Trying to understand the Fourth Way to prove God’s existence…

It is heartening to know that I am not alone in finding the Fourth Way (Quarta Via)––or the fourth argument for God‘s existence which Aquinas presents in part I, question 2, article 3 of Summa Theologica––the most obscure and least compelling of Aquinas’ proofs.

[UPDATE, 31 March 2013: Note the appendix I added soon after posting this article. Note also my modal restatement of the Fourth Way. Note also my further reflection on physically modular existence.]

In true scholastic fashion, before raising objections or difficulties from other auctores, let us read the argument as Aquinas wrote it: 

The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But “more” and “less” are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.

[Iª q. 2 a. 3 co. 5 Quarta via sumitur ex gradibus qui in rebus inveniuntur. Invenitur enim in rebus aliquid magis et minus bonum, et verum, et nobile, et sic de aliis huiusmodi. Sed magis et minus dicuntur de diversis secundum quod appropinquant diversimode ad aliquid quod maxime est, sicut magis calidum est, quod magis appropinquat maxime calido. Est igitur aliquid quod est verissimum, et optimum, et nobilissimum, et per consequens maxime ens, nam quae sunt maxime vera, sunt maxime entia, ut dicitur II Metaphys. Quod autem dicitur maxime tale in aliquo genere, est causa omnium quae sunt illius generis, sicut ignis, qui est maxime calidus, est causa omnium calidorum, ut in eodem libro dicitur. Ergo est aliquid quod omnibus entibus est causa esse, et bonitatis, et cuiuslibet perfectionis, et hoc dicimus Deum.]

Now onto what others have said about the obscurity of this argument.

The OFloinn, for example, admits that the Quarta Via “was never [his] favorite argument, it being rather subtle, and [he] cannot say he follows it.” In a similar vein, towards the end of his defense of the Quarta Via, the Deeper Waters blogger grants “that the fourth way is a hard argument to understand and I suspect that given a year or so my writing on it will be more in-depth. However, at this point, I believe this is also the closest we have to the moral argument and it’s one I wish would be used more often.”

Likewise, no mere blogger, Etienne Gilson himself, in The Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas (Dorset Press: 1929. 3rd rev. ed., trans. E. Bullough, p. 86) notes, “None of the Thomistic proofs has given rise to so many different interpretations.” Likewise, in The Elements of Christian Philosophy (Doubleday: 1960. p. 81) Gilson writes that the Fourth Way’s “meaning has been doubly obscured by the unfortunate choice of examples borrowed from the Aristotelian doctrine of the physical elements. … In a sense, this fourth way can be said to be the deepest one from the point of metaphysical knowledge.”

Immediately before these comments, Gilson raises a crucial proviso, which I shall address later. We should not, Gilson argues, “allow ourselves to be misled by some of the examples that are here quoted by Thomas Aquinas––namely, ‘true, noble, and the like.’ These expressions do not signify the truth of true judgments or the nobility attributed to certain beings…. What is here at stake is the good inasmuch as to be good is to be, and the truth inasmuch as to be true is a certain way of being. … [As in the previous three Ways, we] are still looking for a metaphysical explanation of physically given modes of being” (emphasis added). (Gilson adds an interesting bibliographical note #38, which I shall append to the bottom of this post.)§

In much the same vein, Brother Benignus writes in Nature, Knowledge, and God (Bruce Publishing Company: 1947. p. 475),

“The wording of St. Thomas’ Fourth Way is hardly such as to make the cogency of his argument immediately obvious, especially to the modern mind tinged by materialism and relativism. Yet in structure the proof is identical with the first three. It starts with certain data of experience, … namely truth, goodness, nobility, and … all transcendent or pure perfections…. As in the case of the first three proofs, something about the data stamps them as no self-sufficient, as implying something prior, whence thy are derived and on which they depend. The argument then proceeds, by way of the principle of causality, to an adequate, self-sufficient cause of these data. It concludes that only absolute perfection, Supreme Being, subsisting in itself, can account for the limited relative perfections found in nature.”

