Does God Have A Body?

Hello everyone and welcome to Deeper Waters where we are diving into
the ocean of truth. Tonight, we’re going to be continuing our study of
the doctrine of God with the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas as our
guide. All wanting to read it can read it online at I
also wish to thank Glenn and Joel for their comments and for reading.
Before getting to tonight’s topic, I wish to present my prayer
requests. First off, I ask that you pray for my continued
Christlikeness as there are areas in my life that I am struggling
with. Second, pray for my financial situation. Third, I ask for
prayers in a related area of my life.

We’re going to be looking at the doctrine of God’s simplicity tonight.
This will take time but let me state at the start before confusion
begins by saying what simplicity is not. Simplicity is not saying that
God is an easy topic to understand. No one is saying that God is
simple to our understanding. When we are saying God is simple, we are
stating something about his nature and not about how he is in relation
to us. He would be simple if nothing else existed.

Does God have a body? This is the position that the Mormon church
takes. This is also, sadly, a position many Christians take. After
all, we find numerous references in Scripture to the body of God.
Jacob wrestles with God and God shows his back to Moses and we hear
about the eyes, arms, and hand of the Lord. Isn’t it reasonable to
conclude that God has a body?

Of course, a rejoinder to this can often be that there are Scriptures
that say that God is a rock and that he is a strong tower, but we
don’t take those literally. There are also most notably the texts that
say that God gathers us under his wings. There is a hint of amusement
in thinking that God could be a giant chicken.

Is there any basis for taking these ideas as metaphorical?

Thomas gives three. First off, he states that all bodies are moved by
virtue of being bodies. However, God is the first mover as was shown
from the first way and because of this he is the unmoved mover. Since
this is the case, then he cannot be a body for he cannot be both moved
and the unmoved mover.

The second argument is that God is a being that is pure actuality.
Bodies, however, are beings that have potential. Since a potential is
a potential to change and God cannot have the potential to change,
then it would follow that he does not have a body. All bodies have
mixes of actuality and potentiality.

Finally, he says that based on the fourth way, God is the most noble
of all beings and while the body is noble, it is not noble by virtue
of being a body. This is because an animate body is more noble than an
inanimate one, but the body is not animate by virtue of being a body,
or else all bodies would be animate. Since the body is animated by
that which is greater than itself. Thus, God cannot have something to
him that is dependent on something greater than he is.

What has this to do with simplicity? We shall continue looking at that tomorrow.

The Fifth Way

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been working on getting a good doctrine of God and a good systematic theology helps with that. Why not go to one such as Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica? That is what we’ve been using and you can find it online at Before we get to tonight’s argument, I wish to present my prayer requests. First will be for my continued Christlikeness. Second, help with my financial situation as I have some major expenses coming I need help with. Finally, I ask for prayer for a third related area of my life. For now, let’s get to tonight’s argument for God’s existence.

The fifth way is one of the most misunderstood arguments I find by atheists, including Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion. When many an atheist comes to this they read it through modern eyes and think that Aquinas is talking about something along the lines of the Intelligent Design movement or the Watchmaker argument of Paley.

Now those are fine arguments I think on their own, but those are also arguments I do not wish to get into here, at least not from a scientific perspective. I will say that one could be a theistic evolutionist and still have no problem whatsoever with the fifth way of Aquinas because it is dealing with something different.

In Aquinas’s day, he was not dealing with the internal make-up of what he saw in the creation. He was not saying “Look at how complex a fish is! It must have a designer and therefore, there must be a God!” Naturally, he does speak about things that are designed, but that is because he is talking about things that exist in the known universe and if someone is going to argue for a case from a more empirical perspective, they will have to use items in the known universe to make their case.

Aquinas instead speaks about arrows being guided by archers and about bodies being guided along on a natural path and it seems that they are on this consistently as they always seem to move about the same way in reaching their goal.

