Archive for the ‘Thomas Aquinas’ Category

The earth brings forth her fruits; but it is God that giveth bread

September 21, 2009

The sun rises day by day; but it is God that enlightens the earth by his rays. The earth brings forth her fruits; but it is God that giveth bread, and it is God that giveth strength by the nourishment of that bread. In a word, as all inferior and secondary causes, viewed in themselves, veil like so many curtains the glorious God from our sight (which they too frequently do), the eye of faith must be cast up far higher, that it may behold the hand of God working by all these His instruments. (Calvin, DEFENCE OF THE SECRET PROVIDENCE OF GOD, 1558)

God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established” (Westminister Confession of Faith, 3.1).

God’s Providence procures its effects through the operation of secondary causes. Aquinas, Summa Theologica, vol.5, Ia 22.3

in Paul Helm, The Providence of God, IVP, 1993, p.87

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Aquinas’ unbiblical view of human reason

September 19, 2009

…some of (the heathen), like the Mohammedans and pagans, do not agree with us as to the authority of any Scripture whereby they may be convinced, in the same way as we are able to dispute with the Jews by means of the Old Testament, and with heretics by means of the New : whereas the former accept neither. Wherefore it is necessary to have recourse to natural reason, to which all are compelled to assent. And yet this is deficient in the things of God.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 1, ch.2

Aquinas had too rosy a view of the reasoning of fallen man. He thought natural reason, whilst unable to prove the Trinity, could prove the existence of one God. He failed to appreciate that man is totally depraved (in that every aspect of his nature, including his reason) is affected by the Fall. The Muslim, the pagan and the atheist will not, by and large, accept Aquinas’ reasons since they do not accord with their beliefs.

Strange as it may seem, we proclaim Christ from the Scripture to the Muslim and show him the very words of Jesus from the pages of the New Testament. This has a most powerful effect – more so than our puny reasonings.

Ephesians 4

Hebrews 4.12

God’s Omniscience

September 12, 2009

Now, if the infinity of numbers cannot be beyond the limits of the knowledge of God which comprehends it, who are we little men that we should presume to put limits to His knowledge?…The fact is that God, whose knowledge is simple in its multiplicity and one in its diversity, comprehends all incomprehensible things with an incomprehensible comprehension.

Augustine, City of God, XII, 19

Whatever can be produced or thought or said by a creature and also whatever God himself can produce, all is known by God, even if it is not actually existing. In this sense it can be said that he has knowledge even of non-existing things.

Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Ia. 14.9

Concerning repentance, we ought so to hold that it is no more chargeable against God than is ignorance.

Calvin, Institutes, I, 17, 12

Heresy and Intolerance

May 28, 2009

The only way to argue with a blasphemer is by running your sword through his bowels, as far as it will go.

St. Louis IX, King of France

I entirely detest heretics, and as Magistrate do promise assiduously to perform my duty in investigating them. Heresy is a kind of treason, and if a heretic persisteth in his false belief, he may be handed over to be burned.

St. Thomas More

If heretics be altogether uprooted by death, this is not contrary to Our Lord’s command.

St. Thomas Aquinas

Error will never be suppressed unless the criminal elements of depravity be consumed in flames.

Pope Clement XII

That it is against the will of the Spirit to burn heretics at the stake is condemned as false.

Pope Leo X

Even if my own father were a heretic, I would gather the wood to burn him at the stake.

Pope Paul IV

With regard to heretics, two arguments must be observed: one concerning themselves, the other from the aspect of the Church. On their own side, there is the sin whereby they deserve to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much more serious matter to corrupt the faith which gives life to the soul than to counterfeit that which supports temporal life. Wherefore, if counterfeiters and other evil-doers are immediately condemned to death by the secular authorities, there is much more reason for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, not only to be excommunicated but even put to death. On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy, which looks to the conversion of the wanderer; wherefore, she condemns not at once, but “after the first and second warning”, as the Apostle directs (Titus 3:10). After that, if he is still stubborn, the Church, no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church; and, furthermore, she delivers him over to the secular tribunal, thereby to be exterminated from the world by death.”

St. Thomas Aquinas

NB 1. No scriptural warrant is offered for these intolerant sentiments. Aquinas knew nothing of Paul’s actual sentiments who said (after a second warning) of a divisive person, ‘Have nothing to do with him’ (not, ‘burn him’).

2. How many of these many were heretics themselves? They assume that their obedience to Rome is obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ! Little did they know that many were semi or full-blown Pelagians and thus heretics themselves.