“And here we close the loop upon a matter first addressed at the begining of this essay, that of the relationship between a ‘natural theology’ and a ‘negative theology’. If it is certainly wrong-in terms at least of the reading of Thomas-to set them in that opposition according to which a natural theology tells us about God those things-his existence and his nature-which a negative theology forbids us, nonethless, any account is equally flawed according to which a proof of God’s existence leaves us with nothing at all but an unoccupied space of ‘negativity’ on the other side of creation. It is because they feared some such apophatically inspired absolutization of the negative which would have to be indistinguishable from a nihilistic atheism (since it would allow no room for any criterion on which to distinguish them) that Milbank and Pickstock thought it necessary to attribute to Thomas some mode of experience, presupposed to reason’s exercise, of the ‘actuality’ of perfection. But there is no need to appeal on Thomas’ behalf to any such experience in order to insure against a purely nihilistic account of the unknowability of the rationally transcendent, or of the aesthetically sublime, as the ase may be: and it is better not to do so, since as I have said, there is absolutely no evidence that Thomas thought the human intellect was ever in possesison of such an experience. For Thomas apepared to think that there are only two ways in which God can be known this side of death: either by reasons’s graft, or else by faith’s gift. For Thomas there is no experience of God of any kind in this life.”
Denys Turner, Faith, Reason and the Existence of God, 119-120.
“But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.” Luke 9:32