Transformation of the Meanings of the Concepts of Being, Eternity and Time in Modern Scholasticism (article in French)

Povilas Aleksandravičius


At the core of Thomas Aquinas metaphysics of being lies the actual divide between the act of being (actus essendi) and the essence of every living being. This context of metaphysics alone allows the understanding of the meanings of eternity and time as used by Thomas Aquinas. Duns Scotus understands being in a different way, he provides the concept of univocity of being, in other words, the meaning of being does not change with regard of its affiliation to the God or to the created living being. In this way, supposedly, the rational mind of man can, in effect, attain the God:in the same way as we gain comprehension of any living being, so we are granted the ability to comprehend the God on the condition that our minds are sufficiently deep. Thomas Aquinas proposition about the underlying inability of human rationality to attain the God is erased from this approach. As early as the 15th century the followers of Thomas Aquinas forgot or openly critisised their educator‘s proposed reality of the divide between the act of being and the essence of being, and showed tendencies to accept Duns Scotus' concept of the univocity of being. In this way the comprehension of being, and even that of the God, has become limited to the rules of human ratio,i.e. the rationalising of the comprehension of being has taken place. The law of causality, which Thomas Aquinas held applicable only to the domain of the created beings, modern scholastics introduced to the domain of the Divine being, as though the God could be comprehended as the ultimate cause and measured by the identical meaning of the cause concept, which is professed in the created world. The God is turned into Causa sui; a phantom concept, broadly spread among modern scholastics, but entirely foreign to Thomas Aquinas.


being; eternity; time; modern scholasticism; cause; God; ratio; Thomas Aquinas

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236