The Philosophy of St. Bonaventure On Creation – Étienne Gilson

  • Article (book excerpt)
  • 2800 words
  • Level: university

The twentieth-century French philosopher Étienne Gilson writes on St. Bonaventure and Aristotle:

All order, in fact, starts from a beginning, passes through a middle point and reaches an end. If then there is no first term there is no order; now if the duration of the world and therefore the revolutions of the stars had no beginning, their series would have had no first term and they would possess no order, which amounts to saying that in reality they do not in fact form a series and they do not precede or follow one another. But this the order of the days and seasons plainly proves to be false…. In St. Bonaventure’s Christian universe there is, in reality, no place for Aristotelian accident; his thought shrinks from supposing a series of causes accidentally ordered, that is to say, without order, without law and with its terms following one another at random.

Click here for an excerpt selected by the Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science (, which is edited by the Advanced School for Interdisciplinary Research, operating at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, and directed by Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti. The excerpt is from Gilson’s The Philosophy of St. Bonaventure (click here to access this work courtesy of