Friday, March 28, 2014

Life has Meaning, therefore God Exists (a Thomistic Approach)

This week (HERE, HERE, and HERE) we've been looking at a very simple argument for the existence of God:
If Atheism is true, then the universe lacks meaning.
But the universe has meaning.
Therefore, Atheism is false
Today I want to take a cue from St. Thomas Aquinas and show why, if we find meaning in the universe (which we do) there must be one, ultimate source of meaning.

If everything had to receive meaning from without (from something else), we'd have to posit an endless series of meaning-givers, but such a series would never come to a first meaning-giver, which would mean that nothing could ever "get" meaning. Therefore, if everything had to receive meaning from something else, there would be no meaning in the universe. Yet, there is meaning in the universe. Therefore, there must exist a "first meaning-giver" that contains its own meaningfulness in itself.

A less philosophical example might help clarify why this is. Suppose I lock the door of my CCD classroom and demand that the students present a Catechism to me. But no one in the room has a Catechism. Each student turns to the one behind him and asks for the missing book. Even if I have an infinite number of students, I'll never get the copy of the Catechism because no one has it to give to the student in front of him and ultimately to me. If I get handed the book, then the series must have a beginning, it has to have a student who doesn't have to borrow the Catechism from another student to set the chain in motion and for me to actually get the book. Thus, if I am handed the book, I can know with certainty that someone in the classroom had to have the book (someone didn't need to get it from another student).

In much the same way, if our universe has meaning we know with certainty that there must exist something that has meaning without receiving it. As we saw in an earlier post, this something must have both intellect and will (and thus be a someone). This someone is the ultimate meaning of everything that exists, which is what men mean when they say God. Therefore, if there is any meaning in anything, God exists.


  1. Never has atheism said anything about there is no meaning to the universe. That is an assumption. From my recent learning atheists are good people.

    1. 1) I never said all atheists are bad people, that would be ridiculous and patently false.

      2) For the universe to have meaning, it must be an intentional act. Without God the universe lacks that intentional act, therefore without God the universe is without meaning. I'm not saying "all atheists say there is no meaning to the universe." I'm saying, "atheism, whether atheists admit it or not, means there is no meaning in the universe."

    2. Why must it be an intentional act? One makes their own meaning in their lives.

    3. Good question. I answered that in an earlier post