Nature, Grace, and Criticism

by Caleb Roberts

Despite these extraordinary developments toward understanding created existence as a social relation, Aquinas does not submit the immediate intuition of the hierarchical order of being, as enshrined in the order of charity, to critique.  He does not question the authority of his actually existing social relations, but rather presumes they are natural expressions of the divine order of reality.  Not only does this exclude any critical dimension from the exercise of charity, and thus reinforce the illusion of the “natural” order of his social relations, but is precludes the possibility of linking that critique to the theology of grace.  The maxim “grace perfects nature” will continue to be conceived not as a substantive transformation of the order of nature but as the reinforcing of the illusion that the existing social arrangement is coincident with the order of charity. (107)

Joshua Davis | Waiting and Being: Creation, Freedom, and Grace in Western Theology