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Natural Knowledge of God in the Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquina

.' ... CHAPTER I . .;

.' ... CHAPTER I . .; GOD'S EXISTENCE ABD HIS ATTRIBUTES .. AS DOWN FRO)( )(OTIOlf 111e problem of the knowledge that hu.an reason, unaided by Revelation. oan aoquire of God. is fundamental to every Iyste. of philosophy. Ita solution inTolTes not only the philosopher'l oonoept of God but allo hil theory ot the nature ot man. '!bus it happenl that 10. philolopherl restriot man'l knowledge to the world ot lenaible thinga; knowledge of God is then impolsible. other. grant that intelleotual knowledge ia poaaible to man, but that God, it He exista, ia far beyond the soope of hUJU.ll knowledge. Still other I malee knowledge ot God a part ot man' I natural inheritanoe. In the philolophy ot St. 'l'homal AquiDaI, oertain knowledge ot the exiltenoe ot God oan be aoquired by human real on, independently of the truths _de knOWl1 by Revelation. Suoh knowledge, for St. !homas, is I aoquiredJ it is not innate. God's exiltenoe il not intuitiTely knownJ but it oan be known with oertainty through the proces.es of human rea- Ion. Knowledge ot God, like all1ntellectual knowledge in the system of St. !homas, ia oonditioned by the senlible. It transcenda oreated being and leads ultt.ately to knowledge ot "Him Who is",--the Divine Souroe of

2 .11 b.ing. Still man'l knowl.dg. ot God h •• it. root, it. origin:' in the thingl ot •• ns •• l God' •• xistence ii, tor St. 1homas. demon.tr.ble, it 11 not, in it- •• It •• elt-.vident ~.!!.. JIan, in his pre.e~t .tate, can know with c.r­ tainty th.t God i., but thil knowledge is not iJaaedi.telY' .vident to hi., becau •• his knowl.dg. i •• cquired, not dir.ctlY'. bY' mean. ot knowledge ot ..; God's ••• enc., but indir.ctlY', by- .. ana ot kD~ledg. ot Hi •• ttects. Becaus. man can not oomprehend the •••• noe ot God. h. oan tormul.te no propod tion conoerning God in whioh the pr.dic.t. i •• vid.ntlY' included in the es •• nc. ot the subj.ot.2 Neith.r i. the id.a ot God'. exi.t.no. iDD&t., in the true •• n •• ot th.t word. '!'h. human intell.ct iI naturallY' po ...... dot no r.ad,.-aad. 1St• !bo .... au... Contra Gentil.s, tranal.t.d by- Inglish Dominic.n Father. trom the l.teat Leonin •• d1 tion, Burns Oates • Washbourn. Ltd •• London, 192f, Vol. I, ch.p. xii. p. 23t •••• lthough God tr.n.c.nd •• 11 •• n.ibl.s and a.n.ea, Hia .tt.ot. trom whioh we t.k. the proot th.t God .xist., are sen.ible obj.ot.. H.no. our knowledg., even ot things which ".. tran.cend the •• n ••• , originate. trom the •• n •••• St. !boma., Summa !beologic., tran.l.t.d by- Father. ot Inglish Dominioan ProTinc., S.cond and R.vi.ed Edition, Burn. Oates. Washbourn. Ltd., London, 1920, I a, q. 12, .rt. 12, cor.: Our natural knowl.dg. begins trom •• ns.. Henc. our natural knowl­ .dg. oan go as tar a. it oan b. l.d bY' .ensible thing •• I 2St. !boma., Summa '!'heologioa. I a, q. 2, art. 1, oor.s How becau •• we do not know the e ... nce ot God the proposi tlon • 'God 1.' is not •• It-.vid.nt to u., but n •• d. must b. demonstrated bY' thing. that are more known to us, though lesl known in th.ir natur.,-­ namelY', by- .ttects. Contra Gent., I, chap. xii, p. 21s ••• b.caus. we are unable to se. Hi. e ... nce, weo .. to )mow His .xist.nc. not in Hims.lt but in His .ttects.

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