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The “Catechism Collection”
The “Catechism Collection” will be a collection and synthesis of the best traditional catechisms available, which will clearly explain, in-depth, all the traditional subjects dealt with by catechisms—with the additional aspects of:
(1) Including more scriptural elements, both as proofs and as examples of the catechetical teaching.
(2) Relating the teaching to our daily life, both spiritually and practically.
(3) Looking at the moral consequences of the catechetical teaching—as regards what virtues should be practiced in applying the teaching, and what sins are committed against the teaching.
Challenging Times Require Challenging Catechetics
You cannot love what you do not know. You will not lay down your life for something you do not love GREATLY. Truth was made to be loved, but, before it can be loved, it must be known. St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the “Little Flower”, once said that the reason that Jesus is so little loved is because He is so little known. We all know who Jesus is, but we know so little about Him. Likewise, we all know what the Faith is, but we know so little about it.
Pope St. Pius X once said that the greatest enemy of the Church was not Protestantism, nor paganism, nor the Masons, or some other body or group. He said that the greatest enemy of the Catholic Church was IGNORANCE. For it is the ignorance of Catholics that allows all kinds of false teachings and pitiful morals to enter into the fold. We know things, but we know too little. We know things, but too vaguely. We are content with a mere superficial knowledge of the Faith. We argue emotionally and not logically, using “two-bit” phrases haphazardly with an air of pretended intellectualism. That is why Catholics have succumbed to apostasy today. They are too dumb to know better and they don’t really want to know better, for the world and its worldliness offers a better package deal!
Not a “Drive-Thru” Catechism
Consequently and obviously, this is not going to be a “McDonald’s Drive-Thru” Catechism or an “Express Catechism Check-Out Line.” It will be a challenge to gather together, edit and produce and it will be a challenge to read and assimilate—yet such a challenge must be met at a time when our Faith is being challenged like never before. We, according to reputable prophecies, are living at time of apostasy, or loss of Faith, which ominously point towards Our Lord’s words: “The Son of man, when He cometh, shall He find, think you, Faith on Earth?” (Luke 18:8).
Our Lady of Good Success, referring to our times, speaks of “the small number of souls, who hidden, will preserve the treasures of the Faith and practice virtue.” For the Faith will diminish as “the effects of secular education will increase … The Christian spirit will rapidly decay, extinguishing the precious light of Faith, until it reaches the point that there will be an almost total and general corruption of morals” … “Moreover, in these unhappy times, there will be unbridled luxury which, acting thus to snare the rest into sin, will conquer innumerable frivolous souls who will be lost.”
Our Lady of La Salette reinforces this, saying: “People will think of nothing but amusements” while the clergy, “the leaders of the people of God, have neglected prayer and penance, and the devil has bedimmed their intelligence. They have become wandering stars which the old devil will drag along with his tail to make them perish” because “by their wicked lives, by their irreverence and their impiety in the celebration of the Holy Mysteries, by their love of money, their love of honors and pleasures, the priests have become cesspools of impurity.”
Consequently, it will be easy for the devil to make the Faith crumble: “Lucifer, together with a large number of demons, will be unloosed from Hell; they will put an end to Faith little by little, even in those dedicated to God. They will blind them in such a way, that, unless they are blessed with a special grace, these people will take on the spirit of these angels of Hell. Several religious institutions will lose all Faith and will lose many souls … The true Faith to the Lord having been forgotten … the Church will witness a frightful crisis” (Our Lady of La Salette).
The Whittling-Away of the Faith
What is true in the natural and physical realm, is often also true for the supernatural and spiritual realm. In our natural life, we have to be always working upon certain things for mere survival alone. Each and every day we need water, food, sleep, exercise and protection from danger. If we neglect any or all of these things, nature will strike back in one way or another and we will suffer in some way. Even if we have all these things, but in an insufficient manner, then the same thing will happen—only more slowly. Eat poorly or eat junk food; drink too little water and too many sugary drinks or too much alcohol; regularly sleep too little; rarely exercise; be negligent about maintaining your home or car—and very soon things will start to go wrong and fall apart.
The same is true for our supernatural life. Our food is the Word of God—“Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Grace is water for our spiritual life—the water that is poured over us in our Baptism, signifies the grace that is poured into our souls. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Spiritual sleep or spiritual rest is where we withdraw ourselves from the world to restore spiritual energies through meditation and prayer. Protection from spiritual danger is the avoidance of the occasions of sin, which the world, the devil and our flesh bombards us with plentifully each day and which must be resisted by mortifications (meaning “to put to death” these assaults) and penance (which is paying for our past failings in this regard).
