Difference between revisions of "St. Thomas Aquinas"

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[[Image:Saint Thomas Aquinas.jpg|left|thumb|St. Thomas Aquinas]]
'''St. Thomas Aquinas''' (1225-1274) was a [[Dominican]] friar who wrote [[Summa Theologica]].  Many consider this to be the most perfect and complete summary of [[Christian]] [[theology]], and he established an entire type of Christian [[philosophy]] known as "Thomism", which is followed to this day.  Aquinas was somewhat controversial during his life, but was quickly revered by the [[Catholic Church]] after his death. Many of the controversies surrounding Aquinas stem from his synthesis of [[Aristotle]]an philosophy with Christian philosophy, causing him to break with many of the traditionally held philosophical and theological positions espoused by the dominant Augustinian synthesis of Neoplatonic philosophy and Christianity.
He developed five proofs for the existence of [[God]] using logic.  The first three were "cosmological" proofs rather than the "ontological" approach of [[St. Anselm]].  A cosmological proof deals with the natural order of the universe.  Aquinas' most famous cosmological argument was that whatever is in motion (for example, us) must have been put in motion by something else (our parents).  They, in turn, must have been put in motion by something else (their parents).  But this sequence cannot go on to infinity.  There must have been a first mover.  This we call "God". 
St. Thomas Aquinas' views on the nature of man included an incomplete interpretation of the [[Fall of Man]].  He believed that while men had rebelled against God and the human will was fallen, the human intellect remained perfect.  Therefore, human wisdom could be relied upon and given as much prominence as the teachings of the [[Bible]].  This idea justified mixing the works of the classical, secular philosophers into Christian theology.  Charles Murray wrote, "Aquinas made the case, eventually adopted by the Church, that human intelligence is a gift from God, and that to apply human intelligence to understanding the world is not an affront to God but is pleasing to him." [http://www.amconmag.com/11_17_03/review.html]
Also as a result, the authority of the Church became as important, if not more so, than that of the Bible.  These ideas set the stage for humanism, which was the predominant philosophy of the [[Renaissance]].
Concerning the nature of God, Aquinas found that the best approach, commonly called the "via negativa", is to consider what God is not. This led him to propose five positive statements about the divine qualities:
*1. God is simple, without composition of parts, such as body and soul, or matter and form.
*2. God is perfect, lacking nothing. That is, God is distinguished from other beings on account of God's complete actuality.
*3. God is infinite. That is, God is not finite in the ways that created beings are physically, intellectually, and emotionally limited. This infinity is to be distinguished from infinity of size and infinity of number.
*4. God is immutable, incapable of change on the levels of God's essence and character.
*5. God is one, without diversification within God's self. The unity of God is such that God's essence is the same as God's existence. In Aquinas's words, "in itself the proposition 'God exists' is necessarily true, for in it subject and predicate are the same."
St. Thomas Aquinas is further known for his famous observation that the [[Devil]] cannot withstand mockery.
{{DEFAULTSORT:Aquinas, St. Thomas }}
[[Category:Catholic leaders]]
==External links==
*[http://www.amconmag.com/11_17_03/review.html Culture's Bell Curve] - a review of [[Charles Murray]]'s ''[[Human Accomplishment]]

Revision as of 20:05, 11 November 2007