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Chrysostom [ Homilia II in Genesim ] gives as a reason for the omission that Moses was addressing an ignorant people, to whom material things alone appealed, and whom he was endeavoring to withdraw from the service of idols. It would have been to them a pretext for idolatry if he had spoken to them of natures spiritual in substance and nobler than all corporeal creatures; for they would have paid them Divine worship, since they were prone to worship as gods even the sun, moon, and stars, which was forbidden them Dt 4.

But mention is made of several kinds of formlessness, in regard to the corporeal creature. In the first place because light is a quality of the first body, as was stated a. The second reason is because light is a common quality. For light is common to terrestrial and celestial bodies. But as in knowledge we proceed from general principles, so do we in work of every kind. For the living thing is generated before the animal, and the animal before the man, as is shown in De Gener. II, 3. It was fitting, then, as an evidence of the Divine wisdom, that among the works of distinction the production of light should take first place, since light is a form of the primary body, and because it is more common quality.

Basil [ Homilia II in Hexaemeron ], indeed, adds a third reason: that all other things are made manifest by light. And there is yet a fourth, already touched upon in the objections; that day cannot be unless light exists, which was made therefore on the first day. For light, as stated above a. But qualities are accidents, and as such should have, not the first, but a subordinate place.

The production of light, then, ought not to be assigned to the first day. Ad 1 um According to the opinion of those who hold that the formlessness of matter preceded its form in duration, matter must be held to have been created at the beginning with substantial forms, afterwards receiving those that are accidental, among which light holds the first place.

Therefore the production of light could not have been on the first day. But this cannot well be maintained, as in the beginning of Genesis Holy Scripture records the institution of that order of nature which henceforth is to endure. We cannot, then, say that what was made at that time afterwards ceased to exist. Others, therefore, held that this luminous nebula continues in existence, but so closely attached to the sun as to be indistinguishable. But this is as much as to say that it is superfluous, whereas none of God's works have been made in vain.

On this account it is held by some that the sun's body was made out of this nebula. This, too, is impossible to those at least who believe that the sun is different in its nature from the four elements, and naturally incorruptible. For in that case its matter cannot take on another form. I answer, then, with Dionysius Divinis Nominibus IV , that the light was the sun's light, formless as yet, being already the solar substance, and possessing illuminative power in a general way, to which was afterwards added the special and determinative power required to produce determinate effects.

Thus, then, in the production of this light a triple distinction was made between light and darkness. First, as to the cause, forasmuch as in the substance of the sun we have the cause of light, and in the opaque nature of the earth the cause of darkness. Secondly, as to place, for in one hemisphere there was light, in the other darkness. But movement of this kind is an attribute of the firmament, and we read that the firmament was made on the second day. Therefore the production of light, dividing night from day, ought not to be assigned to the first day.

Ad 3 um Basil says Homilia II in Hexaemeron that day and night were then caused by expansion and contraction of light, rather than by movement.

POPE LEO XIII.

But Augustine objects to this Gen. I , that there was no reason for this vicissitude of expansion and contraction since there were neither men nor animals on the earth at that time, for whose service this was required. Nor does the nature of a luminous body seem to admit of the withdrawal of light, so long as the body is actually present; though this might be effected by a miracle.

As to this, however, Augustine remarks Gen. We hold, then, that the movement of the heavens is twofold. Of these movements, one is common to the entire heaven, and is the cause of day and night. This, as it seems, had its beginning on the first day. The other varies in proportion as it affects various bodies, and by its variations is the cause of the succession of days, months, and years.

Thus it is, that in the account of the first day the distinction between day and night alone is mentioned; this distinction being brought about by the common movement of the heavens. The further distinction into successive days, seasons, and years recorded as begun on the fourth day, in the words, "let them be for seasons, and for days, and years" is due to proper movements.

Saint Thomas Aquinas

But in the beginning spiritual darkness was not, for even the demons were in the beginning good, as has been shown q. Therefore the production of light ought not to be assigned to the first day. Ad 4 um As Augustine teaches Confessiones XII; Genesi ad litteram 1,15 , formlessness did not precede forms in duration; and so we must understand the production of light to signify the formation of spiritual creatures, not, indeed, with the perfection of glory, in which they were not created, but with the perfection of grace, which they possessed from their creation as said above q.

Thus the division of light from darkness will denote the distinction of the spiritual creature from other created things as yet without form. But if all created things received their form at the same time, the darkness must be held to mean the spiritual darkness of the wicked, not as existing from the beginning but such as God foresaw would exist.

Comments and Documents on special issues on Religion and Science. Skip to main content. The nature of light according to Thomas Aquinas. Thomas Aquinas.

The Aquinas Lecture in Philosophy | University Press | Marquette University

The answer to the objections will sufficiently appear from what has been said. Whether light is a body or a quality Whether light is a body? Whether light is a quality?


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Why God created light the first day The following text of the Summa Theologica addresses the Biblical cosmogony in which light is the first creature of what we now call the physical world to be created. Objections and replies 1: It would seem that the production of light is not fittingly assigned to the first day. Going in depth Comments and Documents on special issues on Religion and Science. Websites on Science and Religion.


