Date of Award
Rev. Cornelius Kelly
In this work it is our purpose to show whether or not the notion of creation is a philosophical concept; to what degree it lays such claim; and precisely where it ceases to be a philosophical notion. This we shall consider from the Thomistic viewpoint.
In Greek philosophy up until Aristotle, creation out of nothing was excluded from the universe as well as from God. The maxim: "nothing comes from nothing," and the fact that these philosophers were so close to matter prevent any such concept from being formulated. Individual beings were certainly contingent but not the universe as a whole. The fact that an almighty and infinite God existed Who could create from nothing the entire universe escaped the acute minds of even the greatest among the ancient philosophers.
It is interesting to note now that the idea of infinite efficient causality never arose in purely philosophical speculation until this noting became a matter of revelation! This was no doubt due to the failure of reason to concern itself with the act of existence as such, as distinct from nature or essences. Does this, then, rule out the possibility of its being a philosophical concept?
St. Thomas esteemed the human intellect so highly that he made bold to incorporate the notion of creation as a "homogeneous member into his metaphysics." Many who lived during his time maintained that for those believing in revelation, creation is to be accepted, not demonstrated. But St. Thomas considered it from reason alone. Once revelation is made with the accompanying reorientation of ultimate reasoning toward existence, the rational necessity of creation poses itself as the only acceptable explanation of the universe. This is not to say that we must necessarily have revelation to reach the notion of creation, for unaided reason can reach this conclusion. But revelation ignited the spark which had lain dormant for many years.
Medina, Maurice, "The Philosophical Implications of the Thomistic Notion of Creation" (1960). Philosophy Undergraduate Theses. 39.