Aquinas, idolatry, and the previous post

I would like to defend my use of an Aquinas quotation in my previous post (to which Thabiti Anyabwile graciously replied).

While I might be inferring or extrapolating to a degree, I think the quotation legitimately deals with the topics in yesterday’s post: idolatry and earthly affections.

The direct quotation, from Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, was, “Well-ordered self-love, whereby man desires a fitting good for himself, is right and natural; but it is inordinate self-love, leading to the contempt of God, that Augustine reckons to be the cause of sin.”

Prior to that quotation, but also in the concluding part of the same article, Aquinas writes, “…every sinful act proceeds from inordinate desire for some temporal good.”

That seems to be related to, if not precisely about, idolatry (“inordinate desire”) and earthly affections (“some temporal good”).

Shortly after the quotation I used in yesterday’s post, Aquinas writes, “…every sin arises either from inordinate desire for some good, or from inordinate avoidance of some evil.”

So from this section of Aquinas’s work, we could at least infer (1) there are good things in the created order, (2) liking or wanting those good things is well-ordered self-love, and (3) humans sin when their desires for those good things becomes inordinate.

All these quotations come from the latter half, or the concluding part, of the same article in Aquinas’s “Treatise on Habits” within Summa Theologica. See Second Part, Q. 77, Article 4 of the Summa.

Maybe I’m inferring or extrapolating to a degree. Even so, I think that article has something to teach us about idolatry and earthly affections.

How off-base am I? Please comment and explain.


One response to “Aquinas, idolatry, and the previous post

  1. Pingback: The urgency behind a Christian defense of temporal good things | Liturgical