Today’s Aquinas: Born of the Father Before All Ages

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We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Thomas is nothing if not thorough.  Having established that God’s Divine Word is identical to God Himself, he then goes on to eliminate the various ways that God’s Divine Word might have been distinct from God Himself. Among things that are not distinct in essence, there can be no distinction according to species, time, or nature. Therefore, since the Word is con … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Consubwhatsis with the Father?

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We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.This chapter is surprisingly topical given last year’s new English translation of the Roman Missal.  In the Profession of Faith the phrase that had been translated “of one being with the Father” is now translated “consubstantial with the Father”.  This is a difficult phrase, to be sure, but it has the advantage that at least it isn’t deceptively clear.  Thomas has … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: The Son and the Father are One

ThomasAquinas

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Having explained just how the Word, the Second Person of the Trinity, is generated from the Father from all eternity, Thomas goes on to explain that, in John the Evangelist’s words, “the Word was God.” Since natural existence and the action of understanding are distinct in us, we should note that a word conceived in our intellect, having only intellectual existen … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: What Did John Say about the Word?

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We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In the previous chapter, Thomas showed a way in which we can say that the First and Second Persons of the Trinity are related as Father and Son; and he clarifies his usage in this chapter: Hence in the rule of Catholic faith we are taught to profess belief in the Father and Son in God by saying: “I believe in God the Father, and in His Son.” And lest anyone, on h … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Why is the Word the Son of the Father?

ThomasAquinas

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In this Chapter Thomas continues building up a model of the Trinity in Aristotelian terms.  I must note that this is not the definitive model of the Trinity; as Augustine famously noted, the Trinity is a mystery that we cannot encompass.  But it's a way of thinking about the Trinity that Thomas found spiritually useful.He continues from the previous chapter, i … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Conceiving an Idea vs. Conceiving a Child

ThomasAquinas

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In the last chapter Thomas explained that God's knowledge of Himself can be called His "Word"; and since His intellect is the same as His essence, His Word must necessarily be in Him rather than apart from Him.What is contained in the intellect, as an interior word, is by common usage said to be a conception of the intellect.As contained in the mind we r … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: What is the Word of God?

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We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In the last chapter, Thomas concluded the purely philosophical part of his discussion of God; now we move on to the Trinity, and specifically to the Second Person of the Trinity, the Word of God.  As we’ll find, Thomas doesn’t regard that title, “Word”, as purely symbolic, but as reflecting a deep truth about the nature of the Trinity.The Trinity is a murky su … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: How Far Toward God Can We Reason?

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We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In the preceding  thirty-five chapters, Thomas has been addressing natural theology, reasoning about God in the Aristotelian manner from first principles and what we can observe about the world around us: The truths about God thus far proposed have been subtly discussed by a number of pagan philosophers, although some of them erred concerning these matters. And t … [Read more...]

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How the Mind Ascends to God

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Recently I've been talking about the rationality of Christian (and specifically Catholic) belief in God, and how one's mind can begin to ascend to the reality of God.  It's an imperfect ascent; God is infinite, and human reason, even at its best, is both weak and finite; but with God's help it is possible.Thomas begins, as Aristotle does, by reflection on the world around us.  He takes for granted the existence of objective reality, and our ability to perceive and grasp it directly, or in o … [Read more...]

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