Does Life Belong To All Natural Things?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’m looking forward to tonight as we start a new topic on the life of God and even then, it seems like I cannot even begin to tell you what that means. What does it mean for something to be alive? Well we’ll find out. Our guide for this study has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. You can read it online at Tonight we begin the new topic by asking if life belongs to all natural things.

It would be a mistake to say that the medieval time period had no interest in science. Indeed, science had been a huge help to them as it was through such work that they came to improve the agriculture system giving them more leisure time in which to pursue other interests and in these interests came the idea of learning more about the natural world. They reasoned that a rational God had made the world and made it to be understood so they could learn more about God if they studied that world.

This would include the scientific realm and while they were not as advanced as we are, we cannot fault them for that. The discoveries that we have made today were made because we were standing on their shoulders. For us, our question today does in fact deal with the scientific world for let us keep in mind that Aristotle was quite the scientist.

Today, we want to know if it belongs to all natural things to live. Some for instance thought there was something to the planets for they were called wanderers. Aristotle had postulated creatures like angels that moved the planets. What is the criteria by which something is said to be alive? Is it simply movement?

Not for Aquinas. For Aquinas, all things are alive if they are somehow capable of moving by their own power. The lowest form of such life is plant life and while it is limited, it is still alive. Plants can respond to stimuli. They do not do this with free-will however, but they are in some way capable of movement. They grow when they receive the proper nutrients and die when they do not, which is something that non-living things do not do.

Of course, we’re also included as are animals. We are more capable of moving by self-will. As I type this out, I am doing so of my own free-will. I have the freedom if I so desired to delete this whole thing and not type any more. However, it is because I have a greater desire to teach and spread some truth that I am continuing the blog.

As we conclude, it seems that we are not far from the science of today if not in total agreement. Would that we had more Christians in the field of science today working to bring glory to God just as the medievals did by looking at the things that he has made.

We shall continue tomorrow.

Are Truth and Falsity Contraries?

Hello everyone and I bid you happy returns to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the Ocean of Truth. Of course, if you are here for the first time, welcome aboard and I hope that you will return. We are going through a look at the doctrine of God now in Christian thought and our guide for this has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. You can read a copy of this work for yourself at or you can even order it on Kindle. Tonight, we’re going to be finishing up our look at the subject of falsity and asking if truth and falsity are contraries.

Picture a rock in your mind. The size doesn’t really matter. It can be a massive rock out in the ocean or it can be a rock that can be found in some driveways. Whatever kind or size of rock that you have in your mind, I want you to just get a good image of it.

Now I’d like you to picture a blind rock.

Okay. I hope you’re really confused at this point. We all know rocks can’t see, but we would hardly call a rock blind. However, if I asked you to picture a blind man, you could do that. It could be that some of you know someone who is blind. (Or through the hearing of this blog being read, some of you are blind)

When we speak of blindness, we speak of something that is blind that by nature normally isn’t. Blindness in that sense is a privation. Blindness in the rock is not one but blindness in the human being is due to the nature of the human being in comparison to that of the rock.

In this way, falsity does describe something by comparison. Truth describes something in a thing that is there in actuality. Falsity describes the privation of a thing. It is not the existence of something in a thing. Blindness exists only as an idea for instance. It is the same way evil exists. Evil does not exist as a reality in something but as an actual absence of what ought to be there.

However, when we speak then, we speak of that which is and that which is not. These two are contraries. There can be no middle ground. Something either exists or it does not. It reminds me of the time my pastor was doing a sermon in our church that is small, but we’ve had a string of births within it lately and the pastor speaking about being saved said “It’s like pregnancy. You either are or you aren’t and if you’re here chances are you are.”

So we conclude then that truth and falsity are indeed contraries and because of this, the closer we get to the truth of God, the further we will move away from falsity in our own lives. Let us make it a point to be children of truth and live by that truth so we can banish all that which is contrary from our lives.

Tomorrow, we start looking at the life of God.

Is Falsity In The Intellect?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are taking a regular plunge into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through the doctrine of God lately and now we’re on a subset of the doctrine in discussing the idea of falsity. Our guide for this has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. You can read it for yourself online at Tonight, we will be asking if falsity exists in the intellect. Let’s go to the question.

We discussed last night if it exists in the senses. It does, but it is rare. For Aquinas, there are some things that we can’t not know and these are first principles. This would include some aspects of the moral law. There are some parts of the law that can be erased from our minds somehow over time. However, there are also aspects of the law that we know are right and wrong and these cannot be erased. We can deny it to ourselves and to others, but in reality, we all know these truths.

