Analogy

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What is an analogy?
It's describing something that is unfamiliar to us by making a comparison with something that we already know.
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Why does Aquinas consider analogies important?
They are a compromise to the difficulties of making univocal (language meaning the same thing in all contexts) and equivocal (language meaning different things in different contexts) statements about God.
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Quotation to show the rejection of both equivocal/univocal language
Aquinas: Summa Theologica: "It seems that no word can be used literally of God."
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How does Aquinas believe that language about God cannot be used?
Literally
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Example of where the scripture uses analogy:
'The Lord is my Shepherd.'
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What does he believe about the statement: 'God is good.'
That it can be understood analogically and that we do mean that God is good in the same way that a person is good. God's goodness is on a different scale.
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In what 2 ways does Aquinas use analogy?
1. Analogy of attribution 2. Analogy of proportion
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What is analogy of attribution?
The qualities that we ascribe to each other are as a reflection of the qualities of God.
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Davie's example:
The baker and bread: If we say that the bread is good and the baker is good, there is a relationship between the statements. The bread is the product of the baker and his goodness or skill at baking causes the goodness of the bread.
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Aquinas' example:
It comes from medieval medicine where it was believed that if a bull's urine was healthy then they are healthy (their urine is a reflection of them).
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How does this relate to God?
Properties that we see in others are reflections of properties of our creator (God.)
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How does this relate to analogy?
When we see attributes in others, we are able to make analogies with the attributes of God.
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What is analogy of proportion?
The type of properties that something has depends on the nature of the being that possesses the properties.
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Why do we have to change our proportions when describing God?
God is an infinite being whereas humans are finite (therefore, there cannot be the same meaning)
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Why is the meaning of language not the same in the context of both religious language and describing humans?
The meaning changes as the proportion to the nature of the being that is described changes.
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Hick's use of Baron von Hugel's example of the term 'faithfulness.'
This is a word that we might use of a dog/human/God. If we compare the faithfulness that humans potentially have to that of a dog, the dog's faithfulness is limited. In the same way, when we assert that God is faithful, human faithfulness is limited.
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What 2 pitfalls does analogy avoid?
anthrophomorphism (conception of God as having the form/personality/attributes of man) and agnosticism (the belief that the nature of God is not knowable)
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how does it avoid anthrophomorphism of God?
It argues that we are a reflection of God rather than God being a reflection of us and also recognises that his qualities are a different proportion to ours.
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Who argues that analogy is too vague and leaves us unable to understand God and his actions?
Scotus
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Card 2

Front

Why does Aquinas consider analogies important?

Back

They are a compromise to the difficulties of making univocal (language meaning the same thing in all contexts) and equivocal (language meaning different things in different contexts) statements about God.

Card 3

Front

Quotation to show the rejection of both equivocal/univocal language

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

How does Aquinas believe that language about God cannot be used?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Example of where the scripture uses analogy:

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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