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 NewAdvent.org. 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.