Friday, December 01, 2017

Scholasticism and creation

Human actions are simply the occasions for the unfolding of God’s ad extra display of these unchanging and unacquired virtues…. God simply is that act of existence by which He is. This means that even His relation to the world as its Creator and Sustainer does not produce any new actuality in Him. (15)
I do not disagree with these statements, but I do think they raise a problem that Dolezal does not discuss: what is the status of God’s “relation to the world as its Creator and Sustainer?” Is that relation within him? One might argue that it is, because it certainly is a fact about God that he is related to the world. But on Dolezal’s view, if this relation is within God, then it is identical with his essence. That implies that God would not be God unless he were related to the world. And on that basis, the world itself is God’s essence. But to say that the world is God’s essence is pantheism.
That would not have been a problem for Parmenides, for whom all relations exist as aspects of a distinctionless “Being.” Parmenides was a consistent pantheist, as were his Greek philosophical predecessors. But in a Christian theology, pantheism destroys the creator-creature distinction, which of course is quite central to the biblical world view.
But consider this alternative: Perhaps the relation between God and the world is not his essence, but something entirely outside him. To assert that would allow us to renounce pantheism.


  1. I'm just curious how much of this is an attempt to unscrew the "unscrewtable" (inscrutable)?

    1. The question is whether Thomism creates an extra, artificial layer of inscrutability.