Impassibility as Transcendence

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4 Responses to Impassibility as Transcendence

  1. Thomas says:

    Is this published somewhere? I’ve not run across it before.

    Anyway, this has to be one of my favorite pieces by Hart. Despite enjoying his more recent popular books, I tend to appreciate his arguments most when they are spelled out in greater detail.

    One thing that is a bit puzzling to me is this remark: “[W]hatever warrant Thomists might find in Thomas for speaking of God as the first efficient cause of creation (which I believe to be in principle wrong), such language is misleading unless the analogical scope of the concept of efficiency has been extended almost to the point of apophasis.” (p. 7)

    Aquinas’ answer to the question whether God is the first efficient cause of creation is decidedly affirmative (ST I.44.1). Moreover, it would seem to me to be entirely in harmony with Hart’s point to affirm that God is the first efficient cause. An efficient cause is one that is responsible for the existence of what is caused. God, as the one who grants being to beings, is an efficient cause in a more proper sense than, say, a mother or the maker of a table. “Efficient cause” is of course analogous between Creator and creatures. But the hesitation to apply the term to God seems unnecessary to me, unless the idea that our notion of efficient causes are so laden with mechanistic presuppositions that we are better of with some other term.

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