Transubstantiation in modern science: How can substance change without accidents
(12-10-2012, 01:46 PM)jim111 Wrote:
(12-07-2012, 08:14 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: In the normal course of things, you can discuss the substance using logic and by experiencing the accidents. If I paint a piece of wood with red paint, I haven't changed the substance, which I know is wood. All the accidents are the same except the color (and the weight increases but extremely slightly, and so on).

Transubstantiation is the exception to this. It is not the normal course of things. By Divine Power, the substance is changed and we know this by faith. We cannot discuss Transubstantiation in the way we discuss everything else, which is with the assumption that accidents by their nature inhere in a substance and through the accidents we know the substance.

That's why we sing:

Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.
I understand the definition of a substance. What i don't understand is what is changing in transubstantiation. It is said to be substance of bread into flesh. What is the substance of bread or flesh? Or is this beyond human understanding?

If you understand what a substance is, I'm not sure what you don't understand about the substance of bread or the substance of flesh? In the normal course of things, you see, smell, touch bread and conclude it is bread (you determine the substance from the accidents). In the exception of Transubstantiation, you can see, smell, touch, taste bread, but it's really the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Lord.

"Substance" just refers to what it really is. And in transubstantiation we are referring not just to the substance of flesh but the complete substance of a Person, the Second Person, with Human and Divine natures.

We can explain transubstantiation without these words, but it's less succint. We can say that it was bread and wine, and everything that we can experience with our sense about bread and wine, everything we can determine about them, stays the same. But that mystically, sacramentally, it is no longer bread and wine. And that it is really the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Lord. And that any of the usual things we could use to determine that (e.g. if we were in His Presence while he was preaching on earth ... seeing His body, His hair, touching the hem of His garment, noticing on earth that He cast a shadow, left footprints, hearing Him speak) ... none of those things are available to our senses. Thus we cannot determine in any sensical or physical way that He is there, except by faith. A non-believer can do every possible test known to man and the tests will be consistent with the substance being bread or wine, but the non-believer will be wrong, because he is not informed by faith.

That, I believe, is a correct explanation of transubstantiation without the words "substance" or "accident."

Logically, btw, substance comes from the understanding that there must be something that changes accidents. If I grow old, my accidents are changing. But who is growing old? Thus there is something other than accidents in this world -- otherwise it would make no sense to speak of the same "I" who is just changing over time.

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Re: Transubstantiation in modern science: How can substance change without accidents - by newyorkcatholic - 12-10-2012, 01:59 PM

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