A Lack of Love is Fatal
Fr. Francis Spirago, author of The Catechism Explained, states that the teaching of the Faith should be “calculated to touch the heart and kindle the flame of charity towards God and one’s neighbor, and is not this the effect which every good hand-book of religion, every good sermon, every good catechetical instruction ought to produce? We already possess in abundance catechisms and religious manuals which appeal only to the intellect; books which do not aim at the warmth of expression and the fervent, persuasive eloquence which appeal to the heart, the force and vivifying power which affect the will through the influence of the Holy Spirit” (Preface, The Catechism Explained).
To satisfy the demands of disinterested Catholics, catechisms, over time, have become like fast-food chains, dispensing the word of God in a minimalized and truncated package. Only the bare essentials! Bite-sized chunks! Yet those bare essentials barely suffice when the Faith is under attack and cannot bear the ferocity of the attack due to the ignorance of the faithful. A pocket-knife will help you do the bare essentials, but it will not win a war for you. The celebrated “Penny Catechism” is fine, if it serves a memory jogger for the greater and deeper intricacies of the Faith that you have already learnt, but if you intend to win others over to the Faith or defend your Faith with the “Penny Catechism”, you will find that a penny does not go very far!
To Keep the Faith, We Must Love the Faith
Those who want to keep the Faith, must love the Faith. Yet love is little when your knowledge is little. Or, at best, it is only a sentimental, emotional, illogical love that cannot explain itself—which is what we must do with the Faith, as St. Peter commands: “Being ready, always, to satisfy everyone that asketh you for a reason of that hope which is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). We love our family and friends because we know them well. There are plenty of better people out there—but we don’t know them and so we don’t love them. A supporter or a fan of a sports team, usually knows a lot about the team. If we want to be supporters or fans of the Faith, we had better know a lot about our Faith—otherwise our love will gradually grow cold, weaken and then fail. This happens in so many natural settings—spouses, who don’t work hard at keeping their love alive, will grow apart. Students, who do not love their studies, will gradually see their grades worsen and will eventually fail. Teachers, who do not love what they teach, will fail to communicate a love of the subject to most students. Athletes, who do not love their field of discipline, will perform poorly. A craftsman, who does not love his craft, will produce poor work.
Knowledge and Love
All of this is perfectly reflected in the shocking and terrifying statement by God: “Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth!” (Apocalypse 3:16). This shows us what a lack of love fervor leads to—rejection by God. Therefore, we must not only KNOW our Faith, but work hard to ensure that we also LOVE our Faith. That is why we have been given those two powers of the soul—the intellect and the will. The intellect KNOWS things, while the will LOVES things. We sometimes call the intellect and will by the similar names of MIND and HEART. The mind KNOWS, the heart LOVES. Yet the danger for our days—which are days of apostasy according to many prophecies—is both a lack of Faith and lack of charity or love of the Faith. As Holy Scripture says: “The Son of man, when He cometh, shall He find, think you, Faith on Earth?” (Luke 18:8). “And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). Knowledge leads to love, and love preserves knowledge by keeping it focused on what is loved.
It’s a Fight, Folks!
The true preservation of the true Faith requires true effort. “The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away” (Matthew 11:12), which is why St. Paul writes: “Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain … I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air; but I chastise my body and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment!” (Mark 12:30).
But to love God wholeheartedly, we must wholeheartedly throw ourselves into knowing Him. How many people are like that? Most won’t do that! “God looked down from heaven on the children of men: to see if there were any that did understand, or did seek God. All have gone aside, they are become unprofitable together, there is none that doth good, no not one!” (Psalm 52:3-4). Most people want to “fast-track” most things that deal with God. They want a fast Mass, a fast Rosary, a short meditation, little or no spiritual reading—and little or no catechism. The fewer the pages in the catechism, the better! Try explain all that on the Day of Judgement—when you want to get into Heaven, but couldn’t be bothered with the things of Heaven while you were on Earth! You cannot fake-out God! What you sow is what you reap: “He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly!” (2 Corinthians 9:6).
Sowing and Reaping and Knowing
At the end of the day, “minimalists” will have a minimal chance of salvation. What is your interpretation of these words: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” (Luke 12:31) … “Love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength!” (Mark 12:30)? Does that call for minimal study about God, or maximum. Most people give at least ten times more attention to trivial, worldly things than they do to God. That’s trying to fake-out God. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7-8).
