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THOMASAQUINAS,
ISLAM
ANDTHEARABPHILOSOPHERS
ByJosephKennyOP

I.Islamingeneral

WhatdidSt.ThomasknowaboutIslam?Herefersexplicitlytoitonlytwice.Thefirstisatthe
beginningofSummacontragentiles.Asyouknow,Thomaswrotethisworkattherequestofthe
MasteroftheOrder,RaymonddePeafort,forDominicanswhoweregoingtopreachin
Muslimterritories,especiallywheretheywouldbeincontactwiththethinkersofIslam,the
philosophersandtheologians.Thomasexcuseshimselffirstbysayingthatheknewlittleabout
Islam.Nevertheless,hegavereasonswhyitisnotreasonabletoacceptMuammadasa
prophet:firstbecauseheworkednomiraclesinproofofhismission(Thomasdidnottakethe
Qur'nasamiracle),andsecondlybecausehewonfollowersbyashowofforceandby
promisingthemsensualsatisfactioninthislifeandthenext.

Afterthissevereprologue,whichlacksanyappreciationofthepositiveaspectsofIslam,
ThomasconsecratesthreeofthefourbooksofthisSummatoanexpositionofthefoundationsof
theCatholicFaithwhichreasoncandemonstrateandrevelationconfirms.Hefollowsthis
methodbecauseherecognizedthatMuslimsdonotaccepttheauthorityoftheBible,regardingit
asadeformationoftheTorah,theZbrandtheInjlrecognizedbytheQur'n.Inthefirstthree
booksofContraGentilesThomasappealstotheintelligenceofMuslims,proposingtruthsthat
anyMuslimandanyChristiancanaccept.Itis,infact,asIsaidinthetitleofarsumIwroteof
thesebooks,"anexcerciseinphilosophyofreligion,commontoChristiansandtoMuslims".As
Ididinmywork,allonehastodoistoaddtotheconfirmatoryBiblicalversesparallel
quotationsfromtheQur'n.

AnotherworkisconsecratedalmostentirelytoIslam.ItisDerationibusfideicontraSaracenos,
GraecosetArmenosadCantoremAntiochenum.ApartfromachapterontheEucharistand
anotheronPurgatory,directedtotheArmeniansandtheGreeks,sixchaptersareanswersto
MuslimobjectionstotheFaith.Here,nodoubtwellinformedbytheDominicanCantorofthe
MiddleEast,ThomasmakesnoexcusethatheisignorantofIslam,butfacestheprincipal
classicalobjectionswhichMuslimsmakeagainsttheCatholicFaith,suchasthepossibilityof
theTrinityandoftheIncarnation,thewisdomoftheCrucifixionandhumanlibertybefore
divinepredestination.HereThomasgivessharpandevervalidanswerstothesequestions.I
publishedinIslamochristiana(1996)anannotatedtranslationofthiswork:ReasonsfortheFaith
againstMuslimobjections.

IITheMuslimphilosophers

TherelationshipofThomasAquinasisavastandcomplicatedsubject.Thiscontributionisonly
aprovisionalessay,inviewofamorecomprehensivestudyofthesubject.

1.Methodology

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SuchastudyshouldbeginwithaninventoryofthepassageswhichdealwiththeArab
philosophers.TowardsthiswehavetheseriesofarticlesbyC.VansteenkistelistingallofSt.
Thomas'citationsofArabphilosophers.Theseare:"AvicennacitatenbijS.Thomas,"Tijdschrift
v.Philo.,15(1953),457507"SanTommasod'AquinoedAverro,"Scritteinonoredi
GiuseppeFurlani.RSO??32(1957),585623"AutoriArabieGiudeinell'operadiSan
Tommaso,"Angelicum,37(1960),336401.Healsodid"IlLiberdeCausisnegliscrittidiSan
Tommaso,Angelicum,35(1958),325374.Thefirstofthesearticlesisanimprovementonthe
listinAimForest,LastructuremtaphysiqueduconcretselonSaintThomasd'Aquin.Paris:
Vrin,1931,331360.ThesearticlesonlyindicatethepassageswhereThomasmentionsArab
philosophersbyname,whereastherearemanyotherpassageswhereheclearlydiscussestheir
ideassimplyunder"quidamdixerunt".

