St. Thomas’s five proofs rely on the causality of God. Causality, in simple terms, is the fact that you cannot make something greater from lesser parts; the more perfect does not come from the less perfect. In order for something to exist, there must be something greater to have caused it to exist. This means that you cannot trace back causes infinitely - there must be a first, uncaused cause. Therefore, there must be something that caused everything. This we call God.
One of the first things that must be said, is that God does not exist. At least, he does not exist as a physical thing. God is not something among all the other things in this world, like a tree, building, or rock. God does not exist in that sense. Instead, according to St. Thomas, God is existence.
The first way St. Thomas argues for the existence of God is with the Argument from Motion.
The Argument from Motion consists of five main points. The first states that our senses prove that some things are in motion. For St. Thomas, motion didn’t just mean movement as with a car moving down the road from point A to point B or any other thing physically moving from one place to another. St. Thomas takes the Aristotelian sense of the word, which he defined as...
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...potentiality to be. For example, a cat cannot give birth to a dog. Simply because it does not biologically have the potential to do it. In the same way, an object cannot suddenly become what it does not have the potential to be.
On the other hand, what caused God? If everything didn’t exist, than what caused God to exist? Nothing created God, He has always existed There can only be one being that can be uncaused. If there were more than one uncaused being, then beings would have potential. They would be striving to be what the other uncaused being is. This counteracts what an uncaused being is. It’s impossible because it would make an uncaused cause no longer be a being that is pure act. The being or beings would potentially be striving to be more than it or the other is.
Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica. New York: Benziger Bros., 194748.
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