Consideravimus namque huius doctrinae novitios, in his quae a diversis conscripta sunt, plurimum impediri, partim quidem propter multiplicationem inutilium quaestionum, articulorum et argumentorum; partim etiam quia ea quae sunt necessaria talibus ad sciendum, non traduntur secundum ordinem disciplinae, sed secundum quod requirebat librorum expositio, vel secundum quod se praebebat occasio disputandi; partim quidem quia eorundem frequens repetitio et fastidium et confusionem generabat in animis auditorum.
We have considered that novices in this doctrine have often been hampered by what they have found written by various authors, partly on account of the multiplication of useless questions, articles, and arguments; partly also because the things such novices need to know are not taught according to the order of the discipline, but according as was needed for commenting on books, or according as an opportunity for raising a disputed question presented itself; partly, too, because frequent repetition of the same things brought weariness and confusion to the minds of the readers.
Haec igitur et alia huiusmodi evitare studentes, tentabimus, cum confidentia divini auxilii, ea quae ad sacram doctrinam pertinent, breviter ac dilucide prosequi, secundum quod materia patietur.
Endeavoring to avoid these and other like faults, we shall try, trusting in God’s help, to set forth whatever belongs to Sacred Doctrine as briefly and clearly as the matter itself may allow.
De sacra doctrina, qualis sit, et ad quae se extendat
The Nature and Extent of Sacred Doctrine
Et ut intentio nostra sub aliquibus certis limitibus comprehendatur, necessarium est primo investigare de ipsa sacra doctrina, qualis sit, et ad quae se extendat.
To place our purpose within proper limits, we first endeavor to investigate the nature and extent of this sacred doctrine.
Circa quae quaerenda sunt decem.
Concerning this there are ten points of inquiry:
Primo, de necessitate huius doctrinae.
(1) Whether it is necessary?
Secundo, utrum sit scientia.
(2) Whether it is a science?
Tertio, utrum sit una vel plures.
(3) Whether it is one or many?
Quarto, utrum sit speculativa vel practica.
(4) Whether it is speculative or practical?
Quinto, de comparatione eius ad alias scientias.
(5) How it is compared with other sciences?
Sexto, utrum sit sapientia.
(6) Whether it is the same as wisdom?
Septimo, quid sit subiectum eius.
(7) Whether God is its subject-matter?
Octavo, utrum sit argumentativa.
(8) Whether it is a matter of argument?
Nono, utrum uti debeat metaphoricis vel symbolicis locutionibus.
(9) Whether it rightly employs metaphors and similes?
Decimo, utrum Scriptura sacra huius doctrinae sit secundum plures sensus exponenda.
(10) Whether the Sacred Scripture of this doctrine may be expounded in different senses?
Utrum sit necessarium, praeter philosophicas disciplinas, aliam doctrinam haberi
Whether, besides philosophy, any further doctrine is required?
Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non sit necessarium, praeter philosophicas disciplinas, aliam doctrinam haberi. Ad ea enim quae supra rationem sunt, homo non debet conari, secundum illud Eccli. III, altiora te ne quaesieris. Sed ea quae rationi subduntur, sufficienter traduntur in philosophicis disciplinis. Superfluum igitur videtur, praeter philosophicas disciplinas, aliam doctrinam haberi.
Objection 1: It seems that, besides the philosophical disciplines, we have no need of any further teaching. For man should not seek to know what is above reason: Seek not the things that are too high for thee (Eccl 3:22). But whatever is not above reason is fully treated of in the philosophical disciplines. Therefore any other teaching besides the philosophical disciplines seems superfluous.
Praeterea, doctrina non potest esse nisi de ente, nihil enim scitur nisi verum, quod cum ente convertitur. Sed de omnibus entibus tractatur in philosophicis disciplinis, et etiam de Deo, unde quaedam pars philosophiae dicitur theologia, sive scientia divina, ut patet per Philosophum in VI Metaphys. Non fuit igitur necessarium, praeter philosophicas disciplinas, aliam doctrinam haberi.
Obj. 2: Further, a teaching can be concerned only with being, for nothing can be known, save what is true; and all that is, is true. But everything that is, is treated of in the philosophical disciplines—even God Himself, so that there is a part of philosophy called theology, or the divine science, as Aristotle has proved (Metaph. vi). Therefore, besides the philosophical disciplines, there is no need of any further teaching.
