Existence Of God: The Five Ways Of Thomas Aquinas


When studying philosophy, one will inevitably come across Thomas Aquinas and his five arguments for the existence of a higher being, such as God. His justifications for the existence of a higher being were developed to offer a firm basis for the conviction that a God does, in fact, exist. Utilizing his well-known “5 ways,” Aquinas tries to demonstrate the presence of God. They assist in proving the existence of God to not just those of religious background but also those who were at first dubious about the contentious subject (Roszak and Huzarek 743). In addition, many persons who identify as religious, irrespective of the faith they embrace, want to center their beliefs on Aquinas’ teachings. They embrace his writings because they offer more rational proof of God’s presence than other people’s words or texts like the Bible or the Quran, which assert the existence of various gods and godlike entities. It is simple to comprehend why most religious adherents want to utilize Thomas Aquinas’ ideas to support the existence of their gods after carefully examining his works. Therefore, Thomas Aquinas developed The Five Ways to demonstrate the presence of God. Each “Way” has a unique approach to using examples from the natural world to demonstrate God’s existence. Every argument makes an effort to illustrate an effect using cause and consequence. The “effects” are relatively simple, and current science may make some compelling cases for why they exist. The Five Ways, however, was a very effective technique when Thomas Aquinas developed it. Therefore, this paper considers St. Thomas Aquinas’s five ways to assess his arguments, reasoning, and the nature of his God.

Briefly: The Five Ways

Thomas’ initial approach entails evidence of the exercise. According to Thomas, the premise that anything that moves requires a motor proves the existence of a god who is a stationary motor. A sound cause idea is present in the second approach. The constellation of causes and consequences we observe in the world must originate somewhere for it to have logic. Consequently, a deity who is the root cause exists. The third method demonstrates that not all existing things are due to themselves. However, if everything was unintentional, none of these circumstances could have co-occurred, making action impossible. The required entity, God, must account for all things. The fourth method displays that everything has a degree. Noble and not noble, for instance, are more or less accurate (Schoot). Hence, such a measure implies an ultimate presence as a metric of all these relative measures. The fifth method asserts that God is the leading creator or architect because of how things behave in the world.

Aquinas’s Arguments

Most Successful Arguments

God is referred to as the Prime Mover in the first definition. Aquinas: Since fire only heats supposedly heated wood in diverse ways, it is difficult to determine what is actually hot. Therefore, a thing cannot be both the mover and the item being moved simultaneously; that is, it cannot move itself. Science has established beyond a shadow of a doubt that most, if not all, objects are in motion. “The object under motion is as a result of another motion; all things are motionless unless they are in potentiality to another entity in motion; while an entity moves to the degree, it is in action,” according to the concept of motion (Fogelin 305). This premise is still valid because motion only transforms anything from possibility to reality (Swinburne). However, something must be an entity in a state of actuality to decrease anything from potentiality to existence. For example, anything that is genuinely hot, like fire, can make wood, and anything that is potentially hot can be hot, causing it to move and change. Because of this, it is not conceivable for this situation to exist concurrently in potentiality and reality in similar yet differing ways.

“The hot cannot simultaneously be presumably hot, but instead concurrently hypothetically cold” is true in reality (Swinburne 18). This notion renders it unlikely for an object to be both the mover and the object being moved, that is, to have the power to reposition itself similarly and to the same degree. This way focuses on the truth that each moving entity must be susceptible to motion by another. When one entity in motion causes another to become that object in motion, the second item in motion should then be caused to become that object in motion by yet another (third) item in motion, and so on. Besides, because the succeeding movers only move to the degree that they are subject to a motion by the prime mover, the movement of this network cannot be regarded as infinite because there would be no adequate explanation for the first mover and, as a result, no other mover. Reaching God, the initial mover and the only one who can move anything, is made possible by this premise (Flew and Kenny).

