The signs of which we read in the gospels, as Augustine says, writing to Hesychius about the end of the world, refer not only to Christ’s coming to judgment, but also to the time of the sack of Jerusalem, and to the coming of Christ in ceaselessly visiting His Church.
1225 – 1274
Called “St. Thomas Aquinas”
Canonised by Pope John XXII
49 Years after Death
“And in this sense the words that follow—“and then shall the consummation come,” refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, of which He was speaking literally.”
- 1260: On the Eternity of the World
- 1265: The Golden Chain on Matthew 24
- 2001 PDF: Rudi te Velde, Christian Eschatology and the End of Time in Aquinas
- 2004 PDF: Matthew Lamb, The Eschatology of Aquinas
Dividing Line between AD70 and End of the World in the Book of Matthew: None, All Conceptually Intermixed
“The primary signification, through which words signify things, is called the literal or historical sense. That signification whereby things signified by words have themselves also a signification is called the spiritual sense, which is based on the literal, and presupposes it. Now this spiritual sense has a threefold division.”
“The signs of which we read in the gospels, as Augustine says, writing to Hesychius about the end of the world, refer not only to Christ’s coming to judgment, but also to the time of the sack of Jerusalem, and to the coming of Christ in ceaselessly visiting His Church. So that, perhaps, if we consider them carefully, we shall find that none of them refers to the coming advent, as he remarks: because these signs that are mentioned in the gospels, such as wars, fears, and so forth, have been from the beginning of the human race” (Summa Theologica, Supplement Question 73, Article 1)
(On the Significance of A.D. 70)
“ after the founding of the Church of Christ, Judaea was to be punished for her treachery, the Lord fitly, after praising the devotedness of the Church in the person of the poor widow, goes out of the temple, and foretold its coming ruin, and the contempt in which the buildings now so wonderful were soon to be held.” (Golden Chain, Mark 14:2)
(On Fulfillment of Prophecy)
“Yet because the Old Law was ended by Christ’s death, according to His dying words, “It is consummated” (Jn. 19:30), it may be understood that by His suffering He fulfilled all the precepts of the Old Law. He fulfilled those of the moral order which are founded on the precepts of charity, inasmuch as He suffered both out of love of the Father, according to Jn. 14:31: “That the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father hath given Me commandment, so do I: arise, let us go hence”—namely, to the place of His Passion: and out of love of His neighbor, according to Gal. 2:20: “He loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” Christ likewise by His Passion fulfilled the ceremonial precepts of the Law, which are chiefly ordained for sacrifices and oblations, in so far as all the ancient sacrifices were figures of that true sacrifice which the dying Christ offered for us. Hence it is written (Col. 2:16,17): “Let no man judge you in meat or drink, or in respect of a festival day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is Christ’s,” for the reason that Christ is compared to them as a body is to a shadow. Christ also by His Passion fulfilled the judicial precepts of the Law, which are chiefly ordained for making compensation to them who have suffered wrong, since, as is written Ps. 68:5: He “paid that which” He “took not away,” suffering Himself to be fastened to a tree on account of the apple which man had plucked from the tree against God’s command.” (Source)
“Whether Christ should have been circumcised? Objection 1: It would seem that Christ should not have been circumcised. For on the advent of the reality, the figure ceases. But circumcision was prescribed to Abraham as a sign of the covenant concerning his posterity, as may be seen from Gn. 17. Now this covenant was fulfilled in Christ’s birth. Therefore circumcision should have ceased at once.” (Source)
“I answer that, It was fitting that Christ’s preaching, whether through Himself or through His apostles, should be directed at first to the Jews alone. First, in order to show that by His coming the promises were fulfilled which had been made to the Jews of old, and not to the Gentiles. Thus the Apostle says (Rm. 15:8): “I say that Christ . . . was minister of the circumcision,” i.e. the apostle and preacher of the Jews, “for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” (Source)
(On Hermeneutical Methods)
“Article 10: Whether the same passage of holy scripture can have several senses. Thus we proceed to the tenth point. It seems that the same passage of holy scripture cannot have several senses, namely the historical or literal, the allegorical, the tropological or moral, and the anagogical. Multiple senses in scripture prepare the way for confusion and deception. They also compromise coherent reasoning. From several propositions there results, not an argument, but a collection of fallacies. Sacred scripture, however, should display the truth without any fallacy whatsoever. Thus there should not be several senses in the same passage.
