Chapter IV -- 12
To return to
However, the tradition of the Philokalia quite explicitly follows the Platonic doctrine on this point.
St Thomas excludes the possibility that in the present conditions of our life our intellect can know God directly. His argument is a fortiori: Since we cannot know created immaterial substances, even less can we know the uncreated immaterial substance, God. Therefore,
In making these assertions about the limitations of the human intellect in its knowledge of intelligible realities, St Thomas has foreclosed the spirituality of the Philokalia. It is true that St Thomas in some fashion recognizes the possibility of supernatural knowledge of intelligible realities by the grace of God in mystical experience, but the psychology of the Philokalia is founded on the psychology of Evagrius Pontikos, which recognizes a natural capacity in man intuitively to cognize intelligible realities.
We have now finished our outline of the anthropology and psychology of St Thomas Aquinas.
Before continuing on to the next topic, St Thomas’ theory of action, it is well to note a small but significant difference between St Thomas’ system and the thought of St Gregory of Nyssa in On the Making of Man: St Thomas asserts that before the Fall, the generation of the human race would have occurred by means of the bodily union of the sexes. In On the Making of Man, St Gregory of Nyssa asserts that had the Fall not taken place, the generation of the human race would have occurred by another, unknown method, and that God made provision for the present method of human generation in his foreknowledge of the Fall.
In his discussion, St Thomas refers directly to St Gregory of Nyssa in On the Making of Man, briefly outlines St Gregory of Nyssa’s views and concludes that they are contrary to reason. St Thomas ends with a quotation from St Augustine:
Let it be far from us that we might suspect that the child would not have been made without the sickness of pleasure (libidinis); but by that gesture of the will those members would have been moved as the others, and without burning heat and attractive excitement, with tranquillity of soul and body.
A small point but significant.
 ST Ia, 88, 1.
 ST Ia, 88, 2.
 ST Ia, 88, 3.
 Rom. 1, 20, here translated directly from St Thomas’ Latin.
 ST Ia, 98, 2. It is in this article that St Thomas remarks that the sense of Eve’s being a helper for Adam is in the generation of the human race.
 De Civit. Dei, 14, 16.