ThenextstepistoidentifytheworksofthesephilosophersthatThomasrefersto,their
authenticityandtheirtranslators.VeryusefulisE.Gilson,"AvicenneenOccidentauMoyen
Age,"Archivesd'HistoireDoctrinaleetLittraireduMoyenAge,44(1969),89121thisarticle
howevershouldbeusedwithcare,distinguishingbetweenhistoricalinformationandGilson's
peculiarinterpretationofSt.Thomas.AnotherusefularticleisL.Gardet,"Thomasetses
prdecesseursarabes,"inA.Maurer(ed.),St.ThomasAquinas12741974,Commemorative
studies(Toronto:PontificalInstituteofMediaevalStudies,1974),I,419448.Theseworksare
alsousefulfortherelativelydifferentuseThomasmadeofIbnSnandIbnRushdinhisearlier
andlaterworksheretooGilsonhastobereadwithcaution.

AnotherjobistodeterminethebalanceofwhatThomasknewanddidnotknowoftheArab
philosophersandtheirworks,whichthefollowingsectionwillconsider,andfinallytostudy
Thomas'reactiontoparticularteachingsofthesephilosophers.

2.WorksthatThomasdefinitelyknewfirsthand:

EachworkisfollowedbythebooksinwhichThomasreferstoit.

2.1IbnSn(Avicenna9801037)

Sufficientia(=ashShif',asSam`aab`):Sent.,ST,CG,QDdeveritate,QDdemalo,De
principiisnaturae,InJob,Demixtioneelementorum,InBoetiiDeTrinitate,InPhysicorum,In
Degenerationeetcorruptione

Decaelo(Thereisthecorrespondingtitle,asSam'wal`laminashShif',buttheLatin
versionisadifferentspuriouswork):Sent.,InDecaelo

Deanima/VIdenaturalibus:Sent.,ST,CG,InEthicorum,QDdemalo,QDdeveritate,QDde
virtutibusincommuni,InJob,Contraimpugnantes,Quodl.

Deanimalibus(=ashShif',alayawnt):ST,CG,InEthicorum,QDdeveritate

Metaphysica(=ashShif',alIlhiyyt):Sent.,ST,CG,InEthicorum,QDdeveritate,QDde
malo,QDdeanima,QDdespiritualibuscreaturis,QDdepotentia,QDdevirtutibus,Deenteet
essentia,InJob,Compendiumth.,InBoetiiDeTrinitate,InMetaphysicorum,Quodl.

Deintelligentiis(isprobablybyDominicGundissalinus,withmodifiedAvicennianideas(1)):
Sent.

Canonmedicinae(=alQnnfibb):InEthicorum,QDdeveritate,QDdemalo,InJob

2.2AlGhazl(Algazel10581111)

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Metaphysica/Primaphilosophia(=Maqidalfalsifa):Sent.,ST,CG,QDdeveritate,QDde
malo,QDdespiritualibuscreaturis,QDdepotentia,Demixtioneelementorum,Deunitate
intellectus,InJob,Deaeternitatemundi,InBoethiiDeTrinitate,Quodlibet3,7,9,Despe

2.3IbnRushd(Averroes11261198)

ExpositioPoeticae(=MukhtaarashShi`r):QDdemalo

InAnalyticorumposteriorum(=SharKitbalburhn):QDdeveritate,(notInPost.)

InPhysicorum(=SharKitbassam`aab`):Sent.,ST,CG,QDdeveritate,QDdemalo,
QDdepotentia,InPhysicorum

InDecaelo(aspuriousworkpurportingtorepresentSharkitbassam'wal`lam):Sent.,
ST,QDdeveritate,QDdemalo,QDdepotentia,InJob,InDecaelo

InDegenerationeetcorruptione(=TalkhKitbalkawnwalfasd):QDdeveritate

InDeanima(=SharKitbannafs):Sent.,ST,CG,QDdeveritate,QDdespiritualibus
creaturis,Deenteetessentia,Deunitateintellectus,InDecaelo

InDesensuetsensibili(usedforthewholeofParvanaturalia=Jawmi`Kitbalisswal
mass):ST

InDedivinationepersomnium(partofParvanaturalia):Deveritate

InMetaphysicorum(=SharKitbmba`daab`a):Sent.,ST,CG,InEthicorum,QDde
veritate,QDdemalo,QDdespiritualibuscreaturis,QDdepotentia,InJob,Resp.de43
articulis,Resp.de36articulis,Resp.de30articulis,InPhysicorum

