Saint Thomas Aquinas: What Is God?

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“What is God?” As a young boy, this is the question Saint Thomas Aquinas posed to his schoolmaster. While the schoolmaster’s answer is never recorded, Saint Thomas spent the rest of his life trying to answer the question, “What is God?” The driving motivation behind why Thomas sought to answer the question was his love for God and for knowledge. Thomas was both extremely studious and pious, and these traits were evident throughout all of Thomas’s life. They were paired with an amazingly unusual intelligence, which through God’s providence was able to flourish and greatly influence the church and the world.
In 1225 Thomas d’Aquino was born to a baron, Count Landulf, in Roccasecca, Italy. Count Landulf of Aquino had eight children, including
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He was known as Albert the Great and is seen as the founder of modern science. He saw the importance of the Christian faith in philosophy and science- a passion that Thomas would later adopt. Albert the Great noticed that Thomas’s extraordinary humility masked his intelligence, and he was able to see behind his label as the class dunce. He said in regards to Thomas, “You call him a Dumb Ox; I tell you this Dumb Ox shall blow so loud that his bellowings will fill the world.” This is exactly what Albert sought to help Thomas achieve. Albert started by giving Thomas work that would require him to either annotate or exposit various works and challenged him to engage in debates. Albert realized something unique in Thomas and sought to help Thomas fulfill his God-given potential. This led him to take every opportunity that he could to pour into Thomas. For example, when Albert was summoned to Paris to receive his degree of doctor, he insisted that Thomas go with him. Thomas even followed Albert to the University of Cologne when he was asked to start a theological stadium for the Dominican…show more content…
This work and Summa contra Gentiles are two of his most famous works. Summa contra Gentiles is a work of apologetics written mainly for missionaries. It included defenses against Jews and Muslims. Thomas started writing this work while he was master of theology at Paris between 1256-1259. He became a lector at Orvieto from 1261 to 1265, and this is where he completed Summa contra Gentiles. He then moved to Rome in 1265 and lived there until he moved to Viterbo in 1267. Between his time in Rome and Viterbo, he started Summa theologica, which he worked on until 1273. This work is considered to be Thomas’s introduction into theology. It is broken up into three parts: God and Creation; Human Nature, Sin, and Virtue; and Christ, Salvation, and the Sacraments. While Thomas was working on this book, he moved back to Paris from 1269 to 1272 where he was a regent. He was then assigned to Naples in 1272 as regent of theology. Even thought he moved quite frequently, he was still in the process of writing Summa theologica. While this work is over 3000 pages, it is considered an incomplete work. In 1273 Thomas had a mental breakdown and stopped working on Summa theologica. He even stopped writing completely because he felt that all of his work was inadequate. He claimed, “all that I have written seems like
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