The Nature of Grace

Thomas

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Summa Theologiae, Part I/II, Q109, Article 1.

Whether without grace man can know any truth?

Objection 1. It would seem that without grace man can know no truth. For, on 1 Corinthians 12:3: "No man can say, the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost," a gloss says: "Every truth, by whomsoever spoken is from the Holy Ghost." Now the Holy Ghost dwells in us by grace. Therefore we cannot know truth without grace.

Objection 2.
Further, Augustine says (Solil. i, 6) that "the most certain sciences are like things lit up by the sun so as to be seen. Now God Himself is He Whom sheds the light. And reason is in the mind as sight is in the eye. And the eyes of the mind are the senses of the soul." Now the bodily senses, however pure, cannot see any visible object, without the sun's light. Therefore the human mind, however perfect, cannot, by reasoning, know any truth without Divine light: and this pertains to the aid of grace.

Objection 3
. Further, the human mind can only understand truth by thinking, as is clear from Augustine (De Trin. xiv, 7). But the Apostle says (2 Corinthians 3:5): "Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God." Therefore man cannot, of himself, know truth without the help of grace.

On the contrary, Augustine says (Retract. i, 4): "I do not approve having said in the prayer, O God, Who dost wish the sinless alone to know the truth; for it may be answered that many who are not sinless know many truths." Now man is cleansed from sin by grace, according to Psalm 50:12: "Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a right spirit within my bowels." Therefore without grace man of himself can know truth.

I answer that, To know truth is a use or act of intellectual light, since, according to the Apostle (Ephesians 5:13): "All that is made manifest is light." Now every use implies movement, taking movement broadly, so as to call thinking and willing movements, as is clear from the Philosopher (De Anima iii, 4). Now in corporeal things we see that for movement there is required not merely the form which is the principle of the movement or action, but there is also required the motion of the first mover. Now the first mover in the order of corporeal things is the heavenly body. Hence no matter how perfectly fire has heat, it would not bring about alteration, except by the motion of the heavenly body. But it is clear that as all corporeal movements are reduced to the motion of the heavenly body as to the first corporeal mover, so all movements, both corporeal and spiritual, are reduced to the simple First Mover, Who is God. And hence no matter how perfect a corporeal or spiritual nature is supposed to be, it cannot proceed to its act unless it be moved by God; but this motion is according to the plan of His providence, and not by necessity of nature, as the motion of the heavenly body. Now not only is every motion from God as from the First Mover, but all formal perfection is from Him as from the First Act. And thus the act of the intellect or of any created being whatsoever depends upon God in two ways: first, inasmuch as it is from Him that it has the form whereby it acts; secondly, inasmuch as it is moved by Him to act.

Now every form bestowed on created things by God has power for a determined act, which it can bring about in proportion to its own proper endowment; and beyond which it is powerless, except by a superadded form, as water can only heat when heated by the fire. And thus the human understanding has a form, viz. intelligible light, which of itself is sufficient for knowing certain intelligible things, viz. those we can come to know through the senses. Higher intelligible things of the human intellect cannot know, unless it be perfected by a stronger light, viz. the light of faith or prophecy which is called the "light of grace," inasmuch as it is added to nature.

Hence we must say that for the knowledge of any truth whatsoever man needs Divine help, that the intellect may be moved by God to its act. But he does not need a new light added to his natural light, in order to know the truth in all things, but only in some that surpass his natural knowledge. And yet at times God miraculously instructs some by His grace in things that can be known by natural reason, even as He sometimes brings about miraculously what nature can do.

Reply to Objection 1.
Every truth by whomsoever spoken is from the Holy Ghost as bestowing the natural light, and moving us to understand and speak the truth, but not as dwelling in us by sanctifying grace, or as bestowing any habitual gift superadded to nature. For this only takes place with regard to certain truths that are known and spoken, and especially in regard to such as pertain to faith, of which the Apostle speaks.

Reply to Objection 2.
The material sun sheds its light outside us; but the intelligible Sun, Who is God, shines within us. Hence the natural light bestowed upon the soul is God's enlightenment, whereby we are enlightened to see what pertains to natural knowledge; and for this there is required no further knowledge, but only for such things as surpass natural knowledge.

Reply to Objection 3. We always need God's help for every thought, inasmuch as He moves the understanding to act; for actually to understand anything is to think, as is clear from Augustine (De Trin. xiv, 7).
 
Namaste Thomas....

Do you have thoughts on what you've posted?

I'm wondering why the question is worded differently...

Question 109. The necessity of grace

1. Without grace, can man know anything?

Why would it go from any-thing to any truth?
 
Do you have thoughts on what you've posted?
I think the reasoning is flawless...

'm wondering why the question is worded differently.
You mean why link grace to the Divine Connection? Because Christianity is about the flow from above to below. I know you think the flow comes from within, from the soul, but that is just one's personal psychism.

The Grace of God comes from 'above' to the 'within': "You are from beneath, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world" John 8:23.

I know you think we're all entitled to everything God is just because we're us, but not everyone sees it that way.

Why would it go from any-thing to any truth?
Because the principle is the same, and Aquinas chases the principle to its ontological source, the Will of God.

"... human understanding ... is sufficient for knowing certain intelligible things, viz. those we can come to know through the senses."

"Higher intelligible things" ... such as God, Christ, angels ... "the human intellect cannot know, unless it be perfected by a stronger light, viz. the light of faith or prophecy which is called the "light of grace," inasmuch as it is added to nature."
(emphasis mine).

We fundamentally disagree on this point: You argue that everything the Divine is, is ours by virtue of our existence. I argue that it is offered to us by grace, and that we have to work for it.

God bless

Thomas
 

Thomas
exquisite creature

i like the concept of grace
( it doesn't contradict my theology )

but as a concept
it is pretty freakin' merky
don't u think ?

how does grace work ?

is this the same as saying
how does Gyd work (thru us) ?

mechanisms
what are the moral/spiritual mechanisms at work here ?

