CHAPTER VIII: QUESTION 34 THE PERSON OF THE SON
Three names are attributed to the Son: the Son, the Word, and the Image. We have considered the name "Son" in connection with the name "Father," hence we must still consider the names "Word" and "Image." These three are entirely the same without even a virtual distinction, but they are distinguished in the mode of designation and with reference to various extrinsic connotations. We say the Son with reference to the Father, Word with reference to the enunciating intellect, and Image with reference to the principle which is imitated.
About the Word there are three articles: 1. Whether "the Word" is used essentially or personally; 2. Whether "the Word" is a proper name of the Son; 3. Whether in the name "Word" any reference to creatures is implied. These questions we will consider carefully in the light of the prologue of St. John's Gospel.
First Article: Whether The Word In God Is A Personal Name
State of the question. This article is introduced to distinguish "the Word" properly so called from "the word" improperly so called, namely, from the thing understood in the word and also from the intellection which is common to the three persons.
Reply. The affirmative reply is of faith as revealed in St. John's prologue, "The Word was with God, and the Word was God... . And the Word was made flesh" (1:1, 14). In this text "the Word" designates the same person as "the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father" (1:18).
This doctrine was defined by St. Damasus I and the Fourth Council of Rome in these words: "If anyone shall not say that the Word of God, the Son of God, God even as God His Father, is able to do all things and know all things and is equal to the Father, let him be anathema." Similarly, the Second Council of Constantinople declared: "If anyone does not confess the two nativities of the Word of God... let him be anathema"; the Lateran Council: "If anyone does not confess that God the Word descended from heaven..."; and the Eleventh Council of Toledo, explaining the words," and the Word was made flesh, " corroborated this doctrine.
Doubt. Did these councils wish to define solemnly by these words that divine generation is properly by intellectual enunciation?
Reply. It does not seem that this has been properly defined, but it is revealed in the prologue of St. John's Gospel that the Son of God proceeds from the Father as an intellectual word. Therefore all theologians admit that it is at least theologically certain that the first procession is after the manner of intellection. Indeed, it seems that this truth is of faith according to the Scriptures although it is not solemnly defined.
In the body of the article it is shown that the name "Word" in God if used in its proper meaning is a personal and not an essential name. The reason is that "the Word" signifies something proceeding from another as a concept of the mind. But that which signifies something proceeding from another in God is personal since the divine persons are distinguished by their origin.
So that we may understand this reply, St. Thomas, in the first part of the body of the article, shows that the term "word" is used properly in three ways with reference to ourselves (the word of the mind, the word of the imagination, and the vocal word), and besides this it is also used improperly:
(diagram page 211)
the interior concept of the mind. imagination of the sound to be emitted.
the sound which signifies the mental concept.
that which is signified by the word, not the sign, but its meaning.
In God, however, "Word" is used properly only in the first sense, as a concept of the mind; all other words in God are only metaphorical because they are something sensible or even corporeal and external. Hence St. Thomas says that the mental word in its proper meaning is not that which is understood but that in which the thing understood is known. If St. Thomas sometimes says, "It is the word which is understood," he is using "word" improperly for the thing signified by the word. For Descartes, on the other hand, the interior word is that which is understood, although he does not deny every relation of the word with the extramental thing.
Between these two concepts, that is, between realism and idealism, a great abyss exists, as we see when Descartes did not hesitate to write in the beginning of his Discourse on method: "For us a square circle is something unthinkable but perhaps it may not be something really impossible outside the mind. Perhaps God is able miraculously to make a square circle."
For realism, however, this is absolutely and evidently impossible outside the mind, and according to realism I in my mental word and you in your mental word understand the same law of extramental being, namely, that a thing cannot be and not be at the same time. This law of extramental being is what is understood in my mental word and in your mental word.
If, however, the mental word itself is what is understood, then this law of extramental being is placed in jeopardy. Obviously there is a great abyss between realism and idealism. In this fundamental question of philosophy it is important that we preserve the proper meaning of our terms, otherwise we will always be talking incorrectly in our conclusions.
Some have tried to preserve their realism by conceding to the idealists that it is the mental word that is understood but they add later, as indeed the Scholastics generally hold, that the mental word has an essential relation with the extramental thing. But this qualification is not in harmony with the first statement. If the mental word itself is what is properly understood, how can we afterward pass over to the extramental thing, or to its essence? How shall we be able to compare the thing itself with the word that expresses it, when the thing itself cannot be known except in the word? How can we distinguish between the word that conforms to the extramental thing and the word that does not conform, as we are able to distinguish between a statue that represents a real man and a statue that represents an imaginary man? We cannot have recourse to the principle of causality because the validity of that very principle must be proved first.
Obviously an immense abyss stretches between Descartes, idealism and realism, and it would be exceedingly dangerous to concede to the idealists that the mental word is that which is properly understood. St. Thomas always says that the object of the intellect is being (extramental) and he does not say that the object of the intellect is the mental word of being. We are obliged always to speak so carefully about the word that it will be entirely clear, in opposition to Descartes, that a square circle is not only unthinkable but really impossible outside the mind. Descartes was not able to safeguard the validity of sensitive and intellectual knowledge except by having recourse to the criterion of God's veracity as the author of our faculties. But this implies a vicious circle because we must first prove God's existence by effects and by the principle of causality.
Reply to the first objection. The Arians said that the Son of God was a metaphysical word which was external, but, as St. Thomas says, an external word presupposes an internal word. Moreover, in St. John's Gospel we read, "The Word was God, " and God was the Word, and so the Word cannot be something created or produced outside of God.
Reply to the second objection. In God intellection is predicated essentially and belongs to the three persons.
Reply to the third objection. In God enunciation is predicated personally; only the Father enunciates, and the three persons understand. The Son alone is enunciated as the Word; the other persons are enunciated as things expressed in the Word.
Reply to the fourth objection. Sometimes "word" is used improperly for the thing signified by the word.
Second Article: Whether The Word Is The Proper Name Of The Son
I reply in the affirmative, because word signifies a certain emanation from the intellect, and the Son alone proceeds after the manner of an emanation from the intellect.
Reply to the first objection. In God the Word is not accidental but substantial, because in God being and intellection are the same.
Third Article: Whether The Name Word Implies A Reference To Creatures
The difficulty arises from the fact that creatures are contingent and not eternal, whereas the Word is necessary and eternal. But, as is noted in the sed contra, St. Augustine says that the name "Word" signifies not only the relation to the Father but also to creatures.
Reply. The reply is in the affirmative, because in the one act by which God knows Himself He also knows creatures, for in God there is only one intellection. Thus the one and only Word is expressive not only of the Father but of all creatures. Moreover, the Word with reference to creatures is not only expressive but also operative. In us, on the other hand, there are various words according to which by different acts of intellection we understand different things. An angel, however, understands all things interior to it by one word, as we shall see below.
Doubt. Whether the name "Word" refers to possible creatures in the same way as it refers to future creatures.
Reply. From the body of the article and from the reply to the second objection the reply is that the name "Word" of itself implies a reference to possible creatures, and only per accidens and concomitantly a reference to future creatures.
Proof. The first part is proved as follows. The divine essence is known by God per se comprehensively, that is, to the full extent of its knowability. But it would not be known comprehensively if the divine omnipotence and the possible effects virtually contained in it were not known. Therefore the Word, by which the divine essence is expressed, has a reference per se to possible creatures.
The second part is proved as follows. Per se the Word does not contain a reference to future creatures or even to futurables, because the knowledge from which the Word proceeds per se is natural and necessary, since the Word proceeds naturally and necessarily. But the knowledge of futures and futurables in God is not natural and necessary but presupposes God's free decree. Hence, if the knowledge of the same nature as now.
But per accidens the Word contains a reference to future creatures, presupposing the eternal decree of free creation, since the Word in expressing the divine nature expresses it as operating freely ad extra.
Consequently we say that the blessed see creatures in the Word as in their exemplary and efficient cause; but they do not see all possible creatures because this would imply the possession of comprehensive vision. Besides this vision of creatures in the Word, the blessed have knowledge of creatures outside the Word by representations and proper species, and this second knowledge is inferior to the first, being clouded and hazy as in the dusk, whereas the first knowledge is clear as in the morning light. Hence many of St. Thomas' commentators, such as John of St. Thomas, point out that the theologians in heaven who while on earth engaged in the study of theology, not only because of a natural desire of learning and teaching but also for the love of God and souls, see the object of theology in the Word, whereas other theologians who studied theology only because of their desire for learning see the object of theology outside the Word, with a knowledge that is inferior and cloudy.
Many mystics, like Tauler, teach that an intellectual creature, elevated to grace, will not be perfect with the ultimate perfection unless it sees God immediately and sees itself in the Word. It is a higher kind of knowledge to see our soul in the Word than to see it in itself and through itself. The mystics often say that the soul must return to its principle, and that the soul will love itself most perfectly when, beholding itself in the Word, it loves itself in the Lord without any inordinate self-love. St. Thomas says: "So far as a thing is perfect it will attain to its principle." This is the return to the bosom of the Father, in some sense similar to what is said of the only-begotten Son, who is "in the bosom of the Father." Then the soul will not live for itself but for God.
CHAPTER IX: QUESTION 35 THE IMAGE
First Article: Whether "Image" In God Is Predicated Personally
THIS article is intended to explain the words of Holy Scripture I about the Second Person of the Holy Trinity: "The unspotted mirror of God's majesty, and the image of His goodness"; "that the light of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them"; "who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature"; "who being the brightness of His glory, and the figure of His substance,... sitteth on the right hand of the majesty on high."
Reply. The name Image is a personal and not an essential name. The reason is that for something to be a true image it must proceed from another similar to itself in species or in the sign of the species. But that which implies procession or origin in God is personal. Therefore the name "Image" is a personal name.
To explain his reason St. Thomas shows that two conditions are required for an image: 1. that it be similar not only analogically, generically, or even specifically, but in the sign of the species, for example, according to the features of the face; 2. that this likeness have its origin from that being of which it is the image by virtue of some procession. Here we can see the validity of common sense. No one is said to be like his image, but we do say that the picture of this man is perfectly like him. Similarly, as St. Augustine says," ne sheep is not said to be the image of another, because it was not expressed by it." In this observation we see the hidden wealth in common sense and in natural reason, which contain the beginnings and rudiments of ontology just as the earth contains metals, like gold and silver, and precious stones, like diamonds.
A book could be written about the riches hidden in common sense, particularly with regard to the verb "is," its different tenses and modes, its various persons; all this is a reflection of metaphysics cast on the elements of grammar.
Images are of three kinds.
1. The artificial image, which is similar only in the sign of the species, for example, in features or figure, as a picture or statue. This IS an imperfect image.
2. The intentional image, which is the expressed intelligible species implying a likeness not only in the sign of a specific nature but also in the specific nature itself, not in the mode of natural being but in intelligible being. This image is more perfect than the first.
3. The natural image, which denotes likeness both in the specific nature and in the mode of natural being, as the son is sometimes the living image of his father. This is the perfect image. In God it is most perfect because it is likeness in a nature numerically the same. The first and third kinds of image are presented as the thing that is known; the second kind of image itself is not properly known but that in which another thing is known. In God the Word is at the same time the intentional and the natural image.
Reply to the first objection. That from which the image proceeds is properly called the exemplar and improperly the image. Thus it is said that man is made to the image of God, but God is properly the exemplar and man is the imperfect image of God.
Reply to the third objection. Imitation in God does not signify posterity but only assimilation. All words retain a certain amount of imperfection from their original human application, according to which they apply first to creatures.
Second Article: Whether The Name Image Is Proper To The Son
State of the question. The Greeks applied the name Image to the Holy Ghost as well, while the Latins use it only for the Son.
Reply. The name Image is proper to the Son.
1. Proof from Scripture. In Sacred Scripture the word "image" refers only to the Son, as for instance, "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature"; and "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the figure of His substance."
2. Proof from theological reason. Only the Son by reason of His procession formally possesses that which is similar to the Father because He proceeds as the expressed Word. The Holy Ghost, on the other hand, proceeds as love, but love is not a likeness of that from which it proceeds but rather an inclination after the manner of a weight or an impulse.
Out of respect to the Greek Fathers it may be said that the Holy Ghost is like the Father and the Son in nature and thus the Holy Ghost may be said to be the image of the Father and the Son in a broad sense, but not formally by reason of His procession. For the same reason we said above that the second procession is not generation because of itself it does not produce something similar to that from which it proceeds.
Durandus objected that the Son is not similar to the Father by reason of essence, because here there is identity, nor by reason of relation because here there is opposition. We reply that the Son is like the Father by reason of essence and relation at once, that is, by reason of person, for like things agree in some things and differ in others. Thus the Father and the Son agree in nature and differ by relation.
Note on the third objection. Man is said to be in the likeness of God rather than the image of God, that is, man tends toward the likeness of God.
Recapitulation. "The Word" is the proper name of the Son, for the Word in God is both substantial and incommunicable, that is, He is a person, something subsisting and incommunicable. The Word implies a reference to creatures inasmuch as He proceeds from the comprehensive knowledge of the divine essence, which is the cause of creatures. Again, the Son of God is properly the Image, an image that is natural and intentional at the same time, as a son is the living image of his father. Only the Son has this derived likeness of an image by reason of His procession because He proceeds as the expressed Word of the Father.
Therefore we read in the Scriptures, "The image of the invisible God," "the unspotted mirror of God's majesty, "and" the brightness of His glory and the figure of His substance."
CHAPTER X: QUESTION 36 THE PERSON OF THE HOLY GHOST
The Holy Ghost is known by three names: the Holy Ghost, Love, and the Gift. Hence there are three questions about the Holy Ghost.
About the Holy Ghost four things are asked: 1. Whether this name, Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, is personal; 2. Whether the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and from the Son, 3. Whether He proceeds from the Father by the Son; 4. Whether the Father and the Son are one principle of the Holy Ghost.
First Article: Whether This Name, Holy Spirit Or Holy Ghost, Is A Proper Name Of One Of The Divine Persons
State of the question. Often in the Scriptures this name is common to the divine persons, for example, "But if I by the Spirit of God cast out devils." Further, the Holy Spirit does not imply a reference to someone else as the Father and the Son refer to another. Moreover, the name "Holy Spirit" appears to be a divine attribute, as when we speak of the spirit of this man, meaning his mind or his manner of judging.
In the Scriptures, however, especially in the New Testament, "The Holy Spirit" is used personally in many places, for example, in the formula of baptism, and in the instances cited in the introduction. St. Thomas also refers to the Johannine comma, which is at least an expression of tradition even if its genuineness is not entirely clear.
In the body of the article St. Thomas concludes that although the name, Holy Ghost, is not in itself a proper name, it has been adapted by its use in the Scriptures to designate the third person. St. Thomas explains that those things that pertain to love often do not have a proper name, and some common name is adopted. This happens because love is ineffable. The reason is that we give proper names to those things that we understand properly and distinctly, but we are not able to understand the things pertaining to love properly and distinctly in the abstract. Why? Because the elements of love are less known to us than the matters that pertain to the intellect, and this for the following three reasons.
1. The intellect knows those things that are in itself better than those things that belong to another faculty, as the will.
2. Good, which is the object of love, is not formally in the mind like truth, which is the conformity of judgment with the thing, but the good is in things since the good is the very perfection of that thing that is amiable and alluring. Therefore the immanent term of love goes without a proper name.
3. Love as inclining to the good which is in things, like every tendency or inclination, contains something potential, and things are not intelligible except so far as they are in act and determined. A thing is known as an act or as a form; but love is rather a tendency, an impulse, or the weight by which the lover is drawn to that which is loved. St. Thomas said above: "The procession that takes place in the nature of goodness is not understood as being in the nature of a similitude but rather in the nature of something impelling and moving toward another." He goes on to say: "This procession remained without a special name, but it can be called spiration" because of its inclination to a terminus not properly named. Love tends to the good that is in things; first it inclines after the manner of desire before it possesses the thing. The possession takes place by intuitive cognition, that is, by sight and touch in the sensible order; as long as the possession continues, love quiesces by fruition in that which is loved. Therefore bliss or the possession of the thing is not in love but in the intuitive cognition of what is loved, and this is the assimilation of the thing. This tendency of love and this fruition are known experimentally and it is difficult to obtain a speculative knowledge of them which can be expressed by a special and distinct name. Hence we said above that the terminus of intellectual enunciation has a proper name, namely, the word, but the terminus of the act of love has no special name.
Because of this ineffability of love some say that love is something higher than knowledge and that knowledge is a kind of disposition for love. Such was the teaching of Plotinus, who speaks of a supreme <hypostasis> above the second <hypostasis>, which is intellect; the supreme <hypostasis> of Plotinus is the One-Good, which is not intelligible but which can be contacted by love. Later Scotus taught that bliss is essentially in the love of God. But St. Thomas showed that the intellect is simply superior to the will, which it directs, because the object of the intellect, that is, being, is more absolute and universal than the good. Although in this life the love of God is better than the abstract knowledge of God, in heaven the possession of God takes place by intuitive vision, which is necessarily followed by love just as the property is derived from the essence.
The following should be noted about the ineffability of love, which many consider superior to the intellect. When voluntarists and dynamists (like Bergson) say that there is more in motion than in immobility, they confuse the immobility of inertia, which is inferior to motion, with the immobility of perfection, which is above motion and which is the stability as something more perfect opposed to the instability of mobile things. These philosophers never use the terms stability and instability. There is more in motion than in the terminus from which the motion began, but there is not more than in the end of the motion itself, more in esse than in fieri (more in being than in becoming), more in a man than in the embryo. If you deny the superiority of this second kind of immobility, the stability of perfection, you must say with Eduard Le Roy that God Himself is in perpetual evolution and is creative evolution itself. In the treatise on the One God, St. Thomas asks whether God has life. He replies that God possesses immanent life of the highest degree, subsisting intelligence itself whose measure is the one stable instant of eternity, namely, the stable now, not the fluid moment of time which is ever fleeting and ever unstable.
When, therefore, many say that the intellect is more imperfect than love because it is static and immobile, they do not take into consideration sufficiently the distinction between the imperfect immobility of inertia and the perfect stability which is the goal of the highest contemplation of immutable truth. Absolute dynamism ought logically to deny the immobility of God Himself and confuse God with mundane evolution. And anti-intellectualism, professed by many voluntarists, ought to take the stand that the intellect is not a simply simple perfection and that God does not know Himself as Plotinus taught about the supreme <hypostasis> which he had placed above the first intelligence. This is, of course, absolutely inadmissible. We can concede, however, that the human intellect as such sometimes materializes the life of the spirit inasmuch as it knows the spirit in the mirror of sensible things. In this way the human intellect understands spiritual qualities according to the analogy of quantity and speaks of a high or broad spirit or of the height of understanding.
Because of this ineffability of love it follows, as St. Thomas says in this article, that the relations which arise from the procession of love are unnamed. Wherefore the name of the person proceeding in this manner is not a proper name but a name accommodated from the usage of the Scriptures, namely, the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) as we see it used in the formula of baptism.
The accommodative application of this name has two advantages: 1. since the third person proceeds from the two first persons, who are spirits, this third person is, as it were, their spirit; 2. since the term "spirit" in corporeal things denotes a certain impulse and it is a property of love to move or impel the will of the lover to that which is loved.
Reply to the first objection. Many texts of the Old Testament use the term "spirit of God" as a common name rather than a personal name. Such is not the case, however, in the New Testament, where this accommodation is obvious as in the formula for baptism and in the promise of the Holy Ghost.
Reply to the second objection. The name "Holy Spirit" was adopted to signify a person distinct from the others only by relation and as spirated by them.
Reply to the third objection. Why can we say, "our Father," and "our Spirit," but not "our Son",? We cannot say "our Son" because no creature can be considered the principle with regard to any of the divine persons. On the other hand we depend on our heavenly Father, and spirit is a common name as when we say the spirit of Moses or of Elias. Even the Holy Spirit, dwelling within us and inspiring us to holy deeds, can be called our spirit in the sense that He is the life of our life. In this sense we say that we have received the Spirit of adoption of sons.
Second Article: Whether The Holy Ghost Proceeds From The Son
State of the question. This article contains two questions: whether the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son, which is the subject of dispute between the Greeks and Latins, and whether the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son in such a way that if He did not proceed from the Son He would not be distinguished personally from the Son. Concerning this second question Scotus opposed St. Thomas, who gave an affirmative reply. We shall consider first the prior question particularly in its speculative aspect since the positive aspect is treated in the history of dogma.
Various errors and the definitions of the Church. Many errors about the procession of the Holy Ghost have been condemned by the Church. In the beginning the Eunomians and the Macedonians denied that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father, and they were immediately condemned by the Council of Constantinople in 381. Later many others attacked the teaching that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Son, namely, Theodoret (434), the Monothelites and Iconoclasts (eighth century), Photius (ninth century), and Michael Caerularius (eleventh century), whom the Greek schismatics follow until the present day. Photius, the impious usurper of the Constantinopolitan see, who aspired to the supremacy over the Church, found a pretext for attacking the teaching of the Latin Church on this point in some obscure texts of the Greek Fathers. Photius was condemned by Nicholas I and seceded from communion with the Latin Church. After his death union between the Churches was restored, but the schism again broke out because of the ambitions of Michael Caerularius. For many the difficulty arose from the fact that many Greek Fathers said that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father through the Son. This turn of words provided the occasion for the Photians to write against the doctrine of the Latin Church. In the present article St. Thomas presents the principal difficulties of the Greeks, adding that there is no basis for their stand either in Sacred Scripture or in the ancient councils, in which the question was not yet explicitly considered.
It should be said, moreover, that in the Latins, concept of the Trinity, which begins with the unity of nature rather than with the three persons, an easier approach is made to the Filioque, especially if the Latin doctrine is understood in the post-Augustinian view, according to which the processions are after the manner of intellection and love, for love follows knowledge and proceeds from it inasmuch as nothing is willed unless it is known. This point is not so clear in the Greek concept, which starts with the three persons instead of with the unity of nature.
To clarify the matter in opposition to Photius, the term Filioque was added to the Nicene Creed, first in Spain, then in France and Germany, and later was accepted and approved by authority of the Roman Pontiffs. Finally under Pius X it was declared: "It would be no less temerarious than erroneous to entertain the opinion that the dogma of the procession of the Son from the Holy Ghost can hardly be proved from the words of the Gospels or from the faith of the ancient Fathers."
The Church has indeed defined that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son "as from one principle and by one single spiration." The Council of Florence declared: "We define that this truth of faith be accepted and believed by all Christians and that all shall profess that the Holy Ghost is eternally from the Father and the Son and that He has His essence and subsisting being at the same time from the Father and the Son, and that He proceeds eternally from both as from one principle and by one spiration." In the same council it was defined: "The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son... . Whatever the Holy Ghost is or has He has received simultaneously from the Father and the Son. But the Father and the Son are not two principles of the Holy Ghost but one principle just as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are not three principles of creatures but one principle." These words, "We proceeds by one spiration," were added in the Council of Florence and in the Council of Lyons to solve the difficulty of some Greeks who rejected the formula ex Patre Filioque because they erroneously thought that it implied two principles of the Holy Ghost.
Whether there is a clear warrant in Scripture and tradition for this definition of the Church.
The testimony of Scripture. No doubt exists that it is clearly taught by the Scriptures that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father: "But when the Paraclete cometh..., who proceedeth from the Father, " "For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you."
It is also clear from many passages of the New Testament that the Holy Ghost proceeds also from the Son. We prove this in three ways: 1. because the Holy Ghost is said to be sent by the Son; 2. because the Holy Ghost is said to receive something from the Son; 3. because the Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of the Son.
In proving these three points we presuppose from the formula of baptism and from similar texts already cited for the three persons together that Holy Ghost and Spirit of the Father are names not of a divine attribute but of the third person. In these proofs we follow the chronological order in which this truth was revealed, beginning with the revelation of Christ Himself when He promised the Holy Ghost.
1. The Holy Ghost is said to have been sent by the Son as well as by the Father. "I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you forever. The Spirit of truth... shall abide with you." Here mention is made of another person, that is, another Paraclete, distinct from Him who asks and from the Father, who will send Him. "But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things." If the Father sends the Holy Ghost in the name of the Son, the Son also sends Him. This thought is more clearly expressed in the following: "But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, He shall give testimony of Me." In the following chapter: "If I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you."
St. Thomas' argument is built on these texts as follows: A mission or sending presupposes a certain influence of the sender on him who is sent. This influence of the sender is either in the nature of a command, as when a master sends a servant, or in the nature of counsel, as when a man sends his friend to another, or in the nature of origin, as when leaves are sent out by a tree. A divine person, however, is not sent by command or counsel because these imply inferiority since he who commands is greater and he who counsels is wiser. Hence sending in God denotes nothing except the procession of origin to a terminus where the person sent was not before. If the Holy Ghost, therefore, is said to be sent by the Father and the Son, He proceeds from the Father and the Son. "The Father... is not said to be sent for He does not have a terminus from which He is or from which He proceeds." In God, then, a sending cannot take place without being a procession, and the Holy Ghost, who was sent by the Son, must proceed from the Son.
2. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son because He is said to receive something from the Son. "But when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth... . He shall glorify Me; because He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it to you. All things whatsoever the Father hath, are Mine. Therefore I said, that He shall receive of Mine, and show it to you."
Here the Scriptures explicitly affirm that the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, receives something from the Son. But in God one person cannot receive anything from another except to proceed from that person because, besides the relation of origin, all things are common to the three persons. "In God receiving is not understood in the same sense as in creatures... . For, since the divine persons are simple, that which receives is not different from that which is received... . Moreover, the person who receives was not at some time lacking what is received, because the Son had from eternity what He received from the Father, and the Holy Ghost had from eternity what He received from the Father and the Son... . Therefore the Holy Ghost receives from the Son as the Son receives from the Father. Therefore in God to receive denotes the order of origin."
Objection. "To receive of Mine" must be understood as referring only to the communication of the knowledge of the future because "and shall show it to you" follows immediately.
Reply. The Holy Ghost appears as a divine person from the other texts quoted and is therefore called the Spirit of truth. But a divine person who is not incarnate cannot receive the knowledge of futures except by receiving the divine nature because in the divine nature this knowledge is uncreated and identified with the divine nature. The text confirms this argument in the words: "All things whatsoever the Father hath, are Mine; therefore I said that He shall receive of Mine." Here the reason is assigned why the Holy Ghost proceeds also from the Son, namely, because the Son has whatever the Father has, including active spiration.
3. In several passages of the Scripture the Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of the Son or the Spirit of Christ Jesus: "God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father." From the use of the word "sent" we see reference is made to the Holy Ghost, sent by the Father and the Son on Pentecost, who dwells in the hearts of the just, as St. Paul frequently says. Further confirmation is found in St. Paul's words to the Romans: "But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."
In this last text the Holy Ghost dwelling in the souls of men is called the Spirit not only of the Father but also of Christ, as in the words of Christ, "But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father." Again in the Acts of the Apostles, "They attempted to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not." From these texts the following argument is constructed: here the Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of the Son. But he could not be so called unless He proceeded from the Son just as He is called the Spirit of the Father because He proceeds from the Father. In other words, if the Greeks admit that the Spirit of the Father is the Spirit proceeding from the Father, why do they not admit that the Spirit of the Son is the Spirit proceeding from the Son? This argument is found in the writings of St. Augustine: "Why therefore do we not believe that the Holy Ghost proceeds also from the Son since He is also the Spirit of the Son?"
The testimony of tradition. Is the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son explicitly found in tradition as expressed by the Fathers?
Since the Greeks admit this doctrine is found in the Latin Fathers, it will be sufficient to refer to the Greek Fathers who wrote on the Trinity: St. Athanasius, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Cyril of Alexandria.
St. Athanasius writing to Serapion said: "We find that the same property that the Son has to the Father, the Holy Ghost has to the Son." In another place St. Athanasius calls the Son "the font of the Holy Ghost." St. Gregory of Nyssa explains this truth by a comparison: "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are like three lights of which the second is lit by the first and the third by the second." St. Cyril of Alexandria is more explicit: "since therefore the Holy Ghost dwelling in us makes us comformable to the Father, He truly proceeds from the Father and the Son, and it is clear from the divine essence that He is essentially in it and proceeding from it, just as the breath comes from the human mouth, although this is a humble and unworthy illustration of such a sublime thing."
Many of the Greek Fathers explain this truth in a slightly different manner, declaring that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father through the Son. This expression was explained by the Council of Florence with the approval of the Greeks.
The Church's doctrine on this point is found in the synods and councils held prior to the Greek schism.
In the profession of faith presented by the bishops of Africa to King Hunneric in the fifth century, we read: "We believe that the unbegotten Father and the Son begotten of the Father and the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, are of one substance." The synod of Alexandria approved the letter in which St. Cyril wrote that the Holy Ghost "proceeded from the Father and the Son, " and this letter was later applauded by the Councils of Ephesus, Chalcedon, and Constantinople (II).
In the ninth century the Roman Pontiffs approved the addition of the Filioque to the creed; later with the consent of the Greeks it was defined in the Fourth Lateran Council, and in the Council of Florence.
St. Thomas Doctrine On The Filioque
We consider first the theological reason he offers in the Summa and later how he solves the difficulties of the Greeks. In the body of the article we find three reasons: the first from incongruity and the other two from the congruity or conformity with things in the natural order. From the analogy with natural things we can to some degree know the mystery of the Trinity although we cannot demonstrate it.
1. The reason or argument from incongruity is an apodictical argument by reduction to the impossible. It begins with the negation of the position to be admitted: if the Holy Ghost does not proceed from the Son, He would not be distinguished from the Son, because the divine persons are distinguished only by the relation of origin, which is founded on the processions. We do not delay in considering this argument because it will be developed against the objections of Scotus after an examination of the Greek difficulties.
2. This argument is based on the nature of the processions. The Son proceeds after the manner of intellection as the Word, and the Holy Ghost proceeds after the manner of the will as personal love. But love proceeds from the word, for we do not love anything unless we have apprehended it by a concept of the mind. Nothing is willed unless first it is known. Therefore the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son. This argument proposed by St. Thomas is sufficiently clear from the foregoing. It is at least a profound argument of congruity. Against it, however, two objections have been raised which are too much concerned with particulars and in this way do not take into consideration what St. Thomas wished to say.
Objection. In the beatific vision there is no word, and yet it is followed by love.
Reply. In the beatific vision there is no accidental created word, but the divine essence takes the place of the expressed species because the divine essence of itself is understood in act and cannot be represented in a created word as it is in itself. We are obliged to express ourselves in this manner because of the imperfect manner of our intellection although there is in our intellection an expressed species (when it exists) which is the vicar of the object and which takes the place of the object, as when the object is not understood of itself in act. Thus what St. Thomas wished to say in this argument stands: nothing is willed unless first known, and love follows vision and proceeds from it in some way. So proportionately the Holy Ghost proceeds as love from the Word, and this procession is understood to take place as intellection from the words of the prologue of St. John's Gospel.
I insist. In created beings the word does not concur effectively in love; it concurs only objectively and as the final object inasmuch as the word proposes the object that elicits love.
Reply. Granting this for the sake of argument, it is still true that love in some way proceeds from the knowledge of the good or from the good as known; it also is still true that the appetitive faculty comes from the essence of the soul as endowed with the intellectual faculty, and the essence is therefore the root of the other faculties. Moreover, according to revelation, the divine Word is a subsisting person and thus can be the principle (principium quod) of notional love and active spiration, whereas our accidental word is not the principium quod but a necessary condition (sine qua non) of love since love tends only to the known good.
We granted for the sake of argument that the word in created beings does not concur effectively in love, because a dispute exists on this point between Thomistic theologians.
Conrad Kollin, Cajetan, and others hold that the intellect moves the will with respect to its specification as an efficient cause inasmuch as the object proposed by the intellect is the cause for eliciting a determined act of love. The particular specification of the act of love, as distinguished from the exercise of the act of love, must have an efficient cause, and the will alone is not a sufficient efficient cause for this specification, otherwise all acts of love would be of the same species. Moreover, as Conrad Kollin and Cajetan point out, in God the subsisting Word effectively produces personal love or the Holy Ghost. Therefore the same thing takes place analogically in the case of the non-subsisting word of our intellect. To support this interpretation they cite certain texts of St. Thomas: "The intellect is prior to the will as the mover is prior to what is moved and as the active is prior to the passive, for the good that is understood moves the will."
Other Thomists, among them Capreolus, Ferrariensis, Bannez, and Gonet hold that the intellect moves the will only as a final and formal extrinsic cause because the object proposed by the intellect to the will is not intrinsic to the will. But even if this second opinion is admitted, our argument still holds because the word in created beings produces love at least in a broad sense because it leads to the eliciting of a definite act of love inasmuch as it specifies the act, and no act can be elicited without being specified.
Further, the subsistence of the divine Word elevates all the conditions of the word to most perfect being and in this state of being the Word actively and properly influences love. Thus the Word of God spirates love.
