The Summa is Thomas’s mature theological synthesis, aimed at providing beginners in theology with a systematic, overall account of both the divine nature, as knowable by faith-enlightened reason, and the divine plan and work of creating and redeeming the cosmos and ordaining it to a final transfiguration in glory at the end of history. Thomas’s method in composing the work, as he states in the work’s Prologue, is to treat of the whole of revealed theology (sacra doctrina) as briefly and clearly as possible, but according to a strict order whereby the very contours of the subject matter of the science dictate the architectonic plan and the sequential treatment of questions within the work. The first Question of the Summa so treats the nature and scope of theology itself, and once this is established, the work considers the very existence and nature of God: God first in His own inner and Trinitarian life, and then in His external activity of giving being to creatures and ordaining them to perfection or full realization for the manifestation or communication of His own glory.


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