The formal status of christian philosophy 4

The Church has always sustained that the affirmation of faith doesn’t come from the intrinsic evidence of things.

As the I Vatican Council states: Due, precisely, to the common areas that arise at the confluence of subordinated sciences, there are common truths to both orders which relation should be deeply studied.

On one hand, Revelation contains certain truths which can be discovered by reason itself: “The Holy Catholic Church itself states and teaches that God, the beginning and the end of all things, can be understood by the natural law of the human reason, starting from the created things.”

On the other hand, Revelation includes some truths that, while being accessible to human reason themselves, can be better known thanks to it. In practical exercise of Christian philosophy there is still another great distinction between the subject and the object.

On one side, the subject – the Christian philosopher – is convinced that faith enlightens his thought, so he won’t seek the autonomy of reason but pursue the truth, wherever it comes from. On the other side, from the point of view of the object, the Christian philosopher will try to demonstrate that the dimension of faith have contents which are strictly rational.

One of the main reservations on the acceptance of the status of Christian philosophy comes from the identification between thought and autonomy of thought. The Christian philosopher knows that he is rationally researching in an area in which he doesn’t enter by the intrinsic evidence of things, but there is no reason to negate the progress of reason in a new field, that is indeed beyond its limits, by simply stating the loss of autonomy that this would imply.

Beyond the evolution of Christian philosophy from the historical point of view, we want to clarify the content itself of this Christian philosophy as something different from theology as knowledge of salvation.

Stating the distinction between the natural and the supernatural orders is not enough if, at the same time, we don’t clarify their mutual integration. The rational efforts to harmonically integrate this double order – with coherence and integrity – sketches one of the areas in which the philosophical thought may achieve significant progress. The peculiar formality in which the Christian philosoper assumes his task, and specially the autonomy that he mantains in respect to theology, caused in history a large number of statements that deepen in the necessary integration and balance between these two orders.

The resistance to accept a rational area, formally autunomous and dependant on theology at once comes from the idea that mankind never existed in a state of pure nature. Christian theology points out three stages in the creation of the human person; first, elevation towards grace and friendship with God from the very moment of its creation; second, falling into sin and distance from the creator; and third, the moment of redention worked by Jesus Christ.

There is no situation, at any of these stages, in which man could have existed in an assumed state of pure nature. The position by which “pure” reason could access the contents of faith is essentially unreal, since the assumption in which it lies remains unknown, and is not other than the existence of pure nature apart from its elevation, falling and elavation towards grace.

The existence of these three unique stages of the creation of man would invalidate the defence of a non-theological formal object for the reason of Christian philosophy, for there would not be any reason to maintain a merely natural thought about the world.

06/04/2017 09:00:00

See also
06/01/2017 The formal status of christian philosopy

06/03/2017 The formal status of christian philosophy 3

06/02/2017 The formal status of christian philosophy 2

06/12/2014 Being as act

06/08/2015 The ontological communication