Saturday, August 31, 2013

Origen on Platonic Ideas and the Renovated World

"Our Lord and Saviour also points out a certain other world besides this visible one, which it would indeed be difficult to describe and make known. He says, I am not of this world. For, as if He were of a certain other world, He says, I am not of this world. Now, of this world we have said beforehand, that the explanation was difficult; and for this reason, that there might not be afforded to any an occasion of entertaining the supposition that we maintain the existence of certain images which the Greeks call ideas: for it is certainly alien to our (writers) to speak of an incorporeal world existing in the imagination alone, or in the fleeting world of thoughts; and how they can assert either that the Saviour comes from thence, or that the saints will go there, I do not see. There is no doubt, however, that something more illustrious and excellent than this present world is pointed out by the Saviour, at which He incites and encourages believers to aim. But whether that world to which He desires to allude be far separated and divided from this either by situation, or nature, or glory; or whether it be superior in glory and quality, but confined within the limits of this world (which seems to me more probable), is nevertheless uncertain, and in my opinion an unsuitable subject for human thought."  - De Principiis Book 2, Chapter 3.6, emphasis mine

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Three Pinciples of Nature

Materia - the potential and determinable part of a composite, i.e., that from which something arises or of which it consists, synonym of subiectum ex quo, the opposite of forma.

Forma - the actualizing principle that makes a thing to be what it is, the opposite of materia.  In the ontological order it is the formal cause, the form-giving principle, and is very much the same as essentia, natura, quod quid erat esse, quidditas, species, and substantia; in the logical order it is species, idea, exemplar, and imago.  In the thought of St. Thomas, it is a concept of great variety and fecundity, and generally signifies actuality in contrast to the potentiality of matter, or determination of quality or kind in contrast to the indeterminancy of matter.  It is not something pre-existing, but is conceived of as being united with primary matter to constitute the substance of a thing.  Other forms, called accidental, then appear to clothe the substance with its predicamental accidents.  Some forms, the angels and human souls, exist independently of matter; but most forms disappear when the composite of which they are the principle of actual existence is dissolved.

Privatio - Lack of what should be present, synonym of defectus, the opposite of habitus and perfectio