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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 87, Issue 4, Fall 2013

Nicholas Kahm
Pages 637-656
DOI: 10.5840/acpq201387450

Divine Providence in Aquinas’s Commentaries on Aristotle’s Physics and Metaphysics, and Its Relevance to the Question of Evolution and Creation

This paper presents a philosophical argument for divine providence by Aquinas. I suggest that upon returning to Aristotle’s Physics and Metaphysics to prepare his commentaries on these texts, Aquinas recognized that his stock argument from natural teleology to divine providence (the fifth way and its versions) needed to be filled out. Arguments from natural teleology can prove that God’s providence extends to what happens for the most part, but they cannot show that God’s providence also includes what happens for the least part. In order to prove the latter, Aquinas claims that one must argue from a higher science, which he then does with all characteristic clarity. This paper presents this argument, discusses what this means for his previous arguments from teleology, and discusses the argument’s relevance to the contemporary discussion about creation and evolution.