“The scripture which is called ‘The Old Testament’ has a fourfold meaning, namely history, etiology, analogy and allegory.” These four seem inconsistent with the aforementioned. Thus it does not seem fitting that the same passage of sacred scripture should be exposited according to the four aforementioned senses.” (Source)
(On Mark 13:2)
“Now some may endeavour to prove that Christ’s words were false, by saying that many ruins were left, but this is not at all the point; for though some ruins had been left, still at the consummation of all things one stone shall not be left upon another. Besides it is related, that Aelius Adrian overturned [p. 255] the city and the temple from the foundation, so that the word of the Lord here spoken was fulfilled.”
(On Mark 13:9)
“He says “kings and rulers,” as, for instance, Agrippa, Nero and Herod. Again, His saying, “for My sake,” gave them no small consolation, in that they were about to suffer for His sake. “For a testimony against them,” means, as a judgment beforehand against them, that they might be inexcusable, in that though the Apostles were labouring for the truth, they would not join themselves to it. Then, that they might not think that their preaching should be impeded by troubles and dangers, He adds: “And the Gospel must first be published among all nations.” (Golden Chain, in loc.)
(On Resurrection Life)
“Considered on the part of their efficiency, which is dependent on the Divine power, both Christ’s death and His Resurrection are the cause both of the destruction of death and of the renewal of life: but considered as exemplar causes, Christ’s death—by which He withdrew from mortal life—is the cause of the destruction of our death; while His Resurrection, whereby He inaugurated immortal life, is the cause of the repairing of our life.” (Source)
“Rm. 6:6, “that the body of sin may be destroyed,” a gloss says: “The effect of Baptism is that the old man is crucified, and the body of sin destroyed, not as though the living flesh of man were delivered by the destruction of that concupiscence with which it has been bespattered from its birth; but that it may not hurt him, when dead, though it was in him when he was born.” Therefore for the same reason neither are the other penalties taken away by Baptism.” (Source)
(On the Jews)
“Whether the Old Law enjoined fitting precepts concerning rulers?
Objection 1: It would seem that the Old Law made unfitting precepts concerning rulers. Because, as the Philosopher says (Polit. iii, 4), “the ordering of the people depends mostly on the chief ruler.” But the Law contains no precept relating to the institution of the chief ruler; and yet we find therein prescriptions concerning the inferior rulers: firstly (Ex. 18:21): “Provide out of all the people wise [Vulg.: ‘able’] men,” etc.; again (Num. 11:16): “Gather unto Me seventy men of the ancients of Israel”; and again (Dt. 1:13): “Let Me have from among you wise and understanding men,” etc. Therefore the Law provided insufficiently in regard to the rulers of the people.
Further, according to Mt. 12:25: “Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate”: a saying which was verified in the Jewish people, whose destruction was brought about by the division of the kingdom. But the Law should aim chiefly at things pertaining to the general well- being of the people. Therefore it should have forbidden the kingdom to be divided under two kings: nor should this have been introduced even by Divine authority; as we read of its being introduced by the authority of the prophet Ahias the Silonite (3 Kgs. 11:29, seqq.). ” (Source)
Job 21:15, Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? This can refer to the Jews who say that Christ is merely human, and not God; Jn 10:33,because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. And so the Jews, not believing that he was the one promised in the law, declare, There is no God, namely this one who is preaching to us. And on this account he said, The fool, for as the eyes of their mind are blind they did not want to accept the wisdom of God; Ps 81:5, They have not known nor understood. And Wis 2:21, for their own malice blinded them. Or perhaps the sinner is rebuked here.”
Daniel 13: “They have turned away their eyes, that they might not look unto heaven.” And exactly this was done among the Jews when they said at John 11: “(if we let him alone so, all will believe in him); and the Romans will come and take away our place and nation.” (Psalm 13)
“The authority of the preaching: he thundered. Clouds, that is, the apostles, passed, from the Jews to the Nations: Job 37: Clouds spread his light, which go round about. Act 13: You must first speak the word of God; but because etc.. Hail causes much damage to fruits and flowers, and their preaching was like a hail of threatening.”
“Exod. 15: I will unsheath my sw
ord, my hand will kill them. Allegorically it speaks of Christ, who pursues our enemies the Jews, and other sinners, punishing them bodily and spiritually.” (Psalm 17)
“Or may it be found in evil, that is may it be known: by your enemies, that is in the Jews in judgment, when they come to judgment – Luke 21: They will see the son of man coming etc. And may your right hand, that is your son, come upon, that is punish, all who hate you.”
