Tag Archive: Saint Thomas Aquinas



20Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square. 21On top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech. 22How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?23Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.” —Proverbs 1:20-23

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There are many things that set the Holy Bible apart from other books of antiquity. One simply is how people respond to it. Out of all books of antiquity it is unique in that almost every world view attempts to come to the Holy Bible, have it validate their belief system, or, on the other hand, they attempt to use it against itself to disprove it’s authenticity. These arguments run the gamut from being absurd and silly, to requiring extensive study by believers to provide an adequate answer against the charges. This charge, in particular, has surprised me for a couple reasons. First, due to its absurdity, and because I have heard it more than once. One would be most inclined to think the more absurd a charge is the rarer it becomes. Yet, there are those examples where there are shallow and boundless absurdities which we hear time and time again. This is one such charge.
 photo 383_zpsac971fa1.gifThe charge regarding Proverbs is that it denotes and thus “proves” a kind of polytheism. Polytheism is simply the belief in many gods, appropriately from the Greek’s, who had their own mythology concerning many gods and demi gods, “Polys” meaning “many.” At any rate, it has been argued that wisdom, which is personified more than once in Proverbs, is indeed reference to another god rather than an attribute of God. I find this to be quite an odd argument because of the fact that personification of concepts within forms of writing is such a prevalent instrument. From pop lit to the archaic, personification has been used in everything from these abstract concepts, like wisdom, to nature and animal forms. This being the case, to jump to such a literal conclusion is quite silly. Yet, here it is.

To somewhat prove the case that this isn’t a separate god speaking, but rather the one and true God, we only need to look at the gender of this personification. Wisdom is regarded as a female, while God is almost always depicted as male, when we take into account the personal pronouns which reference God Himself. This is nothing against the female gender mind you, quite the contrary, but what it does symbolize is God’s role when we come to him for salvation. He provides for us and we, the church, are His bride. The irony of this view, made even more ironic because it is argued from the point of view of feminists, is that if one is to hold that the female gender is derogatory in symbolism, and that we, that is all human kind, are referred to in a the female gender, it requires a derogatory view of the self if one is remain in complete coherence with that view.

What we have here is not a literal personification, but rather an abstract personification of one of the attributes of God. Verse 23 says:

“Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.”

To, “pour out,” is a not uncommon phrase in Scripture which is attributed to God, for God holds the cup of wisdom and pours it out to anyone who repents. Thus, the wisdom spoke of here is not a deity, but a part of God, not apart. There are a couple other curiosities to this verse which speak of and to wisdom. One of these I believe to be so profound that I have not grasped the real gravity of it. Thus, if there are any out there with insight, I would appreciate further clarification in the comments section immediately below this post.

It is interesting, but wisdom is said of speaking in four locations. This is the profoundness of which I speak. These are, out in the open, in the public square, on the top of the wall, and at the city gate. Instead of the Scripture saying, “Wisdom cries out…,” it gives us these four specific locales. Why? Though I do not claim to understand the full significance, and I have an inkling there is more, I think there are a few things we can safely and scripturally determine to be the case here. “Out in the open,” may refer to the fact that even outside men, independent of them, this Godly wisdom exists. “In the public square,” can signify that among men God’s wisdom calls to us.

“At the city gate,” I believe may need some clarification. Unlike contemporary cities, cities of antiquity were often surrounded by a wall and often had one or several gates that led into or out of the city. These gates were closed at times at certain hours and most definitely when the city was under siege. When someone was said to be at the gates, it is equivalent to saying, “Someone is at the door.” Meaning that one was or is on the other side. Thus, when wisdom calls out from the city gate, she is not crying out from inside, but from outside! This is symbolic of the human heart who has erected walls or strongholds against the wisdom of God, and God Himself. Despite this wisdom still cries out. “She” cannot be silenced.
 photo atthegates_zps04295a45.jpg“On top of the wall,” is a metaphor for this wisdom being loftier than man’s wisdom. Though it can be among men, it is greater than man and his own knowledge, reason or logic. As I had said before, the polytheistic argument is used other places in Proverbs. This includes Proverbs chapter 9. Here, in Verse 3, the lofty metaphor is repeated once more.

“She (wisdom) has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city.” —Proverbs 3:9

Saint Thomas Aquinas quotes it another way:

“Wisdom sent her maids to invite to the tower.” —Proverbs 3:9

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Aquinas himself uses the verse to attempt to prove that the Sacred Doctrine is more noble than other sciences, but does liken the metaphor to its transcending nature:

“Since this science is partly speculative and partly practical, it transcends all others whether speculative or practical.” —Saint Thomas Aquinas

It is interesting to note that chapter 9 holds a lot of similarities to chapter 1. However, what we can gather from all this is that there is this transcending nature to wisdom and not only that but, there is also the apparent meaning that wisdom is everywhere, though not all men choose to recognize or hear it. This is utmost importance do to it being repeated. As we continue in chapter 1 this becomes more apparent.

“How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mocking and fools hate knowledge.” —Proverbs 1:22

It is quite fascinating that we are able to define what we are simply on what we love or hate. That’s worth repeating. We define what we are simply on what we love or hate. If we love to mock we become mockers. If we hate knowledge we become fools, and if we love our simple carnal ways, we become exactly that. This extends to even truth in general, of which God is a part. Those who love truth will see it, while those who hate the truth will avoid it altogether. Yet, truth and wisdom call out to us from their lofty positions to change our ways. To hate mockery, the carnal, and to love knowledge. All this so we might become respectful, spiritual and wise.


