September 13, 2006 § 1 Comment
Yesterday the distinction between five sheep in a field and five fingers on a hand came up in conversation with Dr. White, in reference to his lecture on St. Augustine last Friday. There seems to be a difference between the two “fives”. The five sheep in the field are random; there might as well be seven or two sheep. On the other hand, five fingers in a hand are necessary, and for a person to have two or seven fingers on one hand is considered a mutation and monstrous. Also, the former would seem to have no common thread or single entity, whereas the fingers on a human hand do share a single entity, namely, a human nature. Hmmmmm…
That is what I have been thinking about during my free time the past few days.
Then, this morning in philosophy class, another distinction came to mind. What is the distinction between coming into and going out of being in an absolute sense (i.e. in Genesis God creates the world ex nihilo) and coming into and going out of being in a chemical reaction, where there is a simple reshuffling of components?
For example, the simple chemical reaction HCl + NaOH –> NaCl + H2O. When the reaction is complete, the reactants have “reshuffled” to create the products. No longer does HCl and NaOH exist in the mixture (they have gone out of existence); in their place (having come into existence) are the products NaCl and H2O, which have wholly difference physical and chemical properties. Perhaps this is a matter of a change in substantial forms…but if so, how?