26 August 2011


"Divine things themselves are both complete natures in themselves and the principles for other beings.  Therefore they can be studied by two sciences.  One the one hand, they can be studied insofar as they are the common principles for all beings.  But if such first principles are most intelligible in themselves, they are not most knowable to us.  We can arrive at knowledge of them through the light of natural reason only by reasoning from effect to cause, as the philosophers have done.  (Here Thomas finds support in the well-known text from Romans 1:20, 'The invisible things of God are seen, being understood from the things which are made.')  Therefore divine things are not studied by the philosophers except insofar as they are the principles of all other things.  That is to say, they are considered in that discipline which treats those things which are common to all beings, and which has as its subject being as being (ens inquantum est ens).  This science, remarks Aquinas, is referred to by the philosophers as divine science." 

— John F. Wippel, The Metaphysical Thought of St. Thomas Aquinas