4th Way of Reasoning Toward God – Thomas Acquinas

This post is part 4 in a 5 part series.  You can find the rest here:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 5.

In Aquinas’ arguments that reason logically toward the existence of God, he points out that as human beings we recognize that there are degrees of things.  For example: shorter VS taller, fatter VS skinnier, darker VS lighter, colder VS hotter, etc.  And along these lines we often rate things as good, better, and best.

What he points out is that in order for us to have the idea that one thing is better than another, we must have a standard by which all things are measured that can never be exceeded.  That standard, he argues, is God.

We have to makes sure we understand his argument here:  He’s not saying that we get the idea of goodness or hotness from the existence of God, but simply that the notion of “more and less” points to the necessity of a Being Who has put that concept into the reality of the universe.  Since there is a “scale” so to speak, there must always be a top to the scale that can never be surpassed.\

Such a top to the scale requires an infinite being, hence it must be God.

Discussion is welcome!


6 thoughts on “4th Way of Reasoning Toward God – Thomas Acquinas

  1. Pingback: Reasoning Toward God – Thomas Aquinas’ 5 ways « the passionate follower’s journal

  2. Pingback: Thomas Aquinas and 5 deductions on the existence of God « the passionate follower’s journal

  3. The top of the scale does not necessarily mean the most possible, only the most in existence. The hottest thing in the universe may fluctuate in heat, or even increase or decrease in heat over time. As long as no other thing surpasses it, it remains the hottest thing in the universe. If something should surpass it, then it simply ceases to be the hottest thing in the universe.

    Continuing with heat we have absolute zero. This is essentially the most perfect possible cold thing, and it cannot exist except in conception. So we see that the on low end of the scale of heat the most cold thing does not exist at all, yet the scale remains valid.

    • Your logic makes sense when speaking of “things” but not when speaking of God. He IS the superlative of all that He is… that is what makes Him God.

  4. Pingback: Thomas Acquinas – Fifth way of reasoning toward God «

  5. Aquinas starts with the assumption that in a genus of things like goodness, truth, and beauty, there is a maximum that grants these things to all the members of this genus. Since we do good, know truth, and experience beauty, we can infer that there is a greatest good, highest truth, and most beautiful thing.

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