Sed contra est quod dicitur II ad Tim. III, omnis Scriptura divinitus inspirata utilis est ad docendum, ad arguendum, ad corripiendum, ad erudiendum ad iustitiam. Scriptura autem divinitus inspirata non pertinet ad philosophicas disciplinas, quae sunt secundum rationem humanam inventae. Utile igitur est, praeter philosophicas disciplinas, esse aliam scientiam divinitus inspiratam.
On the contrary, It is written (2 Tim 3:16): All Scripture inspired by God is useful for teaching, for reproving, for correcting, and for instructing in justice. Now Scripture, inspired by God, is no part of the philosophical disciplines, which were discovered by human reason. Therefore it is useful that besides the philosophical disciplines, there should be another science inspired by God.
Respondeo dicendum quod necessarium fuit ad humanam salutem, esse doctrinam quandam secundum revelationem divinam, praeter philosophicas disciplinas, quae ratione humana investigantur.
I answer that, It was necessary for man’s salvation that there should be a teaching revealed by God beyond the philosophical disciplines, which are investigated by human reason.
Primo quidem, quia homo ordinatur ad Deum sicut ad quendam finem qui comprehensionem rationis excedit, secundum illud Isaiae LXIV, oculus non vidit Deus absque te, quae praeparasti diligentibus te. Finem autem oportet esse praecognitum hominibus, qui suas intentiones et actiones debent ordinare in finem. Unde necessarium fuit homini ad salutem, quod ei nota fierent quaedam per revelationem divinam, quae rationem humanam excedunt.
First, indeed, because man is directed to God, as to an end that surpasses the grasp of his reason: The eye hath not seen, O God, besides Thee, what things Thou hast prepared for them that love Thee (Isa 64:4). But the end must first be known by men who are to direct their thoughts and actions to the end. Hence it was necessary for the salvation of man that certain truths which exceed human reason should be made known to him by divine revelation.
Ad ea etiam quae de Deo ratione humana investigari possunt, necessarium fuit hominem instrui revelatione divina. Quia veritas de Deo, per rationem investigata, a paucis, et per longum tempus, et cum admixtione multorum errorum, homini proveniret, a cuius tamen veritatis cognitione dependet tota hominis salus, quae in Deo est. Ut igitur salus hominibus et convenientius et certius proveniat, necessarium fuit quod de divinis per divinam revelationem instruantur.
Even as regards those truths about God which human reason could have discovered, it was necessary that man should be taught by a divine revelation; because the truth about God such as reason could discover, would only be known by a few, and that after a long time, and with the admixture of many errors. Whereas man’s whole salvation, which is in God, depends upon the knowledge of this truth. Therefore, in order that the salvation of men might be brought about more fitly and more surely, it was necessary that they should be taught divine truths by divine revelation.
Necessarium igitur fuit, praeter philosophicas disciplinas, quae per rationem investigantur, sacram doctrinam per revelationem haberi.
It was therefore necessary that besides philosophical science built up by reason, there should be a sacred science learned through revelation.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, licet ea quae sunt altiora hominis cognitione, non sint ab homine per rationem inquirenda, sunt tamen, a Deo revelata, suscipienda per fidem. Unde et ibidem subditur, plurima supra sensum hominum ostensa sunt tibi. Et in huiusmodi sacra doctrina consistit.
Reply Obj. 1: Although those things which are beyond man’s knowledge may not be sought for by man through his reason, nevertheless, once they are revealed by God, they must be accepted by faith. Hence the sacred text continues, For many things are shown to thee above the understanding of man (Eccl 3:25). And in this, the sacred science consists.
Ad secundum dicendum quod diversa ratio cognoscibilis diversitatem scientiarum inducit. Eandem enim conclusionem demonstrat astrologus et naturalis, puta quod terra est rotunda, sed astrologus per medium mathematicum, idest a materia abstractum; naturalis autem per medium circa materiam consideratum. Unde nihil prohibet de eisdem rebus, de quibus philosophicae disciplinae tractant secundum quod sunt cognoscibilia lumine naturalis rationis, et aliam scientiam tractare secundum quod cognoscuntur lumine divinae revelationis. Unde theologia quae ad sacram doctrinam pertinet, differt secundum genus ab illa theologia quae pars philosophiae ponitur.