“Or, they have turned away, because they want to inflict evil menacing them, on others. For a two-fold evil used to threaten the Jews, namely the evil of punishment: and this they tried to cast back upon Christ when they killed him so that they might not incur the might of the Romans. ” (Psalm 20)
“Psalm 9: He has humbled him in his own snare, he will turn back to himself and fall, when etc. In such a manner did this happen to the Jews, because they themselves handed Christ over to the gentiles, and afterwards they were handed over to the gentiles.” (Psalm 34)
“Since Christ said at the very outset of the preaching of the Gospel: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 4:17), it is most absurd to say that the Gospel of Christ is not the Gospel of the kingdom. But the preaching of the Gospel of Christ may be understood in two ways. First, as denoting the spreading abroad of the knowledge of Christ: and thus the Gospel was preached throughout the world even at the time of the apostles, as Chrysostom states (Hom. lxxv in Matth.). And in this sense the words that follow—“and then shall the consummation come,” refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, of which He was speaking literally.” (cite: Here)
(On The Kingdom)
“Whether the rewards assigned to the beatitudes refer to this life?
Objection 1: It would seem that the rewards assigned to the beatitudes do not refer to this life. Because some are said to be happy because they hope for a reward, as stated above (Article ). Now the object of hope is future happiness. Therefore these rewards refer to the life to come.
Objection 2: Further, certain punishments are set down in opposition to the beatitudes, Lk. 6:25, where we read: “Woe to you that are filled; for you shall hunger. Woe to you that now laugh, for you shall mourn and weep.” Now these punishments do not refer to this life, because frequently men are not punished in this life, according to Job 21:13: “They spend their days in wealth.” Therefore neither do the rewards of the beatitudes refer to this life.
Objection 3: Further, the kingdom of heaven which is set down as the reward of poverty is the happiness of heaven, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xix) [*Cf. De Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 1]. Again, abundant fullness is not to be had save in the life to come, according to Ps. 16:15: “I shall be filled [Douay: ‘satisfied’] when Thy glory shall appear.” Again, it is only in the future life that we shall see God, and that our Divine sonship will be made manifest, according to 1 Jn. 3:2: “We are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like to Him, because we shall see Him as He is.” Therefore these rewards refer to the future life.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 4): “These promises can be fulfilled in this life, as we believe them to have been fulfilled in the apostles. For no words can express that complete change into the likeness even of an angel, which is promised to us after this life.”
I answer that, Expounders of Holy Writ are not agreed in speaking of these rewards. For some, with Ambrose (Super Luc. v), hold that all these rewards refer to the life to come; while Augustine (De Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 4) holds them to refer to the present life; and Chrysostom in his homilies (In Matth. xv) says that some refer to the future, and some to the present life.
In order to make the matter clear we must take note that hope of future happiness may be in us for two reasons. First, by reason of our having a preparation for, or a disposition to future happiness; and this is by way of merit; secondly, by a kind of imperfect inchoation of future happiness in holy men, even in this life. For it is one thing to hope that the tree will bear fruit, when the leaves begin to appear, and another, when we see the first signs of the fruit.
Accordingly, those things which are set down as merits in the beatitudes, are a kind of preparation for, or disposition to happiness, either perfect or inchoate: while those that are assigned as rewards, may be either perfect happiness, so as to refer to the future life, or some beginning of happiness, such as is found in those who have attained perfection, in which case they refer to the present life. Because when a man begins to make progress in the acts of the virtues and gifts, it is to be hoped that he will arrive at perfection, both as a wayfarer, and as a citizen of the heavenly kingdom. ” (Source)
THOMAS AQUINAS ON HERMENEUTICS
Article 10: Whether the same passage of holy scripture can have several senses.
Thus we proceed to the tenth point. It seems that the same passage of holy scripture cannot have several senses, namely the historical or literal, the allegorical, the tropological or moral, and the anagogical. Multiple senses in scripture prepare the way for confusion and deception. They also compromise coherent reasoning. From several propositions there results, not an argument, but a collection of fallacies. Sacred scripture, however, should display the truth without any fallacy whatsoever. Thus there should not be several senses in the same passage.
Furthermore, Augustine says, “The scripture which is called ‘The Old Testament’ has a fourfold meaning, namely history, etiology, analogy and allegory.” These four seem inconsistent with the aforementioned. Thus it does not seem fitting that the same passage of sacred scripture should be exposited according to the four aforementioned senses.
