In this essay, I will be discussing Aristotelian metaphysics, a sort of preliminary piece before I analyze the five ways of Thomas Aquinas, seeing as a keen understanding of metaphysics will be extremely helpful in understanding the arguments and accessing them accurately. I will also analyze whether the argument stands up to modern science and could be perceived as convincing to the modern viewer.
Act or actuality: state of casual prowess and casual perfection. Aristotle’s and Aquinas’s God would be perceived as pure actuality in a general sense.
Potentially or potency: the state of being in which said being is able to receive causal prowess. A tree in my yard exists in potentiality, but not in actuality for example, since it has the ability to have casual prowess acted upon it.
Motion is change of any sort.
Substance: What really is. Certain qualities certainly could be beyond perception.
Accidents: Qualities that can be seen.
Form: Actuality, form would be in the case of a ball, roundness and bounciness. Examples of objects with great form would be a brick of silver, since over time it will not be destroyed in 100 years, compared to say an apple, which will change to not be perceivable (more on this later). Things can be pure form, and in a general sense, Angels would indeed be this, since they not material.
Matter: potentially, waiting to be form. Matter without form however is nothing.
The Four causes:
Formal cause: What the object is in the form of, in the case of the David, it would be the David.
Material cause: What said being is made of. In the case of the David, Marble.
Efficient cause: What brings it about. In the case of the David, Michelangelo and in fact his tools.
Final cause: Put simply, the reason why. In the case of the David it could be many, but to keep it simple we can just word it as to glorify David.
How things change:
Quality: When a being is changed in a fashion that does not change its necessary identity. an example would be making a triangle outlined red.
Quantity: The perceivable size of a being. An apple growing bigger would be an example.
Corruption/generation: changing the fundamental nature of what something is. Continuing with the apple example, chewing an apple down to where is ceases to be an apple.
Location: where an object is located. An apple located on a table instead of a tree would be an example.
Two more distinctions:
Existence: Act of being.
Essence: The whatness of a thing. Also called the quiddity of a thing. The whatness of a dog would be dogness to describe it briefly. The essence is separate from the existence in all things that are not God, which we will explore in the second way, and is a matter of Divine Simplicity.
This is just a basic outline of Aristotelian metaphysics. In the coming pieces, I will try to analyze whether the Five ways are still effective arguments in natural theology, or whether they have in fact been dismantled by modern physics. Thanks for reading.