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The Principle Of Analogy

In his writings, St. Thomas Aquinas made possible the merging together of classical philosophy and Christian theology. Within this universe of discourse, one may agree that it is important for human beings to have the correct idea about God’s will. In as far as the Catholic faith is concerned, the need to arrive at a fuller understanding of God’s will serves as both the sufficient and necessary condition for the institution of the Creed. A person’s idea about will of God would ultimately determine the kind of life that a person would lead; the direction that a person would take.

However, not all human beings are willing and able to seek the will of God in the Scriptures. Aquinas’ knowledge by analogy makes possible the tasks of understanding God and teaching the will of God. “Aquinas uses these analogies or examples to illustrate how the scientific form of sacred teaching might work” (Brown, 1999, p. 4). By analogy, Aquinas understands it to be an ontological term. The term refers to the nature or being of a thing. Thus, in this universe of discourse, analogy refers to the nature or being of the God.

The concept of analogy implies is that what is in God is also in us (human beings). Such analogical relationship between God and us accurately captured by the concept of resemblance. By resemblance, Aquinas points out that human beings are (in some degree) what God uniquely is. Such a relationship is analogical because we are linked together by common attributes. In short, there is something within us that we share with God. Wisdom, for example is both in God and human beings although differing in degree and the manner in which such knowledge is attained.

In the final analysis, understanding God and the will of God becomes a possibility because of knowledge by analogy. God-Talk becomes possible because there is something within us that we share with God. By painstakingly studying the Scriptures and employing deductions, it is also possible to arrive at a systematic body of knowledge like the Creed which would constitute the doctrine of the Church; helpful not only to the theologian but for the average believer. Reference Brown, S. F. (Ed. ). (1999). On Faith and Reason. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.

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