Short Catechisms Are For Little Children, Not Adults
A catechism is meant to be a compendium of the Faith—yet people want it to be so small that it can fit in the pocket! A compendium of the Faith means a summary of the essentials of the Faith. How is it that we have nerve to trivialize the Faith when St. John says of Jesus: “There are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written!” (John 21:25). It is only the cheap Catholic who wants to be a minimalist! Sports fans can pore over material about their teams for hours a day! Teenagers can spend hours a day on the social media! On our Day of Judgment this will be brought to our attention, with words similar to: “For the children of this world are wiser than the children of light!” (Luke 16:8). In other words, the children of the world have put in far more hours into their worldliness than the children of God have put into godliness.
A Challenge to Produce
To even think about this Catechism Collection or Catechetical Compendium is a challenge, for, as Fr. Clarke, the editor writing the Preface to Fr. Francis Spirago’s The Catechism Explained, correctly points that “Technical terms, in which almost all religious manuals abound, even those intended for children, are carefully eliminated from his pages, since, while useful and necessary for seminarians and theologians, they are out of place in a book intended for the laity. Popular manuals of religion ought to be couched in plain and simple language, like that used by Our Lord and the Apostles, easy of comprehension; for what we need is something that will touch the heart and influence the will, not cram the mind with knowledge unattractive to the reader. The state of society and the spirit of the age have also been, taken into consideration in the preparation of this book. The writer has endeavored in the first place to combat the self-seeking, pleasure-loving materialism of the day.” This sad state has worsened considerably since Fr. Spirago first compiled his 700+ page The Catechism Explained back in 1899 (republished in 1921, 1927, 1949 and 1993). Different facets of worldliness have come on the scene that simply did not exist back then—and these have to be duly covered.
Yet there are other worthy Catechisms that cannot be brushed aside—for they either contain elements that Fr. Spirago has not covered, or they explain certain things with either greater clarity or greater depth. The researching of all these Catechisms, comparing them, assessing them and blending them is not a “fast-track” project of the kind that is preferred today. Yet a Catechism has to relevant to the problems of its day, for, as the Preface of The Catechism Explained says that the “Catechism is, in fact, nothing more or less than an abstract of Our Lord’s teaching, and may be called a guide book for the Christian soul on the road to Heaven.” The lay of the land changes with each decade, as new side roads are added, that are meant to lead the Christian aside and astray. Therefore, Catechisms need to be “current” so to speak, dealing not only with teaching from the past, but also its application to the problems of the present time.
The challenge is that today's problems have become complicated, whereas the Catholic mind has become too simple, or "dumbed-down" for want of another expression. We are "dummies" as regards our knowledge of the Faith, yet very intelligent as regards things of the world. But a simple "dumb" answer cannot solve the complexities caused by today's sinfulness and worldliness.
A Challenge to Read
The above dilemma produces a problem akin to “growing pains” or perhaps “physiotherapy”, whereby the half-crippled mind has to be painfully forced through exercises that a normal mind would perform with ease—but since we have been “dumbed-down” in matters of the Faith, it is like having a person who has the body of a 40 year-old, but the mind of 10 year old. We are way behind in our religious development, but way advanced in our worldly development. Yet, as they say, “No pain, no gain!” So rather than produce just another simplistic, dumbed-down Catechism for the fast-track Catholics of the world, who don’t have time to think in any real depth, but only have time for a “two-bit” quickie answer on matters of the Faith, we will try to produce a thought provoking (thus pain inducing and time consuming) Catechism that goes into depth, rather than skims the surface.
Modern Mushy Minds
Our minds have atrophied and have been turned to mush by the worldliness of our times. Yet, the mental muscle is necessary if we are to keep our Faith in these times of apostasy. Remember that, merely 50 years ago, better minds than ours grasped the Faith far better than we do today—yet they ended up going down the fatal road of Modernism, Liberalism and Ecumenism. If such strong minds could fall by the wayside, then there but for the grace of God go we! Therefore, allied to the learning of the Faith, must be the praying of the soul—as Our Lord said: “And He spoke also a parable to them, that we ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). Hence the wisdom of the ancient adage: “Pietas cum doctrina, et doctrina cum pietate”—literally meaning “piety with doctrine, doctrine with piety.” We could paraphrase that to say: “Unite prayer with doctrinal learning, and doctrinal learning with prayer.” The Catechism should be able to furnish material for rich and fruitful meditation, while meditation on the truths of the Catechism should strengthen our Faith and a love of it.
