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?

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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?

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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 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...]

Today’s Aquinas: Does God Think The Way We Do?

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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 is intelligent, that is, He has an intellect.  Is that intellect like our own, or does it differ in particular ways?  Unsurprisingly, it differs: God understands everything perfectly, so He doesn't reason as we do:Since in God nothing is in potency but all is in act, as has been shown. God cannot be intelligent either potentially or h … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: Intelligence is Immaterial

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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 God, the First Mover, must be One, infinite in power and goodness, and the source of all that is good in creation.  The next step is to show that God is Person (or, ultimately, Persons); and for Thomas, a person is that which possesses intellect and will: someone, you might say, with whom you could have a conversation.Thomas divid … [Read more...]

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...]


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