Desubstantiaorbis(=Maqlafjawharalfulk):Sent.,ST,QDdespiritualibuscreaturis,QD
deveritate,QDdemalo,QDdepotentia,InJob

InMoraliaNicomachia(=TalkhKitbalakhlq):InEthicorum

2.4IbnGabirol(Avicebronc.10211058)(2)

FonsVitae:Sent.,ST,CG,Deenteetessentia,QDdeveritate,QDdeanima,QDdespiritalibus
creaturis,QDdepotentia,InDegenerationeetcorruptione,InDeanima,Quotlibet11,De
substantiisseparatis

2.5MosesbenMaimon(Maimonides/RabbiMoses11351205)

Doctorperplexorum(Dallatal'irn):Sent.,ST,CG,QDdepotentia,QDdeanima,QDde
spritualibuscreaturis,InPsalmum18,InThrenos,InDeanima,InBoethiiDetrinitate

3.AuthorsThomasprobablyknewsecondhand,ormakeslittleuseof

3.1AlFarghn(Alfraganus):InDeCaelo

3.2AlFrb(Alpharabius875950)

CommentaryonAristotle'sEthics&Deintellectu:Sent.

3.3IbnBjja(Avempaced.1138)

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NoworknamedhisopinionswouldhavebeenknownthroughIbnRushdwhofrequently
quoteshim:InPhys.,Sent.,ST,CG,InBoethiiDeTrinitate,QDdeveritate,InPhysicorum

3.4IsqibnSulaymnIsr`l(IsaacbenSolomonIsraeli,c.855955)

Dedefinitionibus:Sent.,ST,QDdeveritate

3.5AlMutakallimn(LoquentesinlegeMaurorum):CG

3.6QusibnLq(CostabenLuca,d.913)

Dedifferentiaspiritusetanimae:QDdespiritualibuscreaturis

4.ArabphilosophersnotreferredtoatallbySt.Thomas

4.1AlKind(c.800866)aforerunnerofMutakallimnhehadnonotablecontribution
whichThomascouldnotfindinlaterphilosophers.

4.2MuammadarRz(c.865925)aPlatonist,challengedfoundationsofIslam.
Thomascouldonlyhavesupportedhisdefenceoftheautonomyofhumanreason.

4.3IbnMasarra(883931)amanofesotericviews.

4.4Miskawayh(9321030)anticipatesIbnSninseveralpoints,suchasthereal
distinctionincreaturesofessenceandexistence(forhimanaccident),whiletheyareidenticalin
God.

4.5Ibnufayl(d.1185)Interestingfortheautonomyofhumanreason,buthisideathat
allthingsareonebeingwouldnotfindacceptancewithThomas.

5.WorksThomasdidnotknowamongthephilosophershequotes

5.1IbnSn

ItisacomplicatedtasktolisttheworksofIbnSn,whetherintheoriginalArabic,whereso
manyworksattributedtohimarespuriousordoubtful,andsomeworksattributedtoalFrb
belongtohim,orinLatintranslations,wherespuriousworksarealsoattributedtohim.

Letusbeginwiththephilosophicalsumma,ashShif'.Thiswordproperlymeans"healing",a
titlelikelygiventoadvertizethevalueofthewholecollectionsincemedicinewasalways
valued,theArabphilosopherscouldpackagethebitterpillsoftheirotherwritingsunderthis
labelsoastoescapethecensureofMuslimtheologians.Thomasmakesnoreferencetothefour
worksofthequadrivium:alisb,Ulalhandasa,Jawmi``ilmalmsq,and`ilmalhay'a.
Oftheninevoluminousworksofthelogicalsection,Thomasmakesonlyrarereferencestohis
"LogicI"and"LogicII"(=ashShif',alMa`qlt,al`Ibra).Inhisowncommentarieson
Aristotle'slogichemakesnoreferencetoIbnSn.ItseemsThomasonlystumbledacrosssome
referencestoIbnSn'slogicalworksandneverhadachancetostudythem.

