placing the Summa Contra Gentiles on the list of subjects which a candidate may at wrote the Summa contra Gentiles in Italy, under the pontificate of Urban IV. Summa Contra Gentiles. By Aquinas. Based on the translation by Joseph Rickaby, with minor emendations by Daniel. Kolak. Book I: Of God As He Is In Himself. It was not till that the above editors published the first two books of the Summa Contra Gentiles. Hence the delay in the trans- lation. It is hoped that the.
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CONTRA GENTILES. by. Thomas Aquinas. On the Truth of the Catholic Faith. BOOK ONE: GOD, translated by Anton C. Pegis. BOOK TWO: CREATION. The contents of Of God and His Creatures: An Annotated Translation of The Summa Contra Gentiles of St Thomas Aquinas is in t public domain. However, this. THE SUMMA CONTRA GENTILES. Thy power, when men will not believe Thee to he absolute in power. Fourthly. Man, who is led by faith to God as his last.
And thus the Holy Spirit would proceed more from the Father than from the Son? Aquinas positively insists that God is not something to be clas- sified and understood as strictly comparable to such things. I should add that I have tried to avoid gender-specific reference to God. The Summa contra Gentiles consists of four books. Aquinas thinks that nothing can give itself what it does not have.
I highly recommend it, especially since I consider Aquinas to be the greatest philosopher of the Medieval period, and it would be a pity to miss out on such good philosophy.
Thomas Aquinas was an extraordinarily systematic thinker and writer. Because of this, one of the best ways to comprehend "Summa Contra Gentiles" is through consideration of its structure.
At the highest level, it consists of 4 books, with the third book in two parts, on account of its length. The titles of the five volumes are as follows: God Summa Contra Gentiles: Creation Summa Contra Gentiles: Salvation Each volume is formally divided into about short chapters. A typical chapter gets its title from some proposition that is to be affirmed, or in some cases refuted. Each paragraph is an argument in support or denial of that proposition. The chapters are themselves ordered so that the later chapters build on what the arguments in the earlier chapters have established, and it is this arrangement of chapters that constitutes the real structure of "Summa Contra Gentiles".
Although in his later "Summa Theologica", Thomas formalized the higher-level structure of his writing, he did not do so here, which somewhat complicates any presentation of this structure - the book titles are so high level that they give little feel of the work, and the chapter titles so numerous that the reader is easily overwhelmed by a list of them. In order to give the reader some sense of the overall work, I've prepared an outline of the work that hopefully is short enough to be readily comprehensible and long enough to give the reader an understanding of what topics are covered and in what order.
This outline is presented below: God 1. Creation 2. Providence Parts I and II 3. God" is St. Thomas Aquinas' work in which he proclaims his philosophy of God. While differing from his Summa Theologica in form, it does bear it some resemblance. It consists of chapters, each of which postulates a particular attribute of God. Each chapter then proves the postulated attribute by the application of philosophical reasoning.
Support of authority, Scriptural or otherwise,. This is a book which makes the reader think. Some chapters really leave the reader with the feeling of understanding something new. This book is not light reading. It requires the investment of serious intellectual energy.
For the reader willing to make the investment, the rewards can be heavenly. Thomas Aquinas explores with great aptitude the existence of god, along with many other issues of christian doctrine. This work is a must read for those who wish to defend the faith against the philosophical arguments of the non-theist. The "Summa contra Gentiles" and the "Summa Theologica" are pillars of christian theology in the midevil era and the modern , and without a doubt the most profound arguments for the exsistence of god, and explanation for many doctrinal intricacies of the christian faith.
See all 9 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.
Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. This item: Book One,God. Set up a giveaway. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. The Summa Contra Gentiles. Imitation Leather. The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas Five Volumes. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. According to a tradition that can be traced to shortly after Thomas' death, the Summa contra Gentiles was written in response to a request, made in , for a book that would help the Dominican missionaries in Spain to convert the Muslims and Jews there.
To this end, Raymond instituted the teaching of Arabic and Hebrew in several houses of the friars, and he also founded priories in Murcia then still under Muslim rule and in Tunis. Additionally he went to help establish the Church in the recently conquered island of Mallorca.