St. Thomas' argument remains unscathed. He was disinclined, however, to descend to these particulars because as he said: "Our intellect cannot understand the essence of God as it is in itself in this life, but it determines and limits every mode in the things it understands about God and departs from the mode of God's being in Himself. Therefore the more certain nouns are unrestricted and common and absolute, the more properly they are predicated by us of God, as, for instance, the name "Who is," which expresses the vast and infinite ocean of substance itself.
Hence we should not descend to small particulars, to excessive precision and delimitation; these things remove us from the contemplation of God and we cannot understand a free act in God or how the Word spirates love. This is true of many speculative and practical questions. For instance, a certain particular intention virtually lasts for several days, but we cannot say for how many days it lasts since there is a great difference here between a superficial soul and one that is profoundly recollected. Again, it is certainly very laudable to unite our personal offerings often during the day by prayer to the oblation made continually in the heart of the glorious Christ and to the offering of all the Masses celebrated throughout the world. If we wish to descend mechanically to particulars, we might ask how it is possible to unite oneself to all these Masses in particular. This does not mean that it is impossible to unite ourselves to the oblation which perdures in the heart of Christ in glory, which is, as it were, the soul of all these Masses.
Very often excessive and pseudo-scientific exactitude in spiritual things removes us from the contemplation of God. Such concern with particulars detracts from the beauty of St. Thomas, argument that love proceeds from the knowledge of good, and therefore it appears right to say that in God personal love proceeds from the Word. In the light of this argument we understand those beautiful words of tradition: The Word spirates love. The same is true with regard to our understanding of the mystery of the cross or of the Redemption: too much concern with details impedes us in contemplation of the mystery.
The third argument of congruity may be stated as follows: When several things proceed from one, they are distinct only by number and matter unless they are distinguished because of the orders of origin or causality. But the Son and the Holy Ghost proceed from one and the same Father and they are distinct by more than number and matter, that is, by the two processions of intellect and love, which are more than numerically distinct. Hence there must be between them some order; not the order of causality or of greater or less perfection, but of origin. And since the Son does not proceed from the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost must proceed from the Son.
The major of the argument is based on the fact that when several things that are distinct by more than number and matter proceed from one thing they proceed according to some order, and in created beings according to some kind of subordination. When several things proceed from one thing and are distinguished only by number and matter, they may proceed without any definite order as, for instance, when a workman makes many knives distinct from one another only numerically and materially, they have no order to each other. Such is not the case, however, with the species of number and the figures of geometry in the order of quantity; all numbers proceed from unity according to a definite order. So also in the order of quality: for example, the different degrees of heat and light, the various colors of the spectrum. The various species of minerals, plants, and animals are subordinated according to their greater or lesser perfection; such subordination is also found among the angels.
This gives us an analogy of the divine processions. But in God there can be no order of greater or lesser perfection and so there can be no subordination or coordination, which implies subordination. Nor can there be an order of causality since each divine person is uncreated, uncaused, and entirely equal to the others. In the divine persons there is an order of origin as we know exists between the Father and the Son, and between the Holy Ghost and the Father, and equally between the Holy Ghost and the Son, otherwise there would be no more order in the divine persons than between those things that are distinguished only numerically and materially.
If there were no such order the analogy with intellect and will would break down, for the will, as the rational appetite, does not come from the essence of the soul except through the mediation of the intellective faculty, otherwise the appetite would not be properly rational in its root nor would it be under the direction of reason. In other words it is impossible that the intellect and the will should be equal (ex aequo) as Suarez thought; there must be some order between them as there must be order between vision and love.
Suarez failed to see that all coordination supposes subordination and that the intellect and the will cannot be coordinated on an equal plane (ex aequo) nor can vision and love.
Order is a disposition by way of earlier and later with respect to some principle, and thus order is discovered in subordination before it is found in coordination. Two soldiers are not coordinated in an army unless they are first subordinated to the leader of the army. St. Thomas asks whether the inequality of things is from God, and he replies in the affirmative, saying that the subordination or hierarchy of things serves to manifest in many ways the divine goodness, which in itself is most simple and would not be fittingly manifested if all things were entirely equal. Then there would be no reason for multiplying created things.
Thus, as Leibnitz said, no one would place in his library several identical copies of the same edition of Virgil. The variety of species necessary for the subordination of created things is a better manifestation of the divine goodness, which is in itself most simple.
In God's intimate life there is no subordination or hierarchy, but there is an order of origin that transcends coordination and subordination.
In the body of the article St. Thomas notes that the Greeks concede that there is an element of truth in this argument; they concede that the Holy Ghost is from the Father through the Son. This formula will be examined in the next article. St. Thomas also notes that some Greeks are said to concede that the Holy Ghost flows from the Son but does not proceed from Him. To which St. Thomas replied: everything that flows from another proceeds from it, as the brook from the spring and the ray of light from the sun. The Greeks insisted that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father as the brook from the spring and through the Son as through the channel in which the brook flows.
The fourth argument is taken from the general principle that in God all things are one and the same except where there is opposition of relation. But between the Father and the Son there is no opposition of relation in active spiration. Therefore active spiration is common to both. This commonly accepted principle was expressly formulated in the Council of Florence, and as Denzinger notes, it was at this Council that the learned Cardinal Bessarion, archbishop of Nicaea, the theologian of the Greek party, proclaimed: "No one is ignorant of the fact that the personal names of the Trinity are relative." It is on this accepted principle that the argument is based.
The fifth reason is drawn from the words," ll things whatsoever the Father hath, are Mine. Therefore I said, that He shall receive of Mine." If the Holy Ghost did not proceed from the Son, the Son would not have whatsoever the Father has (excepting paternity), and the divine will would be less fecund in the Son for active spiration than in the Father. Nor should it be said that the Holy Ghost has the same will as the Father and still does not spirate actively because the Holy Ghost, proceeding not by intellection but by the will, exhausts the will as its adequate terminus. In other words, the Holy Ghost exhausts the entire fecundity of the divine will within itself (ad intra), just as the divine Word proceeding by intellection ad intra, exhausts the entire fecundity of the divine intellect as its adequate terminus.
The sixth reason is found in the Contra Gentes. In God, since He is necessary, there is no difference between being and possibility, that is, being follows immediately on possibility. But it is not the impossibility but rather the possibility that appears that the Son should be the principle of the Holy Ghost, for that which is from a principle in the first procession can be the principle in the second procession. Therefore the Son is a principle of the second procession together with the Father.
Solution Of The Principal Objections Of The Greeks
First objection. This objection is stated as the first difficulty in St. Thomas, article, namely, Sacred Scripture states that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father but it never says He proceeds from the Son.
Reply. Sacred Scripture does not express this truth in so many words, I concede; it does not express this truth, I deny; for as we have seen, the Son says of the Holy Ghost, "We shall receive of Mine"; "All things whatsoever the Father hath, are Mine. Therefore I said, that He shall receive of Mine."
Second objection. The First Council of Constantinople, which was the second ecumenical council, does not make any mention of the Son.
Reply. St. Thomas replies that the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son was not explicitly mentioned in this council because the opposite error had not yet arisen. But later, when the error arose, the Filioque was added to the creed, first in Spain and later in France and Germany in the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries. Thereupon Benedict VIII approved the addition and finally it was accepted by the ecumenical councils of Lyons (II) and Florence by both the Greeks and Latins present at these councils.
In the reply to the third difficulty, St. Thomas notes that St. John Damascene, following the Nestorian error on this point, spoke inaccurately in his book, although some commentators say that he (lid not expressly deny the Filioque. Petavius points out that St. John Damascene understood that the Holy Ghost did not proceed from the Son as from the first font of origin because among the Greeks the preposition ex and the noun principium denote the first font of origin.
In D'Ales' words, "St. John Damascene did not deny simply that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Son but that He proceeded from the Son as from the first principle. He had evolved a physical theory of the Trinity, according to which the procession was like a breath coming from the mouth, a figure certainly less apt than that of St. Augustine."
St. John Damascene approaches the Latin doctrine when he compares the Father to the sun, the Son to the ray, and the Holy Ghost to the brightness, which is from the ray. Indeed, in his book, De fide orthodoxa, he says that the Holy Ghost is the image of the Son as the Son is the image of the Father.
This is a sufficient defense of the Church's doctrine on the Filioque. In the third article we shall see that it is permissible to say that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father through the Son, according to the Greek Fathers, and St. Hilary among the Latin Fathers. The reason is that the Son has from the Father that by which the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son.
Other objections. Whatever is in God is either common or proper. But the spiration of the Holy Ghost is not common to the entire Trinity. Therefore this spiration is proper to one person, namely, to the Father and does not belong to the Son.
Reply. I distinguish the major: whatever is in God is either common (to the three persons) or strictly proper, as risibility in man, I deny; is common or proper in a broad sense, I concede as, for instance, spirituality and freedom properly belong to the human soul and also to the angels.
I insist. But to spirate the Holy Ghost is strictly proper to the Father, for absolutely contrary properties cannot belong to the same person. But the property of the Son consists in receiving, of which spiration is a contrary property. Therefore the Son cannot actively spirate the Holy Ghost.
Reply. I distinguish the major: properties that are contrary with respect to the same other person cannot belong to the same person, I concede; with respect to distinct persons, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor in the same way: the Son is both active and passive with respect to distinct persons and not to the same person. This is not an impossible contrariety.
I insist. The Son is no more in agreement with the Father than the Holy Ghost. But the Holy Ghost does not concur with the Father in the generation of the Son. Therefore the Son does not concur with the Father in the spiration of the Holy Ghost.
Reply. I distinguish the major: with regard to essentials, I concede; with regard to the notional act of spiration, I deny.
The second article contains references to the discussion between the Thomists and Scotus, which we shall examine immediately.
Doubt. If the Holy Ghost did not proceed from the Son, would He be distinguished from Him?
In the beginning of the body of this article St. Thomas answers negatively, and not only the Thomists but most other theologians agree with him. Scotus and his followers, however, reply in the affirmative, arguing that if the impossible were true and the Holy Ghost were not spirated by the Son, the Son would still be distinguished by filiation from the Holy Ghost because the Holy Ghost would not be the Son.
St. Thomas, position is based on that principle commonly accepted and explicitly formulated in the Council of Florence: "In God all things are one and the same except where there is opposition of relation"; in other words, the divine persons are really distinguished only by the relation of origin, which is founded on the processions, as was explained above. If therefore the Holy Ghost did not proceed from the Son, He would not be distinct from the Son. The reader is referred to the body of the article.
It should be noted that this principle is found prior to the Council of Florence in the writings of the Fathers, particularly in St. Augustine, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Anselm. The Council of Florence proved against the Greeks that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Son; its principal reason was that otherwise the Holy Ghost would not be distinguished from the Son. In the eighteenth session John the Theologian declared: "According to both the Latin and the Greek doctors, it is relation alone that multiplies the divine persons in the divine productions, and this relation is the relation of origin." None of the Greeks, not even Mark of Ephesus, the most prominent adversary of the Latin theologians, opposed this principle. While this was not a definition of the Council, this argument ought to have great weight because by it the Church was disposed to define the dogma of the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son.
What is the basis for the axiom: In God all things are one and the same where there is no opposition of relation? Note that the axiom does not say merely a distinction of relation. The basis for the axiom is that, since God is most simple being, He admits no real distinction in Himself except that distinction which, according to revelation, is founded on the procession of origin, namely, the distinction between the principle and that which is of the principle.
Objection of the Scotists. The principle accepted and expressed in the Council of Florence is to be understood as referring not only to the relative opposition of relation but also the disparate opposition of relation. The first kind of opposition is that between two relations that have reference to each other, as between paternity and filiation, and between active and passive spiration. Disparate opposition of relation exists between two relations that have no reference to each other, as between filiation and passive spiration.
Reply. I deny the antecedent, since disparate relations are not impossible in the same person, as paternity and active spiration, and as filiation and active spiration. Therefore it is not sufficient that two relations, like filiation and passive spiration, are disparate in order to constitute two distinct persons.
The Scotists insist. Even though paternity and active spiration are not incompatible in the same person, nevertheless filiation and passive spiration are incompatible and require two persons, because that would imply that the same person was produced by two complete productions, which would be the case if the one person were at the same time the terminus of generation and spiration. This is the crux of the problem.
Reply. This insistence begs the question; it proves a thing by itself. There are not two complete, distinct productions except when they tend to two distinct termini or to two really distinct persons as on the way to the terminus, for the production of a person is a person in becoming (in fieri). As the two sides of the triangle are not two except because they tend toward constituting with the base the two inferior angles opposed to each other and therefore distinct, so two processions in God are not two except inasmuch as they tend to constitute two proceeding persons opposed to each other and therefore distinct. Thus the adversaries prove that there are two proceeding persons and not one because there are two proceeding persons and two processions, which is begging the question. It is incumbent on the Scotists to find another reason to prove that even if the Holy Ghost did not proceed from the Son He would be distinct from Him.
In this hypothesis generation and passive spiration would be one and the same total procession, formally and eminently generative and spirative, just as generation and active spiration are only virtually distinct in the Father.
The other Scotist objections are of minor import.
They say that the person of the Son is sufficiently constituted and distinguished by filiation. We reply that it is constituted but not distinguished from the Holy Ghost without the opposition of relation.
They insist that by filiation the Son has incommunicable being, otherwise He would not be a person, and this distinguishes Him from the Holy Ghost.
Reply. In God being is unique and it is communicated to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; that which is incommunicable is only the subsisting relation which is opposed to another. Thus the Father has communicable being but He is a distinct person by the paternity, which is opposed to filiation; similarly, active spiration is opposed to passive spiration.
I insist. By filiation the Son is distinguished from any other who is not the Son. But the Holy Ghost is not the Son. Therefore the Son is distinguished from the Holy Ghost by filiation alone.
Reply. I distinguish the major: the Son is thus distinguished from any other person who is opposed to Him, I concede; otherwise, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor: if the person is opposed to the Son, I concede; otherwise, I deny.
We must conclude that the Scotists do not safeguard the doctrine of the Fathers and of the Council of Florence, according to which all things in God are one and the same except where there is opposition of relation or relative opposition based on a procession. If therefore the Holy Ghost does not proceed from the Son, He is not distinct from the Son. The fiction of disparate opposition is an abuse of the terms and in violation of common sense, or, as Billuart rightly says, a confusion of the notions of things. Things are disparate when they are not opposed, for example, white and cold. Thus St. Thomas, opinion stands.
The triangle lends confirmation to this view. If in the triangle the third angle constructed did not proceed from the first and second, it would not be distinguished from the second, and then there would not be two sides because they would be identified in their tendency to the same terminus. Similarly, if the will did not presuppose the intellect and did not depend on it, it would not be distinguished from it; there would be not two but one faculty. Spinoza, in his absolute intellectualism inclines to this view; he reduces the will to a natural appetite or the natural inclination of the intellect itself to truth. At most there would be two entirely equal faculties (ex aequo), and this is impossible for there would be no order between them, as was explained in the third argument of St. Thomas' second article. For it to be a rational appetite, the will must proceed from the substance of the soul, presupposing the emanation from the intellect; thus the will proceeds from the intellect and is distinguished from it; and so also analogically if the Holy Ghost does not proceed from the Son, He is not distinct from the Son.
Third Article: Whether The Holy Ghost Proceeds From The Father Through The Son
State of the question. This article was written because the Greek Fathers and St. Hilary used this expression.
Reply. The reply is in the affirmative in the sense that the Son has from the Father that by which the Holy Ghost proceeds from Him. Analogically, a statue proceeds from the sculptor through the hammer or chisel, because the hammer is operated by the power of the sculptor. But the Son is not like an instrument of the Father or His assistant, but an intermediate person who, by reason of origin, has from the Father that by which the Son proceeds from Him.
Doubt. Does the Holy Ghost proceed immediately from the Father?
Reply. In his reply to the first difficulty, St. Thomas replies in the affirmative, namely, that the Holy Ghost proceeds directly from the power of the Father because the spirative power in the Father and the Son is the same, indeed it is one act of spiration. More than this: the Holy Ghost proceeds immediately from the Father directly from His suppositum (as Abel proceeds from Adam), although there is an intermediate person. Analogically, between Adam and Abel there is Eve, who herself proceeded from Adam and from whom Abel proceeded. This analogy is quite inept, of course, with regard to the divine processions.
In his reply to the fourth objection, St. Thomas explains why we cannot say conversely that the Son spirates the Holy Ghost through the Father. The reason is that the Father does not receive from the Son that by which the Holy Ghost proceeds from Him. But the Father is not a more immediate principle by reason of His power since this power is the same in the Father and the Son.
In the triangle the third angle constructed proceeds immediately from the first and second, and the second angle is not less necessary for the construction of the third than the first.
Similarly, the will proceeds immediately from the soul, of which it is a faculty, although the activity of the intellective faculty is presupposed, without which the will would not be the rational appetite. The will, then, is a faculty, not of the intellect, but of the soul itself and immediately pertains to the soul, although the intellect comes from the soul prior to the will.
Fourth Article: Whether The Father And The Son Are One Principle Of The Holy Ghost
State of the question. It is asked whether this proposition is true in its strict sense. We note that the Greeks considered the Filioque a serious objection against the Latins, understanding that the Latins implied that there were two principles of the Holy Ghost.
Reply. The reply is in the affirmative; there is but one principle. This is proved by the authority of St. Augustine: "We must confess that the Father and the Son are not two principles but one principle of the Holy Ghost." This doctrine is also supported by St. Basil and St. Ambrose, and was proclaimed in the Councils of Lyons and Florence.
The theological reason given in the body of the article is as follows: the Father and the Son are one in all things in which they are not distinguished by opposition of relation. But in their being the principle of the Holy Ghost they are not relatively opposed.
In explanation of this reasoning we point out that in order to multiply a substantive name, like God, or man, which denotes a form with an accompanying suppositum, both the form and the suppositum must be multiplied. Hence we cannot say "several gods." On the other hand, for the multiplication of an adjective, like divine and white, which does not denote a form with the accompanying suppositum but only as something attached to the suppositum, it is not required that the form be multiplied; only the suppositum need be multiplied, and thus we say not "three gods, " but "three divine beings." But the term, principle of the Holy Ghost, like spirator, is a substantive name. Therefore there is one principle and one spirator, but two spirating beings (the adjective form), as St. Thomas explains in his reply to the first difficulty. Thus, according to a rather remote analogy, when the Holy Ghost Himself "asketh for us with unspeakable groanings, " there is but one prayer and two who ask: the inspirer and the other inspired. In inquiring how operating grace is distinguished from cooperating grace, St. Thomas explains that under operating grace the soul is moved and not moving, no matter how vitally, freely, or meritoriously it consents to the special inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Such are the acts of the gifts of the Holy Ghost and here the effect is attributed to the one who moves, namely, God who inspires us. Thus St. Paul says, "The Spirit Himself asketh for us."
Doubt. What is the suppositum for the spirator or principle of the Holy Ghost?
Reply. This term "spirator" has for its suppositum two persons taken together, as when we say that the father and mother are the principle of the son. The adequate principle is the father and mother taken together, and in this sense we understand the proposition; man generates man. The father alone is the inadequate principle. Proportionally this is true in the present question.
CHAPTER XI: QUESTION 37 LOVE AS THE NAME OF THE HOLY GHOST
First Article: Whether Love Is The Proper Name Of The Holy Ghost
State of the question. It seems that love is not the proper name of the Holy Ghost since the three persons love, and love therefore is predicated essentially. Moreover, love is the name of an action, not of a subsisting person, and it is predicated of the Holy Ghost as His operation after He is constituted a person.
Reply. The reply is in the affirmative. Love, used personally and not essentially or notionally, is the proper name of the Holy Ghost.
1. Proof from authority. St. Gregory the Great declared: "The Holy Ghost Himself is love." St. Augustine also frequently uses the name "love" to designate the Holy Ghost. This usage is plainly in accord with the Latin theory of the Trinity, according to which the Holy Ghost proceeds after the manner of love, and the term of such procession can be called love. But we do not have an explicit warrant in Sacred Scripture for the use of this appellation, while on the other hand the Son of God is explicitly called "the Word" in the Scriptures. St. Ambrose calls the Holy Ghost the charity of God, and this thought is also expressed in the liturgy:
Thou who art called the Paraclete,
Best Gift of God above,
The living Spring, the living Fire,
Sweet Unction, and true Love !
The Eleventh Council of Toledo (675) makes reference to this name: "The Holy Ghost is shown to have proceeded from the Father and the Son because He is acknowledged to be the charity or the holiness of both."
In the writings of the Greek Fathers the Third Person of God has one proper name, the Holy Ghost, but He has various appellations: kleseis, that is, energeia, or vital action, the gift of God and certain symbolic names: living spring, chrism, anointment, and spiritual unction. But the Greeks do not distinguish the proper name from the others as the Latins do.
2. Theological proof. In the body of the article St. Thomas argues that love is accepted in three senses: essentially, notionally, and personally. In all three senses it is substantial love. In the essential sense it denotes the condition of the lover with reference to the thing loved and belongs to the three persons like intellection. Notionally love signifies active spiration, by which the Holy Ghost is designated as proceeding from the spirating Father and Son, just as in the first procession the enunciation as distinct from intellection is something notional, as will be explained more fully below in question 41. Personally love denotes the condition of him who proceeds after the manner of love with regard to his principle, and in this sense it is a proper name of the Holy Ghost proceeding from the mutual love of the Father and the Son as a "certain impression of the thing loved in the affection of the lover," as St. Thomas says. This notional love of the Father and the Son is unique if understood substantively, because there is but one spiration and indeed only one spirator; it is also said to be mutual when understood adjectively because there are two spirating.
As we have said in the first article of question 36, the procession of love is not as well understood by us as the procession after the manner of intellection, and therefore we do not have the proper terms to designate what pertains to love. Thus while the term of enunciation in the intellect has a proper name, the mental word, the immanent terminus of love is unnamed. Three reasons are given for this: 1. the intellect knows better what is in itself than what is in the will; 2. good, the object of love, is not formally in the mind as truth, that is, as the conformity of the judgment with the thing, but it is in things outside the mind. A certain terminus of love exists in the affection of the lover, "I certain impression of the thing loved on the affection of the lover" and at the same time "an impulse to the thing loved." In St. Augustine's words, "My love (is) the pressure that is on me." Thus love can be predicated of God not only essentially and notionally but also personally because, although a special name for the immanent terminus of love is lacking, we use the common name of love; 3. a reason why love, the act of the will, is less known than the act of the intellect arises from the fact that a thing is not intelligible except inasmuch as it is in act or determined; but the act of the will or love, tending to the good which is in things, retains something that is potential. We do not understand divine love, which is determined to the highest degree, except from the analogy with our love, whose tending to the good remains somewhat potential and not fully determined. From this difficulty in understanding the things that pertain to love comes this poverty of words, and so we must have recourse to common terms.
Because of this limited vocabulary we often hear preachers speak of the Holy Ghost as if He were the active, mutual love of the Father and the Son, whereas this love is active spiration and if the Holy Ghost were identified with it there would be only two persons in God. Certainly the Holy Ghost is not the active spiration which is in the Father and the Son; He is the terminus of that spiration, a terminus which is opposed to the first two divine persons by the opposition of the relation of procession or of passive spiration.
The Intimate Nature Of The Terminus Of The Procession Of Love
With regard to the immanent and unnamed terminus of love, we should note what St. Thomas says: "the thing loved is in the lover, not according to the likeness of the species as the thing known is in the intellect, but as that which inclines and to some extent intrinsically impels the lover toward the thing loved."
By analogy with the word of the intellect this unnamed and immanent terminus can be called, as it were, the word of love, keeping in mind that it is a kind of inverted word, that is, it is produced not by the lover as the intellectual word is produced by him who understands but rather the thing loved attracting the lover to itself. Truth is formally in the mind (as the conformity of the judgment with the thing); but good is in things (as the perfection of a lovable thing) and draws the lover to itself. Cajetan says: "The thing loved does not become different in the lover except according to the affection of the lover for the thing loved... . Thus the lover is drawn, transformed, and objectively impelled to the thing loved, and so the lover is in that which is loved... . To be loved is not to be drawn, but to draw the lover... . Therefore to be in the will as loved is to be in the will as drawing it, " or attracting the will to itself. This is what St. Thomas remarks so often: knowledge draws the object, for instance, God, to us, but love draws us to the good which is in things. Therefore in this life "the love of God is better than the knowledge of God." While this terminus of the act of love is difficult to express, we find it expressed in various languages as a wound. In the Canticle of Canticles: "Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse"; and some of the mystics, St. Theresa and St. John of the Cross, often speak of this holy wound of love by which God enters into our hearts and inclines and impels us to Himself. This holy wound of divine love completely heals the wounds of sin. It was this truth that prompted the beautiful prayer of St. Nicholas of Flue: "O my Lord and my God, take me from myself and make me entirely Thine."
St. Paul also speaks of this drawing by our Lord: "Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect: but I follow after, if I may by any means apprehend, wherein I am also apprehended by Christ Jesus." These last words signify not only that Christ knew St. Paul perfectly, but that He also accepted him on the day of his conversion as His apostle and beloved disciple and that Christ always drew St. Paul Himself. Thus the Christ who is loved is in St. Paul, who loves, as drawing St. Paul to Himself.
Although the immanent terminus of love has no name, it finds at least metaphorical expression in various languages, especially in the metaphor of a wound. This metaphor is explained by St. Thomas as follows: Love causes a languishing, a sadness, because of the absence of the lover; it wounds, and sometimes violently draws the lover outside himself and thus produces ecstasy and rapture. Hence we see that even in his intellectualism St. Thomas did not ignore the psychology of love even though there is such a penurious vocabulary about it; he intentionally makes use of general terms and supplies with such metaphors as that of the wound.
Solution Of The Difficulties
In article I, in the reply to the second objection, St. Thomas says that in God love can be a divine person inasmuch as it is subsisting and also incommunicable as the terminus of the second procession.
The third objection: Love is a nexus between lovers; but the nexus is the medium between those things which it joins and therefore it is not a terminus or something that proceeds.
Reply. The Holy Ghost is at the same time a nexus and a terminus, since He is the terminus of the mutual love of the Father and the Son. This mutual spirating love is notional love, and the Holy Ghost is personal love. The Holy Ghost is said to be the terminus of mutual love inasmuch as He proceeds from two spirators, but the love of the two spirators is unique since there is only one spiration.
In the reply to the fourth objection we learn that the Holy Ghost loves with an essential love like the Father and the Son. We should note how St. Thomas safeguards the proper meaning of the terms. "The word," he says, "onnotes the condition of the word with respect to the thing expressed by the word." That which is really understood is the thing understood in the word; that is, what we first understand in direct intellection is not the mental word of the extramental thing but the nature of the extramental thing expressed by the mental word. We know the extramental thing in the word but not in the word first seen or known in itself. On the other hand we know a man in his reflection, and the reflection is that which is first seen or known, and God knows all creatures in Himself and He knows and sees Himself first, for what is first known by the divine intellect is the divine essence itself and not possible or actual creatures.
Second Article: Whether The Father And The Son Love Each Other By The Holy Ghost
State of the question. In the sed contra St. Augustine is quoted as saying that the Father and the Son love each other by the Holy Ghost. But the difficulty arises because the Father and the Son cannot love each other by the Holy Ghost either by essential love or by notional love, just as we do not say that the Father understands the Son by the Son or begets by the Son. But the Father and the Son have no other love than essential and notional love.
Reply. Nevertheless the reply is in the affirmative: the Father and the Son love each other by the Holy Ghost with notional love as a tree is said to flower with flowers.
1. Proof from authority. The text of St. Augustine, quoted in the argument, had been explained in several ways by Scholastics prior to St. Thomas as is indicated in the beginning of the body of the article.
2. Theological proof. A distinction is made between essential and notional love. If love is understood essentially, the Father and the Son do not love each other by the Holy Ghost but by the divine essence because the Holy Ghost is not essential but personal love. By essential love the three divine persons love one another in one and the same act of the divine will, and this act of essential love is identified with the divine essence. But if love is understood notionally, that is, as denoting the third person, then love is nothing else than the spiration of personal love just as enunciation is the production of the word and flowering is the production of flowers. So as we say that a tree flowers with flowers and the Father understands Himself and creatures by the Word, so the Father and the Son are said to love themselves and us by the Holy Ghost, that is, by proceeding love. As we have said, this notional love is mutual although there is but one active spiration and one spirator with two who spirate.
St. Thomas, explanation is more satisfactory than those proposed by earlier Scholastics who understood the ablative "spiritu Sancto" (by the Holy Ghost) either as a sign of mutual love and thus weakened the sense of the expression; or as a formal cause, as if the Holy Ghost were the mutual love of the Father and the Son and thus identified the Holy Ghost with active spiration and then there would be no third person; or as the formal effect, and this last approaches closest to the truth.
Therefore we must say that the Father and the Holy Ghost love each other by notional love inasmuch as the Holy Ghost is the terminus of this love. Confirmation is found in a rather remote analogy: parents are said to love each other by their son since the son is the terminus of their love in the sense that we say that a tree flowers with flowers. We refer the reader to the third paragraph of the body of the article.
Reply to the second objection. "Whenever the understanding of any action implies a determined effect, the principle of the action can be denominated by the action and the effect."
Reply to the third objection. "The Father loves not only the Son but also Himself and us by the Holy Ghost as He enunciates Himself and every creature by the Word which He generates." This is so "because the Holy Ghost proceeds as the love of the first goodness according to which the Father loves Himself and all creatures." Hence the Holy Ghost proceeds not only from the mutual love of the Father and the Son but also from the love of the first goodness, which the Father loves in Himself and in the Son and which the Son loves in Himself and in the Father. In this way many difficulties proposed recently on this point are solved.
Doubt. From the love of which things does the Holy Ghost proceed?
Reply. The Holy Ghost proceeds per se from the love of all the things that are formally in God, and per accidens and concomitantly from the love of creatures. This is because the Holy Ghost proceeds from the most perfect love. By this love whatever is in God is necessarily loved and by it God freely loves creatures. But the Holy Ghost does not proceed from the love of possible creatures since God is not said to love possible creatures because He does not will for them the good of existence. This suffices to explain why the Holy Ghost is properly called love, namely, personal Love.
Corollary. The expression sometimes heard, "incarnate love," is not admissible as is "incarnate Word," because it seems to imply the incarnation of the Holy Ghost.
We may recall here how beautifully the liturgy makes use of metaphors to express this doctrine, particularly in the hymn Veni Creator:
Thou who art called the Paraclete,
Best gift of God above,
The living spring, the living fire,
Sweet unction, and true love!
O guide our minds with Thy blest light,
With love our hearts inflame,
And with Thy strength, which ne'er decays,
Confirm our mortal frame.
Since, as St. Thomas says, those things which pertain to love are unnamed, the liturgy has recourse to various metaphors, some of them opposed to the others, as the spring of living water and fire, but whatever is said dividedly is finally united in spiritual love.
In the sequence, Veni, Sancte Spiritus, the liturgy amasses antithetic metaphors about the Holy Ghost:
Thou in labor rest most sweet,
Thou art shadow from the heat,
Comfort in adversity.
What is soiled, make Thou pure;
What is wounded, work its cure;
What is parched, fructify;
What is rigid, gently bend;
What is frozen, warmly tend;
Strengthen what goes erringly.
In the preparation for Mass among the seven prayers to the Holy Ghost we read: "Inflame, O Lord, our reins and our hearts with the fire of the Holy Ghost; that we may serve Thee with a chaste body and please Thee with a pure mind." As we have a consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Blessed Virgin Mary we should also consecrate ourselves to the Holy Ghost.
CHAPTER XII: QUESTION 38 THE GIFT AS THE NAME OF THE HOLY GHOST
THIS question is the basis for the question on the missions of the divine persons (question 43) and it is also fundamental to the questions on grace. For a clear understanding of the following articles we must first present a few notes on the differences between the Latin and Greek Fathers.
For the Latin Fathers the natural order, or the order of creation, depends efficiently and finally on the one God, the author of nature; the supernatural order, or the order of grace, depends efficiently and finally on the triune God, the author of grace. For the Greeks, the natural order is also produced by God ad extra through efficient causality and by the command whereby God in pronouncing the fiat produced all created things from nothing. The supernatural order, however, for the Greeks is rather the indwelling of the divine persons in the just than an effect of efficient causality ad extra. This indwelling is in a sense a prolongation of the divine processions ad extra, distinct from the creative action as living is distinct from commanding. Living is an action essentially immanent whereas the divine command is something that refers to things outside the divine nature. It was in this sense that the Greek Fathers interpreted St. Peter's words, "My whom He hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature." In order that the intimate life of God may come to us it is necessary that the divine persons themselves, without whom this intimate life of God cannot exist, should come to us in their substantial reality. It is not enough that the Father should have the simple will of adopting; He must operate, as it were, by His nature or according to His intimate life by sending us the Son and the Holy Ghost. Thus in the mind of the Greek Fathers the order of grace is rather the order of substantial indwelling than an effect of divine causality, and therefore the Greeks insist that we receive not only grace, which is a created effect, but the Holy Ghost, who is the gift par excellence. For Origen and the Alexandrian Fathers, the Holy Ghost is the substantial font of all graces. For Didymus the Holy Ghost is the seal impressed on the soul, and sanctifying grace is the impression of this seal in its passive aspect, and this seal must remain in the soul.
