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God the Father in the Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas


John Baptist Ku

God the Father in the Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas is an exposition of Aquinas’ theology of God the Father as a coherent whole. Surprising as it might be, there has not been an extended treatment of Aquinas’ theology of God the Father. Three misconceptions are addressed: (1) the idea that Aquinas’ speculative Trinitarian theology is detached from Scripture; (2) the supposition that in Aquinas’ understanding, the Father’s relation to the Holy Spirit is an afterthought to the Father’s relation to the Son; and (3) the view that for Thomas, the Father has no proper mode of action in the created universe – since Thomas maintains that in all ad extra activity, the Trinity acts as a single principle. Two less polemical, more perennial issues are discussed as well. First, the concept of relation, as the key to a coherent account of three distinct persons in one same divine essence, emerges as an important theme in Aquinas’ exposition of the Father’s paternity and innascibility. Second, Aquinas understands the Father as the source of unity in the Trinity and as the beginning and end of the whole created universe. It becomes clear that St. Thomas places forceful emphasis on the Son’s equality to the Father and on the radical difference between the creator and the creature.


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Acknowledgments xvii


Acknowledgments “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17). On the occasion of the completion of this book, I give thanks to God the Father—the unoriginate origin and ultimate end of all things—through his Son, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. Among his servants to be thanked, I wish to name in first place, Fr. Gilles Emery, O.P., for his generously thorough and painstaking correction of my work. I have benefited immensely from his profound expertise on Thomas’ Trinitarian theology. To those who proofread this work, I owe a debt of gratitude: to Sr. M. Michele Ransil, C.D.P., and Ms. Amy Strickland, who read the entire work, to Ms. Dawn Eden and Fr. Bryan Kromholtz, O.P., who assiduously commented on the early chapters, and also to Mr. Piotr Lichacz, Fr. Bernard Mulcahy, O.P., Fr. Andrew Hofer, O.P., Fr. Peter Fegan, O.P., Fr. Mark Wenzinger, O.S.B., Mr. Frank Bartolo, and Ms. Maria Flury. I wish to thank those who aided me with the translation of certain difficult passages in Aquinas: Frs. Andrew Hofer, Becket Soule, Tim Bellamah and Mr. Piotr Lichacz. For assistance with textual variants and problems, I wish to express my gratitude to Frs. Adriano Oliva, O.P., and Jean-Pierre Torrell, O.P. I would also like to thank Fr. Philippe Lefebvre, O.P., for his help with Old Testament questions, and Br. Leo Checkai, O.P., for his expert advice on...

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