Thursday, July 25, 2013
After establishing that theology is a science, in fact, the highest of all the sciences and the judge of their truth or falsity, - St. Thomas Aquinas begins his Summa Theologicae with proofs for God's existence, and His attributes from natural reason alone. This is a most significant point: Divine Grace builds on Nature. Nature and the entire natural order are the necessary support for the supernatural order of Divine Grace! But grace is also necessary for a healthy natural order.
Theology as the Queen of all the sciences thus establishes first the natural basis for the entire hierarchy of the sciences, in the 5 ways for proving God's Existence. These five ways are exhaustive. There are no others. Any others claiming to be "new" will be found somewhere in one or more of St. Thomas's five ways. Theology branches off into speculative - or what today we would term pure or theoretical science and the practical. This is a very important distinction - because it shows how the practical problems must constantly refer back and up to the principles of pure theology - which include the peak of theology in the Mystical Theology of the spiritual life of Divine Grace. See, for the best example, THE THREE AGES OF THE INTERIOR LIFE - by Dominican theologian par excellence - the Rev. Reginald Garigou-Lagrange.
To separate moral theology off into something dubbed - "The Ethical Question" is disastrous and really stupid in the extreme. Moral theology must flow directly from the theology of man's nature - which begins with his creation on Day Six of the First Week of the World. St. Thomas's Summa discusses God's nature, His attributes, and the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity. Then, with question 44, he begins the "Treatise on the Creation" - which continues through question 74. Then comes the "Treatise as Man" - which may fairly be said to be the main focus of the remainder of the Summa.
I. Theology - Mystical
3 Ages Grace
Existence and Essence
Highest of the Natural Sciences
A. Existence (esse) and assence (ens)
B. Act and Potency
C. Form and Matter
These pairs are never separated -- except in God who is ALL Existence (His Essence is to Exist)
God is all Act - no process in His Acts of Creation - He speaks and it IS
God is All - Infinite - Immortal - Eternal etc...
All of His creatures are composite - Angels of Act and Potency
Man of Form and Matter; one substance and many accidents
All corporeal creatures are composites of Existence and Essence - Act and Potency - Form and Matter - Substance and Accidents
The accidents of every substance are listed as the Nine Categories, and these Nine Categories form the objects of all the natural sciences.
For example: The object of Mathematics is quantity. Mathematics - like logic - is a tool of all the sciences - because all of the Nine Categories are ultimately based on some quantity of a material form. The formal object of physics is the Substance of the Body of the Universe and its quantitative unit - the atom and the atomic structure, i.e., the atom and all of its sub-atomic particles. The object of chemistry is the changing structure of the atom in its various states and forms - plant and animal substantial forms - as well as in its inanimate forms of the atomic elements in their inanimate states. All of the natural sciences must first identify the substance and substantial form of the accidents they are focused upon.
In the case of physics, that Substantial Form is the Body of the Universe. The Higgs boson or particle is supposed to be the entity that gives mass to all other particles. But this is impossible. Only the substance in which all the particles inhere, can give mass to all particles and the source of this Mass is that of the Substantial Form itself, most likely electrical. "Mass is the quantity of matter in a given body that is measured by its inertia." (QPB Ency.of Sci:) The measure of a given body's inertia would be the measure, i.e., the amount (quantity) of FORCE - necessary to set that body in MOTION. Now note well - this is the "first and most manifest way" of St. Thomas's five ways for proving God's Existence; - from motion. This "First Mover" - must - of necessity - be all and only infinite Existence - Infinite Act. As God said to Moses in the Mountain, "I AM WHO AM." And as Our Lord Jesus Christ said to the Pharisees, "before Abraham was made, I AM!"
Here are the most intimate - integral - intrinsic connections of the supernatural theology of Faith - Divine Revelation and the Natural Theology of Reason. Faith and Reason are distinct - Faith is infinitely above Reason - but the two cannot be separated. If Faith and Reason are separated - Faith goes into the heresy of fideism and Reason goes into the kind of perverted reasoning - exhibited by Dr. Dominique Venner, and called by its own founders and practitioners - existentialism. Fideism is most prone to superstition on the one hand, and to a defeatism - very close to despair on the other hand. But Dr. Venner obviously fell into a heresy that relates directly to the Truths of natural reason. (Please consult Humani Generis for details.) How urgent it is, then, for the true synthesis of St. Thomas to be revived!