But like the arrow that is flying towards its target, in order for something to be heading towards a path, it must have something that put it on that path. The arrow is not suddenly going to jump and go flying for the target and hit the bullseye. The arrow will only move if it is guided by an archer.

Now in the case of an animal, you could argue that it was self-guided, although it is doubtful Aquinas would even allow that. He would say that creatures like ourselves are moved to actuality not solely from within but also from without as we are all created to seek the good as a final cause and thus God is in that sense the cause of our actions as we all seek the good.

However, leaving out animals, you could not say that planets are guided by intelligent forces from within. (Well you could, but that would be your argument to make and it would be amusing to see it done.) However, they are moved on their path and in order for them to be guided on a path, there must be a supreme intelligence that is guiding them. This is because the knowledge of that end is not internal to the object that is moving. It must be something external.

Thus, this argument is not one about design so much as about providence. Design is not about that which is internal to the object but about that for which the argument acts, its final cause, hence this being called the teleological argument.

While there is truth I believe to the design argument, that is not Aquinas’s argument and we must understand that.

Tomorrow, we begin the doctrine of God and we start with simplicity. This will be a tough one. Be prepared.

The Fourth Way

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. I realized last night after I got done that I forgot my prayer requests. It’s quite odd for someone like myself who tends to be very repetitious in my actions. Thus, I wish to correct that. First, I ask for your prayers in my Christlikeness. I saw in many ways today again how much I need this prayer. Second, I ask for prayers in my financial situation. Finally, I ask for prayers in a third related area of my life.

For now, we’re going to go back to the Summa Theologica and continue looking at the ways by which Aquinas proves the existence of God to his readers. For those who do not happen to have a copy of the Summa lying around (And it would not hurt you to have one), I recommend going to and reading the Summa. Yes. You can be Protestant and read Aquinas.

The fourth way is arguing from degrees. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, one of the biggest joke books there is, tries to make this absurd by saying “Well is there such a thing as the smelliest?” This is one point that needs to be kept in mind. If it seems like there’s an obvious absurdity in an argument, you might want to look at it again, especially with a mind like Aquinas’s.

Aquinas here is talking about mainly transcendental qualities which would include the good. For him, there are degrees of goodness. Some things are more good than others. Every Christian should agree with this. There are things that are good and there are things that are not good and there are in-between. We are good, and we are better than the animal kingdom, but we are not as good as God is.

Aquinas uses as an example fire and getting its source from the sun. Now keep in mind that their understanding of the sun in those days was not like ours is today. This is not to say that they were ignorant of science as this is a time that took science very seriously. There were just some things that could not be discovered about the sun without modern technology and we don’t need to fault the medievals for that, just as there are some things we won’t discover until our technology advances and future generations should not fault us for that.

For Aquinas, the sun was hot, but it was a different kind of hot. He did not think of adding more to fire and then lo and behold, you get the sun. The sun was hotness of a different kind. However, without that heat, there could not be the hot that is fire. In the same way, without something that was maximum goodness, there could not be minimal goodness. There must be something from which goodness comes that is maximum so we can recognize the lack.

This is an important distinction in Aquinas. He makes the point that some things are different by kind rather than degree alone. This is a problem with the Mormon doctrine of eternal progression. It makes it sound like you get man and you add up a bunch of attributes in him and then power them up wholesale and lo and behold, he becomes God. God is different from us in kind however. We can never have power, goodness, love, knowledge, etc. as he has it.

Aquinas does look however and sees that there is goodness and beauty and nobility in the world. In order for it to be in the effect as a transcendental, it must be in the cause and this cause that is maximum goodness, beauty, nobility, etc. is what everyone knows to be God.

Tomorrow, we shall look at the fifth way, probably the way most misunderstood by atheists today.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.