Furthermore, there is also a parabolic sense, which does not seem to be included among these four senses.
But on the contrary Gregory says, “Sacred scripture transcends all other sciences in the manner of its expression, because in one and the same statement, while narrating an event, it proclaims a mystery.”
Response: It must be said that the author of sacred scripture is God, who has the power not only to use words in expressing himself – men can do that much – but of using things as well. Thus, since words signify something in any science, this science is special in that not only the words but the things signified by the words signify something. The primary signification, through which words signify things, is called the literal or historical sense. That signification whereby things signified by words have themselves also a signification is called the spiritual sense, which is based on the literal, and presupposes it. Now this spiritual sense has a threefold division.
[This phrase in italics was missing in the base file for this texts, and has been supplied from the Dominican Fathers’ translation.]
This spiritual sense is itself divided in a threefold way. Paul says, “The Old Law is a figure of the New Law” (Heb. 7:19), and the New Law is, as Dionysius says, “a figure of the glory to come.” Moreover, in the New Law the things that are done are signs of what we ourselves should do.
Thus, insofar as things in the Old Law signify things in the New Law, we have the allegorical sense. Insofar as things done by Christ or by those who prefigure Christ are signs of what we ourselves should do, we have the moral sense. Insofar as they signify what is involved in eternal glory, we have the anagogical sense.
Because the literal sense is what the author intends, and because the author of sacred scripture is God who contains all things within his understanding, there is nothing impossible about even the literal sense containing several meanings, as Augustine suggests.
To the first argument, therefore, it must be said that manifold senses do not lead to equivocation or to any other type of ambiguity, for, as was just said, theses senses are not multiplied in such a way that a single word signifies several things, but rather because the things signified by these words can be signs of still other things. Thus no confusion follows from the reading of sacred scripture, for all other senses are founded on the literal sense. From it alone arguments can be drawn, and not from what is said allegorically, as Augustine explains in his letter against Vincent the Donatist. Nor does this fact detract in any way from sacred scripture, for nothing necessary to the faith is said in a spiritual sense which is not explicitly stated in the literal sense elsewhere.
To the second argument it must be said that these three things – history, etiology and analogy – belong to a single literal sense. It is history when, as Augustine explains, something is straightforwardly reported. It is etiology when the cause of that thing is explained, as when God explains why Moses permitted the repudiation of wives, namely because of the hardness of their hearts. It is analogy when the truth of one scripture is shown to be consistent with the truth of another. Among the four, allegory alone stands for the spiritual senses. In the same way, Hugh of St. Victor includes the anagogical sense under the allegorical and enumerates only three senses: The historical, allegorical and tropological.
To the third it must be said that the parabolic sense is included under the literal, for words can signify something properly and something else figuratively. In the latter case, the literal sense is not the figure of speech itself but the thing figured by it. For example, when scripture refers to the arm of God, the literal sense is not that God has a physical limb, but that he has what that limb signifies, namely the power to do things. Thus it is clear that no falsehood can ever underlie the literal sense of sacred scripture.” (Source)
MYSTICISM AND ALLEGORY
“Mystically speaking, however, by the ten strings of the psalterium is signified the law of God, which consists in ten commandments, and it is appropriate that it be touched with the hand, that is with good performance, and from above, because these commandments are to be satisfied according to the hope of eternal life, otherwise it would be touched from what is below.” (Psalm 2)
“Mystically, by tabernacle the holy Church is designated. Apocalypse 21: Behold the tabernacle of God is with men. This tabernacle, that is, the Church, was torn from the hands of the Philistines, that is, from demons. And what is said in this psalm pertains to the gifts of the Holy Ghost, through which this tabernacle is perfected. “ (Psalm 28)
(Theory: Non-Occurence of Prophecy)
“This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world . . . and then shall the consummation come.” But the Gospel of Christ is already preached throughout the whole world: and yet the consummation has not yet come. Therefore the Gospel of Christ is not the Gospel of the kingdom, but another Gospel, that of the Holy Ghost, is to come yet, like unto another Law.” (Summa Theologica, vol. 2, 1292)
(Theory: New Covenant Insufficiency)
“P(2a)-Q(106)-A(4)-O(1) — It would seem that the New Law will not last until the end of the world. Because, as the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 13:10), “when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.” But the New Law is “in part,” since the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 13:9): “We know in part and we prophesy in part.” Therefore the New Law is to be done away, and will be succeeded by a more perfect state. (Summa Theologica, vol. II, p. 1291)
“Saint Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican theologian and philosopher, was born Thomas d’Aquino, the son of a baron, in his family’s castle at Roccasecca, in the vicinity of Naples in southern Italy, in 1224 or 1225. At about the age of five, Thomas was placed by his parents in the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino. His uncle had been abbot of the monastery, and his family had similar ambitions for Thomas. When Monte Cassino became the scene of a battle between papal and imperial troops, however, Thomas withdrew and enrolled at the University of Naples, one of few where a full range Aristotelian doctrine was studied, in November of 1239, where he stayed until April of 1244. There he came into contact with members of the Dominican order and, against the opposition of his family, became a Dominican friar in late April of 1244. Shortly after, in May of 1244, his family intervened forcibly, having him abducted and detained thereafter at Roccasecca. His mother tried to persuade Thomas for more than a year to give up his membership in the Dominican order. Failing to persuade him, Thomas was allowed to return to his order in July or August of 1245. He then went north to study for his novitiate till 1248, after which he came under the guidance of Albert the Great at Cologne until the Fall of 1252, during which time (1250/51) he was ordained a priest.