Also included are analytical statements. These are statements where the truth of the object is in the description. For instance, a bachelor is an unmarried male. Once you understand what a bachelor is, you understand that anyone that you meet that is a bachelor is an unmarried male. All enclosed three-sided figures are triangles. Once you understand the definition, you understand what it is.

There is an area however where the intellect can error and that is in the process of what we call judgment. Consider if I said this proposition about wherever you are living right now and whatever time it is. “It is raining outside.” You can open up a window and look and say “Yes. That proposition is true,” or “No. That proposition is false.”

In each case, you can understand what the proposition means but knowing the proposition does not necessarily entail the truthfulness or falsity of the proposition. “A bachelor is an unmarried male” is true by definition. “It is raining outside,” is not true by definition. You don’t need to make a judgment on the former. You need to on the latter.

It is when we get to the area of judgment that we can indeed error. We could see something wrong or have an error in our thinking that makes us believe something illogical. We do not normally disagree on what the proposition says, though we can disagree on its meaning. Once we agree on the meaning, then we can often disagree on the judgment of whether the proposition under question is true or false.

Keeping this in mind, we as Christians should be very careful about our judgments. We should watch our words to make sure that we are speaking of the things the way that they really are. We are to be people of the truth and in order to do that, we have to be in the business of making sound and informed judgments on matters of truth.

We shall continue tomorrow.

Does Falsity Exist In The Senses?

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 lately and right now we’re studying the idea of falsity, in contrast to our prior study of the idea of truth. Our guide for this has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. If you wish to read through the work on your own, you can do so for free at Tonight, we’re going to be asking the question of if falsity exists in the senses.

To begin with, we must remember that in Thomistic thought, all knowledge begins with sense experience rather than with a priori ideas. This was the position of Aristotle as well in contrast to his position of Plato. While there is a healthy respect of course, there would be disagreement between Aquinas and Augustine. As Augustine Christianized Plato, so did Aquinas with Aristotle.

Aquinas argues that falsity does exist in the senses. The senses can detect many things in many ways, but they are often detecting likenesses. After all, when you see a triangle, you are seeing an object that possesses triangularity. You are not seeing triangularity itself.

This is one reason Plato was against artwork in his perfect city. After all, for him, there were the forms that dwelt independently of the things themselves and even of God. What you saw in the real world was a poor representation of the forms. Since what you were seeing was a poor representation, why make it even worse by making a poorer representation of that thing?

Generally speaking, our senses are reliable, but from time to time, they can let us down. One can think of the Navy Seals who in training undergo sleep deprivation and then begin hallucinating. There is an account of three out on a raft together in training. One was waving at an octopus that was waving at him. Another was using an oar to hit dolphins leaping overhead. Another was wanting to dive out of the way of an oncoming train. What made them realize that these were all hallucinations? None of their friends saw the things that they were seeing.

We do realize however that our senses are generally reliable which is a good thing and an amazing thing. How is it that this bundle of molecules can so well relate to that universe that exists independently? It is because of the reliability of the senses that we have the studies of science and other areas. We trust historical accounts because we believe sense experience to be reliable across space and time. Of course, we recognize that people can lie and exaggerate and sometimes have malfunctioning senses, but overall, we do trust sense experience.

For this, we should be thankful. God gave us a world that we are to explore and learn about and he gave us a reliable method of doing such. Our senses are wonderful gifts and we should thank God that he loved us enough that we are allowed to experience the wonder that is the world.

We shall continue tomorrow.

Is Falsity In Things?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’re going through the doctrine of God and recently, we finished up a look at the doctrine of truth. Now, we’re going to turn to the other side of the coin and see what we can find out about falsity. Our guide for this has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. You can read that online at Tonight we’re going to be asking if falsity is in things.

When I was younger, I remember walking the railroad tracks with my Dad on some summer afternoons. I also remember him trying to tell me how we had stumbled across gold on the tracks. Singer Geoff Moore of Geoff Moore and the Distance has a song called “Good To Be Alive” where he echoes the same thought of how at the age of eight, he had a pocket full of rocks that he knew were made of solid gold.

Well, it’d be nice if we did have that gold, but we have in fact what is called fool’s gold. This is something that has the appearance of being gold and you could fool someone who did not know better, but it only goes to the point of appearance. It does not have the substance of gold.

