Showing posts with label five ways. Show all posts
Showing posts with label five ways. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

I'm taking a break from class this semester and I thought I'd share a couple essays I wrote for my previous classes. This first one is a research paper I submitted for my History of Christianity class a while back.

Christian Apologetics in the Early Church

Introduction
The apologetic arguments of the early and medieval church fathers are still useful today. This short paper will discuss some of the history of the early and medieval church fathers as apologists and some of their major arguments and how modern apologists can use those arguments still today. This paper will go through Justin Martyr, Augustine, Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas; concentrating on these writings: Martyr’s First and Second Apology, Augustine’s Confessions, Anselm’s Monologium, and Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. In these works, some arguments are no longer used, some are still in use, and some should be revived. This paper will attempt to show that there are various arguments and styles that historical apologists used that have fallen out of style but should be revived. Some of these are specific arguments and some are styles. Modern apologists are removed from the Church Fathers not only in time but in desires, thoughts, attitudes, and arguments. These trends are some things that should be changed in modern apologetics.

Justin Martyr
As is appropriate this paper will open with the oldest of the Church Fathers that is well known for his apologetics, Justin Martyr (c. 100-165).1 Justin studied Greek philosophy including stoicism, Aristotelian philosophy, Pythagorean philosophy, and Platonism before becoming a Christian.2 However, as Lane says, “[Justin] was not just a Christian seeking to relate Christianity to Greek philosophy. He was a Greek who had come to see Christianity as the fulfillment of all that was best in philosophy, especially in Platonism.”3 This is reminiscent of a great quote from a modern Christian philosopher, William Hasker, as he writes in his short book on Metaphysics, “[I am] a Christian who loves philosophy and would like to consider himself a philosopher; [I am] a philosopher who loves Jesus Christ and wants to be known as a disciple. A Christian first, a philosopher second—but neither one at the expense of the other.”4 This modern quote seems to reflect the ideas of Justin Martyr. Justin himself clearly held a high view of philosophy and Greek philosophers. In his first Apology, he references philosophy quite often and even writes a chapter saying that Plato’s Tim├Žus referenced the image of the cross from the Old Testament story of Moses and the serpent lifted up in the desert.5 How well this works as an argument is not so clear. However, Justin does write quite a bit in defense of Christians that were being unfairly mistreated. Justin countered ideas like how Christians were called atheists, and he argues that Christianity is the true philosophy.6 One of the key points that can be clearly seen in Justin’s “short” works (the first and second Apologies) is his extensive use of non-Christian writings and thoughts. He is not afraid to reference various Greek writings. If anything, he seems to like co-opting Greek philosophers in his writing. It seems that most modern apologetics works use Greek terminology, but do not often reference Greek or other non-Christian writing to co-opt them into their writings. Modern apologists could do well to use the philosophy of non-Christian writers against them. Christianity does have the most consistent philosophy and modern apologetics writers would do well to emphasize that and demonstrate it using both biblical arguments and non-Christian philosophy.

Augustine
Augustine (Bishop of Hippo) lived about 189 years after Justin had died (354-430)7 and is probably one of the most famous of the Early Church Fathers to this day.8 Augustine studied Neo-Platonism and became a Christian after following Manicheism for a time and was a prolific writer over a wide range of subjects.9 His most famous work, Confessions, is a somewhat dense autobiographical work that starts with his childhood in book one and progressing through his life and confessions/theology to book thirteen.10 Like Justin, Augustine seemed happy to incorporate certain (Greek) philosophical ideas into his own. And, he wrote of his struggles using Neo-Platonic thoughts and terminology.11 These influences may or may not have been a good thing, but Augustine and others that were influenced by Greek philosophy still seem devoted to building their theology on the Bible. Augustine’s apologetic writing is as varied as his theological works are, but his famous line, “Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee”12 is an early version of C. S. Lewis’ argument from desire. “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”13 Also, Augustine’s view that evil is “nothing but a privation of good,” is a kind of answer to the “problem of evil.”14 Augustine also referenced Romans 1 as a kind of cosmological argument.15 The lessons of Augustine are less in the form of what he writes about, rather in how he writes. Augustine’s writings are very personal in nature. Augustine also quotes the Bible very often. Many modern apologetics texts tend to not reference the Bible hardly at all. So, modern apologetics writers ought to follow Augustine’s example in how he writes from personal experience and how he utilizes biblical arguments throughout his work.