Oftheworksonnaturalscience,ThomasmadeextensiveuseoftheimportantasSam`a
ab`,orPhysics,whichhadtheLatintitle"Sufficientia",amistranslationofthewordshif'.
AsfortheasSam'wal`lam,orDecaelo,Thomasmadeconsiderableuseofaspuriouswork
attributedtoIbnSn.ThereisnoreferenceatalltoalKawnwalfasd(Degenerationeet
corruptione),alAf`lwalinfi`lt(Deactionibusetpassionibus),andalthral`ulwiyya
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(Meterology).AsfortheimportantKitbannafs(Deanima),Thomasunfortunatelyhadaccess
onlytoareworkedabridgementofthisworkbyDominicGundissalinus.(3)Heskipsoveran
Nabt(Onplants),butmakesanumberofreferencestoalayawn(Deanimalibus).

ThomasfrequentlyquotesfromIbnSn'salIlhiyyt(Metaphysics).Thisisimportantbecause,
asGilsonremarks,Thomas'smetaphysicswashighlyinfluencedbyIbnSn,whileinnatural
sciencehemainlyfollowedIbnRushd.

ApartfromthesesectionsofashShif',ThomasreferstothefamousalQnnfibbandthe
spuriousDeintelligentiis.

Besidesthese,IbnSnhasnumerousopusculathatThomasknewnothingabout.

5.2AlGhazl

ThomascitesonlyoneworkofalGhazl,whereasheiscreditedwithatleast80authentic
works.TheveryworkThomasdoesquote,Maqidalfalsifa(theintentionsofthe
philosophers)gaveThomastheimpressionthatalGhazlwasaphilosopher,whereashewas
mainlyascholaroflawandoftheologyandvigorouslyattackedthephilosophersfortheirmain
positions.

IthasrecentlybeenpointedoutthattheMaqidalfalsifa,farfrombeinganoriginalworkof
alGhazl,isinrealityaloosetranslationofIbnSn'sDnishnmah`alt,writteninPersian.

5.3IbnRushd

OftheninesectionsoflogicforwhichIbnRushdwrotemorethanonecommentary,Thomas
doesnotseemtohaveknownanyofhistwowritingsontheEisagoge,thethreeonthe
Categories,thethreeonPeriHermeneias,thetwelveonthePriorAnalytics,thefivesmaller
writingsonthePosteriorAnalytics,thethreeworksontheTopics,thethreeontheRhetoric,or
thesecondworkonthePoetics.

Intheareaofnaturalscience,ThomasdidnotknowthetwosmallerworksonthePhysics,four
ofthefiveauthenticwritingsonDecaelo,thesmallerwritingonDegenerationeetcorruptione,
thethreeontheMeteorology,thetwosmallerworksontheDeanima,thesingleworkon
botany,thetwoonanimals,andthesixessaysontheintellect.

ThomasdidnotknowthesmallerworkontheMetaphysics.Nordidheknowthefamous
TahfutatTahfut,ortheimportantFalalmaql,ammaandKashf`anmanhijaladilla.In
moralsciencehemissedthesummaryofPlato'sPolitics.ThereisnoreferencetoanyofIbn
Rushd'smanymedicalandseverallegalwritings.

6.Thomas'understandingofthephilosophershequotes

OneoftheproblemsaboutThomas'referencestoIbnSnisthatmostofthemarenotdirect
quotesandveryoftenthesourcecannotbeeasilyidentified.Forinstance,Thomasattributesto
IbnSntheopinionthatelementsinacompositeretaintheirsubstantialforms,i.e.thatthereis
apluralityofsubstantialformsinasingleindividual.InashShif',thebookoftheSoul,Ibn
Snholdsthateverysoul,eventhatofplants,isasubstance(jawhar)andnotanaccident
(`ara)itisdistinctfromthebodyandgivesititsconsistenceandexistence.But,hesays,not
everysubstanceisnecessarilyseparable.Speakingofthequestionofintermediateforms,Ibn
Snholdsthatthereisnootheractualformbutthesoul,andthatthesoulofananimalisthe
causeofitsspecificanimalactivities,likesensation,andalsoofitsvegetativefunctions.(4)Yet
inthebookGenerationandcorruptionIbnSnattacksthosewhoholdthatinacompositethe
elementslosetheirownformstotakeonthesoleformofthecompound.Rather,hesaysthat

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earthandfireretaintheirownsubstantialformswhentheyarepartofflesh,andonlytheiractive
qualitiesaremodified.(5)

