Summa Contra Gentiles

by Thomas Aquinas

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I need help writing a 2,000-word essay summarizing Book 3 of Summa contra Gentiles.

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Summa contra Gentiles or Summa contra Gentes was written by St. Thomas Aquinas and is a cornerstone of Roman Catholic theology. Its date of composition is debated, with some scholars arguing for the 1260s and others for the 1270s. The most distinctive feature of St. Thomas Aquinas' theology is the way it synthesizes traditional Christian doctrines with Aristotle.

Book 3 of Summa contra Gentiles provides a philosophical analysis of what can be understood about God and his relationship to the world simply by the operation of reason prior to revelation. It relies heavily on Aristotle's Physics and Metaphysics, especially on Aristotle's understanding of causation. 

To write your 2,000-word essay, you should start by discussing the four Aristotelian causes that Aquinas uses to explain providence--the final cause (or telos), material cause (substance), formal cause, and efficient cause--and how he maps these onto the nature of God and the way God acts in the world. Perhaps the most important section of the book, and the one you should cover in greatest detail in your summary, is the notion of God as final cause, which is both the end of human striving and the source of it. A second important issue is the need for evil and its compatibility with divine providence. 

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