Proofs for the Existence of God: St. Anselm and St. Thomas Aquina

Proofs for the Existence of God: St. Anselm and St. Thomas Aquina

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Overview

St. Anselm’s motto credo ut intelligam (“I believe so that I may understand”) reflected his intention to explain faith in God through reason. St. Anselm achieved fame for his ontological argument that proves the existence of God: We understand God to be the greatest possible being, ‘that of which nothing can be greater.’ But a God who exists only in our minds isn’t as great as one who is in our minds and also who exists in reality. Since God is, by definition, the greatest possible being, he must exist in our minds and in reality.

From this premise, Saint Anselm proceeds first to give a proof by reductio ad absurdum, also called indirect proof or proof by contradiction.

It took St. Thomas about ten years to write the Summa Theologica, indisputably the greatest work of Christian doctrine. Although originally written for the “instruction of beginners,” over the years, the material has become serious study for intellectuals, theologians, and philosophers.

Yet everyone may benefit from its reading; that is, a reading that is patient, engaging, and recurring. The voluminous work is divided into questions and the questions into articles which follow a discernible structure.


Product Details

BN ID: 2940148389439
Publisher: Marciano Guerrero
Publication date: 09/16/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 646,952
File size: 199 KB

About the Author

Saint Anselm (1033 - 1109) Archbishop of Canterbury, England.
Born near the border between what are now Italy and France, Anselm entered the monastic school of Bec in Normandy in 1060.

Anselm's interest was captured by the Benedictine abbey at Bec, whose famous school was under the direction of Lanfranc, the abbey’s prior. Lanfranc was a scholar and teacher of wide reputation, and under his leadership the school at Bec had become an important center of learning. Anselm entered the abbey as a novice, but given his intellectual and spiritual gifts brought him rapid advancement, and when Lanfranc was appointed abbot of Caen in 1063, Anselm was elected to succeed him as prior.

He eventually became the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093, and is considered one of the most influential thinkers —together with Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas— of medieval Europe and Christianity.
Although he wrote many books, his Proslogion (1077–78), which includes his ontological proof of the existence of God, is what contributed to his lasting fame.

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274) was born circa 1225 in Sicily, Italy.

He was the youngest of eight siblings. His mother, Theodora, was countess of Teano. Though Thomas’s family members were descendants of Emperors, they were considered to be of lower nobility.

Before St. Thomas Aquinas was born, a holy hermit shared a prediction with his mother, foretelling that her son would enter the Order of Friars Preachers, and become a revered figure in the Catholic Church.
St. Thomas Aquinas was sent to the Abbey of Monte Cassino to train among Benedictine monks when he was just 5 years old, where he remained until he was 13 years old, at which age he returned to Naples.

St. Thomas Aquinas spent the next five years completing his primary education at a Benedictine house in Naples. During those years, he studied Aristotle’s work, which would later become a major foundation for his own exploration of philosophy and theology.

Around 1239, St. Thomas Aquinas began attending the University of Naples. Four years later (in 1243), unbeknownst to his family he joined an order of Dominican monks, receiving the habit in 1244.

Thomas’s family held him captive for an entire year, imprisoned in the fortress of San Giovanni at Rocca Secca. During this time, they attempted to deprogram Thomas of his new belief

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