Aswehaveseen,Thomashadaccesstoanabridgementofthefirstwork,anddidnotseethe
secondatall.HowthendidhegettoknowIbnSn'sopinion?Theanswerissimple.Hetookit
fromtheLatinofIbnRushd'sDegenerationeetcorruptione(V,p.370b),whereIbnRushdvery
clearlyaccusesIbnSnofthisveryerror.ButifweconsulttheArabicforthesamepassage,we
findthatwholeparagraphattackingIbnSnismissing.SinceIbnRushdwasconstantly
revisinghisownworks,andmuchofhiswritingshavesurvivedonlyinLatinorHebrew,itis
probablethatthepassageinquestionrepresentsonestageofIbnRushd'srevision.Itistoobad
thattheeditorsoftheArabiceditiondidnottakenoteofthispassageintheLatin.

AnothercaseisIbnSn'srealdistinctionbetweenessenceandexistence.Althoughitwasone
oftheprincipalsourcesforThomas'ownteachingonthesubject,ThomasdifferedfromIbn
Snontheexactrelationshipbetweenthetwo.

FormoreonThomasandIbnSn,seethe(unpublished)LicentiatethesisofAlbertJudy,O.P.
(Toronto:PontificalInstituteofMedievalStudies).

7.Thomas'evaluationofsomeideasoftheArabphilosophers

7.1TheexistenceofGod

All"fiveways"ofThomasAquinasarefoundwiththeArabphilosophers.Amongtheslightly
differentcosmologiesofeach,ThomasisclosesttothatofIbnRushd,whosimplifiesthe
numberofheavenlyspirits.NeverthelessThomassaysthatitisimprobablethattheheavenly
bodiesareanimated.Neverthelessheswallowedthewholesystemofspiritualmoversofthese
bodies,asystemthatcollapsedafterthediscoverythatthesebodiesarenotincorruptibleand
thattheyaresubjecttothesameinertia(orimpetusinThomas'terminology)whichgoverns
earthlybodies.

Asfortheeternityoftheworld,likeMoshebenMaimon,Thomassaysthatneitheritsnecessity
noritsimpossibilitycanbedemonstrated.AgainsttheobjectionofIbnSnandIbnRushdthat
everypossibilitymustbefoundinalreadyexistingsubject,ThomasstatesthatthepowerofGod
extendstoallbeingthatdoesnotimplyacontradictionofterms.(6)

Thomas'mostimportantborrowingfromtheArabphilosophersistheexplicitrecognitionofa
realdistinctionbetweenessenceandexistenceoutsideofGod,likewisethateverythingdepends
onanexteriorcauseforthecontinuationofitsexistence.ButThomasrefinedthisdistinction,
rejectingtheideaofMiskawayh(lessclearwithIbnSn)thatexistenceisanaccident,and
showingthatitsrelationshiptoessenceisthatofacttopotency.Thomasalsoinsistedthatthis
actofexistencedependsimmediatelyonGod,andthattherearenointermediariesincreation,as
positedinthesystemofalFrbandIbnSn.

7.2God'sknowledgeofsingulars

IncontrasttoIbnRushd,whorejectsanysortofuniversalityinGod'sknowledge,Thomas
Aquinasdistinguishestheimperfectionofhumanuniversalknowlegeandangelicanddivine
knowledgewhichisthemoreperfectthemoreitisuniversalandsimple.Healsomaintainsthat
Godknowsaninfinitudeofpossiblethings.

Also,accordingtoIbnSnandevenIbnRushd,Godshouldknowsingulareffectsintheir
causesandnotinthemselves.ThomasAquinasconsidersthisopinioninsufficientandteaches
ratherthattheknowledgeofGodextendsasfarashiscausalityandtheactivepowerofGod
extendsnotonlytoforms,butalsotomatter,bywhichformsareindividualized.(7)

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7.3Determination

IncontrasttoIbnSnwhodistinguishesbetweenwhatisnecessarybyitselfandwhatis
necessarybyacause,Thomasdistinguishesbetweenwhatisnecessarybyanotherinthesense
thatithasnomaterialpotencyandwhatisessentiallycontingentbecauseitismaterial,even
thoughitmaybenecessaryinreferencetothefirstcausewhodeterminesallthingswithout
takingawaytheirintrinsiccontingency.

