Today’s Aquinas: Why is the Word the Son of 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.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...]

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

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 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...]

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...]

Today’s Aquinas: Natural Theology in a Nutshell

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We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Chapter 35 of Thomas’ Compendium Theologiae is a nutshell summary of everything that has gone before: From all the details of doctrines thus far discussed, we can gather that God is one, simple, perfect, and infinite, and that He understands and wills. All these truths are assembled in a brief article of our Creed, wherein we profess to believe “in one God, almig … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: The Will is in the Willing

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We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Thomas has shown that God has a divine will, and that His will is the same as His intellect.  His next move is more of the same:Hence it is also clear that the divine will is the very act of willing in God. As has been pointed out, God’s will is identical with the good willed by Him. But this would be impossible if His willing were not the same as His will; fo … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: With God, Knowing is Doing

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We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.If you've been paying attention then Thomas' next move should be unsurprising.  First, Thomas showed that God is simply One.  Then he showed that God has intellect; and that His intellect is the same as Himself: we approach some small understanding of God by considering His intellect as a distinct thing, but God is without part: He is all One.  Lastly, Thomas has … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: Does God Love What Is Good?

ThomasAquinas

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Given intellect, says Thomas, God must also have volition: He must be able to will, to choose:We perceive, further, that God must have volition. For He understands Himself, who is perfect good, as is clear from all that has been hitherto established. But good as apprehended is necessarily loved, and love operates through the will. Consequently God must have vo … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: God Always Understands

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We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Next, Thomas shows that God must be identical to His intellect.  This is a difficult point; it almost seems obviously wrong.  God also has will, and love; if He is simply His intellect, how does that leave room for the rest of Him?The problem here is that our mental model of most things is the machine.  If you think of a car, you know that it has brakes and pi … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: What Does God Understand?

ThomasAquinas

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Thomas has established that God has intelligence, intellect, the ability to understand abstract concepts.  The next question is, just what is it that God understands?  What does He eternally contemplate? In Chapter 30, Thomas says,The foregoing exposition makes it clear that God understands through no other species than through His essence.A bit of review … [Read more...]


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