Transubstantiation in modern science: How can substance change without accidents
(12-09-2012, 01:53 AM)Doce Me Wrote: It is also hard to see how drinking Christ's blood and eating His flesh would be simply a metaphysical reality.  Body and blood seem physical, even if their accidents aren't there.

Yes; this and the rest of your post are correct. The idea that transubstantiation does not pertain to physical realities, but, by transcending the natural order, pertains only to metaphysics, such that it is bread and wine in the natural order but Christ's Body and Blood in the supernatural order, is a derivative of consubstantiation repackaged by the Modernists of today.

Transubstantion is physical insofar as the very nature of the real, physical substance is changed. What remains the same is only the perceptible aspects (accidents) of that substance.

I would like to quote this lengthy yet applicable passage from The War Against Being: Science and The Philosophy of Deceit. I think it will help answer some of the questions in this thread. As it pertains to modern science, pay particular attention to the last paragraph.
Quote:Both Aristotle and St. Thomas taught that there are ten categories of being. These, in turn, can be divided into substance and accidents. Substance is a reality which is “suited to exist as itself, and not as the mark, determinant, or characteristic of some other thing.” Accidents are realities “which are not suited to exist as themselves, but exist as the mark, determinant, modification, or characteristic of some other thing, and ultimately of a substance.” There is only one category of substance; there are nine categories of accidents: quantity, quality, relation, action, passion, place, time, posture, habit. Accidents are said to inhere in substance. Substance is said to “stand under” the accidents of which it is the subject.

If this seems to be getting too complicated, then we should realize that what Aristotle and St. Thomas have put into philosophical terminology is simply common sense. We know that somehow the mature tree possesses identity with the seed or seedling, despite the fact that there have been innumerable “accidental” but very real changes in its being. The only way of explaining this “substantial” identity in the midst of all this change is to philosophically and scientifically posit this distinction between substantial and accidental being. Without this distinction the whole concept of substantial reality is lost, not only to science, but also to simple human experience and values. All notion of substantial reality becomes lost in the ever present reality of change. In our analysis of modern errors we shall see just exactly how this has taken shape.

It is also fully in accord with common sense that any bodily substance must involve the substantial union of two principles: what scholastic philosophy calls primal matter and substantial form. Primal matter, according to St. Thomas, “is the common substrate of all existing bodies; it is that by which a body is bodily” (Paul Glenn: Tour of the Summa). It has no existence of its own, but only comes into existence through God’s creation, and in union with some particular substantial form. We must not think that through deeper and deeper physical analysis of created things we will finally discover primal matter. In terms of physical analysis, the human mind naturally works only in terms of limited constructs – it can only work in relation to things which are “accidental”, that is having spatial and temporal extension. . Compounds, molecules, atoms, atomic particles, etc only have meaning to us in relation to their ability to be “quantified” in some way. Such things, therefore, are not, and cannot be, primal matter: they are themselves a union of substantial form with primal matter. They cannot, in other words, be at the root of what matter is all about. It is interesting that the quest to get to the ultimate constituents of matter and energy now has pushed the human intellect to the very limits of such spatial-temporal thinking. And if one reads the comments concerning this current situation of physics which are made by those on the cutting edge of this search, one clearly becomes aware of their sense of despair over the matter. It is almost as though, in having reached the limits of human constructs and material analysis they hear a call beckoning them beyond such constructs for the ultimate explanation of the physicality of even the most rudimentary of things. This explanation has already been given by the philosophy and metaphysics of St. Thomas. They do not want to listen, however, because they are fundamentally locked into the hubris and shallowness which refuses to believe that there can be anything “above” (meta-) physics. In so doing, they deny the ultimate meaning and purpose of their own science.

