Thursday, December 16, 2010

Aquinas on the Word of Creation and Redemption

“Whoever makes anything by understanding does his work by mentally conceiving the form of the thing to be done. For example, the house constructed of matter is built by the builder by means of the plan (‘rationale’) for this house, as he conceives it in his mind. God produces things in being not through a necessity of his nature, but intelligently and voluntarily. Therefore, God made all things by His Word, which is the rationale of things made by Him. This is why St. John says, All things were made by him [Jn 1:3]. In agreement with this, Moses describes the origin of the world by using such a manner of speech for the single works: God said ‘let there be light,’ and light was made . . . God said: Let there be a firmament made [Gen 1:1–3], and so of the rest. All of which the Psalmist includes, saying, He spoke and they were made [Ps. 148:5]. Thus, therefore, one must understand that God spoke and they were made because He articulated his Word, by which he produced things in being as through their perfect rationale.”[1]


“[Things that] are similar are fittingly united. Now the person of the Son, who is the Word of God, has a shared relationship with all creatures. The artist’s word, his conception, is in fact a model-likeness of his works of art. This is why the Word of God, who is his eternal concept, is also the model-likeness of all creatures. And therefore as creatures are constituted in their species by participation in this likeness, despite being mutable and corruptive, so it was fitting that the fallen creature be restored to its eternal and unchangeable perfection, not just by participation, but by the personal union of the Word. For if the artist’s work has fallen into ruin, he restores it by means of the artistic form through which he conceived it and in accordance with which he originally realized his work.”[2]


[1] Summa Theologica III, q. 3, a. 8.

[2] Summa Contra Gentiles IV, ch. 13 (no. 3491).

1 comment:

John Bergsma said...

Given all that, I always find it remarkable that most Catholic Thomists get so upset about the so-called "Intelligent Design" movement for going around claiming that it's obvious that biological forms are designed. According to these Thomists, to draw such a conclusion is fraught with philosophical and scientific error, a product of Protestant heresies and a mechanistic understanding of the universe. Oh, well. I still look at a bird's wing and think: that didn't happen by chance. I just keep it to myself.