Metaphysics and Theology, by Randall Smith

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*Image: Creator of Heaven and Earth by James B. Janknegt, 2010 [Brilliant Corners ArtFarm, Elgin, Texas]

By Randall Smith, The Catholic Thing, May 7, 2020

Randall B. Smith is a tenured Full Professor of Theology. His book Reading the Sermons of Thomas Aquinas: A Guidebook for Beginners is available from Emmaus Press. …


Randall SmithI notice when teaching the works of Christian thinkers such as Athanasius, Augustine, and Hildegard of Bingen that something often mystifying to students is the metaphysical aspects of their thought.  They have trouble grasping that God is not being, but rather the Creator of All Being.

They have a similar difficulty understanding that evil is a privation of Being, so that when a creature turns away from God, he or she turns away from the Source of its very Being.  Turning away in this way would be like a sunflower turning away from the sun.  The sun would not need to send a solar flare to kill the sunflower as punishment.  Without the sun, the sunflower would simply wither and die.

There is no setting any earthly good or any combination of earthly goods, no matter how vast or wonderful, over against God, because God is the Source of All Goodness.  It would be like choosing a few golden eggs of various types and sizes over the goose that lays the golden eggs.  …

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