3 Ways Theology can Benefit from Philosophy

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A scene from Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy in which Boethius is . . . well, being consoled by philosophy.

In his commentary on Boethius’ De Trinitate Thomas Aquinas reminds us why the truths of philosophy and the truths of theology are not in competition and why one cannot contradict the other. If a truth of philosophy/science contradicts a truth of theology, you’ve either god bad philosophy/science or bad theology.


Listen to my podcast above to get the whole context as well as my thoughts on what Thomas says. But here are three reasons Thomas gives as to how and why theology can benefit from philosophy:


1. First, to demonstrate those truths that are preambles of faith and that have a necessary place in the science of faith. Such are the truths about God that can be proved by natural reason—that God exists, that God is one; such truths about God or about His creatures, subject to philosophical proof, faith presupposes.


2. Secondly, to give a clearer notion, by certain similitudes, of the truths of faith, as Augustine in his book, De Trinitate, employed any comparisons taken from the teachings of the philosophers to aid understanding of the Trinity.


3. In the third place, to resist those who speak against the faith, either by showing that their statements are false, or by showing that they are not necessarily true.

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