quod pro nobis traditum est

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Speaking of ontology . . .

Speaking of ontology, we remember St. Anselm who died on this date in Canterbury in 1109. Anselm was a monk, philosopher and archbishop. Considered one of the greatest philosophers of the 11th century, he is called the founder of scholasticism and is known for his formulation of an ontological argument for the existence of God.

He wrote, "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam." In other words, faith comes before reason but reason may be used to expand on faith. He wrote on a variety of philosophical and theological topics including creation, the Trinity, original sin and free will. His thinking is considered Neoplatonic.

Anselm's book Cur Deus Homo, literally, "Why the God Man," discusses his theory of the atonement. Briefly stated, satfisfaction for sin before a just God is only possible through the voluntary death of the God-Man, Jesus. This theory stresses Jesus' obedience to the Law. Although later scholastics and reformers differed somewhat from his view of the atonement, for example, stressing instead God's reconciliation in the atonement, Anselm's emphasis has had a lasting influence on Church teaching and helps to show how reason may be used in relation to faith.

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