Saturday, May 18, 2013

"without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

The 1) existence and 2) providence of God are the first two things in which faith, to be saving, must believe.

"l’existence de Dieu et celle de sa providence constituent les deux premiers credibilia auxquels se ramène la nécessite de la foi salutaire."

     Jean-Pierre Torrell, “«Dieu conduit toutes choses vers leur fin»:  providence et gouvernement divin chez Thomas d’Aquin,” Nouvelles recherches thomasiennes, Bibliotheque thomiste 61, ed. L.-J. Bataillon, O.P, and A. Oliva, O.P. (Paris:  Librairie philosophique J. Vrin, 2008), 75n2, citing Serge Thomas Bonino, O.P., Introduction to Thomas d’Aquin, De la vérité Question 2:  (La science en Dieu) (Fribourg, Suisse:  Editions Universitaires; Paris:  Editions du Cerf, 1996), 132-135 (43-134), who says that for St. Thomas, "all the articles of faith are implicitly contained in two major credibilia that every believer, no matter the theological age to which he belongs, is held to believe explicitly.  These two fundamental truths, which constitute therefore the heart of the Christian message, are those enunciated by the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, in a verse cited repeatedly by Saint Thomas", i.e. Heb 11:6.  "The entire Christian faith is thus as it were recapitulated in the belief in God and in a provident God.  These two credibilia are moreover inseparable, for, in the biblical perspective, a improvident God would not be truly God; and Saint Thomas himself stresses that the idea of God is intrinsically tied to that of a providence.  Thus, for Saint Thomas, all later developments of the object of faith are contained in germ in the faith in providence.  In particular, faith in providence includes 'everything that God dispenses in time for the salvation of men and which are the ways towards beatitude", for example, "faith in the redemptive Incarnation of the Word and in the entire supernatural order that flows therefrom.  The act of faith in divine providence embraces therefore all of the particular modalities that, in the course of time, 'the benevolent plan of God' (Eph 1:9, τὴν εὐδοκίαν αὐτοῦ), the history of salvation, assumes" (Bonino, 132-133, with many references).
     The passage above in a somewhat more literal translation:  "the existence of God and that of his providence constitute the two first credibilia to which the necessity of the faith [that is] salutary is led back."