Analogy and Metaphores

Questio 13 deals with Thomas concept of analogy. Here I do feel slightly uneasy because I think the eastern concept of ”negative theology” to be extremely fruitful, and Thomas in a way goes against it. (This is what Lossky also criticises Thomas for in his The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church). I do think you can interpret analogy in a way that makes it compatible with negative theology, but what is difficult is Thomas distinction in the sixth article between names of God that are metaphorical (”God is a Lion”, ”God is a Rock”) and names that are not applied to god metaphorically (”God is good”, God is Wise”. Thomas writes:

For the words, God is good, or wise, signify not only that He is the cause of wisdom or goodness, but that these exist in Him in a more excellent way.

Today we tend to think that all language is metaphorical, and I think this is the point e.g. Dionysions also makes, that is, how would we know which names are metaphorical and which are not? Now it seems that here Thomas actually reverts to a platonic way of thinking, using words such as good and wise in a idealistic way. His point is of course that these words are still uses analogically – since our concept of goodness is known only from creatures and this I agree with. The quesition is what is actually gained by saying that these words are not metphores but proper names of God? I’ll try to keep an eye on this problem as I proceed.

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