In the meantime, Our Lord promised us that the gates of hell would not prevail. We must believe that without a doubt.
at 10:14 PM
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Surely, we all have blind spots. The caution of Scottish poet - Robert Burns, is always applicable. O that the gift of God would give us, to see ourselves as others see us!
That said, with the appropriate Mea Culpas, please allow me to point out TWO areas where blind spots abound.
The June 20th of 2013 issue of THE REMNANT, reports the suicide of 78 year old French historian Dominique Venner on May 22, 2013. Intended to be a public event, Dr. Venner placed a long suicide note on the Altar in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, and then shot himself with a small handgun. It is not clear to me whether the suicide note and the blog post are the same. In any case, THE REMNANT gives us "the final words of Dominique Venner." It is the last paragraph that is most significant, because this reveals the mind of a man who might have once been Catholic, but due to the fatal influence of French existentialism, condemned by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, (1950), he was no longer Catholic. He had lost his Catholic Faith. His suicide should be much more a statement of the evil of this direful deformation of Thomism than a statement against "gay marriage", and all the rest. What editor Michael Matt appears to be blind to is the very close connection between Dr. Venner's suicide and the list of fragments, as seven questions, in the article by Dr. Joseph Romanoski entitled "SOCIAL MEDIA AUTOTHEISM, AND THE CULT OF SELF"
During the pontificate of Leo XIII, Cardinal Mercier of Louvain University in Belgium, persuaded the Pope to mandate the accomodation of Scholasticism to the methods and data of modern science. This movement is well documented by Thomist scholar Anton Pegis in his book on this subject. (See this writer's paper, A GREAT BETRAYAL.")
The list of questions that Dr. Romanoski presents is the result of this re-doing. In other words, the magnificent synthesis constructed by St. Thomas Aquinas, and held by the Church as Her Crown Jewel, is here displayed in all of its shabby imitation-jeweled disintegration. The glorious certitudes of Faith and of Reason - certitudes which Dr. Venner so obviously LOST - are here in the REMNANT - presented as seven questions! No wonder, then, that Dr. Venner despaired!
Please let me try to spell it out for you. First of all, Dr. Romanoski's questions are not questions at all, but the certitudes of Reason - the normal human reason - and of divine Catholic Faith, deformed into questions.
Number 1. Logic is not a science, but an art, used by all the sciences as the indispensable TOOL of right reasoning, in proper grammatical forms known as propositions and forming syllogisms that reveal the reasoning process. Traditionally, logic formed part of the educational Trivium: Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric. We need to revive these educational categories.
Number 2. Criteriology is the new name given, by Modernists, to the science of Epistemology. This science of how and what we know is an integral part or branch of the highest science of Metaphysics - because both concern the First Principles of all knowledge. Dr. Romanoski briefly mentions two of the First Principles as dogmas. These should be related to the Greek concept of episteme - from whence epistemology. The importance of this science resides in the fact that it demonstrates, by experience, that the human mind, when it knows and judges - based on the data of the senses, accurately and infallibly (as Dr. R. shows) reflects reality, giving the human person a true picture of what is real. (See this writer's COGNITIVE LOOP, for this writer's summation of Epistemology.) But better still, of course, consult real Thomists such as Dominican Fr. Garigou-Lagrange and lay Thomist par excellence - Etienne Gilson. The works of both are readily available.
Number 3. This is the science of Cosmology. When guided by the higher sciences of Metaphysics and Theology - this science gives us a true picture of the geocentric cosmos. Uncertainties arise only on debatable interpretations of Holy Scripture and in this case, certitudes, at least as to the basic dogmas, can be attained by consulting the sources to be found in Tradition and the Magisterium. This trio: Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium - constitute what Dr. R. refers to as the Rule of Faith, and rightly so, since the ultimate certitude is that of Faith.
