Today we finished talking about Thomas Aquinas' five ways to show the existence of God. As came up in class, I think there are lots of good ways to interpret the five ways. At any rate, Aquinas is proving the existence of God from the phenomena of:
After that we spoke about Agustine's suggestion that all evil is a privation. This means that every apparent evil is the lack of some good. For example, a sickness is the lack of some health. A bad decision shows a lack of good sense, a deficient purpose, or something of this sort. The beauty of this account is that it shows that evil isn't a thing it itself. This means that God need not create evil, nor is evil an actual thing for which we can assign responsibility to God.
Then, we considered Aquinas' (and Boethius) suggestion that Being and Goodness are the same. This is one of the central beliefs of medieval philosophy. It's not just that God is the fullest being and the fullest moral perfection (although that is true). It is that in all of creation, for something to be is for it to be good. How can that be? Well, it's connected to the suggestion that evil is nothing except the lack of some good.
Last of all we briefly say Aquinas' famous doctrine of analogy. Aquinas is walking a line between two bad options in theology. We might think that the words we apply to God function in the same way as they do when we describe ourselves. But this seems to lead to the conclusion that God's goodness is like mine, even if there is much more of it. Alternatively, we might say that there is no comparing words when we apply them to God and to ourselves. But this renders theology incomprehensible. Aquinas suggests a middle way: maybe words apply to God and to human beings analogically. Just as God's fatherhood is the origin of human fatherhood, maybe God's goodness, which is the origin of human goodness, is analogical to it.