Pope St. Pius X on Religious Knowledge
In his papal encyclical, Acerbo Nimis (1905), Pope St. Pius X writes: “It is a common complaint, unfortunately too well founded, that there are large numbers of Christians in our own time who are entirely ignorant of those truths necessary for salvation. And when we mention Christians, We refer not only to the masses or to those in the lower walks of life - for these find some excuse for their ignorance in the fact that the demands of their harsh employers hardly leave them time to take care of themselves or of their dear ones - but We refer to those especially who do not lack culture or talents and, indeed, are possessed of abundant knowledge regarding things of the world but live rashly and imprudently with regard to religion. It is hard to find words to describe how profound is the darkness in which they are engulfed and, what is most deplorable of all, how tranquilly they repose there. They rarely give thought to God, the Supreme Author and Ruler of all things, or to the teachings of the faith of Christ. They know nothing of the Incarnation of the Word of God, nothing of the perfect restoration of the human race which He accomplished. Grace, the greatest of the helps for attaining eternal things, the Holy Sacrifice and the Sacraments by which we obtain grace, are entirely unknown to them. They have no conception of the malice and baseness of sin; hence they show no anxiety to avoid sin or to renounce it.
“And so they arrive at life’s end in such a condition that, lest all hope of salvation be lost, the priest is obliged to give in the last few moments of life a summary teaching of religion, a time which should be devoted to stimulating the soul to greater love for God. And even this as too often happens only when the dying man is not so sinfully ignorant as to look upon the ministration of the priest as useless, and then calmly faces the fearful passage to eternity without making his peace with God. And so Our Predecessor, Benedict XIV, had just cause to write: ‘We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect.’ How many and how grave are the consequences of ignorance in matters of religion! And on the other hand, how necessary and how beneficial is religious instruction! It is indeed vain to expect a fulfillment of the duties of a Christian by one who does not even know them.
“For this reason the Council of Trent, treating of the duties of pastors of souls, decreed that their first and most important work is the instruction of the faithful. It therefore prescribes that they shall teach the truths of religion on Sundays and on the more solemn feast days; moreover during the holy seasons of Advent and Lent they are to give such instruction every day or at least three times a week. This, however, was not considered enough!
“Perhaps there are some who, wishing to lessen their labors, would believe that the homily on the Gospel can take the place of catechetical instruction. But for one who reflects a moment, such is obviously impossible. The sermon on the holy Gospel is addressed to those who should have already received knowledge of the elements of faith. It is, so to speak, bread broken for adults. Catechetical instruction, on the other hand, is that milk which the Apostle Peter wished the faithful to desire in all simplicity like newborn babes. The task of the catechist is to take up one or other of the truths of Faith, or of Christian morality, and then explain it in all its parts; and since amendment of life is the chief aim of his instruction, the catechist must needs make a comparison between what God commands us to do and what is our actual conduct. After this, he will use examples appropriately taken from the Holy Scriptures, Church history, and the lives of the saints ― thus moving his hearers and clearly pointing out to them how they are to regulate their own conduct. He should, in conclusion, earnestly exhort all present to dread and avoid vice and to practice virtue.
“We are indeed aware that the work of teaching the Catechism is unpopular with many, because, as a rule, it is deemed of little account and for the reason that it does not lend itself easily to the winning of public praise. But this in Our opinion is a judgment based on vanity and devoid of truth. We do not disapprove of those pulpit orators who, out of genuine zeal for the glory of God, devote themselves to defense of the Faith and to its spread, or who eulogize the saints of God. But their labor presupposes labor of another kind―that of the catechist. And so, if this be lacking, then the foundation is wanting; and they labor in vain who build the house.
“Too often it happens that ornate sermons which receive the applause of crowded congregations serve but to tickle the ears and fail utterly to touch the hearts of the hearers. Catechetical instruction, on the other hand, plain and simple though it be, is the word of which God Himself speaks, through the lips of the prophet Isaias: ‘And as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return no more thither, but soak the earth and water it, and make it to spring and give seed to the sower and bread to the eater: so shall my word be, which shall go forth from my mouth. It shall not return to me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it’ (Isaias 55:10-11). We believe the same may be said of those priests who work hard to produce books which explain the truths of religion. They are surely to be commended for their zeal, but how many are there who read these works and take from them a fruit commensurate with the labor and intention of the writers? The teaching of the Catechism, on the other hand, when rightly done, never fails to profit those who listen to it.
“On every Sunday and holy day, with no exception, throughout the year, all parish priests and in general all those having the care of souls, shall instruct the boys and girls, for the space of an hour from the text of the Catechism on those things they must believe and do in order to attain salvation. Since it is a fact that in these days adults need instruction no less than the young, all pastors and those having the care of souls shall explain the Catechism to the people in a plain and simple style adapted to the intelligence of their hearers. This shall be carried out on all holy days of obligation, at such time as is most convenient for the people, but not during the same hour when the children are instructed, and this instruction must be in addition to the usual homily on the Gospel which is delivered at the parochial Mass on Sundays and holy days. The catechetical instruction shall be based on the Catechism of the Council of Trent; and the matter is to be divided in such a way that in the space of four or five years, treatment will be given to the Apostles’ Creed, the Sacraments, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and the Precepts of the Church.
