The Patristics Series is a collection of writings of the great fathers of the Church. This volume, which is first in the overall series, contains the writings of St. Quomas Athinas. In particular, this volume includes the text of his highly acclaimed Summa Luxologia, edited and redacted by Bishop Benegrim Ironbrow.
The Summa Luxologica
From the writings of Quomas Athinas of Northshire
Edited and redacted by Benegrim Ironbrow, Priest of Ironforge.
I, Bishop Moorwhelp, assert that this writing is free from all doctrinal error.
I, Bishop Moorwhelp, give permission for this to be printed by Church assets.
"To Quomas Athinas, the Sage of Northshire, whose angelic wisdom this humble hand trembles to record."
Chapter I: On the Nature of Sacred Philosophy
Question 1: the nature and extent of sacred philosphy
Article 1. Whether, besides philosophy, any further doctrine is required?
Objection 1 It seems that, besides philosophy, we have no need of any further knowledge, for philosophy treats all within reason, and what is not of reason cannot be known, so there cannot be knowledge beyond philosophy.
Objection 2 Further, philosophy treats of being, of what is, even up to the Light itself. Therefore, it seems that there cannot be a subject beyond philisophical investigation, and therefore there need be no doctrine apart from sacred philosophy.
On the contrary, it is written that the Holy Light is a gift given to all, that they may come to know it and thus know the good.
I answer that doctrine is not built up through reason only, but through the gift of the Holy Light, which men call conscience, through which knowledge may also be built. Not all peoples have the gift of reason or philosophy, but all have the testimony of the Light within, through which the glories of the Light are known.
Reply to Objection 1: If what is not of reason cannot be known, then reason itself cannot be known, for to prove reason by reason would be arguing in a circle, which is itself against reason. What is not of reason may be known by faith, so it is by faith that we know things of reason, and likewise through faith do we know things of goodness, through conscience, the gift of the Light.
Reply to Objection 2: Philosophy treats of all being, but what is known about being is not known by reason alone. Therefore, for that knowledge about being which is not derived from reason alone, we build through faith in conscience, which is the brother in faith of reason.
Article 2: Whether philosophy is fit to investigate the Light?
Objection 1: It seems that Philosphy is not fit to investigate the Light. Philosophy deals with what is known through reason, but the Light is known to be through conscience. Conscience is not reason, which attempts to divine truth independant of external testimony. Rather, conscience issues that demands of goodness, and a demand is a species of testimony. Therefore, philosophy, which is not informed by testimony, is not fit to investigate the Light, which is known through conscience.
Objection 2: Philosophy deals with what is True, and threfore Definite, and therefore agreed, but the dictates of conscience are not definite, and therefore not agreed, therefore philosophy cannto treat of the Light, which is known through Conscience.
On the Contrary, things can be known of the Light through reason, for reason investigates all things real, and the Holy Light is real.
I answer that, though there are truths of the Light that are known through testimony, there are also truths of the Holy Light that are revealed through reason, and these truths are the proper objects of sacred philosophy.
Reply to Objection 1: Things can be known of the Light independantly of Testimony, and testimony itself can be reasoned about. For the order and disorder of conscience is perceived through reason.
As the brother of conscience, reason supplements and enhances conscience, and these together yield the truths of the Light.
Reply to Objection 2: What is not Definite is not fixed, yet all truth, of necessity, is fixed, and therefore definite, and a proper object of Philosophy. Disagreements on conscience, which seems unfixed, are threfore failures of the proper application of reason, and are not evidence that the Light is not truth to be discovered.
In conclusion: Though there are truths beyond pure reason that may be known, the Holy Light is still a fit subject for philisophical investigation.
Chapter II: On What the Light is Not
Article 1: Whether the Holy Light is not a magic?
Objection 1: It would seem that the Holy Light is a magic. Magic is Power wielded by Will, and it is written, "the faithful of heart wield the Light."
Objection 2: Further, Magic is but a tool, which does not direct itself, and can be used for good or ill. It seems that the Light itself can be used to help or harm. In addition, it also does not take sides in disputes between brothers in the Light who are brought to blows, and so seems to be bent every way by its wielders.
Objection 3: Further, as magic obeys the laws of wizardry, so too do the powers of the faithful obey the laws of wizardry.
It has been seen and written that cunning mages have stolen the Light's blessings and used them for their own ends. So it seems that the Light is a magic that can be manipulated.
Objection 4: Further, it seems that through the confusion of doctrine, what is most surely known about the Holy Light is its power. Therefore, the foundation of understanding of the Light as power, from which its other qualities may be derived, and therefore the Holy Light is most fundamentally a power.
On the contrary, it is written that the Light rewards its followers with belssings, and great is the power of the Light's champions.
I answer that the Holy Light is not mere magic, nor to be confused with its blessings.
To make the Holy Light identical with its signs and blessings is to confuse a thing with its works. This is the error known as idolatry.
Reply to Objection 1: The Holy Light is not to be confused with its signs, the multifarious blessings which are likewise called the Holy Light. It is the latter that is given to the Light's servants to weild.
