Author Topic: Does natural conscience prove God is Good, and is Goodness Himself?  (Read 353 times)

Offline Xavier

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St. Thomas has two proofs that God is First Cause, both of Being and of Goodness, and is Himself the Ultimate Exemplar of these Attributes in their Highest Possible Perfection. Our Lord seems to have had this quality of God in mind, when He said, "None is Good but One, that is, God" (Mark 10:18). That is to say, God Alone is Goodness in Himself and by Essence, Eternally Good and Infinite Goodness Himself. Creatures can be good by participation, only because He is Good by Essence; we human beings, though by our sin we have fallen, by His Grace can be restored to union with His Goodness, and thereby become good by transformation or theosis.

Let's look at the two proofs: "The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence ... Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God." and "The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But "more" and "less" are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest ... Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God." https://www.newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm#article2

Here, Saint Thomas argues from necessity and contingency. It is clearly evident that some things exist contingently, for they begin to exist and conceivably could cease to exist. Hence, these things do not exist eternally and immutably. Now, everything contingent requires a cause, but it is impossible for there to be an infinite regress of contingent causes. Hence, One Being must exist non-contingently and non-mutably, i.e. eternally, without beginning and end, and immutably, as First Cause of all contingent beings. Next, similarly, we see different grades of beings such as beings that are more or less good, and so on. And as fire causes beings to become more or less hot, the grade of being itself requires its own proportionate cause in the highest Being. And this highest Being, being non-contingent, must have those attributes in the highest possible perfection, with neither possibility of increase or decrease, causing these perfections in every other being. There where these perfections are yet lacking are where creatures have not yet attained their purpose.

CCC 1776 says: "1776 "Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man's most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths."

Does the argument work? Conscience indicates an unchanging Law of God, for we discern that some things are immutably good or immutably evil. But immutable laws of good and evil could only come from an eternal Law. And an eternal Law requires an eternal Lawgiver, Whose eternal nature is reflected in His eternal Law. Hence, conscience discerns there is a Lawgiver, and that Lawgiver is Perfectly Good. Since the Lawgiver's Essence never changes, this Supreme Being must be Perfect Goodness, the Origin of Goodness, and the Source of every good act we do.

Thoughts?
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Does natural conscience prove God is Good, and is Goodness Himself?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2020, 04:15:57 PM »
Works for me!
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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