Notes on Summa Question 22: the Providence of God
Question 22.1: Whether Providence Can Suitably Be Attributed to God?
All that is good in creation was created by God. This good includes the order of things toward their end.
God is the cause of things by His intellect and the type of every effect pre-exists in Him.
Thus, the type of the order of things toward their end exists in the divine mind--and that is what we call providence.
Question 22.1: Whether Everything is Subject to the Providence of God?
There are two key objections.
First, common opinion holds that there are such things as luck and chance, whereas if God foresees everything then luck and chance do not really exist.
Second, the fact that there is evil in the world seems to indicate either that God is not omnipotent or else He is not in charge of everything (in which case, He must leave some things outside His providence, i.e., to chance).
Thomas answers by asserting that every agent acts with an end in mind, and the ordering of effects toward that end extends as far as the causality of the agent extends.
In reply to the first objection, Thomas distinguishes between universal and particular causes. All particular causes are under the universal cause, i.e., God.
In reply to the second objection, Thomas relies on Augustine's answer to the problem of evil: the only reason that God permits evil is to bring good from the evil. (One might think, for example, of how Jesus acted when he heard that his friend Lazarus was ill. Jesus permitted Lazarus to die -- a death that Jesus himself wept over -- and after four days raised Lazarus from the dead