Yesterday, while reading Leisure: The Basis of Culture, I came across a term with which I was unfamiliar: capax universi. Therefore, as I usually do, I looked it up on my iPad. This term seems to mean, at least in philosophy, that the mind has the ability to know all things. I found this definition from one of the first entries that popped up in the search engine: an article by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. This name immediately caught my attention because he happens to be the man who wrote the foreword for Leisure: The Basis of Culture, which is, of course, where the term came from that I was looking up! To this many may say that it was mere coincidence. But I do not believe in coincidence. Things like this happen for a reason and, therefore, I read the whole article.
It is interesting that the article was very similar in meaning to Leisure: The Basis of Culture, and he even mentions the book in the article. But there is one thing in particular that caught my attention. In his discussion of truth he says the following, “Truth is the conformity of our minds with what is.” By this he would not mean that the veracity of something is dependent upon human thought nor would he mean that truth only exists if the human mind has conceived it. After all, Jesus Christ is the Truth and He exists whether or not we understand Him or even if we think He doesn't exist at all. No, truth is not dependent upon the human mind. Instead, (what I think) he means is that we can and do know the truth if our understanding is in conformity with how things truly are. For example, we cannot possibly understand the truth of the universe around us if we start with the false premise that it is all here by some big cosmic coincidence. Certainly, there are many atheistic scientics that know plenty of ‘facts’ about the universe but they will never understand the truth of it until they accept it for what it really is – God's own creation.
But this understanding has consequences outside the lives of atheistic scientists. In fact, it is something every Christian needs to know and understand in order to come closer to God. If we would come closer to God then we must start with a correct understanding of the universe: God created all things – including ourselves. Therefore, we do not belong to ourselves and we cannot make our own rules concerning what is right and what is wrong. True, God gave us all free will and we can do as we please whether it be right or wrong. But to go off and blaze our ‘own’ path in the name of freedom with no regard for the truth of things (that we are creatures under Someone's authority) would be to become less than human because a creature cannot become something that it was not created to be. A mouse could not become an elephant even if it could desire to do so. And man cannot become God just because he makes up his own rules. In the end he may get some of the ‘facts’ right (like the atheistic scientist) but he will never understand the Truth.