By Anton Charles Pegis

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Extra resources for Saint Thomas and the Greeks (Aquinas Lecture 3)

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Of the creative act" 32. This means that St. Thomas Aquinas holds the doctrine, or at least holds principles which give rise to the doctrine, that God knows and also wills the existence of all posibles so that his universe is as full and his God as necessitated as were the universe and the God of Plotinus. How- Page 38 ever, there are difficulties. "But Thomas cannot, of course, admit this; he is under the necessity of affirming the freedom of the absolute will; necesse est dicere voluntatem Dei esse causam rerum, et Deum agere per voluntatem, non per necessitatem naturae, ut quidam existimaverunt.

Nor was St. Thomas alone in this inconsequence, for "all orthodox mediaeval philosophy, except the radically anti-rationalistic type, was in the same position" 43. Thus far Profesor Lovejoy. I have quoted him at some length because his thesis is of considerable importance, both historical and philosophical. And more particularly, its relevance to any discussion of the relations between St. Thomas and the Greeks ought to be Page 44 perfectly obvious. But its bearing on the present discussion must be determined with exactness.

Page 50 III Let me point out, first of all, that St. Thomas Aquinas relates three ideas to one another in an inseparable way. God is perfect being. There can be only one perfect being. All other beings that exist require to be created by this being 44. This is simple, but it is also decisive. From the nature of God as perfect being it follows that there is one and only one God 45, and it follows also that all other beings that exist are created by that God 46. God posesses all the perfections of existence: nothing of the perfection of being is lacking to Him 47; He is universally perfect, for He is with the whole power of being 48.

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Saint Thomas and the Greeks (Aquinas Lecture 3) by Anton Charles Pegis
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