From the Fall of 1252 to the Spring of 1259, Thomas taught at the Dominican house of studies in Paris. It was during this time that he lectured on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Between March 3 and June 17 of 1256, he was incepted as a master of theology, and was regent master in theology at Paris until 1259, during which time that he began his Summa contra gentiles. 1259 found Aquinas leaving Paris for Naples, where he stayed until the Fall of 1261 as head of the Dominican house of studies. From September of that same year to September of 1265, Aquinas was at Orvieto as a lector, where he completed the Summa contra gentiles. After a time at Rome in 1265 and Viterbo in 1267 (his great work, the Summa Theologiae was begun in 1266), he took up his second Parisian regency from January of 1269 to 1272. This was followed by his assignment to Naples in 1272 as regent of theology. His writing throughout contains a consistent construction and defense of his system, based on Aristotles’, adapting Aristotle to the needs of the 13th century. December 6, 1273 saw the cessation of his writing, after a physical and mental breakdown from years of overwork. While going north to attend the Council of Lyon, Thomas injured his head, fell ill and died in the Cistercian abbey of Fossanova on March 7, 1274. ” (cite: )
John F. McCarthy
St. Thomas reflected on this method and gave a valuable explanation of the four senses in addition to expounding them in his commentaries on the Scriptures. His teaching can serve as the starting point for a more extended and differentiated exposition of this method, beginning with the first big distinction between the “literal” sense and the “spiritual,” or “mystical,” sense. For St. Thomas, this distinction arises from the fact that the rightly understood meaning of the words themselves of Sacred Scripture pertains to the literal, or historical, sense, while the fact that the things expressed by the words signify other things produces the spiritual sense. Thus, the spiritual sense is understood to be a typical, or figurative, sense which is based upon the literal sense and presupposes it. This basic double sense is possible because God, who is the principal Author of Sacred Scripture, has brought it about that things and events having their own historical meaning are used also to signify other things. But the central thing signified by these prefigurements is Jesus Christ Himself, who as the God-Man is the central focus of the spiritual sense and the subject of an extended symbolism which is known as the Allegory of Christ.
The distinction between the literal and the spiritual senses of Sacred Scripture is analytical, even though spiritual realities are often the primary meaning of a text, because a certain interaction of faith and reason is implied in this division. The original meaning of words can be examined by unaided reason, as can the unfolding of visible happenings, but the spiritual meaning of words and events can be seen only by the light of faith. In Part I, Question I of the Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas points out that revealed teaching is necessary for man (article 1), that this teaching is a science based upon revealed truths that are visible under the light of faith (article 2), and that God is the subject of this science (article 7). Approaching, then, the distinction between the literal and the spiritual senses from an analytical point of view, I would say that the literal sense tends to be exclusively seen by the unaided human reason, while the spiritual sense is penetrated by theological reason aided by the light of faith. Where the text is speaking literally about spiritual realities, and above all about supernatural realities, the unaided reason can see the statement in a flattened and unmeaningful way, but it cannot “understand” the statement. Where the text contains spiritual meanings beneath the literal sense, the unaided reason can see these meanings at best in a flattened and unmeaningful way, while reason enlightened by faith can both see the spiritual meanings in a meaningful way and see the literal meaning in a more complete way – provided that it has the appropriate theological framework at its command.
