Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Aquinas and God

It just occurred to me, while grading a comprehensive exam question on Aquinas, how deeply Jewish Aquinas’s approach to God is. In the structure of the Summa Theologiae, the primary attribute of God, the one on which the derivation of all the others depends, is God’s oneness or simplicity.

3 comments:

Michael Gonzalez said...

Does this not cause a problem for a Trinitarian view in which the Son and Spirit are derived from the Father in some sense?

Alexander R Pruss said...

Not once all of Aquinas' trinitarian distinctions are in place. :-)

Mark Cuthbertson said...

Perhaps something similar could be said about his notion of existence as participation in God's existence, at least with regard to human souls (though Thomas generalizes to EVERYTHING). The Hebrew Scriptures open with God imparting life to Adam, not as something entirely ad extra, made out of sheer creativity. Rather, Adam's soul is God's own breath, with which he had just made all of the "stuff".

If existence as participation is Thomas's most novel theological contribution, its seed in the Hebrew Scriptures is the thing on which the derivation of (at least most, and arguably all) of its moral commands depend.