Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through the doctrine of God and our guide for this has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. Right now, we’re on the topic of the eternity of God. If you do not have a copy of the Summa, you can read one online at newadvent.org. Last night, we discussed aeviternity and tonight, we’re going to discuss if there is more than one aeviternity. Before that, I do wish to bring my prayer requests. First, my Christlikeness. I do believe I’m getting my thoughts more under control and realizing where my devotion lies, but it’s a work in progress. Second, for my finances. Third, for a situation in my life related to both of these.
For now, let’s get to the question. For those who do not remember, aeviternity, as we discussed last time, and I urge you to read yesterday’s blog, is the halfway point between eternity and time. Eternity is that which has no beginning and no end. Aeviternity refers to that which has a beginning, but no end. Time is that which has a beginning and an end.
Aquinas begins the question by looking at the corporeal thing, which is time. This is always something that he does. Aquinas does not begin with the idea. He begins with what is seen and it’s an excellent strategy for apologists to follow. When we begin with what is seen, we are beginning where the non-believer is as well and we can guide them to the truth from there.
So what of time? Where does it lie? An idea would be to consider length. Let’s suppose you want to measure a foot in your wall, say you want to put up a picture or something. Does the foot lie in the wall? Or, is it a measure of a part of the wall but “foot” is not itself included in the nature of the wall. Inches and feet are not things that dwell in the objects. They are measurements that are used on the objects.
The same with time. We can measure something in many ways. A day can be referred to as 24 hours, or 1/365th of a year, or 1,440 minutes. I could go on. None of those lie in the object itself, but rather are a way of measuring the movement that is taking place in the object.
For Aquinas, the first movement is one and so the time is one as well. All time comes from that movement. He takes the same route with aeviternity. Since time is one and then simple, he reasons that aeviternity is as well. All things that are aeviternal then are measured by the first object that is aeviternal. Which object is that? Well we will likely never know. Of course, Aquinas does spend much time getting into the fall of the angels and the time between their creation and their fall or even if there was any time. That might be a later study, but it is not our focus now.
We shall start a new topic in the doctrine of God tomorrow.