My question is on exactly what comments Aquinas has made on consciousness in women. This is because I believe he said we all have God-given reason as we are made in the image of God. Except he also stated women, although created by God, are made in the image of men. Despite this, he says all humans are capable of reaching to the conclusion of natural law using our reason (although this implies women can reach the same conclusion too, I imagine he meant you do not have to be a Christian to realise natural law- especially since he also stated women are have a very passive presence in this world and are essentially 'cosmic mistakes'). Is this just a tension between his different writings? I also imagine he does not talk about consciousness in women- but I thought it might help if I opened up the question to others and see if there is information I am missing.

Apologies in advance for any errors in my question- I have only been learning theology/Philosphy for a year at high-school level.


2 Answers 2


After spending half an hour re-reading parts of the Summa Theologica, very little of it pertains to the consciousness of women, in the modern sense of the word "consciousness".

Also, the meaning of the word "consciousness" in a philosophical (not medical) context continues to be hotly debated - see for example the favourite philosophical football "What Is It Like To Be A Bat", by Nagel (Full text here, Wikipedia entry here).

Most of Aquinas' statements in the Summa Theologica are merely amplifying, glossing or restating statements made in the Old Testament (especially Genesis), New Testament (especially the epistles of St Paul), or other authorities such as Aristotle. This is expected, due to the weight given to the Argumentum ad Auctoritatem in his Scholastic times.

Given this, it's extremely difficult to discern any comments made by Aquinas himself on any subject, independently of any other previous ideas. Indeed I personally believe that Aquinas was attempting to avoid any such new argumentation, and instead focus on analysis and synthesis of existing authorities' arguments.

On balance, I feel I cannot do better than to advise you to re-read Aquinas himself, and the authorities he cites.

  • Thank you very much for your feedback and for taking the time to read over his works. I will definitely read the attached documents too as they look interesting. Have a good day
    – Mia
    Mar 12, 2018 at 17:57

If you are using the Genesis story of male female creation in your study it may assist you to read it as parallel physical spiritual representations, to compare with Aquinas philosophy, such as; Genesis 5 Mankind was made in the image of God, male and female: When God said Adam was lonely and needed a help mate He was saying God is lonely and needed a helpmate. When he made Adam in the image of father God He made physical Eve in the image of Gods future spirit wife. He made Eve from a portion of Adam, an illustration He was making His own female spirit wife from a portion of Himself. The spirit portion of God Father placed in Adam Eve was to grow by filling the earth with new life, see Malachi 2. The fall stopped all that and the Father made a new marriage agreement with Abraham and the Israelites his descendants, the covenant was a marriage covenant between Spirit Father and Spirit Israel, detailed in Ezekiel 16 Isaiah 54 and elsewhere. The spiritual church, being the Christians, are spiritually referred to as the Bride of Christ, i.e. female. The reference to God making mankind in His image, male and female, refers to the family of God which is referred to as one God just as a marriage is regarded biblically to form one flesh, one complete human in the image of God and His Wife. Their first-born was Christ who is known as Israel's and Father God's first-born, Son of God, Son of Man. A family is regarded as one whole but with different parts. Male domination only appeared as a curse to women after the fall, reference is in Genesis 3 vs 16. The Genesis account does not make male superior to female as all mankind are female in spirit from the biblical perspective.

  • Although it is possible to argue, as you do, that the Genesis accounts of creation (note, there are multiple inconsistent accounts) don't explicitly make men superior to women, the Bible is rife with disgusting and/or hilarious sexism, so I feel it's quite moot. See for example biblegateway.com/passage/… Apr 4, 2018 at 8:09
  • Apologies, I was not proving or disproving, merely observing. The heirarchy of an organisation, including family, has philosophical value to study, especially logical outcomes from a two-part species such as human. Your quote in 1 Cor is directly related to Genesis 3 vs 16 and does not conflict with my answer. The bible is more rife with men going to their deaths to protect women. Christ included.
    – Capt
    Apr 5, 2018 at 8:56

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