Later in , Thomas left Paris and returned to Naples, where he was appointed as general preacher by the provincial chapter of 29 September In September he was called to Orvieto as conventual lector responsible for the pastoral formation of the friars unable to attend a studium generale. It was in Orvieto that Thomas completed Summa contra Gentiles , which was followed by the Catena aurea ,  and minor works produced for Pope Urban IV such as the liturgy for the newly created feast of Corpus Christi and the Contra errores graecorum.
Parts of the text have survived in Aquinas' autograph , kept in the Vatican Library as Lat. The manuscript includes fragments of books one and two, and large portions of book three. The Summa contra Gentiles consists of four books.
The structure of Thomas' work is designed to proceed from general philosophical arguments for monotheism , to which Muslims and Jews are likely to consent even within their own respective religious traditions, before progressing to the discussion of specifically Christian doctrine. Books I—III cover truths that naturally are accessible to the human intellect while Book IV covers revealed truths for which natural reason is inadequate.
Giuseppe Ciante d. Until the present this remains the only significant translation of a major Latin scholastic work in modern Hebrew. The first modern edition of the work is the one by Ucceli re-published in as part of the Editio Leonina.
The Leonine text was re-edited, with corrections, by P. Marc, C. Pera and P. Carmello and published with Marietti, Torino-Rome, in Modern translations have been published in: English ,   , German ,   , Spanish  and French ,  . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Part of a series on Thomas Aquinas Thomism. Aristotle St. Paul Pseudo-Dionysius St. Augustine St.
Albertus Magnus Reginald of Piperno. He argued that. But there is nothing wrong in arguing that. As Edward Feser observes: As John Wippel notes. What he thinks is that only something with the ability to bring it about that something is red can account for something becoming red. A cause whose cau- sality runs through its effects. Aquinas proceeds in the SCG to single out the question of God being one i. I am not immutable. By the same token.
I argue that my cat is hungry. But that does not mean that we should doubt that in any causal series per se. The fact that he does not do this in SCG 1. The fourth of the above arguments against Aquinas is simply not en- gaging with what he says.
Think again about the books held up by my hand. All of them fall to the ground if I take my hand away from them. I mean that if. And it seems hard to see how such a chain can exist if there is not something outside it. Here we have a series of causes of the kind that Aquinas would have described as per se.
Yet that virtue also undermines the argument as an objection to SCG 1. The virtue of the fifth of the above arguments lies in the fact that in SCG 1.
But book A can be thought of as supported by book B. But I hope that I have now said enough about them to get you thinking for yourself concerning them. It is not to be grounded in reason. I would like to make two points to round off this chapter.
On this view causal reasoning derives its force from habit. Before I move on to other matters. Aquinas thinks that efficient causal agents have powers that produce effects. To be even more precise. This is not the place for me to try to pursue them in detail. If Hume is right here. The second concerns the extent to which SCG 1.
For Aquinas there claims to be demonstrating the existence of a certain cause. Hume would say that we form the concept of a cause as we note the constant con- junction of various kinds of events. That there is matter for debate here seems evident. Yet is the notion of God as a cause of the being of things entirely absent from SCG 1. Aquinas allows that there can be effects that come about without causes in the natural world.
Aquinas regards efficient causation as always involv- ing both cause and effect. On this account. I do not think that it is. This approach to causation would seem to be more at work in the way we typically think about causes and effects than is the approach associated with Hume. It is a presiding view of Aquinas that God brings it about that everything other than God exists from moment to moment only because God is causing it to do so.
If one reads through the SCG and through other works by Aquinas. Aquinas does not in SCG 1. In the next chapter I shall begin to note how he does so while he concentrates on what we cannot take God to be. As Edward Feser says: So the notion of God as being what accounts for what exists. For him. Yet this thought concerning actuality and potentiality is very much in evidence in SCG 1.
The unmoved mover of SCG 1. Yet even in SCG 1. To be sure. Aquinas does not think that there are nonexisting actual things. Aquinas thinks of God as not able not to exist. Our ability to classify things in this way is. That God is not moved. Aquinas argues. If God is immutable. Beginning or ceasing to exist. When it comes to eternity as not involving temporality. Aquinas declares in SCG 1. According to Aristotle.
