Steve Winwood’s Higher Love and Aquinas’ Fourth Way
One of my favorite songs from the 1980’s is Steve Winwood’s Higher Love. Here are some of the lyrics:
Think about it,
There must be higher love.
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above.
Life is wasted time.
Look inside your heart and I’ll look inside mine.
Things look so bad everywhere.
In this whole world what’s fair?
We walk the line and we try to see.
Falling behind of what could be? (Winwood & Jennings 1986).
To me, this song describes the kind of yearning Saint Augustine describes when he wrote:
You arouse us so that praising you may bring us joy, because you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you (Conf. 1,I).1
The song also calls to my mind 1 John 4:8:
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
So I wonder if Winwood’s song contains something of an argument for God’s existence. Perhaps we could apply Winwood’s insights to a version of Aquinas’ fourth way. Here is how Aquinas argues:
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 (Sum I, 2, iii).2
Just for fun, here is a Winwood inspired version of a cosmological argument:
1. If I can love, there must be higher love.
2. If there is a higher love, there is highest love, which is the cause of all lesser loves and is called God.
3. I can love.
4. Therefore, there is a highest love, which is the cause of all lesser loves and is called God (1 John 4:8).
Further, we might argue:
5. If life is wasted time, there is no highest love.
6. Therefore, life is not wasted time.
Who says that pop music can’t be profound?
1 Augustine. (1998). The Confessions. Trans. M. Boulding, O.S.B. New York: Vintage Spiritual Classics. 3.
2Thomas Aquinas. (1947). Summa Theologica. Trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Retrieved August 6, 2011.