Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Declamation: Aquinas on Beards

The assignment was to write in a structure imitative of Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologiae, so here is mine; others are forthcoming.


J. Broussard
Aquinas Summa imitation (in form)

1. Whether it can be demonstrated that facial hair is good?

Objection 1. It seems that the benefit of facial hair cannot be demonstrated, as it would be a matter of preference—a benefit to some, but a detriment to others.

Objection 2. Further, facial hair is not available to all manner of men, so if it is beneficial, it is a benefit that slanders the justice of God: that He would give it to some and not to others.

On the contrary: It is written that God made all things that are, and that He declared everything that He had made to be “all very good.”

I answer that: Demonstration can be made in two ways: through the state of man at creation, and through the state of man following the resurrection. Hence the benefit of facial hair, which cannot be easily ascertained from our current fallen state, can be made plain through the eternal counsel of God.

Reply to Objection 1: The Gospel clearly states that the beard of Christ was plucked out, and that this was done to shame Him. How is it then merely a matter of preference for us to daily imitate the vile heathen that crucified our Lord by severing with dull razors the beard from the Imago Dei in us (be you a man with one blade or a coward with five)? This is indeed our shame.

Reply to Objection 2: It is true that all men cannot grow facial hair; indeed, it is also true that most women cannot either. But this does not appear to have always been the case, for it is written in Leviticus, the thirteenth chapter and the twenty ninth verse, that “if a man or woman have a plague upon the head or the beard…”
Now it may be easily assumed, that if women used to be able to grow beards, so too could all manner of men, and if we are asked why this is not the case today, we may easily respond, “why do men not live past their hundredth year today?” God has changed things for His own pleasure, and it is our delight that some men, and (indeed, our great delight) that most women cannot grow beards, and this does not impute partiality to God.
However, we may all look forward to the day when there shall be neither slave nor free, male nor female, Jew nor Greek, American nor Dutch, bearded nor side-burned.

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