Aquinas and Divine Freedom: To Know the Divine Essence is to Know the Cosmos

Eclectic Orthodoxy

If God is eternal, immutable, and incomposite, how is it that his creation of the cosmos is not a necessary, and thus unfree, act? We have raised this question in two earlier postings on St Dionysius: “Transcending Freedom and Necessity” and “Divine Knowledge, Creation, and Modal Collapse.” The Areopagite does not directly address the question, and some readers have found unconvincing my attempts to formulate a Dionysian response. (Not to worry: I’m only convinced on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays—it’s hard to be totally convinced about anything when traveling beyond the dimensions of beingly being.) But St Thomas Aquinas addresses the question head-on in several of his writings. We shall explore his answer in this blog-series, with particular focus on the Summa Contra Gentiles.

In The Divine Names Dionysius asserts that God knows beings by knowing himself as the transcendent cause of reality: “God knows beings…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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