1. Why doesAquinas write the Summa Theologica? (What was the main intellectual
challenge of his time?)
At the time, people thought that reason (science) and faith (Bible) were completely separate.
Aquinas wrote Summa Theologica to prove that there is a connection between reason and
faith, and in fact, the two are intertwined. He talks about the goal of humanity to be reunited
with God, and he also discusses the nature and existence of God.
2. Explain why do we need, besides philosophy, another ‘science’about God? Can we
have different sciences about the same object?
We also need divine revelation from God in addition to philosophy because philosophers only
know so much about being reunited with God. While philosophy is helpful to understanding
God, we also need the “science of God” as well because philosophy is filled with errors.
There are also not that many people that can become philosophers and work through reason,
and the ones who do study philosophy take a long time to reach conclusions. There are also
many things which go beyond our reason, and we must use our faith. We must use
philosophical science and the science of divine revelation to gain knowledge about God, so
yes, we can have different sciences talking about the same object.
3. Aquinas claims that the sacred doctrine is a science. Explain what he means with this
claim. Compare the sacred science to other sciences. What does it make difference?
(Make sure that you are familiar withAquinas’replies to Objections)
Sciences are base on certain principles: those that are self-evident and those that rely on a
“higher science.” Self-evident principles are those that are intuitive, as we have complete
understanding. Principles that rely on a “higher science” refer to sciences that rely on the
principles of a higher science. The sacred doctrine is a science because there are self-evident
and “higher science” principles. God is self-evident to Himself and to those in Heaven, as
they have complete understanding. Humans must refer to a “higher science,” our faith and
divine revelation, to understand God. The principles of any science can be understood through
self-evidence (knowledge) or in relying on the principles of another science. To the
mathematician, the principles of math are self-evident. The musician must rely on a “higher
science,” math, because he does not fully understand the principles. Individual facts are moral
examples. 4. What doesAquinas mean when he claims that a word in Holy Scripture may have
several meanings/senses? List and explain them. Why is the literal interpretation of the
Bible not acceptable?
Aquinas says that the Holy Scripture is meant to be read in several senses because there are
multiple approaches for reading the Bible. Here are the approaches:
- Allegory: tangible story explaining something complex (example: The Cave)
- Moral: clear story teaching us how to live our lives (example: 10 Commandments)
- Anagogical: story that talks about the afterlife (example: Book of Job)
- Parable: story that helps us understand something about God (example: Parable of the
-Etiology: story that helps us