As it will tie into my own exposition of the Quarta Via later, I want to add here that the scholastic sense of the word “perfection” has more to do with concrete exemplification than with aesthetic quality or evaluative appeal. As defined by this website of scholastic terms , perfection has a broad (late) and a narrow (stricte) meaning: any act/entity or the plenitude of a being which is lacking no act necessary to its full actuation (actualitas quaecumque vel plenitudo entis cui nullus deficit actus ad eius plenam actualitatem requisitus). An instance of, say, whiteness is a “perfection” in so far as its existence exemplifies and, so to speak, exists-towards whiteness per se. An additional scholastic axiom has it that “Omnem formam sequitur inclinatio” (An inclination follows every form [or perfection]), which in this context reminds us why we are ‘inclined’ to regard one specimen of white as more or less white than an another instance: it depends on how perfectly each spot exemplifies the perfection of whiteness.

Note, however, that this example of whiteness does not imply God is the most white being (or, as Richard Dawkins would have it, that God is the most stinky thing which accounts for the range of smelliness in the world). First of all, color is an attribute of material objects, and as God is not a material object, He eo ipso is not chromatic, so such objections are basically sophomoric non sequiturs.

Further, as Benignus explains (p. 477), “[t]he perfections which alone are in question in this proof are pure perfections; that is to say, their essence implies no limitation. Some perfections [such as whiteness and smelliness] are mixed; they are positive perfections but can belong, because of their nature, only to limited kinds of being.” Mixed perfections such as whiteness and smelliness of their very nature have a limited range of exemplification, and it is precisely the task of empirical science to find the termini of that range (e.g. the ends of the color spectrum could not include a wavelength shorter than a single photon emission or larger than the span of the universe, etc.). By contrast, pure perfections such as truth, beauty, knowledge, and love are essentially unlimited, yet we only find limited cases of them. The limited beings which display essentially unlimited perfections could not be the cause of those perfections, since the cause cannot give to its effect what it lacks. Benignus notes that St. Thomas argues in De Potentia III, 5, that it “is necessary, if some one thing is found in several beings, that is be caused in them by some one cause. For it cannot be that the common thing belongs to each one by reason of itself, since each one, inasmuch as it is itself, is different from the others, and diversity of causes produces diversity of effects.” The metaphysical dilemma is this: we never find pure perfections p-p in their fullness in any finite beings, yet cannot deny the essentially unlimited nature of p-p. The Fourth Way seeks to explain that incongruity by showing how God is not only the one ‘place’ where all pure perfections can really ‘be themselves’, but also the ultimate cause of all the relative perfections, whether pure or mixed, which we find in finite beings.

Even more fundamentally, however, the point of the Quarta Via is not how to explain any particular perfection––what Gilson calls a physically given mode of being––, for that is the task of empirical science (viz., explaining the light spectrum and how colors emerge from it, or explaining the molecular nature of objects and how they generate olfactory sensation), but rather to explain how diverse things are relatively ordered towards their formal perfections, which shows a striking similarity between the Fourth and Fifth Ways. The Fifth Way, or Quinta Via, argues from the orderliness of causes and their effects to the ordering sovereignty of God as creator and sustainer of a scientifically lawful (or legible!) universe. The Quarta Via argues in a similar fashion about the formal, as opposed to nomological, orderliness of the world. So even the range of stinkiness does point to God in so far as His ultimate perfection grounds the perfection (or formal exemplification) of stinky things. All stinky things exemplify “stinkiness as such”, but we must explain how A thing’s perfection p is that which grounds the truth of the claim P that the thing is of such and such a nature n, or that p is in fact p(n). Perfection is, thus, is the metaphysical principle of truth-making. Hang onto the that idea.

(I should note that mine is not the only way to answer the “stinky objection,” and is most likely not the best way. The OFloinn writes:

Consider that there are research facilities dedicated to the study of smelliness: fragrance laboratories, for example.  Their products enter aerosols, perfumes, food, marker pens, and countless other things.  Suppose you were to ask such a researcher “What is the stinkiest thing of them all?” And the answer was: “Oh, there’s nothing that I’d call the stinkiest of all.”

“What would this mean, Chastek argues, but that “for whatever reason various smells aren’t comparable. Perhaps stinks are irreducibly distinct and [each] stinky in its own way. Perhaps some things smell worse on different days or in different circumstances, etc.”  In sum:

If there is no maximal, then it’s because the various things are not comparable in terms of greater and less.