Similarly St. Basil and St. Gregory Nazianzen call our sanctification a deification, and this deification is described as the projection of God's inner life ad extra by the divine missions.
For the Greek Fathers, then, the Holy Ghost is the uncreated gift and at the same time the enexgeia metaphorically expressed by the figure of the spring of living water; and this uncreated gift is prior, on the part of God who gives it, to the created gift of grace. In this sense they also understood the words, "The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us."
St. Thomas does not appear to recede from this position of the Greek Fathers, although he does insist that habitual grace is a previous disposition on the part of the subject, man, for the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. This does not preclude the idea that the Holy Ghost on the part of the efficient cause, which is God, is given prior to grace. Causes are often causes of each other; thus the ultimate disposition for a perfection precedes the perfection in the order of material cause and follows it as a property in the order of formal cause. In the theory of the Greek Fathers, although the entire Trinity dwells in the just, the Holy Ghost is in the just by a special presence which is more than the presence by appropriation of which the Latin Fathers speak. In other words, the theory of the Greek Fathers, which considers the three persons prior to the divine nature, finds it easier to explain the special nature of the mission of the Holy Ghost, which as a mission is something more than simple appropriation.
In the Greek mind the Father, in order to sanctify men and angels, sends them the uncreated gift, namely, the Holy Ghost, who dwells personally in the just and by circumincession, as it were, draws the Son, who is also sent, and the Father, who is not sent but who comes. Thus the Holy Ghost dwells in us formally as a person and as the uncreated gift. There is not, however, a hypostatic union of the soul of the just man with the Holy Ghost because the just man retains his own personality and the union with the Holy Ghost is not substantial but only accidental.
According to the theory of the Latin Fathers the Holy Ghost dwells in us by reason of the divine nature, because the Latins considered the divine nature before the three persons, and in the souls of the just they considered first the participation in the divine nature, which is created grace, before they considered the uncreated gift, for which grace disposes the soul. These are two aspects of the same mystery, and divine Providence has arranged that both be studied so that we might understand this mystery better although we shall never be able to express it adequately.
From this it is clear that the Greeks understood the absolute distinction between the order of nature and the order of grace; indeed they declare that without the uncreated gift we cannot be made partakers of the divine nature; that is, habitual grace cannot be infused except through the divine persons dwelling in the just, especially by the Holy Ghost, who is the uncreated gift, the living spring of all graces.
This at all events is the interpretation of the doctrine of the Greek Fathers proposed by many modern authors although the doctrine of the Greek Fathers in other texts seems to be closer to St. Augustine and the Latin Fathers.
We shall now consider how St. Thomas preserved the doctrine of the Greek Fathers and how he reconciled it to the Latin theory of the two processions after the manner of intellection and of love. This question has two articles: 1. whether "the Gift" can be taken as a personal name; 2. whether it is a proper name of the Holy Ghost. Such is St. Thomas' procedure because the Son of God is also given to us, and he wished to show that the Holy Ghost is properly the gift.
First Article: Whether "The Gift" Is A Personal Name
State of the question. It appears that "gift" is not a personal name because the divine essence is the gift which the Father gives the Son. Moreover, a gift is something inferior to the giver. Finally, gift implies a reference to creatures and is predicated of God in time, whereas personal names are predicated of God from eternity.
Reply. Nevertheless the reply is that it belongs to a divine person to be given and to be a gift.
1. Proof from authority. This entire doctrine has its source in the words of our Lord as explained by St. John and St. Paul. Jesus said to the Samaritan woman: "If thou didst know the gift of God, and who He is that saith to you, Give Me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water... . But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting." The living water springing up into life everlasting is grace, the seed of glory, but the spring of the living water or the font of grace is something else than grace. These words are explained by our Lord Himself later on: "If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink. He that believeth in Me, as the Scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Now this [the Evangelist adds] He said of the Spirit which they should receive, who believed in Him; for as yet the Spirit was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." It pertains, then, to the glory of Christ to give His supreme gift, the uncreated gift of the Holy Ghost. The same doctrine is found in St. Paul's letter to the Romans: "The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us."
In the light of these texts of the New Testament many passages of the Old Testament, cited by the Fathers, especially Didymus, appear much clearer. In Jeremias we read: "They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water, and have digged to themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." How true these words are of those who put aside everything that disposes to the contemplation of God and lose themselves in mere human learning and are busy with trifles! They gnaw at the shell and never taste the meat, as Pope Leo XIII pointed out.
In the prophecy of Isaias we read: "For I will pour waters upon the thirsty ground, and streams upon the dry land: I will pour out My spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thy stock." "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him." "And the Lord will give thee rest continually, and will fill thy soul with brightness, and deliver thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of water whose waters shall not fail." And in the prophecy of Joel we read: "I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,... moreover upon My servants and handmaids in those days I will pour forth My spirit."
These words of Joel were quoted by St. Peter on Pentecost to explain the extraordinary events of that day: "For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day: but this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass, in the last days (saith the Lord) I will pour out of My spirit upon all flesh... and they shall prophesy."
In the psalms we often read of the font of life," or with thee is the fountain of life: and in thy light we shall see light"; "His wind (spirit) shall blow, and the water shall run"; "the stream of the river maketh the city of God joyful."
In the mirror of sensible things by this metaphor of the spring of living water we find a wonderful expression of the Holy Ghost, the font of all graces. We may add those texts of the New Testament in which the Holy Ghost is promised or the mystery of Pentecost is commemorated, "We shall give you another Paraclete, " "Receive ye the Holy Ghost."
After these preliminary remarks it will be easy to understand the reply to this article: It is proper for a divine person to be given and to be a gift.
This is theologically explained in the body of the article. Obviously the syllogism is explicative and not objectively illative because we do not arrive at a new truth distinct from the truth contained in the passages quoted from revelation. The theological explanation is an analysis of the concept of gift. The word "gift" implies the aptitude to be given, an aptitude toward the giver and to him to whom the gift is made so that the receiver may really accept and enjoy the gift. But any divine person can be given by another inasmuch as it proceeds from that person, and a divine person may be possessed by a rational creature if the creature also is given the ability to enjoy the divine person. Therefore the name "gift" is a personal name, or it belongs to a divine person to be given and to be a gift.
The reader is referred to the article, where we see that this presence of the Holy Ghost in the just is real and not an intentional, representative, or affective presence like the presence of the humanity of Christ or of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who remain physically distant.
Reply to the first objection. "The Holy Ghost gives Himself inasmuch as He has disposition over Himself and is able to enjoy Himself, just as a free man is said to have disposition over himself... . But in the case when the gift is said to be from the giver (by origin) it is thus distinguished personally from the giver and then 'gift' is a personal name."
It should be noted that as the Holy Ghost gives Himself so Christ gives Himself in Holy Communion, especially when He gave Himself to His apostles with His own hands. To give oneself is much more excellent than to give something external to oneself; it is a sign of great love. Thus in God, the Father gives Himself to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, communicating something of Himself, His own divine nature.
Reply to the third objection. "'Gift' when it is used as a personal name in God does not imply subjection but only origin with regard to the giver. In comparison to the receiver, however, it implies free disposition (if the gift is inferior to the giver) or fruition (if the gift is a divine person)." This is the basis of that mystical, fruition union in which the soul of the just man, already purified, experimentally knows the divine persons as really present in itself and enjoys them imperfectly in this life in anticipation of the perfect enjoyment in heaven. From this it follows that infused contemplation, which proceeds from a living faith illuminated by the gifts of knowledge and wisdom, and the mystical union that results, are not something extraordinary like the gifts of prophecy and tongues. They are rather something at once eminent and normal in perfect souls, a certain normal beginning of eternal life, like the acts of the gifts or virtues which are perfected by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, as St. Thomas said in speaking of the beatitudes.
Reply to the fourth objection. "A divine person is called gift from eternity although He is given in time" for He has this aptitude to being given from eternity. Nor does the name "gift" imply a real relation to creatures but only a relation of reason.
Second Article: Whether "Gift" Is A Proper Name Of The Holy Ghost
State of the question. It seems that "gift" is not a proper name of the Holy Ghost because it is also used for the Son, "I son is given to us," and "God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son." This name, moreover, does not appear to signify any property of the Holy Ghost since it is predicated with respect to creatures, which are able not to be and which are not from eternity.
Reply. Nevertheless the reply is that "gift" taken personally in God is the proper name of the Holy Ghost.
1. Proof from authority. This is proved by the authority of St. Augustine: "As to be born is to be the Son from the Father, so for the Holy Ghost to be the gift of God is to proceed from the Father and the Son."
2. The theological proof. A beautiful explanation is taken from the fact that the Holy Ghost is personal love, as was explained above. Here St. Thomas reconciled the theories of the Greek and Latin Fathers; for the Latins the Holy Ghost is personal love, for the Greeks He is the uncreated gift of God.
The reasoning may be summed up as follows: Since a gift implies a gratuitous donation based on love, the first thing that we give another is the love by which we will good for him. Thus love is the first gift and the root of all other gifts. But the Holy Ghost proceeds as personal love. Therefore He proceeds as the first gift and consequently "gift" is a name proper to Him, that is, it belongs to Him rather than to the Son.
If however "gift", is understood essentially, it belongs to the three divine persons, who are able to communicate and give themselves to us gratuitously. If "gift" is taken notionally, according to its passive origin from the giver, it refers also to the Son, but less properly than to the Holy Ghost, who alone proceeds as personal love.
The reader is referred to the article.
Thus once again is confirmed the Latin theory of the Trinity, according to which the Son proceeds as the intellectual word and the Holy Ghost as love. This doctrine admirably agrees with revelation and is based on the fact that the Son is called the Word in the prologue of the Fourth Gospel, and on the fact that the Scriptures call the Holy Ghost the uncreated gift of God; for the primary gift is love, the root of all gratuitous donation. St. Thomas thus preserves what the Greek Fathers taught about the Holy Ghost, the uncreated gift, and His indwelling in the souls of the just. The Greek theory is more concrete; it speaks of God the Father as the Creator, of the Son as the Savior, and of the Holy Ghost as the Sanctifier. The Latin theory is more abstract; in a more abstract way it considers the divine nature common to the three persons and the participation in that divine nature, which is habitual grace without which the indwelling of the Holy Ghost does not take place. The Latins had to be more abstract in their approach because they began with the divine nature as that which is common to the three persons. Gradually it became clearer that every divine operation ad extra, such as creation and sanctification, is common to the three persons because it proceeds from the omnipotent divine will, which as an attribute of the divine nature belongs to all three persons. Thus the Father cannot be said to be the Creator in the sense that He alone creates, nor is the Holy Ghost properly the Sanctifier as if He alone sanctified, but these terms are predicated of these persons by appropriation. It was necessary for the Latins in this way to complement the concept of the Greeks.
Those who write about love from the psychological or theological viewpoint ought to keep in mind that love, especially pure and gratuitous love, is the gift par excellence from which other gifts flow. The Latin theory offers an excellent explanation for the Greeks, frequent assertion that the Holy Ghost is the fountain of living water, the source of all graces, namely, because He is love and the first and most excellent gift. This is a legitimate commentary on our Lord's words to the Samaritan woman and on the following: "If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink... . Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Now this He said of the Spirit which they should receive."
Corollary. As Christians we should try to attain a more intimate union with the Holy Ghost, who is the most excellent of all divine gifts and the root of all others. This present doctrine should be applied to all those who are seeking to live an interior life and not only to those who are led by God along extraordinary paths and who receive graces which are not given to all. If anyone should ask whether our Lord's words, "If thou didst know the gift of, God..." pertain to the ascetical life or the mystical life, it seems to me the question smacks of pedantry. Indeed it refers to the spiritual life, a spirituality it is true that is profound and leads to eternal life, for which the mystical life is only a normal and preliminary disposition in perfect souls.
In the Contra Gentes St. Thomas presents a beautiful chapter on the other proper and appropriated names of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is often called the nexus or bond of the Holy Trinity, the complacent joy of the Father and the Son, since the Holy Ghost is produced by the joyous love which the Father has for the Son. He is called the Paraclete and the consoler of the soul, the spiritual unction, which heals the wounds of our souls; the power of the Most High, because love is the greatest power; the finger of God, because the sending of the Son was the beginning of salvation, and the Holy Ghost is, as it were, the index and sign of sanctification.
CHAPTER XIII: QUESTION 39 THE DIVINE PERSONS IN COMPARISON WITH THE ESSENCE
We have completed the second part of the treatise, which deals with the divine persons in particular, and now we begin the third part, which treats of the divine persons: in comparison with the essence; 2. in comparison with the properties; 3. in comparison with the notional acts, namely, generation and active spiration; 4. and in comparison with each other.
At first sight it will appear to many readers that St. Thomas is again saying what he said in the first part of this treatise, when he treated of the persons absolutely in common and then went on to the two processions and the relations founded on the processions. St. Thomas, however, is not making a new beginning of the treatise. What in the first place he had considered analytically, first in common and then in particular, he now considers synthetically, that is, by comparing with each other all that has been determined theologically in the light of revelation. This treatise is a kind of circle, beginning with the processions, going on to the persons, and returning to the terminus a quo, that is, the divine processions. This "circular" contemplation may appear to be returning always to the same things but in reality it seeks always to penetrate more deeply into the matter just as the eagle high in sky seems to be making the same circle again and again, looking up into the sun and in the light of the sun above looking down on the vast expanse of the earth below. "This circular movement is the movement around the same central point. Dionysius ascribed to the angels a circular movement since they, uniformly and unceasingly, without beginning and without end, look upon God, just as circular movement has neither beginning nor end and uniformly moves about the same center."
We will understand the necessity of this synthetic part when we come to the theory of appropriation, which cannot be explained until we have determined those things which are proper to each person, and when we consider the notional acts, active generation and active spiration, which presuppose the persons from whom these acts proceed.
Division Of Question 39
In question 39, on the divine persons in comparison with the divine essence, St. Thomas again considers (in the first two articles) the distinction of the persons, but not in the same manner as in question 28, which dealt with the relations. Then he proceeded analytically because he had not yet arrived at the concept of a person, explained later in question 29.
Now he considers the matter synthetically, beginning with the concept of a person, which has now been determined. After the first two articles, St. Thomas determines the exact manner of speech to be observed in order to avoid errors about the Trinity; he explains the essential names, whether concrete or abstract, the notional adjective, notional verbs, such as generate and spirate. Here he also explains the difficult theory of appropriation, to which the Latins, more than the Greeks, recur for a clearer presentation of the distinction between the persons. The Greek Fathers had no great need of this theory because they began with the consideration, not of the unity of nature, but of the Trinity of persons, which for them obviously were distinct from the beginning.
First Article: Whether In God The Essence Is The Same As A Person
State of the question. In this title "the same" signifies real identity. It appears that the essence is not the same as the person because there are three persons and only one essence. Moreover, the persons are distinct and the essence is not distinct. Finally, the person is subject to the essence inasmuch as the person is the first subject of attribution and nothing is subject to itself.
Reply. The reply is in the affirmative: the persons are not really distinguished from the essence. This doctrine was defined by the Fourth Lateran Council: "In God there is only a Trinity, not a quaternity, because each of the three persons is that thing which is the substance, the essence, or the divine nature." We have treated of this matter in question 28, where we referred to the definition of the Council of Reims (1148) against Gilbert Porretanus. There we also expounded Scotus' theory, which tries to establish between the divine persons and the divine essence a distinction called formal-actual on the part of the thing.
In the sed contra St. Thomas quotes the authority of St. Augustine: "When we say the person of the Father we are saying nothing else than the substance of the Father." We should note that the words "nothing else" mean not really distinct. This point is of major importance with regard to St. Thomas, doctrine about the real distinction between a created essence and being. Although St. Thomas does not often say expressly that a real distinction exists between created essence and being, he often affirms that opinion. For example, in the Contra Gentes he says: "It is proper in every substance, except subsisting being itself, that the substance itself be one thing and the being another." In other words, antecedent to the consideration of our minds Peter is not his being; his being, which is in him as a contingent attribute, is something other than his essence. We are now asking whether a divine person is something other than the divine essence. St. Augustine answered in the negative.
In the body of the article St. Thomas coordinates and synthesizes the conceptual analysis given previously. He reasons as follows: Relations inhere accidentally in creatures, but in God they are the essence itself because their <esse in> is substantial. But a divine person, for example, the Father, signifies a subsisting relation. Therefore the divine persons are not really distinct from the divine essence although they are really distinct from each other because of the opposition of relation. Symbolically, in the triangle the three angles are really distinct from each other but they are not distinct from the common surface.
Reply to the first objection. This does not involve a contradiction because the relations are not distinguished from each other according to their <esse in> but only according to their <esse ad> because of their relative opposition.
Reply to the second objection. But the divine persons are distinguished from the essence just as the divine attributes are distinguished from one another, and this is sufficient so that something may be affirmed of the essence and denied of the persons; for example, the essence is communicable but paternity is not, just as mercy is the principle of forgiveness and justice is not.
Reply to the third objection. If it should be said that nothing is subject to itself, the reply is that the divine persons are analogically considered as the subject of the divine essence without any real distinction, whereas in sensible things there is a real distinction between the matter, by which the thing is individuated, and the form which is given to this subject; similarly in created things a real distinction exists between substance and the accidents.
Scotus raised certain objections against this article, but we have already considered them together with Cajetan's replies. We recall here that the formal-actual distinction on the part of the thing which was proposed by Scotus is an impossible middle between a real distinction and a distinction of reason. A distinction either precedes the consideration of our minds and then it is real, however weak it may be, or it does not precede the consideration of our minds and follows and then it is not real but of reason although it may often be founded in the thing and then it is called virtual. In the present instance the distinction in question is a virtual distinction of a minor order after the manner of that which is implicit and explicit, that is, the essence of God as understood by us implicitly contains the persons in act and the Deity as seen by the blessed and as it is in itself explicitly contains the persons in act.
No middle can be found between the distinction which precedes the consideration of our minds and the distinction which does not so precede. Scotus, theory of the formal-actual distinction on the part of the things sins against the rules of division. A division, as Aristotle pointed out, must divide the whole, and in order that it be adequate it must be into two members opposed to each other by affirmation and negation and not into three members. In the Porphyrian tree substance is divided per se, adequately and progressively into members contradictorily opposed to each other: corporeal and incorporeal substance; animate and inanimate corporeal substances; sensitive and non-sensitive living substances; sensitive rational and sensitive non-rational. Distinction must be divided in the same way: real distinction or that which precedes the consideration of our minds and the non-real, which does not precede the consideration of our minds; between these two we cannot conceive, nor can there be, a middle, because a thing either is or is not antecedent to the consideration of our minds.
Hence distinction, which is the absence of identity, must be divided immediately, not into three members (of reason, formal-actual on the part of the thing, and real), but into two members opposed to each other by contradiction:
1. Real distinction.
2. Distinction of reason, either founded on the thing, or virtual, or not founded on the thing.
The major virtual distinction after the manner of that which is excluded and excluding, for example, between genus and difference.
The minor virtual distinction after the manner of that which is implicit and explicit, for example, between the attributes of God.
A similar case arises in the division of divine science.
We recall here Cajetan's admirable reply to Scotus on this question: "The Deity as it is in itself is above being and above unity, it is above all simply simple perfections, which it contains formally and eminently in their formal natures." These words of Cajetan are the sublimest comment on this entire treatise.
"We fall into error," says Cajetan, "Then we proceed from the absolute and the relative to God, because the distinction between absolute and relative is conceived by us as prior to God and therefore we try to place God in one or the other of these two members of the distinction. Whereas the matter is entirely different. The divine nature is prior to being and all its differences, it transcends all being and is above unity... . Thus in God there is but one formal nature or reason, and this is neither purely absolute nor purely relative, not purely communicable or purely incommunicable, but it contains most eminently and formally both that which is of absolute perfection and whatever the relative Trinity requires."
This formal and most eminent nature is the Deity as it is in itself, and when the blessed behold God they see no distinction between the essence and paternity although the essence is communicable while the paternity is not. It appears therefore, as it were a posteriori, that the Deity is above being, although the Deity formally and eminently contains being; a sign of this is the fact that, whereas in the natural order being is particible, as are also good, truth, intellect, and will, the Deity as such cannot be participated in naturally by even the highest angel or creatable angel. Participation in the Deity can take place only through grace, which disposes us to see God immediately as He sees Himself, although not comprehensively.
The Deity inasmuch as it is above being, unity, intellect, and will is that great darkness of the mystics because it transcends the limits of intelligibility in this life.
Second Article: Whether We May Say That The Three Persons Are Of One Essence
State of the question. This is a question of terminology. The difficulty arises from the use of the genitive, "If one essence"; or it might be better to say, "One essence of three persons."
Reply. The reply is in the affirmative. The formula is found in the councils, for example, "We confess and believe that the holy and ineffable Trinity, the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, one God in nature to be of one substance, of one nature, and of one majesty and power."
In the preface of the Mass of the Holy Trinity we say: "One God, one Lord: not in the singleness of one only person, but in the Trinity of one substance, " that is, the three persons are of one essence. Thus the Church uses this genitive. As is said in the argument sed contra, this is a translation of the Greek homoousios, of one substance, that is to say, that the three persons are consubstantial, as was defined by the Council of Nicaea.
The theological argument, given in the body of the article, is the following. We cannot denominate divine things except in the manner of our own intellectual processes with the ever-present reference to creatures from which our concepts are derived. But in creatures the essence signifies the form of individuals and persons and is attributed to them. Thus we say the sanity of this man, or by means of the genitive we say, a man of perfect virtue.
Similarly in God, where the persons are multiplied and the essence is not, we say, the one essence of three persons, and the three persons are "of one essence, " and the genitive is construed as signifying the form.
Reply to the fifth objection. We cannot say that the three persons are out of the same essence, because the preposition out of does not express the formal cause but the efficient and material cause, which do not exist in God with reference to the divine persons.
Third Article: Whether The Essential Names Can Be Predicated Singly Of The Three Persons
The question is whether the essential names are predicated of the three persons only singly or also in the plural, for example, whether we can say, in God there are three Gods, or at least three divine beings.
In reply we refer to the distinction between the substantive and adjective. Those things which signify the essence substantively are predicated of the three persons only singly and not in the plural; thus we do not say, three Gods. Those things, however, which signify the essence adjectively are predicated of the three persons in the plural: thus we say three wise beings.
It should be noted that what grammarians today call substantive and adjective were formerly called a substantive noun, as stone, wood; and an adjective noun, as white. It was called adjective because it denoted something that inhered in a subject like an accident.
The point is that a substance is in itself and not in another, and thus it has in itself its own unity or plurality. Therefore if a substantive noun is predicated in the plural it signifies a plurality of substances, for example, many men, in which the essence or substantial form is multiplied. Therefore we do not say, three Gods.
On the other hand an accident is not in itself but in another, and therefore the accident receives unity or plurality from its subject. In adjective nouns, therefore, the singularity or plurality follows on the subject or suppositum, and the multiplication of the suppositum suffices without the multiplication of the form, for example, if the same whiteness pertains to two supposita, we may say, two that are white.
Thus we do not say, three Gods, but three divine beings, three who exist, three who are eternal, three uncreated, if these terms are taken adjectively. In the Athanasian Creed we read: "The three persons are co-eternal together and co-equal." If these words are taken substantively, we say One uncreated, as we read in the same Creed, "is also they are not three uncreated, nor three infinites: but one Uncreated, and one Infinite."
Reply to the second objection. St. Thomas notes that in the Hebrew "Eloim" is used in the plural. But we do not say in the plural, Gods or substances, lest the plurality refer to the substance.
Reply to the third objection. That which pertains to a relation is predicated in the plural; that which refers to the substance is predicated in the singular. It is better to say three real relations than three relative realities, because the relations in God are not multiplied according to their <esse in> but according to their <esse ad>. St. Augustine is quoted here as saying, "The very Trinity is the highest thing."
Fourth Article: Whether Concrete Essential Terms (God, Not Deity) Can Be Substituted For Person
The question is whether concrete essential names can be used as the subject of a proposition in place of the name of any person, for example, can we say God generates as we say the Father generates?
The difficulty arises from the fact that these concrete essential terms seem to signify the essence, since Deity and God are the same, and it is not the divine essence that generates, but the Father. Thus we could also say that God does not generate if "God" can be substituted for "the Son."
The reply nevertheless is in the affirmative, with some explanation. God in the concrete signifies Deity in the suppositum and therefore God may express either the principle of operation common to the three persons, for example, God created heaven and earth, or one of the three persons. The particular signification must be determined by the exigencies of the predicate. Thus when we say God created heaven and earth, "God" stands for the three persons who have the same nature and omnipotence. On the other hand when we say, God generates, "God" stands for the Father alone because He alone generates. But we cannot say the Deity generates, as will be explained in article five.
Fifth Article: Whether Essential Terms Taken In The Abstract Can Be Substituted For Person
The reply is in the negative from the Fourth Lateran Council, which declared against the error of Abbot Joachim: "The divine essence does not generate, nor is it generated, but it is the Father who generates and the Son who is generated." Abbot Joachim did not advert to the fact that the truth of a proposition depends not only on the thing signified but also on the manner of signification; the mode must also conform to the truth.
The reason for this reply is as follows: although the Deity is God without any real distinction, we cannot say that the Deity generates although we can say that God generates, because the formal signification is not the same. "Deity" signifies the divine essence in itself, but "God" signifies the divine essence in the suppositum or in a person that possesses the divine essence. Only by reason of the suppositum of the Father is this proposition true: God generates, that is, inasmuch as "God" is substituted for "the Father."
To say that the Deity generates and that the Deity is generated is to imply in the Deity a real distinction, which can exist only between the persons according to the opposition of relation, since no person can generate himself.
Reply to the fifth objection. But we can say that the divine essence is God generating or that which generates because here the predicate is used in place of the name of the person, and, as we shall see in the following article, we can say that the divine essence is the Father according to an identical predication.
Sixth Article: Whether The Persons Can Be Predicated Of The Essential Names
The question is whether, for instance, we can say, the divine essence is the Father, God is the Father, as we say that the Father is God.
The reply is in the affirmative. This proposition is true: the Deity is the Father. The reason is that personal substantive names, like Father, can be predicated of the essence because of the real identity of the essence and the person. Thus we can say, the divine essence is the Father, and the divine essence is the Son; but we cannot say that the divine essence generates or is generating or spirating, because these are adjective names, which are attributed to persons but not to the three persons.
Cajetan notes that this proposition, "The divine essence is the Father, " is true and necessary, not by formal predication but by identical predication, that is, solely because of the identity of the subject but not by reason of the thing signified. In the same way when we say the divine will is the divine intelligence, this is true identically but not formally. If it were formally true, we could substitute divine will for divine intelligence in every instance, just as we can substitute Tullius wherever we find Cicero. Then we could say that God knows by His will, that He pardons by His justice, and punishes by His mercy.
The proposition, "The divine essence is the Father, " is true identically, while the proposition, "The essence generates, " is false. It is also false to say that the divine will understands, for the adjective signifies the form in the subject, and in this last statement there can only be a formal predication and not an identical predication because the divine will is a form and not the subject of a form. The divine subject does indeed understand but not by the will. The willing God understands, but it is not God's will itself that understands.
Seventh Article: Whether Essential Terms Are To Be Propriated To The Persons
State of the question. This is the difficult question of appropriation. To solve it the theologian should preserve the "sense of the mystery," and he should not try to reduce the mystery in every instance to clear and univocal ideas. This theory of appropriation is found at least explicitly only among the Latins. The Greeks use the proper names of the persons, and besides this they speak only of appellations, kleseis, which are found in the Scriptures. As De Regnon points out, the Greeks have but one proper name for each of the divine persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Besides this they have especially for the Son many appellations: thus in the Scriptures the Son is called Logos, Wisdom, Truth, Image, Justice, Sanctification, Redemption, and Resurrection. According to the Greeks, these appellations are conducive to a better knowledge of a divine person, but they did not arrive at an explicit concept of appropriation. Indeed they had less need for this theory because they began their study with the three persons rather than with the unity of nature.
The Latin theologians, particularly the Scholastics, desired to perfect the doctrine of the Trinity by a precise classification of all terms and concepts. Thus they distinguished exactly, in the case of each divine person, the proper names from the other appellations found in Holy Scripture, and in making these distinctions they relied on St. Augustine's psychological theory, according to which the Son proceeds as the Word after the manner of intellection or rather enunciation, and the Holy Ghost proceeds after the manner of love.
Thus, as we have seen above, St. Thomas showed that the proper names of the Son are, the Son, Word, and Image, and the proper names of the Holy Ghost are Holy Ghost, Love, and Gift. The other appellations found in Scripture are not proper names, but they are appropriated to one person rather than to another because of the affinity they have for one person rather than for another. Thus Wisdom is appropriated to the Son.
In presenting the question in this article, St. Thomas poses three difficulties against the theory of appropriation accepted by the Latin theologians.
1. A difficulty arises because this theory may lead to an error in faith since it is possible that essential terms, like wisdom, could be understood as belonging to one person alone, or to that person in a greater degree. This would be erroneous since the Father and the Holy Ghost are equally wise with the Son.
2. Another difficulty arises from the fact that abstract essential terms, like wisdom as distinct from a wise person, cannot be appropriated to any one person, for then the Son would be the wisdom of the Father or the form of the Father. But no person is the form of another person. Like the first difficulty, this one confuses an appropriation with a proper name.
3. That which is proper is prior to that which is appropriated. But the essential attributes are prior to the persons, at least according to our method of understanding, just as that which is common is prior to that which is proper. Therefore the essential attributes should not be appropriated to the persons.
This statement reveals the difficulties inherent in the theory, whether the appropriation is not adequately distinguished from the property or whether it is explicitly distinguished from it. The importance of this problem arises particularly from our manner of speaking of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the soul by appropriation, although the Father and the Son also dwell in the souls of the just, according to our Lord's words, "If anyone love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him." We shall see that a mission means more than an appropriation, although the appropriation is not merely something verbal.
Reply. St. Thomas replied: "For the manifestation of the faith it is fitting that essential attributes be appropriated to the persons." Such is the common answer of Latin theologians.
1. The reply is proved by the authority of St. Paul, who said, "Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." In this passage wisdom, which is an attribute common to the three persons, is appropriated to the Son. In the following article we shall see other appropriations indicated by Holy Scripture.
2. The theological proof may be thus summed up. Although the Trinity of persons cannot be demonstrated, yet it can be fittingly explained by such truths as are clearer to us. But the essential attributes, known to us from creatures, are more clear to us than the properties of the three persons. Therefore it is fitting that the essential attributes be appropriated to the persons, especially when there is a similarity or affinity, as when wisdom is appropriated to the Son. The reader is referred to the article.
In reading the article the following difficulty comes to mind: if the essential attributes, known from creatures, can manifest the divine persons, then the divine persons can be known from creatures. St. Thomas replies to this difficulty in the body of the article. He recalls what was said earlier, that creatures are the effects of the creative omnipotence, which is common to the three persons, and from creatures therefore we cannot demonstrate the Trinity of persons. On the other hand Scripture tells us that there are traces of the Trinity in creatures, indeed even an image of the Trinity in the human soul. Hence the divine essential attributes, known from creatures with rational certitude, can in some way manifest the divine persons, although the Trinity cannot be demonstrated by them and can be known only through revelation.
This is to say, that the theory of appropriation is not something merely verbal, like the difference between Tullius and Cicero, nor is it merely a fiction in the theologians, minds, but it has according to the Scriptures a foundation in reality, at least a foundation of trace and image, although it is difficult to determine in what this foundation consists.
In general this appropriation is made because of likeness or affinity, but sometimes it is because of dissimilarity, as when power is appropriated to the Father, as St. Augustine said, because among men fathers are weak because of their age, and we should not insinuate anything like this about God.
Reply to the first objection. No error follows from this theory because a clear distinction is made between a property and an appropriation. At least in the tract on the Trinity appropriation does not signify that something becomes a property, because the essential attributes cannot become proper to any one person, nor is the Son wiser than the Father and the Holy Ghost. Appropriation signifies adaptation or accommodation, as the doctors of the Church were accustomed to do when they attributed wisdom to the Son because He is the Word. We have therefore no error but rather more light on the truth.
Properties can easily be distinguished from appropriations. Properties are those things which are attributed to one person and cannot be attributed to another; appropriations are those things which of themselves are common to the three persons but for greater clarity are attributed to one person. Such was Cajetan's argument.
Abelard, however, ignored this distinction and fell into error. According to St. Bernard, he taught that power was proper to the Father, wisdom to the Son, and goodness to the Holy Ghost. Hence the following proposition was condemned: "The Father is full of power, the Son is a certain power, and the Holy Ghost has no power."
Reply to the second objection. If wisdom when appropriated to the Son would become proper to Him, the Son would become the form of the Father. But to be appropriated does not signify becoming a property. Hence when St. Paul said, "Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God, " he meant that the Son is the wisdom of the Father in the sense that the wisdom is from the wisdom of the Father as when we say Light of Light. Hence the Father is not wise by the wisdom which He generates but by the wisdom which is His essence.
