CT 10.2: Thomist Taxonomy, or What’s a Species?

Genus: Tree.  Specific Difference: Bearing Oranges.  Species: Orange Tree.

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In the previous post, we began to explain what it means for a being to have an essence, so as to understand what Thomas means when he says that God is identical with His Essence. In this post, we continue to provide background to Thomas' words, explaining what he means by definition, genus, and species. In each case, Thomas' notion is considerably more precise tha … [Read more...]

CT 10.1: Identity of God with His Essence

Apple

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Now that Thomas has established that God exists, is eternal and everlasting, and is utterly simple (in the sense of not being composed of distinct, separable parts) he begins to get seriously metaphysical.  That is, he's going to look at the metaphysical notions we apply to the objects of daily experience, and determine the extent to which those notions apply to G … [Read more...]

CT 9: Simplicity of God

salt shaker

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here. Now Thomas moves on to one of the fundamental notions of classic theism: the divine simplicity.A similar course of reasoning clearly shows that the first mover must be simple. For any composite being must contain two factors that are related to each other as potency to act. But in the first mover, which is altogether immobile, all combination of potency and a … [Read more...]

CT 8: Absence of Succession in God

Succession: One thing after another

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.We’ve established that God is eternal and everlasting and unchanging; and now Thomas himself shows what that means: there is now this, and then this, and then that in God, not in the sense of things happening one after another in time. Clearly, therefore, no succession occurs in God. His entire existence is simultaneous. Succession is not found except in things t … [Read more...]

CT 7: The Everlasting Existence of God

Moses and the Burning Bush

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.When I first read Chapter 7 of the Compendium, I rather thought that Thomas was repeating himself. In Chapter 3 he showed that God exists; in Chapter 5, he showed that God is eternal. Here in Chapter 7, he's showing that God exists "always". Hasn't he already done that?I think the key is the distinction between the words eternal and always. As I argued … [Read more...]

CT 6: Necessity of God’s Existence

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.So far Thomas has shown that there is a First Mover, that this First Mover is an Unmoved Mover, utterly unchanging, and that this First Mover is eternal, outside time.  Thomas continues,The same line of reasoning clearly shows that God necessarily exists.Necessary and contingent are philosophical terms of art.  An existent being is necessary if it must e … [Read more...]

CT 5: The Eternity of God

Clock in pieces

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.As we saw in Chapter 4, God, as God, is utterly unchanging.  (Jesus, God Incarnate, is a man and so is clearly subject to change: he is conceived, born, grows, dies, and is raised.  But we’re not nearly there yet.)  And since God is unchanging, then, Thomas argues that God must be eternal.The further conclusion is evident that God is eternal. For everything t … [Read more...]

CT 4.2: Another Principle of Change

Saturn

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Having established that God must be unchanging by reducing the notion of a changing First Mover to absurdity, Thomas then goes on to make a direct argument for the Unmoved Mover: Among things that are moved and that also move, the following may also be considered. All motion is observed to proceed from something immobile, that is, from something that is not move … [Read more...]

CT 4.1: The Immobility of God

coins

We're blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas' Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In Chapter 3, Thomas showed that there must be a “First Mover”, something that stands at the head of all per se causal chains, where the word “move” means any kind of change, not just motion from place to place.  Here he goes on to show that this First Mover is also an Unmoved Mover, that is, an unchanged changer.We clearly infer from this that God, who moves … [Read more...]


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