Hello everyone. I could say “Welcome back to Deeper Waters,” but in reality you’re the ones who are welcoming me back. I hope everyone had as good a weekend as I did. Now I know that we’ve been going through the Summa Theologica, but readers also know that whenever I see a movie, I always like to blog about it. Well this weekend I saw “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” Be prepared everyone. There are spoilers in this so if you want to see the movie, don’t go forward. Wait until you come back.

When I was younger, my sister gave me a book she had of Greek mythology. I loved that book. I wish I’d really had the mindset of examining ideas back then. I didn’t, but I was able to absorb many of the stories and learned them well. A personal favorite of mine was reading about the labors of Hercules. On the other light note, I did love Kid Icarus on the Nintendo. Is it any wonder I love Pit on Smash Brothers Brawl? Greek mythology has just been an interest of mine.

Naturally then, a film like this had my attention.

Apparently in 2,000 years, much hadn’t changed. The Greek gods were still going around cavorting with humans and having children. Now however, Poseidon and Zeus are getting into it. Zeus has had his lightning bolt stolen from him, the most powerful weapon ever, and he thinks one of Poseidon’s kids did it, particularly Percy Jackson, who has no idea he’s a demigod. Zeus gives Poseidon a two-week deadline to recover the bolt or there will be war. Sadly, the movie never addresses the philosophical problems with calling Zeus omnipotent and him needing at the same time something external to himself like a bolt and being unable to find the bolt on his own.

Which was the problem in many ways with the Greek gods. They couldn’t really be seen as gods unless by god you meant a superhuman. In the biblical worldview, man is created in the image of God, but in the Greek system, it seems the gods are created in the image of men. Ravi Zacharias has said it wasn’t that the Greek gods abandoned the Greeks because the Greeks were depraved. Quite the reverse. They abandoned the gods because the gods were depraved. The tales of the gods of Olympus could make a modern day soap opera pale in comparison.

Percy Jackson lives with his Mom and a step-father figure who he can’t stand. He also has his best friend Grover. One day however, he is at a Greek museum and has a teacher take him to a room alone only to have her ask “Where’s the bolt?” and she turns into a fury and attacks him. In comes another teacher in a wheelchair, Mr. Brunner, who tells the fury to let him go or he’ll tear her to shreds, along with Grover, who happens to be on crutches.

Mr. Brunner tells Grover to get Percy’s mother and get them on the run. When they’re all together and on the run, they get attacked by a minotaur. Percy’s Mom is in the minotaur’s hand and vanishes. Percy manages to defeat the minotaur however before entering camp half blood where children of demigods go. He learns that Grover, is actually a satyr who has been assigned to be his protector, and that Mr. Brunner is actually the centaur Chiron. While there, he also forms a relationship with the daughter of Athena named Annabeth and a son of Hermes named Luke.

The camp gets visited by Hades demanding to see Percy Jackson. Hades says he has Percy’s mother and wants the lightning bolt. Percy decides then he’s going to go to the underworld, find his mother and explain the situation to Hades, and then take his mother back. Annabeth and Grover join him and Luke gives them some equipment to help.

Before doing that, they have to get three pearls so each of them can escape the underworld. The journey involves them encountering figures from Greek mythology to fight like the medusa and the hydra. Very interesting is how the entrance to the underworld is located in Hollywood, which I found quite appropriate. When we finally see Olympus, the gods squabble just like everyone else. Hardly the idea of deity.

However, for action and adventure, this is a great film and if you’re  a fan of Greek mythology, you’ll love it. Christians can use this to see how different theistic concepts work and explain the problems of a polytheistic concept. For instance, how could Zeus be omnipotent if he does not have all power over what goes on in the world? Can you have all power and at the same time not be sovereign? (For Calvinists and Arminians, again, work out the details of what that means on your own.) Also, what does it mean for creatures to shift forms. Can a man really be part horse? What does that say about the nature of both?

My final conclusion is I don’t agree with the worldview, but this movie did have action and adventure that kept me hooked the whole time. It is one I definitely plan to get when it comes out on DVD.