Reply to the third objection. An essential attribute like wisdom is in itself prior to a person, but as appropriated it follows the property of a person. So color is consequent on the body but it is prior to a white body. Such is the solution of the difficulties although the idea of appropriation remains confused and we cannot arrive at a perfect distinction according to our manner of understanding. We must always retain the "sense of the mystery" and not attempt the clarification of every detail in this dogma.
Eighth Article: Whether The Holy Doctors Properly Attributed Essential Attributes To The Persons
State of the question. This question is concerned with the application of the theory of appropriation and the solution of certain special difficulties.
1. St. Hilary appropriates eternity to the Father; the reason is not apparent, for the three persons are co-eternal.
2. St. Augustine appropriates unity to the Father, equality to the Son, and concord or harmony to the Holy Ghost, whereas the three persons are co-equal.
3. St. Augustine also appropriates power to the Father; St. Paul appropriates it to the Son when he says, "Christ, the power of God."
4. St. Augustine appropriates the following words to the three persons: "For of Him, and by Him, and in Him, are all things," in this way: of the Father, by the Son, in the Holy Ghost. The reason for this attribution is not apparent.
5. Truth is appropriated to the Son but it seems to be proper to the Son.
Reply. To solve these difficulties and to show the fitness of these appropriations of the doctors, St. Thomas invokes this principle: God as known from creatures, just as creatures themselves, can be. considered in four ways: 1. as He is a being; 2. as He is one; 3. as He has the power of operation; 4. as He has a relationship to His effects.
This principle presents no difficulties, and St. Thomas shows that the appropriations made by Scripture and the Fathers were made according to these various considerations.
1. When God is regarded as the supreme being, eternity is appropriated to the Father, brightness to the Son, and use or fruition to the Holy Ghost. Thus St. Hilary. Why? Because the eternal is not from a principle, brightness or beauty belongs to the Son as the perfect image and splendor of the Father, and, use in the broad sense includes fruition and belongs to the Holy Ghost since the Father and the Son love each other and mutually enjoy the Holy Ghost. Such is the explanation of the appropriations made by St. Hilary.
2. When God is regarded as One, according to St. Augustine, unity is appropriated to the Father, equality to the Son, and concord to the Holy Ghost. Why? Because these three concepts imply unity in different ways. For unity absolutely speaking does not presuppose anything else and is therefore appropriated to the Father; equality implies unity with reference to another and thus is appropriated to the Son; and concord implies the unity of two according to the heart and is therefore appropriated to the Holy Ghost.
3. When God is regarded as having the power for operation, according to St. Augustine and others, power is appropriated to the Father, wisdom to the Son, and goodness to the Holy Ghost. Why? Because power has the nature of a principle and thus has a likeness to the Father, who is the principle without principle. Wisdom has a similarity to the heavenly Son inasmuch as the Son is the Word or the concept of wisdom. Goodness, finally, is the basis and object of love and thus has a similarity with the Holy Ghost, who is personal love since He proceeds after the manner of love.
This appropriation, then, more commonly accepted by the Latin theologians than others, is based on the concept proposed by St. Augustine, according to which the Son proceeds after the manner of intellection or enunciation, and the Holy Ghost proceeds after the manner of love. A second reason of lesser importance is also given, based on dissimilarity, for as the earthly father as an old man is weak, the earthly son as young is not yet wise, and the earthly spirit is often evil and implies violence.
First corollary. The divine operations especially marked by power, as the creation of the world, are appropriated to the Father. Thus we read in the most ancient form of the Apostles, Creed, "I believe in God the Father almighty, " and in the Nicene Creed, "I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker... of all things visible and invisible."
Second corollary. The operations which are particularly marked by wisdom are appropriated to the Son. Thus the Nicene Creed says, "My whom all things were made, " since they were made according to God's wisdom, which orders the world. Besides this, the visible mission of the Son in the redemptive Incarnation is attributed to the Son properly and not by appropriation.
Third corollary. The operations which are especially marked by goodness are appropriated to the Holy Ghost, as the conferring of grace. Thus we read in the Constantinopolitan Creed, "And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and vivifier... who was spoken of by the prophets."
The Greek Fathers had little need for this theory of appropriation because in their exposition of the doctrine of the Trinity, as we have said, they began with the three persons, who are clearly distinguished in the New Testament, rather than with the unity of nature, which incidentally they had difficulty in safeguarding. On the other hand, the Latin Fathers, especially after the time of St. Augustine, since they began with the unity of nature had difficulty in showing the distinction between the persons. In order to explain this distinction between the persons they used the theory of appropriation, especially the appropriations of power, wisdom, and goodness, which have a valid foundation in the Apostles' Creed even in its primitive form.
It is interesting to observe that the Greek Fathers, without any explicit theory of appropriation, explain how the creative omnipotence is attributed to the Father and sanctification is attributed to the Holy Ghost, although they were certain that in the operations ad extra the three persons act as one principle because they act by the divine intellect, will, and omnipotence, which are essential attributes and common to the three persons. In the introduction to this treatise, comparing the two theories, we said that among the advantages of the Latin theory was its ability to explain how the three divine persons are one principle of the operations ad extra, namely, creation, conservation, motion, providence, and divine governance. One of the difficulties of the Greek theory is that it does not clearly explain this point. This is not surprising for, when this latter theory starts out with the three persons rather than with the unity of nature, we expect that the difficulties would be the opposite of those in the Latin theory. The Greeks had difficulty in explaining the unity of nature, while the Latins had difficulty in explaining the real distinction of the persons. The mystery is simply infinite and impenetrable.
Finally St. Thomas presents a fourth appropriation based on St. Paul's words, "If Him, and by Him, and in Him, are all things." The "of" (ex) denotes the condition of an efficient cause, which belongs to the Father by reason of His omnipotence. The preposition "by" (per) designates the form by which the agent acts, as when the artist is said to work by his art, and this meaning is appropriated to the Son. The "in" denotes the condition of a container; God contains things inasmuch as He conserves them in His goodness and therefore this meaning is appropriated to the Holy Ghost as goodness is.
At the end of the article St. Thomas explains why truth and the "book of life" are appropriated to the Son, and also why the name "Who am." This last is appropriated to the Son because when God spoke to Moses he prefigured the liberation of the human race, which was accomplished by the Son.
We will return again to the theory of appropriation in question 43, when we treat of the indwelling of the Holy Trinity, which is appropriated to the Holy Ghost because this indwelling takes place by charity. By charity we are more closely assimilated to the Holy Ghost than we are assimilated by faith to the Son; we are not perfectly assimilated to the Son except by the light of glory, and then the Son will assimilate us to the Father.
CHAPTER XIV: QUESTION 40 THE PERSONS IN COMPARISON WITH THE RELATIONS
Many commentators (e. g., Billuart) present the doctrine of this question as a commentary of question 29, article 4, namely, whether a divine person is constituted by a relation, to which the reply is in the affirmative: a divine personality is a relation as subsisting and incommunicable. The same doctrine is now taken up again to be considered synthetically and not analytically, as earlier.
First Article: Whether A Relation Is The Same As A Person
St. Thomas recalls that an incommunicable relation as subsisting is the same as a person, which is something subsisting and incommunicable. Moreover, in his reply to the first objection he shows that personal properties, like paternity and filiation, are not really distinct from the persons because as God and the Deity are the same (God is His own Deity), so the Father and paternity are the same. In God the abstract is not distinct from the concrete because there is no matter in God; on the contrary, humanity is only an essential part of the concrete man, who besides has individuating notes. God, however, is pure form without matter, and He is His own being and His own act. Properties that are not personal, such as active spiration, are not really distinct from the persons to whom they are attributed, because the simplicity of God excludes every real distinction except where there is opposition of relation.
Second Article: Whether The Persons Are Distinguished By The Relations
St. Thomas replies affirmatively, as above in question 30, and also refutes the opinion of Alexander of Hales, attributed to St. Bonaventure, according to which the persons are constituted by the active and passive origins, for example, the Father is constituted by active generation and not by the relation of paternity.
To this St. Thomas replies that a person should be constituted by something intrinsic to the person itself that is stable and permanent in actual being. But the active and passive origins are rather extrinsic to the persons and they are conceived as in the state of becoming. Moreover, an active origin, like active generation, cannot formally constitute the person which it presupposes, since it is the Father who generates. Hence, according to our mode of conception it is better to say that the divine persons are constituted by the subsisting relations. Thus the Father signifies the First Person, and the generator is the property of this person.
Objection. That which presupposes a distinction cannot be the first principle of the distinction. But relation presupposes the distinction of the things that are related, since to be related means to have a reference to another. Therefore relation cannot be the first principle of distinction in God.
Reply. I concede the major. I distinguish the minor: a relation that is an accident presupposes the distinction of the supposita, I concede; a relation that is subsisting, I deny, because such a relation constitutes the persons and brings the distinction with it. So the reply to the third difficulty. Moreover, in proof of the minor it should be said that a relation has a reference to the correlative that is prior, this I deny; to the correlative that is simultaneous in nature, this I concede.
I insist. This was examined above. The relation which follows on active generation cannot constitute the person who generates. But the relation of paternity follows active generation since it is founded on active generation. Therefore the relation of paternity cannot constitute the person of the Father.
Reply. I distinguish the major: the relation as actually referring to the terminus, or that which in the exercise of the act refers to the Son (follows the person), this I concede; the relation which in the signified act modifies the divine essence (follows the person), this I deny. And I contradistinguish the minor.
Thus the first angle constructed in the triangle is a geometric figure even before it actually has a reference to the two other angles. So we can conceive whiteness in itself as that by which (ut quo) before we conceive it as modifying the wall (ut quod). Similarly habitual grace is conceived in itself before it is conceived as expelling sin; essence is conceived first in its formal act (in actu signato), as that which is capable of existence, before it is conceived as in the exercise of the act as having reference to a produced existence.
This distinction is not futile or without an analogy, but it must be said that relation, which is a predicamental in creatures, has a substantial <esse in> only in God and only in God can it constitute a person. Relation constitutes a person in God inasmuch as it is incommunicable and subsisting, and it constitutes a relative personality inasmuch as it is a relation.
In the third article of this question St. Thomas insists on the identity of the persons with the relations by which they are constituted, and he shows that the intellect cannot abstract the relations from the persons. This is contrary to the opinion attributed to St. Bonaventure. In explanation St. Thomas distinguishes between total abstraction, or logical abstraction, in which the entire universal (as genus or species) is abstracted from the particular, as, for example, animal from man, and formal abstraction, in which form is abstracted from matter, as, for example, when the form of the circle is abstracted from all sensible matter.
With respect to God we cannot use total or logical abstraction because God is not in any genus; hence we cannot abstract the relations from the persons. Nor can we by formal abstraction abstract the personal relations from the persons, for example, paternity from the Father, because there is no matter in God. The Father is His paternity and if we abstract the paternity nothing remains of the Father. On the other hand the form of the circle can be abstracted from all sensible matter, for example, from wood or stone.
Third Article: Whether The Notional Acts Are Understood Prior To The Properties
St. Thomas disagrees with the opinion of Alexander of Hales, attributed to St. Bonaventure, according to which the notional acts, for example, generation, constitute the persons in such a way that active generation is antecedent to paternity according to our method of conception.
Reply. In St. Thomas' view the notional acts taken actively, such as to generate and to spirate, presuppose the persons from which they proceed as already constituted, and the persons are constituted by the subsisting relations, as was said above. Hence active generation, or enunciation, proceeds from the divine intellect as modified by the relation of paternity. And yet these notional acts are the bases of the relations inasmuch as the relations actually have a reference to their termini. In our method of conceiving these things the matter is rather obscure with regard to the active origins; this obscurity, however, does not arise with regard to the passive origins since a passive origin, such as passive generation, according to our method of conception precedes the filiation for which it is a basis.
Toward the end of the body of the article St. Thomas replies that a relation (for example, paternity) as a relation actually referring to the Son presupposes active generation; but active generation presupposes the person who generates and the personal property, paternity, as constituting the person. Here there is indeed a mystery but no contradiction. Similarly, in an equilateral triangle the first angle constructed, while it is alone, is a geometric figure but it does not yet refer to the other two angles not yet constructed.
The reader is referred to the article in the Summa.
In question 27 we have examined the difficulty presented by the Latin theory with regard to the proximate principle quo of the divine processions. We concluded that this principle is the divine intellect and will, not in themselves, but as they are modified by the relations of paternity and active spiration.
Nevertheless the relation of paternity as actually and actively terminated in the Son presupposes active generation. In this most difficult expression of the mystery we find something similar to the principle that causes are mutually causes of each other but in different genera. By reason of this principle, for example, the ultimate disposition for a form precedes the form in the order of material cause and afterward follows the form as a property in the order of formal cause. If we have difficulty in expressing this mutual relationship between the material and formal disposition of corporeal beings, it is not surprising that we should find it difficult to express the mutual relationships between the divine relations, such as paternity, and the notional acts, such as active generation.
Generation presupposes the Father and is the foundation for paternity, but not under the same aspect. The matter is somewhat similar to the form which presupposes the disposition and also affords the basis for the disposition inasmuch as the disposition is also a property. An example is the ultimate disposition for the rational soul, whatever it may be, whether it is a movement of the heart or something similar. When this property is destroyed by death, the soul separates from the body, because this property is seen under two aspects at the same time: it is a property and a disposition for the production and conservation of the form in the matter. If this is a mystery in the order of sensible things, we do not wonder that it is difficult to express how these things are in God.
First corollary. As stated in the reply to the first difficulty, both these statements are true: because He generates He is the Father, and because He is the Father He generates. In the first statement the name "Father" is taken as designating the relation alone, or the simple reference to the terminus; in the second statement the name "Father" is taken as designating a subsisting person.
Second corollary. The relation of active spiration, since it does not constitute a person but is merely a reference to a terminus, is posterior in our minds to the notional act of spiration, which is attributed to the Father and the Son.
CHAPTER XV: QUESTION 41 THE PERSONS IN COMPARISON WITH THE NOTIONAL ACTS
In this question we consider expressly the notional acts, generation I and spiration, which are called notional because they denote persons. In this question six articles are proposed for our profound and diligent consideration: 1. whether notional acts can be attributed to the persons; 2. whether the notional acts are necessary or voluntary, and then whether God has power with regard to these acts.
First Article: Whether Notional Acts Are To Be Attributed To The Persons
State of the question. The difficulty arises 1. because, since God is not an accident, every act pertains to the essence and cannot therefore be attributed to the persons; 2. because St. Augustine seems to confirm this difficulty when he says: "Everything that is predicated of God is predicated either according to His substance or according to a relation, " hence there is no place for notional acts; 3. because it is a property of an act to imply passivity or passion, but nothing passive is found in God, for example, passive generation is something imperfect and not to be attributed to God.
Reply. Nevertheless the reply is in the affirmative, namely, notional acts are to be attributed to the persons; indeed it is necessary to do so in order to signify the order of origin in the different persons.
The first part of this reply is of faith according to the Scripture as we shall see immediately.
1. The testimony of Sacred Scripture is clear: "The Lord hath said to Me: Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee." This text, as we have said above, is given added force by the New Testament: "the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father." Our Lord also said: "For from God I proceeded, and came." The first part of this text is accepted in tradition as referring to the eternal procession. The councils quoted these words of Scripture in this sense. In the argument sed contra St. Thomas quotes the words of St. Fulgentius, "It is a property of the Father that He generated the Son."
2. The theological reason is as follows: In the divine persons distinction is attendant on the origin. But origin cannot be conveniently designated except by some act. Therefore generation is properly attributed to the Father and spiration to the Father and the Son. This reasoning is clear, but the difficulties posed in the state of the question must still be solved.
Reply to the first difficulty. How is it that an act like generation, which is not a relation, does not pertain to the divine essence? The reply is that if this were an act ad extra, like creation, it would pertain to the essence, but generation and spiration are acts ad intra belonging to the procession of a person from a person and therefore are attributed to the persons.
Reply to the second difficulty. It is insisted that in God there is nothing besides essence and relation, and therefore the notional acts must be reduced to the relations. But to generate is more than a relation. The reply is rather profound. The notional acts are distinguished from the persons not really but only by reason, because if the idea of action is purified of all created modes, action within God (ad intra) is nothing more than a relation. In the created order transitive action, like active generation, is a movement or mutation as coming from the agent, and the passion is the movement as it is in the recipient. When we prescind from the motion, as no matter is in God, action implies nothing more than the order of origin, according to which it proceeds from a principle to the terminus. Since, then, there is no motion in God, active generation is nothing else than the condition or reference of the Father to the Son, and active spiration is nothing else than the condition or reference of the Father and the Son to the Holy Ghost. According to our method of knowing, which is based on the knowledge of creatures, we distinguish active generation from the Father and thus we have two terms, but there is no real distinction. It would be better to speak of quasi-active generation and quasi-passive generation, and also quasi-spiration. With regard to our concept of creation we must also purify the idea of transitive action since creation is without becoming because there is no preexisting subject. In creation we have causality properly so called, but the Father is not the cause of the Son but only His principle. St. Thomas says: "Creation is not a change (mutatio) except to our way of thinking... for if we prescind from motion and the pre-existing subject we have only the various references (habitudines) in the Creator and in the creature."
So in the Trinity, if we remove the idea of motion, active generation implies nothing more than the order of origin.
Reply to the third difficulty. The other insistence still remains: How can there be in God passive generation, which implies imperfection? The reply is as follows: action, inasmuch as it implies the origin of motion, of itself results in passivity (passio), since action is motion as coming from the agent and motion as it is in a recipient. But such action is not found in the divine persons. When we prescind from the motion, we do not find that passivity (passiones) except in the grammatical sense and according to our method of signification, as when we say that the Father generates and that the Son is generated. This means that the Son is generated not according to a transition from passive potency to act as in human generation but in the sense that the entire uncreated divine nature and subsisting and unreceived being itself are communicated to the Son by the Father. Hence the expression, "The divine nature is communicated," is more proper than, "The Father produces the Son," since active production savors of causality, and passive production savors of the transition from potency to act.
In God, then, to be generated is not less perfect than to generate, and to be communicated is not less perfect than to communicate. Analogically, in the equilateral triangle the angle that is constructed first is not more perfect than the other two, and the three angles have a superficies which is numerically the same. In the beginning this superficies is the superficies of the angle that is first constructed and it is not communicated to this first angle; then this same superficies is communicated to the second angle and, if the second angle is equal to the first, the third angle is equal to the first two, and the third angle receives the same superficies, which is not caused in it but is communicated to it. It is wonderful that between things so remote as the Trinity and the triangle there should be an analogy so intelligible and so clear. In all created things we can find a trace of the Blessed Trinity.
Second Article: Whether The Notional Acts Are Voluntary
State of the question. The sense of the question is whether the Father voluntarily generates the Son and whether the Father and the Son voluntarily spirate the Holy Ghost.
As is clear from the texts cited from the Fathers at the beginning of this treatise, the difficulty arises because on the one hand we cannot say that the Father freely generates the Son, for then the Son would be a creature, as the Arians taught; and on the other hand we cannot say that the Father involuntarily generates the Son as if forced to do so. From the words quoted in the argument sed contra we see that St. Augustine was aware of this difficulty: "The Father generates the Son neither by His will nor by necessity (by force)."
Reply. St. Thomas solves the difficulty by a distinction between the concomitant will and the antecedent will, which latter is subdivided into necessary and free. It should be noted that the antecedent will is in opposition to the concomitant will and to the consequent will but not in the same way. With respect to the consequent will, the antecedent will is inefficacious; with respect to the concomitant will it may be efficacious. St. Thomas' division may be reduced to the following.
(diagram page 290)
Antecedent, as an effective principle
as nature: that is, as a natural and necessary principle. Thus man naturally wills happiness in general
as free: as a principle acting indifferently as to judgment. Thus God freely wills creatures.
Concomitant, not as an effective principle
In this way I will to be a man and I am pleased to be a man, but the fact that I am a human being does not depend on my will
Having made this division, we draw three conclusions.
1. The notional acts, to generate and to spirate, are voluntary by a concomitant will. Thus the Father voluntarily generates the Son, just as He wills Himself to be God; the Father does not generate the Son involuntarily nor do the Father and the Son spirate the Holy Ghost unwillingly.
As we read in the reply to the first objection, St. Hilary wrote: "The Father does not generate the Son induced by a natural necessity. He is not forced to generate the Son." Such was also the declaration of the Council of Sardinia, and St. Augustine rightly says, "The Father generates the Son not by the necessity of force."
2. The notional acts are not voluntary by an antecedent will as free, because what proceeds in this way from the free will is able not to be, and the notional acts are not able not to be. Otherwise it would be possible for the Son and the Holy Ghost not to be. St. Thomas might have been content with this explanation, but in the body of the article he recalls the roots of liberty explained earlier in the question, "Whether God freely wills things other than Himself." He explains that, whereas the form by which a natural agent acts is one (the natural form), it follows that in the same circumstances such an agent always produces the same effect (by the principle of induction), since it is determined to one effect. On the other hand, the form by which the will as free acts is not one only but consists of many reasons in the intellect and many possible judgments, and therefore in the deliberation there is an indifferent mistress of judgments and also of choice. Therefore what is freely willed can be either one or another. But this cannot be in God or in the processions, otherwise it would be possible for the Son and the Holy Ghost not to be and then they would be creatures, as the Arians thought.
3. Active spiration is by an antecedent will as nature; generation, however, which, as enunciation, proceeds not from the will but from the intellect, proceeds prior to the will. God therefore understands the generation before He wills it. Spiration proceeds from the antecedent will because the Holy Ghost proceeds as love; consequently He proceeds by the will, namely, as the terminus of that volition by which the Father and the Son naturally and necessarily love each other. In this same way man naturally loves happiness in general, at least by a necessity of specification; in this way also the blessed love God by an act of the will which is entirely spontaneous but also necessary, an act of the will that is not inferior to liberty but above it, because the will of the blessed is invincibly drawn to God's goodness when they see Him clearly. In this beatific love there is no liberty of specification or freedom of exercise and yet this love is most spontaneous; it is therefore an excellent example of the non-free and spontaneous active spiration. Thus the Holy Ghost proceeds not after the manner of nature, because He is not begotten, but from the will as nature.
Scotus, who in this question seems to follow St. Bonaventure and Richard of St. Victor, held that the procession of the Holy Ghost is an act that is free by an essential freedom. To this the Thomists reply that this essential liberty cannot be a liberty by necessity or a liberty of indifference for then it would be possible for the Holy Ghost not to be and then He would be a creature. The term, "essential liberty," then, can be understood only as liberty by compulsion, which is simply the spontaneity of natural and necessary volition. The difference is really only nominal, because the Thomists readily admit such spontaneity, as in the beatific love, which is not in any way free yet is most spontaneous. Scotus found himself obliged to say that active spiration, although free by an essential freedom, was necessary inasmuch as the Holy Ghost is necessarily spirated and necessarily exists, but he did not wish to call the spirating will natural.
Third Article: Whether A Person Proceeds From Something Or From Nothing By The Notional Acts
This article explains the words of the Creed about the Son, who is begotten but not made from nothing, in opposition to the Arians, who taught that the Son was a creature. St. Thomas showed that the processions, generation and spiration, are emanations and not creations from nothing. This is the difference between being begotten and being made: he who is begotten is from the substance of the generator. For even in human generation the son is from the seed of the father, although here we have a multiplication of natures; in divine generation the Son is of the substance of the Father, but here the entire indivisible divine nature is communicated to the Son without multiplication of the nature. That, however, which is made, for instance by a mechanic, is not of the substance of the workman, but it is produced by a transformation of matter, or if it is made without any pre-existing subject it is said to be made from nothing. This explains why the Scriptures speak of the Son of God not only in the broad sense, as an adopted son, but as "His own Son, " and as "the only-begotten Son."
Fourth Article: Whether In God There Is Potentia With Regard To The Notional Acts
State of the question. It is asked whether there is a potentia of generating and spirating in God. Following St. Augustine, St. Thomas replies in the affirmative because potentia is nothing else than the principle of some act, and in this instance the potentia is active. As he says in the reply to the second difficulty, passive potentia cannot exist in God, nor can there be any power which is necessarily opposed for then the potentia would be passive.
A difficulty is raised in the third objection. Potentia is predicated of God with respect to certain effects (in this way we speak of God's omnipotence); but power is not predicated of God with respect to the divine operations, divine intellection and will, because God is pure act. Therefore in God there is no intellective faculty but only intellect subsisting per se, nor is there a volitional faculty. Indeed, the divine persons are not effects of God, and therefore we cannot speak of the potentia of generating or spirating in God.
Reply. According to St. Thomas' reply the potentia of generating is not properly the principle of active generation but the principle of the begotten person, just as the creative power is not the principle of the creative action, which is not an accident in God, but the principle of the created effect.
As Billuart points out, these notional powers, that is, the powers of generating and spirating, are not virtually distinct from the acts because there is no foundation in God for conceiving Him as being in potency to anything since He is pure act.
Thus in God the intellect is not virtually distinct from intellection since God's intellect is intellection subsisting per se, noesis noeseos Similarly God's will is not virtually distinct from His love, by which He loves Himself necessarily, and loves other things freely. This unique act of love is the indifferent mistress of those goods which are able not to be.
Fifth Article: Whether The Power To Generate Signifies The Relation And Not The Essence
Reply. The power of generating signifies directly the divine nature and indirectly the relation of paternity. This is another way of saying what was said at the beginning of this treatise in the question on the processions, namely, the proximate principle quo of the processions is the divine nature itself as modified by the relations of paternity and spiration. In the present article this principle quo is called the notional power of generating or spirating.
St. Thomas offers proof for this for the power of generating, which is more easily understood than the second power: In the created order every agent produces what is like to itself according to the form by which it acts inasmuch as it determines its production according to its own proper determination. Thus a cow generates a cow, a horse generates a horse, and everything that generates produces something like itself according to its species or nature. Hence in the one who generates, the nature is the principle quo of generation; thus Socrates generates as a man and generates a man. If Socrates generated as Socrates he would generate Socrates. Therefore the active principle of generation is directly the nature of the generator and indirectly it is the personality of the generator, for when Socrates generates, the principle quo of generation is human nature as it is in Socrates; so also in God the principle quo of generation is the divine nature as it is in the Father. Similarly the superficies of the triangle is communicated to the second and third angles as it is in the first angle. Particular attention should be given to what St. Thomas says at the end of the body of the article: "In created things the individual form constitutes the person of the generator, but it is not that by which the generator generates, otherwise Socrates would generate Socrates. Hence paternity cannot be taken as that by which the Father generates, but it must be understood as the form that constitutes the person of the generator, otherwise the Father would generate a Father."
According to St. Thomas, then, the personality of Socrates is the individual form, namely, that by which something is what it is, or the first subject of attribution. But this individual form of Socrates is not matter marked by quantity, or the individuating conditions, since it is called the individual form; nor is this form Socrates' existence, which is a contingent predicate in Socrates.
Sixth Article: Whether A Notional Act Can Terminate In Several Persons
In other words, it is asked whether several persons can be generated or spirated in God, as one man can beget several sons.
Reply. The reply is in the negative.
1. In God being and possibility are not different. Therefore if it were possible to have several sons of God, there would actually be several sons of God; and this conclusion would be heresy.
2. Such plurality of sons could arise only from matter, which does not exist in God. It would also presuppose several numerically distinct generations. This is impossible because generation and spiration are acts naturally determined to one terminus and the terminus is, as it were, an adequate fruit (result). Thus the Son is the perfect Son, in whom the entire filiation and the entire divine nature is contained without multiplication. We should note what St. Thomas says in this sixth article (as everywhere else): "The forms of one species are not multiplied except according to matter, " and therefore a form that is not received in matter cannot be anything but one.
Recently some Thomists have said that God could miraculously make several angels in the same species, that is, many Michaels multiplied without matter. According to St. Thomas this is impossible because we are dealing here with a metaphysical principle in which there is no place for a miracle. It is not merely a natural law but a metaphysical principle that an act that is not limited in itself is not limited or multiplied except by the potency or real capacity in which it is received. Therefore a form is not multiplied except by matter, or by an order to matter, and it is this order to matter that remains in the separated soul. In this metaphysical principle, if it is really metaphysical, that is, absolutely and not only hypothetically necessary, there is no exception by way of a miracle.
CHAPTER XVI: QUESTION 42 THE EQUALITY AND SIMILARITY OF THE DIVINE PERSONS
THIS chapter treats of the comparison of the divine persons with one another. Six articles are presented about their equality and on the order between them and on circumincession, inasmuch as one person is in the other.
First Article: Whether The Divine Persons Are Equal
Reply. The reply is affirmative and of faith according to the Athanasian Creed, which professes that the divine persons are "coequal, " and the same doctrine is defined by many councils. In the Scriptures it is said of the Son, "Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." The explanation given in the body of the article is this: things are said to be unequal according to a difference in quantity. But in God quantity is the perfection of divine nature, which is numerically the same in the three persons. Therefore the three persons are not unequal but all three are coequal.
In the reply to the first difficulty, St. Thomas explains that quantity is twofold: quantity of amount (molis) and quantity of power (virtutis). The latter is predicated according to perfection of nature or form. To be one in nature is to be the same; to be one in quantity is to be equal; and to be one in quality is to be similar. Corollaries are presented in the following articles.
In the reply to the second difficulty, it is noted that the three persons are similar because we have here equality not of amount but of power, according to communication in one form.
Second Article: Whether The Proceeding Person Is Coeternal With His Principal
State of the question. The difficulty arises because no eternal being has a principle and that which is generated begins to be. In the first difficulty St. Thomas quotes the objection of the Arians, who enumerated twelve kinds of generation in which there is no consubstantiality or coeternity.
Reply. Nevertheless the reply is that the three persons are coeternal. This is of faith according to the Scriptures: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard"; "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." In the Athanasian Creed we profess, "The whole three persons are coeternal together and coequal." The Fourth Lateran Council also declared that the three persons are "consubstantial and coequal and co-omnipotent and coeternal."
The theological explanation throws a great deal of light on this somewhat obscure doctrine. The explanation is as follows: The proceeding persons are coeternal with their principles because they proceed from a principle whose active power is always perfect by instantaneous action in the one unique instant of eternity. The intellect and the will of God are, of course, always in act. Therefore the divine intellect is never without the Word nor is the divine will ever without personal love, or the Holy Ghost.
Reply to the first objection. A vestige of this coeternity is found in the sun inasmuch as the sun never lacks its brightness.
Reply to the second objection. Unparticipated eternity properly so called excludes the principle of duration but not the principle of origin. Thus the Son originates from the Father in the one instant of immobile eternity. This truth is expressed in the words, "Thou art My son, this day have I begotten Thee." "Today, " that is, in this one unique instant of eternity, which is the stable now (nunc stans) and which is not fluent.
Reply to the third objection. The following principle, "Everything that is generated begins to be," is not verified in the Son of God because divine generation is not a transmutation, nor is it a change from non-being to being, but it takes place by the communication of uncreated being itself. Hence the Son is always generated and the Father always generates, since the "now" of eternity is not fluent but is immutably stationary.
Reply to the fourth objection. In time the perduring time is different from the indivisible fleeting point, which is the fluent instant, for time is the successive continuum which is divisible in infinity, whereas the instant is indivisible like the point that terminates a line. In eternity, however, this indivisible "now" is always stable or stationary and therefore there is no difference between the perduring eternity and this indivisible point. Since the generation of the Son is in the "now" of eternity, we can say that the Son is always being born, or still better that the Son is always born because the "born" signifies the perfection of him who is begotten, whereas being born signifies that which is becoming and is not yet perfect.
A beautiful thesis could be written about this "now" of eternity in comparison with continuous time, which is the measure of the apparent movement of the sun, and with the discrete time of the angels, which is the measure of the angels' successive thoughts and affections. Such a thesis could be combined with the doctrine concerning the life of God inasmuch as eternity is defined as "the perfect, complete, and simultaneous possession of interminable life."
Third Article: Whether There Is An Order Of Nature In The Divine Persons
State of the question. The precise state of the question appears in the second difficulty. This difficulty is as follows: In those things where there is an order of nature one thing is prior to another, if not in time at least in nature or intellection. But in the divine persons nothing is earlier or later, as we learn from the Athanasian Creed. Moreover, in God the nature is most simple and numerically the same in the three persons and hence there is no order in the divine nature.
Reply. Nevertheless the reply is that there is an order of nature in the divine persons, an order not according to earlier and later but according to origin.
1. This is proved from general principles in the argument sed contra as follows: Wherever there is plurality without order we have confusion. But in God there is no confusion; therefore there must be order.
2. It is also proved from particular principles. Order is always predicated with regard to some principle, for example, with regard to the principle of the line, the principle of number, the principle of demonstration, the principle of causal influence, or the chief end. But in God we predicate the principle of origin without any priority. Therefore in God there is the order of origin without priority or posteriority.
