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.
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.”
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.”
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:
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?
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 Fundamentalism, Living in Sin