“No matter what natural facility a person may have in ideas and language, let him always remember that he will never be able to teach Christian doctrine to children or to adults without first giving himself to very careful study and preparation. They are mistaken who think that because of inexperience and lack of training of the people the work of catechizing can be performed in a slipshod fashion. On the contrary, the less educated the hearers, the more zeal and diligence must be used to adapt the sublime truths to their untrained minds; these truths, indeed, far surpass the natural understanding of the people, yet must be known by all - the uneducated and the cultured ― in order that they may arrive at eternal happiness.
“We again insist on the need to reach the ever-increasing numbers of those who know nothing at all of religion, or who possess at most only such knowledge of God and Christian truths as befits idolaters. How many there are, alas, not only among the young, but among adults and those advanced in years, who know nothing of the chief mysteries of Faith.
"In consequence of this ignorance, they do not consider it a crime to excite and nourish hatred against their neighbor, to enter into most unjust contracts, to do business in dishonest fashion, to hold the funds of others at an exorbitant interest rate, and to commit other iniquities no less reprehensible. They are, moreover, ignorant of the law of Christ, which not only condemns immoral actions, but also forbids deliberate immoral thoughts and desires. Even when for some reason or other they avoid sensual pleasures, they nevertheless entertain evil thoughts without the least scruple, thereby multiplying their sins above the number of the hairs of the head.
"These persons are found, we deem it necessary to repeat, not merely among the poorer classes of the people or in sparsely settled districts, but also among those in the higher walks of life, even, indeed, among those puffed up with learning … Reflect on the great loss of souls due solely to ignorance of divine things” (Pope St. Pius X, Acerbo Nimis).
WHAT A PROBLEM!
How can you know if God exists or not? That has been a perpetual problem that has puzzled even the greatest minds throughout history. If He does really exist, then who or what is God? Is God just a piece of wishful-thinking, who has been conjured up by folk when they can find no explanation for many things in the world and life? Is the notion or idea of God some kind of “comfort food” for the mind, or, as Karl Marx is famous—or infamous—for writing that “religion is the opium of the people”—which is usually translated as “religion is the opiate of the masses.”
If you are going to have recourse to the Bible, then you are weakening your position, because you are presuming that the person to whom are trying to prove the existence of God, accepts the Bible on God's authority!!! You must fist prove that God exists, and then prove that God has communicated with mankind, and then prove that the Bible was one of those means of communication. To use the Bible as a tool for proving the existence of God, is like putting the cart in front of the horse.
THE FIVE CLASSIC PHILOSOPHICAL PROOFS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
The existence of God can be proved by reason without the aid of revelation. In the arguments which are developed here, no mention is made of the Bible, or the opinion of any religious leader, or the tenets of any church, or sect. If these never existed one could still prove that God exists. Man has an intellect or mind, and with this intellect alone he can prove that there is a God.
Man is not born with a clear and precise knowledge of God. God's existence is not self‑evident to us as certain principles, such as “The whole is greater than any of its parts,” are self-evident. We cannot grasp the knowledge of God's existence in such immediate fashion. If we know that He exists, then a chain of reasoning must precede this conclusion. His existence must be proved and demonstrated. It cannot be presumed.
There are two reasons  why we say that God's existence is not self‑evident to us.
1. A truth which is self‑evident cannot be denied by anyone. But the existence of God is denied by atheists. Therefore it is not self‑evident.
2. St. Thomas shows that when a statement is self‑evident, the predicate must necessarily be included in the subject. For example, the statement, “The whole is greater than any of its parts,” is self‑evident because in knowing the meaning of the subject “whole,” we immediately see that it includes the predicate “part.” To be self‑evident the meaning of the terms of these propositions must be known to all. But this cannot be said of our knowledge of God, for all men do not always have a clear notion of the meaning of the term “God.” For many, it is confused; for some, it is meaningless. Therefore, the existence of God is not self‑evident to us. To possess this knowledge, demonstration is necessary.
There are five basic proofs for the existence of God.  It is true that they have certain characteristics in common. Each proof proceeds from an effect to a cause, from the 11 received” to the "unreceived,” but this does not mean that they are five ways of stating a single proof or that one derives added cogency from another. Each is complete in itself.
In each proof for the existence of God, the point of departure is different and therefore the Being whose existence each proof establishes will be seen under a different aspect. This makes for the distinctive character of each of the five “Ways.” Notice how the starting points are different. In the ‑world about us we see things as they are moved, as they are caused, as they do not have to exist, as they exhibit limited perfection and as they serve a purpose. With these as starting points we can forge chains of reasoning, the conclusions of which are that there exists a Being Who is the Prime Mover, the First Efficient Cause, the Necessarily Existent, The Source of All Perfection and the Supreme Intelligence. This Being we call God.
Proof from Motion
The first way to prove the existence of God is called the proof from motion. From the fact that there are things in the world which move, it can be shown that there must be a First Mover Who is God. The points of this argument are briefly developed in the following paragraphs.
No one reasonably disputes the fact that there are things which move. One sees a bird in flight, a meteorite hurtling through space, an ocean liner plying its way across the sea. There are hundreds of examples of things moving. Instances of objects moving from place to place are all around us. But in this proof for the existence of God, motion means more than movement from place to place.
Carefully notice its meaning here. A thing is said to be in motion when it is gaining or acquiring something which it did not have. Therefore, when a person is acquiring knowledge, he is moving; when he is advancing in age, he is moving; when a plant is growing, it is moving. To further illustrate this, when an acorn is growing into an oak tree, it does not move to another place, but its growth in height and size is an example of a thing in motion. In all the instances listed, the thing was in the process of acquiring a perfection which it did not have and so it was moving.
A thing cannot be in motion and at the same time be at rest. This is impossible. When it begins to move, it is no longer at rest; when it comes to rest, it is no longer in motion. Rest is the absence of motion. But if an object which is now at rest is to acquire motion, from where is it to acquire it? It certainly cannot give this motion to itself, for it does not yet possess it. It can receive motion only from some other object which already has it.
"A" is an object at rest. If "A" is to move, it must receive motion from "B", which has it to give to "A". "A" cannot set itself in motion because being at rest, it is devoid of motion. If "B", which now gives motion to "A", was also at rest at one time, then it received motion from "C"; whereas "C" received it from "D", and so forth, to the beginning of the series.
Where did motion originally take its rise? It was certainly not derived from any single mover in the series or from all the movers of the series taken together. The reason for this is that the movers taken individually or as a group still have but “received” motion. Extending the series endlessly into the past does not make it responsible for the motion which is transmitted. “It is necessary to arrive at a first mover which is set in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.” 
God then, is a Being outside the series of movers. He did not receive the power to move from anyone. “He is the first mover, who acts by Himself, who is his own action and consequently his own being, for operation follows being, and the mode of operation the mode of being. The prime mover ... must be pure Act ... and hence, He must be the self‑subsisting Being.” 
Proof from Causality
The starting point of the second proof for the existence of God is things in the world which are evidently products of an efficient cause. The statue in the park, the automobile on the street, the house on the hill, the book on the shelf did not just happen. They were made.
Not only must we say that this statue was made but we must also say that it did not make itself. A thing must exist before it can act. It must itself be before it can produce. It is absurd to hold that an effect such as a statue or a house existed before its cause or that an effect is its own cause.
When we are presented with an effect, we must look for its cause in a being distinct from that effect. In point of time this cause is the last one which operated. If this last cause was itself the effect of a previous cause, we shall call that previously existing cause the intermediary cause. In a cause and effect series there might be a few or there might be many intermediary causes. But there cannot be so many that the series goes back endlessly. The impossibility of this lies in the fact that you cannot have the end of a series without also having a beginning. If one holds that this series of causes and effects goes back endlessly, then he is forced to hold that it never started. And it is as foolish to hold this as it is to hold that there can be a stick with only one end.
Since reason demands that the series of subordinated causes had a beginning, it also demands that this series must have been started by a Being Who owes His power to bring about such an effect to no one. He always possessed this power. He is the First Efficient Cause. And this is but another name for God.
Proof from Contingency (Necessity)
The fact of experience which is the beginning of the third proof for the existence of God is the observation that there are in the world things which exist but which do not have to exist. They are generated and they will corrupt. They are contingent on other things for their existence. Plants and animals clearly belong to this class of things.
There was a time when they did not exist. They exist now; there will come a time when they will pass out of existence.
If the existence of a thing is not necessaryCand it is not if it is contingentCthen there was a time when it did not exist. Since it clearly cannot attribute its present existence to itself, it must look to a being outside itself as the source of its own existence. The fact that there are things in the world which are dependent upon others points to the existence of a Being, Who is not dependent on any other for existence. This Being is God.
If one denies the existence of a necessary being, it is impossible for him to account for the presence of contingent beings in the world. The two are distinct and cannot be confused. Several reasons make it impossible to deny this distinction.
1. A great number of dependent beings can never add up to an independent being for the whole cannot be greater than the sum of its parts and many negatives can never add up to a positive.