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

( clue
i would look at how life-changing decisions are made )
 
Thomas, you wrote:

Thus we view the 'Divine Connection' as a gift of God, and not something inherent to human nature

Question: So, for you, what is something inherent to human nature?
 
My Grace allegory....

You are standing next to a huge pendulum....like a wrecking ball size pendulum and with our actions or thoughts we push this pendulum in motion swinging away from us....

Now with little things the pendulum comes back and knocks us around (we are not punished for our sins but by them) but with big things we send that pendulum flying, and it doesn't always come back from the area we pushed it, it could come swinging back from any direction, at any time.

Grace is the result of other work we've done in course and/or G!d's benevolence....the pendulum is coming back.....but we've moved from the spot we were, we are no longer on the same path that is in a collision course....by grace we've moved on....
 
My Grace allegory....

we send that pendulum flying, and it doesn't always come back from the area we pushed it, it could come swinging back from any direction, at any time.

Do you develop your grace allegories while watching Ninja Warrior?

:D
 
lol...No cable....haven't seen Ninja warrior in a long time.... Do they have something like that now?

No it was simply an old vision.... and at various times my wrecking ball was like one that tore down a building and at others cushioned....so the actual impact woudn't hurt you, but the inertia it had and the distance it tossed you would cause the landing to be painful...

ie you get tossed into situations where you don't know how you got there but tend to ask 'Why me G!d?'
 

... a stronger light, viz. the light of faith or prophecy which is called the "light of grace," ...​

(Summa Theologiae, Part I/II, Q109, Article 1.)

Thomas
exquisite creature

in the ancient world
(reinforced by Classical scholars)
"grace" is frequently characterized
(via analogy) as "light"

any "analog" reality (reality reasoned-out by metaphors)
is inevitably a tricky proposition
(associative reasoning is circular , it has a dream-logic to it)

the Greeks may have invented the alternative to this
propositional-logic (a definitive , non-circular logic)
but philosophy/theology does not seriously begin employing this sounder logic
till after 1600ce

& i know , Thomas
u seem to distrust any ideas which originate after 1600ce

but this is the modern world we are talking about
& the modern world is "digital" (not "analog")

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

in modern , digital terms
"grace"
1. is either hardwired into the universe , or
2. is a Gyd-devised software

if the material-universe is constructed with faulty hardware
(corrupt or evil , "Kingdom of Man" hardware)
the only way to change the material-universe "for the better"
is to get brand-new hardware , a new (this time) "celestial" universe

Paul of Tarsus (of whom i am profoundly fond) believed this
he opted for this linear "new universe" solution
that "grace" means the arrival of a "new kingdom"
(that grace is hardwired into the "Kingdom of Gyd")

i (personally) am more disposed to the "software" option
(i.e.) same universe , but new vision of human-purpose within it

this is where "grace" is meaningful (as a real-world concept) to me
to see old-things anew , see them with new programming

what had once
(when looked-at in linear terms) seemed too difficult to overcome , too great an obstacle
now
(with newer , more user-friendly programming) seems simple & manageable
eminently doable
same universe (same hardware) but full of new (unexploited) possibilities

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

Gyd is nonlinear action , which changes things
(or more grammatically & existentially correct)
Gyd does

& just as
Gyd is not (& is never) a Being
so too
"grace" is not (& is never) an "is"

grace does not exist as a "thing"
neither as a concrete nor as an abstract thing
(not a halo nor a descending-dove nor a beam-of-light-from-the-sky)

no , Thomas
grace does something
(does something not metaphorical) does something definitive

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

grace
Gyd's (nonlinear) software for changing lives

 
Hi Salishan —
in the ancient world (reinforced by Classical scholars)
"grace" is frequently characterized (via analogy) as "light"
Yes.

any "analog" reality (reality reasoned-out by metaphors) is inevitably a tricky proposition (associative reasoning is circular , it has a dream-logic to it)
That is why the commentary of tradition is invaluable for unlocking the meaning of the analogy.

the Greeks may have invented the alternative to this
propositional-logic (a definitive , non-circular logic) but philosophy/theology does not seriously begin employing this sounder logic till after 1600ce
Well, I'm not sure which school of logic you're referring to, but so 'sounder' is a debatable point.

& i know , Thomas u seem to distrust any ideas which originate after 1600ce
Only the philosophy of relativism. There are many ideas in physics, philosophy, psychology, biology, astronomy ... that I delight in.

but this is the modern world we are talking about
& the modern world is "digital" (not "analog")
I would say it's neither, that's just a construct. I'd say it is, as it always was, organic.

in modern , digital terms "grace" 1. is either hardwired into the universe , or 2. is a Gyd-devised software
Who's terms are those? Seems a very narrow view, to me.

if the material-universe is constructed with faulty hardware (corrupt or evil , "Kingdom of Man" hardware) the only way to change the material-universe "for the better" is to get brand-new hardware , a new (this time) "celestial" universe
Or you could fix it, without having to throw the whole thing away? The 'problem' of man, within this limited analogy, I would describe as a 'software' problem. The cure is metanoia, a change of heart, not a heart-transplant, and that can be achieved without replacing the software (which would require a new person) ... so I think thw analogy doesn't really suit?

Paul of Tarsus (of whom i am profoundly fond) believed this he opted for this linear "new universe" solution that "grace" means the arrival of a "new kingdom" (that grace is hardwired into the "Kingdom of Gyd")
What's your evidence for that? I find it hard to accept, as the idea of linear time is relatively new. In Paul's time, it was seen as cyclic.

And according to his own words (notably Romans and Corinthians), Paul believed in a recapitulation of the old universe (a software upgrade, if you must), not a new one. Paul's recapitulation theology underpins all theologies of salvation.

Grace, by the way, is nothing other than Love, the Immanent presence of God, something the ancients knew well, and which is not dependent upon philosophies of logic. (As some logical propositions present the Deity as capricious, as cruel, as absent, indeed, as non-existing!)

