This talk will present Aquinas’ argument for the importance of theology for human flourishing. Instead of viewing theology as cerebral gymnastics for mastering Christian dogmas, for Aquinas, doing theology is like experiencing the fullness of being that anticipates the beatific vision.
Aquinas’ view of human flourishing has its metaphysical and theological underpinnings. Metaphysically, the concepts of ‘being’ and ‘goodness’ are interchangeable, so that flourishing is defined through the actualization of being, which radiates perfection. Theologically, humanity is perfected by union with God through intellect and will, which structurally reflects the Trinitarian processions of the Word and the Spirit. We will close by considering some practical impacts of this view.
Aquinas’s view can help overcome the brain-heart split, as well as the tension between self-denial and self-fulfillment, both of which have caused Christian misgivings of theology and happiness.