The Third Way

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. This is where we dive into the ocean of truth.

I apologize for last night. I was out later than I thought I would be on some apologetics business and by the time I got home, there was no time to do a blog. Also, there won’t be another blog after tonight until Monday night. I am going to be out of town all this weekend. I do invite you to go through past blogs however and enjoy those.

I ask for your prayers of course. First off, in my growing Christlikeness as I see more deficiencies that I want to work on and definitely have those listed as a priority. Second, I ask for prayers in my financial situation. Finally, I ask for prayers in a third related area of my life.

We’ve been going through the doctrine of God and using the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas as our guide. Right now, we are on the existence of God and the ways that Thomas Aquinas is using philosophy to demonstrate the existence of God. All who want to read the Summa can do so at

For this, we will need to define two terms. Something is contingent basically if it could have been otherwise. I am sitting as I do this blog. That is contingent. I could have been standing or I could have been lying on a bed using a laptop. However, that I would be I is a necessary truth based on the Law of Identity. Necessary things are things that could not be otherwise than they are.

Aquinas states that there are things in the universe that are contingent, that is, they could have been otherwise. One could deny this by saying that the universe is a brute fact, but then that would mean that all things in the universe bear the relation they do so beautifully to all other things by brute fact. It is a brute fact that all protons just happen to have something in common. I find this takes much blind faith.

The other way is to argue from the universe itself being necessary, but that would mean that everything in it would be as well. It could not be otherwise than it is, which would also mean that your believing what you believe could not have been other than it is right now. It was a necessary truth that you’d be nodding your head in agreement to what I say or it was a necessary truth you’d be screaming at your computer that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

The other option then is that everything in the universe is contingent. That is, it was possible for everything in the universe to not be. If that is the case, then it was possible for there to be nothing. Aquinas has already said we must avoid the problem of an infinite regress and it comes back again at this point. If something is contingent, it begins to exist because of something outside of itself. If it is necessary, then it either has it received from another or from its own nature. After all, Aquinas had no problem with an eternal universe.

To avoid an infinite regress then, Aquinas says that there must be a being whose existence has the reason lying within itself. The universe, though possibly eternal, does not have the reason for its existence in itself but would rather have it in God. Aquinas then concludes that the ground for existence in this case is once again, the being everyone knows as God.

Monday, we shall see the fourth way.

The Second Way

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we’re diving into the Ocean of Truth. We’re going through the doctrine of God right now and discussing the Second Way of Thomas Aquinas in showing the existence of God. Those wanting to read the relevant portions of the Summa are invited to go to Before that however, I wish to give prayer requests. The first is for my continued Christlikeness as I grow to be the man I need to be. The second is for my finances. The third is in a final related area of my life to both of these. For now, let’s look at the Second Way.

To begin with, we need to define some terms. Aristotle had spoken of four kinds of causes for something.

The first kind is the material cause. That is the matter that something is made of, such as a chair that is made of wood.

The second is the formal cause which is the form something possesses, to which a desk possesses the form of a desk.

The third is the efficient cause. That is the cause that makes the thing the thing that it is. A sculptor makes the block of stone into a statue.

The fourth is a final cause. That is why the thing is the way it is. My TV is made to broadcast visual images to me.

In the medieval period, two more causes were added.

The instrumental cause is the how a thing comes to be. This blog comes to be in part because of my typing.

The exemplar cause is that after which something comes to be. A building is based on the blueprints the architect lays out.

Aquinas’s second argument is about efficient causes and gets into what is the existence/essence distinction. What is the cause of things coming to be? This will be extremely important when we get to the doctrine of God’s simplicity.

For Aquinas, all composed things have a cause of their being. Now when we hear of composed, we can think of something like say, the DNA molecule, and think “Why yes. I can see why something like DNA would need to have a cause.” While Aquinas would not dispute that, it is also not entirely what he means. We can too often read back into the medievals modern concepts, which we will see often takes place when we get to the fifth way of Aquinas.

