This volume contains seven of Dr Woodbury’s minor texts in Natural Theology.
In Our Knowledge of God Woodbury explains the philosophy, and something of the theology, of how we know God in this life and the next. He speaks of our ability to know God’s existence and attributes in this life and how God is known in the next through the Beatific Vision and the Light of Glory. Woodbury avoids Agnosticism and Anthropomorphism, providing the Catholic teaching on this issue, and concludes by explaining the notions of revelation and faith.
Then, in God: His Existence, Essence and Attributes, Woodbury presents Aquinas’s famous five proofs for God’s existence. With each he explains the terms and principles needed, before offering the argument in both extended and simple forms. He speaks of God’s essence—insofar as we can know it—before speaking of his entitative and operative attributes, such as his goodness, perfection and eternity, and his holiness, mercy and love.
Then we have five texts as appendices: first, Woodbury’s Proof from Movement that God Is: a concise explanation of Aquinas’s first proof for God’s existence from movement; second, Woodbury’s, Commentary on Prima Pars q.2, a.2., which tackles seventeen powerful objections to God’s existence; third and fourth, Woodbury’s On Evil and his Answer to the Objection: “God is not Perfectly Good,” explaining how the existence of evil actually proves God’s, and demonstrates the invalidity of the common objection to God’s existence from evil. The volume finishes with Woodbury’s Twenty Sermon Plans on the Existence and Attributes of God, an excellent summary of the preceding doctrine.
Who was Father Austin Maloney Woodbury?
Father Austin Maloney Woodbury S.M. (1899-1979) was a Marist priest and an Australian Thomistic philosopher and theologian, who in the 1920s received doctorates in both Philosophy and Theology at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas in the City (the Angelicum) in Rome under the renowned Dominican theologian Father Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P. (1877-1964). Woodbury founded Sydney’s Aquinas Academy in 1945, a school of Philosophy and Theology aimed at educating lay people in the rich intellectual tradition of Christianity. He headed the Academy until 1975, teaching a strictly scholastic Philosophy and Theology based on the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). In his own lifetime Woodbury was distinguished by some of his scholarly contemporaries as having penned “one of the greatest courses in philosophy ever written in the English language.”