Aquinas on Consciousness, Cosmos, Creativity & Enlarging Our Souls

Aquinas, like most indigenous and pre-modern thinkers, and unlike the human-centered philosophers of the modern and industrial era, begins his philosophy with the universe. 

Astronomy of Aquinas’ era: the Tusi-couple, a mathematical device developed by Islamic astronomer al-Tusi in 1247, providing a solution for the latitudinal motion of the inferior planets, later used extensively by Ptolemy. Wikimedia Commons.

Our work to save Mother Earth flows from our love of the whole of creation, since, as Thomas Berry reminds us, “ecology is functional cosmology.” 

Aquinas invites us to welcome cosmology and those who study it!   After all, “a mistake about creation results in a mistake about God.”

Studying creation, cosmology and cosmogenesis grows our souls and this promises more courage and more joy.  As Meister Eckhart put it, “God is delighted to watch your soul enlarge.”

Our imaginations and creativity know no limits.  What we can accomplish with our hands and our reason is vast for “by these means human beings can make for themselves instruments of an infinite variety and for any number of purposes.”

Aquinas marvels that we are capable of such a reach at all. For him “there is nothing that the human mind cannot understand potentially. It is capable of knowing all things.”  

Co-creating with the Infinite: Jewel Mathieson recites her poem “We Have Come to be Danced.”

Isn’t it true that no two musicians have composed the same song?  No two painters painted the same painting?  No two poets composed the same poems? Does this not imply that our creativity is infinite?

Aquinas elaborates on our immense intellectual capacities when he says that we have “a power extending to the infinite” and our “intellectual natures have a closer relationship to a whole than do other natures.”  

We “may comprehend the entirety of being through our intellect” and “our intellect never understands so many things that it could not understand more.”

Aquinas is talking about what we today call consciousness:

There is something that relates to the totality of existing things. The soul is such a being that it is, as is said in [Aristotle’s’] The Soul, ‘in some way all things.’

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 21-23.   

And Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, pp. 138, 142.

And Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet

Banner Image: Communion with Our Relations. Image by Alice Popkorn on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you find science and the awareness of the new cosmology and cosmogenesis growing your soul?  Do you find artists and engineers and architects also growing your soul? 

Recommended Reading

The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times

A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book!  Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him.  He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French).  He  gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way. 
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake

Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet

Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow.  Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from FundamentalismLiving in Sin

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

3 thoughts on “Aquinas on Consciousness, Cosmos, Creativity & Enlarging Our Souls”

  1. Avatar

    Our conscious awareness grows but our souls are already infinite in their very nature. The works of all, not just the artist, engineers and architects, expand our awareness of the infinite. One street over, labourers in a pit, used concrete and rebar to pour the foundation for a structure will reach into the sky. A Lego figure built, a sandcastle, a doodle on a sketchpad, a new computer chipset, are manifestations of our creativity. Every dream-like state is a manifestation of our creativity. A spiritual vision is a manifestation of our creativity and what life might hold in store for us. Looking beyond ourselves and looking within ourselves, takes us out of ourselves. When we take ourselves out of ourselves, we consciously enter the cosmos, the true home of ourselves, all others, and all of creation. We need to coax and prod ourselves to ‘get out’ and come home more often. — BB.

    1. Avatar
      Brigid Cannon, OP

      Thank you, Bill for your distinction of what is consciousness and how it grows and our souls that are already infinite through our Creator. Appreciate all your examples and reminding us to be selfless.
      Blessings on your responses,
      Brigid Cannon, OP

  2. Avatar

    YES!!! Cosmology and Cosmogenesis are helping to expand my Soul with the CONSCIOUSNESS of Our LOVING WHOLENESS~ONENESS with-in ALL ongoing evolving CO-CREATION of Our SACRED multidimensional-multiverse COSMOS, including our Beautiful Sacred Mother Earth and all of Her living creatures and graceful abundance… I am Grateful…

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: