“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Rational thought, rooted in the principles of logic and reason, has been a hallmark of philosophical inquiry since ancient times. Philosophers like Aristotle and Plato laid the groundwork for rational discourse, which later evolved through the works of medieval scholastics and modern thinkers. The application of rational thought to discussions about the existence of God has been a central topic in philosophy and theology for centuries.
A chess analogy to illustrate the complexities of rational thought and inference can lead even an atheist to most obvious of truths. In chess, players must strategically evaluate various moves, anticipate potential outcomes, and make decisions based on a systematic analysis of the board’s state. Similarly, proponents of arguments for the existence of a divine being often employ rational methods, considering evidence, logic, and philosophical principles to infer the existence of a higher power.
Interestingly there is a great dearth of evangelical Christians or believers that are also Grand Masters such as Wesly So the great Filipino and American Grandmaster interestingly who has recently won a must win game of Armageddon.
Irina Krush, the only American female to achieve the title of chess grandmaster, lives an unassuming life for someone who has won the U.S. women’s championship eight times. And it is a joy to know that it is possible that she too could be surprised by faith. This is one of the unexpected moments of my life,” she said.
Perhaps with the contemporary release of the Queens Gambit more people will take on the game of chess which will ultimately lead to the sharpening of their reason and one can hope that they will become more reasonable and recognize the reality that there is only one King.
One notable example of using rational arguments for the existence of God is Thomas Aquinas’ “Five Ways.” Aquinas, a medieval philosopher, formulated five distinct arguments that use rationality and metaphysics to support the existence of a creator. His works, such as “Summa Theologica,” provide insights into the integration of rational thought and theological inquiry.
Did you know that C. S. Lewis says that, as an atheist teacher at Oxford, he was drawn into a chess match with God, who steadily maneuvered him into “checkmate”? Lewis reveals this in his autobiography “Surprised by Joy,” and God’s chess game has a bizarre turning point for Lewis’s atheism in the chapter “Checkmate.”
Here’s the shock: God used another atheist teacher at Oxford to push him into the corner! Though not named, we know it was Harry Weldon, a philosophy tutor, who remarked at the end of a brief visit that the evidence for the historicity of the Gospels was really surprisingly good. Lewis was flabbergasted to hear his fellow atheist say this. Concerning the claim that Christ had arisen, Weldon said, “It almost looks as if it had really happened once.” From there, Lewis’s path to Christ became increasingly clear and compelling. Checkmate—nudged by a fellow skeptic! Harry Weldon | CS Lewis (apologetics.org)
The concept of the “King of Kings” draws parallels to Thomas Aquinas’ “Five Ways” as a means of inferring the best explanation for the existence of God.
Imagine the chessboard as a canvas upon which the grand tapestry of existence is woven. Each chess piece represents a unique facet of reality, and the King, the most crucial piece, embodies the ultimate authority and sovereignty. In this metaphorical setting, the “King of Kings” takes on a new dimension, representing the divine ruler of the cosmos.
- Argument from Motion (Change): Just as pieces on the chessboard move and change position, the world is in a constant state of motion and change. This dynamic nature of reality prompts us to consider an Unmoved Mover—the prime initiator of all movement and change. In the context of chess, the King of Kings serves as the unmoved mover, setting the course for the game’s progression.
- Argument from Efficient Cause (Causality): In chess, each move is a consequence of a prior action. Similarly, events in the world are results of causes that precede them. This chain of causation leads us to contemplate a First Cause—an uncaused cause that initiated the sequence of events. The King of Kings, as the first mover on the chessboard, symbolizes the ultimate efficient cause.
- Argument from Contingency (Necessity and Contingency): The chessboard’s arrangement and gameplay are contingent upon the rules of the game and the players’ choices. In the broader cosmos, we encounter beings that are contingent, dependent on other factors for their existence. This prompts us to contemplate a Necessary Being—an entity that exists by necessity and underpins all contingencies. The King of Kings, as the central figure, reflects this necessary foundation.
- Argument from Gradation (Hierarchy): In chess, the hierarchy of pieces dictates their relative power and influence. Similarly, there are varying degrees of qualities and existence in the world. This notion leads us to ponder a Supreme Being that embodies the highest degree of all perfections. The King of Kings, positioned at the top of the chess hierarchy, mirrors this concept of supreme gradation.
- Argument from Design (Teleology): Chess is a game of strategy and design, where each move contributes to an overarching plan. Likewise, the intricate order and purpose in the universe prompt us to consider a Grand Designer—a divine intelligence orchestrating the cosmic order. The King of Kings, as the orchestrator of the chessboard’s design, parallels this cosmic design argument.
The King of Kings emerges as a symbol of divine sovereignty, reflecting the attributes of the ultimate God. By drawing parallels to Aquinas’ Five Ways, we can infer that the intricacies, order, and purpose in both the chessboard and the universe collectively point towards a transcendent, intelligent, and necessary Being—God, the ultimate explanation for existence.
As for Aquinas’ faith in Jesus Christ, it’s important to note that his philosophical works, including the Five Ways, are separate from his theological beliefs. While Aquinas is renowned for his rational approach to theology, his faith in Jesus Christ and Christianity goes beyond philosophical arguments. Aquinas integrated his philosophical reasoning with his theological convictions, seeking to reconcile faith and reason.
In his broader theological writings, Aquinas expounded on the nature of God, the Trinity, the Incarnation of Christ, and the sacraments, among other topics. His faith in Jesus Christ is rooted in the teachings of the Catholic Church and the writings of Christian theologians. Aquinas saw faith and reason as complementary ways of understanding the truth, and he sought to bridge the gap between them through his writings.
Overall, Aquinas’ Five Ways and his faith in Jesus Christ are distinct aspects of his intellectual and spiritual pursuits, each contributing to his comprehensive worldview.