The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth?
In his "Summa Contra Gentiles", Thomas Aquinas comes to the conclusion that the truth of reason is not in opposition with the Christian faith. He starts by saying human reason and understanding does not surpass God's understanding. He asserts that human reason can come to knowledge of God and faith, and many things not attainable through reason can be understood through faith. Thomas uses primary truths to support his article. The first principle and the first condition support the declaration that that human nature and divine understanding are in harmony.
There are natural principles that God as our creator has instilled into humans. It is natural for humans to think and use reasoning. Divine wisdom and faith are also implanted into the human mind by God. Thomas Aquinas makes the point that since God created the human mind to use reason and faith, both orders are in harmony. However, the mind has the ability to know the truth, because the ability to have faith and use reason are instilled to us by God. The reasoning of the human mind then will not contradict the understanding of God or faith because they are given to us by God. Nevertheless, the mind does not have the ability to find all truth. It is a falsehood for humans to believe they can come to complete knowledge and truth of God. Faith was instilled into humans for a reason, so using reason to come to a complete understanding is erroneous. Thomas states that when humans try to only use reason for understanding God, they will naturally come to falsehoods. God did not instill falsehoods or contradictions into human nature. Any opinion or belief contrary to the harmony of human reason and faith is a lack of understanding. Therefore, the principle of non-contradiction is evidently seen in Thomas' argument. All the false assumptions and accusations can be solved either through the Word of God, faith, or correct human reason using the five senses.
Truth that God has revealed to humankind cannot contradict human nature. Some truths in the Bible are difficult for the mind to comprehend. This is where faith takes part in our understanding of God. God knows all truth, and some of that truth can be understood through human nature. The truth acquired by humans can be part of the whole truth or can coexist with other truths. This is evident for some marvels as described by Thomas. An example of a marvel would be Jesus instantly healing the mute and the blind. Human nature can comprehend that the marvel actually happened through the senses; however, the truth of how the marvel happened is not known through human reason or perception. The complete truth is then larger than the understanding of humankind and taught through faith. Whether or not some truths are able to be fully understood, the truth acquired through human reason does not contradict Christian faith. Therefore, the non contradiction principle stands firm in Thomas' analysis.
The human mind must be able to come to truth. If truth is not attainable through reason, then one would be asserting that God is untruthful in creating reason in the human mind. If God is not true then nothing can be true. Since we know that God is all knowing and the source of all truth, human reason can come to the knowledge of some truth. In the same sense faith must also be true. The human intellect is able to have faith, and since God created the human mind to be able to understand faith, then faith must be true. Again, this does not mean that all human reason is true. Fallacies appear when opinion is made; that which God has not instilled upon human nature. Divine intellect surpasses human intellect. This makes it evident that not all truth can be comprehendible or attainable through the human mind. Although through divine intellect the Bible came to be. The Bible, and therefore divine intellect, state that human intellect does have understanding. Thus, the human mind is able to know the truth either through reason or faith.
Primary truths must be accepted in order for any truth to come about. Thomas Aquinas uses two of these truths, the first principle and the first condition, to verify his assertion that human reason does not oppose God or the Christian faith. The human intellect is not able to know all things so faith allows humans to grasp the truth without understanding. Thomas therefore believes that God created both reason and faith so both must be in harmony.