God bless,

Thomas
 

Whether without grace man can know any truth?

... man ... does not need a new light added to his natural light, in order to know the truth in all things, but only in some that surpass his natural knowledge ...​

( Summa Theologiae, Part I/II, Q109, Article 1.)

Thomas Aquinas
exquisite creature

i admire the facility with which u can argue
the pros & cons of any question
& make a reasonable case for each position

but it leaves me a little confused as to
what stance u ultimately rest upon

i assume u conclude that there is
lesser & greater "Light" at play , here

1. that the lesser Light of Reason can see
only lesser (less-than-Divine , secular) things
&
2. that the greater Light of Faith (which points to Ultimate Things) can apprehend
the great things of human existence (the Divine)

1. each of us are born with Reason , but
2. each of us comes to Faith (intimates the Ultimate Things) only thru GRACE

... this close enough to u'r position , T.A. ?
... am i in the right ballpark ?

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

having lived 7.5 centuries ago , T.A.
u can be forgiven u'r use of the metaphor "Light"

today we would talk (instead) about
"neurons" & neural pathways in the brain (neural networks)

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

1. knowledge
2. belief

when u place electrodes on a person's head
there is a section of the brain at the top of the human head
(near where the Frontal & Parietal lobes meet)
which "lights-up" on the scientist's viewing screen
when this human subject reports that he or she is thinking about what
they "know" (their knowledge , their Light of Reason)

but this same section of the brain (these exact same neural networks)
"light-up" when the human subject is thinking about what
he or she "believes" (their Light of Faith)

the human brain utilizes the same neural pathways
T.A. , for both u'r Lesser & u'r Greater "light"

now , i'm no gambler
but i would bet my whole bank-account (i am so sure)
that if these human subjects were to report on GRACE
the section of the brain that "lights-up" would
not be this section at the top of their head

"Reason" & "Faith" are actually not all that different from each other
(similar species engaged in the same neural-feed activity) but , T.A.
(to my way of seeing) "GRACE" is a different bird entirely

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

there is another kind of human biological activity , T.A.
which scientists today can track on a screen

hormonal (& other chemical) releases from glands

but these do not "light-up" the screen in specific places
no , T.A.
they usually "darken" the screen
darken the screen at the site of the organs where the glandular-release originates from , &
(further) they "darken" the screen wherever this glandular-release migrates (in the body) to

darken the screen in those places in the body & brain
which are specifically targeted by the glandular release
in order to initiate new (or changed) activity specific to those places

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

to me , T.A.
u'r "Reason" & "Faith" have zero to do with religion
they are entirely about neural activity in the human brain
(subjective , binary) neurophysiological activity
which is entirely secular in its real-world applications (honest communication)

both "knowledge" & "belief" pursue truth
because "truth" is a brace against culture & the ideologies it spawns
a brace against communal "delusion" (or what u call "sin" , T.A.)

but to locate "truth" , neither Reason nor Faith is sufficient
(nor the ability to argue both sides of any question , though that's a start)
"truth" requires evidence
& not just whimsical factoids , but definitive evidence
evidence which is consistent & verifiable

but
religion is another bird entirely
religion is not (& never has been) about "truth" , T.A.
i'm sorry to tell u

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

religion is about meaning

about the dark movements on the viewing screen
about glands

to me , this is what GRACE is
a glandular release of a very specific kind

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

a glandular release which produces empathy
a. empathy with a fellow creature
b. empathy with the whole physical ecosystem u are part of

the meaning underlying religion , that dark movement on the screen
consists of this twin-empathy
a. (genuine) morality
b. (genuine) spirituality

(& everything else supposedly "religious" , T.A.
is not religion , is merely the battlement-walls of Ego)

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

glandular empathy , T.A.
this is GRACE

& this grace is egoless
it is glandular , it is the way Gyd works

 
Hi Salishan —
i assume u conclude that there is lesser & greater "Light" at play , here
Yes.

1. that the lesser Light of Reason can see only lesser (less-than-Divine , secular) things & 2. that the greater Light of Faith (which points to Ultimate Things) can apprehend the great things of human existence (the Divine)
Yes. But I think that widens out the discussion. The 'light of faith' is reasoned faith, and as such is after the fact, for as the Apostle says "Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not" (Hebrews 11:1 — an excellent discourse, by the way).

1. each of us are born with Reason , but
2. each of us comes to Faith (intimates the Ultimate Things) only thru GRACE

... this close enough to u'r position , T.A. ?
... am i in the right ballpark ?
Yes.

having lived 7.5 centuries ago , T.A. u can be forgiven u'r use of the metaphor "Light"
Why forgive? It's an excellent metaphor, common to all religiously-oriented traditions. It's as viable today as it ever was.

today we would talk (instead) about "neurons" & neural pathways in the brain (neural networks)
But that is subsequent to the light, of both both reason and faith. Thinking builds those networks. You're talking about the brain, I'm talking about the mind. Studying the brain won't tell you about the content of the mind. That's like trying to figure out the text of a book by looking at the keyboard on which it was written.

when u place electrodes on a person's head there is a section of the brain at the top of the human head (near where the Frontal & Parietal lobes meet) which "lights-up" on the scientist's viewing screen when this human subject reports that he or she is thinking about what they "know" (their knowledge , their Light of Reason) but this same section of the brain (these exact same neural networks) "light-up" when the human subject is thinking about what
he or she "believes" (their Light of Faith)
Yes. They known what they believe.

the human brain utilizes the same neural pathways T.A. , for both u'r Lesser & u'r Greater "light"
OK. But that still has not approached what the light is.

now , i'm no gambler but i would bet my whole bank-account (i am so sure) that if these human subjects were to report on GRACE the section of the brain that "lights-up" would not be this section at the top of their head
Why not? You think no-one knows GRACE?

"Reason" & "Faith" are actually not all that different from each other (similar species engaged in the same neural-feed activity) but, T.A. (to my way of seeing) "GRACE" is a different bird entirely
Well Grace in the Christian tradition is super-natural — it's source is the Divine, it is the Presence of the Divine.