But then, by modus tollens:

If various things are comparable in terms of greater and less, then there is some maximal. 

And this is the minor premise of Thomas’ proof.   So stinkiness is not a refutation of the principle. … [T]he key thing is that the principle (explanation) had to be something in the nature of the more-or-less “hot” body itself; not something external to it.  The Fourth Way is not the Second Way.  Chastek writes:

it is not a matter of looking for some other thing by which a knife is sharp or the car is aerodynamic – but in both cases there is an intelligible reality, which simply waits to be known, which provides a measure that illuminates exactly why each of these things can admit of more and less. This does not mean that there is, say, one and only one perfectly aerodynamic shape,  but rather that one can find a single equation for the drag that we seek to overcome by various shapes. One misses the point if he critiques St. Thomas’s axiom by saying “just because things are more or less aerodynamic doesn’t mean that there exists something perfectly aerodynamic.”  What is “most such” here is the drag equation

And so also for Dawkins’ ‘most smelly.’ …

Smelly is no more transcendental than heat, which itself is offered only as a homey analogy to the argument on the transcendentals.  Thomas does not conclude that the hottest thing (Fire) is what all men call God.  He only says that the principle of goodness, truth, etc. is like the principle of heat (which is Fire).  It’s an analogy.  Heat:Fire::Being:God)

In any event, to return to the thread of the argument: I think Benignus errs strictly philosophically and exegetically in the way Gilson warned on page 80 of The Elements, by placing too much emphasis on the aesthetic nature of the perfections, though he does so to great apologetical effect. As Benignus writes,

“This argument ‘from the degrees of perfection’ has often been called ‘idealistic,’ ‘Platonic,’ even by some Thomists. There is much truth in the charge: the Fourth Way cam have little appeal to a mind which sees matter as more real than ideas…. But to a mind which has no hesitancy in asserting that the good and evil [et cetera] … met in life are as real, nay, more real than … food and air even––to that mind the Fourth Way is the best way of all. It starts from the things in life which count … [such as] life itself, goodness, beauty, truth, nobility, knowledge, love––and it proceeds to a God who is recognizable as God––a living, knowing, loving, good God. It is a proof, in a word, which demonstrates that God exists by the very reasons for which most men believe in Him anyway” (p. 476).

Nonetheless, Benignus is quite correct to note that “the crux [of the Quarta Via] is whether the principle of causality can rightly be applied to the [sensible] data from which the proof starts. As soon as we see St. Thomas’ reasons for holding that the principle does and must apply here, we see also that this proof, like the Third Way, is an exemplification of how completely Thomism is a philosophy of being or existence” (p. 476). As Joseph Owens writes in An Elementary Christian Metaphysics (Bruce Publishing Company: 1963. p. 348), “What merely has [the perfection of] being, and so is not of its nature being, has that being, ultimately, from something that is being. All other perfections can be imparted only insofar as they are made to exist” (emphasis added). Stressing again the unity of the Five Ways (Quinque Viae), Owens (p. 350) adds, “The point that mattered [in all the Ways] was to start with being as found in sensible things, whether the being of motion and its term, … or being whose participated character was shown by grades…. Such being could then be traced to an efficient cause, and finally to subsistent being as its first cause.”

I argued above that the scholastic principle of perfection ties into truth-making. I want to expand on that point by citing Benignus once again, but first let us recall some key words from St. Thomas’ argument:

“Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. …[T]here is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being…. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus…. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God” (emphasis added).

But, asks Benignus, “[h]ow can anything be more or less true, or how can one truth be more true than another? … What is needed are examples of truths which are true in different degrees.” Benignus then compares merely contingent truths with the physical laws which ground them, and in turn compares physical laws with even higher metaphysical laws (such as the law of causality), and even ranks metaphysical truths relative to the highest such truth, namely, “that what is, is” (p. 476). Note that the hierarchy of truths is but the flip-side of the hierarchy of being; a lower level truth holds not only in virtue of its proper truth-making conditions, but also in virtue of higher grounding features of the actual world and their truth-making properties.

