Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 270
Summa Theologica is a philosophical text written by acclaimed theologian Thomas Aquinas in the mid-12th century. The work, as an academic text, has no characters. Instead, it is a sort of textbook, as Aquinas wrote it with seminary students in mind.
Aquinas broke the text up into three main sections, each containing further subdivisions. The first section focuses on broad idea of "God," as Aquinas asserts His existence. Aquinas' primary argument is as follows: the fact that man can even conceive of God's existence must prove it so. He continues on to argue that because other things exist (i.e. the universe and everything in it) God must too, as there had to be a creator to launch the beginning of existence.
The second part of Summa Theologica focuses on mankind. Aquinas argues that humans' main reason for existence is to find happiness. He caveats this idea, however, with the argument that true happiness can only come through following the will of God. Through the pursuit of God's will, man can find joy. However, he also states that man can never fully discern the will of God or understand the full character of God until death. Therefore, man must rely on his intellect and a study of Jesus Christ to attempt to understand God's will to the best of his ability while alive on earth.
The third and final key section of the text focuses on Jesus Christ. Aquinas argues that Jesus is the intermediary between God and mankind. It is only through Jesus, Aquinas asserts, that man can begin to understand God, and therefore, find happiness and fulfillment.
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