It should be noted here - also - that a Catholic Cosmology will make proper use of the Thomistic concepts of Substance and accidents. It is imperative that the physicist and the chemist be clear as to the nature of their formal object. The chaos in physics and chemistry today, as well as the disastrous effects of the evolutionary world view, have prevented real progress in these sciences, especially with respect to the environment. (More on this later.) What these physical sciences need to know is that the formal objects of their sciences are the accidental forms of some larger Substance, - namely the atomic structures of the Body of the Universe.
Number 4. The science that studies the soul is theology, and theology studies all created beings as they relate to God and primarily, theology studies God Himself - since the soul relates directly to God, the study of the soul belongs to theology. And the WORST thing about this list is that it relegates theology to Number 5 - the ultimate insult. And Number 6 is Metaphysics - whereas Number 7 is moral theology - a branch of Number 1 - which should be theology. Nor is it possible, especially since the Incarnation - but actually since the Sixth Day of Creation - to separate the Natural order from the Supernatural order of Divine Grace - where the human soul is concerned.
Here is my - admittedly - amateur attempt to show in graphic form - the real Hierarchy of the sciences, according to the Traditional and Magisterial sources rooted in Holy Scripture.
at 7:25 PM
Monday, July 22, 2013
Michael Baker, and others like him, who deny that Genesis 1-11 is Divine Revelation, has God as the Author "in all its parts...with no admixture of error."
It is true, that in only one place, are the Six Days of Genesis One, specifically mentioned as worthy of belief and that is the ruling of the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1909 - which ruled that one may believe either in the word "yom" of Genesis One as a natural - 24 hour day - or - a certain indefinite period of time. The former, natural day is termed the proper sense whereas - the indefinite space of time is the improper sense. Exegites have been given permission to discuss this question freely. Unfortunately, however, a survey of the history since 1909 - will reveal no such free discussion - except on the part of Protestants who have been ignored on account of their unacceptable literalism. But it is the Protestant scholars, like John Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris, who have provided the Biblical evidence for the literal use of "yom" in Genesis One. Rigorous....(M. Baker is particularly partial to this word - rigorous - when it comes to scientific evidences) ....rigorous statistical evidence reveals that whenever Holy Scripture uses the word "yom" - qualified by a numeral, it means a literal - 24 hr. day. And so it is carefully qualified in Genesis One.
Exodus 20, where the Six Days are specified, would stand in glaring contradiction - if the Days of Genesis One were not literal. Finally, real literary form requires the Six Days of Genesis One to be literal - because as literary form, not genre, Genesis One, from all internal and external evidences is strict and pure in the truest sense - an historical narrative. But by both form and genre - Genesis One is historical narrative. Form designates the structure of the meaning - whereas genre designates the nature of the meaning. Although most people, including scholars and high-ranking Prelates, such as then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, have confused form and genre - structure and thematic meaning, form and content -- the distinction between structure or form and the genre or nature of the meaning is not as subtle as one might suspect - because apprehension or perception of the structure is non-conceptual - whereas the nature of the meaning is conceptual. Therefore, the structure of any form is best described by analogies or by adjectives. Thus, the structure of Milton's Paradise Lost – is best described as architectonic. It resembles a Gothic Cathedral in its multiplicity of gargoyles and saints – only Milton’s are classical figures, including the Nine Muses, brought to life – as it were – in language. And the structure of Genesis One is best described as an eye-witness account – a day by day – word by spoken word of God account. And so it is. As for Michael Baker’s “rigorous scientific observation” – which he repeatedly banks on – the modern method for dating the age of the earth – radiometric – is far from being in any sense rigorous – because it is based upon more than one unproven and improvable assumption. The first one is that there were no daughter-elements to start with. Please check me out on this - those of you who know.
Another is that the rate of atomic decay has been constant. Another is that there has been no interference in the process of decay, such as contamination. Since the decay of the radioactive elements is a process of the past - these assumptions cannot be proven by testing. But there is one very stunning process of decline that has been measured since the mid-1800's and that is the decline and decay of the Earth's magnetic field. Check this out. See first - the truly rigorously scientific study of Thomas Barnes on the ORIGIN AND DECLINE OF THE EARTH'S MAGNETIC FIELD, an ICR monograph, available, I am sure, from ICR on the internet. Catholics have been far too ready to accept the evolutionary model and world view of an earth - millions of years old and a universe - some 13 to billions of years old. How can Divine Revelation be so easily discarded and denied? The Biblical chronology, even allowing for the maximum number and length of gaps in the geneological records, cannot possibly be more than 10 thousand years old. What gives the appearance of age are the effects left by the Universal Deluge -- effects such as the separation of the continents, the Grand Canyon, and the fossils - especially the great fossil graveyards and polystrate fossils - not to mention the fact that all fossils are readily classifiable as belonging to some known family - order or class of creature living today! Evidences, rather of a young earth, with catastrophes.
