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Evaluate the claim that analogy can successfully be used to express the human understanding of God. [35]

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Introduction

´╗┐Evaluate the claim that analogy can successfully be used to express the human understanding of God. [35] It is a view held by many that we cannot describe what is literally true of god, this is because of our ordinary human language, and by using it to attempt to define the nature of god we automatically limit ourselves to reaching an idea of god which is too small. St Thomas Aquinas used the term via eminentiae (the way of eminence) meaning a position of superiority to outline that what we know of god is only partial and we should accept that nonetheless he suggests in summa theological that there still should be a way in which we can make positive statements about god without resorting to Via negative, he says we must do so analogically. ...read more.

Middle

Now we can define analogy, analogy is when a term is used where there is difference of meaning but also some commonality of meaning, so we have something which is BOTH equivocal and univocal; the analogous. To elaborate on the definition of analogy, Aquinas gives the analogy of being (analogia entis) Aquinas believed that analogies could be a way of speaking of god, to justify this he asserts there is an ?analogy of being? between the cosmos and its creator; god. For example if a believer is to say ?God is good? they are not using ?good? in the univocal sense but neither is it being used equivocally. There is some commonality in the use of good in the statements ?god is good? and ?jenny is good?. ...read more.

Conclusion

But is this method of speaking successful in the human understanding of god? When we say understanding we mean it in the sense we know why, so for example one understands a mathematical concept of addition that 1 + 1 will give 2. But can we portray the same level of understanding with God? Speaking analogically has the benefit that we prevent anthropomorphic statements that limit god from being made henceforth we do not speak of god in an improper or disrespectful way. Sure we may prevent anthropomorphizing god but does this really increase our understanding of him or just avoids something which is frowned upon by theists? In essence it really doesn?t increase our understanding but has a solution to one of the downsides to our thinking of god. ...read more.

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