The minor was explained above: "Although the term 'principle' with regard to that from which its significance is derived seems to come from priority, it does not signify priority but origin. For that which a term signifies is not the same as that from which the term is derived, as was explained above." Thus the Latin word for stone, lapis, seems to be derived from some action of the stone, namely, to injure the foot, laedit pedem.
Reply to the second objection. In created beings order is a disposition with regard to priority and posteriority in view of some principle, for example, the principle of the line or of motion, the principle of demonstration, or the principle of causality in any one of the four kinds of causes. But in God the concept of order is preserved analogically in view of the principle of origin without priority or posteriority, because posteriority either in duration or being would be an imperfection, which cannot be predicated of the Son or of the Holy Ghost. More briefly: whatever is posterior to another in nature must depend according to its own nature upon the nature of the other (as the nature of the ray depends on the nature of the sun). But we cannot speak of God in this way because there is but one nature in God. In this reply to the second difficulty St. Thomas shows that where there is no priority of time in created beings there is still a priority of nature, for example, the sun is prior to its brightness. But he adds: "If we consider not the entity of the cause but the relations themselves of the cause and that which is caused, of the principle and that which is principled, it is evident that the relatives are simultaneous in nature and intellect inasmuch as the one is contained in the definition of the other. But in God the relations are subsisting persons in one nature. Therefore one person is not prior to another either on the part of the nature or on the part of the relations. Nor is one person prior to another in intellection.
We have then an order of origin without any priority, even that of nature. This is, of course, quite mysterious. Cajetan notes that many theologians admit a "priority and posteriority of origin." His reply was: "Let them have this opinion, but let them be quiet about it." He probably meant that they could hold this opinion inasmuch as there is a kind of priority and posteriority according to our imperfect method of understanding but not in fact, and that as far as possible we ought to try to correct our imperfect method of knowledge. To safeguard the words of the Athanasian Creed, "In this Trinity there is nothing before or after," we ought to say with St. Thomas, "nothing is before or after, either in time or nature or honor." We preserve the analogy by noting that "between God and creatures there is no similarity so great that there is not always a greater dissimilarity.
A trace of this truth is found in the equilateral triangle, in which the three angles are entirely similar and equal. We can say that the angles are without any priority in this sense, that in constructing the triangle we can begin with any angle, and we can invert the triangle so that the apex becomes the extremity of the base.
Reply to the third objection. "The order of nature is predicated not in the sense that the divine nature itself is ordered but that the order among the divine persons follows according to natural origin, " for the Father generates according to His own nature, and the Father and the Son spirate the Holy Ghost by the will as it is the divine nature.
Reply to the fourth objection. It is called the order of nature rather than the order of the essence because nature to a certain extent implies the idea of principle.
Fourth Article: Whether The Son Is Equal To The Father In Greatness
State of the question. We are dealing here with the equality of perfection for the purpose of explaining Christ's words, "The Father is greater than 1." The difficulty arises because paternity pertains to dignity and does not belong to the Son. This is a statement of the question on which we touched earlier, namely, whether paternity is a simply perfect perfection properly so called, although the Son does not possess it. It is the same question as in the first article with the special difficulty that arises from the fact that paternity appears to be a special dignity.
Reply. The reply is in the affirmative: the Son is equal to the Father in perfection. This doctrine is of faith from the Scriptures: "Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God."
The theological reason is as follows: It is of the nature of paternity and filiation that the Son by generation attains to the possession of that perfect nature which is in the Father as it is possessed by the Father. And the Son attains to that perfect nature unless the power of generation is defective. But in God the power of generation is not defective; it is exercised most perfectly from all eternity. Therefore the Son possesses the entire perfection of the Father from all eternity.
Reply to the first objection. Only as man did Christ say, "The Father is greater than 1."
Reply to the second objection. The difficulty is that the Son lacks the dignity of paternity. St. Thomas replied: "Paternity is the dignity of the Father just as the essence is the dignity of the Father, since the dignity is absolute and pertains to the essence. Just as the same essence which is the paternity in the Father is filiation in the Son, so the same dignity which is paternity in the Father is filiation in the Son. But in the Father this dignity is according to the relation of the giver, and in the Son it is according to the relation of the recipient." But the divine generation is without the imperfection of the transition from potency to act since divine generation is not a mutation but the communication of uncreated being itself. Similarly, in the equilateral triangle the superficies is the same in the first angle and in the second, but in the first it is according to the relation of the giver and in the second according to the relation of the recipient. That is, as we have said above, the relations as such, according to their <esse ad>, prescind from perfection and imperfection. Hence they are not simply simple perfections properly so called; for, although they do not involve any imperfection, it is not better to have them than not to have them. Otherwise the Son would lack some perfection and so would not be God.
St. Thomas points out that "a relation, inasmuch as it is a relation, does not have that which makes it something but only that by which it has a reference to something." In this reply he says, "The thing in the something to which the reference is, is changed, " since the same dignity which in the Father is paternity is filiation in the Son. Thus divine filiation is not less perfect than divine paternity, just as in the triangle either angle at the base is not less perfect than the angle at the apex.
Reply to the third objection. The three persons together do not constitute greater perfection than one person alone, because the entire, infinite perfection of the divine nature is in each person, just as the superficies of the equilateral triangle is in each of the angles.
St. Thomas also points out in this article that in God relation and person are not something universal because all the relations are one according to essence and being. Humanity, however, is something universal, that is, it is apt to be in many through the multiplication of the form received in different parts of matter.
Fifth Article: Whether The Son Is In The Father And The Father Is In The Son
This article deals with circumincession, which is the mutual coexistence of the divine persons in each other so that the Father is in the Son, the Son in the Father, and both in the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost in both.
The difficulty arises because what goes out of another is not in the other. But the Son goes out of the Father from all eternity. Moreover, one of two opposites is not in the other opposite.
Reply. The affirmative reply is of faith according to the Scriptures, for Christ said: "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?" Such was the interpretation of the Fathers, especially St. Augustine.
The theological argument is in three parts: the Son is in the Father, and the Father is in the Son:
1. according to essence, which is numerically the same in the persons;
2. according to the relations, because they mutually involve each other, although they are opposites;
3. according to the procession, because it is immanent or ad intra and not ad extra.
Circumincession signifies consubstantiality, the immanence of the processions, and the reciprocity of opposite relations. An analogy can be seen in the equilateral triangle, where each angle is in the other two.
Objection. One of two opposites is not in the other opposite, because the opposites are really distinct. Therefore the Father is not in the Son.
Reply. I distinguish the antecedent: one of the opposites formally as an opposite is not in the other opposite, I concede; nevertheless by reason of the same essence the relations have the same <esse in> and according to the <esse ad> they mutually refer to each other and are inseparable, although really distinct. Thus, by circumincession the Father and the Holy Ghost are with the incarnate Son in the Holy Eucharist.
Sixth Article: Whether The Son Is Equal To The Father In Power
This article explains the following words of our Lord: "The Son cannot do anything of Himself, but what He seeth the Father doing, " and," or whatsoever He[the Father] doth, these the Son also doth in like manner."
Reply. The affirmative reply is of faith. The reason is that the power of acting follows the perfection of the nature, which is numerically the same in the Father and in the Son.
Reply to the first objection. But the Son has this power as He has His nature from the Father.
Reply to the third objection. St. Thomas recalls what was said in the reply to the second objection in the fourth article.
CHAPTER XVII: QUESTION 43 THE MISSION OF THE DIVINE PERSONS
THIS last question of the treatise takes up the comparison of the I divine persons with one another with regard to their missions ad extra. We have already touched on this matter in question 38, where we treated of the Gift as the name of the Holy Ghost, that uncreated gift, personal love, which is the first of all the gifts that proceed from love. This question about the missions of the divine persons is the principal foundation for that event which is essentially supernatural ad extra, namely, the redemptive Incarnation and the life of grace within us. Under that aspect this question is connected with the question on the love of God, where the principle of predilection is enunciated: No one would be better than another if he were not loved more by God, and with the question of the universal salvific will.
These articles are, therefore, of great importance and should be studied carefully. The doctrine contained in them was the frequent object of contemplation for the saints and it ought to be effectively presented in our sermons. It would become the subject matter of our preaching if our preaching were preceded by diligent contemplation of this matter.
This question is divided into two parts. The first part treats the matter in general and is divided into the first three articles: 1. whether any divine person is sent; 2. whether the mission is eternal or only temporal; 3. in what manner a divine person is sent invisibly; and the reply: according to grace gratum faciens. This is the principal article of the entire question.
The second part of this question consists of the special application of-these truths to the three divine persons: 4. the Father is not sent because there is no person to send Him, but He comes and dwells in us; 5. whether the Son as well as the Holy Ghost is sent invisibly, and the reply is affirmative; 6. to whom is the mission made? and the reply: to all the just in whom the divine persons become present in a new way or in a higher way; 7. whether it belongs to the Holy Ghost to be sent visibly, as on Pentecost; 8. whether it can be said that the Son is sent by the Holy Ghost; and the reply is affirmative with the qualification that the sending is improperly so called.
The basis of this doctrine of the missions of the divine persons is found in many places in Holy Scripture. We cite here the texts of the New Testament.
From the Synoptics: "Whosoever shall receive Me, receiveth not Me, but Him that sent Me"; "And I send the promise of My Father upon you." The Greek for "send" is apostello, hence apostolos, one sent, or a legate from God.
From St. John's Gospel: "For God sent not His Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him"; "And the Father Himself who hath sent Me, hath given testimony of Me"; "because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent Me." Concerning the Holy Ghost: "But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things"; "But if I go, I will send Him to you."
In St. Paul: "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent His Son."
From the councils: "The Holy Ghost is said to be the Spirit not only of the Father but of the Father and the Son together. This Holy Ghost is believed to be sent by both as the Son is sent by the Father; but He is not less than the Father; and the Son as the Son, because of the flesh He assumed, testified that He was less than the Father and the Holy Ghost."
In the creed of St. Epiphanius we read: "I believe in the Holy Ghost, who was proclaimed by the prophets, who descended on the Jordan (in Christ's baptism), who spoke through the apostles (on Pentecost), and who dwells in the saints."
The Council of Trent declared that the Holy Ghost is received with sanctifying grace; and earlier St. John Damascene said that the Holy Ghost gives seven gifts.
The most complete and extensive document of the Church on the divine missions and on the indwelling of the Holy Trinity in the just is Pope Leo XIII's encyclical on the Holy Ghost, which Denzinger should have listed. In almost the same words used by St. Thomas it gives a beautiful presentation of the doctrine of the missions, the indwelling, and the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.
First Article: Whether It Is Fitting For A Divine Person To Be Sent
State of the question. It seems that no divine person is sent because the one who is sent is less than the sender, and because whatever is sent is separated from the sender. Moreover, the divine persons are already present everywhere and hence they cannot be sent where they already are. The expression "mission" is, therefore, not proper but only metaphorical, as when we say, God is angry.
Reply. The reply is in the affirmative: it belongs to some persons to be sent, that is, analogically, not only metaphorically and analogically, as when we say, God is angry, but by a proper analogy.
This reply is of faith according to the Scriptures, which often use this expression.
The body of the article contains a conceptual analysis of the idea of mission, and the argument is therefore not an illative but an explicative syllogism: the idea of mission implies the twofold reference of the one sent: to the sender and to the terminus of the sending.
One is sent by the sender either by command, as the servant by his master, or by counsel, as a king by his councilor, or by origin, as the flower is sent out by the plant. One is sent to the terminus of the sending either in the sense that the one sent begins to be there, or at least begins to be there in a new way.
Hence a mission can be predicated of a divine person by a proper analogy inasmuch as this divine person proceeds from the sender and begins to be in another in a new way. Thus the Son is said to be sent by the Father into the world inasmuch as the Son began to be in the world in the flesh assumed by Him, and yet the Son was in the world before this as the Word not yet incarnate. "That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him." Obviously, this syllogism is not objectively illative because we do not arrive at a new truth but only explain a truth already revealed: "For God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him."
The reply is confirmed by the solution of the objections.
Reply to the first objection. The one sent is less than the sender if he is sent by command or even by counsel, but not if he is sent according to a procession that is only of origin, which takes place on the plane of equality.
Reply to the second objection. In a divine mission the one sent is not separated from the sender because the one sent does not move locally to a place where he was not before but only begins a new manner of being in one where he had not been before.
Reply to the third objection. Thus a divine person does not leave a place, because God in Himself is not in any place, and the divine person was already present by the general presence of His immensity where now He begins to be in a new way. This will be explained at greater length in the third article.
From this article we obtain the definition of a divine mission: essentially it implies the procession of origin of one person from another with a new mode of existence in another. According to his custom, St. Thomas thus passes from the nominal, or commonly accepted, definition to the real definition, dividing the various kinds of missions, comparing them in order to discover how they agree and differ analogically so that no imperfection will be posited in God. Indeed this idea of mission in its formal analogical meaning posits no imperfection in God; on the other hand the concept of anger does imply imperfection. Hence we say that God is angry only metaphorically, but that the Son of God is sent by the Father in the proper sense, as is also the Holy Ghost by the Father and the Son.
First corollary. A mission is more than simple appropriation, for the Son of God is said to be sent in the Incarnation; and He is said to be incarnate not only by appropriation but properly and personally so that the Father and the Holy Ghost are not incarnate.
Similarly the mission of the Holy Ghost is more than simple appropriation, although the Holy Ghost is not united personally with the just, and although the three persons dwell in the just. Mission implies a procession of origin which is more than simple appropriation, and it pertains to the person that proceeds. Thus, as we shall explain below, it cannot be said that the Father is sent, although He dwells in the just with the other two persons.
Second corollary. According to tradition the words," or from God I proceeded and came; for I came not of Myself, but He sent Me, " express not only the visible mission which took place in the Incarnation but likewise the eternal procession. Thus Jesus said, "I proceeded and came." Although this interpretation, making a distinction between "proceeded" and "came, " does not appear at once from the context, it does result from a comparison with other texts about the processions. Indeed, in this very place, Christ says, "I came not of Myself, but He sent Me, " while the Father came of Himself and was not sent, because He does not proceed from another person.
Second Article: Whether A Mission Is Eternal Or Only Temporal
State of the question. The difficulty arises because, as we have said, a mission implies a procession, and the processions are eternal. Moreover, whenever anything belongs to another temporarily and not from eternity, that one is changed; but a divine person is not changed.
Reply. Nevertheless the reply is that mission and giving in God are predicated only temporarily.
1. This is proved from the Scriptures: "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent His Son."
2. The theological reason is merely an explanation of the idea of mission: for a mission, besides the reference to the eternal principle, has a reference to the temporal terminus by which the idea of mission is completed. Therefore it must be said to be temporal, even though its principle is eternal, because the effect which it connotes and by which it is denominated is temporal.
In the same way God is said to have created not from eternity but in time. Similarly, the Incarnation and the sending of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost are not from eternity but in time.
On the other hand, generation and spiration are said to be from eternity, because they do not imply a reference to a temporal terminus. Procession and exitus in God, however, are said to be both eternal and temporal, since the Son proceeds eternally as God and temporally as man.
In his conclusion St. Thomas joins mission and giving (datio), not because they are entirely the same but because they are in a certain way in agreement. They agree in this, that both imply a new mode of existence in creatures. They differ inasmuch as mission implies that the person who is sent proceeds from another, whereas the giving does not imply this procession. Thus the Father, who cannot be sent, gives Himself, and the divine essence can be given to the Son and the Holy Ghost by communication.
Reply to the second objection. Why is the person who is sent not changed by the fact that the person becomes present in a new way in another? The reason is that this is solely because of the change in the creature, just as God is said to be the Lord of all things in time not because God is changed but because things arrive at existence. In the same way any object is said to be actually seen now and not before, not because there is a change in the object but because of the change in vision, which is now terminated to this object. Thus the Word is not changed by the visible mission of the Incarnation, that is, by the fact that the humanity of Christ terminates in the Word.
Reply to the third objection. Mission includes the eternal procession and adds a temporal effect. We have then a twofold procession, eternal and temporal; twofold, not with respect to a twofold principle but to two termini, of which one is eternal (and so the procession is eternal) and the other temporal (and so the procession is temporal, which is the mission itself).
Hence "mission" can be defined as "the procession of origin of one person from another with a new mode of existence in another." Mission, therefore, is more than appropriation, and is distinguished both from creation and from eternal procession. It is distinct from creation because its eternal principle is the person that sends and not the entire Trinity, which is the one principle of operation ad extra. It is distinct from eternal procession because of its temporal terminus and also because it is somewhat similar to creation. Mission is, therefore, a kind of middle between eternal procession and creation.
Doubt. Does mission principally and directly imply the eternal origin of the person sent or the new effect produced in the creature? With John of St. Thomas and Gonet, it should be noted that there are two concepts of mission held by Scholastics: the one proposed by St. Bonaventure and Scotus, the other by St. Thomas, the Thomists, and others. This question, which seems to be rather subtle, is necessary to distinguish the divine mission from simple appropriation, inasmuch as mission is more than appropriation.
For St. Bonaventure and Scotus, mission is principally not the procession itself but the production of the temporal effect for which the person is said to be sent. Their reason is that the person pre-existed by eternal procession before the free and temporal procession.
The Thomists, like Gonet, say that mission is not the production of the temporal effect, but that it implies directly the eternal origin of the persons, and indirectly the new effect produced in the creature.
1. This is proved by the authority of St. Augustine, "Now go forth from the Father and to come into the world is to be sent." St. Thomas says: "Mission includes the eternal procession but it adds something, namely, the temporal effect." Besides this, St. Thomas held in the eighth article that the Son is not as properly sent by the Holy Ghost as the Holy Ghost is sent by the Son, although the Holy Ghost together with the Father and the Son produces the temporal effect on account of which the Son is said to be sent.
2. Proof from reason. The mission of a divine person essentially implies the going forth of the person sent. But this going forth can be nothing else than the eternal origin, because the mission of the divine person cannot take place by either command or counsel. Therefore the mission essentially implies such origin, and therefore it is not only the temporal operation of God ad extra, but the eternal origin of the person sent with the connotation of the operation ad extra and the temporal effect.
First confirmation. Otherwise the Father would also be sent, since sanctifying grace is produced in the just, according to which the Father also dwells in the just.
Second confirmation. Our view is confirmed by a comparison of the divine mission with a free act of God, for example, creation, for this free act of creating in God is nothing else than the one unique act of the divine will by which God necessarily loves Himself, with the added connotation of the good that is not necessarily loved.
Third confirmation. The Thomistic view seems more in conformity with the Scriptural language: "From God I proceeded, and came"; and "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world."
The Greek Fathers regarded the missions as prolongations of the processions ad extra; thus they distinguished the missions from creation. They said that the sending of the persons of the Son and the Holy Ghost differs from creation as to live differs from to command. And they based the communication of divine life, by which we are elevated to the order of grace, not on creation but on the divine missions. In this way they distinguished between the natural order and the order of grace as they distinguished between creation and the missions of the divine persons. Naturally they placed great emphasis on the invisible mission of the Holy Ghost, and this characteristic of the Greek theory should not surprise us, because the Greeks began with the three persons rather than with the unity of nature. St. Augustine, however, preserved the essential point in the doctrine of the Greeks when he said: "To go forth from the Father and to come into the world is to be sent."
The mission is said to be temporal, however, inasmuch as it connotes a temporal effect by which it is denominated; just as creation is said to be temporal by reason of its effect, although the free creative action is eternal.
Third Article: Whether The Invisible Mission Of A Divine Person Is Merely According To Grace Gratum Faciens
State of the question. This is the principal article of this question, at least with regard to ourselves and our life of grace, for it treats of the principal foundation of this life. Here is presented matter for preaching and contemplation. We will, therefore, examine this truth at some length. Proceeding methodically, we see that there are six points that claim our attention. We shall note: 1. the difference between visible and invisible missions; 2. the crux of the difficulties proposed at the beginning of the article; 3. the testimony of Sacred Scripture and tradition; 4. the point where theologians are generally in agreement; 5. the body of the article; 6. three interpretations, namely, a) the more common interpretation of the Thomists, b) Vasquez's interpretation, c) Suarez' interpretation. We shall thus be proceeding in an orderly fashion from what is better known to what is less known, from the revealed foundation of the doctrine to its explanation.
1. The Difference Between The Visible And Invisible Missions
They differ according to the terminus or the temporal effect connoted by the mission. The visible mission connotes an effect that is at least in some way sensible, by which the person sent is sensibly manifested; thus the visible mission of the Son took place in the Incarnation and the visible mission of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost took place under the species of fire and the gift of tongues. An invisible mission is one which connotes an effect of the spiritual order and which is not sensible. Thus the Holy Ghost is said to be sent to the soul of the just man at the moment of invisible justification, which is accomplished by the infusion of habitual grace.
In explaining these articles we shall see that because of this there are two differences between the two kinds of missions. By the visible missions of the Incarnation and of Pentecost only one person is sent and manifested, while in the invisible mission two proceeding persons are sent and the Father gives Himself. The second difference is that the visible mission takes place through some visible effect designed to manifest the divine person who is sent; thus the Holy Ghost is sent in the appearance of fire on Pentecost and in the appearance of a dove at the baptism of Christ, according to the words of St. Matthew, "Wesus... saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him."
On the other hand, the invisible mission cannot take place except by some supernatural gift, as is shown in this third article. We must determine what this supernatural gift is; whether it is habitual grace (or grace gratum faciens), or actual grace, or by infused faith alone, or hope, or finally by the graces gratis datae, which sinners can receive for the benefit of their neighbors. In this way we will determine the state of the question.
2. The Difficulty Inherent In The Question
This appears from the objections placed at the beginning of the article. First we must explain that it is not only created grace but also a divine person that is given; secondly, we shall see that the grace is according to the Holy Ghost, because grace is given us through Him; and lastly, we ask why the Son and the Holy Ghost are not said to be sent according to the graces gratis datae.
3. The Teaching Of The Scriptures
When we seek the teaching of the Scriptures on the invisible mission of the Holy Ghost and the Son, we see that Scripture frequently speaks of the general presence of God the author of nature in all things, which God immediately conserves in being, inasmuch as being is the proper effect of God. Thus we read: "If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there; if I descend into hell, Thou art present." St. Paul speaking on the Areopagus, said: "For in Him we live, and move, and are."
This general presence of God in all created things, which God preserves in being, is explained by St. Thomas as the preserving action which is a continuation of the creative action that produces things in being immediately and not through any instrument. Thus God, as the efficient cause, is effectively present in all things inasmuch as He preserves in them what is most intimate, their being, which is the most formal thing of all since it actuates everything in created beings. God also immediately preserves the matter that is produced from nothing as well as the souls produced from nothing.
Sacred Scripture speaks not only of this general presence, which is called the presence of immensity, but also of a special presence of God, which is in the souls of the just and not in all things. Thus we read in the Book of Wisdom: "For wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins. For the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee from the deceitful, and will withdraw Himself from thoughts that are without understanding." From the context it seems that these words refer not only to created wisdom but also to the Holy Ghost, who is uncreated wisdom. Any doubt that may arise, however, is removed by Christ's words: "If any one love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him."
In this text every word should be noted, especially the words, "We will come to him." Who comes? Is it only some created effect, like created grace or created wisdom? No. Those who come are the same as love, the Father and the Son, from whom the Holy Ghost is never separated. Besides this, the Holy Ghost is promised by the Son. Lastly we read not only that They will come but also that They will make Their abode with him, that is, they will not come only transitorily but permanently to abide in the just man as long as he remains just. Thus we read, "God is charity, and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him."
Obviously mention is made here of a special presence entirely distinct from God's general presence in all things. The condition of this special presence is charity, or the state of grace, by which a man is constituted as just. The just man, then, possesses God in his heart, or perhaps it would be better to say that God possesses the just man inasmuch as God preserves him not only in nature but also in grace and charity.
St. Paul, writing to the Romans, said: "The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us." We receive, therefore, not only the gift of charity but also the Holy Ghost, the giver of charity. Again St. Paul says: "Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" That is to say, the Holy Ghost dwells in you, in your souls, as He dwells in a temple where He ought to be known, loved, and adored." Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body." These words recall what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman: "Woman, believe Me, that the hour cometh, when you shall neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, adore the Father. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth... . God is a spirit; and they that adore Him, must adore Him in spirit and in truth." The Scriptures therefore clearly distinguish between God's general presence and His special presence, which is often attributed to the Holy Ghost.
Tradition. From documents of the primitive Church we see that this doctrine was admirably preserved from the beginning.
St. Ignatius of Antioch in his epistles often calls Christians "Godbearers" ("theophoroi"), according to St. Paul's expression, "Wear God in your body."
This doctrine was explicitly known by the faithful in the early Church and was proclaimed by the martyrs before their judges. St. Lucy said to Paschasius: "Words are not lacking to those who have the Holy Ghost within themselves." "Is not therefore the Holy Ghost in you?" "Indeed, all those who live piously and chastely are the temples of the Holy Ghost." The Greek Fathers often say that by the Holy Ghost Christians are made partakers of God and are deified. St. Basil said that our union with the Holy Ghost is founded on the fact that the Holy Ghost dwells in us and makes us spiritual and conformed to the image of the Son of God. St. Cyril of Alexandria teaches the same thing. St. Ambrose says that the Holy Ghost is given to us first in baptism and then in confirmation so that we might be able to possess His splendor and His image and His grace. St. Augustine testifies that the Fathers are in great accord in teaching that God gives Himself as a gift to the just.
This doctrine has often been affirmed by the Church: in the Creed of St. Epiphanius, "The Holy Ghost, who spoke through the apostles and dwells in the saints." The Council of Trent declared: "The efficient cause of justification is the mercy of God, who gratuitously cleanses and sanctifies, signing and anointing with the Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance." Lastly, Leo XIII in his encyclical Divinum illud munus quotes these texts of Sacred Scripture, and in explaining the special presence of the Holy Trinity in the just he quotes the words of St. Thomas.
Pope Leo XIII writes in the encyclical: "God is in all things; He is in them by His power since all things are subject to His power; by His presence since all things are naked and open to His eyes; by His essence since He is present in all things as their cause of being. But in man God is present not only as He is in things, but more so because He is known and loved by man, since by our nature we spontaneously love and desire and acquire the good. Besides this, God resides in the souls of the just by grace as in a temple in a singular and intimate manner; and from this it follows by force of charity, by which God is most closely conjoined to the soul, that He is completely and most sweetly enjoyed more than a friend is loved by his dearest friend. This wonderful union, which is called inhabitation, differs only in status from that by which God embraces the blessed in heaven, although it is effected by the very real presence of the entire Trinity, according to the words, 'We will come to him and make Our abode with him,' nevertheless this union is predicated in a special way of the Holy Ghost. Even though traces of God's power and wisdom appear in the unjust man, no one except the just man is a partaker of that charity which is the special note of the Holy Ghost. A wealth of heavenly gifts of various kinds follows the Holy Ghost when He inhabits the souls of the just."
The encyclical explains that this special presence of the Holy Trinity is appropriated to the Holy Ghost inasmuch as the Holy Ghost is sent by the two other persons and since charity assimilates us to the Holy Ghost, who is personal love, more than faith assimilates us to the Word. Because of its obscurity, faith is essentially imperfect and thus differs from charity, which alone of the three theological virtues remains in heaven. Our perfect assimilation with the Word takes place only when we receive the light of glory and when we see the Word, by which we are assimilated to the Father inasmuch as the Son is the splendor of the Father.
Thus the special presence of the Holy Trinity is appropriated to the Holy Ghost, although His mission, as we have said, is more than this appropriation. It is also certain that the Son, not by reason of His humanity, but as the Word, is specially present in us and is invisibly sent to us; the Father Himself is present, but He is not sent since He gives Himself to the just.
The encyclical of Pope Leo, therefore, does not favor the opinion of Petavius, according to which the special union of the Holy Ghost with the just is more than appropriation. Petavius does not offer an adequate explanation of our Lord's words: "If anyone love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him." Obviously not only the Holy Ghost but also the Father and the Son dwell in the just by this special presence distinct from God's general presence. No great effort will be required to distinguish clearly between these kinds of presence according to their formal constituent.
4. The Common Teaching Of Theologians
Theologians commonly teach about this inhabitation: a) that this union is not hypostatic or personal and substantial, but that it is accidental and moral, although real; b) that the Holy Ghost is in the souls of the just not properly as a formal cause but as an efficient and exemplary cause, and as an object that is known and loved; c) that this habitation belongs to the three persons but is appropriated to the Holy Ghost.
a) This inhabitation is entirely distinct from a hypostatic union, since the just man retains his own personality, and the soul is not only a substance distinct from the Holy Ghost but it retains its own proper being. It is therefore a union that is not personal or substantial but accidental through knowledge and love; thus it is a moral union. Nevertheless it is a real union because the Holy Ghost is present not only as the effect of a divine operation but also by the divine substance; that is, without any change in Himself, the Holy Ghost is infused into the soul according to the degree by which He elevates the soul to grace and charity.
b) The Holy Ghost living thus in the soul sanctifies it not as a formal cause but as an efficient and exemplary cause; not as a formal cause, because infused charity is something created and is not uncreated charity. The Council of Trent declared: "The one and only cause of justification is the justice of God, not the justice by which God is just but that by which He makes us just," namely, created grace. If the Holy Ghost were the formal cause of our justification, the soul would have to be considered the material cause, in which the Holy Ghost inheres intrinsically; and by these two as parts there would be constituted a third being more perfect than the parts, which is impossible. This would open the way to pantheism. Hence the Holy Ghost is called only "the quasi-soul of our soul and the quasi-life of our interior life." But together with the Father and the Son the Holy Ghost is properly the efficient cause of grace and charity inasmuch as He infuses, conserves, and increases them. The Holy Ghost may also be called the exemplary cause, since He imprints on the soul the divine likeness, and at the same time He is also the ultimate end. In the explanation of St. Thomas' articles we must explain how the Holy Ghost is in us as the known and loved object.
c) This indwelling in the soul, as Pope Leo remarks, is common to the three persons but it is appropriated to the Holy Ghost, because it takes place by charity, which assimilates us more to the Holy Ghost than faith assimilates us to the Son. By the light of glory we will be perfectly assimilated to the Son, who will perfectly assimilate us to the Father, of whom He is the image.
This is the common teaching in opposition to Petavius, Scheeben, and Jovene, who believe that the indwelling is common to the three persons, but, citing certain texts of the Greek Fathers, they hold that the union belongs properly to the Holy Ghost, who is united to us by reason of His person rather than by reason of the divine nature. This opinion is generally rejected because "in God all things are in common except where there is opposition of relation." And not only the indwelling but the union of God with the soul by grace can be attributed to the three persons as long as there is no opposition of relation. This union of the Holy Ghost with the soul of the just man is not personal because it is not hypostatic, and thus it cannot be more than appropriation. This was the teaching of Pope Leo, namely, the presence is "that of the entire Trinity, although it is predicated as peculiar to the Holy Ghost."
5. St. Thomas Teaching In The Body Of The Article
St. Thomas' argument is an explanation of the doctrine of faith and not a theological conclusion; or it may be said to be a deduction of an explicitly revealed proposition from two truths of faith.
A person is sent inasmuch as He exists in a new way in another and is possessed by that other. But a divine person, already present in the ordinary way in all things as the efficient cause (preserving their being) does not exist in man in a new way except inasmuch as He is known and loved by man, by an operation which attains to Him and which cannot take place without habitual grace and charity. Therefore a divine person is not sent invisibly except according to grace gratum faciens, which is connected with charity. The reader is referred to the article.
The whole force of this explanation of the doctrine of faith lies in the distinction between the general presence of immensity, by which God is present as the efficient cause (preserving the being of creatures) by the continuation of the creative action, which is immediate, namely, without any instrument (thus there is an immediacy of power and the suppositum), and that special presence by which God is present in the just man, not only as an efficient cause but also as the object that is known and loved.
The difficulty arises because the humanity of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary are known by the just through faith and they are loved by charity and yet they are not said to be really present in the just; indeed they are physically distant, for according to their natural being they are in heaven. The humanity of Christ is not really present except in heaven and in the Holy Eucharist. In the Eucharist it is really present sacramentally.
God is not said to be especially present in the philosopher who in the state of mortal sin knows the existence of God and some of His attributes by demonstration. Neither does God dwell in the Christian who preserves faith and hope without charity.
To solve this difficulty, St. Thomas, in the body of the article, says that it is by the knowledge and the love of God that the just man attains to God Himself. These words require explanation, and St. Thomas seeks to throw light on them from the words of Sacred Scripture. This supplementary explanation is found in the last paragraph of the body of the article and in the replies to the objections.
In the second paragraph we read: "Similarly, we are said to possess only that which we can freely use and enjoy (we use creatures and enjoy God). The possession of the power to enjoy a divine person is vouchsafed only according to grace gratum faciens (and charity). But in the very gift of grace gratum faciens the Holy Ghost is possessed and through it He dwells in the soul. Hence it is the Holy Ghost Himself who is given and sent. It follows from this that we are dealing not with any kind of knowledge of God but with a quasi-experimental knowledge, by which we enjoy God really present within us and not removed from us. That is to say that natural philosophic knowledge, or the knowledge of faith, especially unformed faith, or prophetic knowledge, is not sufficient; the knowledge of a living faith, of a living faith endowed with gifts, is required, as we shall explain below.
