In my previous post I mentioned that I was going to focus now on the road to happiness in the next life as expressed in Christianity. However, Christian teachings commingle the road to happiness in this life with the road to happiness in the next life. To understand this better, let’s return to one of the four ancient philosophers, St. Aquinas. This time we will study his philosophical teachings (regarding this life) and his theological teachings (regarding the next life).
St. Aquinas teaches that there exists a “twofold happiness” that is available to all of us. One is the happiness that we have been discussing up to now. This is the happiness achievable in this life by our own human efforts. However, St. Aquinas adds that there is a second happiness, a happiness that cannot be achieved simply by human effort without divine supernatural assistance. This is a happiness not in this life, but in the next life. St. Aquinas calls this happiness in the next life, beatitudo (blessedness).
St. Aquinas goes on to mention that the idea of twofold happiness should not be thought of as involving two distinct goals of human life with different roads to follow. He states that the second happiness, happiness in the next life, should be considered as a kind of surpassing perfection of the first. In other words, the second road to happiness (in the next life) is commingled with the first road to happiness (in this life).
More to come in my next post!