Friday, February 6, 2015

THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-1274)

“God’s being’s not part of his essence,”
Said Thomas, with no small insistence.
But it’s better to say
In a negative way,
That God just is not in existence.

Note: Thomas Aquinas was no more a fan of the ontological argument than was Gaunilo (see previous posts).  In his Summa Theologiae, Aquinas criticizes a version of the ontological argument that holds that it is self-evident that existence is a perfection and hence part of God’s essence by definition.  Aquinas argues that the essence of God is not known to us, and concludes that God’s existence must be proved by effects instead.  I have taken Aquinas’s negativity much further than he himself thought it should be taken.    

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