For any particular substance to exist there must be something more to it than mere materiality, something which determines it as a specific kind of body – something which determines its essence or nature. This other principle is substantial form. The Scholastic doctrine that all bodily substances are constituted by the union of substantial form and primal matter is called hylemorphism (a term made up of two Greek words: hyle, meaning matter; and morphe, meaning form). It should be noted here that with the principle of substantial form we have again crossed over into the metaphysics, into a realm that is beyond physical analysis. We thus touch once more upon that realm of being which speaks of the direct touch of God upon both creation and our intelligible grasp of reality. Again, we must note that Thomism lays down that all our knowledge comes through the senses, and that our intellect comes to an understanding of universals or essences through a process of abstraction from the ideas or phantasms which these sense impressions imprint on the intellect. At the same time, however, we would be badly missing the profound import of Thomistic epistemology (the philosophical science of how we know things, or whether we can truly know at all) if we failed to realize that inherent in any act of knowledge is that direct and intuitive act of the intellect which grasps not only being in its general reality, but also the substantial forms which are the determinant principles of created bodily substances. St. Thomas writes, “We must needs say that the human soul knows all things in the eternal types, since by participation of these types we know all things. For the intellectual light itself which is in us, is nothing else than a participated likeness of the uncreated light, in which are created the eternal types.” (Ia, 84, 5). Thus we again have the philosophical application of that truth so profoundly and simply expressed by St. John: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

It has so happened in the history of the Church that the truth only comes fully into focus when confronted with its denial in the form of heresy, schism, or apostasy. Hopefully, then, the truths of which we have been speaking will boldly shine forth when we next examine the “modern” errors which constitute their rejection.

The Church versus Revolution:

Writing only fourteen years before the French Revolution Pope Pius VI, in his encyclical Inscrutabile (1775), unravels the primary role of philosophy in what he prophetically saw would be the terrible disorders to come:

“Who would not be shocked when considering that We have undertaken the task of guarding and protecting the Church at a time when many plots are laid against orthodox religion, when the safe guidance of the sacred canons is rashly despised, and when confusion is spread wide by men maddened by a monstrous desire of innovation, who attack the very bases of rational nature and attempt to overthrow them?....yourselves, established as scouts in the house of Israel, see clearly the many victories claimed by a philosophy full of deceit. You see the ease with which it attracts to itself a great host of peoples, concealing its impiety with the honorable name of philosophy….While they pursue a remarkable knowledge, they open their eyes to behold a false light which is worse than very darkness. Naturally our enemy, desirous of harming us and skilled in doing so, just as he made use of the serpent to deceive the first human beings, has armed the tongues of those men with the poison of his deceitfulness in order to lead astray the minds of the faithful….In this way these men by their speech ‘enter in lowliness, capture mildly, softly bind and kill in secret (St. Leo the Great)’….When they have spread this darkness abroad and torn religion out of men’s hearts, these accursed philosophers proceed to destroy the bonds of union among men, both those which unite them to their rulers, and those which urge them to their duty. They keep proclaiming that man is born free and subject to no one, that society accordingly is a crowd of foolish men who stupidly yield to priests who deceive them and to kings who oppress them, so that the harmony of priest and ruler is only a monstrous conspiracy against the innate liberty of man.”

Similar quotes, attributing all the evils of modern day apostasy from Christ and Catholic culture to the works of philosophers, can be found in the writings of Popes throughout the nineteenth century and on into the twentieth. For the early part of the nineteenth century we mention the following encyclicals: Die Satis (1800) by Pius VII; Ubi Primum (1824) by Leo XII; Traditi Humilitati (1829) by Pius VIII; and Mirari Vos (1832) by Gregory XVI. The latter even uses the word conspiracy at least four times to describe the work of these men.

