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Peck ed. Johnson; Richmond, Va. Because natural law is what human beings determine according to their own nature as rational beings , disobeying reason is disobeying natural law and eternal law. Thus eternal law is logically prior to reception of either "natural law" that determined by reason or "divine law" that found in the Old and New Testaments.
In other words, God's will extends to both reason and revelation. Sin is abrogating either one's own reason, on the one hand, or revelation on the other, and is synonymous with "evil" privation of good, or privatio boni . Thomas, like all Scholastics, generally argued that the findings of reason and data of revelation cannot conflict, so both are a guide to God's will for human beings.
Thomas argued that God, while perfectly united, also is perfectly described by Three Interrelated Persons. These three persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are constituted by their relations within the essence of God. Thomas wrote that the term "Trinity" "does not mean the relations themselves of the Persons, but rather the number of persons related to each other; and hence it is that the word in itself does not express regard to another.
This eternal generation then produces an eternal Spirit "who enjoys the divine nature as the Love of God, the Love of the Father for the Word. This Trinity exists independently from the world. It transcends the created world, but the Trinity also decided to give grace to human beings.
This takes place through the Incarnation of the Word in the person of Jesus Christ and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within those who have experienced salvation by God; according to Aidan Nichols. Thomas's five proofs for the existence of God take some of Aristotle's assertions concerning principles of being. For God as prima causa "first cause" comes from Aristotle's concept of the unmoved mover and asserts that God is the ultimate cause of all things. In the Summa Theologica Thomas begins his discussion of Jesus Christ by recounting the biblical story of Adam and Eve and by describing the negative effects of original sin.
The purpose of Christ's Incarnation was to restore human nature by removing the contamination of sin , which humans cannot do by themselves. Thomas argued against several specific contemporary and historical theologians who held differing views about Christ.
In response to Photinus , Thomas stated that Jesus was truly divine and not simply a human being. Against Nestorius , who suggested that Son of God was merely conjoined to the man Christ, Thomas argued that the fullness of God was an integral part of Christ's existence. However, countering Apollinaris ' views, Thomas held that Christ had a truly human rational soul , as well.
This produced a duality of natures in Christ. Thomas argued against Eutyches that this duality persisted after the Incarnation. Thomas stated that these two natures existed simultaneously yet distinguishably in one real human body, unlike the teachings of Manichaeus and Valentinus. With respect to Paul 's assertion that Christ, "though he was in the form of God Following the Council of Nicaea , Augustine of Hippo , as well as the assertions of Scripture, Thomas held the doctrine of divine immutability.
For Thomas, "the mystery of Incarnation was not completed through God being changed in any way from the state in which He had been from eternity, but through His having united Himself to the creature in a new way, or rather through having united it to Himself. But human nature and the soul are not full, but capable of fulness, because it was made as a slate not written upon. Therefore, human nature is empty. In short "Christ had a real body of the same nature of ours, a true rational soul , and, together with these, perfect Deity ". Thus, there is both unity in his one hypostasis and composition in his two natures, human and Divine in Christ.
I answer that, The Person or hypostasis of Christ may be viewed in two ways. First as it is in itself, and thus it is altogether simple, even as the Nature of the Word. Secondly, in the aspect of person or hypostasis to which it belongs to subsist in a nature; and thus the Person of Christ subsists in two natures. Hence though there is one subsisting being in Him, yet there are different aspects of subsistence, and hence He is said to be a composite person, insomuch as one being subsists in two. Thomas Aquinas identified the goal of human existence as union and eternal fellowship with God.
This goal is achieved through the beatific vision , in which a person experiences perfect, unending happiness by seeing the essence of God. The vision occurs after death as a gift from God to those who in life experienced salvation and redemption through Christ. The goal of union with God has implications for the individual's life on earth.
Thomas stated that an individual's will must be ordered toward right things, such as charity, peace, and holiness.
He saw this orientation as also the way to happiness. Indeed, Thomas ordered his treatment of the moral life around the idea of happiness. The relationship between will and goal is antecedent in nature "because rectitude of the will consists in being duly ordered to the last end [that is, the beatific vision]. Such love requires morality and bears fruit in everyday human choices. Thomas Aquinas belonged to the Dominican Order formally Ordo Praedicatorum , the Order of Preachers who began as an order dedicated to the conversion of the Albigensians and other heterodox factions, at first by peaceful means; later the Albigensians were dealt with by means of the Albigensian Crusade.
In the Summa theologiae , he wrote:. With regard to heretics two points must be observed: one, on their own side; the other, on the side of the Church. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much graver matter to corrupt the faith that quickens the soul, than to forge money, which supports temporal life.
Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death. On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy, which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but "after the first and second admonition", as the Apostle directs: after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death.
Thinking With The Church: Essays in Historical Theology
Heresy was a capital offense against the secular law of most European countries of the 13th century, which had a limited prison capacity. Kings and emperors, even those at war with the papacy, listed heresy first among the crimes against the state. Kings claimed power from God according to the Christian faith. Often enough, especially in that age of papal claims to universal worldly power, the rulers' power was tangibly and visibly legitimated directly through coronation by the pope.
Simple theft, forgery, fraud, and other such crimes were also capital offenses; Thomas's point seems to be that the gravity of this offense, which touches not only the material goods but also the spiritual goods of others, is at least the same as forgery. Thomas's suggestion specifically demands that heretics be handed to a "secular tribunal" rather than magisterial authority. That Thomas specifically says that heretics "deserve Although the life of a heretic who repents should be spared, the former heretic should be executed if he relapses into heresy.
Thomas elaborates on his opinion regarding heresy in the next article, when he says:. In God's tribunal, those who return are always received, because God is a searcher of hearts, and knows those who return in sincerity. But the Church cannot imitate God in this, for she presumes that those who relapse after being once received, are not sincere in their return; hence she does not debar them from the way of salvation, but neither does she protect them from the sentence of death. For this reason the Church not only admits to Penance those who return from heresy for the first time, but also safeguards their lives, and sometimes by dispensation, restores them to the ecclesiastical dignities which they may have had before, should their conversion appear to be sincere: we read of this as having frequently been done for the good of peace.
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But when they fall again, after having been received, this seems to prove them to be inconstant in faith, wherefore when they return again, they are admitted to Penance, but are not delivered from the pain of death. Summa , op. For Jews , Thomas argues for toleration of both their persons and their religious rites. A mention of witchcraft appears in the Summa theologicae  and concludes that the Church does not treat temporary or permanent impotence attributed to a spell any differently to that of natural causes, as far as an impediment to marriage.
Under the canon Episcopi , church doctrine held that witchcraft was not possible and any practitioners of sorcery were deluded and their acts an illusion.
Thomas Aquinas was instrumental in developing a new doctrine that included the belief in the real power of witches [ disputed — discuss ].