Volume 51, Issue 3, September 2011
Aristotle and Two Medieval Aristotelians on the Nature of God
Thomas of Aquino, from the time he wrote his commentary on the Sentences through writing the Summa of Theology, recognized how far beyond Aristotle’s as the rational theology of Avicenna. After perfecting his approach to proving the existence of God in the “five ways,” Aquinas further developed Avicenna’s organization for treating God’s nature by simplifying Avicenna’s often convoluted thought and added his own developments in content and order. In sum, Aquinas’s treatment of God’s nature depends closely upon Avicenna’s treatment of the subject in his Metaphysics 8.3–7, even more so than upon Aristotle. This conclusion can be seen by comparing the doctrines of Aristotle, Avicenna, and Aquinas on the divine nature.