St. Thomas Aquinas has written several important works. Some of them are…The Disputed Questions on the Power of God, Exposition of Dionysius on the Divine Names and Disputed Questions on Spiritual Creatures. Most of Aquinas's works have been written to try to prove the existence of God. Aquinas has been a firm believer that everything had to have a creator and the only possible solution would be something called God. It is with this idea that Aquinas's Third Way was written.
In his De aeternitate mundi contra murmurantes, Aquinas insists that human reason cannot prove the impossibility of an eternally created universe. Once again Aquinas has written with the certainty that God has to exist in order to have created the universe. There is no doubt in Aquinas's mind that everything was created for a reason and that reason was God's will.
In the text Medieval Philosophy, St. Thomas Aquinas article entitled Does God Exist?, Aquinas tries to show the different steps that can prove God does exist and that the world had to have been created by God. This article is comprised of five different ways in which Aquinas tries to prove that we can be sure that God exists. In the third way, Aquinas tries to show that God exists if it is true that we exist.
In the article Aquinas says that it is possible for things to exist and for them not to exist. He means that living things will one day become non-living things. Aquinas believes that all things cannot be mortal because if it were true, then at some point nothing would exist. What he means is if all things were living things, meaning that they had to be mortal and then at some time these things must also become nonexistent.
Aquinas says that if everything were mortal, then nothing could be existing at present, because what is nonexistent begins to be only through something which already exists. This can be translated to mean that if all mortal things have to stop existing then there can't be anything which exists today. Aquinas believes that it takes a living presence to help create other live things in order for them to live also.
This means that there must have been something which existed through eternity to help create living things which exist today. Aquinas believes that something had to have created life throughout time in order for things to be living today. He says this thing must have existed from the beginning and that it must still exist now. His belief is that living things and non-living things have lived through eternity with the help of a higher, more powerful presence. He also says that if it were true that nothing existed at one time, then it would be impossible for anything to begin to exist again, meaning nothing could exist now which is obviously false. What he means by this is that it takes a living presence to help create other living things.
It is impossible for anyone to logically believe that things such as rocks, trees, and water can exist without there being a creator. It is for this reason that Aquinas believes that God was the only thing that existed then, so therefore he must have been the one who created everything.
This theory does prove that something had to exist from the beginning. The problem I did find with this theory is that it doesn't prove that God exists but that something existed. What I mean by this is Aquinas calls this thing God but he doesn't prove that it's the God that people believe to exist.
Most people would agree that God is something more personal than Aquinas theory of God. The image of God is interpreted differently by many people, although most of these people would agree that God must be all knowing, truthful, honest, loving, patient, forgiving and eternal. The all-knowing and loving God is not the same as Aquinas' God because Aquinas only proved that God was something infinite.
Aquinas' theory does not prove that God is patient, loving or forgiving which is what God is believed to mean to most people. The image people have of God doesn't only stop at being our creator. Another problem which I found while reading Aquinas' article is that it doesn't explain Darwinian theories. Darwinians base their theory on evolution. Darwinians believe that God doesn't exist but that all living things have evolved through nature. The idea of evolution and evolving from nature means that there could not have been a creator but that one molecule started the process of evolution. This theory can't be actually disputed in Aquinas' third way because he only uses the word God to mean creator.
Darwinians could say that the first molecule could also be called God if people wished, although it wouldn't be the form of God Christians believe in. In both theories, Aquinas and Darwin's, infinite regression is used. Both of these theories lead to different ideas of where existing things came from. Aquinas third way has some small problems which can be argued by atheists and orthodox Christians. I agree with what Aquinas had to say in his third way to be true. I believe that it must be true because all things must have had a creator. While speaking to an Anglican pastor, I learned that he also agreed in Aquinas' theory because he was taught that the question would still remain of who created the molecule. The question will always remain how God evolved. I cannot answer this question but Aquinas' theory has helped me understand the process of living things and I no longer doubt that God is infinite.
B I B L I O G R A P H Y
Aquinas - St. Thomas - Does God Exist? - In Medieval Philosophy - From St. Augustine to
Nicholas of Cusa - 335-38
John F. Wippel - Allan B. Wolter - New York - The Free Press – 1969