In his meditation on the divine works in the second book of Summa Contra Gentiles, Thomas Aquinas argues that “distinctio . . . rerum secundum speciem” (the distinction of things according to species) is an essential element of creation and not merely a result of chance.1 To support his claim, he points to the first chapter of Genesis, where God creates the world precisely by making a series of distinctions: he divides the light from the darkness and the waters above the firmament from those below before proceeding to create the plants and the living creatures of the earth, sky, and sea, each classified into “speciem suam” (its own kind or species).

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