There has been a lot of research into religious experience, and one strand, in Catholic teaching, considers the relationship between mystical excess and psychological states, such as trances, epilepsy, with a cogent argument suggesting that such excesses can trigger these effects. Ezekiel is an example of such, and so is St Paul.

Man today, so conditioned to be a materialist consumer, looks to bliss as the effect of mystical excess — the reward for having achieved the state, or the reward of the Indwelling Presence of God — yet the mystics themselves speak against such excesses, or rather, the excess is not the state, but a side-effect of the process in the soul that effects the body. The effect can be most unsettling, often spoken of as a 'Dark Night' or 'Blinding Light' — that is the 'Greater Light', as as we hold it, it is supra-luminary.

It does seem to me you're talking about the effect, not the cause?

to me , T.A. u'r "Reason" & "Faith" have zero to do with religion they are entirely about neural activity in the human brain
(subjective , binary) neurophysiological activity which is entirely secular in its real-world applications (honest communication)
What is the Gospel but an 'honest communication'? It is the Word of Truth.

both "knowledge" & "belief" pursue truth because "truth" is a brace against culture & the ideologies it spawns a brace against communal "delusion" (or what u call "sin" , T.A.)
You seem to be treating 'truth' as a human construct? If not then what you're saying is self-evident, surely? "The truth is out there", as the saying goes. Something true does not need to be observed, to be true.

but to locate "truth" , neither Reason nor Faith is sufficient (nor the ability to argue both sides of any question , though that's a start) "truth" requires evidence & not just whimsical factoids , but definitive evidence evidence which is consistent & verifiable
Well that depends on what you think are "whimsical factoids".

For some, the experience of the world is evidence enough:
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
Auguries of Innocence William Blake
I know a man who understood when looking at a rose through a window. Another who saw the truth when looking at the Rose Windows at Chartres Cathedral. In both cases reason and faith worked in harmony, but Grace was prior to both, and was the source of faith and understanding.

"Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves (cf. Ex 33:18; Ps 27:8-9; 63:2-3; Jn 14:8; 1 Jn 3:2)." Fides et Ratio — The opening words of the Encyclical Letter "Faith and Reason", of John Paul II)

It all depends on whether one thinks the Knowledge of God is a "whimsical factoid".

But if you think the Christian has never experienced the fruits of his or her faith, you are wrong.

And if you think empirically demonstrable experience is the infallible proof of everything, I think you're wrong there, too.

but religion is another bird entirely religion is not (& never has been) about "truth" , T.A. i'm sorry to tell u
And I'm sorry to tell you that you are gravely mistaken.

religion is about meaning about the dark movements on the viewing screen about glands to me , this is what GRACE is
a glandular release of a very specific kind
Everything is about meaning. Sacred or secular.

Give me any God-induced non-miraculous effect — such as bliss — and I bet it can be reproduced in the lab. Miracles, of course, can't. So scientism chooses not to believe in something it can't possess.

Science, on the other hand, has declared that we are obliged to act on faith and with sound reason because we do not know — science operates by faith in seeking the proof it requires to say something is true.

The very quest for knowledge is, before all else, an act of faith.

a glandular release which produces empathy a. empathy with a fellow creature b. empathy with the whole physical ecosystem u are part of the meaning underlying religion , that dark movement on the screen consists of this twin-empathy a. (genuine) morality b. (genuine) spirituality
I dispute that. The same glandular release can be triggered to the same effect chemically. Listen to drug users banging on about how drugs 'expanded their consciousness' — it's hokum. It might cause one to question, but then the saints had the reason and the wit about them to question without the recourse to drugs. It's nothing to brag about — it just shows how far we are from where we ought to be.

(& everything else supposedly "religious" , T.A.
is not religion , is merely the battlement-walls of Ego)
So what's wrong with ego? That reminds me of a story:
Palladius said, "One day when I was suffering from boredom I went to abba Macarius and said, "What shall I do? My thoughts afflict me, saying, you are not making any progress, go away from here." He said to me, "Tell them, for Christ's sake, I am guarding the walls." The Paradise of the Desert Fathers
Absolutely every thought we have passes across those battlements.

Asceticism, spiritual discipline, is the necessary training to man our own battlements, rather than have them manned against us but what we would rather neither be nor have. It's uncomfortable, so frowned on today.

glandular empathy , T.A. this is GRACE
No, that's glandular empathy, and you don't need grace to attain that.

& this grace is egoless it is glandular , it is the way Gyd works
Is not Grace the Ego of God?

If God worked through the body, then God has a huge problem as the problem is with the mind, which is superior to the body.

Grace is immanently present to the person through the soul. If it were sensible to the body, we'd have found a way to commodotise and market it by now ...

God bless,

Thomas
 

Thomas Aquinas
exquisite creature

Copernicus (like Columbus before him) is a bit of a shyster
a shameless self-promoter who borrows one great-big idea
(which has been floating around for awhile) & makes the idea his own
even though the math does not support his particular version of the idea

(just as Portuguese mariners know that the world is round
but also know that China is 4 times farther away than Columbus calculates it)
Copernicus (similarly) asserts that the planets circle the sun (true enough) , but also
that the planets do so in perfect circular orbits (even though the evidence is more elliptical)

science will have to wait for Kepler (the first genuine scientist of the night sky)
to follow the evidence where the evidence (actually) leads

Copernicus believes that Gyd (as "builder of the universe") would not dirty his hands
with anything but the perfection of pure-circles for his planets to orbit the sun

Copernicus is wrong , Gyd does not work this way

Copernicus's sin (the trap that he has fallen into) , T.A.
is
the idealist fallacy

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

Now every use implies movement, taking movement broadly, so as to call thinking and willing movements, as is clear from the Philosopher (De Anima iii, 4). Now in corporeal things we see that for movement there is required not merely the form which is the principle of the movement or action, but there is also required the motion of the first mover.
...
But it is clear that as all corporeal movements are reduced to the motion of the heavenly body as to the first corporeal mover, so all movements, both corporeal and spiritual, are reduced to the simple First Mover, Who is God ...​