Anselm
Anselm has somewhat of a bad reputation among many apologists today as he was one of the first, and certainly the most famous for using, the “ontological argument.” Anselm lived in the early 11th century (c. 1033-1109) and wrote creatively as the Bishop of Canterbury.16 As mentioned above his most famous argument comes in the form of the ontological argument. The argument, found in the Monologion:
[A]ll other goods are good through another being than that which they themselves are, and this being alone is good through itself. Hence, this alone is supremely good, which is alone good through itself. For it is supreme, in that it so surpasses other beings, that it is neither equalled nor excelled. But that which is supremely good is also supremely great. There is, therefore, some one being which is supremely good, and supremely great, that is, the highest of all existing beings.17
This argument has been reworded, reformatted, and argued by multiple writers since Anselm penned it. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy lists such writers as “St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Gassendi, Spinoza, Malebranche, Locke, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, … Charles Hartshorne, Etienne Gilson, Maurice Blondel, Martin Heidegger, Karl Barth, Norman Malcolm, and Alvin Plantinga.”18 Unfortunately, though that is an impressive list of writers, it is not considered a very good argument by many apologists today. Many think of the ontological argument as defining God into existence. And, though that is a fair critique, others, most notably Alvin Plantinga, have revived the argument with some success. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online) has an entire article devoted to this argument that often references Plantinga’s version.19 It is the position of this paper that apologists have too long ignored this argument, which in its own way also reflects the ideas expressed in Romans 1. All people actually know intuitively that God exists and this argument can move other arguments into the realm of possibility. It can establish the idea that belief in God is reasonable, because after all it is possible that there is a “Best Being” (God), to use the term “good” that Anselm uses, and if it is possible that such a being exists, then it is at least reasonable that it be so. This argument can be used as a stepping stone. If one can get a skeptic to at least admit that it is possible for such a being to exist, then one can move on to other arguments like the cosmological arguments, which were very popular for the next apologist this paper will discuss.

Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, who lived from 1224-1274, is well known for his use of Aristotelian philosophy.20 This may be a weakness of Aquinas because critics of Christianity often say that it is unduly influenced by various Greek philosophers and there are even some Christians who disagree with the Greek influences and refuse to listen to anything written by such theologians because they deem them unbiblical in their reliance on Greek philosophy.21 Aquinas was so enamored with Aristotle that he took to simply calling him “the Philosopher.”22 Aristotle not only heavily influences Aquinas, but Aquinas heavily referenced the writings of Anselm and Augustine (though not always agreeing with them).23 He was and still is revered, particularly by Roman Catholics, as the best philosopher/theologian/apologist of his time, perhaps of all time.24 Undoubtedly, Aquinas’ most famous and influential apologetics work is in his “five ways.”25 The "first way:"
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. … 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.26
This is just the "first way" and each of the other arguments are just as powerful. They each deal with different aspects of the universe, so they could be taken together as all cosmological arguments. The "second way" deals with efficient causes (again using Aristotelian terminology); the "third way" deals with the nature of being and not being; the "fourth way" deals with the gradation of goodness in everything (somewhat similar to Anselm’s ontological argument); and the "fifth way" is an argument from design.27 What can one learn from Aquinas’ apologetics? Clearly, there is a ring of confidence in the way Aquinas writes. So, perhaps the best point to learn from Aquinas is his tone. He writes as one having authority, interestingly, as Jesus was described (Matt. 7:29 and Mark 1:22).

