(Part 9 of a multi-part series on The Moral Triumph of Western Civilization.)
Thomas Aquinas was born during the same time period that Genghis Khan was ravaging western Asia. Aquinas became one of the most important figures in the development of Western Civilization, especially in reconciling the brilliant (but pagan) philosophy of the ancient Greeks with historical Christian theology.
In his landmark book, Summa Theologica, Aquinas brought together Biblical revelation with human reason; in particular the philosophy of Aristotle, whom he considered the greatest of the newly rediscovered Greek philosophers. Recall that most of the works of the ancient Greeks had only been recently found mostly through cooperation with the Islamic world from about the mid-12th to the mid-13th centuries.
Aquinas is considered one of Western Civilization’s greatest philosophers for proclaiming that reason was a gift from God instilled in humans to be used to understand, explain and enjoy His creation.
Both Augustine and Aquinas applied reason to God’s Word. Aquinas argued that faith must precede reason which had to be used with humility — the understanding that our intelligence and knowledge as humans is limited.