That the three persons be present in a special way in the just man it is not necessary that this knowledge be actual; it is sufficient that it be habitual, because the indwelling perdures as long as the just man remains just, even in sleep. But it is necessary that God be in the just man not only as the efficient cause preserving his being but also as an object that is experimentally knowable (if not actually known) and lovable (if not actually loved) and enjoyable. St. Thomas states these truths more explicitly in the replies to the objections. In the reply to the third objection he says: "Although the Son can be known by us by certain other effects (besides habitual grace), He does not dwell in us nor is He possessed by us by these other effects." St. Thomas is speaking here of that knowledge and love by which we enjoy the divine person.
In another place St. Thomas said: "Not every kind of knowledge is sufficient for this mission (of a divine person) but only that knowledge which is received from some gift appropriate to the person, that is, from the gift by which the conjunction with God is effected in us, and this must be according to the proper mode of that person. Thus, when the Holy Ghost is given, it must be according to love, and hence this knowledge is quasi-experimental." This is the basis of mystical contemplation, which is experienced as something eminent on the normal road to sanctity.
Experimental or quasi-experimental knowledge concerns an object that is not absent or distant but that is really present, not only effectively, as an efficient cause, but also as an object experimentally known.
Commenting on the words, "For the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God," St. Thomas says that He gives testimony through the effect of filial love which He produces in us, that is, as the soul experimentally knows itself through its acts, so proportionally the soul quasi-experimentally knows God present within itself inasmuch as God is the principle of filial love, which proceeds under God's special inspiration. This is expressed in the words of the disciples on the way to Emmaus, "Was not our heart burning within us, whilst He spoke in the way?" Although the just man does not have absolute certainty that he is in the state of grace, under God's special inspiration he knows quasi-experimentally that God is present within him.
As John of St. Thomas explains, this knowledge proceeds from a living faith illumined by the gift of wisdom, as St. Thomas says: "From the quest of reason about divine things a right judgment may be reached which leads to wisdom, which is an intellectual virtue. But reaching a right judgment about divine things through a state of being connatural with them belongs to that wisdom which is the gift of the Holy Ghost, as Dionysius said, 'Hierotheos is perfect in divine things, not only learning them but also experiencing them (that is, by being connatural and sympathetic with them under the special inspiration of the Holy Ghost). This sympathy or connaturality with divine things takes place through charity, which unites us to God, according to the words, But he who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit.'" This gift is possessed by all the just.
In the reply to the third objection, St. Thomas says that the prophetic spirit is not enough, because it does not unite us to God and to His inner life; it only manifests something announced by God. With regard to the reply to the second objection, it should be noted that grace and charity are, as it were, the disposition for receiving the Holy Ghost Himself, and that the Holy Ghost is the efficient cause of grace. Thus in the same moment in the order of efficient causality the Holy Ghost first infuses charity, and in the order of material causality charity is first in disposing the soul to receiving the Holy Ghost. Thus charity is the disposition for the form, and later it becomes the property of that same form.
Doubt. Does this special presence of the Holy Trinity as an object necessarily presuppose the other presence of God as the efficient cause that preserves us in being; and even if it presupposes this other presence, is the special presence real of itself like an accident, which is real of itself although it presupposes a substance, or is it only representative, as when something physically distant is represented?
According to the common opinion of the Thomists, especially John of St. Thomas, this special presence of God as an object necessarily presupposes the other presence of God as the efficient cause that preserves us in being. But even of itself this special presence is real and not merely representative as of some distant thing. To explain this reply we present two mutually opposed interpretations, proposed by Vasquez and Suarez.
According to Vasquez, God's special mode of existence in the just by grace does not of itself require the real presence of God, so that, if God were not really present by His general presence, He would not be really present by charity but He would be present affectively, as a distant friend, or as the humanity of Christ or the Blessed Virgin, who are physically distant. Vasquez lost sight of the fact that the Blessed Trinity is in the just as an object that is quasi-experimentally knowable, namely, as an object really present and not distant.
Suarez, on the other hand, held that the mission of the divine persons so gives the divine persons that they are really present in the just even if God were not present in them causally and physically present as preserving them in being. And this real, special presence of God in the just, according to Suarez, is based on that exigency of created charity of the just, even here on earth, which demands that God be really present as a friend and not only affectively present.
The reply of the Thomists given above appears to be between these two mutually opposed opinions. For, in opposition to Vasquez, the Thomists hold that this special presence of God is not only the affective presence of a loved and distant friend, but that it is the presence of God quasi-experimentally knowable as present, and as sometimes experimentally known in act.
To depart from this view is to minimize the words of Scripture and depart from their obvious sense. Our Lord said: "If anyone love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him," that is, we will really come. This would not be true of a person who is distant and who becomes present only affectively and by representation as by a letter or by memory. Again the sense of St. Paul's words would not be preserved: "The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us," but who is not given to the unjust, in whom God is already present by His general presence. Again, St. Paul would not be speaking the truth: "Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth ill you?" that is, really dwells in you. This is not said of the Blessed Virgin, although she is venerated by the faithful as their spiritual mother.
Finally, in opposition to Vasquez we should say that, if his opinion were true, this special presence, minimized in his sense, would be verified not only in the just but also in believing sinners, in whom God, already present by His general presence, is present as the known object of unformed infused faith and as the object of hope and of inefficacious love. According to Vasquez' opinion we would not be able to explain St. Thomas' texts: "The invisible mission takes place according to the gift of grace gratum faciens, and yet the divine person Himself is given," and "the just man enjoys the divine person Himself."
St. Thomas also says: "Besides grace, no other perfection added to the substance makes God to be present in another as the known and loved object, and therefore grace alone brings about this singular mode of God's presence in creatures." Therefore, according to St. Thomas, by grace and charity the Trinity is not only objectively and affectively present as a distant friend, but the Trinity is also really objectively present as an object quasi-experimentally knowable and as sometimes actually known in some such manner as the soul is really and objectively present to itself, as an object quasi-experimentally knowable through its actions. Hence we cannot admit the opinion of Vasquez.
What are we to think of Suarez' opinion? According to him the charity of the Christian here on earth requires not only the affective but the real presence of God, who is therefore really in the soul even if He had not already been present as the efficient cause.
In reply many Thomists, especially John of St. Thomas, say that the love of friendship, even when it is supernatural, effects a formal effective union, which exists between distant friends, but it does not effect a real union, which cannot be had without experimental knowledge of the object really present. Thus St. Thomas says that love formally produces a union according to affection and desires a union in fact, or a real union. Moreover, the fact that by charity we love the humanity of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary does not make them really present in us but only affectively present.
Finally St. Thomas says: "Bliss, which is the attainment of the last end, formally consists in the beatific vision and not in love." He goes on to say, "The attainment of the last end does not consist in the act of the will itself. The will is directed to the end when it is absent, and then it desires the end, and also to the end when it is present, and then the will rejoices in the possession of the end. We attain the end, however, when it becomes present to us by the act of the intellect, and then the will rests in the fruition of the end." Hence John of St. Thomas and other Thomists conclude that the real presence of the three divine persons is a prerequisite for their special presence, and that the real presence takes place by efficient causality, according to which God preserves us in being (by contact with His power), whether this be the being of nature or the being of grace.
Nevertheless this special presence is in its own right real because we are speaking here of God as quasi-experimentally known. Analogically, an accident, in order that it be real, presupposes a substance, at least the accident inheres in a substance according to its aptitude, and yet the accident in its own right is something real, that is, being is intrinsically found in it. Somewhat similar to this is the dependence of the special presence of God on His general presence, and both presences are real, although in a different manner. The general presence is formally the presence of the efficient cause preserving us in being, whereas the special presence is the presence of an object quasi-experimentally knowable and enjoyable and sometimes actually known and enjoyed.
We may add with the Salmanticenses that, if by an impossible hypothesis God were not already present in the soul of the just man as preserving his natural being, in the instant when grace and charity are infused God would begin to be really present as preserving grace and charity, which are His most proper effects, and at the same time God would be present as the object quasi-experimentally knowable and sometimes actually known and loved.
This may be illustrated by two analogies. 1. When God is clearly seen He is present in the saints in two ways: a) as preserving them in their natural and supernatural being; b) as the object clearly seen and experimentally known and continually loved above all things. 2. Our souls are really present to themselves, a) as the radical, physical principle of the soul's own actions; b) as an object that is not distant and that is experimentally knowable in its operations. This opinion of John of St. Thomas has recently been presented again as the true interpretation of St. Thomas' doctrine by Father Gardeil. Thus the triune God is the principle and the efficient cause of our supernatural life, especially with regard to those acts which are not produced without God's special inspiration; and thus sometimes God manifests Himself in the shadows of faith as an object that is quasi-experimentally known.
Doubt. Does Sacred Scripture speak of this quasi-experimental knowledge of God dwelling in the souls of the just? The reply is in the affirmative. Sacred Scripture frequently mentions it: "For the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God"; "His unction teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie"; "But you shall know Him; because He shall abide with you, and shall be in you"; "To him that overcometh, I will give the hidden manna,. . . which no man knoweth but he that receiveth it"; "He that loveth not, knoweth not God," that is, does not know God quasi-experimentally, although he may know Him by reason or faith.
Doubt. Why does St. Thomas call this knowledge quasi-experimental? For two reasons: 1. because this knowledge does not attain to God altogether immediately but only in the filial affection which God excites in us; 2. because we are not able with complete certitude to distinguish this supernatural filial affection from a similar natural and inefficacious affection which comes from sentiment. Therefore we have no absolute certainty that we are in the state of grace. But still amid the shadows of faith the just man here on earth under the special inspiration of the Holy Ghost can sometimes say with the disciples on the road to Emmaus: "Was not our heart burning within us, whilst He spoke in the way?" St. Thomas remarks: "He who truly receives grace knows it by experiencing a certain sweetness, which he who does not receive grace does not experience." In this way St. Thomas explains the words of the Apocalypse, "To him that overcometh, I will give the hidden manna,. . . which no man knoweth but he that receiveth it."
Finally the effects and signs of the indwelling of the Holy Trinity are described by St. Thomas in the Contra Gentes and also in the following articles of this question. The signs listed in the Contra Gentes are as follows: 1. the testimony of a good conscience; 2. the frequent hearing of the word of God; 3. an inner taste for divine wisdom; 4. conversation with God; 5. joy in God by fully assenting to Him even in adversity; 6. the liberty of the sons of God, by which the just are freed from inordinate passions; 7. conversation about divine things from the fullness of the heart. It would be a great mistake to confuse these signs with sentiment, which is nothing more than an affectation of the love of God, where there is actually no love of God or where it is only cold and indifferent.
Fourth Article: Whether The Father Is Sent
Reply. It is not congruous for the Father to be sent, since mission implies procession from another according to origin. But the Father is not from another. Therefore He is not sent.
Reply to the first objection. The Father gives Himself inasmuch as He liberally communicates Himself to be enjoyed by creatures, and He dwells in creatures by grace, according to our Lord's words: "If anyone love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him."
Fifth Article: Whether The Son Is Invisibly Sent
Reply. The Son was sent visibly by the Incarnation, but He is also sent invisibly, for He said: "And We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him"; and besides this the Son has His origin from the Father. Thus He is sent invisibly according to the gift of grace gratum faciens.
Reply to the first objection. Certain gifts are appropriated to the Son, namely, those which pertain to the intellect and incline to love, as the gift of wisdom, which is a kind of taste for knowledge and is called a kind of experimental knowledge.
Reply to the second objection. We treat here only of the knowledge which inclines to love, since the Son of God is the Word spirating love.
Reply to the third objection. We distinguish two invisible missions, which are inseparable: "the one cannot be without the other, because neither takes place without grace gratum faciens, nor is one person separated from the other."
Sixth Article: Whether The Invisible Mission Is To All Who Participate In Grace
Reply. The reply is affirmative according to St. Augustine, for this mission takes place through sanctifying grace.
Reply to first objection. The Holy Trinity dwelt in the Fathers of the Old Testament by the fact that they were in the state of grace, and the Son and the Holy Ghost were invisibly sent to them. But the Holy Ghost was not sent visibly except at our Lord's baptism and on Pentecost.
Reply to second objection. It is noted that "the invisible mission takes place even in the progress of virtue or in the increase of grace. . . especially when anyone progresses to some new act or new state of grace. For example, when a person offers himself in martyrdom out of the fervor of charity, or renounces his possessions, or undertakes some arduous work."
An invisible mission also takes place after the passive purification of the senses, which is a kind of second conversion, in the transition from the state of the beginner to the age of spiritual proficiency or to the illuminative way. The Holy Ghost is sent invisibly a fortiori after the passive purification of the soul, when a profound transformation of the soul takes place at the moment when the soul enters into the perfect life of union, as occurred to the apostles on Pentecost.
Reply to third objection. The Holy Ghost is sent to the blessed in the exact instant when the beatific vision begins; then the three divine persons are present in the just soul as in a living temple, no longer shrouded by the shadows of faith, but appearing in a bright vision, which is called the splendor of the saints. Then the soul is perfectly assimilated not only to the Holy Ghost but also to the Word, by whom the soul is assimilated to the Father, inasmuch as the Word is the figure of His substance. The reader is referred to this third reply.
Reply to fourth objection. A mission of a divine person is not made to the sacraments, because the missions do not take place except with regard to a terminus, that is, to those who receive grace through the sacraments.
Seventh Article: Whether The Holy Ghost Is Sent Visibly
In this article St. Thomas explains the congruity of the visible mission of the Holy Ghost descending on our Lord at His baptism in the figure of a dove and on Pentecost in the figure of fire.
Reply. This visible mission is fitting, because it is connatural to man to be led by visible things to the invisible. These visible missions are to the Trinity of persons as creatures are to the one God, that is, God manifests Himself as triune in these visible events, namely, in the incarnation of the Son and in the heavenly fire of Pentecost.
The difference between the two visible missions is that the Son is sent as the principle of sanctification, and therefore as a person united to human nature to perform a work as the Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost is sent as the sign of sanctification through some symbol, as the dove and fire.
Reply to second objection. With St. Augustine, St. Thomas holds that the dove that descended on Jesus was not merely the object of an imaginary vision, but something real and extramental; so also with the fire on Pentecost. The reason is that "those who saw this dove and this fire saw them with their eyes," that is, all the witnesses present saw them.
Reply to fifth objection. These creatures (the dove and the fire) were formed externally by the ministry of the angels.
Reply to sixth objection. St. Thomas explains the different visible missions which took place in the early Church to propagate the faith. Thus the Holy Ghost manifested Himself in the guise of fiery tongues to make known the office of teaching.
In this last article St. Thomas shows that a divine person is properly sent by that person from whom He proceeds. Thus the Holy Ghost is sent by the Father and the Son, and the Son is sent by the Father. But in a less proper sense we may say that the Son is sent by the Holy Ghost inasmuch as the person sending is understood as the principle not of the person who is sent but of the effect for which the mission takes place. Thus we read in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, "And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man."
Thus we conclude the treatise of the Trinity with a consideration of the manifestation of this mystery ad extra. By way of conclusion we may briefly speak of the importance of this supreme mystery, having in mind particularly the relation of the mystery to the two orders of nature and grace and to the life of grace.
Epilogue: The Importance Of The Supreme Mystery Of The Trinity
1. The distinction between the two orders of nature and grace appears more clearly from the fact that the mystery of the Trinity is entirely indemonstrable. Indeed, as has been said, the possibility or repugnance of this mystery cannot be proved or disproved; it can only be set forth as plausible. If the possibility of this mystery could be proved, by this very fact the existence of the Trinity would be proved, because the existence of the Trinity is not contingent but necessary.
By the revelation of the Trinity the dogma of the freedom of creation is confirmed, and a clear solution is offered to the objection presented by the absolute optimism of Plato, Leibnitz, and Malebranche. This objection is clothed in the following syllogism: good is essentially diffusive of itself; but God is the highest good; therefore He is essentially diffusive of Himself by creation, which is, therefore, at least morally necessary so that the actual world must be the best possible world. Leibnitz said: "If God had not created, He would not be good or wise." To which Bossuet replied: "God is not any greater for having created the universe."
The Vatican Council defined the absolute freedom of creation in these words: "By His most free counsel God created all things. . . . not for the sake of increasing His happiness or acquiring it, but to manifest His perfection by the good things which He bestows on creatures." Therefore creation is an expression of God's most voluntary liberality and generosity.
To the objection based on the principle, "good is diffusive of itself," we reply by making a distinction: good is diffusive either according to nature, as the sun diffuses its light, or according to the will and liberality. "Since the goodness of God is perfect and can exist without any other, and since nothing of perfection accrues to Him from others, it follows that it is not absolutely necessary for God to will other things besides Himself."
This reply is confirmed by the revelation of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, for in this mystery is verified completely and necessarily the aforesaid principle, "good is essentially diffusive of itself." This principle is verified in the infinite fecundity of the divine nature. In the Contra Gentes St. Thomas states: "The higher a nature is the more that which emanates from that nature is intimate to the nature." Thus in generating the Son, God the Father communicates to Him not only His ideas as in the creation of things, not only grace and charity as in our justification, but His entire nature. If the necessary diffusion or the necessary fecundity is such in the Trinity, it follows that creation, which is diffusion ad extra, is free and in no way necessary, since the principle, "good is diffusive of itself," is verified in God before the creation. And the principle is verified on a plane which is above the order of causality whether efficient or final by the communication of the entire divine nature to the Son after the manner of intellection and likewise to the Holy Ghost after the manner of love.
2. This mystery shows that the intimate life of God is the perfect life of intellection and of love.
It is the perfect life of intellection, in which not only a multiple and accidental word is conceived but in which the unique and substantial Word is conceived, in whom in one instant all possible and future things are known. The reason is that in God intellection is not an accident but the same as substantial being, and the terminus of the intellection, the Word, is likewise substantial. In this perfect life of intellection the three divine persons live by the one intellection out of the same infinite truth in the perfect comprehension of their own intimate life.
The mystery of the Trinity also shows that God's intimate life is the perfect life of love, so that the three persons, by one and the same essential love, love the supreme good, with which they are identified. In this love there is a perfect union of the three persons without any inordination of love, without any egoism; indeed the entire personality of the Father is the relation to the Son, the entire personality of the Son is the relation to the Father, and the entire personality of the Holy Ghost is the relation to the Father and to the Son.
This mystery may be summed up as follows: the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Ghost is God, but the Father is not the Son, because no one generates himself, and the Father and the Son are not the Holy Ghost. All this remains hidden to us, but in speaking of the mystery we avoid contradictions, although we are unable to demonstrate the possibility or non-repugnance of the mystery. This possibility is neither proved or disproved; it is only set forth as plausible, as is the fitness of the Trinity or the fecundity of the divine nature ad intra. Again and again we can return to the study of the reasons for the fitness of the Trinity since these reasons are most profound, although they are not demonstrative; they tend to the evidence not of demonstration but of the beatific vision, as the polygon inscribed in a circle tends to the circumference of the circle as its sides are multiplied in infinity.
3. In the revelation of the Blessed Trinity the intimate life of God appears as the supreme exemplar of the life of grace, especially since our adoptive filiation is an analogical likeness participating in the eternal natural filiation.
As God communicated to His Son His entire nature so He communicates to us a participation of His nature, or the principle of operation by which we are able to see God directly as He sees Himself and to love Him as He loves Himself. Speaking of the similarity of these two filiations, St. Thomas said: "The adoptive filiation is a certain likeness participating in the natural filiation; but it takes place in us as appropriated to the Father, who is the natural principle of filiation, and through the gift of the Holy Ghost, who is the love of the Father and the Son." St. Thomas refers to this adoptive filiation in explaining the following texts: "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be made conformable to the image of His Son; that He might be the first-born among many brethren"; "That which we have seen and have heard, we declare unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship may be with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ"; "Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect."
The procession of the Holy Ghost is also a supreme exemplar of our charity, for, as St. Thomas says, "The Son is not any Word but the Word that spirates love." Therefore all our knowledge of God should spirate charity toward God and our neighbor. St. Thomas defines a devil as "one who does not love." This similarity between Gods love and ours was expressed by our Lord Himself: "Holy Father, keep them. . ., that they may be one, as We also are. . . . As Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee; that they also may be one in US." That is, as the Father and the Son are one in the unity of nature and as they love each other in the Holy Ghost, who is personal love, the terminus of notional love, so Christians should be one in God and among one another by grace, which is the participation of the divine nature.
In this way the image not only of the one God but of the triune God will be perfected in the soul, for as God the Father knows Himself in the Word and loves Himself and the Son in the Holy Ghost so the Christian soul should not only know itself but God Himself quasi-experimentally and continuously and to love Him always. In heaven this image of the Trinity will be definitively perfected, for there the blessed continually and directly know God as He knows Himself and they love Him as He loves Himself.
With regard to the special relations of the sons of God with each divine person, it should be noted: 1. that the three persons are one principle of operation ad extra, because they operate through the intellect, the will, and the omnipotence, which are common to all three; further, the adoption of men belongs to the entire Trinity, and therefore in the Our Father, "Father" is predicated essentially and not personally of the first person alone; 2. nevertheless the adoption is appropriated to the Father as the author, to the Son as the exemplar, and to the Holy Ghost as to the one who imprints the character on the soul. St. Thomas says: "The adoptive sonship is a certain likeness participating in the (divine) natural filiation, but it takes place in us as appropriated to the Father, who is the principle of natural filiation, and through the gift of the Holy Ghost, who is the love of the Father and of the Son"; "Although this adoption is common to the entire Trinity, it is appropriated to the Father as the author, to the Son as the exemplar, and to the Holy Ghost as the one who imprints on us the likeness of the exemplar." This adoption is imperfect by grace in this life and perfect in glory. God, dwelling in the saints, in the one immobile instant of eternity generates the Son in the saints and spirates in them the Holy Ghost, and He assimilates the saints to Himself by preserving in them consummated grace, the light of glory, and charity that can never be lost, so that the prayer of Christ will be verified in them: "That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me."
GOD THE CREATOR
THE PLACE OF THIS TREATISE IN THEOLOGY
To understand this treatise we should first consider the place it holds in St. Thomas' now classical synthesis. The first part of the Theological Summa, which treats of God, the primary and formal object of theology, is divided into three parts: 1. the one God or the divine essence (questions 2-26); 2. the Trinity of persons (questions 27-43); 3. God the creator and governor of the universe (questions 44-119)
The reason for this division is that sacred theology, which is the science of God based on revelation, should in the light of revelation first treat of its formal object, namely, God in Himself, in His essence and in the Trinity of persons, before it treats of God's operation ad extra, which is the creation and governance of the universe, because operation follows being, and the mode of operation follows the mode of being.
Here we see the difference between the method of metaphysics and that of sacred theology. Metaphysics, which is the science in the natural order which treats not of God but of being as such and of being as known by man, that is, in the mirror of sensible things, ascends gradually from the sensible to the spiritual and divine. Therefore Aristotle, after his physics or natural philosophy of mobile being and his psychology of animated being, began his metaphysics concerning being as such, namely, the metaphysical critique of the value of reason and of being as knowable (IV Metaphysica); then he considered being in itself in his ontology; and finally he undertook the demonstration of the existence of the first mover and pure act (XII Metaphysica). Metaphysics, therefore, the science of being as being, primarily considers being as such as it is knowable naturally, that is, by ascending from sensible things to the supreme cause of being, to God, the author of nature.
Sacred theology, on the other hand, being a supernatural science not of being as being but of God as God from the viewpoint of the Deity or of the intimate life of God as knowable by revelation, begins in the light of revelation with the consideration of God not only as the author of nature but also of grace. Theology therefore treats of God before creatures, it treats of God in His essence and in the Trinity of persons before it turns to God the creator and governor of the universe. St. Thomas explains this important difference between the metaphysical and theological methods: "The two sciences do not proceed in the same way. In the discipline of philosophy, which considers creatures in themselves and from them goes to the knowledge of God, the first consideration is of creatures and the last of God; in the doctrine of faith, however, which considers creatures only in their ordination to God, the first consideration is of God and then it turns to creatures. Thus theology is more perfect since it is more like the knowledge of God, who knowing Himself sees all other things in Himself. Hence, according to this method, after having treated of the things that concern God in Himself in the first book, it remains to treat of those things that come from God."
St. Thomas follows this order not only in the Summa theologica but also in the Summa Contra Gentes, which is not really a philosophical Summa, since it begins with God, although it deals first with the truths that can be known naturally and treats of the Trinity only in the fourth book.
This distinction between the metaphysical and theological methods applies also to the theological treatise on man and the philosophical treatise on man as presented by Aristotle in his De anima. The philosophical treatise on man begins with the sensible manifestations of the life of the soul, of vegetative, sensitive, and intellective life, and only at the end is there mention of the spirituality and incorruptibility of the human soul. This is the method of discovery and ascent. On the other hand, the theological treatise on man descends from God to the spiritual soul created by God, and therefore the first question is about the spirituality and incorruptibility of the soul (Ia, q. 75, a. 1, 2, 4, 5); then follow questions on the union of the soul with the body (q. 76), the powers of the soul both common and special (q. 77), the intellective operations, which alone with the help of grace can attain to God, particularly the knowledge of the separated soul, about which the philosopher knows little (q. 84), and finally the questions on the first production of man as the image of God (q. go) and the state of justice and original sanctity (q. 93).
This difference between the philosophical and theological methods should be noted in the beginning, since St. Thomas as a speculative theologian makes extensive use of philosophy in treating of God. Many have thought that he was too much addicted to philosophy in theological matters, but St. Thomas carefully observed the distinction between the two disciplines. Theology makes use of philosophy as a superior uses an inferior for a higher end, and thus before theology makes use of a philosophical proposition it examines it in a higher light and approves it at least negatively as not contrary to revelation; then it uses the philosophical proposition as an instrument and confers on it a higher certainty so that the theological conclusion, derived from the major of faith and the minor of reason, although less certain than faith, is still more certain than a philosophical conclusion because it enjoys the approbation and confirmation of the superior light of virtual revelation, which is the formal object of theology.
Division Of The Treatise On God The Creator
The treatise on God the creator is divided into three parts:
1. the production of creatures.
2. the distinction of things in general and in particular. This part has three treatises: a) the angels, b) corporeal creatures, c) man.
3. the conservation and governance of things in general and in particular.
The order of this division is logical. First we treat of the production of being created from nothing, clearly distinguishing between creation and every other production of things; secondly, we treat of the distinction between created things, and here we take up the problem of how a multitude can proceed from the supreme unity. Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus were unable to solve this problem. The first two did not attain to an explicit notion of creation from nothing, and Plotinus substituted pantheistic emanationism for creation. In this second part we also consider the distinction between good and evil. Finally, we logically treat of the governance of all these creatures, both spiritual and corporeal, inasmuch as their actions are ordered by divine direction and motion to the end of the whole universe.
CHAPTER XVIII: QUESTION 44 THE FIRST CAUSE OF ALL BEING
This question is divided according to the four kinds of causes, since God is the efficient, exemplary, and final cause of all things, and since He is the efficient cause of matter itself, the causality of which is entirely imperfect and cannot be attributed to the supreme principle. We treat here especially of the efficient cause and in the following question of its mode. Final causality, or God as the ultimate end, is considered at length in the first part of the second part of the Summa, while exemplary causality was considered in the first part under the divine ideas.
First Article: Whether It Is Necessary That Every Being Be Created By God
In other words, as St. Thomas himself says in the prologue, whether God is the efficient cause of all being.
State of the question. The title is clear. Every being stands for everything that can properly be called being, namely, every substance and every suppositum of which we can say that it is what it is. In the following question we will ask whether prime matter is from God, because prime matter is not properly being or that which is; it is a part of material being, namely, that by which a thing is material.
At the moment the word "created" in the title signifies only what is effectively caused, because we are not yet considering the mode of this production, namely, from nothing; this will be considered in a following article. The question now is, whether God is the efficient cause of all being.
The state of the question will become clearer from the difficulties proposed at the beginning of the article: it appears that there are many things absolutely necessary in the world, for example, the circle is a circle of itself and of itself possesses such properties. But what is absolutely necessary requires no efficient cause.
Reply. The reply is in the affirmative: God is the efficient cause of all being. This truth is of faith.
1. Sacred Scripture clearly affirms it: "In the beginning God created heaven and earth." Here the word "heaven" includes all heavenly beings, and "earth" includes all inferior beings. "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them"; "I am the Lord that make all things, that alone stretch out the heavens, that establish the earth"; "Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things that are in them"; "All things were made by Him"; "For of Him, and by Him, and in Him, are all things"; "God, who made the world, and all things therein."
2. In the Nicene and Constantinopolitan Creeds we read: "I believe in one God,. . . maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible." "We believe that the one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are one principle of all things, the creator of all things visible and invisible, spiritual and corporal."
3. Theological proof. Before we begin this proof it should be remembered that this problem has received three solutions: dualism, pantheism, and the revealed doctrine of creation.
Dualism says that the world came from an eternal prime matter, which is necessary, as God is, and which is coordinated to God rather than subordinate to Him.
Pantheism holds that God is one and the same substance with the world so that the things in the world are quasi-accidents or finite modes of God, whether the world became God by ascending evolution, as modern pantheists say, or whether God became the world by descending evolution, which the Neoplatonists have in mind when they talk about emanation.
The revealed doctrine of creation holds that the world and whatever is in it is the effect of God.
We have already refuted pantheism above, by showing that God must be the first, immovable, most simple, efficient cause since He is His own action and also His own being, and therefore He is distinct in fact and in essence from the mutable and composite world. Moreover, an efficient cause is extrinsic and does not enter into the composition of its effects. Again, as has been said, God cannot have accidents, for He would be perfected and actuated by them and this is impossible, since He is pure act, subsisting being itself, the ultimate unreceived actuality, to which no addition can be made; God is indeed the fullness of being. Dualism will be refuted in the second article.
The demonstration given in the body of the article is the fourth argument for demonstrating the existence of God, but in reverse, that is, the argument does not ascend but it descends. Hence this article is a commentary of the fourth argument for God's existence. The fourth argument can be reduced to the following.
Whatever is in anything by participation is caused by that being to whom this thing belongs essentially. But in things we find participated being, for being is predicated of them in a greater or lesser degree. Therefore there exists a being who is such essentially, the cause of all things, and this being we call God.
The major is the very principle of causality, namely, whatever is such not of itself is such by another that is such essentially. The minor is evident from the grades of perfection in the world, for every multitude presupposes a superior unity, because the multitude does not account for the unity of likeness that is in it; as St. Thomas says, "those things that are diverse among themselves do not agree in any one thing except by some cause that unites them." Thus every imperfect thing is composed from perfection and the restricted capacity for this perfection, and every composite requires a cause for this same reason, since those things that are diverse among themselves do not agree in any one thing except by some cause that unites them. In other words, the union that is found in the composition of two things and in the multitude of diverse and similar things depends on a superior unity. The union participates in the unity, and the unity, therefore, is the principle of the union, as St. Thomas frequently points out. We cannot conceive a union unless we first have the concept of the unity; the converse is not true. Unity is the most simple of ideas; but in the union we already have composition or multitude. Hence the principle: an uncaused union of diverse things is impossible.
In this article we use the same argument in reverse. That which is in anything by participation is efficiently caused in it by the being that has this thing essentially. But God and God alone is being essentially, since He is subsisting being itself, which cannot be other than one. Therefore God is the efficient cause of all being.
The major is evident since it is a form of the principle of causality. Cajetan notes that "this proposition is accepted both by the Platonists and by the Peripatetics, if the participated thing is found to exist essentially, "as without repugnance." For sometimes there is a repugnance, for example, man as an essence, separate from individuals cannot exist, since man by his very definition must have common matter, bones and flesh. But bones and flesh cannot exist unless they are these bones and this flesh, because they imply quantity whose parts extend beyond other parts and are individuated. Man can be conceived essentially as an idea but he cannot exist as an essence; thus the idea of man is in God, and the divine essence contains man only virtually, inasmuch as it can produce a man. But the major is to be understood of a participated perfection which in its concept does not involve common matter or an imperfection, that is, some perfection like being, living, and intellection.
On the supposition that God is subsisting being itself, the minor is evident, as was proved elsewhere, as follows: the first mover must be His own action and His own being. For, since being is predicated with respect to the actual being and since it is that whose act is being, if God is subsisting being itself it follows that God is being essentially. Moreover, being itself, if it is received, is received in some essence, for example, in man, a plant, a stone; but if the being subsists as unreceived then it is being essentially and it is also unique, just as whiteness, if it were subsisting, would be the one and only whiteness. A perfection is never multiplied except by the capacity for perfection in that in which it is received. Thus St. Thomas resolves the question from an analysis of the things involved in the question, because a more proper cause of beings inasmuch as they are beings cannot be assigned than that which is being essentially. We are certainly dealing with the efficient cause, since that which is by participation is efficiently from that which is being essentially.
Reply to first objection. Relationship to a cause is a property of contingent being, which is defined as being which is able to be or not to be. Therefore it follows that contingent being does not exist of itself but by another.