2. This necessary being is not the material substance of the world which is the substratum of all material contingent things such as plants and animals. The reason for this is that the material world is of a composite character (composed of parts) and is itself dependent on a higher compounding agent for its composition.
3. A necessary being is a perfect being. It is impossible for a perfect being to undergo change. The myriads of changes observable in the world attest to its lack of absolute perfection.
The conclusion to this third proof is this. If one denies the existence of a Necessary Being he must deny the existence of all contingent beings, for they depend on the former. Experience easily proves this to be an absurdity. If, on the other hand, he admits the existence of contingent beings, he must admit the existence of a necessarily existent Being upon whom all depend and who is called God.
We do well, here, to notice the difference between the proofs for the existence of God from causality and from contingency. They are not the same. In the proof from causality we look at things as they are products of an efficient cause and eventually conclude to the existence of a First Efficient Cause. In the proof from contingency we look at things under the aspect of objects which do not have to exist and eventually conclude to the existence of a Being Who must necessarily exist. The two proofs are quite different from each other.
Proof from Degrees of Perfection
In the world about us we see things that possess perfection. We see things that are good, true, beautiful, living and the like. These perfections are in themselves limitless or inexhaustible but the things that possess them have them in varying degrees and in a limited fashion. For example, an animal has a higher degree of life than does a plant; a human has a higher degree of life than does an animal. The same could be said of the other perfections.
When we look at the life that this particular thing, e.g. tree, possesses it is quite evident that it does not possess the perfection of life in its entirety for there are many other living things in existence. In fact, the tree possesses life in an extremely limited degree. Now if we combined all the living things in the world, this aggregate would still not exhaust this perfection. No matter how great or how many living things of limited perfection could be combined they still would not constitute all possible life for the term “life” of itself does not admit of any limitation.
Since this tree has a limited degree of the perfection of life, it clearly cannot be the source of all this perfection nor can it even be the source of its own perfection. In fact it makes no difference how great a limited thing is, it cannot possess an exhaustless perfection for the finite cannot contain the infinite. It follows then that a limited perfection is a received perfection. And if there are things in existence possessing limited or received perfections, as indeed there are, there must exist a Being Who possesses perfection in an inexhaustible and infinite degree. This Being we call God.
Proof from Intelligent Design
The starting point for the fifth proof for the existence of God is the observation that there are about us things which serve a purpose. The cogency of this argument is not weakened because of the fact that the purposefulness of many objects cannot readily be named. If there were but one instance of usefulness in the whole universe, this proof would be still valid.
There are many things in the world which were made for a definite reason. Man has eyes to see and ears to hear; birds have wings to fly; fishes have gills to breathe; an eagle has talons to grasp. Many other instances of purposefulness could be given. In each object the parts were fitted together in such a manner that a definite goal might be attained. A different arrangement of the same parts would not bring about the same result. The parts of the eye are so arranged that sight may be had; wings are so made up that they may sustain the bird in flight; a root is designed to play an integral part in the life of the plant.
The designing of a useful thing involves several factors. It takes intelligence to arrange the parts of an object so that it will serve a purpose. The designer must first conceive his goal. Then he must know how the parts are to be arranged so that this goal will be reached. These two steps must be thought out abstractly before the work of fitting the parts together can begin. But abstract thought requires an immaterial thinking power called intelligence. Material things, because they are material, are not capable of abstract thought.
An object such as an eye or an ear is purposeful, yet is wholly material. It does not have the power to think or plan. It, therefore, could not have designed itself. An outside intelligence must have been in operation in designing the eye. The eye which exhibits purposefulness we shall call A. Being material, it clearly did not design itself.
The designing intelligence we shall call B. If B is a limited intelligence, then it was given intelligence by C. The existence of a series of beings, in which each intelligence received its intelligence from another intelligent being, does not account for the source of all intelligence. One must ultimately admit the existence of a being whose intelligence was not acquired from another. This being is called the “Unacquired Intelligence.” This is but another name for God. Therefore, God exists.
Having proved the existence of God we now move on to investigate His nature, using our intellects unaided by revelation as our only instrument.
 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part 1, Question 2, Article 1
 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part 1, Question 2, Article 3
 Fr. Garrigou‑Lagrange, The One God, p. 141.
 Fr. Garrigou‑Lagrange, The One God, p. 141.
 Even the laws of nature and the arithmetic tables are contingent; the first would not exist if there was nothing in nature for them to govern; the second on things to be numbered.
THE EXISTENCE OF A SUPREME BEING
1. We can deduce, from the created world around us, that there exists a Supreme Being.
We cannot see the souls of men, but we can infer their existence by a process of reasoning; so it is with the existence of God.