To recall what I said about p, above, it is true that “P: p(n)” simply because p in fact p(n)––hat tip to Tarski. Note that P is true in virtue of something outside itself, namely, the truth-making conditions which envelop and ground p(n). P is thus a contingent formal truth (a relative perfection), and such contingency holds for all truths and their truth-makers. The higher a truth is, the deeper its ontological roots go, and the less subject it is to being changed or even rendered non-existent. As Aquinas says, “[As] there is something which is truest … consequently [there is] something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being (nam quae sunt maxime vera, sunt maxime entia).” In his essay on the Five Ways in Thomas Aquinas: Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives (Oxford University Press: 2002. ed. Brian Davies. p. 180) John Wippel helpfully explains:

“In referring to things as more and less true Thomas is thinking of truth of being or ontological truth, not of truth as it exists in the intellect (logical truth). He has in mind that quality present in any being in virtue of which it can be grasped by intellect or … the intelligibility of being. Since such truth or intelligibility is found wherever being is found wherever being is realized, Thomas also regards being and truth as convertible with one another [cf. De Veritate q. I, a. 1].”

By way of contrast, consider: no truth holds for something that does not exist. Non-existence has the lowest ‘content’ of truth; no claims hold true of nihil precisely because nihil cannot be a truth-maker for any claim. Nothing-as-such is simply unintelligible, or in other words, simply non-existent. A square circle or a one-sided coin are likewise inherently unintelligible, which is but the noetic signal to us that they are devoid of being. Thus, non-being is to the mind as evil is to the will and contradiction is to the intellect. To say that “Nothing makes (any) sense” is as impossible as saying that “Nothing (at all) makes sense.” (How’s that for a Thomistic koan?)

By contrast, that which has the greatest being b∫ also is the most true; for it is that of which the most (formal and empirical) truths hold under the most conditions, and thus that which counts ontologically as a truth-maker for the most truths––nam quae sunt maxime vera, sunt maxime entia. In a word, b∫ is not true in virtue of some other truth, and thus does not exist in virtue of some other truth-maker. Benignus argues that this entire series of truths––as well as their truth-makers––ends with “the ‘maximum truth,’ namely, the Truth which of itself is and must be, without which there would be neither being nor truth, the Necessary Truth upon which all other truths are contingent” (pp. 476–477). It follows that precisely because b∫ does not exist in virtue of anything else, it cannot be explained in terms of anything else. Hence, trying to understand or explain b∫ will be impossible without recourse to analogy and inference––or, in other words, theology. Atheists are thus trying to square the circle by demanding an explanation of God in terms of anything lesser, such as exact physical science or strawman anthropomorphisms.

(Gilson’s further discussion of the Quarta Via in The Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas (p. 88ff.) reveals an intramural dispute about how authentically Thomistic the argument from an absolute truth is, but I shall not get into that right now!)

But enough academic context. The good news, and the cause of this post, is that a couple days ago I think I finally “got” (in that full-body “Aha!” way) the Fourth Way for first time. I was reading an article about the metaphysics of Scotus (natch), and I had a small epiphany. The specific ideas that gave me my insight are these, from Peter King’s discussion of common nature in Duns Scotus’ metaphysics (p. 16):

A contracted nature is just as much a mode of an uncontracted nature as a given intensity of whiteness is a mode of whiteness, or a given amount of heat is a mode of heat. It is no accident that Scotus regularly speaks of an “individual degree” (gradus individualis).

Notice how nicely the idea of grades (or degrees) ties in with the Quarta Via. So the following is how I would rephrase the Quarta Via:

  • Take the universal “whiteness” w. Now w does not exist save as/to some degree, mode, or shade of white w_. We can speak of this shade of whiteness w-a actually existing, but not of w per se, since w is that which is known precisely in abstraction from any and all of its instantiations w_.
  • Further, w-a belongs to an ordered spectrum of w, namely, w_∫. Now, since nothing, including w, is self-caused, it follows that something outside of w causes it to exist in its ordered multiplicity w_∫. This holds for all universals u and their modes of being u_.
  • As such, there must be a cause outside of all ordered being b_∫ that accounts for its being so ordered (and thus empirically classifiable). This cause outside all ordered being is God.

