The Metaphysics of Creation: Aquinas's Natural Theology in by Norman Kretzmann

By Norman Kretzmann

Norman Kretzmann expounds and criticizes St. Thomas Aquinas's normal theology of production, that's `natural' (or philosophical) in advantage of Aquinas's having constructed it with no counting on the information of Scripture. The Metaphysics of production is a continuation of the undertaking Kretzmann begun within the Metaphysics of Theism, relocating the point of interest from the 1st to the second one e-book of Aquinas's Summa contra gentiles.

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The Metaphysics of Creation: Aquinas's Natural Theology in Summa Contra Gentiles II

Norman Kretzmann expounds and criticizes St. Thomas Aquinas's ordinary theology of construction, that is `natural' (or philosophical) in advantage of Aquinas's having constructed it with no counting on the information of Scripture. The Metaphysics of construction is a continuation of the undertaking Kretzmann started within the Metaphysics of Theism, relocating the focal point from the 1st to the second one e-book of Aquinas's Summa contra gentiles.

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This making, this transeunt activity, completes or perfects not the agent, but ‘the result that is set up (constituitur) through that very [immanent] activity’ (853). Your deciding actualizes you as your picking up the phone does not: your ability to use a telephone is not an essential aspect of your rational animality, as your decision-making capacity is. 34 But while this logical transition between topics shows the continuity of the investigation across the division between the first two books of SCG, it is the quite different character of this second species of activity that also makes such a division at this point natural.

After all, natural scientists, too—even those who are not theists—are occasionally moved, awed, overwhelmed, by reflecting on their science's discoveries regarding what Aquinas takes to be God's works. If Aquinas's catalogue of four positive results is thought of, not unreasonably, as intended to motivate the reader to press on into Book II, then he seems to have saved the best for last: In the fourth place, this consideration [of God's works] endows human beings with a kind of likeness of divine perfection.

The central examples are different accounts of fire that might be given by a (natural) philosopher and by ‘the believer’, and the broad aim of those passages is to explain that it is no shortcoming in this teaching of the faith that it does not provide detailed, systematic accounts of, for example, astronomy and mechanics. And in that connection Aquinas appears to put ‘the teaching of the faith’ on a par with natural philosophy and geometry in respect of their being three legitimate but very different ways of considering nature: ‘For that reason the teaching of the faith must not be charged with incompleteness if it makes no mention of many properties of things—the configuration of the sky, for instance, and the quality of motion.

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