Lessons
The lessons we can learn from these great masters are too many and too powerful for this short paper to express. However, let us try to sum them up here. Justin Martyr has a few weaknesses. His weaknesses are not born out of his inabilities or anything like that; it is just that he was writing to a different audience in a different time period. In fact, when he was living/writing the canon had not even been established yet.28 Justin’s weaknesses are that he appeals almost exclusively to the Scriptures to make arguments. But, this is also a strength. Modern apologists have been drawn to a style the reflects that of Aquinas, who relies more on philosophical argument to make apologetic points.  But, Augustine is not without his weaknesses as well. He had an unfortunate emphasis on Church authority that Counter-Reformers latched on to, as well as a view of faith-leading-to-salvation that Reformers admired.29 Perhaps the best lesson in that is for modern apologists to be careful not to espouse overly contradictory views. Regardless, Augustine’s candor and self-reflection are things that modern apologetic writing would do well to emulate. When one comes to Anselm there is much to be said (indeed much has been said), but one of his weaknesses could be that his work is dense; it is nearly impenetrable. It takes scholarly work well beyond the scope of this short paper to truly understand even small parts of this master’s work. Despite being opaque with difficult phrasing Anselm certainly has a powerful apologetic tool in the ontological argument. Modern apologists should follow Plantinga as he follows Anselm in pushing this argument as a starting point. Lastly, this paper explored some of Thomas Aquinas’ work and it is certainly tough to find a weakness here. Perhaps the only one, as has already been mentioned, is Aquinas’ near infatuation with Aristotle. Aquinas’ style of authority is certainly to be respected and emulated, but there is a danger in speaking too authoritatively as well. That style can push away people seeking God. Yes, as previously mentioned, Aquinas’ strength is his confidence, but that strength can be a liability. It can push people away.
Conclusion
This paper is too short to contain all that is needed to really make the point expressed in the introduction. However, it should be clear that these four and many other major Christian Church thinkers/apologists/theologians of the past should still be studied today. There is much we can still learn from these masters. That is indeed why they are often referred to as “masters.” This paper on Justin Martyr, Augustine, Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas is just the tip of the iceberg concerning Church history with regards to apologetics. It is great thinkers like these that should encourage all of us to do our research and learn from these masters as they have learned from the Master.

Notes:
1 Robert C. Walton, Chronological and Background Charts of Church History (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005) Chart 1.

2 Tony Lane, A Concise History of Christian Thought (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2007), 10.

3 Ibid., 10.

4 William Hasker, Metaphysics: Constructing a World View (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Pr., 1989), 25.

5 Justin Martyr, The Apologies of Justin Martyr, trans. Rev. Alexander Roberts, and James Donaldson, Suzeteo Enterprises), Kindle Locations 1038-1054.

6 "3. A Brief History of Apologetics," Bible.org, accessed July 10, 2018, https://bible.org/seriespage/brief-history-apologetics.

7 Walton, Chronological and Background Charts, Chart 1.

8 Lane, A Concise History, 47.

9 "3. A Brief History of Apologetics."

10 A concise summary and the full text of each book can be found here: "The Confessions," Catholic Encyclopedia: Miguel Hidalgo, accessed July 10, 2018, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1101.htm.

11 Mark A. Noll, Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012), 85.

12 Augustine and E. B. Pusey, The Confessions of St. Augustine (No publisher information), Kindle Edition, 1,

13 C. S. Lewis, The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 58.

14 Augustine, The Confessions, 20.

15 "3. A Brief History of Apologetics."

16 Walton, Chronological and Background Charts, Chart 1.

17 Anselm of Canterbury, Monologium, (The Fig Classic Series, 2012), Kindle Locations 72-75.

18 Greg Sadler, "Anselm of Canterbury," Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed July 10, 2018, https://www.iep.utm.edu/anselm/.

19 Graham Oppy, "Ontological Arguments," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, February 12, 2016, accessed July 10, 2018, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ontological-arguments/.

20 Walton, Chronological and Background Charts, Chart 1.

21 This observation is based on years of interacting with various believers and unbelievers on social media platforms about theology and philosophy, and some of the comments in this article: Paul Vincent Spade, "Medieval Philosophy," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, March 15, 2016, accessed July 10, 2018, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/medieval-philosophy/.

22 This series of lectures from Recorded Books give a very thorough treatment of Aquinas’ philosophy: Peter Kreeft, The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas Course Guide (Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, 2009), 38.

23 Ibid., 7.

24 Ibid., 6.

25 "3. A Brief History of Apologetics," As the footnote on that page says there is an abundance of literature written about the “five ways.” There is no way to capture all of that here.

26 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (Complete & Unabridged) (Coyote Canyon Press.), Kindle, 10.

27 Kreeft, The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, 17-19.

28 "3. A Brief History of Apologetics," though to be fair, this is true of many of the Early Church Fathers.

