Aquinus's five reasons that prove god

I have heard that St. Thomas in his Summa gives 5 reasons why there is a god. Does anyone know what they are by any chance? I thought we had to take god on faith but there must be some reasoning that proves him.

The Church teaches that God can in fact be known by the natural power of human reason. Consider for example this statement of the First Vatican Ecumenical Council:

“1. The same Holy mother Church holds and teaches that God, the source and end of all things, can be known with certainty from the consideration of created things, by the natural power of human reason: ever since the creation of the world, his invisible nature has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.”

Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean that every purported proof of God’s existence is valid.

Anyway, here is the first link I found to a translation of Aquinas’s Five Poofs.

Reason can lead us to God or it can lead us away from God, depending on how it is used and what our motive is for using it. For every proof for the existence of God, there is an argument against the validity of that proof. If you want to approach God, the logic will seem valid. If you want to flee god, the logic will seem invalid. But it’s not a slam dunk either way. That is, the proofs are always conditionally “true” or “false” depending upon our willingness to accept certain assumptions.

And our willingness to accept or reject certain assumptions may or may not be informed by reason. :slight_smile:

If you want a really good modern exposition of Aquinas’s five proofs, I suggest taking a look at this site
Peter Kreeft is a great writer!

No, there is no reasoning that proves any god’s existence. Aquinas’ five ways are repetitious and fundamentally flawed, as are all supposed proofs for gods’ existence.

Unsubstantiated assertion.

No existential proposition can be proved with logical certainty - not even the existence of the universe!

Well, you should know.

But as you also know, the debunkings of Aquinas are as old as the Summa itself, are in the public domain, and are easily discoverable. My assertion was anything but unsubstantiated.

That said, I don’t want to get into a debate with you. You have never once debated with me with integrity, and I can see from your recent contribution to other threads that your methods and logical ability have not improved. Although it’s child’s play to point out the clear and basic errors in your argumentation, your stubborn refusal to acknowledge them leads inevitably and frustratingly to a nulll conversation in every case.


:tsktsk:Ad hominems…



Yes, the point being that God is not the result of a line of logic, and cannot be either the object of such, norcontained in such. That said, the kind of IQ that is often measured is of a prticular variety and usually culturally biased. So “reason” doesn’t include other intelligences that may pretain. And there is the factor that God is transcendent, so if there is a way to perceive God, it must be beyond the mind as we ordinarily “use” it. So proofs are pius attempts, at best, to get someone to pay attention to something you believe, and not know. As Walt Whitman said, And I am sure this is a very close quote: “I and mine do not convince by argument, similes or rhymes. We convince by our presence”

In other words, to attempt to “prove” Diety by cold dry logic is to present a dead body in the place of the Ineffable.

Note that it’s the fact of God’s existence that can be known through human reason. The Divine Essence cannot itself be conceived of as it is in this life, whether through reason or through faith. Could this distinction be helpful in resolving the apparent contradiction between your statement here and the teachings of the Bible and the Church regarding the natural knowledge of God’s existence from what He has created?

Also, I notice you make a distinction between belief and knowledge. Could you elaborate on your meaning there? There are different kinds of “belief” and different kinds of “knowledge”, but certainly divine faith causes us to have certain knowledge of the articles of faith. Reason likewise can lead to certain knowledge of many things, including the existence of God, though it might be argued that reason’s own value must first be confirmed by faith for this to actually happen.

I think that that is an important distinction. And yet, any such argument has avail only with the already convinced. So it cant really be said that such arguments intrinsically prove anything other than that a believer can have an exegesis of a “spiritual” experience, however genuine, in the realm of discursive thinking.

In my opinion, this is supported by noting that those who have the highest form of revelation, as far as I can see, unanimously declare that words and writings can only point, and are not themselves of any real use except as a sign of possibility.

There is also the question of what is proved. Say that someone accepts a “proof” as valid. And they have not had a direct experience. Ultimately, they are working a hypothesis until they have gone past the fulcrum that tips mysticism into the fulfillment of contemplation. That is to say that even phenomena and visions are yet not the end point of other than a more refined state the has not yet got past itself in the most and final radical transformation in understanding.

So in a way, an intellectual “proof” is just that: a proof to the kind of intellect that would accept that sort of linearity as adequate. In practice, it is not. other than as a possible goad to know beyond the intellect how it is that we can have and use an intellect. In other words, what is it that is behind and supports the discursive mind. That is a question that someone in the realm of considering that a “proof” is possible may not even ask. It is, after all, a tendency of the mind to assume that its stunningly limited concepts have an actual 1/1 correspondence to Reality. Do they? In the case of such arguments as we speak of, they can only end with the admission of using a marker for exploring further possibilities. That is to say the best end of such a “proof” is the detection of a posited need to engage in practice that discovers Substance.

We may be agreeing on this more than I perceive, but I lke a bit more detail in such expositions. :slight_smile:

Thanks. This made me smile today. :slight_smile:

Yes, me too. I always smile when I see that someone perceives the futility of intellectual “proofs!” :slight_smile:

You still haven’t provided an explanation of how (or if) your views on this subject are reconciled with Magisterial and Scriptural teachings related to this subject. I’m assuming you are Catholic, though I don’t know what the word “Ronin” is supposed to indicate.

Regarding what you have posted, if I’m following you your position seems to hinge on the questioning of the axioms or assumptions that underlie rational thought. What is the value of human reason? What, if anything, is the relationship between my thoughts and objective truth, if there is such a thing? How can I discover the answer to these questions with my own reason, since that is the very faculty the value of which I am questioning? Without an answer to these questions, how can I accept any apparent conclusion reached through this faculty?

So far I’ve only been able to discover two answers to this kind of fundamental question: the practical argument that without accepting certain assumptions any kind of thought (including skepticism) is impossible, and faith.

This is why I included the last statement of my previous post. I have a private theory that the teachings of the Bible and the Church do not deal with the question of reason and the natural knowledge of God’s existence on this ultimate level of consideration, but from the perspective of having accepted with certainty the assumptions underlying rational thought. From the perspective of faith, this attitude on the part of Scripture and the Magisterium constitutes an affirmation of reason’s value beyond the merely practical argument and thus leads one to certainty or at least the affirmation of the possibility of certainty regarding the conclusions of human reason.

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