Looking, then, at sacred teaching as presented by the text of Sacred Scripture, and reasoning along the lines of St. Thomas, we can justifiably say that the inspired writings are necessary, not only because what is contained in them spiritually could not be figured out by man on his own, but also because the poor, fallen reason of man tends away from the spiritual truth and towards his own self-gratification. Men without grace do not want to know the spiritual truth and they endeavor to rub it out where it is written. But men possessed of faith and sanctifying grace will discover the truth and understand it.
. . . St. Thomas answers affirmatively to the question “whether there ought to be distinguished four senses of Sacred Scripture,”34 basing his response upon the authority of St. Augustine of Hippo and of Venerable Bede. St. Augustine observed: “In all the holy books it is behooving to discern the eternal things to be seen there, the deeds that are there narrated, the future things that are predicted, the things that are commanded to be done.”35 St. Thomas sees these four things to refer respectively to the anagogical, the historical, the allegorical, and the tropological senses of Sacred Scripture.
St. Thomas also quotes Venerable Bede as saying: “There are four senses of Sacred Scripture: history, which narrates things done; allegory, in which one thing is understood from another; tropology (that is, moral discourse), in which the ordering of habits is treated; and anagogy, by which we are led upward to treat of highest and heavenly things.”36 St. Thomas identifies the “historical sense” of Bede with the literal sense presented by the words themselves, and he makes an analytical division of the spiritual sense into allegory, tropology, and anagogy . . .
. . . St. Thomas notes in the first place that things which actually happened can refer to Christ and his members as shadows of the truth, and this is what produces the allegorical sense, while other comparisons, being imaginary rather than real, whether in Sacred Scripture or in other literature, do not stand outside of the literal sense. Hence, the allegorical sense of Sacred Scripture is not imaginary and is not a genre of human inventiveness.
. . . Finally, it might seem that, if these four senses were necessary for Sacred Scripture, each and every part of Sacred Scripture would have to have these four senses, but, as Augustine says in his commentary on Genesis, “in some parts the literal sense alone is to be sought.” To this St. Thomas replies that various parts of Scripture have four, three, two, or only one of these senses. Thus, the literal events of the Old Testament can be expounded in the four senses. The things spoken literally of Christ as the Head of the New Testament Church can also be expounded according to the four senses, because the historical Body of Christ can be expounded allegorically of the Mystical Body of Christ, and tropologically of the acts of the faithful to be modelled after the example of Christ, and anagogically inasmuch as Christ is the way to glory that has been shown to us. The things spoken literally of the Church of the New Testament can be expounded in three senses, because they can also be expounded tropologically and anagogically, but not allegorically, except that things mentioned literally regarding the primitive Church may have allegorical meaning regarding the later Church of the New Testament. The things of moral import in the literal sense can be expounded only literally and allegorically. And, finally, the things spoken literally regarding the state of glory cannot be expounded in any other sense.” (NEO-PATRISTIC EXEGESIS TO THE RESCUE)
Andrew Sandlin (2000)
“Second, it appeals, I believe, to curious, creative minds for whom theological novelty is especially appealing. These individuals rightly grasp the fact of theological and dogmatic development (who but the most obscurantist would deny it?), but they do not believe that this development may occur legitimately only within the matrix of orthodox Christianity. Any other theological and dogmatic development, whatever it may be, is not Christian. Christianity, while a highly traditional and historically anchored Faith, does carry in its bosom at any one time a number of gifted (or at least curious) individuals who are not quite satisfied with the doctrinal formulations of their time. Some simply wish to make the Faith relevant to their contemporary situation; and if they do this within the context of orthodoxy, they may just break ground in advancing the kingdom (Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Kuyper, and Van Til come immediately to mind). Others are merely arrogant, setting their own imagination against the entire testimony of the saints for 1700 years. To those for whom the constraints of orthodoxy Christianity are uncomfortably restrictive, their own gifted (or, in some cases, ignorant) minds furnish a new and exciting (and heretical and damnable) alternative. I know of no devotee of this heresy, not one, who is deeply schooled in the history of the church or its theology. They may be exegetes or theologians (though there are frankly few of these), but they are not historians. Historians know better. So, for that matter, do all orthodox Christians.” (The Braying of Heretics)