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Monday, January 11, 2010

0104: The Actus Essendi Way of Proving the Existence of God

Entry 0104: The Actus Essendi Way of Proving the Existence of God

Commentary on "Does God Exist?"

In the Helium article "Does God Exist?" I wrote:

The discovery of the notion of 'actus essendi' equipped Aquinas with the metaphysical principle he needed to formulate an original and incisive argument for the existence of God. The 'Actus Essendi Way' developed by Aquinas sets him apart from all other philosophers, including Aristotle. (1)

The article also reports the following line from the writings of Pope John Paul II (1920-2005.)

The transcendental value of the 'actus essendi' paves the most direct way to rise to the knowledge of subsisting Being and pure Act, namely to God.

(For the interested reader, in endnote [2] of this post, I provide the original source of the quotation.)

Confirmation of the above can be found in the statements by Stephen Pimentel who explicitly addresses other issues closely related to the 'Actus Essendi Way' in his article “Thomas’s Elusive Proof: A Reconstruction of the ‘Existential Argument’ for the Existence of God,” in Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, vol. 78, 2004, pp 94-106.

John Haldane adds important support too. Haldane considers the 'Actus Essendi Way' to be the “most original contribution to the search for theistic proofs.” (3)

Similar pronouncements have been expressed in Italian by Battista Mondin. (4)

For formulations of the 'Actus Essendi Way' in the originals, see, for example, (a) Saint Thomas Aquinas, "Summa Theologiae," I, 3, 4; (b) Aquinas, "Summa Theologiae," I, 44, 1; (c) Aquinas, "Summa Contra Gentiles," I, 22, 6; (d) Aquinas, "Compendium Theologiae," I, 68, 2-3; and (e) Aquinas, "In Evangelium Johannis," Prologue, 17.


(1) To access the full text of the article "Does God exist?" go to

(2) Pope John Paul II, "The Angelicum Address," no. 6; speech delivered at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome on 17 November 1979. The original, in Italian, was published in "Acta Apostolicae Sedis," 1979, vol. 71, pp. 1472-1483. English translations are available in "L'Osservatore Romano English Weekly Edition," 17 December 1979, pp. 6-8; and in "Angelicum," 1980, vol. 57, pp. 133-146.

(3) John Haldane, “Common Sense, Metaphysics, and the Existence of God,” in American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 77, no. 3 (2003): 387–388.

(4) Battista Mondin, “Originalita del Pensiero Filosofico di San Tommaso,” in Sapienza, vol. 47, no. 2 (1994): 129-146.

Note on Translation: The expression "actus essendi" is translated into English as "act of being," into Italian as "atto di essere," into French as "acte d'ĂȘtre," into Spanish as "acto de ser," and into German as "Akt des Seins" ("Seinsakt.")