AgainstAsh`arism,particularlythatofalBqilln,ThomasteachesthatGodpreservesthe
continuedexistenceofthings,sincethebeingofthingsdependsdirectlyonhim.(8)Againstthe
philosophers,hesaysthatnointermediarycanconfertheactofexistence.(9)Withthe
Ash`arites,heholdsthatGodisthecauseoftheactionofallthings,sincetheyalldepend
constantlyonhimfortheirexistence.(10)

Ontheotherhand,Thomasinsiststhatcreatureshavetheirowncausality.Intakingthisposition,
heisnotonlyagainsttheAsh`aritesbutalsoIbnSnwhoattributedthegenerationof
everythingonearthtotheAgentIntellectasthegiverofforms.Ash`ariteoccasionalismgoes
contrarytotheevidenceofthesenses,whichbearwitnessthatdefiniteeffectscomeregularly
fromdefinitethings.And,insteadofexaggeratingtheomnipotenceofGod,hesaysthatthe
powerofGodismanifestedintheperfectionandfertilityofwhathemakes,andnotintheir
povertyandsterility.And,asIbnRushdobjected,suchapositiondeniestheorderandinter
dependenceofthingsintheuniverse,andconsequentlythewisdomofGod.Thusoneshould
admitthecausalityofcreaturesnotonlyinproducingaccidentaleffects,likeheat,butalsointhe
generationoftheirlike.(11)

7.4Thehumansoul

IbnSnrejects"theimpressionofthesoulinthebody",andthus"matterdesignatedby
quantity"whichThomasmaintainsistheprincipleofindividuation.IbnSnrejects
reincarnation,takingmoreorlessthesamelineofargumentationthatSaintThomastakes.

IbnRushdrejectsspontaneousgeneration,sayingthatithas"noevidentproof"(ghayral
mushhada),"(12)butThomasAquinasacceptstheideawithoutquestion.

Asfortheimmortalityofthehumansoul,theproblemthatThomasAquinasfacedwasto
reconciletwofacts:(1)thatthehumansoulisthesubstantialformofman,and(2)thattheactof
intellectiontranscendsmatterandthesubjectofthisactcansurvivewithoutthebody.Sinceact
mustcorrespondtopotency,accordingtothefirstfactthesoulshouldbeamaterialform,but
accordingtothesecondfacttheactofintelligencerequiresanimmaterialsubject.

Firstofall,Thomasdidnotidentifytherationalsoulwiththeintellect,astheArabphilosophers
did,butdistinguishedthesubstanceofthesoulfromitspowers,ashedistinguishedthesepowers
fromtheirhabitsandacts.Forhimasinglesoulisthesubstantialformofthebody.Byits
vegetativepowersitisthesourceofthevitalfunctionsofthebodybyitssensitiveknowingand
appetitivepowersitisthesourceofitsanimalfunctions,andbythepassiveandactiveintellects
andthewillitexercisesproperlyhumanactivities.

Thusthesoulhassomeactivitiesthatarepurelymaterialandothersthatarespiritual.Against
IbnSn,manisessentiallysoulandbodythereisnoroomfordualism.Tosolvetheproblem
howtheformofmattercanhaveanoperationwhichtranscendsmatterandcanexistwithout
matter,Thomasmakesanexceptiontohisgeneralteachingthattheactofexistenceistheactof
thecompositeofmatterandform.Sincethehumansoulhasanactwhichisnotthatofthebody,
theexistenceisattachedfirstanddirectlytothehumansoul,andthroughthesoultothebody
whichparticipatesinit,beinganimatedbythesoul.Thusatdeaththesoulretainsitsexistence
apartfromthebody.(13)

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AnotherpointofsharpdifferencebetweenThomasandtheArabphilosopherswashisposition
thattheintellect,whetherpassiveoractive,isapersonalpowerofeveryman.(14)InsteadofIbn
Sn'stheoryofcontinualdependenceonanexterioragentintellect,Thomasholdsthatman
retainsahabitualknowledgeneverthelessheadmitsthatman,apartfromhisnormalknowledge
acquiredfromsenseexperience,canreceiveangelicinspiration.

