St. Augustine And Thomas Aquinas: Arguments For The Existence Of God

St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas and their arguments for the existence of God. They present a strong case for the existence of God, using math, reason, and logic.

Many debates are centered around the topic of the existence of God. People have given what they believe are rational proofs for definite existence, as well as non existence. When all is said and done, there is no definite proof either way, and we are left to look at the arguments and make a leap of faith. Whether we make it toward science, or toward God is our final decision. After looking at several articles and listening to many proofs, I have come to the conclusion that there is no way, mathematically, or rationally, that God does not exist. I will attempt to map out the reasons that I have come to the unshakable opinion that God does exist.

One of the many philosophers that tackled this problem, and offered their own explanations and proofs, was St. Augustine. In his book "The Confessions" he details his life, and explains why he became a Christian. During his life, he wanted to believe, but always had questions that no one seemed to be able to answer. He finally came up with his own proof for the existence of God. He begins by laying a foundation that cannot be disputed. That we exist. He says that if you disagree with that statement, you have already contradicted yourself because just being able to disagree implies existence. He then goes on to say that we are alive, and asks us if we understand the previous two statements. He is showing us, that we have, with our understanding, reason. He then gives us a hierarchy of beings, the lowest being a rock, which is merely a being. Next is a tree, which is a being that lives, next is a dog, which is a being, that lives, and moves, and has senses, and on the top there is humans which have all the characteristics of those underneath it, and also have reason. He argues that reason is what makes us higher than all beings. At this point, he must have us believe that if there was anything higher than human reason, then it would be God. He then points to mathematical truths. Seven plus three is ten. It is not that way because we decided it to be, or because we wanted it to be. It is because it is. It always has been, always will be. Even if we no longer exist, seven plus three will be ten. These truths are evident of a higher power than human reason. And that higher power is God.

Another medieval thinker who analyzed this topic was Thomas Aquinas. He gave five rational proofs for the existence of God. These proofs provide no faith claims but merely human reason. For this reason they are still popular today. The one that is considered the most convincing is the Law Maker Proof. In this proof, Aquinas uses scientific laws and the natural order of the universe to show that there is a God. The Garden Allegory best demonstrates this proof. If in a jungle there is a patch of land resembling a garden that is cultivated, planted, and weeded, then there must be a gardener. Order does not appear randomly in chaos. Take for example Fibbanachi's number, or pi. These numbers appear all over the natural world. Take also for example the law of gravity or the truths of mathematics. These things all are a natural order which humans do not create. Therefore these laws must imply a lawmaker. This lawmaker can be no other then God himself.

This topic is still popular today. An author wrote a book titled "A Case against Accident and Self-Organization." His name is Dean Overman. In his book, Overman gives compelling evidence that there is in deed a God, and that self-organization is a mathematical impossibility. He states that it is as much a leap of faith if not a greater leap to believe in science than it is to believe in God. He makes this claim based on mathematical facts. For instance, the argument of the mathematical improbability of the creation of life. Sir Francis Hoyle calculated that in order for a single enzyme to be in the right place at the right time to create life is a chance of one in ten to the twentieth power. However upon further thought and analysis Hoyle realized that there are two thousand enzymes in the simplest living cells. These enzymes are each made up of nine amino acids. The probability of the correct sequence of amino acids gathering to form all of the two thousand individual enzymes, and them all being together at the right place in the right time is one in ten to the forty thousandth power. Mathematicians consider a probability of ten to the fiftieth power a mathematical impossibility.

Given an infinite amount of time, even a probability of ten to the forty thousandth would be possible. We do not, however, have an infinite amount of time. The earth has been dated to be 4.6 billion years old. But until 3.98 billion years ago, the earth was too hot to produce life. The oldest fossils on record date back 3.85 billion years ago. Understanding that there could be older fossils that have not yet been found, but not calculating that possibility into this equation, we are left with a 130 million year time frame for an "accident" to occur. This indeed is impossible. Therefore since life could not have, mathematically, been accidentally formed, there must have been a creator. This creator is God.

While the evidence is convincing, some people still have a problem believing in God. One reason that is stated is the problem of evil. If God is all good, all knowing, and all powerful, then why is there evil in the world? Augustine gives an explanation to this problem by stating that evil is ultimately a form of nothing. He justifies this by saying that all things come from God, and that God is good, so all things that come from Him are good. Since evil is not good, then it does not come from God, since all things come from Him, then evil is a form of nothing. The medieval philosopher Maimonidies argues that evil must be because it is part of human nature. If we wanted to be indestructible we would have to be made of steel, or rock. Since they do not have senses, we would be forced to give up our sensation in order to live a life free from pain, and or evil. Another common viewpoint is the opinion that God gives us free will, and will not interfere with it. If we as humans chose to do evil, then we will be justly punished, and if we chose to do what our nature intended us to, which is good, then we will be rewarded. There would be no cause for reward if goodness was programmed into us. Children do not receive praise because they have two eyes, two ears and a mouth. Only when it is something that is of our personal doing can we be rewarded. Thus there has to be evil, and free will, or else we would have no hope of a Heaven.

The proofs that were presented prove, using reason alone, and no faith claims, that there is a God. We can not argue with our reason, which so plainly shows us that there is a higher being. Believing in God just makes sense.

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