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Hence follows predestination: from eternity some are destined to eternal life, while as concerns others "he permits some to fall short of that end".
It presents the reasoning for almost all points of Christian theology in the West.
The Summa's topics follow a cycle: God; Creation, Man; Man's purpose; Christ; the Sacraments; and back to God.
The entire first part of the Summa deals with God and his creation, which reaches its zenith in man.
The First Part, therefore, ends with the treatise on man.
What was lacking was added afterwards from the fourth book of his commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard as a supplementum, which is not found in manuscripts of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
The Summa was translated into Greek (apparently by Maximus Planudes around 1327), Armenian, many European languages, and Chinese. Part I treats of God, who is the "first cause, himself uncaused" (primum movens immobile) and as such existent only in act (actu) – that is, pure actuality without potentiality, and therefore without corporeality. This follows from the fivefold proof for the existence of God; namely, there must be a first mover, unmoved, a first cause in the chain of causes, an absolutely necessary being, an absolutely perfect being, and a rational designer.
The arguments from authority, or sed contra arguments, are almost entirely based on citations from these authors.
Some were called by special names: The structure of the Summa Theologiae is meant to reflect the cyclic nature of the cosmos, in the sense of the emission and return of the Many from and to the One in Platonism, cast in terms of Christian theology: The procession of the material universe from divine essence, the culmination of creation in man, and the motion of man back towards God by way of Christ and the Sacraments.
He worked on it from the time of Clement IV (after 1265) until the end of his life.
When he died, he had reached Question 90 of Part III (on the subject of penance).