence of God in the age of Quantum Indeterminacy,(New York: Quodlibet Journal,
F.D Chance; Critical evaluation of
Aquinas argument for the existence of God, (New York: American
Journal of Biblical theology, 2006) P.1