In a similar way, falsity does exist in things. All things are true insofar as they are knowable, but they’re false insofar as they are not what they can often appear to be. The only exception of this, though not mentioned by Aquinas explicitly, would be God in whom there dwells no falsity.

Our moral culture certainly needs to learn this as we have gone on a quest to find the ultimate. In the west, Christianity has been forsaken and in its place we have had for awhile secularism, but people are finding they cannot live in a godless universe and there is still a hole in their hearts. Unfortunately, rather than return to Christianity, they are turning to Eastern thought.

These have the appearance of truth, but they are false. Many times today people get taken in by claims that sound spiritual, but aren’t. The Mormons are an excellent example of this. It sounds really spiritual to hear things Mormons say about relying on God alone and having faith based on a confirmation of the Spirit. It’s just not biblical. People were told to examine claims and test them. A person was to know Christ rose from the dead based on the evidence and not a burning in the bosom.

Ultimately, falsity exists in things in which they appear to be what they are not, including being a unity when in reality they are not unity itself that is found in God. It is said that an actor is a false Hector. If someone is on stage playing a role, they are pretending to be a character and thus necessarily they are not that same character.

Thus, we conclude falsity does exist in things.

We shall continue tomorrow.

The Karate Kid Review

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. Our study of the doctrine of God in the Summa Theologica will have to be put on hold yet again. This evening, I went to see The Karate Kid with a friend. It is an excellent movie I highly recommend. Thus, as is my custom, I offer a review. If you plan on seeing this soon, wait until after the movie before you come back and read this lest I spoil anything, which is certainly never my intent.

The movie starts out with the main boy, Dre Parker seeing wall markings of himself at his home of how he’s grown. Conspicuous by its absence is one event. “Daddy died.” I found this odd as nothing is ever said about this Dad. The kid never refers to him. His Mom never refers to him. He disappears just as quickly as he’s introduced.

I found this saddening as I have a deep concern about the disappearances of fathers in the culture. Men are disappearing from view. A boy can grow up without a father and no one thinks anything about it. However, this boy is not growing up well as he is twelve years old and he and his Mom are moving to China.

How this Mom gets the money, I have no idea. They live in luxury apartments and the only thing we’re told is her job has something to do with cars. The absence of a man in the boy’s life is apparent and he has is seen early on to be one with no work ethic, no respect, and no discipline. He doesn’t want to learn Chinese and he’s concerned because everything there is old. If only we could get our youth past this to appreciate the rich heritage of the past!

When he gets to China, early on, he starts trying to impress a girl, only to end up being bullied, and this bully is no ordinary bully. He’s a student of kung fu and Dre is outmatched. Later on, Dre gives him and his buddies a rude awakening by throwing a bucket of sludge on all of them.

Why would he do that? Well you have to understand the way a boy is and a man in turn. We have to fight something. We don’t like being beaten down and we will do what we can to fight back. It is often our manhood that is on the line. The bully, Cheng, and his friends chase after Dre and knock him down. One of the students tells Cheng that they’ve done enough, but Cheng reminds him of what was seen in Cheng’s class earlier under Master Li. “No weakness. No pain. No mercy.”

As Cheng comes in to add further injury, a hand stops him. It is Master Han, the maintenance man at the apartment Dre lives in, and singlehandedly, Han ends up defeating all of the bullies for Dre. They then go to Master Li’s studio where Han challenges Master Li on what his students did. Master Li says either Dre or Han must fight him since his studio has been disrespected. Han says Dre will fight at a kung fu tournament.

So begins the long trek of teaching Dre, Kung Fu. What happens? That’s for you to find out as a viewer, but it is a story of wisdom and determination and respect and attitude. Dre matures throughout all of this and watching him learn the art is an enjoyable part.

And yet, I wonder how often we take time to enjoy that part. We live in an instant society and we’re so busy looking on a destination, that we lose sight of the excitement of getting there. I can sadly read books checking to see how long they are and how much time till the end. We enjoy a movie, but we can still look at our watches. We want the gratification without the investment of time. For non-entertainment goals, such as goals of overcoming difficulties in our own life, we can spend so much time looking at how far away we are from our goal that we never spend time enjoying getting there.

Han wants Dre to focus. Maybe we need to do the same? Have we lost focus on what really matters and are so caught up in ourselves that we cannot truly enjoy the world around us?

Maybe we need to return to the past some. Maybe the past as in 2,000 or so years ago in an area called Palestine.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this movie. Enjoy!

