Given its emphasis upon the text of the Holy Scripture, Thomas Aquinas’s theory of analogical theology is one of the most influential and multi-faceted theories regarding the knowledge of God and analysis of His names and attributes. Aquinas’s main purpose in discussing Full Text
Given its emphasis upon the text of the Holy Scripture, Thomas Aquinas’s theory of analogical theology is one of the most influential and multi-faceted theories regarding the knowledge of God and analysis of His names and attributes. Aquinas’s main purpose in discussing this issue in both of his great works, Summa Theologia and Summa Contra Gentiles, was to predicate the perfectional attributes of all creatures, including human beings as the most perfect of them, on God. He believed that this is possible by employing an analogical method of predication as opposed to equivocation and unequivocation. In this way, he attained a knowledge of the names and attributes of the Truth that enabled him to leave the negative theology of the Middle Ages behind and, in this way, avoid the trap of assimilating the Truth to the created. The essential element of Aquinas’s analogical theology is the “principle of the perfections of cause and effect”. The perfections of effect have an apriori supreme presence in the cause. There are two other principles in his works called the “argument of degrees of perfection” and the “principle of the priority of cause to effect”. He insists on attributing all these three principles to Aristotle and Ibn Rushd in order to introduce his own analogical predication as being rooted in Aristotle’s philosophy. However, the truth is that Aristotle never made any explicit reference to any of the claims made by Aquinas. Rather, the idea of God’s being above perfection and pure good, in the sense that Pure Perfection embodies all perfections of finite things, is among Ibn Sina’s achievements and innovations in theological discussions. In fact, Ibn Rushd’s words in this regard explain Ibn Sina’s theories although he wrote them in his commentaries on Aristotle’s words.