Asfortheoriginofthehumansoul,ThomasisinagreementwithIbnSnthatitiscreatedwith
thebody.(15)

Asforheavenlyspirits,Thomasholdsthatthereareincorporealintellectualcreatures,each
uniqueinitsownspecies,whosenumberisnotlimitedtothemoversoftheheavenlybodies.(16)

Theperfectionofhumanlife,forThomasAquinas,istoknowGod.(17)Sincethisknowledgeis
notpossibletoachievebyphilosophy,byfaith,orbyconjunctionwithseparatedintellects(as
IbnRushdtaught),itisnotpossibleformantoachieveitinthislife.(18)Eveninthefuturelife,
thevisionofGodcannotbeacquiredbyknowingtheangelsorotherseparatedsouls,butonly
Godhimselfcangiveit.Thatisthroughthegiftofglory,whichisanadaptationofthesoulto
seeGod.(19)Thisvisionisnotcomprehensive,butitisavailabletoeverysoultotheextentofits
readiness.(20)

7.5Reasonandrevelation

ForIbnSn,aprophetissomeonewhoseintelligenceissupremelydevelopedandhecangrasp
muchatonce.Thatisbecauseofhispowerofintuition(adas),butespeciallybecauseheis
opentotheinfluencesoftheheavenlyspirits.(21)ThisisexactlywhatThomasAquinascalls
"naturalprophecy".(22)

AgainstthetendencyoftheArabphilosopherstoreduceprophecytoacompletelynatural
phenomenonpertainingtothosewhoareeminentinintelligence,ThomasAquinasholdsthat
trueprophecyisapurelygratuitousgiftoutofthecontroloftheprophet,whichhecannot
exercisewheneverhewishes.Asagift,ithasnothingtodowiththenaturalintelligenceofthe
prophet,buttheadaptationofhisintellecttoreceivedivineenlightenmentisasupernaturalgift.
(23)

AgainsttheanbaliteandAsh`aritetheologianswhosoexaltrevelationthattheygivelittleorno
valuetoreason,andagainstMuammadarRzwhorecognizesonlyhumanreason,Thomas
agreeswiththeotherArabtheologiansandphilosopherswhorecognizetheautonomyofreason
andofrevelation.Eachofthemleadstoareasoftruthwheretheothercannotgo,butthey
overlapwhenitcomestocertainfundamentaltruthsconcerningGod,manandcreationin
general.(24)

Cantherebeaconflictbetweenthetwo?Godhasendoweduswithreasonbywhichweknow
certaintruthssoclearlythatitisimpossibletodenythem.Itislikewiseillegitimatetodenythe
truthsoffaith,whichareconfirmedbydivineauthority.Thusanythingthatiscontrarytothe
truthsofreasonorofrevelationcannotcomefromGod,butmustcomefromwrongreasoning.
Theconclusionsofsuchreasoninghavenovalidity,butonlytheappearanceoftruth.(25)

NOTES

1.Cf.Gilson,ibid.

2.Cf.FernandBrunner,PlatonismeetAristotlisme,lacritiqued'IbnGabirolparSaintThomas
d'Aquin(PublicationsUniversitairesdeLouvain,1963).
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3.Cf.EtienneGilson,"Avicenneenoccidentaumoyenge,"Archivesd'HistoireDoctrinasleet
LittraireduMoyenAge,44(1969),89121.

4.annafs,maqla1,fal3maqla5,fal7.

5.AshShif':alKawnwalfasd,fal7.

6.Summatheologiae,I,q.25,a.3.

7.Summatheologiae,I,q.14,a.11.

8.Cf.Summacontragentiles,III,65.

9.Ibid.,n.66.

10.Ibid.,n.67.

11.Ibid.,nos.6970.

12.II,p.622Tafsrmba`daab`a,pp.1497ff.

13.Cf.Contragentiles,II,n.6972.

14.Ibid.,II,nos.59,69,7378DeunitateintellectuscontraAverroistas.

15.Contragentiles,II,nos.8390.

16.Ibid.,II,nos.91101.

17.Contragentiles,III,nos.25,37.

18.Contragentiles,III,nos.3848.

19.Ibid.,III,nos.4954.

20.Ibid.,nos.5558.

21.Kalimtafiyya,p.168.

22.QuaestionesdisputataedeVeritate,12,a.3.

23.Summatheologiae,IIII,qq.171174.

24.Contragentiles,I,nos.46.

25.Ibid.,I,nos.78.

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