For as time went on sin gained a greater hold on man, so much so that it clouded man's reason, the consequence being that the precepts of the natural law were insufficient to make man live aright, and it became necessary to have a written code of fixed laws, and together with these certain sacraments of faith. For it was necessary, as time went on, that the knowledge of faith should be more and more unfolded, since, as Gregory says (Hom. vi in Ezech.): "With the advance of time there was an advance in the knowledge of Divine things" [emphasis added]The only observation I would make here is that the idea of doctrinal development is not a novelty in Church history, as though it was originally conceived by Cardinal Newman; rather, even Pope St. Gregory the Great affirmed that our knowledge of divine things advances over time. I have seen (and known) folks who deny this, even to the point of supposing that Abraham knew at least as much about Christian theology subsequent to himself as we Christians do today. But the facts oppose this claim.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Theology of St. Thomas - Aside on Development of Doctrine
In ST III Q61 A3, St. Thomas employs an argument that relies upon the fact of doctrinal development in responding to the objection (#2) that there should have been no change in the sacraments prior to the coming of Christ.