The heavens and the earth could not have come into existence of themselves; nor could the heavenly bodies move through space by their own power.
We infer, whenever we see footprints in the snow, that someone has passed by that way; so too can we infer from the things around us that there exists a Supreme Being. The planets could no more have come into existence of themselves than a town could be built of itself.
The astronomer Kirchner had a friend who doubted the existence of God. He had a globe made and placed in his study. His friend came to see him one day and asked where the globe came from. Kirchner answered that it made itself. When his friend laughed at such an answer, Kirchner replied: “It would be much easier for a little globe like that to make itself than the great one on which we live.”
A light cannot kindle itself, and after it is kindled it will go out in a few hours. But the heavens are lighted by the glorious light of the sun, which has burned for many thousands of years without losing any of its brightness. Look at the millions of the stars. Who made them all, and caused them to illumine the night? The Psalmist truly says: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows forth the work of His hands” (Psalm 18:2).
The great astronomer Newton used always to uncover and bow his head when the name of God was mentioned. We may also infer the existence of God from the creatures on the earth. Thus Job says: “Ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee; and the birds of the air, and they shall tell thee. Speak to the earth and it shall answer thee; and the fishes of the sea shall tell. Who is ignorant that the hand of the Lord hath made all these things?” (Job 12:7-9.) If any one were to find a beautiful marble statue on a desert island, he would say without any hesitation that men had been there. If one were to say that the wind and rain had torn it from the mountain side, and given it its form, we should count him as a fool. A greater fool is he who asserts that this wondrous world had no Creator. The wonderful arrangement and order of the world also leads us to infer that it has been framed by an Architect of surpassing skill.
If a ship sails on its way and arrives safely at its destination, we conclude that it had a clever pilot. To say that the stars of the heaven of themselves direct their course, is as foolish as it would be to say that a ship had started from New York, sailed round the world, and returned safely without any one to guide it.
Cicero said long ago, “When we contemplate the heavens, we arrive at the conviction that they are all guided by a Being of surpassing skill.”
In all that is upon the earth we see traces of design and of a most wise Designer in the construction of the bodies of animals, and of the bodies of men, in the -succession of the seasons, in trees and plants. The adaptation of means to ends in the human eye, the ear, and the various parts of the body, all imply an adapting intelligence, just as the adaptation of a watch to indicate the time, or the building of a house to shelter us, implies an intelligent constructor.
As it would be impossible that the letters of the alphabet should be grouped together by mere chance in the order of the “Iliad”, or any other book for that matter, so it is impossible that the arrangements of the universe could have come about by chance, and without the knowledge and direction of a mighty intelligence. All the nations of the earth have an inner conviction of the existence of a Supreme Being.
Among all nations, even the most degraded, we find invariably the worship of some kind of deity. We find towns without walls, without a ruler, without laws, without coin, but never without some sort of temple, without prayer, without sacrifice. Now, universal consent is a mark of truth. The belief in God is an inner conviction, which may be said to be inborn, inasmuch as everyone can arrive at it with the greatest ease. “Only the fool says in his heart: there is no God” (Psalm 13:1).
Those who say that there is no God in spite of the glories of creation which they see around them, are those of whom Our Lord says that “seeing they perceive not, and -hearing they do not understand” (Mark 4:12). Such men are called atheists or infidels. They are invariably men who either are eaten up with pride or live vicious lives, or both. “He who denies the existence of God,” says St. Augustine, “has some reason for wishing that God did not exist.”
Atheists, for the most part, use language which is at variance with their real convictions. Many of them are the first to cry to God for help when they are in some imminent danger. Their bold talk means very little. They are like boys who whistle in the dark to show that they are not afraid. God will take atheists at their word one day and will show Himself no loving God for them. So He took at their word those of the Israelites who doubted His power to give them victory over their enemies and possession of the Promised Land. They died before they entered it (Numbers 14:28-32).
2. The Existence of God is also proved from Revelation.
“God has, at different times and in divers manners, spoken to men” (Hebrews 1:1), and has given them a knowledge of Himself. To Moses He appeared in the burning bush, and called Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; to distinguish Himself from the false gods, He gives to Himself the name of “the self-existent One,” or “I am Who am” (Exodus 3:14). So in giving the law on Sinai He says, “I am the Lord your God. Thou shalt have none other gods beside Me!” (Deuteronomy 5:6-7). God also worked miracles at various times in proof of His existence, e.g., by sending down fire from Heaven to consume the sacrifice of Elias on Carmel (3 Kings 18:24 seq.), by saving Daniel from the lions at Babylon, and the three young men from the fiery furnace.