Understanding St. Thomas on Analogy
The primary aim of this thesis is to show how God can be first in thought as well as first among beings. In order to approach this question clearly, it is first necessary to define and divide analogy correctly. Any such discussion of analogy in St. Thomas must furthermore begin with a study of the uses of the word 'analogy' in the texts of St. Thomas. This work therefore begins with an examination of the 161 texts in which the word 'analogy' is found in the writings of St. Thomas. There are a total of 249 instances of the word found in these texts. One of the primary conclusions of this textual study is that the main technical use of the word 'analogy' has to do with analogical naming. This use seems to be in contradistinction to the use of the word 'analogy' as found in many of the Scholastics, including Cajetan.
Using the fact that St. Thomas mainly speaks about 'analogy' as a kind of naming, the study then goes on to see what a definition of analogy would look like, and what its essential divisions would be. There are many statements about analogical naming and its divisions in St. Thomas, and each of these is analyzed. The result is that analogy is most clearly defined in terms of the relation between the things as defined by the accounts of the namings. Based on this definition, the most essential division of analogy would be between relations based on the per se as opposed to those based on the per accidens.
These considerations are intended to lay the groundwork for speaking about how names are used of God in such a way as to pinpoint the logical implications of such action. An attempt is made to explain the statement of St. Thomas that God is somehow first in our thoughts.It will be shown that God is able to be first in thought on account of the ability of the mind to purify its concepts of creaturely content through remotion, and the fact that every concept of a created reality will be a concept of something that is a likeness of God. Furthermore, if one really comes to a knowledge of God and His perfections, one cannot help but see these perfections in Him in a way that makes His perfection the source of every created perfection, even for our understanding.