For each thing that we see, it has a nature, such as the nature of a desk, but it also has existence. Think in your mind of an idea of something you see around you. Now look at the object that you see as it is. What differentiates the two? It’s quite simple. The object in your mind exists only in your mind. The object in the real world exists in actuality. It possesses extramental being.

Thus, you have in your mind the form of whatever it is. However, the object in the real world possesses the form as well as possessing the being that goes along with that object. This can happen to the simplest particle. It possesses the matter that makes it what it is and it possesses its essence.

How about other beings that aren’t material? By this, we mean angels of course. Angels do possess a nature and we can later talk about that nature, but for now, we’ll assume just a basic angelic nature. What do they possess in addition to that nature? Being.

God is the only one that’s different. He has the basis for his being in himself. He is not for Aquinas being plus a nature. His being is his nature. God does not receive being from anything external to him nor is he being plus something for that would make him composed in some way and he’d need a composer.

This is also why an eternal universe was not a problem for Aquinas. He could have the universe going on for all eternity and still have God as the ground for the existence of the universe. The universe’s eternal existence would not be an aspect of its nature internal to itself but rather something it received from God.

In other words, without God, there is no basis for existence.

Now some of you might be wondering how that concept of God is defended. If you are, put it on hold. Aquinas will answer it later.

Tomorrow, we shall look at the third way.

The First Way

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. I’d like to thank first off Joel for his appreciation of last night’s post. That doesn’t happen often, but sometimes someone does raise a profound point that I want addressed. I hope it was to your satisfaction. I’d also like to thank Paul who left a comment and seemed to certainly be satisfied by it. I do recall when I first began doing apologetics that I thought people would convert in droves once they saw the evidence.

That delusion doesn’t last long.

We’re talking about the doctrine of God and tonight, we’re going to start looking at God’s existence based on the Summa Theologica of Aquinas which can be read at We’re going to begin going through his five ways. However, I ask for your prayers before we go on. First, I ask that you pray for me in my Christlikeness. Bluntly, I have a problem with perfectionism and I seek to get past it. Second, for my financial situation. Third, I ask for prayers for a third related area in my life. Let’s get to the argument now.

Let’s define some terms first off. To begin with is actuality which simple means that which is. It is referring to a capacity already realized. Next is potential, which is the ability to change. There is passive potential which is based on receiving change from another and active potential which is about an agent performing an action that does not necessarily affect that thing’s essential nature.

As for motion in this argument, we could be tempted to think of motion in purely material terms. We might think of Newton’s laws of motion for instance. That is not what Aquinas has in mind, although it doesn’t rule out such motion. It would be included. Aquinas has in mind simply change of any sort.

Now Aquinas has stated that something cannot be in potential and be actual at the same time in the same sense. It can be actually one thing and potentially another but it can’t be actually one thing and potentially the same thing. Something that is actually hot cannot be potentially hot. It can have the potential to be hotter, but that is a difference of degree and not of kind.

However, the moving from potentiality to actuality always comes from something else in some way. It is the fire that makes the stick hot. The stick does not make itself to be hot. This is because once again it cannot be actual and potential in the same sense at the same time.

Aquinas says that this cannot go on indefinitely as there cannot be an infinite regress of movers. Actuality has to come from somewhere. Thus, Aquinas says that at the end, there is an unmoved mover who is responsible for the existence of change yet he himself is unchanged (A point he will expound on later) and this everyone knows to be God.

When we get to the immutability of God we will expound this more, but the problem of change was a great problem from the ancient to the medieval period and Aquinas’s answer here is addressing that. How do you explain the existence of change and continuity? We’ll get some background on that when we get to immutability.

For now, this is Aquinas’s first demonstration to show the existence of the unmoved mover who is pure actuality.

Tomorrow, we shall look at the second way.

