Thomas Aquinas on Faith, Theology and Reason
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was one of the greatest thinkers of Medieval Christian thought. His main concern was to harmonise Greek and Muslim philosophy with the Christian faith. In this context, Aquinas tried to find answers to a number of questions. This article examines some of these questions within three headings. First, in addition to philosophical knowledge, whether there is a need to any sacred teaching. Second, what is the nature of this sacred doctrine which is called theology. Finally, whether theology can use philosophical arguments in establishing its main principles. This article concludes that, as a Christian thinker Thomas Aquinas stresses the importance of philosophical knowledge, but thinks that for different reasons philosophical way of reaching the truths is not accessible to the majority. For this reason there is a need to a sacred teaching. The science of this sacred teaching is called theology. For Aquinas, this is different from theology or metaphysics of the philosophers. It is the science that deals first with God and then with all other beings from the viewpoint of their relation with God. For Aquinas, since the source of both truths is God, there cannot be a contradiction between the truths that are reached through reason and the truths that are given through revelation. For this reason, philosophical arguments can be used, either for establishing the theological truths, or for clarifying the nature of faith through analogy or for rejecting the arguments that are contrary to the faith.
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