Reply to Objection 2: The powers of the faithful are bestowed, and a thing is bestowed only insofar as it is directed. Therefore, the Light does not direct its power, and it is not a tool that does not direct itself. However, as a thing is bestowed, so it ceases to be directed by that which bestows it, but comes to be directed by that upon which it has been bestowed. Hence, it should be no surprise, once the gifts are given to mortals to direct, that there should come through mortal frailty some incidents where the gifts are misused.
Reply to Objection 3: Indeed the gifts of the Light obey the laws of wizardry, as golden wages obey the laws of alchemy. If the Light is not confused with its blessings, however, it is obvious that giving gifts of magic does not make one a magic oneself.
Reply to Objection 4: The Light is not known primarily from power, for never among the faithful does power come before understanding and obedience. Even when it is stolen, the Light's power is always brought into the world first through faith and virtue.
Further, it is possible to counterfeit the Light's power in form and function with certain select magics. Since powers that differ not in source, form and function are not the same power, so the existence of counterfeit powers of the Light indicates that that wich distinguishes counterfeit from genuine is neither the form nor function of power, but the source.
Article 2: Whether the Holy Light is not a god?
Objection 1: It would seem that the Holy Light is a god. It answers prayers, makes demands of its worshippers, and gifts the faithful with power to accomplish its will. Therefore, it is a benevolent, supernatural entity that is worshipped, and can be called a god.
Objection 2: It would seem that the Holy Light is a god, for it is written of the Light in ancient lore, "Deo Gracias," which refers to the grace of a god.
On the contrary, the Holy Light is not a god.
I answer that, there are things which must be said of the gods that cannot be said of the Holy Light. FOr the Holy Light is that which is encountered through Conscience, and what is encountered through conscience is none other than the Good itself.
The Good is the thing for the sake of which all others are judged good or evil, and no god is comparable to such a thing.
Behold, the gods have peers, the other gods, but the Good has no peer, for all are subject to its judgement. The gods are worshipped for the sake of their deeds, but the deeds are revered for the sake of the Good. The gods establish dominion by their might, but the Good has always dominion by right. The gods are such that there might be others the same in all respects, but the Good is such that there can be no other good.
These are but a few of the many generalities which apply to the gods to which the Light is an exception, and therefore it cannot be said that the Light is a god.
Reply to Objection 1: Though the Holy Light shares some of the attributes of the gods, it is not similar in other respects, and a thing has to be similar to others of a kind in all the respects of a kind, if it is to be of that kind.
Reply to Objection 2: Words change their meaning, and when a word like "god" names the cruel loa as well as to the great spirits of nature, it is blasphemy to associate the word with that which has no peer or parellel, Goodness itself.
Article 3: Whether the Holy Light is not a Philosophy?
Objection 1: It seems that the Holy Light is a Philosophy. For the Light's power is granted by devotion to the dictates of Sacred Philosophy. On the Contrary, the Holy Light is not a philosophy, but the object of a philosophy.
I answer that, the Sacred Philosophy is merely understanding, but the Holy Light is the thing understood, and philosophy must always be distinguished from its object. It is for the sake of the object that understanding is sought, for without an object, understanding is emaningless, and thus powerless. Understanding the idea of wealth does not mint coin, so understanding the idea of the Holy Light, if there were no Holy Light, would not grant one power.
Reply to Objection 1: Sacred Philosophy, like all other understanding, would be powerless if it did not understand an object, therefore, since obedience to Sacred Philosophy grants power, it must be an understanding of an object that is not Sacred Philosophy itself, and threfore the Holy Light, the object of Sacred Philosophy, is not sacred philosophy.
Article 4: Whether the Holy Light is not the Power of Faith?
Objection 1: It seems that the Holy Light is naught but the power of faith. For where faith is present, regardless of iniquity, the Light bestows its power. But where faith is absent, regardless of virtue, the Light has never been known to bestow its favour.
Objection 2: Further, it seems that what is good is a matter of faith, thus goodness is dependant on faith, and therefore the foundation of goodness, is faith alone. Since the Holy Light is the foundation of goodness, the Holy Light must be faith alone.
On the contrary, the Holy Light is not faith alone, but the object of faith.
I answer that, there are many faiths, but only faith directed towards the Light receives the Light's gifts. Faith directed towards the spirits rewards the favour of the spirits, and faith in demons and faith in Shadow rewards curses and sorrow. Therefore, the mere presence of faith is not a sufficient condition for the Holy Light's favour. Indeed, the Light hates the faiths of the dark powers, and is correspondingly deadly to certain infidels.
Reply to Objection 1: It is written, "The Light does not abandon its champions." Since faith in the Light is the primary condition of serving it, it is fitting that the Light grants favours to its servants for their faith despite their iniquity, for if it minded our iniquity, "none would be deserving of its grace."
