Today’s Aquinas: Can We Think of God without Thinking of the Trinity?

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here. Today's post is from Chapter 62, "Effect of Intellectual Removal of Personal Properties on the Divine Essence."In this chapter Thomas uses extremely technical language to ask the question, if we think about God without thinking about the Trinity, are we still thinking about God? Or to put it another way, if we take away the details of the Trinity that we’ve le … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Intellectual Abstraction

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here. Today's post is from Chapter 61, "Dependence of the Hypostases on the Personal Properties".I'm afraid that things will continue to be difficult and technical for another half-dozen chapters, before we conclude with the Trinity and move on to (very slightly) less lofty concerns.We've been talking about the personal properties that distinguish the Di … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: The Missing Chapter 59

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here. Today's post is from Chapter 59, "Why These Properties Are Called Notions".NOTE: This post should have appeared a couple of weeks ago. I wrote it, and then forgot to post it. My apologies; it was a difficult week, as my mother-in-law had just passed away. Here is the post, (alas) out of sequence.In the past two chapters, Thomas has been describing the p … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: An Opportunity to Make Merry

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here. Today's post is from Chapter 60, "The Number of Relations and the Number of Persons".My intent is to blog through the entire Compendium Theologiae, but some chapters I really wish I could skip, and this is one of them. In the past few chapters, Thomas has identified three subsisting persons in God, as defined by five properties or notions: innascibility, pater … [Read more...]

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Straw vs. the Symphony of God

One of the things we know about St. Thomas Aquinas is that late in his life he was granted some kind of vision of God. Arising from it, he said that everything he had written was but as straw compared to what he had seen; and he died shortly thereafter, having left his massive Summa Theologiae unfinished.Sometimes I hear this described as a belated humility on Thomas’ part, a recognition as to how inadequate his understanding of God was. But Thomas’ work was in the tradition of “negative theo … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Properties of the Son and the Holy Spirit

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here. Today's post is from Chapter 58, "Properties of the Son and the Holy Spirit".Having looked at the properties that distinguish the Father from the Son and the Holy Spirit, Thomas now looks at the properties that distinguish the Son and the Holy Spirit from the Father and from each other. It's very much more of what we saw last week, just looked at the other … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Properties of the Father

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here. Today's post is from Chapter 57, "Properties of the Father".In today's outing, Thomas isn't so much sketching a proof, or explaining a point of theology, as he is making some definitions.Such being the number of persons in God, the properties whereby the persons are distinguished from one another must be of some definite number. Three properties … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Why a Trinity? Why not a Quaternity?

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here. Today's post is from Chapter 56, "Impossibility of More Than Three Persons in God".To some, the doctrine of the Trinity might reasonably seem like a magic trick: given a single God, we pull three persons out of our theological hat. So if three, why not four? Why not ten? Why not a whole pantheon?In fact, Thomas has carefully ruled this out by his argume … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: One God in Three Persons

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here. Today's post is from Chapter 55, "Personal Distinction in God through the Relations".Thomas continues his analysis of the Trinity by affirming that the three members of the trinity are persons, and are so precisely because the relations that define them are subsistent.Since distinction in the Godhead is accounted for by relations that are not accidental … [Read more...]

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