Reply to second objection. The objection is that many things exist in the world that are absolutely necessary and do not require an efficient cause. The reply is that there are in the world certain absolutely necessary things which still have a cause for necessity, like demonstrated conclusions.
Reply to third objection. The objection is that those things that are mathematically true do not require an efficient cause. Reply. The science of mathematics abstracts from an efficient cause but it does not deny it. It abstracts from an efficient cause only because it considers the essence and not the existence of numbers and geometric figures, nor does it consider motion but only the formal cause of numbers and figures.
On this matter the reader is referred to St. Thomas' article in the De potentia. The article in the Theological Summa is shorter but more sublime in its simplicity. Its sublimity does not appear until we study the complex article in the De potentia; then we understand the superior unity and what it contains in its virtuality.
In this first article we consider the historical question, whether Plato and Aristotle, who are quoted by St. Thomas, affirmed that the multitude of beings in the world depend on God as on an efficient cause or that the dependence is only on a formal and final cause. St. Thomas replies to this question in the following article. We shall see that these great philosophers explicitly affirmed the formal and final dependence, but much less explicitly did they speak of a dependence on an efficient cause, because they had not yet attained to an explicit idea of creation from nothing and a fortiori they had not understood free creation or creation from eternity.
When St. Thomas quotes Plato and Aristotle he does not intend to imply that they formulated the conclusion of the article but that they laid down the principles, showing that the multitude does not account for the unity of likeness that is found in the multitude; that is, the multitude presupposes a superior unity, and perfection with an admixture of imperfection presupposes a pure unparticipated perfection, for, as St. Thomas says, "those things that are diverse among themselves do not agree in some one thing except through some cause that unites them." That is, many things do not agree in some perfection except through some cause that unites them, and the diverse things that constitute a composite, as a perfection and the capacity in which it is received, do not agree and become one except through some cause uniting them.
First objection. If whiteness were subsisting it would be one alone. Therefore if being is subsisting there is but one being.
Reply. In the antecedent it is supposed that whiteness cannot be participated in; on the contrary, being is shared.
I insist. There is a certain participation but it is after the manner of the emanation of an accident from a substance.
Reply. We reply in two ways: a posteriori and a priori.
A posteriori. From an experience illuminated by the light of reason we know that there are many substances in the world, for example, the substance of water is distinct from the substance of hydrogen and the substance of oxygen of which it is composed, for it has entirely different properties. Again, the animal is substantially different from the inanimate food that it assimilates. We note particularly in the world about us the individuality of the higher animals, especially the individuality of man, which is confirmed by the testimony of consciousness, according to which each one of us is substantially distinct from others, as the just man is distinct from the criminal, and Jesus from Barabbas. Moreover, in proving the existence of God, the first mover, first cause, and supreme being, it was not necessary to show first that there was a multiplicity of substances in this world. It was sufficient to show that the substance of the world changes, and then to point out that every movement required a mover and in the final analysis an immovable mover, who is his own action and consequently his own being. It was clear then that this first immovable mover was really distinct from the mobile substance of the world. It was sufficient to show that every multitude presupposed a superior unity, and that every imperfect being or composition of perfection and imperfection presupposed a perfect, pure, and simple being, which was really and essentially distinct from the changeable and composite world. "God, who is unique and singular, a completely simple and unchangeable spiritual substance, must be said to be really and essentially distinct from the world and ineffably exalted above all things which are by Him and which can be conceived."
A priori. Supposing the existence of the first being as proved, it is evident that the world is not related to God as an accident to a substance. It was proved earlier that a substance is compared to an accident as potency to act, since the substance is in some way perfected by the accident. But subsisting being itself is in no way in potency to anything, it cannot be perfected, it is pure act, the ultimate actuality, a being to which no addition can be made, since it is already the fullness of being. Hence Spinoza was able to deduce from God infinite attributes but no finite modes. Hence if God alone exists, as Parmenides taught, there is no change anywhere, no multitude.
I insist. But Spinoza thought that the world needed neither an efficient nor a final cause, being like the circle which in itself does not require these extrinsic causes, for the circle is a circle of itself.
Reply. Spinoza here made use of the mathematical method, which abstracts from the existence of the circle and considers its essence and which abstracts from the existence of all things, from movement, for instance, and therefore from efficient and final causes, and which considers only the formal cause of numbers and geometrical figures, as St. Thomas explains in this article. But the mathematical method is a special method which is valid in the study of the essence of quantity, whether continuous or discrete, but it is not a universal method which is valid in the study of beings, particularly with regard to their existence. For if anything comes into existence which did not exist before, as this plant, this animal, this recently generated man, it requires not only a formal cause but also an efficient and a final cause. The mathematical method is not adequate in physics or in metaphysics. Spinoza's theory is an abuse of the mathematical method, which in its own order prescinds from efficient and final causes. Metaphysics, however, cannot prescind from these causes in this way, since it is the science of being as being through the highest causes, as Aristotle explained at length in the beginning of his metaphysics.
I insist. The essences of things are eternal and absolutely necessary and they do not depend on God, for example, man is a rational animal eternally and independently of God. Therefore not every being depends on God.
Reply. The essences of things are eternal negatively, that is, inasmuch as they prescind from the here and now, I concede; positively eternal, as always existing, I deny, or I ask you to prove it. Again I distinguish: the essences as absolutely necessary do not depend on God, if their necessity is not participated, I concede; if it is otherwise, I deny. These essences do not indeed depend on God effectively unless they are produced here and now, but they do depend formally on God, since they are the divine essence as imitable ad extra in a participated likeness. Just as every existence presupposes the first existence, so every essence presupposes the first essence, of which it is an analogical imitation, at least in the nature of being, and so also every truth presupposes the first truth. As St. Thomas says in this article, "certain necessary things have a cause for their necessity, as necessary conclusions."
In the Contra Gentes, St. Thomas says: "From the fact that the truths that we understand are eternal with regard to what is understood, we cannot conclude that the soul is eternal, but that the understood truths are based on something eternal. They are in fact based on the first truth itself as in a universal cause containing all truth."
I insist. Spinoza also objected that one substance cannot produce another substance, since the second substance would have the same essential attributes and therefore it would not be distinct from the first substance.
Reply. I distinguish: the second substance would have the same attributes at least analogically, I concede; the same attributes numerically, I deny.
I insist. By substance we understand that which subsists per se. But that which subsists per se is the one subsisting being itself. Therefore there is only one substance.
Reply. I distinguish the major: a substance subsists independently of a subject in which it inheres, I concede, for example, man is a substance, whiteness is not; independently of the cause of its existence, I deny. I distinguish the minor: that which subsists per se independently of the cause of existence, I concede; merely independently of a subject of inherence, I deny. Hence we cannot define substance, as Spinoza did, as being of itself but as being in itself and not in another, although it can be from another.
I insist. Besides the infinite there can be nothing. But the substance of God is infinite. Therefore there is nothing besides God.
Reply. I distinguish the major: nothing that is infinite and of itself, I concede; nothing that is finite and of another, I deny.
I insist. Neither can there be anything finite besides God. A finite substance added to the infinite makes it something more. But this is absurd.
Reply. I distinguish the major: the infinite would become something more intensively, I deny; extensively, I concede. There would be not a major entity but more entities. After the creation there is not more of being but there are more beings, not more of wisdom but more wise persons. We have the same thing when a student understands St. Thomas: another understands, but there is not more wisdom.
I insist. That which contains another is not really distinct from it. But the infinite God contains the world, otherwise He would not be infinite. Therefore God is not really distinct from the world.
Reply. I distinguish the major: that which contains another formally or materially, I concede; that which contains another eminently and virtually, I deny. I distinguish the minor: God contains the world formally or materially, I deny; eminently and virtually, I concede, inasmuch as God can produce the world, and all the perfections in the world pre-exist eminently in the subsisting being itself, who is the plenitude of being.
Second Article: Whether Prime Matter Is Created By God
State of the question. This article is not without value after the preceding article, for prime matter is not some kind of being, nor is it that which exists, but that by which something is material; it is a part of material being.
The question of this second article coincides materially with the question of creation, because prime matter cannot be produced except from nothing. Neither has it anything to do formally with the mode of creation, which we will treat in the next question. We are now not considering the mode of production but that part of material things which is prime matter. The state of the question will appear more clearly from the difficulties posed at the beginning of the article. These difficulties are the arguments of dualism.
First difficulty. Averroes argued: nothing is produced from nothing, for everything that becomes is produced from some subject. But prime matter has no subject from which it is produced. Therefore it cannot be produced. As Aristotle said, prime matter is ingenerable and incorruptible, for all generation presupposes it and all corruption ends with it.
Second difficulty. There cannot be an active principle without a passive correlative. But God is the first active principle. Therefore matter must be coordinated to God, as the first passive principle.
Third difficulty. Every agent produces its effect in act. But prime matter is pure potency. Therefore prime matter cannot be produced by God. From this we see the difficulties inherent in the present question.
Reply. The reply is that prime matter is created by God. This doctrine is of faith, since it is of faith, as we shall see below, that the creation of the world was a production of the world out of nothing of itself or of any subject. In the argument sed contra St. Thomas quotes St. Augustine's classical text, "Thou hast made two things, O Lord, one close to Thee, namely, the angel, and the other close to nothing, namely, prime matter." We should point out, however, that St. Augustine did not speak as precisely about prime matter as the Peripatetics. He was speaking here perhaps of elementary matter, of the empty earth, which could exist without any form, because it already had an elementary form. For the Peripatetics prime matter is not something, it has no quality and no quantity, it is pure potency or the real capacity for that perfection which is the specific form of material things. Hence for the Peripatetics prime matter was not burnable wood, or transformable land, or air, or water, but that which is determinable by the forms of things. Therefore it is not that which is but that by which a thing is material, and therefore, as St. Thomas says, it cannot exist without a form.
Scotus and Suarez did not clearly understand this prime matter; they thought that it was not pure potency and that it had an essential actuality and could exist without a form. This is a different kind of metaphysics from ours, for with them potency is most imperfect act, as if the potency which is presupposed in motion were the beginning of the motion.
The body of the article has two parts, one historical, the other theoretic, beginning with hoc igitur.
In the historical part St. Thomas distinguishes three classes of philosophers.
1. In the first group are those who list only the causes of accidental changes: Thales, Anaximenes, Anaximander, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and even Anaxagoras, although Anaxagoras said that a separate intelligence existed which ordered all things.
2. In the second group are those who assign causes of substantial changes or the causes of being inasmuch as it is a particular being, as this being individually (this animal), or such a being specifically (cow, bovinity). Plato gave as causes the separated ideas, and Aristotle said that substantial generations did not take place in the winter but in the spring under the influence of the stars and especially under the influence of the oblique circles, that is, the ecliptic.
3. In the third group are those who assign the cause of being not only as this being individually or specifically, but of being as being. Among these are the Christian philosophers, who benefited by the light of revelation and learned of creation from the words of Scripture, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth."
Hence we have this division:
(diagram page 351)
Philosophers who assign cause of being
of substantial being
as it is being, hence all parts of being
God, subsisting being itself, the cause pouring out the entire being and not only changing it.
As it is
Such being specifically: the idea of cow or oblique circle.
This being individually: this cow;
uncreated matter, coordinated to God
of accidental being: local motion or fire
Only the supreme cause pours out the whole being; others are only causes changing some subject. With regard to this classification it should be noted that St. Thomas did not always present it in the same way.
In the second book of the Sentences, St. Thomas classifies the philosophers as above.
In the De potentia he places Plato and Aristotle in the third group since they say at least implicitly that all being depends as being on God.
In the eighth book of the Physica, while refuting the dualism of Averroes, St. Thomas said that creation out of nothing "is not contrary to Aristotle's intention," that is, not contrary to his principles, and that it is rather virtually contained in his principles, although Aristotle had not attained to the explicit notion of creation from nothing. Aristotle did say that "nothing comes from nothing," but he was speaking of production in the proper sense out of a subject, whereas creation is not production in the proper sense, as we shall explain below.
In the first part of the Theological Summa St. Thomas places Plato and Aristotle in the second group because he was speaking here of what these great philosophers taught explicitly.
The theoretical part of the article can be reduced to the following.
The efficient cause of beings inasmuch as they are beings is their cause with respect to everything that pertains to their being. But God is the cause of all beings inasmuch as they are beings, and, if they are material beings, prime matter pertains to their being. Therefore God is the efficient cause of prime matter.
This argument is an application of the conclusion of the preceding article to that part of things which is prime matter. The major is evident from a comparison of the cause of being itself as being and the cause of being as this being individually or such being specifically. The minor is clear from the preceding article. This is a demonstration based on an analysis of the ideas involved and not from general principles, that is, from a formal demonstrative middle.
Let us turn to the solution of the objections of dualism and the objections based on the Cartesian concept of matter or space.
The objections raised by dualism are placed at the beginning of the article.
First objection. Everything that is produced is produced from some subject. But prime matter has no subject. Therefore prime matter cannot be produced.
Reply. Everything that is properly produced, I concede; improperly, in the sense of being produced in any way whatsoever, I deny. I concede the minor and distinguish the conclusion.
Second objection. The active cannot be without the passive. But God is the first active principle. Therefore prime matter ought to be eternal as the passive principle.
Reply. I distinguish the major: there cannot be an active principle transforming a subject without a correlative passive principle, I concede; there cannot be an active principle which does not transform a subject but produces the whole being without a correlative passive principle, I deny; I contradistinguish the minor and deny the conclusion.
Third objection. Every agent produces an effect in act. But prime matter is pure potency. Therefore it cannot be produced.
Reply. I distinguish the major: every agent produces its effect in act and also whatever pertains to it, I concede; without also producing whatever pertains to the effect, I deny. I concede the minor and distinguish the conclusion: prime matter cannot be produced as something pertaining to the material thing, I deny; that it cannot be produced without a form, I concede. Hence prime matter is not properly created, it is concreated while the material suppositum, of which it is a part, is created. Hence St. Thomas says: "Matter has an idea in God but the idea is not other than the idea of the composite, since matter in itself neither has being nor is it knowable."
Doubt. Whether transforming causes, those that produce substantial or accidental changes, are in some way causes of being as it is being?
Reply. They are not per se but per accidens, that is, by reason of another inasmuch as they produce this being or such a being. Cajetan points out that a cow generating a cow produces a certain being simpliciter, that is, some suppositum, by a transmutation of matter but it does not produce being as such per se, because the act of the generator presupposes the matter which already existed in the other composite. Further, in generation being is not produced per se as being, because prior to this the being was in potency, but per accidens being IS produced as being inasmuch as this being is produced per se that is, this individual cow. So from black, white is produced per se, and per accidens something colored is produced, because the color already was in the black.
An objection against this article can be made on the basis of the Cartesian idea of matter as understood by Spinoza. According to Spinoza, matter is nothing else than the threefold extension of length, width, and depth, which is space, having no limits, and so all imaginary space is already filled and a vacuum is impossible. But space conceived in this way appears to be something existing of itself independently of God, or it is a divine attribute. Therefore matter is uncreated.
More briefly Spinoza's objection based on the Cartesian idea can be stated as follows: Infinite space is something uncreated. But matter is infinite space. Therefore matter is something uncreated, a divine attribute.
Reply. I distinguish the major: imaginary space as the possibility of placing a body, that this possibility is not something created, I concede; that real space or the real extension of some body is something uncreated, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor: matter is imaginary space, I deny; that it is really extended in bodies, I concede, and I deny the conclusion.
Further, space cannot be a divine attribute, because it belongs to the corporeal order and hence is less perfect than a spirit. But in God there is nothing imperfect, because God is subsisting being itself per se; He is subsisting perfection itself. Moreover, space is divisible and divided, and it has parts beyond parts, of which some are not as perfect as others. Finally, space is arranged in parts up and down, right and left, according to the three dimensions. But that which is arranged itself is not the first principle of order.
Third Article: Whether God Is The Exemplary Cause Of Things, Or Whether There. Are Other Models Besides Him
We are concerned here not with artificial but natural things. St. Thomas himself formulated the title as given above; later certain editors abbreviated the title.
State of the question. The state of the question appears from the arguments advanced by Plato to prove the existence of the ideas which correspond to the uncaused matter which, according to Plato, is "a certain non-being that somehow exists," in which these ideas are received.
First objection. That which is modeled possesses the likeness of the model. But creatures are far removed from the divine likeness. Therefore other subordinate models are required besides God, for example, models of cows, roses, lilies, etc.
Second objection. Everything that is by participation is finally reduced to that which exists per se. But this rose is a rose by participation, since there are many other roses. Therefore there ought to exist a rose essentially so, an essential lily, and an essential cow.
Third objection. The sciences are concerned not with individuals but with universals, for example, psychology deals not with this individual man but with man in general. But these sciences have objective and ontological validity. Therefore the universals ought to exist formally outside of the mind. Indeed, it seems that Dionysius spoke in this way because he seems to say that subsisting being itself is prior to subsisting life itself.
Reply. The reply is that the models of natural things are not outside of God.
In the argument sed contra this is proved by the authority of St. Augustine, who held that the models of things are the divine ideas existing in the divine mind. St. Augustine thought that this was the teaching of Plato himself. Such was also the opinion of Dionysius or Pseudo-Dionysius. On the other hand, Aristotle thought that according to Plato the models were outside God, that they were like separate subsisting forms. Aristotle refuted this teaching, because the separated man, not as a separated soul but as man separated from individuals, ought to have some matter, not individually, but common matter as common bones and flesh. But bones and flesh in themselves imply quantity whose parts are beyond parts and are individuated and therefore bones and flesh cannot exist without being these bones and this flesh.
In the body of the article St. Thomas supports the validity of Platonic exemplarism when it is understood, as St. Augustine understood it, as referring to the divine ideas existing in the divine mind. The argument of the article can be summed as follows. A model is necessary for the production of anything so that the effect will attain a determined form. But it is evident that the things that are produced naturally attain determined forms, for example, the form of a rose, a lily, a lion, etc. Therefore they have an exemplary cause in the divine wisdom, which planned the order of the universe.
This argument coincides to some extent with the proof for the existence of God from the order of the universe, but here we are considering rather the model of all things rather than their ordination to an end, rather their form than their end, but the form of the thing generated is the end of the generation. The minor is evident; the major requires explanation. The major is illustrated in the example of the artificer. But it is not only empirically true; it is evident of itself and necessary and is proved by an explanation of the terms and by a reduction to absurdity, just as the principle of finality, "every agent acts for some end," is proved. St. Thomas proved the truth of the principle of finality by explaining the terms, for every agent tends to something agreeable to itself, but an end is nothing else than an agreeable good to which the agent tends. Further, he defends this principle by a reduction to absurdity, saying: "An agent does not move except with an end in mind. If the agent were not determined to some effect, it would not do this rather than that. In order that it will produce a determined effect it is necessary that the agent be determined to something definite that has the nature of an end." That is, if the eye were not ordered to vision it would not see rather than hear; if the foot were not ordered to walking it would not serve for walking rather than for flying, etc.
This passive ordering of the eye to vision, of the foot to walking, presupposes an active ordering. But ordering is the function of a wise person, because in order that anyone can order different things he must know the relationship of means to an end, and the intellect alone, not the senses or the imagination, can know the nature of things.
Therefore, in spite of what Kant says, a supreme intelligence which is subsisting intelligence itself is required, for every intelligence that is not subsisting intelligence itself is itself ordered to intellection, and this passive ordering presupposes an active ordering which cannot come from anything except subsisting intelligence itself, in which are the ideas of things as something seen by this intelligence in itself without any real plurality.
The major of our proof is therefore the same as the major of the proof for the existence of God from the order in the universe, and it is defended in the same way by a reduction to absurdity. For if in the production of a natural thing a directing idea or model were not necessary, the natural thing would not attain a determined form and it would not rather become this than that. For example, if there were no directing idea in the development of the germ of a nut, the nut would indifferently produce an oak or a pear tree.
Objection. But it suffices that there be a directing idea immanent in the evolution itself. Such was Hegel's opinion in his pantheistic evolution.
Reply. The immanent directive idea is like the passive ordering of this nut to an oak, but every passive ordering presupposes an active ordering, and only the wise being knows the natures of the being of things, and the nature of means to an end. In ascending evolution without a supreme ordering and directing cause more is produced from a minor being than is in it, more perfect beings are produced from imperfect ones, and by this evolution not only more beings but more of being is produced. This is less acceptable than the dogma of creation according to which more does not come from the lesser; in creation, moreover, there are, of course, more beings but there is not more of being or more of wisdom. To be consistent, Hegel should deny the validity of the principle of contradiction and say the radical absurdity is the principle of all things. It is to this state that the mind comes when it rejects creation. Earlier St. Thomas showed that the plurality of ideas in God was only objective inasmuch as God understood the imitability of His essence ad extra, or rather the relation of the imitability of something, for example, a lion, to His essence inasmuch as a lion participates in life and knowledge.
The replies to the objections confirm the conclusion.
Reply to first objection. Humanity is not formally but only virtually in the divine nature, but the idea of man is formally and eminently in God as the terminus of intellection. So also the objective multitude of ideas is formally and eminently in God, whereas it is formally but not eminently in the angel, in whom there are many subordinate ideas. Hence the notion of idea is an analogical notion which is predicated only according to a similarity of proportion of the human idea, the angelic idea, and the divine idea, for, as Dionysius often says, "those things that are divided in inferiors are united as in one in superior beings."
Reply to second objection. Man subsisting per se implies matter and therefore he cannot be without at least common matter, and this common matter cannot exist without individual matter. Bones and flesh by the very fact that they exist are these bones and this flesh.
Reply to third objection. Universals do not exist formally outside the mind as real but only fundamentally in individuals, that is, according to their specific or generic likeness, which can be abstracted from the individuals. But the mode of abstraction and the mode of universality do not exist formally except in the mind.
Spinoza, on the contrary, held that the substantial universal being exists formally in reality and thus the universal being is pantheistically confused with the divine being. Malebranche inclined to the same conclusion because he thought that the first principles of reason were not only in the abstract intelligible being but also in God. Then our natural will would be specifically determined not by the universal good but directly by God Himself as in the case of infused charity. Here we have a pantheistic confusion of the orders of nature and grace, for our nature itself, like sanctifying grace, would be a participation of the divine nature.
Reply to fourth objection. When Dionysius said, "Being itself is prior to that which is life itself and to that which is wisdom itself," he either meant that we first conceive God as first being before we conceive Him as the first living being, or he was speaking of participated being, which is in all creatures, even in the lowest, whereas life and intelligence are only in the higher beings.
Fourth Article: Whether God Is The Final Cause Of All Things
State of the question. This was affirmed by Aristotle, namely, that pure act is the end of all things and immovably moves to attract all things and moves as the supreme desirable end.
Many have denied that God is the final cause. For example, Spinoza simply denied final causes, saying that the end does not move the agent because the end does not yet exist or is not obtained while the agent is acting, as if there were no foundation for the distinction between the intentional order, in which the end is first, and the order of execution, in which the end is later. Kant averred that God did not create us on account of Himself but on account of us, for otherwise there would be transcendental egoism in God.
The objections placed at the beginning of the article indicate how difficult is this question of the motive of creation.
First objection. To act for an end seems to indicate the need of an end. But God in no way needs anything.
Second objection. In generation the agent and the end are numerically distinct. But God is the first agent. Therefore He cannot be the ultimate end.
Third objection. Not all things desire God because not all things can know Him.
Fourth objection. The end is the first of all causes. If therefore God is both agent and end, there is in Him priority and posteriority
Reply. The reply is nevertheless affirmative and of faith according to the Vatican Council: "This only and true God by His goodness and omnipotent power, not for the sake of acquiring or increasing His own happiness, but to manifest His perfection through the gifts which He bestows on creatures, by a most free counsel established creatures" (Denz., no. 1783). The meaning of this definition is that God created not because of some finite end, or because of His external glory, if we understand this to mean something created, as that clear knowledge of God with praise which the blessed have in heaven. This clear knowledge of God is itself ordered to God as the ultimate end. Thus we read in the Scriptures; "The Lord hath made all things for Himself."
Hence God created all things for an uncreated end, but every end has the nature of good, and therefore God created on account of His uncreated goodness, not indeed to increase it, since it is already infinite, nor to acquire anything, since He is subsisting being itself, but to manifest His uncreated perfection through the good that He imparts to creatures. In almost the same words this thought of the Vatican Council is found in the body of this article.
This truth is proved from reason by the fact that God is the supreme agent, because according to the theory of the four causes the order of those who act should correspond to the order of the ends. By virtue of this correspondence we can prove conversely from the fact that God is the ultimate end of all things (which Aristotle clearly affirmed) that He is the first efficient cause (this the Philosopher stated less explicitly). Thus from the fact that Aristotle expressly said that God is the ultimate end of all things he should have had some understanding that God is the efficient cause of all things. This conclusion is called for according to the theory of the four causes and also according to the Aristotelian principle that there is no process in infinity in any genus of causes.
The argument of the article can be stated as follows. Every agent acts for an end, and the end of the agent is the same as the end of the patient inasmuch as the patient acquires what the agent imprints. But the supreme agent, who is in no way passive, can have no other end than to communicate His goodness, which other beings seek to participate in. Therefore the divine goodness, which is to be communicated, is the end of all things.
The major is the principle of finality, which can once more be demonstrated by a reduction to absurdity: "for otherwise the action of the agent would not result in one thing rather than another," for example, from the structure of the eye vision would not result rather than hearing, from the acorn there would not be produced an oak rather than a pear tree. Some modern Scholastics say that these demonstrations by a reduction to absurdity both of the principle of efficient causality and the principle of finality contain a vicious circle. They say this because they are unable to distinguish between an indirect demonstration and a direct demonstration in which intrinsic evidence is revealed. These demonstrations by way of absurdity are recognized by all Scholastics as well as by Kant and Suarez, but these modern philosophers are under the influence of empiricism and Kant. In such demonstrations St. Thomas did not try to deduce the principles of efficient causality and finality from the principle of contradiction; he wished merely to show that these subordinate principles could not be denied without denying the supreme principle of reason, namely, the principle of contradiction which is founded immediately on the idea of being and on its opposition to nothing. If these demonstrations by absurdity are not valid, we ought to say that an uncaused contingent being is neither impossible nor absurd, and tendency without finality is also neither impossible nor absurd. This would be pure empirical nominalism, a negation of all of our metaphysics and of the proofs for God's existence. Moreover, the principle of finality itself is immediately evident if the terms are clearly understood, for every agent as such tends to produce something determined agreeable to itself, and this thing is the end. Chance, however, cannot be the first cause of the ordering of beings, because chance is a cause only per accidens which presupposes a cause per se ordered to its effect.
In our major we add that the end of the agent is the same as the end of the patient but in a different way, inasmuch as the patient acquires that which the agent imprints, for example, the generator tends to confer the specific likeness of its form, which the patient receives.
The minor is evident from what was said above. God is agent only and not patient, since He is, as first mover, both His own action and His own being; He is being itself and pure act. Therefore it is not fitting that God should act to acquire some end, or to increase His goodness, which of itself is infinite, but God acts to communicate this goodness, as the Vatican Council declared.
Corollary. The love of God gives; it does not properly receive, because it is not perfected. So with man, the higher he is elevated the more his love for his neighbor is active; so the Apostle was more active and higher in love, whereas those who marry not only give but also receive.
Since, then, the end of the agent and the patient is the same, all other beings strive to attain the perfection of the first agent, which is the participated likeness of this divine goodness. Thus, as St. Thomas says in the reply to the third objection, "all things desire God as their end, by desiring whatever is good by the intelligible appetite, or sensible appetite, or even the natural appetite, which is without knowledge, because nothing has the nature of good or desirable being except so far as it participates in God's likeness. Aristotle is sufficiently explicit on this matter, although he is less explicit in affirming that God is the efficient cause of all things.
Indeed, St. Thomas says farther on: "Because every creature, inasmuch as it is, is naturally of God, it follows that every creature in its own way naturally loves God more than itself." All things tend to a certain likeness with God: the stars in the universal and necessary attraction which holds the universe together, the earth moving about the sun, the plants that strive for their own preservation and propagation, as also the animals and the birds, the hen that gathers her young under her wings against the attack of the hawk and loves the good of the species more than herself, the eye that sees, the ears that hear, the bee that builds its hive and makes its honey, man who tends not only to the enjoyable and useful good but also to the moral good, which is found especially in the supreme good. In the canticle of the three young men we read: "All ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord. . ., the heavens bless the Lord." The goodness of God, therefore, is the end of all things.
First doubt. Whether the divine goodness is really the final cause with reference to the creative action. The difficulty arises because this action is never an effect, not even in the order of finality.
Reply. The goodness of God is not a final cause really distinct from the creative action, nor is it an end to be produced or acquired. But analogically the divine goodness has the aspect of an end with respect to the creative action. As St. Thomas says: "The first principle of all things is one in reality, but there is nothing to prohibit us from considering many things in it according to reason, of which some will in our intellect be prior to others." The Thomists point out: "The divine goodness is not properly and strictly the final cause of the immanent divine operation, because between a cause properly so called and an effect there is necessarily a real distinction and a real dependence of the effect on the cause. Rightly we should say that the divine goodness is the reason for the divine operation or the reason why God wills and acts." For this a distinction of reason is sufficient, nor is a real dependence of one on another needed. As St. Thomas said earlier: "The immutability of God is the reason for His eternity, and His immateriality is the reason for His intellection." Hence because God perfectly loves His goodness He freely wills to communicate it by participation to others.
Second doubt. How is the creative action itself ordered to the creature and to the production of created goodness?
Reply. Not as a means to an end, for then God would be subordinated to the creature, but the creative action is ordered to the creature as the eminent cause to an inferior effect without any real relation to the creature, since the real relationship is only of the creature to God and not conversely. Thus the Incarnation is ordered to the Redemption, not as a means, but as an eminent cause. The creature is in no way the end of the act of uncreated love, but the creature is the end of the good which God wills to give it. It is in this way that we interpret the words, "The Lord hath made all things for Himself."
Kant objected that this would mean there was in God a transcendental egoism.
Reply. When this egoism is defined, it appears that it is not a simply perfect perfection that can be predicated of God, even with the adjective "transcendental," nor is egoism a perfection secundum quid. Egoism is an inordinate love of oneself by which one loves himself more than the good of the family, or the good of his country, or the supreme good. God, however, cannot love Himself more than the supreme good, with which He is identified. Therefore there is in God no egoism, not even transcendental.
Indeed, if God did not love Himself, that is, His own goodness, above all things, He would love some created good more, for example, our dignity. Then there would be mortal sin in God and this would be the supreme absurdity, since mortal sin consists in the aversion from the supreme good, to which some changeable and finite good is preferred. Finally, our own happiness would be decreased, because then the creature would have for its last end some finite good, for example, its own dignity and not the ultimate infinite end.
Corollary. On the contrary, instead of egoism there is the highest liberality in God, because God made all things without any need for them, since He was infinitely happy before the creation, and He made all things to manifest His goodness. This is the characteristic of the highest liberality. "God Himself alone is most liberal, because He acts not on account of His own needs but only to communicate His goodness." "Give glory to the Lord, for He is good." Thus we conclude that God is the efficient cause of all things, and the model and final cause of all things, so that all things, so far as their being is concerned, even prime matter, are caused by Him.
CHAPTER XIX: QUESTION 45 THE EMANATION OF THINGS
THIS question is divided into two parts of four questions each. The first part, including the first four questions, is a search for the real definition of creation. It begins with the nominal definition of creation and considers 1. the terminus a quo, namely, nothing; 2. the efficient cause, that is, whether God can create; 3. the formal cause of creation, or what is meant by creation as considered passively in creatures; 4. the terminus ad quem, or whether creation is proper to composites.
The second part of the question determines the conditions of creation on the part of the efficient cause. The fifth article asks whether God alone can create and studies the doctrine proposed in the second article; the sixth article asks whether creation is proper to the Father or common to the Trinity. The seventh and eighth articles treat of the conditions of creation on the part of the effect, that is, whether a vestige of the Trinity is found in creatures (art. 7), and whether there is a mixture of creation in the works of nature (art. 8).
First Article: Whether To Create Is To Make Something From Nothing
This article is a search for the real definition of creation with respect to the terminus a quo and it is an application of the conclusions arrived at in the first and second articles of the preceding question.
State of the question. It seems that to create is not to make something out of nothing, 1. because to create is sometimes used in another sense, for example, to create a bishop or elevate him to a higher position; 2. because the "from nothing" designates a material cause, and nothing cannot be a material cause.
Reply. The reply is in the affirmative.
1. Proof from Scripture. We read, "In the beginning God made heaven and earth." The word bara (created) in the forms kal and niphal in Sacred Scripture is never used except for the operation that is proper to God, and therefore it is best suited to designate production from nothing, that is, from no presupposed subject, and this is an action proper to God. The fact that this word bara in this instance signifies creation in the proper sense is clear from other words in the text, namely, "in the beginning," which indicate that the text refers to the first origin of all things, and "heaven and earth" signify the universe of things. No pre-existing matter is mentioned from which all things were made, whereas somewhat later we read that man was made "of the slime of the earth."
