Prima Facie reservations on Thomism

Reasons why I won’t commit to Thomism.  And why a “Reformed Thomism” is an uneasy alliance.

  1. Does Thomas hold to Aristotle’s view that two contrary principles can’t coexist?  Would this rule out the Incarnation?
  2. Thomas’s view of habitus is incompatible with the Reformed view of imputation.
  3. Thomas’s view of punishment and mortal sin demands Purgatory.
  4. If the soul is the form of the human body and a subsistent thing (aliquid subsistens), then Aquinas is hard-pressed to maintain the immortality of the soul.  (I know that sounds “Greek,” but all Christian positions must affirm that the soul survives the death of the body).
    1. I know Aquinas says a “subsistent thing” exists in its own right (ST I, q. 75, a.2).
    2. But if this is his argument, then what precisely has he advanced that the Augustinian-Platonic tradition had not yet advanced?
  5. I’m uneasy with his take on individuation.  Initially, matter is the principle of individuation.  But this is problematic for angels, since they are immaterial.  So he says each angel is its own species. So we have a tension.  Angels can’t be form + matter, yet the nature of divine simplicity seems to suggest that an angel can’t be identical with its existence.  So an angel is rather an admixture of act and potency.  What is immaterial potency?
  6. Much better to stay with the Augustinian-Platonic tradition on this one.  Or even the Greek fathers for that matter.
  7. Does Thomism demand transubstantiation?  How do Reformed guys square with that?
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About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
This entry was posted in Autobiography, Fathers, Philosophy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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