Spiritual Formation

You Are What You Love – A Review (Part 2b)

You Are What You Love seeks to place before the reader his own self, revealed by the actions that spring from his own loves. Smith will teach us that our identity is based who we are in our souls — the way our souls have been formed to love what God loves and hate what God hates. While Smith doesn’t refer to this as “justification,” he explicitly stands on the shoulders of Aquinas and Aristotle. So, as Smith develops his view of the formation of our soul, he deals in the doctrine of justification. Therefore, this paper rests on Part 2a, which examines justification. I encourage readers to digest that before reading on.

The Room

Smith illustrates his view of identity with the 1979 movie, The Stalker. It is a tool to get us thinking about our desires. The Stalker is a piece of “dystopian science fiction”1 and produces a “discomforting epiphany”(p.27). The Stalker is a guide who takes two men through the Zone, which “has the eerie feel of a postapocalyptic oasis, a scene where some prior devastation has left ruins.” They seek The Room, which is “a big, abandoned, derelict, dark damp room with what look like the remains of an enormous chemistry set floating in the puddle in the middle, as if the Zone resulted from an ill-conceived experiment that went horribly wrong.” The men seek The Room because when entered, it will give the seeker the deepest desire of his heart.

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You Are What You Love – A Review (Part 2a)

Read Part 1.

In the Scholastic period of Catholic theology the classic languages were re-learned and many old works were read, including Aristotle. His ideas about the formation of the soul found purchase in the minds of theologians like Abelard, Scotus, and Thomas Aquinas. In You Are What You Love, Smith depends heavily on these men for his thesis. In this paper, we will consider what they believed.

Thomas Aquinas said this about justification:

The righteousness and sanctity which justification confers, although given to us by God as efficient cause (causa efficiens) and merited by Christ as meritorious cause (causa meritoria), become an interior sanctifying quality or formal cause (causa formalis) in the soul itself, which it makes truly just and holy in the sight of God.1

For Thomists,2 the soul is truly made just in the formal aspect of justification. The Christian’s identity as a just person is made real in the formation of his soul. R.C.Sproul puts it like this:

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