Least Successful Argument

According to Aquinas’ fourth method of demonstrating the existence of God, the Absolute Being serves as a standard for evaluating all other attributes. It is obtained through the classification of items. The existence of advancements in items, such as going from less genuine to more accurate or from less honorable to more nobility, is mentioned in a fourth way. This type of hierarchy suggests that a superior being is at the root of existence, in this instance, God. This defense of Aquinas’ five propositions is thought to be the least successful of the five. First, even though a yardstick is necessary before talking about “less” or “more,” there is no basis for this measure to be an actual one. This notion is true, especially when current information is taken into account. Hence, ideals like “truth,” “noble,” and “good” are essentially evaluated differently throughout various historical periods and cultures. For instance, western cultures view polygamy negatively or dishonorably because it is considered a crime. However, Muslim civilizations allow polygamy and even promote it in some circumstances, mainly when multiple men die due to war or diseases (Schoot 39). As a result, ranking the various social standards hierarchically would be unworkable. This perspective rejects God as the Absolute Being because there is no clear gradation present.

Critical Analysis of Aquinas’s Position

Aquinas made significant claims that supported the presence of God. The philosopher observed that everything in the world seemed to be in motion in the first argument. It is accurate to say that things do not just occur in the universe. There is no possible way for us to start moving immediately. We can only identify God as the reason for our being, as there must be a foundation for our movement. The items we see should be attributed to God’s cause. The only evidence that God exists should be the notion that we can close and open our eyes. The second argument uses causality to demonstrate that there must have been an antecedent source for the sequence of causes (Kenny 38). The causal effect is supported by scientists subscribing to some concepts, such as the big bang theory. Even if a single, massive physical blast formed the entire world, there had to be a reason behind it. If the physical occurrence can be explained, God’s presence is the sole explanation for the nonphysical experience.

The third justification for existence leads to God. The presence of objects in the universe is sufficient evidence that something that does not go away appears to exist there. All entities that exist must have a reason for existing. Even when some of our lives perish, the cause, which is supposed to be everlasting, nonetheless keeps an eye on all of them. All beings that can exist today could not have done so without God, who is the wellspring of all beings. There must be an account for why not all entities are identical in the fourth proof, founded on ethics and the goodness of things (Roszak and Huzarek 747). One may see that some things are intrinsically excellent and some that one might consider wrong. Someone of the highest good must have chosen what is good and what is not (Kenny 88). One could argue that God is ethical in all respects and that it is up to him to establish what is right and wrong. All things in the universe serve a function, as was the focus of the previous discourse. Even if some entities in the environment can be said to lack intellect, it is evident that they have a specific function and were put in existence for that function. Even though they may not be sentient, these things demonstrate the presence of God.


The Five Ways of Thomas Aquinas to Prove the Existence of God have been briefly articulated in this paper, along with the most and least successful arguments. This paper’s most compelling argument for God’s existence is The First Way: God, the Prime Mover. On the other hand, the ultimate being of God has been deemed the least compelling argument for God’s existence in this paper. The five-part Aquinas proof offers a strong case for the existence of God. The philosopher asserts that a close examination of nature can ultimately convince one of God’s existence. Starting with the motion problem, we know that natural entities move but do not comprehend what causes them to move. Scientists have attempted to elucidate the motion’s origin, but they have been unable to do so without also attempting to explain the motion’s causative factors. The mystery surrounding the origin of these events is perplexing due to its inexplicability. There must have been a difficult to comprehend cause that remains to watch over all creation. God may have created natural objects to support life. The premise that everything was made distinctively indicates that God must have had a reason for doing it. It is accurate that God is required for our presence because he is well aware of human needs. Regarding goodness and intent, it is clear that there are distinctions among natural objects and that these distinctions serve a role. Possibly, God did not make objects without thinking about how they might benefit the world. Therefore, evidence that God exists can be found in nature and in how particular things work.

Works Cited

Flew, Antony, and Anthony Kenny. “The Five Ways: St. Thomas Aquinas’ Proofs of God’s Existence.” The Philosophical Review 80.3 (1971): 411. Print.

Fogelin, Robert J. Philosophical Interpretations. New York: Oxford UP, 1992. Print.

Kenny, Anthony. “The Five Ways: St Thomas Aquinas’ Proofs of God’s Existence.” Vo. Routledge, 2014. Web.

Roszak, Piotr, and Tomasz Huzarek. “Seeing God. Thomas Aquinas on Divine Presence in the World.” Bogoslovni Vestnik 79.3 (2019): 739-49. Print.

Schoot, Henk J.M. “Thomas Aquinas on Human Beings as Image of God.” European Journal for the Study of Thomas Aquinas 38.1 (2020): 33-46. Print.

Swinburne, Richard, and Mirosaw Szatkowski. “What kind of necessary being could God be?.” Ontological proofs today 50 (2012): 345.