( Summa Theologiae, Part I/II, Q109, Article 1.)
T.A. , u base u'r physics of movement upon Aristotle (who u call "the Philosopher")
a physics which will be demolished by Isaac Newton 4.5 centuries after u'r day

u'r deductive reasoning (via negativa) regarding the nature of Gyd
a. Gyd is simple
b. Gyd is perfect
c. Gyd is infinite
d. Gyd is immutable
e. Gyd is one
are propositions all deduced-down from Aristotle's (now debunked) idea of "first mover"
an idea which u idealize as the divine (& original) "First Mover" (Gyd)

starting from a false proposition , T.A.
a person can deduce anything

doing so is surrendering to the "idealist fallacy"
Gyd is probably not simple/perfect/infinite/immutable/one

Gyd does not work this way

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

T.A. , there are
2 things i consider evil
(not vilely evil , but evil nevertheless)

1. is culture
2. is instincts

how a person (genuinely) experiences the world & behaves in it
tell me , is this ... ?
1. based upon "nurture" (culturally-imposed learning) ? , or
2. based upon "nature" (genetically-driven instincts) ?

most 21st century analysts as well as plain-folk would answer , "a mix"
but , T.A.
i would say "no , just the opposite"

(& this is also where u find freedom)

it comes with the ability to
1. turn-off nurture
2. turn-off nature

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

culture & its gurus (parents/teachers/leaders) educate u (as a child)
into the culture's ideological value-system

what u call "Mind" , T.A.
is actually a cultural-map which the child internalizes

this map appears hard & real & objective , but
it is (in fact) pure delusion , T.A.
(it ignores or rationalizes-away all facts which do not fit the map)

those (however) who can turn-off nurture
(who take an excursion off the beaten path)
are able to see facts which are otherwise (culturally) ignored

to do so , is to step outside of culture (outside of the learned mindset)
& this is called curiosity

& curiosity is the core of secular reality
curiosity, not culture
is the core of "truth" , the core of a true reality

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

instincts , focusing upon one singular instinct
will unite groups , &
those with the most urgent instincts are often the group's leaders

but "surrendering to nature" (giving-in to any particular genetic impulse)
yields inevitable conflict with those driven by other instinctual drives
(because "survival of the fittest" is clearly the First Mover of biological life , T.A.
"survival of the fittest" should thus be named the "meaning of life" , right ?
... NO ! ! )

instincts exist , are (volatile) facts of biological survival
but they have no "meaning" (they are just proclivities , arbitrary drives)

those persons most graced with self-restraint , the ability to turn-off these innate drives
(best able to step outside their-own genetic instincts)
are the persons most able to locate meaningful reality

& self-restraint is the gate to religious reality
self-restraint , not instincts
is the gate to "meaning" , the gate to a meaningful reality

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

T.A.
curiosity & self-restraint lead to reality
1. curiosity (excursion off the beaten path) leads to evidence (relative-truth)
2. self-restraint (grace) leads to providence (ultimate-meaning , Gyd)

to me , T.A. (regarding u'r metaphysic)
1. Mind (internalized culture) leads to delusion & bigotry
2. First Mover (corporeal instincts) leads to barbarity & desolation

by idealizing Aristotle , T.A.
u rationalize evil (which is the ultimate consequence of u'r "idealist fallacy")

it is only when u turn off each that u will find
1. true , &
2. meaningful
reality


 
Hi Salishan —
Copernicus's sin (the trap that he has fallen into) , T.A.
is the idealist fallacy
OK. But a relatively small and understandable error (by no means a sin) considering. It certainly doesn't deserve to hurt his reputation any. Just goes to show what happens when you try to mix science and philosophy.

Copernicus' error, if that's what it is, is forgetting his Scripture: Nothing in nature is perfect (cf Luke 18:19). But I don't think science condemns him for that.

T.A. , u base u'r physics of movement upon Aristotle (who u call "the Philosopher") a physics which will be demolished by Isaac Newton 4.5 centuries after u'r day
Oh, I don't think so, and I don't think Newton thought that, either. Certainly, physics refined the notion, but the over-arching principle of the First Mover remains, even today.

u'r deductive reasoning (via negativa) regarding the nature of Gyd
a. Gyd is simple
b. Gyd is perfect
c. Gyd is infinite
d. Gyd is immutable
e. Gyd is one
are propositions all deduced-down from Aristotle's (now debunked) idea of "first mover" an idea which u idealize as the divine (& original) "First Mover" (Gyd)
Debunked? Absolutely not, that idea has not been disproved. Ignored by some, but not disproved. In fact, in many ways it's been reinforced, surely? Everything moves for a reason, and that is it has been acted upon.

Scientism (as opposed to science) simply excludes any reference to that which it cannot measure, which is intellectually deficient as an argument.

Metaphysics asks the question: why is there anything at all?, and some systems posit God. Scientism can argue that we don't know, therefore we can't say, but that is not a proof, just the admission that the axioms one is working by do not apply in this case.

Scientism's sin (pride) is in assuming that it's own self-declared axioms of the limitations of knowledge, which I regard as the imposition of a false horizon, is fundamentally anti-science, illogical, irrational and unreasonable. The argument that the only the empirical exists is undone by the simple fact there is no empirical method of determining that as a fact.

starting from a false proposition , T.A. a person can deduce anything
And I think your proposition is false.

doing so is surrendering to the "idealist fallacy" Gyd is probably not simple/perfect/infinite/immutable/one
Well God necessarily is simple/perfect/infinite/immutable/one, by the definition of the Abrahamic and Western Philosophical Traditions.

