Thomas Aquinas’ Account of the Various Dimensions of Prophecy

Published: 2021-09-14 15:40:10
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Category: Truth, Metaphysics, Aquinas

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The Summa Theologica, one of the principal works of St. Thomas Aquinas, has created remarkable impacts not only in his time but also up to the present generation. A writing that is, according to him, a compilation of Christian doctrine as a manual for his students, the Summa Theologica is actually a complete, systematically arranged exposition regarding theology and Christian philosophy. It consists of questions, articles, and arguments discussing different concepts related to theology (Aquinas,154).
One of the most famous and controversial topics included in the Summa Theologica is the various dimensions of prophecy of the philosopher and theologian: prophecy of foreknowledge, prophecy of denunciation, and prophecy of predestination. The first mentioned dimension of prophecy pertains to the revelations of God regarding the events in the future that depend primarily on man's freewill. The samples given by Aquinas have something in relation to life and death, wars and dynasty, and the likes.
Therefore, in fulfilling the prophecy of foreknowledge, one's free choice is the major influential factor. In contrast to the first prophecy, the prophecy of predestination deals with what God has revealed that He alone can do, has believed is present for eternity, and what is in His absolute decree. Therefore, a man's free choice is not a contributing attribute in this dimension of prophecy. Lastly, the prophecy of denunciation talks about the event that may and will happen through God's revelation of the future which can be hindered by miraculous deeds.

Thus, it is regarded as a “conditional promise” which is mainly dependent upon other factors that will or may prevent it from happening (Aquinas,154). Aquinas also believed that other than knowledge, revelation is a necessary requirement for salvation. Through this, man can know the supernatural end that actually affects his acts. More importantly, without revelation, only a few would know the truths concerning God after a longer time and with of course, a great possibility of error.
Thus, he proved that “reason,” which is anchored to man's knowledge, is essential not in proving what the truths of faith are but in defending, explaining, and developing the revealed doctrines of Christianity (154). However, not all agree with Aquinas’ belief; some question one of his points of view, specifically regarding active intelligence. Henry Corbin’s statement disapproves of Aquinas’ perception that active intellect functions not in separate ways with spirituality (249).
Corbin strongly disapproved this and emphasized that if these two will be linked and treated as one in terms of functions, spirituality may lose its true essence since intellect is classified with relevance to the social norm (249). Thus, when not separated with the socialized arena of active intelligence, beliefs regarding religious arena might as well be affected. A spiritual entity dominated by religious forces, which are influenced by a socialized field of intellect, might as well in return be socialized.
This occurrence will result in modifications in one’s points of view and confusion about what truly exists and what does not. An example given in that statement describes the transformation of one’s belief in monotheism to monism (Corbin 249). The former explains that only one god exists but when not done separately from the aspect of intellectual side, it then results in monism wherein one believes that one god only exists but with manifestations in various religions. This scenario just illustrates what Corbin tried to explain if intellect comes in the way of spirituality.

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