For Reagan

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, I know I had said prior that we would start looking at falsity, and we will in the future, as in tomorrow hopefully, but not tonight. Tonight, I have received word that my folks back in my hometown have a new kitten named Reagan and I have been being texted with several pictures of the new member of the family. I have also been told some about what he’s doing and so I thought tonight I’d do a blog in honor of Reagan.

I called them to ask about the new kitty and heard my Dad laughing in the background. What was going on? Our new kitty has a whole new world to explore. He is running around and jumping and looking at everything. As I was told, he has big eyes with which he is taking everything in. I immediately thought of what G.K. Chesterton said when he said the wonder of a child exists in its ability to exult in the monotonous.

Oh if only we could all have the wonder of a child, and why should that not apply to kittens? Do my folks have a big house? No. It’s average size. However, to a true child, all of the world is a playground and we are too prone to not see it that way. A child is not surprised when he sees that there is a dragon in the world. In fact, he expects there to be a dragon. At the same time, he also expects there to be a dragon slayer.

So at their house, Reagan has been busy playing with everything. Even a tiny paper wad that is no bigger than your thumb has been an object of great amusement. Boredom is one of our serious problems today and it is because we seem to think things have a quantity of wonder that is dragged out of them rather than having a quality of wonder that is part of what they are.

And of course, let us not forget love. I have already seen a picture of Reagan and my mother together and she is very happy with the new addition to the family. The child needs wonder, but the child also needs love. In fact, we all need it, and only God can truly give us the love that we need. This is not to discourage the other kinds of love. In a sense, Jesus does give us all we need, but Jesus gave us people to be friends, family to love us, and for some of us, spouses that will love us as well.

To my family and the newest member, I wish the best and I look forward to when I can get to see you in person. Enjoy life as you are brand new to this world (Just 7 weeks tonight I hear) and may we all learn something from your wonder at the world and may we too, in thinking about you, try to look at the world through the eyes of a child and see the wonder.

Is Truth Immutable?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we’re diving into the ocean of truth. We’re going through the doctrine of God right now and our guide for the journey has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. If you want to read the work online, you can do so at We’re on the topic of the nature of truth right now and we’re going to wrap that up tonight and start studying the converse of falsity tomorrow. Tonight’s question is if truth is immutable.

By immutable, of course, we mean unchanging. Aquinas again gives us two different answers. In the case of the divine intellect, truth is most certainly unchanging. This is the way that a fallable and finite mind can know immutable truths. The truths are greater than the mind is actually and the mind is subject to the truth. If truth resided only in our intellects, then all truth would ultimately be mutable and nothing could then be true.

This is why I often tell people in debate that when truth is properly understood, it is immutable. It is always amusing to hear someone say the truth of “I am sitting down” is not immutable because it is subject to change, as if such a counter has not been thought of in advance. When properly understood, that statement is tied to what one person said at a specific time and place. While it is tied to a specific time and place, it is true for all people and all times and all places. Thus, it is true that at this time, I, the Deeper Waters blogger, am sitting down. That will be true for all people in all times in all places even if they don’t believe it. The fact that I can stand up in the next minute has no bearing on the fact that I was sitting.

Truth in our minds is quite mutable however as we are subject to change. I was told earlier today that it is impossible for me to change my opinions and become a Muslim because I would not go counter to my experience and data. It’s simply false. It’s highly unlikely that I would do that. However, we all know that there are times that we have taken an opinion that we had previously seen as contradictory to our experience and data. Any time we change our minds, we do that. We say that new data or new experiences or some combination thereof has made itself known that we can now see the prior opinion we held was in fact false.

Once again, our effort should be to try to get to the divine mind and would that more Christian counselors would realize this. For instance, if all human beings could realize that God looks at them and says “You bear my image and I want to conform you to the image of my Son”, imagine how much better we would be!

The philosopher after the time of Christ named Epictetus who was a stoic had this to say in his ninth golden saying. Put it with Christian language and oh if we could realize it!:

If a man could be thoroughly penetrated, as he ought, with this thought, that we are all in an especial manner sprung from God, and that God is the Father of men as well as of Gods, full surely he would never conceive aught ignoble or base of himself. Whereas if Cæsar were to adopt you, your haughty looks would be intolerable; will you not be elated at knowing that you are the son of God? Now however it is not so with us: but seeing that in our birth these two things are commingled—the body which we share with the animals, and the Reason and Thought which we share with the Gods, many decline towards this unhappy kinship with the dead, few rise to the blessed kinship with the Divine. Since then every one must deal with each thing according to the view which he forms about it, those few who hold that they are born for fidelity, modesty, and unerring sureness in dealing with the things of sense, never conceive aught base or ignoble of themselves: but the multitude the contrary. Why, what am I?—A wretched human creature; with this miserable flesh of mine. Miserable indeed! but you have something better than that paltry flesh of yours. Why then cling to the one, and neglect the other?

