The order of the five ways

We come to know God from first knowing creatures, and so the order of the five was follows the order that the creature as made refers to the maker. We first see the creatures as simply made, i.e. as things once possible which were made actual (1st Way). We then move to explicitly considering the maker and efficient cause (2nd Way), and since efficient causes so easily call to mind motion and temporal existence, the third way divides the efficient cause from the whole order of contingent things by separating God both from what simply contingent, and from what has any dependence on another (3rd Way). Having been set apart from all contingency, all the perfections in things are seen as supereminently and suprecompletely contained in divinity:  supreme truth, goodness, beauty, power, exemplar causality, perfection, wisdom, purity, life, love, object of worship and holiness (4th Way). The whole universe of nature is then seen as governed and under the dominion of superabundant, an therefore common good (5th Way).

Although there is never a time when the proofs lose their reference to creatures given in sensation, the order of the first four ways is toward the removal or negation of the divine from the universe, and the fifth way, as it were, reunifies the divinity into the innermost parts of nature itself [Cf. Banez, Commentaria]

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