Can One Believe the Scholastic and Van Tillian Doctrine of Analogy-Archetype/Ectype Distinction Without Believing in the Scholastic Doctrine of Absolute Divine Simplicity? I Deny
In a recent exchange with Steve Hays I yet again re-opened a wound in Triablogue’s Theology that will never heal: the relationship between ADS and Epistemology, which can also be extended into Triadology and Christology. In Steve Hays’ article Clark’s confused groupies Hays says,
“I didn’t say the archetype/ectype distinction is an artifact of philosophical theology. Rather, I said the scholastic doctrine of divine simplicity is an artifact of philosophical theology.”
So here we have Hays admitting that he does not believe in ADS but he does believe the Scholastic and Van Tillian Doctrine of Analogy-Archetype/Ectype Distinction. The primary assumption that this admission presumes upon is that one can hold to one without the other. Is it possible?
The most detail Steve gives to this problem is this comment made in his blog “42”,
“Is the classic theory of analogy seated in divine simplicity? Not according to James F. Ross, in his standard monograph–Portraying Analogy. Moreover, as another scholar notes:
Despite the vast modern literature devoted to Aquinas’s theory of analogy, he has very little to say about analogy as such.
Steve’s first reference does not even tell me that he has read the material he is referencing. If you did Steve where is the page or chapter reference? Steve’s second reference does not even touch the subject before him. Ask him how to separate analogy of proportionality from ADS and he will tell you that Aquinas has little to say about the issue. Is that an answer? Maybe not. On the contrary, Aquinas does have quite a bit to say about the issue which is why Herman Reith’s book The Metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas (Milwaukee, WI: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1958) devotes an entire chapter to the subject. I wrote a bit on his book here.
Now let us get to the subject at hand. First some introductory remarks from Dr. Clark,
“Thomas developed the theory of analogy far beyond the simple observation of Aristotle, and it took on major proportions when the subject was God. Thomas held that the simplicity of the divine being required God’s existence to be identical with his essence. This is not the case with a book or pencil. That a book is and what a book is are two different matters. But with God existence and essence are identical. For this reason an adjective predicated of God and the same adjective predicated of man are not univocal in meaning. One may say, God is good, and one may say, This man is good; but the predicate has two different meanings. There is no term, not a single one, that can be predicated univocally of God and of anything else.” Three Types of Religious Philosophy by Gordon Clark (The Trinity Foundation: Jefferson, Maryland, 1989), pg. 63
This distinction between analogy as it operates with the Logician compared with the Metaphysician is referred to as a “difference in mode, that is, a difference between conceptual and real being.” (Reith, pg. 45) Scripturalists deny a distinction between conceptual and real being. Everything is real. In Thomism, the primary analogy that is used in man’s knowledge of God is the analogy of proportionality. This is described by Reith as a “kind of relationship that exists between things that are related to each other by some kind of extrinsic bond, namely, by reason of a third thing to which the signification of a particular belongs primarily” (pg. 51) [The Metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas (Milwaukee, WI: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1958)]
So then man’s object of knowledge and participation is a CREATED REPRESENTATION OF THAT WHICH IS UNCREATED. Now to Aquinas’ Summa Theologica First Part, Question 3. The simplicity of God.
Article 3. Whether God is the same as His essence or nature?
Objection 1. It seems that God is not the same as His essence or nature. For nothing can be in itself. But the substance or nature of God–i.e. the Godhead–is said to be in God. Therefore it seems that God is not the same as His essence or nature.
Objection 2. Further, the effect is assimilated to its cause; for every agent produces its like. But in created things the “suppositum” is not identical with its nature; for a man is not the same as his humanity. Therefore God is not the same as His Godhead.
On the contrary, It is said of God that He is life itself, and not only that He is a living thing: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Now the relation between Godhead and God is the same as the relation between life and a living thing. Therefore God is His very Godhead.
I answer that, God is the same as His essence or nature. To understand this, it must be noted that in things composed of matter and form, the nature or essence must differ from the “suppositum,” because the essence or nature connotes only what is included in the definition of the species; as, humanity connotes all that is included in the definition of man, for it is by this that man is man, and it is this that humanity signifies, that, namely, whereby man is man. Now individual matter, with all the individualizing accidents, is not included in the definition of the species. For this particular flesh, these bones, this blackness or whiteness, etc., are not included in the definition of a man. Therefore this flesh, these bones, and the accidental qualities distinguishing this particular matter, are not included in humanity; and yet they are included in the thing which is man. Hence the thing which is a man has something more in it than has humanity. Consequently humanity and a man are not wholly identical; but humanity is taken to mean the formal part of a man, because the principles whereby a thing is defined are regarded as the formal constituent in regard to the individualizing matter. On the other hand, in things not composed of matter and form, in which individualization is not due to individual matter–that is to say, to “this” matter–the very forms being individualized of themselves–it is necessary the forms themselves should be subsisting “supposita.” Therefore “suppositum” and nature in them are identified. Since God then is not composed of matter and form, He must be His own Godhead, His own Life, and whatever else is thus predicated of Him.
Reply to Objection 1. We can speak of simple things only as though they were LIKE [ANALOGY OF PROPORTIONALITY-DS] the composite things from which we derive our knowledge. Therefore in speaking of God, we use concrete nouns to signify His subsistence, because with us only those things subsist which are composite; and we use abstract nouns to signify His simplicity. In saying therefore that Godhead, or life, or the like are in God, we indicate the composite way in which our intellect understands, [ANALOGY OF PROPORTIONALITY-DS] but not that there is any composition in God.
