Today’s Aquinas: the Good vs. the good

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We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.And now we get to something meaty: the analogy of being.  We say that a statement is the truth when it corresponds with reality; we say that God is the Truth.  We say that an act of generosity or charity is good; we say that God is the Good.  We say that a painting or a person is a "beauty"; we say that God is the Beautiful.  But are we really using the terms in t … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: God Cannot Be Defined

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.We understand the one God through a glass darkly, by means of many names:A second point is this: since our intellect does not adequately grasp the divine essence in any of the conceptions which the names applied to God signify, the definitions of these terms cannot define what is in God. That is, any definition we might formulate of the divine wisdom would not … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: Truth is not Beauty, and Vice Versa

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.So God is remains one and metaphysically simple, although multiple names can be applied to Him; and yet, though those names all refer to Him they don't all mean the same thing.  Thomas explains,In this connection three observations are in order. The first is that the various names applied to God are not synonymous, even though they signify what is in reality t … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: The Many Names 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.Up until now, Thomas has mostly been working from Aristotle’s playbook.  He has shown us that:There is a First Cause That it is metaphysically simple That it is infinite That it is the Creator of all other beings and the source of all of their perfectionsAt this point, then, we have a divine creator, but Thomas has not yet shown that this divine cre … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: There’s Nothing Accidental about God

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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 always careful to dot all of his I's and cross all of his T's, and that's what we have going on in Chapter 23 of Compendium Theologiae: Absence of Accidents in God.In the previous two chapters, Thomas has shown that God contains all perfections found in creatures without losing His metaphysical simplicity. Covering all of his bases, Thomas now shows … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: God is One, though He Creates Multitudes

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We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In chapter 21, Thomas showed that all perfections—good qualities—in created things reflect some perfection in God.  But the perfections in created things are many; how can one metaphysically simple God contain multitudes? Thomas addresses this in Chapter 22.God is one, simple, having no parts (Thomas hasn’t forgotten the Trinity, here; but it will be some cha … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: Creation Reflects God’s Perfection

"So, you're telling me that I exemplify a perfection found in God?"

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Not only is there no imperfection in God's infinity, says Thomas in Chapter 21 of the Compendium Theologiae, but He is necessarily more perfect than anything finite.  And this has an obvious consequence:The further inference clearly follows that all perfections found in anything at all must originally and superabundantly be present in God. Whatever moves somet … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: Infinity and Imperfection, or God and the Oaks

Two imperfect birds.  But they'll grow.

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Just because something is infinite doesn't mean that it is infinitely perfect—depending on how you define "infinite" and how you define "perfect".  I can imagine an infinite patchwork quilt, infinitely long and infinitely wide, that contains an infinite number of stitching errors.  It might be perfectly huge, and yet by no means perfect.But as Thomas expla … [Read more...]

CT 19: Infinite Power of God

Bread: more act, less potency!

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Having now established that God is infinite, and having distinguished between this and a purely mathematical notion of infinity, Thomas now goes on to say what it means for God to be infinite.The further inference is drawn that God is infinite in power. For power is consequent upon a thing’s essence; anything whatever possesses a power of activity consonant wi … [Read more...]


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