The insight I got from Scotus helps me like so:

The ways in which a thing exists are inseparable from the thing’s existence, or at the very least they are necessary conditions for the thing’s existing––its so-existing. A patch of white cannot exist without being a certain size and shade of white. As noted above, a things’s intelligibility is tied up with its existence, and this is no abstraction: a thing is known, and knowable, precisely in terms of the ways and modes in which is exists, or how it manifests itself as a this-being (aliquid) in contrast to other beings (entia) and being as such (ens). A thing’s perfections, then, are just the actual contours of its being, and the precise marks of its intelligibility. Hence, St. Thomas writes, “Now all perfections are included in the perfection of being; for things are perfect, precisely so far as they have being after some fashion” (ST I, q. 4, a. 2, emphasis added). (I will append the entire text of ST I, q. 4, a. 2 at the bottom of this post, and I encourage you to read it, as it might say in a few words what I have tried to say in many.)§§

To recall Gilson’s words (The Elements, p. 81): “What is here at stake is the good inasmuch as to be good is to be, and the truth inasmuch as to be true is a certain way of being. … [Aquinas is] looking for a metaphysical explanation of physically given modes of being” (emphasis added). Thus Gilson remarks at the end of his discussion of the Quarta Via in The Elements (p. 84), the Five Ways function as “a single effort to reach the prime cause of all things, starting from their degrees of perfection––that is, from their degrees in being.” A given entity is intelligible not only in terms of its formal traits, but also in terms of the relative manifestness (or perfection) of those traits.

That’s enough for now, to be sure. I admit my grasp of the Fourth Way still feels “wobbly” so perhaps at a later date I can more with better accuracy and more insight.

Stay tuned.


§ NOTE #38, on page 323–324 of The Elements of Christian Philosophy:

“This is a remarkable example of the free handling of a metaphysical proof of God’s existence by Thomas Aquinas. This very same proof that is here related to Augustine, and rightly so, is also found in SCG, I, c. 13, #34, where it is introduced as an argument ‘gathered from the words of Aristotle.’ The argument really is Augustinian in both origin and substance; only, since Thomas is addressing the gentiles, he wants to dress up the argument of Augustine in Aristotelian garb.  This Thomas does by combining two texts of Aristotle which fit the thought of Augustine rather loosely:

In Metaphysics II [Ia, 1] he shows that what is most true is also most a being [because {Gilson adds}, being eternal, the heavenly bodies and their Movers are eternally true and eternally causing all derivative truths as well as all derivative beings]. But in Metaphysics IV [4] he shows the existence of something supremely true from the observed fact that of two false things one is more false than the other, which means that one is more true than the other. This comparison is based on the nearness to that which is absolutely and supremely true. From these Aristotelian texts we may further infer that there is something that is supremely being. This we call God.

Note that the text of Metaphysics IV, 4, does not speak of something supremely true (such as God), but of an absolutely correct truth…. As modified in SCG, this proof is another version of the fourth way of the Summa Theologiae.”

§§ ST Iª q. 4 a. 2 co.

Respondeo dicendum quod in Deo sunt perfectiones omnium rerum. Unde et dicitur universaliter perfectus, quia non deest ei aliqua nobilitas quae inveniatur in aliquo genere, ut dicit Commentator in V Metaphys. Et hoc quidem ex duobus considerari potest. Primo quidem, per hoc quod quidquid perfectionis est in effectu, oportet inveniri in causa effectiva, vel secundum eandem rationem, si sit agens univocum, ut homo generat hominem; vel eminentiori modo, si sit, agens aequivocum, sicut in sole est similitudo eorum quae generantur per virtutem solis. Manifestum est enim quod effectus praeexistit virtute in causa agente, praeexistere autem in virtute causae agentis, non est praeexistere imperfectiori modo, sed perfectiori; licet praeexistere in potentia causae materialis, sit praeexistere imperfectiori modo, eo quod materia, inquantum huiusmodi, est imperfecta; agens vero, inquantum huiusmodi, est perfectum. Cum ergo Deus sit prima causa effectiva rerum, oportet omnium rerum perfectiones praeexistere in Deo secundum eminentiorem modum. Et hanc rationem tangit Dionysius, cap. V de Div. Nom., dicens de Deo quod non hoc quidem est, hoc autem non est, sed omnia est, ut omnium causa. Secundo vero, ex hoc quod supra ostensum est, quod Deus est ipsum esse per se subsistens, ex quo oportet quod totam perfectionem essendi in se contineat. Manifestum est enim quod, si aliquod calidum non habeat totam perfectionem calidi, hoc ideo est, quia calor non participatur secundum perfectam rationem, sed si calor esset per se subsistens, non posset ei aliquid deesse de virtute caloris. Unde, cum Deus sit ipsum esse subsistens, nihil de perfectione essendi potest ei deesse. Omnium autem perfectiones pertinent ad perfectionem essendi, secundum hoc enim aliqua perfecta sunt, quod aliquo modo esse habent. Unde sequitur quod nullius rei perfectio Deo desit. Et hanc etiam rationem tangit Dionysius, cap. V de Div. Nom., dicens quod Deus non quodammodo est existens, sed simpliciter et incircumscripte totum in seipso uniformiter esse praeaccipit, et postea subdit quod ipse est esse subsistentibus.

