mercredi 25 mars 2015

CMI Cites Bible Text Supporting St Thomas over St Bonaventure

1) Great Bishop of Geneva! : Saint Thomas Aquinas was Not an Atheist ; 2) Creation vs. Evolution : CMI Cites Bible Text Supporting St Thomas over St Bonaventure

How so?

CMI : ‘Creation is faith; evolution is science’?
by Florin Mocanu
Published: 22 March 2015


“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

But actually the text as given in DR is less clear in the issue between the two scholastics:

Hebrews 11 (DRBO) : [3] By faith we understand that the world was framed by the word of God; that from invisible things visible things might be made.

Which exactly mirrors the Vulgate:

Ad Hebraeos, caput xj : [3] Fide intelligimus aptata esse saecula verbo Dei: ut ex invisibilibus visibilia fierent.

Now, what was the exact quarrel between St Thomas Aquinas and St Bonventura (long since settled in Heaven, of course)?

They both agreed that existence of God could be proven from everyday and uncontestable experience, that not itself a piece of operative science, it nevertheless follows logically from operative science. However, they differed on whether one could similarily prove the non-eternity of the universe. St Bonaventure argued from time being a succession of ... I will not credit him with saying "succession of instants" as if time was quantic, but at least a succession of potency flowing into actuality, of events future and uncertain (to man) becoming events past (and certain). He argued from this being additive to its having a beginning, like the line of numbers has a beginning in 1. So, time also needs a beginning. Hence a creator outside time.

St Thomas argued differently for the existence of God. In each instant x is moved by y, which is moved by z, in a finite procession of movers : and the first contemporary mover in each instant explains the other moved movers and the movements, but is not explained by them. This first mover is God.

However, knowing God scientifically as first mover (most detailed as a Geocentric analysis of Universe is implied, go rather to full text of Summa Contra Gentes book I chapter 13 - an online English translation omits it - than to first argument in corpus of I, Q2, A3 of Summa), tells us nothing of whether the universe is eternal or was created a moment ago. Hence he argues we can know God as First Mover philosophically, but to know Him as Creator giving a beginning to time in the past, we need faith.

Now, actually the verse, even as cited in CMI article from Sunday, does not quite give the precision of a creatio ex nihilo at a point in time, only a creation of visible things, obviously at a point in time, and these not from previous visible things. But it also gives so much information otherwise on how God created, that the mere point of Universe having a beginning in time, or of time having a beginning, is no big deal when it comes to leaving things open to human philosophy to find.

The full information of what Creation entails, including of course at least in Catholic Bibles visibles being created from invisibles (like perhaps from Platonic ideas pre-existing eternally in God the Son as Wisdom of the Father?), and also, in any Bible, the Six Days and Adam on the Sixth and being head of genealogies, all that is known by Faith alone, and not by Philosophy, humanly accessible at all. What one can do is to show why objections to this Theology do not hold. But some idea of God, possibly as beginner of time, certainly as beginner of movement in each instant during time, still remains accessible to the human philosophy. Otherwise St Paul would have been lying in Romans:

i:[18] Revelatur enim ira Dei de caelo super omnem impietatem, et injustitiam hominum eorum, qui veritatem Dei in injustitia detinent: [19] quia quod notum est Dei, manifestum est in illis. Deus enim illis manifestavit. [20] Invisibilia enim ipsius, a creatura mundi, per ea quae facta sunt, intellecta, conspiciuntur: sempiterna quoque ejus virtus, et divinitas: ita ut sint inexcusabiles.

1:[18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice: [19] Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.

And the words "from Heaven" actually do point to the Geocentric version of First Mover argument. Or to its parallel which Flavius Josephus in Antiquitates attributes to Abraham.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Annunciation Solemnity

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