Rigorous science is being done today, but NOT by those who believe in and promote the evolutionary world view. Rigorous science is being done by the scientists of the Institute for Creation Research, (ICR) - published in their journals and the popular ACTS AND FACTS.
These men do the best and most rigorous science possible. Trust them. It is the evolutionists who are not just a danger to our divine Catholic Faith but who seem intent upon destroying it.
Just a note of caution.
The Protestant Creationists are trustworthy - but only on the purely empirical level, which is Michael Baker's rigorous - most rigorous science. But when it comes to Galileo, Kepler and Newton, the Catholic Galileo and the following non-Catholic and anti-Catholic (Newton) - the ICR men unfortunately - are not to be trusted. Their bias shows. Someday, though, I feel certain that their very scientific RIGOR, will bring them not only to geocentricity - but also to a fully Catholic cosmology - as I have tried to outline in my recent papers. See especially my TEXTBOOK FOR THE SCIENCES and my LITANY OF THE CREATOR.
In this latter work, please substitute the Body of the Universe - wherever I have used the ethereal susbstance. This latter term was an attempt to incorporate Lord Helvin's ether and Aristotle's Quintessence, the aether.
at 8:00 PM
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
In your pamphlet, "Science and Religion: The Myth of Conflict", (Ignatius Press, 2011) – on page 50 –you acknowledge that the search for deeper laws must end somewhere in a“truly basic set of laws that govern all of physical reality.”
I suggest that you study the Thomistic Metaphysical concepts of substance and accident. The Body of the Universe, created on Day One of the first week of the world, contains in its Prime Matter and Substantial Form, inseparable entities, - all the laws that govern the totality of physical reality. This is our truly Catholic cosmology, and you have provided me with some much needed information. Now, what you need most is the real science of geocentricity- which you can easily find in Galileo was Wrong, the Church Was Right, by Robert Sungenis and Robert Bennett –both credentialed scientists. In that monumental, two volume work –you will find ample proofs of Newton’s and Einstein’s laws of gravity, and why they don’t work, that is – why they really are fictions. You cannot have real science that contradicts Divine Revelation, Sacred Tradition, and the infallible Magisterium, as evolutionary processes do.
God spoke and things were. God commanded –and things came into existence, (Psalm 32). God created all things in the beginning – in Six Literal Days, just as Genesis narrates. And He created by a-temporal ACTS, not by evolutionary processes. Once created– substantial forms began to function – functional processes follow form – form must come first – no chicken – no egg!
The natural sciences study these processes. Their formal object is the substantial form. Thus,they need metaphysics. Rather, the formal objects of the natural sciences are the accidental forms of the created and then transmitted substantial forms. That’s why the natural scientist must know something of the higher science, - the metaphysics of the form he is studying. Thus, the botanist must know something of the plant’s substantial form – the zoologist of the animal’s and the human biologist of the substantial form of mankind – the human soul. There can be no such thing as a real materialist – who is at the same time a Catholic or a Christian scientist. Such a “scientist” would be a living –practicing LIE. The same, I believe, goes for a Catholic scientist who believes in evolution, and who denies the Divine Revelation of Genesis 1-11. His science cannot be true science,but is rather the false science of 1 Timothy 6:20. Also of 2 Tim.3:17 and 2 Tim.4:3-4. St. Paul was also a prophet.
at 7:01 PM
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Ecumenism, as it is propagated and practiced today - is an ideological falsehood that believes all non-Catholic-Christian religions are bona fide "faiths" that sprang up over time - from a population of human beings - much as men are said to have emerged over time from populations of primates. But such is very far from the truth. The twelve Apostles and their disciples carried the Church and her sacraments to every continent and corner of the earth. They literally deposited the Deposit of Faith in every place where they found souls to be saved. But over time, all kinds of aberrations - deviations from the True Way, and even heresies crept in and often were allowed to grow. Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman, the famous English prelate, gave a lengthy series of lectures in Rome during the 1830's. Note well -- the 1830's - a good 20 years before Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859.
