Creation as Existential Contingency: A Response

Creation as Existential Contingency: A Response

Muller, S.J., Earl (Sacred Heart Seminary (Detroit) )

The Saint Anselm Journal 1.1 (Fall 2003)


Donald Keefe has consistently provided a trenchant critique of traditional Thomism. His paper for this conference focuses this critique on the question of contingency in Thomas’s thought and the necessity ingredient in the Aristotelianism on which it is built. There are more resources in the thought of Thomas himself that is supportive of Keefe’s project than is generally recognized. I would also agree with Keefe’s observation that Thomas’s system is an incomplete transformation of Aristotelianism. Thomas’s act-potency understanding of Christ is isolated from the rest of his Aristotelian-based system. It is awkwardly understood in terms of the classic Thomistic correlations: form-matter, accident-substance, existence-essence. Thomas is silent on this point as well as on the freedom required of the act-potency correlation of divinity and humanity in Christ. This brings us back to the question that Keefe has raised with regard to the issue of contingency, necessity, and freedom.

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