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

From: Don Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz>
Date: Tue Mar 11 2008 - 20:20:06 EDT

As a mathematics educator, I would like to see Merv teach his niece the
difference between infinite and eternal. :-)
Perhaps a gentle step would be to consider 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, ... and
then 1/2+1/4+1/8+1/16+ .... on a number line. At some stage one could
reach 0.3+0.03+0.003+0.0003+...
There is no need to submit. :-)
Don

mrb22667@kansas.net wrote:
>
> --Merv
> p.s. said to my niece as I was giving her a math lesson: "...so 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 <gmurphy@raex.com>:
>
>
>> 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
>> http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Merv" <mrb22667@kansas.net>
>> To: <asa@calvin.edu>
>> 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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>
>
>
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```--
Donald A. Nield
Associate Professor, Department of Engineering Science
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Received on Tue Mar 11 20:20:52 2008

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