In a series of posts Tom of Disputations first discusses and then expands upon one of the critically important developments in the history of western civilization and thus helps to confound the idioitic prejudice that the power of the Church kept Eurpoe in the so-called "dark ages" until the sudden burst of the Renaissance.
St. Thomas clearly articulate the need, and indeed the duty, to love what is above the soul (as the highest good) and to understand what is beneath is (as another aspect of this highest good). In each case the best is done with a given faculty--the intellect or the will.
In articulating this understanding St. Thomas set the groundwork for all of western science. By declaring it both good and almost a duty, the search for understanding of the world received yet another boost from the Church. By setting this agenda St. Thomas and the Church fueled the revival of arts and knowledge that we call the renaissance.
Unfortunately as time passed, the understanding of St. Thomas's teaching became distorted and unclear, as Tom points out. There is a modern tendency to love what is beneath and to dimiss or analyze in a pseudo-scientific way what is above.
Nevertheless, St. Thomas was the articulator of one of the central principles of western civilization--the right and the duty to understand the world around us as best as we possibly can. It is this fundamental characteristic that led to later, sometime lamentable, sometimes glorious developments. And despite all detractors, it is the Church and the Faith which articulated this understanding of our place in the universe--not the scientists themselves.