#3 Life of Thomas Aquinas

In 1267 Thomas Aquinas met William Moerbeke who was busy translating Aristotle directly from the Greek.  Up to this point Latin scholars had only known Aristotle from translations of Arabic into Latin.  The translations from Arabic presented Aristotle’s thoughts coloured by Islamic philosophy to Latin scholars.

From this point on, Thomas Aquinas based all of his own writings on the translations of Moerbeke of the original Greek texts.  In this way he was able to lead Latin theology in a totally new direction: one that would become the basis to Western thought and Western Civilization.

The crucial point here is that whereas the teaching from the Islamic world was that men participated in one collective soul that they either followed or refused to follow, Thomas Aquinas taught that each man was an individual who had his own soul and free-will.  As a consequence, each man has his own mind and is able to decide on his own actions whichever social class that man belonged to.  Aquinas argued that it is because of this that slavery is wrong as it deprives a man of choice in his actions.  (In Western Europe in the 13th century there was the system of feudal landlords and serfs, while in other parts of the world there were systems based on slavery).

#2 Life of Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225 in Aquino, Italy and died aged 49 in France in 1274.

Thomas Aquinas’ father was Count Landulf of Aquino, near Naples.  He and his brother Ronald seized the castle of Roccasecca and became the landlords of the area.  Thomas’ mother was Theodora; she may have been sister to the Holy Roman Emperor.

Aged five Thomas was taken to the abbey of Monte Cassino to be educated by monks.  Thomas’ family wanted to place him in the best position to obtain power and wealth.  However, aged 18 Thomas refused the path that would lead to him becoming abbot of the abbey, and instead joined the poor Order of Preachers founded by St Dominic. 

Thomas’ outraged family abducted him and incarcerated him in Roccasecca castle.  This was to prevent Thomas from joining the Dominicans because they were too evanglical.  Dominicans were going around preaching the gospel to the poor.  Other saints of the new evangelical movement in the church in the 13th century were St Francis of Assisi and St Anthony of Padua.

Thomas escaped and as a Dominican friar went to study at Naples University under the new Aristotlian teachers of the 1240s.  The Dominican brothers removed Thomas from  there because of the problems he had with his nearby family.  They took him to the University of Paris to study under Albert the Great in 1245.  The other scholars in Paris mocked Thomas for being a bit slow and stupid, but Albert saw that Aquinas was destined for great things.

Thomas was made a priest in Cologne where he had a post teaching Bible studies to Dominican brothers.  He taught Biblical studies and theology at various papal universities receiving his qualification as a teacher in 1256. 

#1 Thomas Aquinas on God as Trinity and Creator

introduction

Reflections on the nature of the human person having an individual soul; the nature of God as Trinity; the creation of the world by the Creator acting by analogy as a craftsman; the sustaining of all creatures in being by Being; and the complete summary of human knowledge up to 1270 was the tour de force of Thomas Aquinas.

The theology of Thomas Aquinas, in particular his Doctrine of Creation, became the theology of the Catholic Church up to recent times.  All priests were instructed according to the teachings of Thomas Aquinas up to Vatican II.

The thought of Thomas Aquinas, for which he fought many battles with his contemporary Catholic Latin theologian scholars, became the basis to concepts behind Western Civilization.  I say this because it was he who recognized human persons both male and female as individuals possessing free will and the right to make choices in life.

Thomas Aquinas worked on rational thought, defining what things actually are.  His personal faith, however, was completely given to the love of God, to the Person of Jesus Christ and the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit.  The object of his writing was to glorify God as well as to promote the common good of society.

I am posting this article and series of blog posts on The Principles of Creation website because it explains, in the words of Thomas Aquinas, how God as Trinity created life.  God who is principle made things according to their various principles.

#6 As a Creationist I Evolved a Great Deal

As a Creationist, I evolved so much over 20 years that I eventually wrote a new theory of evolution that I now call Entropic Evolution.  If Entropic Evolution is one side of the coin, then Nanocreation is the other side of the same coin.

In a nutshell the Theory of Nanocreation and Entropic Evolution is the view that God created matter and life at the microscopic nanoscale, and then allowed the macrostructures of the universe, including our own bodies, to evolve through natural processes.

God created complexity while natural processes of evolution produced diversity in the living world.

My whole life has been dedicated to answering the question: How did God create life?  And what part did evolution play in this?  The journey has been a long journey compared to the short bus journey where it all started, but it has been absolutely amazing, and my life has been truly blessed.

#5 Biology has now Reached the Bedrock

It is manifestly clear that evolution does occur.  Hundreds if not thousands of examples have been documented.  But the operation of evolution, the way it works, actually indicates that complexity precedes loss of complexity; fully developed parts precede reduction of parts; and function precedes dysfunction. 

Biology has now reached the bedrock which is the genetic system itself and how it brings about development in different organisms.  Examples of modification can be documented down to the last DNA detail, and what they show is that mutation has switched off certain genes or the regulatory elements that control them in each case.

The idea that was becoming clear in my mind was that evolution presupposes creation.  The original basic types were created with fully functional genomes and whole functional organs.  These basic types have evolved in many ways and to very high degrees.  While evolution has produced a great diversity of species here on Earth, creation was at the origin of complex life.

