The author of this quotation is Thomas Aquinas and this is from his answer to objections one and two of the third article from The Existence of God from Summa Theologica. This pertains to the desire to prove that God exists by using only rational argument with no religious assumptions or ideas included. The passage offers several new ideas about how it is that God must exist. While Anselm had previously tried to logically prove that God exists, his argument was both different from Aquinas’ and less thorough.
Anselm’s argument seemed to center on the idea that, with God, if we can imagine such a being then that being must exist. The path he takes to proving that this must be the case and yet that it can only be the case for God is a very tangled one. Aquinas makes a more convincing argument with his five proofs not only because they make more sense, but also because he offers up the five of them in comparison to Anselm’s one. If one of Aquinas’ arguments does not convince someone of the necessity of the existence of God, then there are four more proofs for convincing that person.
One future result of Aquinas’ five proofs would certainly be the strengthening of the church due to the fact that they would have more solid ground upon which to stand. Since Christianity would have more than unreliable faith on which to base its reason for existence, it is possible that more people would take it seriously. This wouldn’t work only for Christianity, either, but all religions that involve an absolute power that can be equated with the idea of God. Thus, while Aquinas’ arguments for proving God may have been coming from a Christian perspective, they help out other religions as well.
It is interesting that Aquinas’ proofs do nothing to upset Celsus’ ideas because Celsus believes in God as well. While Celsus sees that there are many deities, Aquinas’s arguments do not disprove the concept of polytheism. His arguments go back to a need for a special figure that is outside of time and physics (in that it is able to move a thing without having been moved itself) and focus around a single special figure, but they could just as easily be written so that many special figures are in existence. While it may be much more difficult to prove that there are multiple gods as opposed to just the one with which Aquinas deals, Aquinas’ proofs alone do not negate the possibility of having more than one god. This is interesting because it is almost certain that Celsus would have disagreed with Aquinas’ other opinions, considering his own view of Christianity, but Celsus would have to admit that the arguments of Aquinas do not actually go against Celsus’ own beliefs.
So it is that Aquinas’ five proofs do not provide a view contrary to Celsus’ established ideas. Aquinas’ arguments are contrary with other previous ideas, however, just as Anselm’s were, because their works claim that God can be proved with rational argument alone. Before either Anselm or Aquinas, those with faith would ask nonbelievers to believe in God based upon faith alone. The reliability of faith seems almost like the proof of God in that faith is reliable enough for those that have it, just as God’s existence is obvious enough to those that believe in It, but that for nonbelievers, neither faith nor God can stand alone. Aquinas’ proofs at least go a little further in making that less true; that is, in letting the idea of God stand on its own.