6 Fifth Way
The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things
which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is
evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as
to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly,
do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move
towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge
and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some
intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their
end; and this being we call God.
The Fifth Way, called the “argument from design” is one of the best known of the five ways because it continues to be argued by many apologists in the current time. Some, however, think it has been proven false by evolution. It seems evident that many things exist in the world without intelligence and they seem to act with an end or a goal. For example, an acorn turns into a tree, a match lights a fire, a dog barks, and so on. Feser states, “In each of these cases and countless others we have regularities that points to ends or goals, usually totally unconscious, which are just built into nature and can be known through observation to be there whether or not it ever occurs to ask anyone how they got there.” Why and how does nature have a purpose (telos) built into it? Where ends or goals, usually totally unconscious, which are just built into nature and can be known through observation to be there whether or not it ever occurs to ask anyone how they got there.” Why and how does nature have a purpose (telos) built into it? Where understanding; no intention to an end can proceed from them. This intention must exist in an intellect on which things depend.” If this is true, why is it true? An obvious answer that someone is directing them to their chosen end. This being that directs them to their end, Aquinas argues, is God.
7 ConclusionAquinas thought that the existence of God could be proved from the things that existed in the world. He thought that the existence of God was the explanation that certain effects existed. In the Summa Theologica, he argued for five ways to prove the existence of God. The first three arguments are similar to the cosmological argument. The fourth way is the argument from different graduation of being. The fifth way is a type of design argument, but different from the design argument of William Paley. Some will be convinced by them; others will not. It must be kept in mind that these arguments are summary arguments that Aquinas argues more extensively in other of his works. Second, it must be understood, it is located in a work designed for beginners in theology.