You have to accept that definition before you can prove it invalid. Saying it's a fallacy is not a proof.

how a person (genuinely) experiences the world & behaves in it tell me , is this ... ?
1. based upon "nurture" (culturally-imposed learning) ? , or
2. based upon "nature" (genetically-driven instincts) ?
Yes, that's proven, is it not? The nature/nurture debate does not resolve to 'either/or' but 'and/and', as I understand it.

most 21st century analysts as well as plain-folk would answer , "a mix" but , T.A. i would say "no , just the opposite"
Well, that's for you to prove.

what u call "Mind" , T.A. is actually a cultural-map which the child internalizes this map appears hard & real & objective , but it is (in fact) pure delusion , T.A. (it ignores or rationalizes-away all facts which do not fit the map)
I rather think that's what you're doing. Your 'map' as I see it it ignores the rational and reasonable argument that the human mind is not 'simple/perfect/infinite/immutable/one'. You're just assuming — according to a contemporary cultural education — that God does not exist, but you have not proved that God does not exist.
those (however) who can turn-off nurture (who take an excursion off the beaten path) are able to see facts which are otherwise (culturally) ignored to do so , is to step outside of culture (outside of the learned mindset) & this is called curiosity
No, that's a self deception.

There was a demonstration of just this by an artist. He took two paintings, one by a Japanese artist, and one by a European one, both of whom claimed utter originality against their parental culture's idea of 'art'. He asked his audience to guess which was which. They were 100% correct.

Aristotle argued 'there is nothing in the mind which is not first in the senses' and that is true. What is in the mind is according to one's experience of nurture and nature.

& curiosity is the core of secular reality curiosity, not culture is the core of "truth" , the core of a true reality
A curiosity that presumes the non-existence of God? That's a closed 'curiosity' in my book.

instincts , focusing upon one singular instinct
will unite groups , & those with the most urgent instincts are often the group's leaders
Yes, but a primary instinct is the will to power, the will to be (try willing 'not being'). The instinct to put self first. A child in the womb will drain the mother of her every resource in its will to live. The discovery that the 'self' is not the totality of being, and that it is neither self-causative nor self-sufficient is something the child learns.

I would argue further (I'm sure others do) that this is why science posits nurture as well as nature. All existence depends upon its own nature, and the nature of that which moves it, which one can call nurture.

One of my favourite philosophers is Anaximander (c611-c 546 BC)
He argued that 'the infinite' (apeiron) was the source of all things and led Greek philosophy to a new level of conceptual abstraction.

The same rational way of thought led him to introduce the apeiron (indefinite, infinite, boundless, unlimited). Origin must be something else unlimited in its source, that could create without experiencing decay, so that genesis would never stop.

Anaximander was not only the first to use of the word apeíron to designate the Original Principle. He was also the first philosopher to employ, in a philosophical context, the term arche, not merely as the beginning in time, but as the source of time itself, the Principle of all things, that could perpetually give birth to whatever will be.

Like the apeiron, the arche is "eternal and ageless" (Hippolitus).

Anaximander believed that all things emerege from, and return to, that from which they came: apeiron. The one surviving fragment of Anaximander's writing discusses just this, and exists only in a translation by Simplicius:

Whence things have their origin (apeiron),
Thence also their destruction happens,
According to necessity (arche);
For they give to each other justice and recompense
For their injustice (nature and nurture, respectively)
In conformity with the ordinance of Time.

An alternate translation by Bertrand Russell is:
Into that from which things take their rise they pass away once more, as is ordained; for they make reparation and satisfaction to one another for the injustice according to the appointed time.

That still holds.

instincts exist , are (volatile) facts of biological survival
but they have no "meaning" (they are just proclivities , arbitrary drives)
Impossible thesis, surely? If something exists, it has a meaning, the first meaning being its actual existence ... or rather, if it exists, that means it does exist.

I would suggest the primordial instinct, the will to be, is very much a proclivity and by no means arbitrary.

those persons most graced with self-restraint , the ability to turn-off these innate drives (best able to step outside their-own genetic instincts) are the persons most able to locate meaningful reality
No, think about it. If one can overcome one's instinct, one needs to understand it. Therefore, as we don't know ourselves completely (neuroscience proves that) we cannot assume we have entirely overcome our drives, because we don't know the full range of those drives.

Those who argue they have do so within a limited context.

by idealizing Aristotle , T.A. u rationalize evil (which is the ultimate consequence of u'r "idealist fallacy")
I rather think you misunderstand both Aristotle and Aquinas. And biology.

it is only when u turn off each that u will find
1. true , &
2. meaningful
reality
I think you're wrong.

I certainly accept the idea of ascesis, of detachment, as a necessary pre-requisite of the apprehension of truth, but not by withdrawing from the experience of the world (which is through the body). If one does that, there is nothing one can know beyond the fantasia of the mind, there is no way of knowing what is real and what is false.

I believe all being:
1: Exists as itself — its ousia (its essence, in this case its way of being);
2: Exists for itself — its arche (its principle of being);
3: Exists in relation to other existence — apeiron.

I think the fundamental differenc ein our viewpoints is that I regard the infinite as transcending the empirical. You seem to be arguing the empirical, the material, is all there is.

I would suggest the New Physics leaves that assumption on very uncertain ground.

God bless,

Thomas
 

Now not only is every motion from God as from the First Mover,
but all formal perfection is from Him as from the First Act ...​

( Summa Theologiae, Part I/II, Q109, Article 1.)
Thomas Aquinas
exquisite creature

