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Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil$
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Brian Davies

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199790890

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199790890.001.0001

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Goodness and Badness

Goodness and Badness

(p.29) 4 Goodness and Badness
Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil

Brian Davies

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 tried to explain some of Aquinas's basic (or metaphysical) views, ones that we need to understand in order to follow him when it comes to his approach to God and evil. They are not theological views. They are ones that Aquinas thought defensible by reasonable argument without recourse to divine revelation. This chapter adds to the account of such views by turning to what Aquinas thought in general about “goodness” and “badness.” These are terms that always feature prominently in discussions of God and evil, but how did Aquinas understand them? He did not do so by drawing on beliefs about God. Rather, some of his beliefs about God depended on what he thought of goodness and badness without reference to God, thinking that formed a critical backdrop to his overall position on God and evil. That is why we need at this stage to be clear as to what it amounts to.

Keywords:   Thomas Aquinas, God, good, evil, metaphysical views, divine revelation

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