“And who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” -Romans 1:4


When one embarks on discourse with another “Christian,” it is not uncommon to come to some disagreement concerning the divinity of Christ. The prominent confusion rests in the union between the three separate supposed parts as one, the Father, Son and Spirit. We have physical laws all around us, like Pauli’s Exclusion Principle, which states that two forms of matter cannot occupy the same space at the same time. In addition, there are metaphysical laws like the law of identity, which when combined with physical laws, such as the Exclusion Principle, are assumed, by some, to prove the absurdity of such a claim as the complete union of what is known as the Holy Trinity. Though the Trinity isn’t an explicit doctrine in the bible, the Triune God is an implicit theme throughout the scriptures.


Does this concept, like some believe, necessarily lead to an absurdity though? It would if, and only if, God were a physical being bound by physical laws. However, if this were the case, He would not be God at all, for something, namely physicality, would transcend Him.

St. Anselm of Canterbury, in his famous Ontological Argument, provided, in my mind, the best philosophical, “secular definition” of God, when he said God was, “that-than-which-a-greater-cannot-be-thought.” Therefore, if God is bound by physicality, then He would be, “that-than-which-a-greater-can-be-thought,” explicitly contradicting who God is and must be. This being the case, it shows us, that a being that is not bound by physicality can be three-in-one without reaching any necessary absurdity.

St. Anselm had set out to prove by his Ontological Argument the existence of God by using the mere conception of God alone. He said:

“Even the fool, then, is forced to agree that something-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought exists in the mind, since he understand this when he hears it, and whatever is understood is in the mind. An surely that-than-which-a-greater-cannot-be-thought cannot exist in the mind alone. For if it exists solely in the mind, it can be thought to exist in reality also, which is greater. If then that-than-which-a-greater-cannot-be-thought exists in the mind alone, this same that-than-which-a-greater-cannot-be-thought is that-than-which-a-greater-can-be-thought. But this is obviously impossible. Therefore there is absolutely no doubt that something-than-which-a-greater-cannot-be-thought exists both in the mind and reality. And certainly this being so truly exists that it cannot be even thought not to exist.”

I myself happen to have some reservations about St. Anselm’s theory, though it certainly does have its uses when trying to approach God using the mind. Yet, I feel St. Anselm’s argument to be a little too esoteric to convince the non-believer, though this is a rarity, someone coming to the Lord using the mind alone. I find other arguments such as the Cosmological Argument, from St. Thomas Aquinas and Samuel Clarke, and the Teleological Argument by William Paley, to be more convincing concerning God’s existence. In addition to the previous two arguments I mentioned, if one was to conjoin them with “Pascal’s Wager,” by Blaise Pascal, it provides a great argument, not only for the existence of God, but also for the existence of faith.

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Many philosophers have tried to disprove St. Anselm, but the argument is incredibly steadfast, which may suggest its overall credibility. One of these concerns if the particular “greater” can be used with existence, and that existence truly is a great making quality. Regardless, it is respected by both those of faith and also atheists. Even the atheist philosopher William L. Rowe conceded:

“If (my critique) is correct, Anselm’s argument fails as a proof of the existence of God. This is not to say, however, that the argument is not a work of genius. Perhaps no other argument in the history of thought has raised so many basic philosophical questions and stimulated so much hard thought. Even if it fails as a proof of the existence of God, it will remain as one of the high achievements of the human intellect.”

Romans 1:4 alone contains many references to the Trinity. These include, “Spirit,” “Son,” “God,” “Jesus Christ,” and “Lord.” The phrase, “through the Spirit of holiness,” is especially profound because it does not refer to some state of being or of mind on Christ’s part, but rather the Spirit itself, due to its capitalization. According to the verse, it was by this Spirit, who is declared to have immense power, which proclaimed Christ to be the Son of God. There are numerous reasons why the Trinity must be, but I will save those for another time.

In Genesis, the Bible gives us a large clue concerning the Lord’s triune nature. In fact, some of these occur right in the creation story itself. Though there are more than a couple examples I could mention, there is one, in my mind, that stands out above the rest when contemplating the Trinity. This may be an important thing to remember for those who struggle with the concept of the Trinity.


Genesis 1:26 (See my note, “On an Early Representation of The Trinity”) tells us we were created in the image and likeness of God. Thus, we are an abstract representation of the Lord’s being. Every one of us has a mind, a body, and a soul, yet we are individuals. Three in one. Given that God is “that-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought,” are we to suppose He doesn’t transcend our being? This very same verse in Genesis indicates the existence of the Trinity by saying, “Let us make man in our image.” The words, “us,” and, “our,” indicate a plurality before the creation of man, suggesting that the Holy Trinity is indeed true.

It’s amazing but some of the best evidence concerning the trinity, or our triune Lord, is not so far away where we need to seek high and low for it. We don’t need to over analyze scriptures or seek out and search obscure places, rather, it is immediately seen and resides directly within each and every one of us.

"The Creation of Man," by Luca Giordano. fresco, c. 1684-1686

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