Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Theology has its departments towards which human knowledge has no relations. . . ."

"as to its Creator, though He of course in His own Being is infinitely separate from [the universe], and Theology has its departments towards which human knowledge has no relations, yet He has so implicated Himself with it, and taken it into His very bosom, by His presence in it, His providence over it, His impressions upon it, and His influences through it, that we cannot truly or fully contemplate it without in some main aspects contemplating Him."

     John Henry Newman, The idea of a university defined and illustrated, Discourse III.4 ("Bearing of theology on other branches of knowledge"), ed. I. T. Ker (Oxford:  The Clarendon Press, 1976), 57.  This is rooted the medieval (and especially Thomistic) doctrine of relations, itself founded on the Christian doctrine of creation:  the universe is really related to God, but God is not really related to the universe.  Except that Newman isn't using "relations" in quite the same way.  Because God is in no way dependent on the universe, there are things about Him (considered ad intra) that we would never know did He not reveal them.

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