Why Theistic Proofs?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. We are diving into the ocean of truth and now, it’s the doctrine of God. Well you can’t go deeper than that can you? Charles Spurgeon once said the Godhead is the highest thought we can ponder. It’s a shame we don’t spend enough time doing that. Before we get to tonight’s blog, I’d like to present my prayer requests. First off, I ask for prayers for my developing Christlikeness. I am seeing much I need to work on still. Second, I ask for prayers for my finances. Finally, I ask for prayers in a third related area of my life.

I had intended to start going through the five ways of Aquinas today, but I did get a comment that I believe needed to be addressed before going to the theistic proofs, as I do believe that it was one that raised up a point of discussion that should be kept in mind.

I thank Joel for pointing out what was said that proofs for God’s existence does not matter much when the heart and mind are not in alignment. Now I hadn’t heard that quote, but it’s also a belief that I’m not only familiar with, but in fact agree.

What is the purpose of theistic proofs? Are we wasting our time when we do Christian apologetics? There are a number of skeptics who ask to have God’s existence demonstrated. Well why are they still out there if people think God’s existence can be proven?

I’m thinking ironically now of Richard Dawkins who is just astounded that some people don’t believe in evolution. Why? Because I do believe this goes both ways. There are reasons people don’t believe a number of different matters of fact. In the case of Dawkins and evolution for instance, I don’t believe because I don’t find his arguments convincing.

However, we all know other reasons why someone might not believe something. A husband might see evidence his wife is having an affair, but doesn’t want to believe it because he doesn’t want to face that awful truth. I have friends who smoke and I would say on some level don’t really believe it’s so harmful for them so they can keep doing it.

A large reason however lies in the area of emotions and I believe this is where atheism largely comes in. Most appropriate to demonstrate this is the problem of evil can be a convincing argument for several when it comes through emotional appeal. Consider some of the statements you can hear from Christopher Hitchens for instance arguing about tragedies and other such events and why would a good God allow them to happen?

I can understand why someone would find that convincing, but it is an emotional argument. One doesn’t often step back to ask “What is this good that we speak of? What is this evil? Is there any meaning behind anything?Where did I get this idea of deserving? Where did I get the idea the universe ought to be a certain way? Are there any other reasons to believe in God apart from this?” While the problem seems to have one facet at times, being that we don’t like something, it is actually multi-faceted.

Thus, when presenting theistic proofs, I don’t want Christians going out there thinking they have silver bullets where as soon as they present these to an atheist, the atheist will be heading for the nearest church to accept Christ as savior. The Bible also tells us that man is fallen and has great capacities for self-deception. The chief thing that keeps us from God, Christian and non-Christian, is sin.

There is also another benefit. You as a Christian yourself can have greater confidence in your faith. I’d like you to picture walking down a dark alley at night and you have no weapon on you. You have no idea who’s out there? Is it scary? Yep.

Now another scenario. You’re walking down there and you have a weapon such as a .357 magnum and not only that, you’re a sharpshooter who’s quick on the draw. It’s scary still maybe, but it’s not as scary because you can handle what comes your way.

Apologetics does that for us. It gives us confidence and can open our minds to new ways of thinking, especially about God. Even if you don’t agree with the proofs that can be given, and there are arguments for God’s existence I don’t agree with, if they start you thinking, then that is a benefit in itself.

Thus, with that caveat in mind, may we tomorrow begin looking at the five ways.

Can God’s Existence Be Demonstrated?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. We are currently studying the doctrine of God and using the Summa Theologica as our basis, which can be read for free at Tonight we’re going to discuss if the existence of God can be demonstrated. Before that, I do offer my prayer requests. First, I ask that you pray for my Christlikeness. A conversation with a friend tonight helped me bring out a lot of reasons I struggle in my life and I know now more of where I need to work. The second is for my financial situation. Some tough times are coming. Finally, I ask for prayer for a third situation in my life.

