From Creation to Providence
Medieval Philosophy and Theology, Volume 9, Number 2, September 2000
1. The Aims of the Book This book is the third in a series of three volumes. In 1997 and 1999, Oxford’s Clarendon Press published my books The Metaphysics of Theism and The Metaphysics of Creation, which are related, respectively, to Books I and II of Thomas Aquinas’s Summa contra gentiles (SCG) as this book is to Book III. “Aquinas’s Natural Theology”—a subtitle these three volumes share —identifies what I take to have been developed and presented in SCG I–III. The subtitle may also suggest that this series of volumes is intended primarily as a project in philosophical scholarship, presenting a historical account and critical exposition of Aquinas’s thirteenth-century achievement.
It’s certainly true that one reason I’ve had for undertaking this study is my conviction that Aquinas’s systematic natural theology is a philosophically interesting historical subject that has been generally neglected, misunderstood, or simply unrecognized for what it is. And so my plan for these three volumes does include trying to present, explain, and evaluate the treatments of several essential topics in each of the three parts of his natural theology. I hope these books will, in that way, make a contribution to medieval philosophical scholarship.