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FIVE WAYS

The five classic arguments of St. Thomas Aquinas for the existence of God. They are proofs from the effects produced in the world, from which an unbiased mind can logically conclude to their divine source. Called the Quinque Viae, they reason that: 1. motion (change) in the world implies a First Mover, who is himself unmoved, i.e., unchanged; 2. a sequence of efficient causes and their effects, observed in the world, requires an uncaused First Cause; 3. the existence of things that are not self-explanatory, i.e., contingent beings that need not exist, argues to the existence of an ultimate Necessary Being who cannot not exist; 4. the universal comparisons people make (more or less "good" or "true" or "beautiful" or "holy") require that there exist a Perfect Being who has the fullness of all these qualities; 5. the tendency among all earthly things, living and nonliving, to work toward a definite purpose indicates there exists an all-wise Intelligence that is directing creatures to a predetermined end.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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