Reply Obj. 2: Sciences are differentiated according to the different ways that things are knowable. For the astronomer and the physicist both may prove the same conclusion, for instance that the earth is round: the astronomer by means of mathematics, i.e., abstracting from matter, and the physicist by means of matter itself. Hence nothing prevents those things which may be learned from the philosophical disciplines, so far as they can be known by the light of natural reason, from being considered by another science according as they are known by the light of divine revelation. Hence theology included in sacred doctrine differs in kind from that theology which is part of philosophy.
Utrum sacra doctrina sit scientia
Whether sacred doctrine is a science?
Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod sacra doctrina non sit scientia. Omnis enim scientia procedit ex principiis per se notis. Sed sacra doctrina procedit ex articulis fidei, qui non sunt per se noti, cum non ab omnibus concedantur, non enim omnium est fides, ut dicitur II Thessalon. III. Non igitur sacra doctrina est scientia.
Objection 1: It seems that sacred doctrine is not a science. For every science proceeds from self-evident principles. But sacred doctrine proceeds from articles of faith which are not self-evident, since their truth is not admitted by all: For all men have not faith (2 Thess 3:2). Therefore sacred doctrine is not a science.
Praeterea, scientia non est singularium. Sed sacra doctrina tractat de singularibus, puta de gestis Abrahae, Isaac et Iacob, et similibus. Ergo sacra doctrina non est scientia.
Obj. 2: Further, no science deals with individual facts. But this sacred science treats of individual facts, such as the deeds of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and such like. Therefore sacred doctrine is not a science.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, XIV de Trinitate, huic scientiae attribuitur illud tantummodo quo fides saluberrima gignitur, nutritur, defenditur, roboratur. Hoc autem ad nullam scientiam pertinet nisi ad sacram doctrinam. Ergo sacra doctrina est scientia.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. xiv, 1) to this science alone belongs that whereby saving faith is begotten, nourished, protected and strengthened. But this can be said of no science except sacred doctrine. Therefore sacred doctrine is a science.
Respondeo dicendum sacram doctrinam esse scientiam. Sed sciendum est quod duplex est scientiarum genus. Quaedam enim sunt, quae procedunt ex principiis notis lumine naturali intellectus, sicut arithmetica, geometria, et huiusmodi. Quaedam vero sunt, quae procedunt ex principiis notis lumine superioris scientiae, sicut perspectiva procedit ex principiis notificatis per geometriam, et musica ex principiis per arithmeticam notis. Et hoc modo sacra doctrina est scientia, quia procedit ex principiis notis lumine superioris scientiae, quae scilicet est scientia Dei et beatorum. Unde sicut musica credit principia tradita sibi ab arithmetico, ita doctrina sacra credit principia revelata sibi a Deo.
I answer that, Sacred doctrine is a science. We must bear in mind that there are two kinds of sciences. There are some which proceed from a principle known by the natural light of intelligence, such as arithmetic and geometry and the like. There are some which proceed from principles known by the light of a higher science: thus the science of perspective proceeds from principles established by geometry, and music from principles established by arithmetic. So it is that sacred doctrine is a science because it proceeds from principles established by the light of a higher science, namely, the science of God and the blessed. Hence, just as the musician accepts on authority the principles taught him by the mathematician, so sacred science is established on principles revealed by God.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod principia cuiuslibet scientiae vel sunt nota per se, vel reducuntur ad notitiam superioris scientiae. Et talia sunt principia sacrae doctrinae, ut dictum est.
Reply Obj. 1: The principles of any science are either in themselves self-evident, or reducible to the conclusions of a higher science; and such, as we have said, are the principles of sacred doctrine.
Ad secundum dicendum quod singularia traduntur in sacra doctrina, non quia de eis principaliter tractetur, sed introducuntur tum in exemplum vitae, sicut in scientiis moralibus; tum etiam ad declarandum auctoritatem virorum per quos ad nos revelatio divina processit, super quam fundatur sacra Scriptura seu doctrina.
Reply Obj. 2: Individual facts are treated of in sacred doctrine, not because it is concerned with them principally, but they are introduced rather both as examples to be followed in our lives (as in moral sciences) and in order to establish the authority of those men through whom the divine revelation, on which this sacred scripture or doctrine is based, has come down to us.