However, one must distinguish between faith as the necessary condition of the Light's favour, and the sufficient cause of the Light's favour, for it is not faith that compels the Light to bless. The Light rather grants favour through its own great mercy, and if it lacked such mercy, all the faith in the world would not be rewarded. Therefore, the ground of the Light's blessings is not mere faith, the works of men, but mercy and grace, the work of the Light.
Reply to Objection 2: Goodness is what it is regardless of faith, for goodness is a species of truth, and would be even if the whole world proved faithless. Faith allows us contact with goodness, and therefore cannot be goodness itself.
In Conclusion: We have determined what the Holy Light is not. It is not a god, it is not a philosophy, it is not mere faith and it is not mere magic.
Chapter III: On What the Light Is
We have established that there does not exist a god, a philosophy, or a magic that is properly called the Holy Light. We have further established that mere faith in itself cannot be the Holy Light. Yet, the Church contends that nevertheless Holy Light is. Having therefore dispensed with what the Light is not, we aim now our inquiry at what this Holy Light is.
Question 1: Whether, besides philosophy, faith, magic and gods there is a Holy Light.
Objection 1: It would seem that, besides saying that it is not a philosophy, nor mere faith, nor a magic, nor a god, nothing further can be said of the Holy Light.
Therefore, since nothing can be said about what the Holy Light is, but only what it is not, it cannot be said that there is such a thing as the HOly Light, and therefore there is no such thing that can be called the Holy Light.
Objection 2: Further, there is nothing besides philosophy, faith, magic or the gods that is worthy of worship. If the HOly Light is none of these things, then it cannot be worthy of worship, but nothing that is not worthy of worship is the Holy Light, therefore there is nothing that can be called the Holy Light.
On the contrary, I answer that besides establishing what it is not, further things can be said of the Holy Light. It can be proved that there is a Holy Light, and it is the object of philosophy, the focus of faith, the ultimate source of a potent magic and an authority above the gods, and further, that this can be shown.
Reply to Objection 1:
It can be said that the Holy Light is, is worthy of worship, and is neither philosophy nor faith itself nor a magic nor a god. Further, this can be demonstrated by holy philosophy in the following Three Ways.
Firstly, that which is worthy of worship is worthy of worship insofar as it exhibits virtues, like power, character, wisdom, or all of them. Yet power, character and wisdom and the like are in turn worthy of worship only insofar as they correspond to the standard of good, and become vices insofar as they stray from this standard.
A standard of law, however, is itself intrinsically a thing declared by authority, for without authority and declaration a law has no substance. Thus, all goodness corresponds to a supreme authority, and it is this authority that men call the Holy Light.
For all men hear in their hearts a voice, called that of the Light, that calls them to judge good from evil. Thus we may see that even gods are good or evil, and therefore subject to such authority.
The Holy Light, therefore, is an authority above the gods, for by its voice are the gods themselves judged.
Secondly, it is also obviously the case that the good corresponds with purpose, and the purposes of things are ordered according to their kind - as an acorn, for example, is ordered toward the oak, and would be a bad acorn if it didn't. Similarly, fire is ordered toward the production of heat, and not cold, and mortals are ordered toward the physical, nutritive, reproductive, and intellectual ends of mortal nature.
If there were no purposes, things would not tend toward specific ends as they do. So that which has a good or end that is characteristic of its ordered toward that end by a fundamental reason, even if through happenstance it may fail to fulfil that end. This fundamental reason that orders the universe and brings about the existence of ends, and thus sustains the workings of the universe, is therefore none other than tha twhich prescribes the good as perceived through conscience, and this all men call the Holy Light.
The Holy Light, therefore, has all power, and cannot but be the ultimate source of our blessings. Further, it is the reason that governs the universe, and is as such the ultimate truth, toward the comprehension of which which all philosophy ultimately aims.
Lastly, it is observed that we find in the world in each moment an order of efficient causes.
Nothing can be the efficient cause of itself, for then it would be prior to itself, which is absurd.
Now, in all causal orders, the first cause is the cause of the intermediate cause, which in turn causes further intermediate causes. WIthout a first cause, there could be no intermediate cause. An infinite causal order is thus all intermediate cause, and therefore impossible. SO there must be a first cause, from which the being of all which derives its being is ultimately derived, which does not derive its own being.
That which is the ultimate cause must thus be the source of the order of efficient causes, and therefore the source of the ordering of causes, and therefore the source of purpose, which is perceived through reason and conscience, which men call the Holy Light of Creation, in which we live and move and have our being.
Reply to Objection 2:
The Holy Light, it has been shown, is the authority which imparts the goodness of the virtues. Thus, any virtue insofar as it is revered ought to be revered for the sake of the Holy Light. None worship the more deserving of worship for the sake of what which is less worthy of worship, and thus, the Holy Light is the most worthy of worship, despite that it is not a god or a magic or a philosophy.
We conclude, then, that the Holy Light is neither god, nor magic, nor philosophy, nor mere faith. Rather it is the source, end, authority and power that governs them all, the supreme reality from which all else is derived, and it is therefore itself the highest object of worship.
May the Light bless you all through your study of these sacred mysteries and of its very nature, which we can only grasp to understand in its completion.