Realize your heritage Christian! You are a child of God and that is an immutable truth!

We shall continue tomorrow.

Is Created Truth Eternal?

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 right now in the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. If you do not own a copy of the Summa, you can read it online at We’re covering a subset in the doctrine of God right now as we discuss the doctrine of truth, something that is very much needed for our modern times. Tonight we’re going to be asking if created truth is eternal. Let’s go to the question!

In a sense, all truth is eternal and Aquinas does admit that. However, he does say that we do bring about truth through our actions and propositions that was not true at one point in time. What I am thinking is for instance a created truth. I am thinking that I am sitting at this residence at this time writing this blog on this topic and no one else could have ever thought that before.

However, while these are truths that do reside in my intellect, they are not true because they reside in my intellect. For one thing, I know I have thought many things in the past that are frankly wrong and in fact, I know I think many things right now that are wrong. “Well why do you think them?” In some cases, I don’t know what they are, but theology is a deep subject and I’m sure that I can’t have all of the answers to the questions right. I’m certain to have some wrong theological beliefs.

On the other hand, there are also crazy beliefs we all have such as phobias. If I have an intense fear of something, I do realize that that fear is not rational, but I think it. This is also the case in the problem of doubt. If I am doubting something, I could very well know that my doubts are not true, but there is a part that makes it hard to convince me of that.

Aquinas does say however that our truths that we think in our mind are only true if they are true in the divine intellect, which should give us pause. For instance, if you like me are constantly self-critical, you should ask yourself “Is this what the mind of God is saying right now?” Let’s suppose what you tell yourself is that you’re no good. What you need to do is look and say “Does God say I’m no good?” If he doesn’t, then you need to start changing your beliefs. Of course, I do realize that is easier said than done and something I work on myself.

For Aquinas also, it is because there is truth in the divine intellect that there can be any truth at all. In other words, if there were no God, there would be no truth for there would be no eternal intellect for that mind but rather several finite and changing minds and why should one of them hold sway over another? How could a truth like 2 + 2 = 4 be true even if no mind was there who understood that truth?

Thus, we conclude that created truth is not eternal but the truth that is eternal is that in the mind of God and that is what we should be seeking.

We shall continue tomorrow.

Is There Only One Truth By Which All Things Are True?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’re going through the doctrine of God right now and we’re studying the topic of Truth. Our guide for this journey has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. You can read a copy of it for yourself at Tonight, we’re going to be asking if there is only one truth by which all things are true. Time for the question!

Aquinas answers that there is a sense in which this is true. There is also a sense in which it is different. When a thing is said of something univocally, it is said of it according to its proper nature. In this case, when we say many things are animals, we mean the same thing by animal. It is not saying each animal is the same, but each animal is indeed animal.

The counter to this is the idea of healthiness. All relate to the topic of health, but all relate to it different and in this case, analogically. For instance, it is medicine that brings about health in something. It is by studying the urine of the animal in the medieval period that one determined if the animal was healthy and thus urine was the sign of health. It was the animal itself however that was healthy. All three could be said to be healthy and all three did indeed bear a relation to health but all three bore a different relation.

For Aquinas, the main place that truth lies is in the intellect and then it lies secondarily in things. Things are true however only insofar as they correspond to the divine intellect. In this case, there can be many truths because there are many created intellects and there are different truths that reside in those intellects.

However, if truth is spoken of as being in the things rather than in the intellect, then we have a case much like the case of health. All things are true not by other intellects but by the divine intellect. The truth of all created things does not come from man but it comes from the mind of God. After all, all things are knowable insofar as they have being and the being that they have is that which they receive from God.

This is why the doctrine of being is also so important. Many people today come with a position that metaphysics is dead, but in reality, everyone has a metaphysics. Some people just happen to have a terrible one. If you are going to understand the world, you will need to have a doctrine of existence and in the study of Thomism, we have understood that it is by understanding existence that we understand all things. God is not the subject of metaphysics but he is a topic of metaphysics insofar as he is the cause of all being. Aquinas rightly saw existence as the main question and today, we are still blessed because of his insight.

We shall continue tomorrow.