Aquinas’ 5 Arguments for the Existence of God. Questions for Discussion: Lesson 25A Chapter 22 “Thomas Aquinas Summarizes Christian Truth” from  The Story of Christian Theology by Roger E. Olson

1. Who were the Dominicans? How were they perceived in the time of Thomas Aquinas? How would you differentiate them from the Franciscans, especially in the area of the great philosophers who had influenced their theological traditions?

2. How would you summarize Aquinas’ assessment of Aristotle, a pagan philosopher and student of Plato’s from 4th century B.C. Greece? How did Aquinas differ from Aristotle in his explanation of the origin of the universe?

3. Why the controversy over Averroes’ two kinds of knowledge theory, or “two-truths theory”, he had derived from Aristotle? What position did Aquinas take during this controversy? How did Aquinas view the natural realm? How would you contrast this perpective with Anselm’s?

4. How did Aquinas evaluate Anselm’s Ontological Argument for the Existence of God? What were his reasons for this assessment? How were “sense data” exploited by both philosophers in their arguments for the existence of God?

5. A student in your Sunday School class says, “I’ve heard that Aquinas had 5 arguments for the existence of God, and that a real good one has a modern version called the Cosmological Argument. Can you explain it to us?” How will you respond?

6. How can religious language be analogical speech for Aquinas? Please provide an example as you might in a Sunday School class.

7. In your understanding of Aquinas’ theology of grace, how would you compare his theology to Augustine’s? What are some of the more common Protestant misunderstandings of Aquinas’ theology? As for the ever-controversial doctrine of predestination, how would you summarize his position – and categorize it?

8. Do you discern elements of Semi-Pelagianism in Aquinas’ theology? What evidence, pro or con, would you point to in order to justify your assessment of his theology on this deviant doctrine?

See Lesson 25B for Correlated Readings:

Bible Verses for Reflection


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