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From Darkness to Light

The Concept of Salvation in the Perspectives of Thomas Aquinas and Śankara

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Santosh Thomas Karingadayil

The question on salvation with its multifarious dimensions had always been a significant subject-matter of discussion from time immemorial. All the religious traditions attempt to formulate appropriate answers to the questions related to this, one of the most crucial issues in theological reflections. Still the concept remains wide open for further research. It is St. Paul who said that, «For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.» (1 Cor. 13:13) Salvation, as St. Paul conceives it, is a face to face vision of God in perfect knowledge merited through the person of Christ and through the gratuitous gift of grace. It is a passage from ignorance to truth, from darkness to light and from death to immortality (Br. Upa. I. iii. 27). From Darkness to Light aims at an enhanced understanding of the concept of salvation, comparing the theological and soteriological positions of Thomas Aquinas and Śankara. The author has made an admirable attempt in Comparative Theology, deciphering and clarifying all related concepts of salvation in both the thinkers.

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Acknowledgements .............................................................................................. V Abbreviations Used ......................................................................................... XIII General Introduction ............................................................................................. 1 PART I: From Bondage to Salvation ................................................................ 7 Chapter 1: Sinful Man in Need of Salvation .................................................... 7 Introduction .......................................................................................................... 7 1.1The Creation Narrative, a Christian Perspective ...................................... 8 1.2 Aquinas’ Understanding of Creation ...................................................... 9 1.2.1 God, the One and the Highest Good ........................................... 12 1.2.2 Creation of Man and the Image of God in Man .......................... 13 1.2.3 Body and Soul ............................................................................ 17 1.3 Sin, a Black Mark in the History of Salvation ...................................... 19 1.3.1 The First Fall as Original Sin ....................................................... 21 1.3.2 Original Sin as Sin of Nature ....................................................... 25 1.3.3 Original Sin and Actual Sin ......................................................... 28 1.3.4 Causes of Sin ................................................................................ 30 1.3.4.1 Human Will as the Cause of Evil ..................................... 31 1.3.4.2 The Role of Ignorance ...................................................... 32 1.3.4.3 God and the Devil as Persuaders of Sin ........................... 35 1.3.5 Effects of Sin ................................................................................ 38 1.3.5.1 Original Sin as an Effect of the First Fall ........................ 39 1.3.5.2 Loss of Original Justice ................................................... 39 1.3.5.3 Stain of Sin on the Soul ................................................... 42 1.3.5.4 Loss of Supernatural Qualities ......................................... 43 1.3.5.5 The Evil of Death ............................................................ 45 1.3.4.6 The Triple Alienation ...................................................... 48 Conclusion ........................................................................................................... 50 Chapter 2: From Avidya to Mukti .................................................................... 53 Introduction ......................................................................................................... 53 2.1 Brahman, the Only Supreme Reality .................................................... 53 2.1.1 Nirguna Brahman, the Way of Negation ..................................... 56 2.1.2 Saguna Brahman, the Way of Affirmation .................................. 56 2.1.3 Nature of Brahman ....................................................................... 57 2.1.3.1 Brahman as Pure Sat ....................................................... 58 VIII 2.1.3.2 Brahman as Pure Cit........................................................ 59 2.1.3.3 Brahman as Pure Ananda ................................................ 59 2.2 The Creation of the World .................................................................... 61 2.3 Atman, the Principle of Breath .............................................................. 66 2.3.1 The...

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