Christianity in Roman Britain to AD 500 by Charles Christi Thomas

By Charles Christi Thomas


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In the concrete historical order, human reason is incapable of reaching religious or moral truth if it is left to its own devices. Individual men can only discover religious and moral truth through the help of the society in which they live. Concrete society forms each individual mind through its language and its cultural institutions. Language can only be learned through its communication by another intelligent being, and, until it has been formed by language, the concrete human mind is incapable of religious, moral, or social thought.

Thomas' speculative theology is an Aristotelian metaphysical science whose necessary first principles come from revelation and, unlike philosophical first principles, cannot be justified by natural reason. Aristotelian science, which rests on the Aristotelian abstractive theory of knowledge and its necessary first principles derived by the human intellect from sense experience, provides the intelligible link between philosophy and theology in Thomas' Summa Theologiae. Revelation provides theology's first principles.

Neither can there be such a thing in reality as a "separated" human reason that can philosophize with no regard to revealed religion. Organized society could never have been formed unless God first revealed to primitive man the fundamental religious and moral principles on which all society must rest. No society could endure unless God's primitive revelation was transmitted to its members by tradition. For just as unaided human reason is incapable of discovering the basic moral principles on which society's existence depends, human reason is unable to preserve its knowledge of them by its own unaided power.

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