"Aquina's Treatment of God"

Essay by thatfishUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 2002

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This essay evaluates Aquinas' treatment of the nature of a God, and explains how he pulls of the problem of evil in the world.

Aquinas' Treatment of God

As women are raped, children are murdered, and cancer is everywhere, people often raise the question of God's role in such atrocities. Saint Thomas Aquinas treats that issue in part of his book, the Summa Theologica. In this, he shows the relation of necessary and contingent being, and gives a philosophical explanation on the problem of evil in the world. Aquinas begins with some introductory assumptions. He states that necessary existence has no potentiality and in this, God's essence and his being are one in the same, because, God is altogether simple (divine simplicity). He is not a body, or material, and what he does, how he does it, why he does it, and his existence are all the same. Because God, as a necessary being, does not have the capacity to be affected by contingency, we can see that all of God's actions are necessary.

God is completely simple. This of course creates a serious problem with contingency and how contingent being comes to be from a necessary being. Further, his creation of contingent being and his knowledge and will of our actions brings up the problem of natural and moral evil in the world, and what is the root of these dire happenings.

In the treatment of this problem Aquinas begins with God's knowledge being the cause of all things (q.17, art. 8). This is referred to as divine knowledge. God is the cause of everything and in that, God knows what he causes and conversely causes what he knows. This makes God the author of all things. He knew it and therefore he willed it, and so, it...