He holds that reflection should lead us to see that God is not understandable in the way that things in the world are. Aquinas does not think that we can have scientia when it comes to God. We cannot conceive of something having a history if the thing in. Aquinas appeals to something that Aristotle says about time in Physics IV. A necessary being must either have the cause of its necessity from some- thing other than itself or it must have its necessity from itself. Either way. He is saying that something not generated exists and that its existence is either derived from something else or had by nature by the thing in question.
Something that can equally be or not be must have a cause of its being. As we saw in SCG 1. Nor is he saying that there could only be one necessary being. So there must be at least one necessary being.
The world contains things subject to generation and corruption. We might naturally speak of the matter left in a test tube at the end of an ex- periment. Aquinas con- cludes that God does not contain matter since God is wholly actual and lacks any real potentiality.
We sometimes say that we live in a material world. Given that he has already argued that God is the first unmoved source of change. It is the precondition for change or coming to exist in the physical world.
Yet Aquinas would have sympathized with this question since he believed that something can be composite in different ways. God cannot even not exist. For this reason it is not a special member of the world or something to be classified in terms of genus. We are basically saying that we live in a world in which things come to be and pass away. Aquinas obviously has to conclude that God cannot be sub- ject to alteration by the agency of something else.
On his view. When we do this. Aquinas argues that God is not composite. Aquinas also thinks that something might be composite by being distinct from its nature or essence.
For the moment. I might add. Aquinas holds that something might be composite if its essence and existence differ. That overture. Aquinas draws heavily on his distinction between act and potency. So he claims that something might be composite just because it is a combination of substance and acci- dents.
Or I can have a full head of hair and a smooth face at one time while proceeding to be bald and have wrinkles. X might be simple. I can become thin and then fat while still being me. In reaching this conclusion. Aquinas holds that something that just is its nature is simple in a way that members of a genus or species are not.
I am a human being throughout my entire life. All of the above theses concerning composition and simplicity run through what Aquinas writes in SCG 1. His presiding idea is that if God is the immutable first cause see.
Aquinas believes that it is possible to identify some things as members of a genus or species and as sharing a nature with other things.
This leads him to suppose that members of a genus or species are composite in that the indi- viduals that they are can be distinguished from the nature that they have. He thinks that such naturally occurring things are substances of var- ious kinds.
Largely under the influence of Aristotle. As we know. Aquinas holds that any particular naturally occurring thing in the world is an individual having a definite nature or es- sence. X might be composite for any of the following reasons: The second distinction Aquinas draws out concerning composition and simplicity is grounded in the notions of genus and species. Aquinas thinks that something lacking accidents can be thought of as.
But God is unchangeable and is not caused to change by anything SCG 1. God is not what all things are insofar as they exist. It is also something with accidents. If God lacks the ability to undergo change. So God is not a body SCG 1. But God is not mate- rial. So such a thing has something that can be distinguished from it considered as the individual that it is.
But God does not have parts. So for God to exist is for him to exist as whatever his essence is. Something that can be distinguished from its essence is related to what is not identical with it. To classify in terms of genus or species is to circumscribe or identify a way of being. Yet God does not depend for existence on anything other than God. Every body has parts. I shall leave it to you to pick through SCG 1. If God is just pure being. For God to be what he is and for God to exist amount to the same thing.
What does not belong to something because of its essence has to be derived from what is other than it. God is the distinct and simple cause of all that is not divine and. God cannot be the same as his nature since that would mean that the dif- ferent things said about God would. Talk about God as immu- table. Accordingly God has just one property: So taken.
God is not the form of any body but is Being Itself ipsum esse. If God is a property. So perhaps I should make some comments on it so as to help you to reflect on it. In the words of Alvin Plantinga: No property could have created the world. Aquinas draws on it continually. This view is subject to a difficulty both obvious and overwhelming. Those who believe in God hold. A notable text here is John 4: Those who believe that God exists insist that God is free to act as he does.
But God cannot be free to act as he does if Aquinas is right about divine simplicity. According to the book of Genesis. If these criticisms are good ones. It is true that the Bible does not provide an account of divine simplicity such as Aquinas offers in the SCG and elsewhere. Another text worth noting is Colossians 1: While various biblical texts ascribe physical attributes to God.
He holds that God is immutable and is what he eternally is. God once took a walk in the garden of Eden. Yet the Bible contains many texts that point in a different direction. Here Aquinas is trying to elaborate on matters that.