The exploration of this subject became the fire of my soul.

#4 Recessives are Blanks

Do you remember the monk and his crinkly peas – Gregor Mendel?  Why were his peas crinkly?  Or would you say wrinkly?  The wrinkly ones were the ones with recessive inheritance, the ones carrying two recessive genes.  The peas were wrinkly because they lacked a structural element that would make them normal and smooth-looking.

And then it occurred to me – recessive genes are blanks.  Mutation has made them into blanks by loss of function mutations that are errors in the code.

The material of evolution is genetic variation – this is the number of recessive genes in a gene pool that have evolved from wild type genes.  I now knew that a modification or so-called new trait could be encoded by blankety blank for that gene locus (a gene locus is the position of a gene on a chromosome).

Biologists say that Natural Selection positively selects advantageous genes, while eliminating genes that would lower fitness.  This sort of makes sense, but they have never stopped to reflect on what they actually mean by this, and what their words correspond to in real life.

I had seen the light, and I now knew that ‘advantageous’ is a qualification, not a thing.  Biologists think that advantageous mutations establish function, and deleterious mutations cause dysfunction.  They think in a good/bad dichotomy.  What they have not realized is that both types of mutation have the same basis – both are mutations causing dysfunction at the level of the genome.   A switched off gene can be advantageous in a new set of circumstances, and when this is the case, it is positively selected by Natural Selection.

#3 The Actual Essence of Evolution

The actual evidence of actual plants and animals shows that Natural Selection, far from building up complexity, actually reduces it.  Oh yes, Natural Selection most certainly brings about the adaptation of species to their environments; and modification in all sorts of directions.  Some modifications even bring about new functions to existing organs when species migrate to places with new conditions.

But what is the actual essence of evolution?  What is really happening?  How does it work in the real world, when all the Evolutionist propagandists have all gone home?

The answer is genetics.

I knew in the mists of my mind from A level biology that mutation consists of random errors in the replication of DNA.  Error?  What do my errors achieve?  Usually nothing good, unless I ‘land on my feet’.  How many times have I done that?  Many times.  The horse landed on its feet – or hooves which are modified central toe bones.

Yes, of course – reduced forms and there are many – are underpinned by mutations to their DNA.  These mutated genes have been selected by Natural Selection.

The genes in question, the mutated genes, are genes that have had their expression switched off by errors in the DNA code.  I realised that these genes do not produce gene products anymore.  The effect of non-expression in some genes can be genetic disease or it can be changes in development of the body.

I knew these genes existed – they are called pseudogenes.  Pseudogenes are not transcribed because they have been disabled through mutations.

#2 De-Evolution of Horses

In Chile searching for a means to understand evolution and creation as both representing the truth, I remembered something that I had read in a Creationist book some 12 years earlier in 1980.  I remembered the comment that the horse had ‘de-evolved’ not evolved.  In effect, the primitive horse possessed four toes on the front legs and three toes on the back legs.  Over time these had been reduced to one.  The modern horse runs on one hoof on each leg i.e. one toe on each leg.  This adapts it to fast running in grassland environments.  (Incidentally the evolution of the horses’ teeth actually created these grasslands).  This equine story is presented as a classic textbook proof of evolution.  I’d stored this insight I’d read about in the back of my mind.

1992 Chile: Loss of parts – that rang a bell.  I’d read The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin aged 14 and again aged 19.  It was my favourite book.  Darwin based much of his argument for Natural Selection on the observation of rudimentary organs.  Many organisms have organs and parts that no longer serve a function, and yet are present in a very rudimentary way.  When, in new circumstances an organ is not useful, it is reduced by Natural Selection until it is hardly present in some species, although fully developed in others.

Darwin commented that if species were created, then the presence of reduced, dysfunctional organs and parts makes no sense.  Why would God create a form of life with dysfunctional parts?  The God proclaimed by the church is a God of purpose.  This is one of the most powerful arguments in favour of the operation of Natural Selection, and thus the belief that species have evolved from previous ancestors.

And yet, is this not the seed of its own destruction?

#1 An Evolving Creationist

On a bus between Coquimbo and La Serena in the north of Chile it came to me that the answer is genetics.

And the question?  Well, it’s a long story, but I had come to believe both in evolution and creation.  Most people would say these are totally contradictory beliefs; you opt for one or you opt for the other.  In 1992 I found myself in the very confusing and awkward position of believing in both.  So I had to sort it out, or I would no longer sleep at night.

Biology was my first love since as far back as I can remember.  I was fascinated with trying to understand plants and animals since maybe the age of five or even two when I’m said to have kept on pulling the peony buds off the plant that grew in our garden to gleefully present to my mother.

When I went to university aged 19, it was to study biology (though I finally graduated in anthropology and sociology with a modular degree course).  At this time in 1980 I became an Evangelical and this brought me into contact with Creationist books.  Sometime later I became a Catholic, though I retained many Evangelical beliefs and contacts.

Dew from heaven

song of moses


Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.

I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.

Deuteronomy 32:1-3

The works of God are perfect.

An understanding of the things of God from his Word is like light rain causing new life to spring forth in the dry wasteland.