Humans Are Divine Beings Or are we Just Naked Apes?
The thirteenth century was very much like modern times, “The spirit of theology of Augustinianism was waning in popularity before the new spirit of scientific learning.”The concepts of Aristotle reemerged, and Christians had to deal with scientific explanations of the universe taking precedence over biblical truths. In today’s postmodern world, the Christian worldview laid out in Genesis is considered a myth compared to the accepted notion of the Big bang theory. The notion of being human used to be a divine honor, as we were made in the likeness of God himself (Genesis 1:26-29) but today, after Darwin’s theory of evolution, we are considered nothing more than smarter, hairless, naked apes. Many parallels can be drawn from the times of Aquinas to modern day times today, the scientific notion and the purpose and origin of people are just one of the similarities Aquinas faced, that Christians face today. Apologists today can learn tremendously from Aquinas’s work from the thirteenth century, as history appears to be cyclical and repeating itself. Aquinas is the most profound apologists in the medieval and patristic eras, and even arguably perhaps, ever; his logic and reason can and should be resurrected for use today as apologists lovingly defend the Christian faith.
What Caused the Universe… God
Aquinas brilliantly adapted the concepts of Aristotle to mold them into the Christian worldview, thus creating a bridge from the Aristotelian viewpoints to the Christian worldview. Aquinas, “on certain points, conceded, Christian revelation had completed and corrected what Aristotle set out to accomplish.”Like Aristotle, Aquinas focused on the effects of things, then went back to elude to the causes; we can do the same today, by filling in the gaps with the truth of the Bible and God. Working backward from effects to causes helped Aquinas create theological arguments that utilize the Aristotelian form widely accepted as truth in his times. Modern-day apologists can also use Aquinas’s method of bridging science to theology. The mystery of quantum physics points towards God, and a “first mover” today. The tactic to observe effects and work backward to cause as Aquinas and Aristotle is still useful and practical today. Thank you, Thomas Aquinas, for paving the way for apologists of today!
God is the First Mover
Aquinas masterfully used logic, and reason to point to God’s existence, and prove that God is logical and makes sense from the finite perspective of humans. Aquinas uses simple to understand concepts to prove that God exists. First, he spoke of movement, and all movement has a cause, the first mover, therefore, is God, who set the universe in motion. Aquinas next used the argument of the cause; there must be a cause to everything. People did not just appear from thin air, nor does anything in nature merely appear; there is always a cause. Therefore God is the first cause or first mover. Next possibility and necessity, if things are possible there must have been a time that those things did not exist, therefore, in order for anything to be possible, God must have brought them into existence. Next Thomas points to the gradation found in specific properties; there has to be a standard and maximum; thus a higher power is the cause of the perfection and goodness of life as we know it. Lastly, the intelligence and governance of order in the world are definitely from a higher power, God. How could a random big bang, with no intelligent creator unfold in the miraculous life we witness on earth?
Saying the Universe and Everything is God is Illogical
The effectiveness and logical genius used by Aquinas is like a garden shovel in the gardeners’ toolbox; in other words, we can all benefit from his technique and wisdom. I used my Aquinas shovel today in a thirty-minute business call that turned into a 2-hour God talk. Just today, speaking with a business associate, I utilized the effect moving backwards to the cause of God as the first mover, as Jennifer (the associate on my call), is a new ager, was thanking the universe for her recovery of cancer, and not God. After a loving talk with her of moving from effect to cause, Jennifer believed in Jesus and God and saw the universe as the painting and God as the painter. It was a beautiful talk, she was open and receptive, and I am so thankful for God the Holy Spirit, and for Thomas Aquinas, the divine timing, and the knowledge I am learning here at Liberty to apply these tactics within my work industry and educate people who are ready, and just need to hear the good news. Jennifer used to think that the painting and the painter were the same things. I bring up my real life experience with Jennifer today, because, utilizing the same approach Thomas Aquinas used 700 years ago was useful in my evangelical apologetic approach today with a co-worker.
The New Age Community Loves God, they are just Confused about Who and What God is
The Bible mentions in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 9, verse 36, that there is plenty of harvests, God just needs workers to do His work. I must say, The new age community wants to hear the message of God, they are low hanging fruit ready for harvesting, they need a loving breakdown, with logic and reason, just as Aquinas did in the thirteenth century. People are ready and want to hear the legitimate defense of Christianity, it just has to be done in a Christ-like manner, and it is helpful to the apologist also to point out the wrong mindset of postmodernity.
Avery Cardinal Dulles, A History of Apologetics San Francisco: Ignatius Press (1999), 111.
Avery Cardinal Dulles, A History of Apologetics San Francisco: Ignatius Press (1999), 113.