Aristotle makes some biological observations/speculations that
19th century biologists confirm
so u'r "Philosopher" has a good eye , is not merely an adventurous speculative-thinker

however i am aware of no physicist since Isaac Newton's day who has gotten
productive use from Aristotle's observations/speculations in this particular arena
modern-physics , (despite what some apologists would like to believe)

i'll admit that First-Mover & First-Cause & First-Act have a nice ring to them
("can't get a cart rolling until somebody gives it a push")
particularly since the ancient world fetishizes "stasis" as "the norm"
(which only a few wiseacre Greeks see-fit to contest) , but T.A.
with u'r critical methods , u should have known better
(Aristotle really isn't into "perfection" to the degree that u are)

modern physics sees "stasis" (stability) as more the exception than the rule
modern physics does not see simple/single "causes" , but
sees the physical universe as a (very complicated) self-propelling engine

put over-simplistically
the "god" of modern physics (the First Cause , if u will) is the Big Bang
the First Act , where "gravity" separates from the "electronuclear" force
(producing a crazy-soup of subatomic particles)
& everything-after-that is the result of the expanding/cooling universe
(sort of)

following the Bang ...
Second Act: is a "Grand Unification Epoch" of relative stability (for a fraction of a picosecond)
until a critical-mass is achieved
& the strong-force separates from the electronuclear force
Third Act: is an "Electroweak Epoch" of relative stability (for most of a picosecond)
until a critical-mass is achieved
& the weak-force separates from the electromagnetic force
Fourth Act: is a "Quark Epoch" of relative stability (for a microsecond)
until a critical-mass is achieved
& quarks become confined within hadrons
Fifth Act: is a "Hadron Epoch" of relative stability (for one second)
until a critical-mass is achieved
& neutrinos cease to interact with other particles
Sixth Act: is a "Lepton Epoch" of relative stability (for a few minutes)
until a critical-mass is achieved
& lepton & anti-lepton pairs annihilate
Seventh Act: is a "Photon Epoch" of relative stability (for 379,000 years)
until a critical-mass is achieved
& hydrogen & helium nuclei capture electrons to form stable atoms
Eighth Act: is a "Dark Ages" of relative stability (for 100,000,000 years)
until a critical-mass is achieved
& the first stars begin to shine
etc...

(our sun & Earth come along about 9.1 billion years after the Big Bang
& Earth has clear-cut geo/biological epochs/"Acts" , of its own
none of which are all too "perfect")

at each stage
the universe appears stable (in "stasis") , like it could go-on "forever" (just "as is")
but as the universe cools & expands & cooks its elements , something eventually happens
& there is no going back
("being" & "eternity" seem very palpable , but ultimately are illusions
T.A. , Gyd does not work this way)

even Yahweh in Genesis 1-3 finds his work "good" (not "perfect")
T.A. , u should have taken note

 

I believe all being:
1: Exists as itself — its ousia (its essence, in this case its way of being);
2: Exists for itself — its arche (its principle of being);
3: Exists in relation to other existence — apeiron.
Thomas
exquisite creature

to the current generation of neo-Darwinians , a human organism exists for just one reason
to serve the Selfish Gene (inside of it) , to help this gene survive & multiply

to these scientists , the genome is a form that names itself "perfect"
then seeks to prevail ("survival of the fittest") over all other forms

the Selfish Gene is
1. perfect in itself (to itself) (ousia)
2. exists only to further itself (arche)
3. & is satisfied with nothing short of (surviving) "forever" (apeiron "to infinity")

Thomas , this genome
is the darkside of u'r concept of "being"
it is where ideals of perfection lead

"survival of the fittest" being the ideal algorithm
the First Cause of human action (raw instinct)

there is no personal meaning for the organism , just a vile proclivity
(a "greater" will , stronger than the individual organism) , just naked tooth-&-claw
a will-to-power aimed solely to serve First Cause (its god) , to serve survival of the "perfect form"

(this is where ontological idealism leads , ultimately
Thomas , if u turn baldly self-honest in u'r introspections)

First Cause leads to something entirely-other than Gyd

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

the organism bows to the gene

"ego" is the organism's behavioral shadow cast-up from the genome
the Selfish Gene is the perfected "form" which the organism tries to mimic

ego serves the ends (only) of the Selfish Gene
(the ends only of this First Cause , only of this primal-instinct/false-deity
providing no independent meaning to the individual organism itself)

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

only with a religious sense , only with instinctual self-restraint
can u step out from under the shadow of the Selfish Gene

step-out-of ego , away from the specter of First Cause (repudiating naked survival)
this is how u produce meaning (shutting-down the "greater" will , canceling "power")

(think of Jesus the Galilean
it is by repudiating naked survival that u find grace)

 

Thomas
exquisite creature

like u'r beloved Aquinas (whom i genuinely admire)
i am trying to "place before my reader" a consistent theory
of human existence & divine involvement therein
a. humans , being of the same substance but intrinsically distinct from animals &
b. Gyd , being neither any kind of "First Cause" (whatsoever) nor as any kind of boundless abstraction
(Gyd not reducible to a physics big bang First Cause nor a biological survival of the fittest First Cause)
(Gyd not amplified all-the-way-to Infinite Mind)​

& Thomas , i wish u would have some respect for the scope of my endeavor
by trying to rephrase the whole of my argument (as Aquinas would have done)
rather than tear-into-these-arguments cold , cold & piecemeal

i am making the case that
1. the "secular" is real (& is relatively definable , but only as truth)
2. the "religious" is real (& is relatively definable , but only as meaning)

y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

truth is relative

a reporter brings to his newspaper's editor the story of a hit&run accident
with one witness describing a dark small car driven by a Caucasian driver wearing a dark jacket
& the editor won't run the story , telling the reporter to find a corroborating witness to this accident
(the implication being that a single witness might be perceptually-challenged or intentionally-lying)

the reporter locates a second witness who saw
"a white-guy in an army-green jacket driving a maroon compact car"
& now the editor will publish the story

why ?
because the initial evidence has been verified
(yes , both witnesses ... could be lying or could be half-blind
but the odds of this being the case are greatly diminished)
this (now) constitutes "truth" by journalistic standards

the report in the newspaper in not absolutely true
but is relatively true
(within the standards of "good journalism")

there is a testing-procedure which is rigorously followed , an ethics involved here
(just as there is in the scientific community & amongst historians & also in jurisprudence)
evidence produces only a relative truth , but one held to high standards

