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Monday, November 26, 2012


Benedict XVI on How Faith Affects Reason




Entry 0253: Benedict XVI on How Faith Affects Reason



The contribution of Saint Augustine to the systematization of knowledge by belief was well known to Saint Thomas Aquinas.

In the General Audience of 21 November 2012, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the issue of the reasonableness of faith and he credited Saint Thomas Aquinas for having shown the benefits derived for reason when the human mind applies itself to the comprehension to God’s truth. Saint Thomas showed "how much new fruitful vitality comes to rational human thought from the ingrafting of the principles and truths of the Christian faith."

Monday, November 19, 2012


Benedict XVI on God as Esse Subsistens



Entry 0252: Benedict XVI on God as Esse Subsistens



In his Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on 8 November 2012, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, commented on the value of analogy for the philosophical, theological, and scientific understanding of nature. Here are excerpts from the Holy Father’s Address:

“An interdisciplinary approach to complexity shows that the sciences are not intellectual worlds disconnected from one another and from reality but rather that they are interconnected and directed to the study of nature as a unified, intelligible and harmonious reality in its undoubted complexity.

“Such a vision has fruitful points of contact with the view of the universe taken by Christian philosophy and theology, with its notion of participated being, in which each individual creature, possessed of its proper perfection, also shares in a specific nature and this within an ordered cosmos originating in God’s creative Word.

“It is precisely this inbuilt ‘logical’ and ‘analogical’ organization of nature that encourages scientific research and draws the human mind to discover the horizontal co-participation between beings and the transcendental participation by the First Being.

“It is within this broader context that I would note how fruitful the use of analogy has proved for philosophy and theology, not simply as a tool of horizontal analysis of nature’s realities, but also as a stimulus to creative thinking on a higher transcendental plane.

“Precisely because of the notion of creation, Christian thought has employed analogy not only for the investigation of worldly realities, but also as a means of rising from the created order to the contemplation of its Creator, with due regard for the principle that God’s transcendence implies that every similarity with his creatures necessarily entails a greater dissimilarity: whereas the structure of the creature is that of being a being by participation, that of God is that of being a being by essence, or Esse subsistens” (Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Rome, 8 November 2012).

Friday, November 2, 2012


God’s Existence versus God’s Actus Essendi





Entry 0251: God's Existence and God's Actus Essendi 

It is well known that the question “Does God exist?” had an affirmative answer before the time of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The discovery of the notion of actus essendi was not needed to put to rest the issue of God’s existence. The historical path of the philosophical demonstration of the existence of God is the historical path of a judgment of existence applied to God.

The issue of the definition of the essence of God in terms of the metaphysical principle of actus essendi, on the other hand, is not only an issue different from the issue of God’s existence, it is also an issue that took a different historical path in its development. Aquinas was indeed able to express the human intellect’s awareness of the real in the technical terminology of the actus essendi, but there is no question that before the discovery of the notion of actus essendi, answers to the question “Does God exist?” had been given in terms of a judgment of existence.

In his understanding of esse, Aquinas distinguished clearly between the esse that answers the question of existence (an sit) and the esse that connotes the metaphysical principle of actus essendi. And here something that may seem obvious needs to be emphasized. After the discovery of the notion of actus essendi, the issue of how to reason and conclude correctly about God’s actus essendi is not to be confused with the issue of how to reason and conclude correctly about God’s existence.