I answer that, All created perfections are in God. Hence He is spoken of as universally perfect, because He lacks not (says the Commentator, Metaph. v) any excellence which may be found in any genus. This may be seen from two considerations. First, because whatever perfection exists in an effect must be found in the effective cause: either in the same formality, if it is a univocal agent–as when man reproduces man; or in a more eminent degree, if it is an equivocal agent–thus in the sun is the likeness of whatever is generated by the sun’s power. Now it is plain that the effect pre-exists virtually in the efficient cause: and although to pre-exist in the potentiality of a material cause is to pre-exist in a more imperfect way, since matter as such is imperfect, and an agent as such is perfect; still to pre-exist virtually in the efficient cause is to pre-exist not in a more imperfect, but in a more perfect way. Since therefore God is the first effective cause of things, the perfections of all things must pre-exist in God in a more eminent way. Dionysius implies the same line of argument by saying of God (Div. Nom. v): “It is not that He is this and not that, but that He is all, as the cause of all.” Secondly, from what has been already proved, God is existence itself, of itself subsistent (3, 4). Consequently, He must contain within Himself the whole perfection of being. For it is clear that if some hot thing has not the whole perfection of heat, this is because heat is not participated in its full perfection; but if this heat were self-subsisting, nothing of the virtue of heat would be wanting to it. Since therefore God is subsisting being itself, nothing of the perfection of being can be wanting to Him. Now all created perfections are included in the perfection of being; for things are perfect, precisely so far as they have being after some fashion. It follows therefore that the perfection of no one thing is wanting to God. This line of argument, too, is implied by Dionysius (Div. Nom. v), when he says that, “God exists not in any single mode, but embraces all being within Himself, absolutely, without limitation, uniformly;” and afterwards he adds that, “He is the very existence to subsisting things.”

About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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6 Responses to Trying to understand the Fourth Way to prove God’s existence…

  1. Pingback: And Bob’s your uncle! | FideCogitActio : omnis per gratiam

  2. Mike Flynn says:

    The scent laboratory example and the defense of the minor premise that springs from it is originally from James Chastek, whom I cited and linked in the original blog post.

    I notice that Chastek’s point about the drag equation as being what is most true about aerodynamics ties directly into the quoted passage by Wippel.

    A further stray thought: that since “truth” is an English word meaning “faithful”, it is more akin to the Latin fides than to veritas. I can’t help but wonder if our uncertainty on these matters might be because our words slice matters up at different angles than the Latin words.

  3. Yes, I included the links to Chastek’s blog and your citation of him. But I also quoted your words. Your comment here about truth inspired me to write a new tentative axiom: Truth in being is faithfulness to the divine idea; truth in intellect is veracity with respect to ontic faithfulness.

  4. apologianick says:

    I’m Nick Peters. I am the Deeper Waters blogger. Just wanted to say “Thanks for the link!”

  5. Pingback: Links and resources to read or discuss later-soon… | FideCogitActio : omnis per gratiam

  6. c matt says:

    Atheists are thus trying to square the circle by demanding an explanation of God in terms of anything lesser, such as exact physical science or strawman anthropomorphisms.

    Similar to arguing “infinity” does not exist because no one has ever been able to count up to it?

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