It is with Popes such as Pius IX (1846 – 1878), Leo XIII (1878 – 1903), Pius X (1903 – 1914), and Pius XI (1922 – 1939) that these modern philosophical errors are explored in greater depth. Before examining these particular errors in some depth, we would do well to see that these philosophical errors in themselves are rooted in another very closely related hubris. In his encyclical Sapientiae Christianae, Pope Leo XIII writes the following:

“From the fact that it has been vouchsafed to human reason to snatch from nature, through the investigations of science, many of her treasured secrets and to apply them befittingly to the divers requirements of life, men have become possessed with so arrogant a sense of their own powers, as already to consider themselves able to banish from social life the authority and empire of God. Led away by this delusion, they make over to human nature the dominion of which they think God has been despoiled; from nature, they maintain, we must seek the principle and rule of all truth; from nature, they aver, alone spring, and to it should be referred, all the duties that religious feeling prompts. Hence they deny all revelation from on high, and all fealty due to the Christian teaching of morals as well as all obedience to the Church; and they go so far as to deny her power of making laws and exercising every other kind of right, even disallowing the Church any place among the civil institutions of the State. These men aspire unjustly , and with their might strive, to gain control over public affairs and lay hands on the rudder of the State, in order that the legislation may the more easily be adapted to these principles, and the morals of the people influenced in accordance with them. Whence it comes to pass that in many countries Catholicism is either openly assailed or else secretly interfered with, full impunity being granted to the most pernicious doctrines, while the public profession of Christian truth is shackled oftentimes with manifold constraints.”

I would recommend that the reader re-read the above passage very carefully. These five sentences contain what is probably the greatest historical analysis and summary of the past four or five centuries ever penned.

The extent to which investigations into natural science and the growth of fundamentally anti-Christian and anti-Scholastic philosophy paralleled and militantly supported one another should be obvious to anyone acquainted with the history of ideas. According to the teachings to be found in the above encyclical, and also in the encyclicals of the other Popes we have mentioned, such “science” seems almost inevitably to lead to that hubris which ends by denying not only God, but also the very foundations of human knowledge itself. As Pope Gregory XVI said in the quote already offered, such philosophy and science “attack the very basis of rational nature.”

Why is this so? The answer is easy enough, if at the same time very difficult for modern man to accept. The mind and heart of a man deeply established in God, the Supreme Being, is also profoundly established in the reality and being of creation (including himself). All his faculties (and especially that intuitive grasp by the intellect of being which we have mentioned above) tell him that at the root of any created reality is a unity, essence, and nature (in terms of scholastic philosophy this would amount to the intellectual grasp of that universal essence or nature which is abstracted from an existing substance) which can only find its explanation (as our Old Testament Scriptures have already told us ) in the “glorious, secret, and hidden” intellect and will of God – “In Him we move, and live, and have our being.” In other words, the man of God humbly acknowledges that what he sees with his God-given eyes of a God-given creation, in all its wholeness and integrity,
is far more profound than what he shall know through human analysis and science. This, of course, does not mean that such science cannot accomplish many technological marvels in this world. If I kill my cat, rip it open, and take its guts to make a violin string, I certainly have accomplished an act of technology by engaging in some sort of science. The notion, however, that the cat-gut string which I have obtained somehow enables me to understand more deeply the mystery of being which is my cat, would indeed be a great hubris. This, of course, may seem a very foolish example; and admittedly, the first time our man opened up his first cat, it would be very unlikely that he would emerge from the interior of that cat as an agnostic. But what the Pope is saying is that the more cats, dogs, frogs, human beings, compounds, molecules, atoms, quanta, super-strings a man rips out of reality through his analytical science, the more likely he is to crawl out of his laboratory not only a God-slayer, but also a killer of kings and priests, Popes, and unborn babies. And this is so because something drastic has happened to his philosophy, to his whole perception of what reality is all about.

