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From Darkness to Light

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

Series:

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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PART II: Process of Salvation 91

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91 PART II: Process of Salvation The chief concern of the second part is to engage with the process of salvation. Salvation is viewed here as a process after the teaching of the Church and of other religions. It is a process in which the individual has a deciding role. The question discussed is how one could achieve the goal and what are the means and ways suggested. Salvation as a process includes two aspects, namely, the role of God and that of human beings. It is very often heard that our justification comes through the grace of God, which is a favour or a free gift. It does not mean that one has nothing to do in attaining his salvation. Every individual has a role in his justification. He should have the right disposition to receive the grace of God. It is human being who is in need of salvation and therefore it is he who has to undergo this process through which he is saved. From a Christian point of view, when one discusses the notion of Salvation as a process, the vari- ous means and ways through which one can create a right disposition to be gifted with grace are to be taken care of. Aquinas and Śaïkara have their own convictions about the reality of salvation and the various processes one has to undergo to achieve it. The two following chapters are discussing and analyzing those means in detail as guidelines to salvation. Chapter I:...

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