Today’s Aquinas: Form Over Matter

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 71: "Matter Not the Cause of Diversity in Things".Here's a case where Thomas is ultimately right...but matters are a lot more complicated than he would have thought. He says,The foregoing exposition shows clearly that the cause of diversity in things is not diversity on the part of matter. For, as we have proved, the divi … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Only God can Create

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 70: "Creation Possible for God Alone."In the previous chapter, Thomas defined creation ex nihilo, from absolutely nothing. When a human artist "creates" a work of art, he works from pre-existing materials; but if God worked only from pre-existing materials He could not be the First Cause. In order to be the First Cause, H … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Something from Nothing

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 69: "Creation from Nothing"In the previous chapter, Thomas shows that God is the source of existence in all things that are other than Himself. When we humans "create", we are making something new out of existing materials; but when God creates, He creates ex nihilo, from nothing.This makes it clear that, in creati … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: The Chicken or the Egg

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 68: "The Effects Produced By God."Finally, it's time to move on from consideration of the Trinity to a new topic: the effects produced by the Trinity.After considering the truths which pertain to the unity of the divine essence and to the Trinity of persons, we turn to a study of the effects produced by the Trinity. The f … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Final Words on 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 67: "The Divine Properties Not Externally Affixed."In this final chapter on the Trinity, Thomas deals with a significant controversy of the previous century. Gilbert of Poitiers was a philosopher and theologian; his works on Aristotelian logic were the most influential of his day. Like Thomas, he held that all things derive their b … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Though Three, God Remains One

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 66, "Identity between the Relative Properties and the Divine Essence".In the past chapters Thomas has analyzed the nature of the Trinity in metaphysical terms; the discussion has been technical, complex, and not entirely satisfying, for the simple reason that God doesn’t fit neatly into any of the usual metaphysical categories. God … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Preserving the Simplicity of God

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 65, "Nature of the Distinction between Notional Acts and Notional Properties".In previous chapters, Thomas has been showing how all of the usual Scholastic metaphysical machinery applies to the Trinity: properties, acts, and so forth. God is really Three Persons, and Thomas must make metaphysical sense of this; but God is also One … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: All in Proper Order

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 64, "64: Generation with Respect to the Father and with Respect to the Son".Some T's more obviously need to be crossed than others; and I'm afraid I'm not at all sure why Thomas felt the need to cross the particular T's he's concerned with in the current chapter. However, there are some interesting background id … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Personal Acts

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 63, "Personal Acts and Personal Properties."In this chapter, Thomas continues working out how the standard metaphysical concepts apply in the context of the Trinity.For Thomas, how a thing acts follows from what it is. Separated from the tree, apples ripen, become mellow, and ultimately rot (if they aren’t eaten). This is what … [Read more...]

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