In these lectures, Cardinal Wiseman told of the origin of Hinduism. It rose in the very early centuries of Christendom as an imitation of the earliest monastic institutions. But many aberrations occurred over time and their unchecked accumulation resulted in the Hinduism we observe today. And so it has always been. The earliest pre-Christian religions we speak of today as the Myths of ancient times, are really corruptions of the Primordial Revelation given to Adam, preserved by Noah and the Patriarchs, and collected and compiled by Moses in what we have today in the Pentateuch - the first five books of the Bible. This is the Catholic Tradition. Modernist theories and hypotheses about the multiple authorship of the Mosaic books and their so-called borrowings from the mythologies of the ancient pagans surrounding the tribes of Israel. All such hypotheses - such as the Documentary JEDP - should be disregarded as Modernist fiction and deception. The real basis for the divisions is the signature of the eyewitnesses from Adam and Noah to Jacob's sons. This signature is the toledoth. See the introductory pages to the Genesis Record by Henry M. Morris. This is the best explanation I know of the Patriarchal Theory. It is the closest there is to the Catholic Tradition and represents it faithfully.
Incidentally, the Lectures - by Cardinal Wiseman, mentioned above, are a good indication of how far the Modernist heresy had progressed by the 1830's! Cardinal Wiseman rejected the Six Days of Genesis One in favor of what has since been termed - "the Gap Theory". This was a positioning of the geological ages between verses one and two of Genesis One. Morris gives the best explanation of this, also, in his book THE GENESIS RECORD.
Someday, some good Catholic Scholar will do a comparison of Morris's work on the Six Days with the Hexaemera of the Fathers. It will be shown - I am sure - that the Protestant Morris kept the tradition of the early Fathers - while so-called Catholics deviated into heresy - the heresy of evolutionary modernism. (See this writer's lengthy analysis of Cardinal Wiseman's Lectures.)
What is most significant about Cardinal Wiseman's Lectures on Science and Religion - is - I submit, the fact that Holy Scripture - the Divine Scriptures as the early Fathers saw them - by the 19th century are viewed as a thoroughly human book - to be analyzed and dissected in the same manner as one did any other treatise from antiquity. In fact, Wiseman was reputed to be one of the foremost of such scholars - especially in the antiquities of the Orient. His lectures are full of interesting information - but their overall meaning is mainly secular. It could be said to represent the triumph of that aspect of Modernism known as Rationalism, especially in its treatment of the Old Testament books. I wonder why these lectures of Cardinal Wiseman are never referred to these days by people like Scott Hahn? It is probably because Scott Hahn's emphasis is on symbolism - whereas Wiseman's focus was on Scripture as an historical artifact. But Hahn's symbolism is not the same as the old typology. In this latter area of study, the emphasis was upon the literal historical figures and their prophetic role in foreshadowing the events of the New Testament. Scott Hahn's symbolism is a sphere of meaning that rises above the historical-literal and can, therefore, disregard it - as it does the literal meaning of the First Six Days of Genesis One and the real history of Genesis One through Eleven.
These chapters include the Universal Flood and the dispersion of nations from the Tower of Babel. Again, Henry Morris's GENESIS RECORD, as well as THE GENESIS FLOOD - are invaluable resources, for the literal meaning. Unfortunately, Cardinal Wiseman, - like so many other men of the Church before and after him, were taken in by the uniformitarianism of James Hutton and Charles Lyell - which claimed to have proven there were no such catastrophes in Earth's history - such as a universal Flood with its multiple after-effects and especially, with the evidences of its reality in the geological strata. The history of this controversy is of great importance for the real "salvation history" - because it concerns the historical veracity of the Biblical record, especially Genesis 1-11.
I can only refer the reader of this blog - to my own previous - unpublished papers - wherein I attempted to incorporate the evidences of the Protestant Creationists - into a truly Catholic Biblical Theology and Cosmology.
at 10:00 PM