Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.



ineffable: incapable of being expressed.

Saint Thomas AquinasThomas Aquinas (1225-1274) taught that while God is beyond us in terms of both our understanding and the language we have to express that which we do know of God, we can speak of God through analogies. So when we say "God is love" we have come to know about love through our own experience of human love, and it helps us to understand God even though scripture and experience teach that God's love is far greater than human love can ever be. Likewise, speaking of God as The Father does not make God either male or like a human father. However, the analogy of God as The Father, which Jesus taught, does assist in our understanding of God.

Aquinas himself used analogy to push his understanding of God in new ways. He wrote a great multi-volume work, Summa Theologica, which was a thorough, and scientifically arranged exposition of theology as well as a summary of Christian philosophy. Aquinas taught us how helpful analogies can be in deepening our understanding of God, and then he taught us as well how all analogies do break down at some point when it comes to God. For after Thomas Aquinas many years of work as a Christian philosopher and writer, he had an experience of God in worship which led him to tell a fellow monk,
All my works seem like straw after what I have seen.
The saint, teacher and doctor of the church who taught us the utility of analogy when speaking of God learned very powerfully how ineffable God truly is.


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