Sometimes the Bible talks about God in anthropomorphic terms. Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God. But we might. One might still. Yet he also thought that one can give nonbiblical reasons for reading some biblical texts literally and for reading some of them as being figurative. It has been said that it. Then we presum- ably need nonbiblical arguments. He was deeply immersed in biblical texts and recognized very well that if they are all taken literally.
Then we presumably need to appeal to nonbiblical arguments for supposing that God is indeed incorpo- real and that anything in the Bible that suggests otherwise should be read as figurative. Nor does it think of God as something that we can imagine to be like us or like anything else in the world. Does God have a body or not? There are biblical texts that can be cited on both sides here. So I take it that the Bible. This is how Aquinas proceeds.
A classic one is Isaiah If our interest in biblical texts merely extends to noting what they appear liter- ally to say verse by verse. He does not faint or grow weary. Plantinga would agree that my cat is.
He would say that to call something a cat is to ascribe a nature to what actually exists without having to exist by nature. I take my cat to be an individual thing. I gather that its first occurrence in English comes in the report of a trial of one John Biddle b.
Plantinga seems to be asserting that Aquinas is wrong on divine simplicity since God is not an uncreated ab- stract object. Friends of Plantinga when it comes to divine simplicity might argue that. As well as properties. Plantinga also be- lieves that there are many abstract objects. Unlike Plantinga. Aquinas does not believe in uncreated abstract objects.
Aquinas does not deny that there is knowledge and will in God. This line of thinking. It is not to say that God is an individual having different attributes in the sense that we can think of my cat having different attributes. As I have stressed. He thinks. But Aquinas does not hold that to say. But when agility and inquisitiveness come to be possessed by an individual.
He is maintaining that God. The merit of criticism 3 lies in the evident truth that. So we can suppose that. And Aquinas certainly does not think of God as being what we mean when referring to a creaturely attribute. Agility and inquisi- tiveness can be had by many different things and are. Aquinas thinks that there are reasons for employing different words. Yet we can assume that Aquinas is not abandoning this line of thinking when ruminating on divine simplicity.
So he concludes that goodness and power in God do not amount to different realities. This argument. But Aquinas would not regard this complaint as undermining his position. Criticism 4 has been defended in one form or another by many philoso- phers. He argues that what Aquinas says on this topic wrongly presupposes that existing is a property of individuals and then. Because if existence were intelligibly attrib- utable to individuals. Williams — To say that readers of Aquinas do not exist is not to sup- pose that nonexisting readers of Aquinas lack a property of some kind.
Contrary to what Williams sug- gests. Drawing on the Bible. For me to exist is for me to be a human being. It is to deny that anything can be truly said to be a reader of Aquinas. But indi- vidual examples of these kinds can surely. People would.
He is noting that. It is an account of what God cannot be. Aquinas is not seeking to de- scribe God. And why does he do so? Because he thinks that there are things the existence of which does not derive from what they are their essence. When saying that there is no distinction in God of essence and existence. He is not saying that the existence of everything in the universe has a cause and that the uni- verse as such therefore has a cause. And why should he not?
It would be fallacious to argue that since everyone has a mother the entire human race must have one. For my cat to exist is for him to be a cat. And cats. For a cabbage to exist is for it to be what else? The merit of this argument lies. If he had chosen to create a world without cats. With this idea in mind. We might put this by saying that being full or being hungry are contingent properties of my cat. He is saying that the existence of the entire universe has to be caused no matter when we take it to be existing.
When my cat has eaten. If he had not chosen to create. In his defense of divine simplicity. The problem with the argument. Aquinas is saying that the existence of anything that does not exist by nature has to be caused by what does exist by nature. Yet God must have contingent properties if he is free to create or not to create.
I and my teeth would have come to be different from what I and they were last night had I chosen not to brush my teeth before going to bed. The argument goes like this: God has no contingent properties. When I forget to feed him. Since it is a cat.
The idea here is that freedom of choice is bound up with the notion of different courses of action. Criticism 5 supposes that people have freedom of choice. To suppose that it might would be to think of God as a spatiotemporal individual who is modified as he lives his life and makes these choices rather than those choices.
Given what we are by nature. But Aquinas takes this point to mean no more than that there is no logical impos- sibility when it comes to my living in Russia. So the world could be different in that I could live in Russia rather than in the United States.