Can God’s existence be demonstrated? A number of times, atheists will ask me to demonstrate God’s existence. Well there are a number of ways this can’t be done. It can’t be done by saying “And now God will appear right before your eyes!”

It also can’t be done scientifically. Now I believe science can help us get data that can draw inferences, such as the design argument or the anthropic principle. However, the inferences we draw from those facts are those that lead us into philosophy instead.

Aquinas will say that things can be demonstrated in two ways. The first is through the cause, which is what he calls the route of propter quid. However, the problem he sees with this is that we do not know the cause when we begin our investigation. It is because of this that Aquinas will reject the Anselmian ontological argument. Contrary to what Dawkins says in “The God Delusion,” arguments for God’s existence were taken seriously in the medieval period and they were critiqued by other medieval theologians. Even if they all agreed on the conclusion, they did not think all ways of getting there were valid.

The other way is to argue from the effects to the cause. This is what is done in a number of arguments.

The universe has design.

Things that are designed have a designer.

The universe has a designer.


Objective moral laws exist.

Objective moral laws need an objective moral law giver.

Therefore, an objective moral law giver exists.

This is what all of these arguments do. We look at the effects and we reason to the cause based on the arguments. When we begin the five ways, we’ll find that Aquinas does this. His favorite one is in fact the existence/essence distinction.

Note at this point we’re not even saying that God exists. Of course, Aquinas believes he does, but we are rather saying that his existence can be demonstrated and that demonstration comes about through the way of philosophical proofs.

Also, the role of faith is that one trusts the validity of the arguments. Aquinas believes that God’s existence can be proven, but it is up to the questioner to believe on the proofs that have been given. Because one presents the argument, it does not require the world fall down and repent immediately.

Tomorrow, we begin the five ways.

Is God’s Existence Self-Evident

Hello and welcome back to Deeper Waters. I said that I was going to have us look at the doctrine of God and our guide as we go through that will be the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. In looking at the doctrine of God, the first question he asks is if God’s existence is self-evident (Yes. These questions were being asked before the Enlightenment). Before we get to that however, I wish to present my prayer requests. First off, I do ask that you pray for my Christlikeness. Second, I ask for your prayers for my financial situation. Finally, I ask for your prayers in a third related area in my life.

Now as we go through this, if anyone wants to follow along, has the Summa Theologica in a format anyone can access for free. Simply go to the upper right and click Summa. (And no, I am not Catholic.)

Thomas Aquinas answers “Yes and no.” Mainly he answers no as that if something is self-evident, it cannot be denied, but the Bible does say that the fool says in his heart, that there is no God. Since it can be denied, then he says it is not self-evident.

But he also said it is self-evident didn’t he?

Consider this sentence.

Bachelors are unmarried males.

This is self-evident because if you understand the terms, you know that it’s true. You don’t need an argument for it. In fact, if you told me you weren’t convinced and needed an argument, I don’t know what I could tell you to convince you.

These are called first principles. A classic example is the Law of Non-contradiction. In order to deny this law, you have to affirm it. It is in essence an undeniable law. If this is not true, then there is no basis for saying that anything is. Any attempts to eliminate it actually end up having the person saw off the branch of the tree he’s sitting on.

So what does this have to do with it? Aquinas argues that when a person comes to understand what is meant by the concept of God, then they will understand that the idea of existing is included within God and they will realize that it is self-evident that God exists.

Of course, there is an element of the fall in here as well. Though not mentioned by Aquinas specifically, the sinfulness of man was always on his mind. One reason for much denial today is that we are sinful. It is not that God is hiding. It is that he is not being sought. The idea of the hiddenness of God would not make sense to Aquinas.

Of course, since Aquinas has said that he does not believe the existence of God is self-evident due to our lack of understanding with God, he does not wish to leave us in that position. He wants to make sure we get to the God who is there and he will do that through philosophical argumentation. Can such be done?

Well we’ll find out tomorrow.

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