I answer that, It was necessary for man’s salvation that there should be a knowledge revealed God, besides philosophical science built up by human reason. Firstly, indeed, because man is directed to God, as to an end that surpasses the grasp of his reason: The eye hath not seen, O God, besides Thee, what things Thou hast prepared for them that wait for Thee (Isa. 66:4). But the end must first be known by men who are to direct their thoughts and actions to the end. Hence it was necessary for the salvation of man that certain truths which exceed human reason should be made known to him by divine revelation. Even as regards those truths about God which human reason could have discovered, it was necessary that man should be taught by a divine revelation; because the truth about God such as reason could discover, would only be known by a few, and that after a long time, and with the admixture of many errors. Whereas man’s whole salvation, which is in God, depends upon the knowledge of this truth. Therefore, in order that the salvation of men might be brought about more fitly and more surely, it was necessary that they should be taught divine truths by divine revelation. It was therefore necessary that, besides philosophical science built up by reason there should be a sacred science learned through revelation
The excerpt from St. Thomas Aquinas drives home the idea that faith in God is a gift from him. Indeed, without revelation, we could surmise by our reason that beings we observe in the world that are created are contingent on a prior being. However, we wouldn’t know anything more about God by coming to this conclusion. Furthermore, we cannot expect that other folks in the world who do not believe in God to be able to debate and discuss various parts of the Scripture without a consensus on the existence of God.
I recently heard that Thomas Merton once wrote that the demon of the current age is noise. I wonder that if our technological age’s noise, the speed of life, and constant attention stimulants has led to the drowning out of God’s grace. I suppose God’s grace is greater than all of these obstacles, but like an addict, I wonder if it doesn’t distort and twist our will. If God’s revelation is necessary for our Salvation, how can we hope that our fellow neighbors will take the time to hear the call? Or has the gate narrowed?
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne, n.d.).