Could I live in Russia? There seems to be no logical impossibility in the suggestion that I might live in Russia. I live in the United States. If it did. Aquinas wants to assert 1 that God is free to create or not create. When Aquinas speaks of the order of things produced by God. God is not part of space and time. God would be different from what he is now.
So he resists the suggestion that God is a being who comes. God is not something whose nature forces him to create. He also means that there could be nothing distinct from God that.
It is also a comment on what exists in the world and on what can be thought to exist without logical contradiction. Applying all of this to the objection to divine simplicity now in question. SCG 1. But why suppose that God is something with a life history that could have taken a different course?
You may. Aquinas is aware of this fact and him- self wishes to speak of God in positive or nonnegative terms. Even if you do. If we had lived our lives differently.
They say. As Aquinas observes in SCG 1. So what would Aquinas think of us positively ascribing certain attributes to God. From what we find in SCG 1. These are: I try to indicate what it amounts to in general terms.
According to Aquinas. Then I turn to some details. Yet those who believe in God frequently seem to want to speak about God in ways that are positive and in- formative. Yet what if I say that something is. When concluding along these lines in the SCG. I am talking about it having a property that can only be had by an animal.
He also believes that there are other words that can be used to speak literally of God. But Aquinas holds that I am at work in my cat becoming fed by me and that what I am is being shown forth in my cat. Aquinas always keeps in mind his teaching that God is simple. If I say that my cat is hungry.
But Aquinas does not. I am talking about her having a property that can only be had by some- thing physical. Aquinas does not think that God is literally like anything that depends for its existence on him. That he does not think this should be clear from SCG 1. Yet Aquinas also thinks that some words can be used in order to construct literally true proposi- tions concerning God. Aquinas does not think that they do. Talking about God SCG 1. He thinks this because he holds that some words do not have a meaning built into them that would prohibit us from using them so as to say what God truly is.
For our intellect. So why not just suppose that exactly the same thing is being affirmed when it is said that God is good? Yet Aquinas also thinks that we use them in sen- tences whose form was never designed to lay hold of divinity but to talk about composite things.
Aquinas maintains that when talking of God we naturally do so as if he were composite. If God is good. Aquinas therefore thinks that there is always going to be a kind of mismatch between the way we speak of God and the simple reality that God is.
Since Aquinas denies that God is composite.
We know what is being said when. It is not. Aquinas would make this point by saying that. Since God is entirely simple. That is because our human way of talking en- gages with or reflects an understanding of what is composite.
Details 1. It is an accident of the development of the English language. But let us now see how Aquinas actually gets to these conclusions in his text. Aquinas does not think that we can understand what it is for God to be good since he does not believe that we can understand what God is. Yet some words we use when talking of what is not divine can be used to speak truly and literally of God even though they signify what God is im- perfectly because God is entirely simple.
For a thing is said to be more or less excellent according as its being is limited to a certain greater or lesser mode of excellence. What we count as perfection or excellence in a mathematician. There seem to be threads of connection between what we have in mind when thinking of love between spouses. But I will not know what X is like if all I am told is that X is per- fect.
Love of a spouse is not exactly the same thing as love of a job or a place to travel. Aquinas is concerned to argue that. He holds that. It tells us that X is wooden and. When saying that something is perfect or excellent we do so for reasons that can differ hugely depending on what we are talking about.
He observes: Aquinas holds that God. What terms or words used to talk about what is not divine can be prop- erly used when talking about God? He writes: But when any name expresses such perfections along with a mode that is proper to a creature. So in SCG 1. But he does not take metaphorical talk of God to be lit- erally true. Because we talk of and understand even perfect creatures as if they were composite.
God is a subsistent form. He means that what we say can some- times be misleading when it comes to what we are talking about. Thinking along somewhat similar lines. Aquinas holds that when we speak of goodness we are not referring to what subsists as a thing in its own right. But we would surely be wrong to think of pains as being like phys- ical objects such as keys. But it does not follow from this that God is anything composite. We can use words to mean more than we can understand.
For the record. As Herbert McCabe — once said: The thesis of SCG 1. What something produces. Aquinas deals with this question in SCG 1. Given this idea it is not too difficult to understand his notion that words can point beyond their ordinary meanings.