Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) was probably the greatest philosopher and theologian of the medieval church. He combined faith and reason and superbly answered the challenges of many critics of Christianity. He was born in Italy in 1224 and became a Dominican in 1244. He was called the Doctor Angelicus (the Angelic Doctor). He spent most of his life as a teacher in Paris.
Aquinas was a brilliant philosopher and theologian who was very well connected to Kings by distant relation. He was a great thinker and prolific writer. His works are numerous. Though he lived less than 50 years, he produced over 60 writings.
Summa Contra Gentiles, written from 1261 to 1264, is one of his greatest works as was the Summa Theologica, written from 1275 to 1273. Illness and finally death prevented him from completing the Summa Theologica. It is this latter work that is considered his greatest effort and which his reputation as a brilliant theologian an apologist rests.
Aquinas recognized the distinction between doctrine and philosophy. He knew that doctrine proceeded from divine revelation and that philosophy was based upon discernible information around us. Aquinas maintained that God is distinct from creation and that our descriptions and language about God will always be in perfect because of it. Therefore, Aquinas used analogy extensively in his discussions and explanations of biblical revelation.
Aquinas had a strong influence on the Christian Church, particularly the Roman Catholic Church.