6) Argument from Gradation
St. Thomas Aquinas is perhaps the most revered Doctor (teacher) and philosopher of the Catholic church (an institution which has existed for nearly two millennia). His exceptional mind was about as close to 100% focused on the question of the divine as is likely possible for man. In the midst of his work, he produced “5 ways” that he believed God’s existence could be demonstrated — the fourth of which is called the argument from gradation.
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.
We are able to detect and affirm variations or grades of quality within things, says Aquinas, by comparing them to real maximums. There must be then something akin to Plato’s idea of the Good. Something truest, best, noblest and possessing utter-most being. An object from which our minds are able to derive value judgements of the kind. This thing we call God.