& this is what raises these professions above the average-mind , above the culture-at-large
Thomas , they do not surrender to what u call "the fantasia of the mind"
(but neither is it expected of them to nail-down absolute or perfect truth)

these professions ask their members to step
outside of commonly held presumptions about reality
outside of bigotry , outside of cultural-meanings (outside of ideological "values")
(& these members do so , likely only half-successfully when doing their best
but it is only in these moments when they do their task , beyond acculturated givens
that u can talk about what they have uncovered ... as being "truth")

truth is relative (& subjective , but ethically so)
where any talk of "absolute truth" is
(in real-world terms) the height of idealist self-deception

the secular world is built upon this real-world (procedure-bound) sense of truth
& not the "ideal truth" that one culture would like to impose on all other cultures
(not the "ideological" truth/self-deception of this culture's "fantasia of mind")

in the "good existence" (as defined by the secular world)
individuals need to internalize (testing-)procedures which
(relatively speaking) turn-off this or that bit of ideological-learned fantasia
(turnoff this or that "meme") which is implanted (spreading like a virus) within the culture
in which the individual lives (thus being implanted within her or his self , as consequence)

accomplishing this internalization
(i.e.) sidelining bias & other presuppositions (even in a small way) is
(well , should be)
Ethics 101

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

meaning breaks-free of origins

this is where religion pertains
in u'r & my existence (in everyone's existence) , Thomas
meaning necessitates change (something happening , a turn of events)

otherwise there is only blind fate , First Cause spinning-out-its-thread
(endless inertia)
"ontology" , "teleology"

(e.g. Jesus on the cross was not a First Cause in human existence , but
a radical overturning of a long established pattern of human existence
... should u choose to argue anything else , it will inevitably yield the most convoluted of ratiocinations)

One of my favorite philosophers is Anaximander (c611-c 546 BC)
He argued that 'the infinite' (apeiron) was the source of all things and led Greek philosophy to a new level of conceptual abstraction.

The same rational way of thought led him to introduce the apeiron (indefinite, infinite, boundless, unlimited). Origin must be something else unlimited in its source, that could create without experiencing decay, so that genesis would never stop.

Anaximander was not only the first to use the word apeíron to designate the Original Principle. He was also the first philosopher to employ, in a philosophical context, the term arche, not merely as the beginning in time, but as the source of time itself, the Principle of all things, that could perpetually give birth to whatever will be.

Like the apeiron, the arche is "eternal and ageless" (Hippolitus).
yes , Thomas
the Pre-Socratic Greek thinkers are one of the glories of Western Civilization

the English language got most of its abstract concepts from Latinate words (via Greece) , concepts
not (by & large) derived from the solider & cruder Angle-Saxon nouns & verbs
... but had English not had Latin & French to rely upon for abstract thought
it would have had to re-employ concrete Angle-Saxon root-words twisted toward new ends

this is what the Pre-Socratic Greeks began to do (with their archaic language)
with such (then) everyday-world concrete-words like apeiron
(a- meaning "without" & -peiron meaning "border" , like the edge of a planted field)
(becoming suddenly a label for some abstract-concept at the frontier of Greek consciousness)

in the cognitive-development of children (according to developmental psychologists)
children only gain this ability to handle abstract concepts at age 11 or 12
(age 11-15 is designated as the cognitive-period of "formal operations")
but before the Pre-Socratics , no human on this planet thought via "formal operations"

thinking abstractly (thinking via ideas rather than picturing physical things)
vastly accelerates calculations of all kinds , becomes an efficient shorthand
in personal & group problem-solving , but (cognitively) by age 15
this mental abstraction-of-reality begins to cause as many problems as it solves

an abstract-concept (ultimately) becomes rootless , a metaphor which
can mean anything or mean everything , to those who use it

an abstraction (in the end) becomes (practically) meaningless
(pretending as it does to the stature of an underlying reality which preexists creation)
so in today's world , an abstraction is only useful if it is (rigorously) definitive
or happens to be pragmatic (not a timeless universal but an agent of change)

all (genuinely) pragmatic behavior is religious behavior
(whether the perpetrator at the time realizes it or not)
because meaning is being created out of meaninglessness

the mindlessness of the "Big Bang" or of "Survival of the Fittest" (i.e. of apeiron)
has been purposefully (gracefully) redirected

 
Aristotle makes some biological observations/speculations ...
The Greeks made many errors — their idea of optics, for example, suggests that the world is seen by a ray from the eye — but I'm not talking biology here.

however i am aware of no physicist since Isaac Newton's day who has gotten productive use from Aristotle's observations/speculations in this particular arena modern-physics
OK ... but then Aquinas and you and I are discussing a different arena, in which Aristotle is still an Authority.

Look at Paul Ricoeur, one of the greatest minds of recent times. His trilogy, "Time and Narrative" is founded on a discussion of Aristotle and Augustine respectively.

modern physics sees "stasis" (stability) as more the exception than the rule modern physics does not see simple/single "causes" , but sees the physical universe as a (very complicated) self-propelling engine
Some modern physics ... others see the universe in entirely Platonic terms (check out the latest issue of New Scientist).

In the same issue, the notion of 'progress' is also questioned.

put over-simplistically the "god" of modern physics (the First Cause , if u will) is the Big Bang the First Act...
I would suggest that's scientism, not science ... modern physics accepts we are at the very start of a long, long journey ... we know nowhere near enough for you to be making such statements.

We see the Big Bang, in itself, as an effect ... you're looking as empirical effect as a cause, which it is of that subsequent to it, but we look to what is prior ... not in time, of course, as time and space as products of the Bang, , Well, I see the 'Big Bang' as the First Effect.

God bless

Thomas
 
to the current generation of neo-Darwinians , a human organism exists for just one reason to serve the Selfish Gene (inside of it) , to help this gene survive & multiply
But that's a limited notion, according to the latest scientific thinking. As well as 'selfish', there is also something 'open to the outside' and 'co-operative' hard-wired — nature works more by co-operation than by conflict.

The purely selfish gene would have killed itself off, much like a virus destroying its host, or like modern western culture destroying its host.

God bless,

Thomas
 
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