The First Commandment

Rembrandt-Main
“Moses With the Ten Commandments”, Rembrandt

“I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.”

Man is a rational creature, a compound of body and of soul, of matter and of spirit and comprises the Trinitarian orders: of the animal order (the body), the moral order (the mind), and the spiritual order (the soul). He was created in Adam in the garden of Eden:

“then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” – Genesis 2:7

The soul is the principle of man’s resemblance to God as it possesses the faculties of intellect and will, and thus, constitutes of him a person, and a human person when united to his body. God too, is a Person, or rather, a Trinity of Persons as He understands with perfection and in simplicity, by An act of His Intellect, His own Essence in the Word, and Loves by His Will, in the Holy Spirit.

Man has a natural end, as he exists on the Earth to live a life of virtue within society in accordance with reason. Man also has a supernatural end, which is the beatitude of the contemplation of the Divine Essence in Heaven.

According to the Baltimore Catechism published on April 6th, 1885, man was created for God as his final end:

6. Q. Why did God make you?
A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven. (Part 1, Lesson First: On the End of Man)

For this reason, man is primarily a religious person, or when considered as a fallen creature, a religious animal. The virtue of religion forms human culture and is the central act of human life. It is religion that grants the human person with his central attitude towards existence and towards the Divine; it provides him with the central truths of nature and of history; and it governs his spiritual life, his rational comprehension, and his moral foundation.

The human intellect naturally desires to know the truth, and religion, is the central truth of man’s existence. To follow the First Commandment, is to seek religious truth, in particular, it is to seek the true religion and to reject religious indifferentism. In post-modern times, to make a claim to the possession to the fullness of truth in the domain of religion, is abhorrent to sensibilities. Yet, God seeks to reveal Himself to the creature, and the history of Salvation, is God’s paternal search for His beloved creature: man.

“The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.19For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them.20Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse;21for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened.” – Romans 1:18-21

The natural world is “a book” that reveals the existence of God, as well as His attributes, which are evident to reason and the natural religious sense in man. As such, this is a refutation of atheism and of its inability to see the purposeful activity of Creation, visible in its system of forces, of matter, and of laws, as a manifestation of Divine Reason. According to the truths of the Christian faith, the universe was created.

God’s existence is demonstrable, as reason can establish beyond the life of the senses, His existence.

I answer that, The existence of God can be proved in five ways.

The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.

The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existing. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence–which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.

The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But “more” and “less” are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.

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.” – “Summa Theologica”, I, 2, St. Thomas Aquinas

Aided with reason, it is possible to refute pantheism, animism, and polytheism for only the First Cause and the Prime Mover possesses all the perfections of Being: eternity, infinity, unity, and simplicity. As St. Paul states, the knowledge of the existence of the true God, ought to urge man towards worship and adoration, otherwise the human reason is “vain in [its] reasoning” and the human mind, “[is] darkened”.

Christianity, is the true religion, and Catholicism, possesses the fullness of its Truth; in fact, it is identical with the Church of Christ. The truth of the Christian religion is demonstrated by the evidence of history.

 

 

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