The Humanism of Orthodoxy

In the second part of the Summa Contra Gentiles, devoted to the subject of creation, Thomas makes the point that the present consideration of creatures is necessary “not only for the building up of truth” (the constructive role of this work), “but also for the destruction of errors” (the polemical role). A couple of such errors that he mentions are that “angels are the creators of souls, that human souls are mortal, and generally … any similar views derogatory to the dignity of man.” For Thomas, man has a dignity, a dignity that the Christian faith preserves and from which heresy and other forms of error detract. We might call this Thomas’s “humanism of orthodoxy.”

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