12. Summa Contra Gentiles by St. Thomas Aquinas Bk 1 chapters 26-35

The last post was here.

I’m having a lot of trouble concentrating on reading ANYTHING right now.  This is for good and bad reasons.   The good reasons I’m having trouble reading is because of all the fun, miraculous, productive work I can do around the place here.  Spring is coming.  Cuttings are growing in the greenhouse.   Seeds are tucked into their starter mix.  The garden is tilled.  Fence work continues apace.   I have all of the winter firewood for 2023-24 to get in the woodshed by Easter, etc.  That’s all good stuff.  The bad reasons I struggle with my readings are all related to the quickening.

I will still be on pace to finish SCG in two years.  These posts are just going to be less frequent or reliable.  It’s more important to me to get the garden in AND read SCG than to try get everything done with perfect posts for ya’ll to read, but not get the reading completed.

Books 26-35 are basically refutations of lots of bonehead misconceptions about the nature and name of God.

 

  • God is not the formal cause of all things.
  • God is simple, but not basic.
  • God is not the being of all.
  • God is not the form of a body.
  • God is perfect, lacking nothing.
  • God is the first being.
  • All creatures bear some likeness to their creature, but not vice versa.
  • All creatures are assimilated to God.
  • Anything said of something perfect is predicated of God.
  • We can more discern what God is not than what he IS.
  • Multiple names for God show the difficulty of language, not plurality in God.
  • Nothing is predicated of God and other things in the same way.
  • All predicates of God are essential, all others have predicates by participation.
  • Not everything predicated of God and other things are equivocal.
  • Things said of God are analogical.
  • Though the true God may be referred to by many names, there is only one true God, the names often referring to our many conceptions of God.

 

And so on.   I think this section is important for those who grew up in non-Thomist church to really focus on, as so many churches are metaphysically shaky, or downright wrong about the nature of God. Thomas sets it straight here.

I’m reading and studying this with a few men who are meeting together once each month to discuss the readings.  Our meetings consist of us attempting to come to a summary of each chapter.   This is difficult, but worthwhile.

These men are all good readers, have worked the great books method HARD for years and years.  We aren’t trying to give Thomas the Socratic treatment.   We seek to understand his text, we want to be able to teach his text.

It’s been fruitful.

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