In the Prima Pars of his Summa Theologica (Question 2, Article 3), Aquinas claimed the existence of God can be proven in five ways, “the first and more manifest [being] the argument from motion.” This first way can be (broadly) summarized as follows:
- Our senses prove that some things are in motion.
- Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion.
- Only an actual motion can convert a potential motion into an actual motion.
- Nothing can be at once both actual and potential in the same respect (i.e., if both actual and potential, it is actual in one respect and potential in another).
- Therefore, nothing can move itself.
- Therefore, each thing in motion is moved by something else.
- The sequence of motion cannot extend ad infinitum.
- Therefore, it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.
The first episode of Catholic Bytes’ crash course on Aquinas summarizes the Ox’s first way in a 2-minute video that, brief as it is, explains these eight arguments in a clear, accessible and indeed fun manner. After all, one doesn’t see Chesterton and Descartes side-to-side with Aquinas on a daily basis.
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