Thomas Aquinas: The World (Cosmology)


General Discussion from Classic Philosophers by Jonathan Dolhenty Ph.D.

In determining or defining the relationship of God with the world, Aquinas departs not only from the doctrine of the Averroist Aristotelians, but also from the teaching of Aristotle himself.

For Aristotle matter was uncreated and co-eternal with God, limiting the divinity itself (Greek dualism). Aquinas denies this dualism. The world was produced by God through His creative act, i.e., the world was produced from nothing.

Besides, all becoming in matter is connected with God, since He is the uncaused Cause and the immovable Mover of all that takes place in created nature.

God has created the world from nothingness through a free act of His will; hence any necessity in the nature of God is excluded.

Again, we know that Aristotle did not admit providence: the world was in motion toward God, as toward a point of attraction; but God did not know of this process of change, nor was He its ordinator.

For Aquinas, on the contrary, God is providence: creation was a knowing act of His will; God, the cause and mover of all the perfections of beings, is also the intelligent ordinator of them” all that happens in the world finds its counterpart in the wisdom of God.

Now, how the providence and the wisdom of God are to be reconciled with the liberty of man is a problem which surpasses our understanding. It is not an absurdity, however, if we keep in mind that the action of Divine Providence is absolutely distinct and can be reconciled with the liberty of man without diminishing or minimizing this latter.

The late Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty was the Founder and President of The Center for Applied Philosophy and the Radical Academy, and is Honorary Philosophy Editor at Self-Educated American. Self-Educated American has adopted these projects beginning with a republishing and preserving of all of Dr. Dolhenty’s work.