Monday, December 17, 2012

Truth: A Brief Exposition

St. Catherine of Siena, in her classic: Dialogue, describes Our Lord, the Word Incarnate, as the Bridge that unites Heaven and Earth. Therefore, it must truly be said that Our Lord is not only the Truth in Person, but that He is also the Answer to Pilate’s question: “What is Truth?”

Jesus Christ, Our Lord, is both the Who and the What: Who when He said: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” and the What when He became Man and bridged the gap between man’s mind (Earth) and all of Reality; the Universe of Heaven and Earth (Gen. 1)

St. Thomas defines Truth as the conformity or adequations of our minds with reality. Great complexity enters only when we try to grasp all of Reality at once. But we cannot grasp Reality all at once, but only in little pieces, beginning with the lowest, most material, most physical – like dirt. And so we begin with the existence and then the identity of the most basic things like food and water, and flowers and birds. Until arriving at the age of reason, we can begin to understand the Truths of Faith, of Hope and Charity. Hope of heaven lost by sin and of charity, love for God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves, in His Church. Perhaps without realizing it, all truths presuppose Creation.
Nothing at all could exist if God had not created all things, "In the Beginning" just as Genesis One describes.  And of necessity, not only ex nihilo but in toto.  That is, God created fully formed and readily functional beings.  Their forms substantially complete (as Lateran IV declares) were so from the beginning. so that processes, such as nourishment and reproduction (the Order of Generation) necessarily follows after and proceeds from the substantial form of every corporeal creature.  Therefore, all truths of nature and of grace, presuppose the order of creation and the proper understanding of God as Creator and of all substantial forms with all their proper accidents - in the Beginning.   

When St. Paul tells the Athenians (Acts 17) that in this one God of Christianity we live and move and have our being, St. Thomas explains that he is referring directly to the Creator - Cause of all existence Who by absolute necessity must hold all things in existence by His all-encompassing Power and Goodness.  Otherwise, if He did not, all things would instantly dissolve back into the nothingness from which they came by the Word and Command of God alone.  And so, in this way, Our Divine Lord is both the Who and the What of all Truth.  And only when the mind of man embraces Him as Creator, does he begin to grasp the real truth of things as they conform to the mind of Christ.  For St. Paul also tells us: "Let this mind be in you...the mind of Christ."  But Father Spitzer's explanation cannot lead to Christ nor can it presuppose Him, as Truth does.  Father Spitzer, on pages 142-143 of his New Proofs proclaims a "broader" interpretation of the scriptural-traditional concept of a one-time creation ex nihilo.  He displaces the traditional truth with the false concept of "continuous creation".    This contradicts Holy Scripture wherein God says repeatedly (in Genesis 2: 1-3) that He finished, ended, and so rested from all the work He had done, on the seventh day.  If Father Spitzer's interpretation were correct, then the Sabbath rest would lose all meaning. 

St. Thomas, as usual, has the correct interpretation, the only one that honors both faith and reason.  This principle of Divine Providence is called divine concurrcus, indicating God's all-present power - maintaining all things in existence.  St. Thomas is the Church's real existentialist.  G.K. Chesterton called him "Thomas of the Creator", because of his emphasis in all his works upon the Order of Creation.  For all things and all truths of the natural and the supernatural order, presuppose creation ex nihilo and in toto, leading directly to the Word of God, Christ our Lord, the Truth in Person, both Who and What - or Who as Sum of all Truth.

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