29 Lane, A Concise History of Christian Thought, 47-48.


Bibliography
Anselm of Canterbury. Monologium. The Fig Classic Series. Kindle, 2012.

Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica (Complete & Unabridged). Coyote Canyon Press. Kindle.

Augustine. The Confessions of St. Augustine, trans. Edward Bouverie Pusey. No publisher information available. Kindle.

"The Confessions." Catholic Encyclopedia: Miguel Hidalgo. Accessed July 10, 2018. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1101.htm.

Hasker, William. Metaphysics: Constructing a World View. Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Pr., 1989.

Kreeft, Peter. The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas Course Guide. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, 2009.

Lane, Tony. A Concise History of Christian Thought. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006.

Lewis, C. S. The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007.

Martyr, Justin. The Apologies of Justin Martyr, trans. Rev. Alexander Roberts, and James Donaldson, Suzeteo Enterprises. Kindle.

Noll, Mark A. Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012.

Oppy, Graham. "Ontological Arguments." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. February 12, 2016. Accessed July 10, 2018. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ontological-arguments/.

Sadler, Greg. “Anselm of Canterbury.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Accessed July 10, 2018, https://www.iep.utm.edu/anselm/.

Spade, Paul Vincent. “Medieval Philosophy.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. March 15, 2016. Accessed June 10, 2018. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/medieval-philosophy/.

Unknown Author. “3. A Brief History of Apologetics.” Bible.org. Accessed June 10, 2018. https://bible.org/seriespage/brief-history-apologetics.

Walton, Robert C. Chronological and Background Charts of Church History. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas: Part 3: Can You Prove God’s Existence?

As mentioned in the last lecture, Thomas presents five ways to argue for the existence of god.  Rather than calling them proofs, Thomas wants these points to lead people to believe that god exists.  Also, since the lecture series is following the Summa Theologiae these are only short summaries of the arguments presented in the Summa Contra Gentiles.  Before looking at Thomas' arguments Prof Kreeft asks the question, why is this an important question?

Why is belief in God important?  To answer that question Prof Kreeft quotes Nietzsche:
Where is [g]od? I shall tell you. We have killed him, you and I . . . But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we all moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night and more night coming on all the while? . . . Who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves become gods simply to seem worthy of it?
And Sartre:
God does not exist and we have to face all the consequences of this. The existentialist is strongly opposed to a certain kind of secular ethics which would like to abolish [g]od with the least possible expense . . . something like this: [g]od is a useless and costly hypothesis; we are discarding it, but meanwhile, in order for there to be an ethics, a society, a civilization, it is essential that certain values be taken seriously and that they be considered as having an a priori existence. It must be obligatory a priori to be honest, not to lie, not to beat your wife, to have children, etc. etc. So we’re going to try a little device which will make it possible to show that values exist all the same, inscribed in a heaven of ideas, though . . . [g]od does not exist . . . 
Without god there's no source of a priori goodness, no foundation for any moral system.

Of the three types of arguments for god, cosmological, experiential (moral), and ontological, all of Thomas's five ways are cosmological arguments because they deal with cosmology, how we see the universe. Thomas rejected St. Anselm’s “ontological argument” which totally makes sense to me.  All five of the ways are approached in basically the same format, they each start with an observation of one of five features of the universe: motion, causality, contingency, imperfection, and order.  Then, after considering the only two answers possible (either there is or isn't and uncaused first cause), it explains how one answer fails to explain the universe.  Then the opposite must be true.  After both sides are considered and one comes out wanting, Thomas adds a tag, "this is what people call 'god.'"  As I countered Prof McGinn's arguments before, Thomas isn't trying to prove the God of the Bible, just make a way towards showing that a god exists and therefore secular humanism is wrong.

Way #1: Motion/Change

This is his longest, partly because Thomas feels it's the most manifest and probably because the others are related to the first so some of the others can be included in this argument.
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 motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality, and nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, such as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves it. Thus whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another.
Now if that by which it is put in motion is itself put in motion, then
this also must 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 (unmoved) 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 "first mover" can't be the universe itself, because neither a thing in itself can't move itself nor can the complete chain of events start itself.  Like a chain of dominoes, someone has to push the first one, no matter how complex the chain is.