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It is only by the highest injustice that any jealousy of the progress and increase of natural sciences is laid, as a fault, at the door of that philosophy. When the Scholastics, following the teaching of the Holy Fathers, everywhere taught throughout Edition: current; Page: [ xxxi ] their anthropology that the human understanding can only rise to the knowledge of immaterial things by things of sense, nothing could be more useful for the philosopher than to investigate carefully the secrets of Nature, and to be conversant, long and laboriously, with the study of physical science.

Indeed, they themselves prove this by their works. Thomas, and Blessed Albert the Great, and other princes of the Scholastics, did not so give themselves up to the study of philosophy, as to have little care for the knowledge of natural things. Nay, on this matter there are not a few of their words and discoveries which modern teachers approve and acknowledge to be in harmony with truth. Besides, in this very age, many distinguished teachers of physical sciences openly bear witness that there is no contradiction, truly so called, between the certain and proved conclusions of recent physics, and the philosophical principles of the Schools.

We, therefore, while We declare that everything wisely said should be received with willing and glad mind, as well as everything profitably discovered or thought out, exhort all of you, Venerable Brothers, with the greatest earnestness to restore the golden wisdom of St. Thomas, and to spread it as far as you can, for the safety and glory of the Catholic Faith, for the good of society, and for the increase of all the sciences. We say the wisdom of St. Thomas; for it is not by any means in our mind to set before this age, as a standard, those things which may have been inquired into by Scholastic Doctors with too great subtlety; or anything taught by them with too little consideration, not agreeing with the investigations of a later age; or, lastly, anything that is not probable.

Thomas Aquinas Metaphysics 5 Categories, Accidents, Modes of Being & Substance, Medieval Philosophy

Let, then, teachers carefully chosen by you do their best to instil the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas into the minds of their hearers; and let them clearly point out its solidity and excellence above all other teaching. Let this doctrine be the light of all places of learning which you may have already opened, or may hereafter open. Let it be used for the refutation of errors that are gaining ground. But lest the false should be drunk instead of the true; or lest that which is unwholesome should be drunk instead of that which is pure; take care that the wisdom of Thomas be drawn from his own fountain, or at any rate from those streams which, in the certain and unanimous opinion of learned men, yet flow whole and untainted, inasmuch as they are led from the fountain itself.

Take care, moreover, that the minds of the young be kept from streams which are said to have flowed from thence, but in reality have been fed by unhealthy waters from other springs. With humble and united prayer, therefore, let us all together beseech God fervently to pour out the spirit of knowledge and understanding on the sons of the Church, and to open their minds to the understanding of wisdom. Also, that we may receive more abundant fruits of the goodness of God, use that patronage which is most powerful with Him; that is, the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is called the Seat of Wisdom.

Secure also, as intercessors, Blessed Joseph, the pure Spouse of the Virgin; and Peter and Paul, the chiefs of the Apostles, who renewed the whole world with truth, when it was corrupted by the uncleanness and the contagion of errors, and who filled it with the light of the wisdom which is from Heaven.

Lastly, in hope, trusting to the help of God and relying on your pastoral zeal, to all of you, Venerable Brothers, to all the clergy, and all the people committed to the care of Edition: current; Page: [ xxxiii ] each, we give, with great love in the Lord, our Apostolical blessing, the earnest of heavenly gifts, and the witness of our special goodwill. Given at Rome, at St. Canon Religious who have already studied their humanities should devote themselves for two years at least to philosophy and for four years to theology, following the teaching of S.

Thomas cf. Thomas which they are inviolately to hold. The Motu Proprio for the new edition appeared January 18, In this it was ordered that the new edition should be reserved to the Propaganda Press. With the works of St.

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The groundwork of the new edition is that of St. Little is known of the history of this edition. This Piana, or Roman, Edition, however, seems to have been made with the help of earlier editions rather than of the manuscripts. Thomas; but by means of the manuscripts, as well as from internal evidence and discovery of their origin and source, it has been proved in the Preface to the third Volume, that only the first seventeen lessons of the Commentary on the First Book are by St.

That on the Third and Fourth were known to be spurious.


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Of the former, up to this time nine volumes have been published, containing almost all that St. Thomas wrote before his death. With these appears the Commentary of Cajetan. The text of St. Thomas has been compared with manuscripts and early editions; quotations have been verified. Each manuscript used in the edition has been read through, and when it differs from the Piana, a note is made of the variant. In composing the second Volume no less than 20, variants were marked. The printing of the work was done at the Propaganda Press.

Almost all the material of both chronologies has been taken from the results of his research. Because the doctor of catholic truth ought not only to teach the proficient, but also to instruct beginners according to the Apostle: As unto little ones in Christ, I gave you milk to drink, not meat —1 Cor. We have considered that students in this doctrine have not seldom been hampered by what they have found written by other authors, partly on account of the multiplication of useless questions, articles, and arguments, partly also because those things that are needful for them to know are not taught according to the order of the subject-matter, but according as the plan of the book might require, or the occasion of the argument offer, partly, too, because frequent repetition brought weariness and confusion to the minds of the readers.