SMC103Y1 October 20, 2009
Faith Seeking Understanding
How can humanity best God?
Faith (supernatural revelation): inspiration of the Holy Spirit and is made
available through the teaching of the prophets, summed up in Holy Scripture, and
transmitted by the Magisterium, [collectively called “Tradition”)
Reason (natural revelation): truth available to all people through their human
nature; certain truths all humanity can attain from correct human reasoning
Is God something that cannot be understandable or is He innately knowable?
Image of Thomas Aquinas
In one hand he is holding church which represents faith, and the other he is holding
scripture which represents reason and he argues that faith and reason need not be
argued against another.
Image of Odysseus’s Bow
Anyone who can take his bow, string it and shoot the arrow through the 12 axes can
marry the woman. The idea of the bow which is normally straight, to pull it together
draws the ends together. Josef Pieper argues that the ends of the bow represent
faith and reason, and Aquinas has successfully pulled these things together.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Clip
There are certain items only knowable by faith and challenge our belief in reason.
Indiana Jones was to cross a gap and had to believe he could make the “leap of
faith” and sure enough there was a path for him to cross. When he throws gravel on
the path to let those who follow him know there is a path there, so do theologians
give insight to others.
Catholic Christianity and Mystery
Incarnation: the Councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon understand that this means
that Jesus is truly God, but also human
Trinity: fixed as doctrine at Nicaea – God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Sacraments: sacraments as “visible signs” of “invisible grace” as defined by
While we strive for greater clarity, the mystery still remains.
Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109 CE)
“Faith Seeking Understanding”
Reason is subordinated to faith, but it has an important role to play. If one starts
with faith, one can reason rightly or truly. Two reasons: delight and apologetics.
Using reason is helpful