Reply to Objection 2. The effects of God do not imitate Him perfectly, but only as far as they are able; and the imitation is here defective, precisely because what is simple and one, can only be represented by divers things; consequently, composition is accidental to them, and therefore, in them “suppositum” is not the same as nature.
Article 4. Whether essence and existence are the same in God?
Objection 1. It seems that essence and existence are not the same in God. For if it be so, then the divine being has nothing added to it. Now being to which no addition is made is universal being which is predicated of all things. Therefore it follows that God is being in general which can be predicated of everything. But this is false: “For men gave the incommunicable name to stones and wood” (Wisdom 14:21). Therefore God’s existence is not His essence.
Objection 2. Further, we can know “whether” God exists as said above (I:2:2); but we cannot know “what” He is. Therefore God’s existence is not the same as His essence–that is, as His quiddity or nature.
First, whatever a thing has besides its essence must be caused either by the constituent principles of that essence (like a property that necessarily accompanies the species–as the faculty of laughing is proper to a man–and is caused by the constituent principles of the species), or by some exterior agent–as heat is caused in water by fire. Therefore, if the existence of a thing differs from its essence, this existence must be caused either by some exterior agent or by its essential principles. Now it is impossible for a thing’s existence to be caused by its essential constituent principles, for nothing can be the sufficient cause of its own existence, if its existence is caused. Therefore that thing, whose existence differs from its essence, must have its existence caused by another. But this cannot be true of God; because we call God the first efficient cause. Therefore it is impossible that in God His existence should differ from His essence.
Secondly, existence is that which makes every form or nature actual; for goodness and humanity are spoken of as actual, only because they are spoken of as existing. Therefore existence must be compared to essence, if the latter is a distinct reality, as actuality to potentiality. Therefore, since in God there is no potentiality, as shown above (Article 1), it follows that in Him essence does not differ from existence. Therefore His essence is His existence.
Thirdly, because, just as that which has fire, but is not itself fire, is on fire by participation; so that which has existence but is not existence, is a being by participation. But God is His own essence, as shown above (Article 3) if, therefore, He is not His own existence He will be not essential, but participated being. He will not therefore be the first being–which is absurd. Therefore God is His own existence, and not merely His own essence.
Reply to Objection 1. A thing that has nothing added to it can be of two kinds. Either its essence precludes any addition; thus, for example, it is of the essence of an irrational animal to be without reason. Or we may understand a thing to have nothing added to it, inasmuch as its essence does not require that anything should be added to it; thus the genus animal is without reason, because it is not of the essence of animal in general to have reason; but neither is it to lack reason. And so the divine being has nothing added to it in the first sense; whereas universal being has nothing added to it in the second sense.
Reply to Objection 2. “To be” can mean either of two things. It may mean the act of essence, or it may mean the composition of a proposition effected by the mind in joining a predicate to a subject. Taking “to be” in the first sense, we cannot understand God’s existence nor His essence; but only in the second sense. We know that this proposition which we form about God when we say “God is,” is true; and this we know from His effects (I:2:2).
So in summary Aquinas is saying that there is something imperfect, something deficient about the proposition in man’s mind that keeps him from univocal knowledge of God: COMPOSITION. Distinction is in itself imperfect. Therefore, composite man must have a created representation (ectypal knowledge) of that which is uncreated and simple (archetypal). Who else said that the distinction between subject and predicate within a proposition was in itself imperfect? Plotinus! In an exposition of Plotinus’ One Dr. Clark says,
“These Ideas, however, this Divine Mind, is still not the highest principle of all. For in this realm duality remains. Since the Ideas are distinct from each other, there is multiplicity. In knowledge there is always a subject and a predicate, a knower and an object known, and hence duality. But duality is secondary to unity. Therefore it still remains to climb the steep ascent of heaven to the source, the One. The climbing of the ascent and the resting of the summit, let it be noted, are not the same thing. The rational process of philosophic dialectic demonstrate the necessary existence of the One. He who has felt the urge to unity can never rest in plurality, and is forced to posit a source superior to all diversity. But if we are to know that source and not just infer it, we must experience the One in mystic trance…the ordinary conditions of consciousness are suspended and, having become oblivious of self and the world, the soul sees the One alone. The soul no longer knows whether it has a body, and cannot tell whether it is a man, or a living being, or anything real at all. …The vision is a direct contact with the One, a divine illumination. All knowledge is rather like our sight of sense objects on a cloudy day; in the vision we see the Source of the light which made knowledge possible, and we see it directly in all its brilliance. ..This experience is not abnormal, it is but the exercise of a faculty which all have though few use…The experience itself cannot be written down, it can only be experienced ” [Clark, Gordon Hellenistic Philosophy (Appleton-Century-Crofts: New York, 1940) pg. 229-230]
Here we see that Aquinas was operating strictly off of his Neoplatonic masters (Plotinus-Pseudo Dionysius-Proclus) in constructing the Scholastic and Van Tillian Doctrine of Analogy-Archetype/Ectype Distinction. This distinction requires God to be an absolutely simple monad which rules out distinctions required for propositional and univocal knowledge of God. Truly, as Sauron stated, “There is no life in the Void”.