St. Thomas

Reason and Propositional Revelation



A. Two Modes of Knowing about God


1.  Natural Reason:


a. sensation

b. intellect -

c. knowledge -


NOTE:  Gradation of Intellects:

Common man to Philosopher

Philosopher to Angel

Angel to God


2.  Divine Revelation


a. God rightly reveals discoverables (i.e., rational propositions)


If God didn’t reveal these truths three “awkward” consequences would follow:

i. Negative consequences if God withholds rationally discoverable truths:


- Few would have knowledge of God:
- Those who arrive at knowledge of God would be old

- Many would doubt the knowledge of God so demonstrated


ii. Positive consequences of God revealing rationally discoverable truths:


- We learn to desire the transcendent

- We can attain a higher knowledge of God

- We become aware of the limitations of unaided reason


b. God also reveals undiscoverable truths (the “mysteries” of the faith)


B. It is rational to believe the truths of Revelation


1. Revelation is accompanied by “visible manifestation”


2. False revelation appeals to the material world (Islam)


C. Divine revelation cannot be contrary to natural reason


1. Truth cannot be opposed to truth (sensory/rational beliefs and divinely revealed beliefs)


2. God as creator cannot oppose God as revealer


3. Reason prevents us from asserting contraries and contradictions


D. Reason detects the divine cause in the material effect