Aquinas' 4th Proof Essay

Pages: 3 (1047 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Thomas Aquinas and the Gradation of Things

Thomas Aquinas and the Gradation to be Found in Things

This paper addresses the fourth proof of the existence of God given by Thomas Aquinas and discuss the efficiency of Aquinas' style. It will answer the question of criticism of Aquinas' proof and will also give a modern-day situation, to which the fourth proof may be applied, while surveying the larger theme of faith in relation to reason.

Thomas Aquinas set out five proofs for the existence of God, called the quinque viae -- or five ways, in the Summa Theologica. The fourth way in which the existence of God is proven employs the use of gradations found in nature. Aquinas' style and technique is very effective -- for not only does he rely heavily on rational argument, but also he supplies numerous examples to illustrate his point. For instance, to explain how the existence of God is proven by the gradation of things, Aquinas gives the example of heat related to fire: some things are hot, some are hotter, and some are hottest. Fire is the cause of all things hot and is itself the hottest. Thus, "the maximum," as Aquinas says, "in any genus is the cause of all in that genus." If that is true, what is said for fire must also be said for being. Gradations in being must point to a maximum being -- and that maximum being must be what is called God.

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I would not add anything to Aquinas' methods or responses, because what he says is clear enough. It is straight-forward, concise, and to the point. What can be especially appreciated is the fact that there is no deviation with regard to this proof. Elsewhere, Aquinas is prone to giving lengthy disputations of arguments, responses to those arguments, and responses to those responses -- so that some may lose track of what it is Aquinas is essentially setting out to prove. However, careful following of his texts is sure to lead one to the answer Aquinas proposes. And his fourth proof relying on the gradation to be found in things is so simply constructed and recited that no one should be capable of losing his or her way.

TOPIC: Essay on Aquinas' 4th Proof Assignment

One criticism that might be leveled at Aquinas is that he is starting with the firm conviction that God exists and then attempting to rationalize this conviction. But such a criticism could easily be turned around and put upon the accuser who exercises no conviction. Such a one, rather than observing the laws of nature as Aquinas does, will try to interpret the laws of nature to fit his own hypothesis; such a one will rationalize his own unbelief. Such is not the case with Aquinas. Never does he rely upon Revelation as a proof in and of itself -- unless he is arguing that Revelation can be used as a proof in and of itself. Instead, if he must rely on proofs not found in nature, he relies on the teachings of earlier generations -- pagans, in fact, who had no knowledge but what a superficial, natural wisdom could… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Aquinas' 4th Proof" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Aquinas' 4th Proof.  (2011, March 2).  Retrieved October 27, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Aquinas' 4th Proof."  2 March 2011.  Web.  27 October 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Aquinas' 4th Proof."  March 2, 2011.  Accessed October 27, 2021.