3. Summary of Summa Contra Gentiles by St. Thomas Aquinas Book 1 Chapters 4-6

The previous post is here.

Book 1 Chapter 4 

That the truth about divine things which is attainable by reason is fittingly proposed to man as an object of belief.

There are kinds of truth about God.  Those reason can show and those which surpass human reason.

If the first was the only truth about God few men would know that truth as they are not of the proper disposition with no love of learning, obligations with household affairs, laziness, or other problems.

Also, it takes too long to discover the truth found by reason.  The work of understanding takes too long and is too sublime for the young.

Thirdly, the intellect’s weakness in forming judgements mixed with incomplete concepts would prevent many from obtaining this truth.  As a result many would doubt even the clearest and most forceful arguments proving these divine truths.

“Therefore, the divine clemency helpfully provides that even some things which reason is able to investigate are healed by faith, so that all may share in the knowledge of God easily, and without doubt or error.”

Chapter 5  

That those things which cannot be investigated by reason are fittingly proposed to man as an object of faith.

It is necessary that things that surpass wisdom be shown by God to man since no man desires things that are unknown to him.  In this way he is shown and then aspires to that which surpasses the whole state of his life.

The old law promised temporal things and few of the higher things, but they philosophers took men from these lower pleasures and showed them virtue and greater goods, which gives great delight.

This greater good needed to be shown to man as an object of faith, enticing him to a truer knowledge of God.  The fact that God is shown in these things that God is far above what man is able to think.

Additionally, these items of faith serve to check faulty presumptions in those who are to dependent on reason.

Lastly, the Philosopher tells us that man outhit to devote himself to immortal and divine things as much as he can.  “However imperfect the knowledge of the higher things may be, it bestows very perfection on the soul.”

Chapter 6

That it is not a mark of levity to assent to the things that are of faith although they are above reason

The miracles such as healing the sick, raising the dead, control over the plants and such are evidence that inspires human minds AND has brought them to the Christian faith which curbs the pleasures of the flesh and contempt of all worldly things.   That men assent to this is proof of God’s wisdom.

The fact that the world has converted to Christianity is proof that the signs (miracles) did take place so there is not need to repeat them.

Other sects maker errors by pursuing the contrary.  Mohammed promises carnal pleasures for those who follow his commandments.  Also, his sect does not attain to the high as it conveys no truths higher than those that can be attained by men of average wisdom.  Mohammed attests to no supernatural agency, showing no visible works from God, providing no converting power except that by the force of arms.

This sect was promoted not by wise and holy men, but bestial men completely ignorant of divine teaching who by use of force compelled others to submit to his law.

Lastly, no prophets of previous ages predicted his rise.

I’m reading about 35 chapters per month. It’ll take about two years.  Join me.  You can start a the beginning by going back to post number one here.  1. Summa Contra Gentiles by Thomas Aquinas, a summary

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  1. Pingback: 4. Summa Contra Gentiles By Thomas Aquinas Summary Book 1 Chapters 7-9 – ScottHambrick.com

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