Aquinas' analogy

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  • Religious Language concept- ANALOGY
    • Aquinas in summa theological proposed analogical prediction
      • Aquinas rejected univocal language, meaning that the same word is used with the same meaning in every context such as mammal for dogs, dolphins and lions. We can't say God is good in the same way humans are good; univocally, this limits God and anthropomorphise him
        • Nor does Aquinas believe we can speak of God equivocally, meaning the same word but meaning different things in different contexts for e.g. a Bat meaning in one instance a flying animal and Bat also meaning that used in cricket. There is direct connection between the divine goodness of God and that in humans as we are caused by God
          • Aquinas came up with a middle ground; analogy. Analogy is the comparison between two things. Aquinas believed there is a causal link between humans and God. This is analogy of being or analogy entis, also seen as the 'gradation to be found in things', this is the reasoning of talking about God in a non literal way, all goodness and love found in humanity came first from God and are thus analogously related.
            • eg in an amazonian jungle, they would not know what a motor car was but if we were to tell someone from the tribe we had a perfect motor car they could understand the concept of it being perfect from their understanding of say a perfect circle. the same concept used in God, we may not know what God is but saying he is good we can understand him to be perfectly good as God
    • analogy of attribution- Relating the qualities of humans reflecting the qualities of God as God is the cause of all things such as the goodness in humans- he attributed goodness to us.
      • Aquinas used the example of Bulls health, in the days go Aquinas you would look at the wee of Bulls to see if the Bull was healthy;the wee would then be classed as healthy but it isn't the wee thats healthy its the bull having attributed the health just as we are good but because God is the divine goodness and he attributed it to us
    • analogy of proportion; all good qualities belong infinitely to God and in proportion (larger scale) to humans
      • eg: hicks downward dog: analogy downwards goes from humanity to lower form of life such as a dog, and we can say of a dog that it is faithful or loyal as we would a man or woman. There is a similarity in the qualities exhibited in the dogs faithfulness and that of humans however humans are superior as there is a deliberate self conscious decision in acting that way in humans that there isn't in dogs but there is a level of correspondence between the dogs and humans level of faithfulness
        • analogy upwards works in the reverse way: from humanity to God, it is our own qualities that are a thin shadow of Gods, our goodness,love and wisdom  that are inferior to the perfect qualities of the godhead known to us by analogy. we are a distortion of the divine goodness which is true goodness, but this correspondence of qualities allows for understanding.
      • in philosophy and christian faith brown noted that ' divine truth has to be refracted and expressed in terms of human words and finite images'


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