Michael
Torre
Aquinas
and
the
Credibility
of
God
I
want
to
set
forth
what
I
believe
to
be
Aquinas
's
view
on
the
credi-
bility
of
God's
existence,
and
then
defend
that
view
and
relate
it
to
certain
theological
points.
Regarding
the
first
matter,
I
will
rely
chiefly
on
several
chapters
from
the
Summa
Contra
Gentiles,
supple-
mented
by
the
same
material
from
the
first
article
of
the
Summa
The-
ologiae.
I
believe
Thomas
has
a
clear
view
on
the
credibility
of
God's
existence,
and
that
his
view
is
clearly
presented
to
us
in
the
Summa
Contra
Gentiles.
Let
us
begin,
however,
with
the
first
article
of
the
Summa
Theolo-
giae.
There,
Thomas
divides
truths
about
God
into
two
categories:
those
accessible
and
those
inaccessible
to
human
reason.
The
former
truths
about
God
can
be
demonstrated
by
human
reason.
Were
we,
however,
to
rely
on
demonstration
alone
as
a
means
to
reach
these
truths,
then
they
would
"only
be
known
by
a
Jew,
and
that
after
a
long
time,
and
with
the
admixture
of
many
errors.
Evidently,
then,
Thomas
thinks
diat
there
is
another
way
to
divine
truths
besides
rational
demonstration.
And
since
God's
very
exis-
tence
is
one
of
those
truths,
Thomas
here
holds
that
we
can
become
LOGOS
3:2
SPRING
2oOO
[?8
LOGOS
convinced
of
this
in
a
way
other
than
by
such
demonstration.
Fur-
thermore,
this
other
way
the
way
of
God's
revelation
will
make
such
a
truth
known
not
only
to
the
few
but
to
die
many,
and
not
after
a
long
time
but
a
short
one,
and
not
mixed
with
any
error.
This
doctrine
of
the
Summa
Theologiae
merely
repeats
what
Thomas
had
said
a
few
years
earlier
in
die
Summa
Contra
Gentiles.
After
stating
his
intention
regarding
that
work
in
its
second
chapter,
he
goes
on
(in
chapter
3)
to
make
the
identical
distinction
regarding
divine
truths
accessible
and
inaccessible
to
human
reason.
Then,
in
chapter
4,
he
explains
at
much
greater
length
the
three
defects
that
follow
from
having
to
rely
on
demonstration
alone
to
know
God.
Thomas
there
explains
why
Jew
men
would
come
to
know
God:
because
they
are
not
disposed
to
pursue
such
demonstrations,
because
of
the
exigencies
of
life,
and
because
of
laziness.
The
lengdi
of
time
needed
derives
from
the
profundity
of
divine
truth,
the
requirement
of
preparatory
study,
and
the
distraction
of
the
pas-
sions.
And
the
error
likely
in
such
studies
would
lead
many
to
doubt
their
veracity,
a
doubt
often
heightened
by
the
weakness
of
our
minds.
Thomas
concludes
that,
were
we
left
only
to
demonstrative
knowledge
of
God's
existence,
"the
human
race
would
remain
in
the
blackest
shadows
of
ignorance
."2
Strong
words
indeed,
coming
from
Thomas!
As
an
initial
comment,
these
words
of
both
Summae
seem
to
make
it
very
clear
that
Thomas,
far
from
relying
upon
the
Quinqué
Viae
as
the
main
means
to
our
knowledge
of
God,
explicitly
rejects
diem
as
die
usual
way
we
rightly
come
to
a
belief
in
God's
existence.
In
the
next
two
chapters,
Thomas
goes
on
to
detail
for
us
the
other
way
God's
existence
is
made
credible
to
us,
die
way
most
do
come
to
a
belief
in
God,
namely
through
divine
revelation.
In
particular,
he
explains
how
God
reveals
Himself,
and
why
it
is
reasonable
for
us
to
believe
in
Him
on
the
basis
of
such
revelations.
This
way
does
not
demonstrate
die
existence
of
God
or
anything
about
God,
but
it
does
make
that
existence
credible;
diat
is,
it
accords