11. Summa Contra Gentiles by Thomas Aquinas. Summary Bk1 Chapters 20-25

The previous post is here.

Chapters 20-25 are on the basic nature of God.  What is he?  How is he made?  What of?   While interesting and like all matters about God, very important, this section has been a slog for me.

Here’s my wrap up of points made here:

  1. God is not a body.  He isn’t a thing somewhere like we normally think.
  2. God is pure act.  He doesn’t change, so there is no potency, only act.
  3. God is simple, meaning not compound and made of parts.  Simple ideas about motion, and other arguments show us that he cannot be made of parts.
  4. His essence IS existence and vice versa.  The fact that he was not created means he had existence from jump.  The only way to have existence without being created is to have existence essentially.  Interestingly, and shockingly to me, God told us and Moses this in Exodus 3.  When Moses asks what he should tell Israel to call him, God says, “I am who I am.  Say this to the people of Israel: He who is has sent me to you.”  This chunk has always confused me.  No longer.   Just as I am the one who is a father, bad squatter, cruddy homesteader, and great books guy, God is the one who is.  Full Stop.  He Is.
  5. There are no Aristotelian accidents in God.  God does not have distinguishing features.
  6. God’s being IS his substance.  He is made of being.
  7. AND God having no accidents, being simple, and all the other things already proven, he belongs to no genus.   Anything belonging to a genus must belong to a species of this genus.  The species are differentiated by accidents.  Additionally, God’s being being his substance, for him to be a species would predicate things not members of the species, necessitating them having no being.  Inconceivable.

I am reading the Fr. Laurence Shapcote, OP translation.  I have the opera Latin/English 2 volume set from the Aquinas Institute.  You can buy it here.   I think you can find it in less expensive out of copyright editions if you look for the Dominican Friars Translation on Bezos’ site, or for free at archive.org.

I’m reading about 35 chapters per month. It’ll take about two years.  A few pages a day will get it done.   Join me.

1 thought on “11. Summa Contra Gentiles by Thomas Aquinas. Summary Bk1 Chapters 20-25”

  1. Pingback: 12. Summa Contra Gentiles by St. Thomas Aquinas Bk 1 chapters 26-35 – ScottHambrick.com

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