It is historically important to understand that this false science and philosophy is something which antedates the French Revolution by at least two or three centuries – to the effects of Renaissance science and humanism (which actually began in Italy about the middle of the 14th century and spread in the next one-hundred years to the rest of Europe) upon Christian culture. Pope Leo XIII, in at least two different encyclicals ( Immortale Dei and Aeterni Patris – On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy ), in fact points out that the Protestant Revolution was the “climax” of this process of decay. This revolution was totally rooted in the rejection of the Scholastic philosophy of being (especially the categories, and the distinction between substance and accidents ), the rejection of hylemorphism(the philosophical position that all substances are a substantial union of substantial form and primal matter), and Scholastic epistemology (or criteriology) which establishes the God-given ability of the human mind to truly apprehend universal essences through the process of abstraction from sense experience (in other words, the true reliability of human knowledge under normal circumstances).

Under the tyranny of a bogus science (which sees every thing in terms of the reductive principles of the actions of material particles upon one another and upon the human senses) the whole of Scholastic philosophy, and its teachings regarding the reality of substantial being and the mind’s ability to grasp it, is rejected. Recent research has, for instance, unearthed a document in the Vatican Galileo archives which reveals that Galileo rejected hylemorphism, believed that all reality was reducible to the effect of crude atomic particle upon one another and the senses(these also, of course, reducible to atomic particles), and that therefore there could be no such thing as transubstantiation simply because in any physical reality there could be no real distinction between substance and accidents.

I don’t think that we fully understand the degree to which the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation has been the sign of contradiction in the whole religious, theological, philosophical, and scientific world for the past five-hundred years. The reason of course is that in order for transubstantiation to be true, there must exist a metaphysical distinction between substance and accidents. And further, it must also be true that the entire realm of investigation by the analytical physical sciences (physics, chemistry, etc.) is by its very nature confined to the relatively superficial realm of the accidental categories of being (quantity, relation, etc.). Substance (and the union of substantial form and primal matter which constitute any particular substance) is not subject to apprehension by the senses or to any sort of physical analysis. It is also true, therefore, that sciences which do not affirm the real existence of such substantial being underlying all existing substances, are not real sciences. Paul Glenn gives us this definition of any true science: “knowledge that is systematic, complete, evidenced, and certain.” It is evident that the vast majority of “scientists” practice a trade which profoundly rejects the deepest elements of substantial reality, and their endeavors therefore do not deserve to be called true science.

Certainly, there is a powerful seductive power within the pursuit of physical science which tends to draw any of its practitioners into a reductive materialism. After all, such science works – it results in technological advances, and the discovery of all sorts of things. More important, however, is the fact that accidental change can, and very often does, produce substantial change (this is totally in keeping with the teaching of Scholastic philosophy). This, in turn, gives the impression that individual and particular substances are themselves reducible to these accidental realities. The gas hydrogen is, for instance, the simplest substance according to physical analysis. It is composed of an atomic structure of one proton and one electron. If one changes this simple atomic structure (by either adding or subtracting electrons or protons) then what was hydrogen is changed into something totally different. Yet there is absolutely nothing in the atomic composition of one proton and one electron which accounts for the substantial nature of hydrogen gas. To make this even more evident, let us take the substance water. If we take two atoms of this hydrogen gas and unite it with one atom of oxygen gas, we cause to come into existence something extraordinarily different: the substance water. There is absolutely nothing in the individual substance of hydrogen and oxygen or in their molecular union which accounts for the extraordinary substance which is water. And yet, all of us are deeply infected with the bogus scientific notion that water is H2O. What we have done is to take part of what constitutes water – its very real but “accidental” physical structure – and equated it with the whole. The same may be said of the union of sodium and chlorine gas to form common table salt, or of any other existing physical “stuff.” Substantial reality is simply not equivalent to, or reducible to, physical analysis or atomic structure (or quanta, super-strings, or any other structure). And yet the effect upon the human mind and heart of engaging in such science is overpowering and almost inevitable. It is not that science is intrinsically evil, but that it is intrinsically superficial and, at the same time, immensely seductive. Its pursuit almost inevitably results in the identification of accidental reality with substantive being.


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Re: Transubstantiation in modern science: How can substance change without accidents - by INPEFESS - 12-13-2012, 11:01 PM

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