Everything in the material universe needs some kind of explanation.  Even miracles need a sufficient reason, and that reason is a miracle maker.  He uses the example of a rabbit...  If a rabbit suddenly appeared on your desk, you'd immediately start looking for a reason.  Did it fall from the ceiling, jump up from the floor, magician pull it from a hat, or God just create a rabbit on your desk?  There has to be a reason for its existence.

Way #2: Existence
In the world of sense we find that there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known, nor is it possible, in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for if so, it would be prior to itself, which is impossible.
Now in efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate cause is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several or one only. 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, either 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.
 Prof Kreeft's analogy for this one is a book (=existence).
Me: There's a book that explains the entire universe.
You: I'd love to borrow it.
M: Well, I don't have it I have to get it from a friend.
Y: Okay.
M: Well, he doesn't have it, he has to borrow it from the library.
Y: When will that happen?
M: Well, it's not at the library they have to get it from the store.
Y: Is it coming out sometime then?
M: Well, no one really has it...
My children have existence because I gave it to them (in a way, really I just played one small part).  I got my existence from my parents and so on.  The same is true with the entire universe.  Nothing that is created can create itself or else it must have existed before it created itself which is impossible.

Way #3: Contingency
We find in nature things that are able to either be or not be, since they are found to come into existence and go out of existence, and con- sequently they are able to either be or not to be. But it is impossible for any of these beings to exist always, for whatever has a possibility not to be, at some time is not. Thus if everything has the possibility not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. But if this were true, then there would not be anything in existence now, because that which does not exist cannot begin to exist except by means of 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 whose existence is necessary.
This one is tough.  If there is no god, the universe could have no beginning - infinite.  If the universe is infinite then all contingencies would be possible, including the end of all things.  So, given an infinite amount of time everything ends and if everything ends then the universe would be nothing and it cannot restart itself because nothing comes from nothing.  I've used a similar type argument using entropy, saying that everything is moving from more ordered to less ordered.  Given an infinite universe there should be nothing left.  Also, given that whole galaxies are moving (the so called "red shift") then given an infinite universe they should be an infinite distance away by now.  The so called, god cannot have a beginning, he is a necessary being that has his existence of himself alone.

Way #4: Imperfection
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

. . . so there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest, and consequently something which is uttermost being . . . And this we call God.
This only works if one accepts a ranking of things.  If humans are no better than vegetables, then one that holds that view, would reject this way out of hand.  However, Prof Kreeft quips that if you hold that humans are not better than vegetables, please don't invite him over to dinner.

Way #5: Design

By far his most popular argument I've seen this argument used alone and Prof McGinn treated this as its type of argument for 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 by chance but by design do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move toward 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.
Prof Kreeft uses the arrow analogy, the universe is like an arrow flying along a specific trajectory, it's not random everything has a design or an end that is seeks.  And the book analogy, the universe (I'd say most evident is DNA/RNA) is more like a book than an explosion in a print factory.  He brings up a good point, the more design you find the less likely things have happened by chance.  Like a letter 'S' written in the sand, sure wind/waves/the elements could form the letter, but if you find "SOS" you're more certain you're looking for an intelligence, even more so if you find the first page of Hamlet written in the sand.

Prof Kreeft shoots holes in the famous (possibly Bertrand Russell) quote about a million monkeys with a million keyboards for a million years, could type out Shakespeare.  It's possible but no one says that's the explanation of Shakespeare, why would we make the same assumptions about the universe?  Also, Prof Kreeft mentions that a mathematician actually crunched the numbers and said it would take more like a trillion monkeys a trillion years to get just the first paragraph.

One last comment, "intelligent design" scientists claim that irreducible complexity scientifically proves this point.  Prof Kreeft says that he thinks Thomas would not have agreed, that this is a philosophical proof, not a scientific proof.  Prof Kreeft thinks that Thomas would have accepted Darwinian evolution as the design tool that God used to make humans/life as we know it.  As such he wouldn't get the intended insult of the metal bumper emblem of the fish with Darwin's name in it.  He would think it's an argument for theism.  I don't know about this last point and I disagree in general (based mostly on faith/theological interpretation of the Bible, I've written about it before), but that doesn't lessen the impact of the arguments, and I'm sure Francis Collins would agree with these assessments/arguments.