Re: [asa] eternal universe in Aquinas' time?

From: <>
Date: Tue Mar 11 2008 - 19:59:15 EDT

Thanks, George. And now I'm interested in Aquinas' statements below that you
gave. Apparently others have taken statements like these to mean that Aquinas
was hedging his bets to allow for these other creation scenarios. But this
sounds like he is denouncing them as pagan error -- ALL of them. I take it that
he wasn't giving commentary on whether such things as love, strife, or intellect
were agents used in creation so much as he was asserting that none of these is
co-eternal with God. Is that accurate?

p.s. said to my niece as I was giving her a math lesson: " there are an
infinite amount of threes needed after the decimal point before it can equal 1/3
since it can only approach 1/3. So in a sense .3 repeating forever = 1/3" Her
immediate reply: "No they don't. Because if the threes went on forever, then
you're claiming something besides God is infinite; and only God is eternal."
Never having had theology trump a math lesson before, I smiled in submission and
 thought it best to resume practice with percentages.

Quoting George Murphy <>:

> Aquinas concludes his discussion of this issue - whether or not the world is
> eternal - in the Summa Contra Gentiles as follows:
> "The preceding considerations enable us to avoid various errors made by the
> pagan philosophers; the assertion of the world's eternity, the assertion of
> the eternity of the world's matter, out of which at a certain time the world
> began to be formed, either by chance, or by some intellect, or even by love
> or by strive. For in all these cases something beside God is claimed to be
> eternal; and this is incompatible with the Catholic faith."
> Don't believe everything you read in a blog. In fact, don't believe most of
> it.
> The complete discussion of this is in Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra
> Gentiles, Book 2: Creation (Notre Dame, 1975), pp.91-115.
> Shalom
> George
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Merv" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7:06 PM
> Subject: [asa] eternal universe in Aquinas' time?
> On the 'Jesus Creed' blog that David pointed out, I found this
> interesting comment...
> "In the day of Thomas Aquinas, Genesis was read as pure metaphor, simply
> because philosophers agreed with theologians that the universe was more
> or less eternal. ‘Creation’ then, referred to an ontological dependence
> of Creation on its Creator."
> ----someone named Daniel
> Is this really true? Did theologians from a millennium ago really think
> the universe was eternal? Philosophers I could understand, but I would
> be interested why any theologians would reach that conclusion --- if
> they really did. Perhaps I don't understand his latter comment.
> --Merv
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Received on Tue Mar 11 20:00:21 2008

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