In speaking of the creative power of God, the prophets exclude any kind of dualism, and the Psalmist says that all things were made simply by the word of God. The same teaching is found in the Sapiential Books. Lastly, the mother of the Machabees, prompted by the spirit of God, says to one of her sons, "I beseech thee, my son, look upon heaven and earth, and all that is in them: and consider that God made them out of nothing." And only God is able to say, "I am who am," that is, not from another.
In the New Testament we read, "All things were made by Him (the Word): and without Him was made nothing that was made." Therefore, all things have their origin from God and are out of nothing, not out of pre-existing matter that was not produced, otherwise things would be something out of themselves, they would not be totally from God and to God, nor would they be totally subject to God's dominion.
The first Christians professed, "Lord, thou art He that didst make heaven and earth, the sea, and all things that are in them." St. Paul declares, "For of Him, and by Him, and in Him, are all things"; "One God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto Him"; "For in Him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominations or principalities or powers: all things were created by Him and in Him. And He is before all, and by Him all things consist." Finally, God is "the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end," of all things. Such was the consistent Judaic and Christian tradition. Nor is there any contradiction in the words, "For Thy almighty hand, which made the world of matter without form," since from the context it is clear that God made the sensible world out of unformed matter which He himself had produced before.
The Fathers of the early Church say without hesitation that God is the one and only Creator of all things; and against the heretics they reject any unproduced or eternal matter, asserting that things were produced from nothing, and that this doctrine pertains to faith.
Journel arranges the texts of the Fathers under the following headings: "God created all things," "out of nothing," "He alone created," "He created freely," "according to, the divine ideas," "out of His goodness," "that He might make known His perfections," "the Trinity creates," "the world (matter) is not eternal," and "God is not the author of evil."
St. Augustine in particular says: "The angels can in no way create a nature; the one and only Creator of every creature, whether it be great or small, is God." He explains that God created all things out of nothing, saying: "not of Himself, for then (created being) would be equal to the only-begotten Son," "but out of nothing" He made that which He created.
The councils often define that the triune God created the world out of nothing, when He willed and not from eternity, but freely because of His goodness.
Errors. In the judgment of the Church creation was erroneously explained by the following.
The Origenists, who taught the pre-existence of the human souls prior to the generation of the bodies with which the souls were united; Eckhard, who admitted creation from eternity; the ontologists, Rosmini, the pantheists, and the emanatists.
The Gnostics also erred by saying that matter is eternal; the Manichaeans, who admitted a twofold principle of things, one good the other bad; and the Albigenses revived this error. Abelard held that God created things neither freely nor for His own glory, and this error was accepted by Wyclif, Hermes, Guenther, and Rosmini.
In recent times the theosophists taught an evolutionistic pantheism, and Bergson thought he could explain everything by a creative evolution. According to this theory nothing is (exists) properly speaking, all things are becoming, all things and all minds are in a perpetual flux or in a perennial evolution, and Bergson often speaks as though God Himself were becoming.
2. Proof from reason. The body of the article does not contain an illative process, that is, one that deduces a new truth from another, but an explicative process, in which there is a transition from the confused notion of creation to an explicit notion with respect to the terminus a quo. Hence we do not arrive at a new truth, but the same idea and the same truth is explained. This explicative argument is an example of the evolution of dogma or the evolution of some revealed truth. The argument can be reduced to the following.
The production of the entire being of any thing is from no being just as the production of a man is not from a man. But by creation we understand the production of the entire being of some thing. Therefore by creation we understand the production of a thing out of nothing.
We have here not only a verbal advance but a conceptual advance, not however from one concept to another but from a confused concept to a clear concept, for the concepts in our minds are representative qualities or habits, which can be vitally augmented, as a plant grows.
The primitive concept of creation is expressed in Sacred Scripture, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth." Hence God produced whatever is outside Him, the whole being of all things that are produced. Therefore this production was out of no presupposed subject but out of nothing, just as the generation of man is out of no man, that is, out of the seed, which is not yet man. For if a man were already generated then he would not now be generated, because that which is generated was not before. The same notion of creation is developed, the same truth, "God created all things," is explained; now we add "from nothing." This is not the deduction of a new truth but an explanation of the same truth, as in the search for a real definition which begins with the nominal definition, since the question, "What is it called, what is its name?" tells vaguely what the thing is without determining the genus and difference.
This inquiry into the real definition is not, therefore, a demonstration. As Aristotle explained, the definitions of things are not demonstrated; they are sought out by a descending division of the highest genus and by an ascending comparative induction of the specific difference. The direction of this search is from the confused concept expressed in the nominal definition to a distinct statement. Sometimes the definition of a thing is from the aspect of the end from which a definition can be deduced defining the form; thus if a saw is intended to cut, it should be made with teeth from some durable metal. If we are dealing with a definition based on the formal cause, which is at first confused and later becomes distinct, the transition is not a demonstration, nor is it an objectively illative syllogism, although there may be a noticeable conceptual advance in the same concept, for example, from the vulgar concept of the human soul to the explicitly defined concept found in the Council of Vienne: the human soul is truly per se and essentially the form of the body. The same progress can be made in the concept of the personality of Christ, of the consubstantiality of the Word, and now in the idea of creation.
Hence in the first four articles of this question we have the search for the real definition of creation, beginning with the nominal definition. This search is confirmed by the solution of the objections.
Reply to first objection. Sometimes St. Augustine uses the word "creation" equivocally, for example, to create a bishop. But in its proper sense "creation" signifies the production of a thing from nothing.
Reply to second objection. A change receives its species and dignity not from the terminus a quo but from the terminus ad quem, for it has a reference to that toward which it tends. Thus creation, which produces the total being of a thing, is more perfect than generation, which produces the one begotten from a presupposed subject.
Reply to third objection. "Out of nothing" can be understood in two ways: 1. as "after nothing" and then it does not designate a material cause but only an order; 2. "more profoundly," as out of no presupposed subject, and then it designates a negated material cause, that is, something is created when it is produced not out of anything. In this second acceptation, St. Thomas points out, the expression "out of nothing" implies the condition of a material cause, which is denied.
If Bergson had studied the teaching of St. Thomas, he might perhaps have refrained from saying that the concept of creation out of nothing was a pseudo-idea, because we cannot have an idea of nothing. We cannot, of course, positively conceive nothing, but it can be conceived negatively with reference to being as the absolute negation of being. In order to conceive creation we need not first conceive nothing and later the appearance of the thing produced; it is more profound to conceive creation as the production of a thing out of no presupposed subject, and this concept is verified even though creation from nothing should be from eternity.
Before this man is generated he was not and therefore he is generated from no man; similarly the entire being of things is produced; the things were not and therefore they are produced from no thing or from nothing. This is not a pseudo-idea but the true idea of nothing, a negative idea, it is true, obtained by the negation of being.
First doubt. Why do the Scholastics say that creation is the production of a thing "out of nothing of itself or of a subject"? They mean that what is properly created, before it was created was entirely nothing in itself and moreover did not have a subject out of which it became. On the other hand, what is created, before it was generated was nothing in itself, as the generated cow, but there was a subject from which it became.
Objection. But before creation, at least the possibility of the thing to be produced is presupposed, and this possibility is not only something logical or a being of the mind, which can be conceived but not realized, as a predicament, a universal, a syllogism, or the syllogistic laws, but it is a possible real being or a being really possible outside the mind.
(diagram page 370)
Being is divided into
mental being, that can be conceived but not realized
Reply. The possibility prerequisite to creation is not only a being of the mind, or of second intention like the laws of the syllogism, which cannot be effected or really produced but only conceived, I concede.
But this possibility is not something existing outside of God; it expresses that which can be produced by God ad extra. Hence that which is outside the mind is only a real possibility, not a real entity or a real potency like prime matter. This point is important inasmuch as the principle of contradiction is not only a law of the mind but also a law of being, for example, a square circle is not only unthinkable but really impossible, whatever the subjectivists say about it. The essences of things do not depend on the liberty and omnipotence of God, whatever Descartes says when he asserts that the principle of contradiction is true because God wills it that way; in that case this principle would be a contingent truth. The supposition underlying creation is the divine ideas, and thus creation is from the material nothing but not from the ideal nothing. Hence when we say that creation is out of nothing we do not mean out of the nothing of its own possibility, for this itself would be impossible, but out of no presupposed, preexisting subject.
Second doubt. What was Rosmini's error about creation? Rosmini erred in thinking that real being taken indeterminately (that which our intellect first apprehends and predicates of all things) is in itself something divine and that it has the same essence as God. He spoke as if a possible real being (not created) were already some kind of initial being common to God and creatures. Hence he said that this initial being is not created and that the essences of created things are not something positive but something negative, consisting in limits which God adds to the initial being. For Rosmini this limiting action of God is creation. (Cf. Denz., nos. 1903 f.) This initial being is for him the univocal minimum in the analogy between God and creatures, and it is positively determined by God and negatively by the created essence, which is a limitation or negation. The Deity is like a white light, and creatures are like the colors. For Rosmini the created essence is something negative, for us it is something potential.
Reply. Creation, as we have said, presupposes nothing else than the real possibility of creatures and this possibility is not a kind of initial being, it is merely the non-repugnance to being. Rosmini's teaching is an immoderate realism, which confuses being in common with the divine being.
Third doubt. In what did Victor Cousin's error on creation consist? Cousin said that "we create whenever we produce a free act, that is, we produce this act from our real potency. Similarly, God in creating the universe educed it from Himself because He was not able to produce it from nothing since nothing is not, cannot be, and is purely a name." Bergson said almost the same thing: "creation out of nothing is a pseudo-idea, like the idea of nothing, and in its place we must have creative evolution."
Reply. Cousin and Bergson after him confuse creation with the production from some presupposed real potency, either material or spiritual, as when we produce a free act inasmuch as the will actually willing an end reduces itself to the act of willing the means. In the body of the article St. Thomas replies that as the eduction of the generated cow is from no generated being (but out of matter), so the production of total being is from no being, that is, from no presupposed subject. And for this it is not necessary that nothing be something or could be something.
Moreover, if God educed the universe not from nothing but from Himself in the same way that our will, actually willing an end, reduces itself to the act of the free choice of the means and thus educes a free act from itself as it is a determinable potency, then God would be in potency to another act and He would not be pure act. Bergson's creative evolution is also objectionable because it posits a reality in potency until it is perfected by itself, and in this theory more is produced by less, the more perfect by the less perfect. There would also be motion without a mobile subject, without an extrinsic mover, and without an end understood beforehand, whereas every movement requires a mover and in the final analysis the prime mover who is his own action and consequently his own being, that is, pure act in no way in potency. Cousin, and Bergson to some extent, confused the material cause with the efficient cause. God, however, cannot be the material cause and therefore He did not make the world out cf Himself or of Himself but out of no presupposed subject. The Son of God, however, was begotten, not made from nothing.
Final conclusion. Such is the explanation of creation with regard to the terminus a quo; it is the production of a thing from nothing, that is, from no presupposed subject and from no real potency; it presupposes only a real possibility, which is entirely different from real potency, because a real possibility is merely the non-repugnance to being; real passive potency is the real capacity of receiving an act, for example, prime matter is real capacity for receiving the substantial forms of material things. Such real capacity, however, cannot exist without some form which is received and which limits and individuates the real capacity.
Objection. We read, "For of Him, and by Him, and in Him, are all things." Therefore God created the world not from nothing but from Himself.
Reply. The "of Him" signifies not from God as from a material cause but by God's power.
Second Article: Whether God Can Create Anything
State of the question. We now explain the idea of creation with respect to the efficient cause.
First objection. It appears that God cannot create anything because, as the ancient Greek philosophers said, nothing is made of nothing, and God cannot do the impossible. The axiom, nothing is made of nothing, was formulated by Parmenides and from his time it was accepted by the Greek philosophers. This axiom can be understood as meaning that nothing is made without an efficient cause and then it is a formula of the principle of causality, namely, nothing is made except from some subject.
Second objection. Averroes objected that if creation is to make something out of nothing, to be created is to become something. But all becoming is a change presupposing a subject.
Third objection. Averroes insisted that what becomes is not yet made. In other words, whatever is made must first become, and all becoming presupposes a subject.
Fourth objection. An infinite distance cannot be crossed. But between nothing and being there is an infinite distance.
Reply. Nevertheless the reply is in the affirmative and of faith, as was said above. In the body of the article St. Thomas shows that it is not only possible but necessary that all things are created by God from nothing. He presents an explicative process of reasoning which resembles a reduction to absurdity:
If God acted only from some presupposed subject, it follows that that subject would not be caused by Him. But there can be nothing outside God that is not caused by Him. Therefore we must say that God produces things in being from nothing.
Creation on the part of God is explained by showing not only that God actually created heaven and earth but that heaven and earth could not exist except by creation from nothing.
Reply to first objection. How can this ancient axiom, nothing is made from nothing, be reconciled with creation. If we understand the axiom to mean that nothing is made from no cause, it remains true for creation, because there is a creative cause. If it is understood to mean that nothing is made from no subject, this is true of both substantial and accidental change but not of the production of the total being of any thing.
Reply to second objection. St. Thomas points out that creation is not a change, because every change presupposes a subject which is different now than it was before. This will be explained at greater length in the following article.
Reply to third objection. Where there is neither change or movement there is no priority of time of the becoming with respect to the actual making. But, as St. Thomas says, in those things that are made without movement, that is, in an instant, the becoming and the making are simultaneous. For example, the mental word is forming and it is instantly formed, something is being created and it is instantly created, a dead man rises and he is instantly resuscitated. The ancients thought that illumination took place in an instant and therefore St. Thomas said, a thing is lighted and it is instantly illuminated. We now know that the movement of light is not instantaneous but that it is extremely swift in comparison with the velocity of the transmission of sound.
Reply to fourth objection. Is there an impassible distance between nothing and the finite thing that is produced? There would be an infinite distance if nothing were a positive terminus and if there were an infinite middle between the terminus a quo and the terminus ad quem. But nothing is a negative terminus and the distance is negatively infinite and can be overcome by an infinite active potency, as will be explained later
Doubt. What is creation taken actively? It is a divine action, formally immanent and virtually transient, as will be explained in the third article, when we consider creation taken passively.
Such is the explanation of creation on the part of the efficient cause. We are still explaining the same notion and the same revealed truth, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth." We have not gone on to a new truth by any illative process but we are only explaining the word "created" by stages with respect to the terminus a quo, the agent, and the terminus ad quem.
Third Article: Whether Creation Is Anything In The Creature
State of the question. We are inquiring what is the formal cause of creation taken passively in the creature and here we will show what creation is, taken actively.
First difficulty. Creation taken passively does not appear to be anything, because creation taken actively is not anything, for if it were it would be something temporal in God.
Second difficulty. If creation taken passively were anything, it would be created, that is, a creature, and to produce it we would have to posit another creation and so on to infinity
Third difficulty. If creation taken passively were something, it would be an accident of a created substance. But this is impossible, because the created substance is prior to the accident and it cannot be prior to passive creation, of which it is the terminus.
The argument sed contra is rather an argument in the opposite sense than a proof. St. Thomas says that if generation taken passively is something in the one generated, then creation taken passively is something in the creature. The difficulty remains, however, for generation is a change and, as we have said, creation is not a change.
Reply. Creation in the creature is nothing more than a certain relation to the Creator, namely, a real relation of dependence.
This is proved in the body of the article and in the reply to the third difficulty. St. Thomas says that "the creature is the subject of creation inasmuch as it is a relation and prior to the relation in being as the subject is prior to an accident." The proof in the body of the article can be reduced to the following. If we prescind from motion in action and passion, nothing remains but the relation of the effect to the agent. But creation, since it is out of no presupposed subject, is without motion or change. Therefore creation in the creature is nothing but a certain relation to the Creator
This syllogism may be said to be illative and not only explicative inasmuch as we are no longer treating of the definition of active creation and inasmuch as the major of the syllogism is from reason and not from revelation. The minor is clear from what we have said earlier. The conclusion, however, is not admitted by all theologians. The major is verified in the Incarnation and is explained in the reply to the second difficulty of the preceding article, where it is said: "Since action and passion agree in the one substance of motion (that is, in the one reality of the motion itself) and since they differ only with regard to different relationships, it is proper that, after we have subtracted the motion, nothing remains except different relationships in the Creator and the creature."
This is to say that "motion is the mobile act as mobile, for example, the motion of heating is the act of the wood, not inasmuch as it is wood but as it is heatable and not yet heated." The transitive action inasmuch as it is received terminatively in the patient is the motion proceeding from the agent, and the passion is the motion as it is in the patient. Action is the motion as from this one and passion is the motion as it is in this one with a relation of dependence on the agent. This is Aristotle's reasoning.
If, then, we subtract the motion from action and passion, nothing remains except the relation of dependence on the agent.
Objection. Durandus and Suarez, on the other hand, held that creation is an influence received in the creature, something as actual grace is a created influence received in the will so that the will can vitally elicit its act.
Reply. The difference is that when God gives actual grace the soul and the will pre-exist as the subject which God applies to action; such also is the action and passion by which the will is applied to elicit its act. Hence actual grace is received as an accident in the soul and it preceded the salutary act by a priority of causality. On the other hand, in creation no subject pre-exists, and therefore no influence is received in the creature to produce it. Such an influence ought to precede the created substance and still be received in it as an accident. This is impossible.
St. Thomas' solution, which is accepted by all Thomists and many other theologians, is confirmed by the solution of the objections.
Reply to first objection. St. Thomas explains that creation taken actively is an action formally immanent in God and virtually transient. It is called formally immanent inasmuch as it is identified with the divine substance, since it is not an accident and it certainly is not a temporal accident in God, who is subsisting being itself, the ultimate actuality, to which no addition can be made. Nothing is made from the divine entity; Parmenides understood this somewhat vaguely, when he said that being is not made of being, confusing universal being with divine being.
The creative action is said to be virtually transient inasmuch as it posits an effect ad extra, and thus this action has the perfection of a formally transient action without its imperfections. The imperfection of a transient action arises from the fact that it is an accident proceeding from the agent and received terminatively in the patient.
But it still remains a mystery how this action, which is eternal, has an effect only in time. St. Thomas explains this to some extent in the Contra Gentes, as follows: "God acts voluntarily in the production of things but not in such a way that He has a mediating action, as in our case the action of the motive power is the middle between the act of the will and the effect, as has been shown in the precedingbut (with God) it is fitting that His intellection and willing be His acting An effect, however, follows from the intellect and the will according to the determination of the intellect and the command of the will. Now, when the making of a thing is determined by the intellect, the intellect prescribes all the conditions and also the time of the making; in art not only is it determined that a thing shall be thus but also that it shall be then, just as the doctor prescribes not only that this medicine be taken but also that it be taken then. If God's will is per se able to produce an effect, a new effect could follow from the former (and continuing? will of God without any new action (of the will). Nothing prohibits us from saying that God's action is from eternity and that the effect is not from eternity but at that time when God from eternity arranged and freely disposed it to be. Hence there is a newness of effect without a newness of action. Aristotle did not understand this because he did not consider the divine liberty.
According to revelation,. God said, "Be light made. And light was made." He said from eternity, "Be light made," and the light was made at the time determined from eternity so that there was a new effect but no new action. We should add that God is the most free cause of the creature, of its movement, and of its time, because time is the measure of the movement with regard to earlier and later, for example, time is the measure of the apparent movement of the sun according to the succession of days.
In the reply to the first objection, St. Thomas says that there is no real relation of God to the creature, whereas there is a real relation of the creature to God. Why? As was explained earlier, all creatures are ordered to God and depend on Him, but God is in no way ordered to creatures nor does He depend on them. Thus the senses are ordered to a sensible thing, but sensible things are not ordered to the senses; so also our science is ordered to knowable things, but the things are not ordered to science, and therefore the things do not acquire anything by the fact that they are seen or known, whereas the cognitive faculty is perfected by things when they are known.
Objection. But the father does not depend on the son, and yet there is a real relation of the father to the son.
Reply. This is so because active generation is a formally transient action which is ordered to the passive generation of the son. On the other hand, active creation is not a formally transient action ordered to created being. God is in no way ordered to creatures, but creatures are ordered to God.
Reply to second objection. Creation taken passively is a real relation in creatures, but this relation does not require a special passive creation to exist, because "the relations, since the very thing that they are is predicated to another, are referred by some other relations," that is, there is not a relation of the relation itself.
Reply to third objection. "In creation, inasmuch as a change is signified (although there is no change in creation), the creature is the terminus; but inasmuch as it is a relation, the creature is the subject of creation and prior to the relation in being, as the subject is prior to the accident. But creation has a certain aspect of priority on the part of the object of which it is predicated, which is the principle of the creature." Hence this relation according to its <esse in> follows the substance, and according to its <esse ad> in some sense precedes it.
First doubt. This doubt concerns the last reply. Is creation, taken passively, a predicamental relation and an accident or is it a transcendental relation, that is, the created substance itself as related to God the Creator, just as a science is essentially and transcendentally referred to the knowable?
Scotus held that it is a transcendental relation, because it could not be conceived as an accident, for, while a created substance can be conceived without an accident, it cannot be conceived without the dependence on the Creator. Thomists, like Cajetan and John of St. Thomas, commonly hold that passive creation is a predicamental relation and an accident and inseparable from the creature, namely, a predicamented accident (like the intellective faculty in the rational soul), and not a predicable accident (like the color of the hair), that is, it is a property of an existing creature.
The Thomists hold this opinion for the following reasons. 1. St. Thomas in this article says that "creation is truly a relation, the creature is the subject of the relation and prior to the relation in being as the subject is prior to the accident." 2. Moreover, a contingent being is defined, not as a being caused by God, but as a being that can be or not be. St. Thomas says: "Although the relationship to the cause does not enter into the definition of the being that is caused (man, for instance), yet this relationship follows those things that are of the nature of the being. . . . Such a being cannot be unless it is caused, just as there cannot be a man unless he possesses the quality of risibility." Therefore passive creation is a property and not the essence of the existing creature. A science, however, is related by its essence to what is knowable by a real transcendental relation; so also is matter to the form, the form to the matter, and essence to being.
Second doubt. But what is the foundation for this predicamental relation? John of St. Thomas replies: "it is the creature's existence as participated, just as the movement in a mobile being is the foundation of the mobile being to the mover. This existence, however, as produced by God, depends essentially on God the Creator.
Fourth Article: Whether To Be Created Is Proper To Composite And Subsisting Beings
State of the question. It appears that what is properly created is prime matter, which is presupposed by generation, for the composite subsistences, like plants and animals, are generated now and are not created.
Moreover it appears that sanctifying grace is created in the baptized child, just as the spiritual soul is created in the body. Indeed, St. Thomas says, "When grace is destroyed it returns at once to nothing." And what ceases by annihilation begins by creation. Therefore it appears that grace is created, although it is an accident.
Reply. The things that are properly created are subsisting beings, not accidents, or prime matter, or the forms of sensible things.
1. Proof from Sacred Scripture. "In the beginning God created heaven and earth," that is, subsisting beings. We are still explaining the same text, the same truth, not a new truth.
2. Proof from reason. Being properly belongs to subsistences whether they are simple or composite. But becoming and creation belong to those things to which being belongs. Therefore becoming and creation properly belong to subsistences, whether they are simple or composite.
Explanation of the major. A subsisting being is that which is, or that which has being; forms and accidents are not that which is but that by which something is such, for example, that by which something is the earth or that by which something is hot.
Explanation of the minor. Becoming is ordered to the being of a thing, and what becomes is that which will be, for example, this cow, not the form of the cow. To be created is in a sense a becoming, or being produced, although properly it is not a becoming, which presupposes a subject.
Corollary. We should say that forms and accidents are concreated rather than created, just as they are rather coexistences than beings.
Reply to third objection. Prime matter cannot be produced except by creation, but it is not created without a form, for creation is the production of the whole being and not of matter alone. Hence matter is concreated.
Indeed, according to St. Thomas, prime matter cannot exist without a form because prime matter is not that which is but that by which something is material. That which exists is the composite of matter and form, and here we see the real distinction between essence and existence, for the essence of a sensible thing is composed of matter and form, while its being or existence is not a composite.
Scotus and Suarez, on the contrary, held that prime matter could exist without the form, because they conceived prime matter not as pure potency but as the most imperfect kind of act. This is a distortion of the idea of potency. Potency is not even the most imperfect kind of act; for example, before the movement there is a real potency to movement, and not until the movement begins is there even an imperfect act, which presupposes potency. Potency is merely the real capacity for producing or receiving inasmuch as the potency is active or passive. Moreover, what would this matter without the form be? It would not be something spiritual because it is matter nor would it be corporeal because the corporeity is a determination depending on the form.
First doubt. Is the human soul properly created? The human soul is created in the proper sense because it is a subsisting form, that is, intrinsically independent of the copy in its specific act of intellection and therefore also in its being and becoming.
Second doubt. Whether grace is created in the soul?
Reply. Grace is not created in the soul because it is an accident by which a person is pleasing to God; to be created is a property of a subsisting being. The infusion of grace presupposes a subject upon which grace, as an accident, depends in its becoming and later in its being. Hence St. Thomas says that grace and the infused virtues are educed from the obediential potency of the soul.
The difference between St. Thomas and Suarez on creation. The truth of creation is demonstrated by St. Thomas from the fact that no being existing outside of God is its own being, or from the fact that everything outside of God is really distinct from its being. "God is being subsisting in itself, and subsisting being can only be one. It follows, then, that all other beings besides God are not their own being but participate in being," and are caused according to their whole being by God. Here we see the connection between the doctrine of creation and the real distinction between created essence and being.
Those who deny this real distinction are forced to find another way to prove the truth of creation, namely, by induction, as Suarez did, by showing the contingency of things. But if this contingency is shown from experience from their generation and corruption, it will be quite difficult to show by induction that the angels were created and do not exist of themselves from eternity. How can this be proved conclusively if we deny in the angels the real distinction between essence and being and if therefore the angels' essence is their being?
When we deny the real distinction between created essence and being, and between a created person and being, we deny what St. Thomas laid down as the basis for the infinity of God and for the distinction between God and creatures. If we say, "The being in creatures is the essence and substance itself," how shall we reply to Spinoza when he says, "Existence pertains to the nature of the substance," since then there can be but one substance as there is only one subsisting being, as Parmenides taught?
Fifth Article: Whether Only God Can Create
State of the question. Why cannot the highest angel create a grain of sand? Avicenna said that God created the first separated substance, and this substance created the soul of the world. In the difficulties presented at the beginning of the article, St. Thomas says: 1. It seems that one angel can produce another just as man produces a man. But the angel cannot be produced except by creation. 2. A creature can make something from its contrary, for example, hot from cold. A fortiori therefore the creature can make something out of nothing because there is more resistance from the contrary than from nothing. 3. Since created being is finite, no infinite power is required for its production. Peter Lombard affirmed that a creature can create instrumentally.
Reply. Creation belongs to God alone to such an extent that no creature can create, whether by its own power or instrumentally.
Proof from authority. It is a dogma of faith that <de facto> God alone created the universe. We read in the Scriptures, "He that created all things is God." The same teaching is found in the Apostles' Creed and in the Council of the Lateran under Innocent IV.
The Fathers wrote in the same sense. Here St. Augustine is quoted as saying, "Neither the good angels or the bad angels can be the creators of any thing."
Proof from reason. First we prove the first part of the conclusion: no creature can create by its own power.
Being taken absolutely, not as this specific being, is an effect proper to God. But to create is to produce being absolutely, not as this specific being. Therefore to create is an act proper to God, that is, no creature can create by its own power.
Proof of the major. The more universal effects are to be reduced to the more universal and primary causes as belonging to them. But absolute being is the most universal effect. Therefore absolute being is the proper effect of the most universal cause, which is God.
St. Thomas confirms this teaching by the authority of Proclus, the author of the book De causis. He offers a benign explanation of Proclus' text. Proclus, himself a Neoplatonist, seems to be talking about the second <<hypostasis>> which Plotinus posited beneath the One Good, namely, the intelligence in which duality of subject and object appears (the intelligence and the intelligible thing), as if the One were above being and intelligibility and intelligence.
What is the sense of the second major? Cajetan said the sense is that the more universal effects (in predication) are to be reduced to the more universal causes (according to perfection in being and causing), that is, these effects depend on such causes <per se>, necessarily and immediately. This principle is mentioned by Aristotle, at least in the order to the universal cause. For example, Polycletus is the proper cause of this statue, and the sculptor is the proper cause of the statue as such a statue. Aristotle also applies this principle to the most universal extrinsic causes and says that pure act attracts all things to itself. St. Thomas applies this principle explicitly to the first most universal efficient cause. Hence he was able to state against Averroes that the dogma of creation is not contrary to the mind of Aristotle, that is, not contrary to his principles, and that it is virtually contained in them. Therefore being as being, or a being inasmuch as it is a being, is the proper effect of God, as passive illumination is the proper effect of light and heat is the proper effect of fire. God produces being as light produces illumination, as fire produces heat, except that God does this most freely.
Scotus admitted the conclusion of the article but he attacked the method of the proof. His objection is as follows: God's proper effect is from Him alone. But the being of a cow that is generated is not from God alone but also from the generating cow. Therefore the being of the cow that is generated, as being, is not the proper effect of God.
Reply. With Cajetan I distinguish the major: God's proper effect is from Him alone as from the proper cause, from which the effect depends primarily and <per se>, I concede; as from a unique cause, that is, the only cause, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor: the being of the cow generated is not from God alone as the unique cause, I concede; as from a proper cause, I deny.
Scotus' insistence is as follows: What is in imperfect effects can be from an imperfect cause. But the most universal effect (being) is in imperfect effects. Therefore this most universal effect can come from an imperfect cause.
Reply. (According to Cajetan.) I distinguish the major: from an imperfect cause <per accidens> which produces by reason of another, I concede; from a proper cause from which the effect depends primarily and <per se>, or necessarily or immediately, I deny. I concede the minor and distinguish the conclusion: this effect is from an imperfect cause as from a cause <per accidens>, I concede; as from the proper cause, I deny.
Manifestly this cow generating this cow is the proper cause of this particular cow, not as the proper cause of the bovinity, or of the cow as cow, nor is it the proper cause of this cow as being. If bovinity and entity depended necessarily and immediately on this cow, it would be its own cause and the reason for its own being. The owner of this cow would then be the possessor of the whole bovine race on earth. Hence St. Thomas says: "It is manifest that where there are two of the same species, one cannot per se be the cause of the form of the other inasmuch as it is such a specific form (for example, the bovine form), because then it would be the cause of its own form since both have the same nature. But one individual can be the cause of this form as it is in matter, that is, inasmuch as matter acquires this form. This is being a cause according to becoming and not the proper cause of the very being of the thing that is produced."
Scotus' final objection. If God is the proper cause of being as such, creation is mixed in every operation of nature. But St. Thomas says the opposite. Therefore God is not the proper cause of being as such.
Reply. (According to Cajetan.) I distinguish the major: if God is the proper cause of being by an action at all times totally new, I concede; otherwise, I deny. I concede the minor, and distinguish the conclusion: by an action at all times totally new, I deny; otherwise, I concede.
Explanation. When in the beginning God created heaven and earth the action was totally new; now when a cow is generated, the being as being depends primarily per se on God but not by an action that is totally new, for this generation of a cow presupposes the matter preserved by God and not produced anew.
(diagram page 385)
The proper cause of the generating cow
as being is essential being
as cow is the divine idea of cow, or bovinity
as this cow is another generating cow
Thus the cow when it generates a cow actually and necessarily depends on universal causes, on the sun, without which there would be no animal life on earth, and on God the author of nature, the first being and the first living being. And there cannot be an infinite process through causes that are <per se> subordinate. On the other hand there is no repugnance in an infinite process through causes that are <per accidens> subordinate. For example, this cow generating here and now, in this generative act does not depend <per se> on its sire, who is perhaps dead, or on its grandsire. This cow generates here and now not as the offspring of another but inasmuch as it has a bovine nature.
But by revelation we hold that creation is not from eternity and that the world had a beginning. Hence St. Thomas' argument is valid; it is a most simple argument based on the relation between a proper effect and a proper cause. This proper effect is a quasi-property <ad extra> of this proper cause because it depends necessarily and immediately on the cause as the property of the circle depends on the essence of the circle. Examples of proper causes are: the singer sings, the killer kills, the doctor cures, light illuminates, fire heats, God produces and preserves the being of things and is the efficient cause of their being and He alone creates.
St. Thomas' first argument is confirmed by the solution of the objections against the first conclusion of the article.
First reply. Why cannot an angel make a being like himself and create another angel? Because the angel, who is a pure spirit, cannot be produced except by creation, and if an angel created another angel, he would be the proper cause of the whole being of the second angel, and he would also be his own cause, since both have the same nature of being. Thus if a cow were the cause <per se> of the whole bovine race, namely, the divine idea of cow, it would be its own cause.
Second reply. The second objection, which is a difficult sophism, may be presented in the following form. More power is required to make something from an opposite than from nothing. But a created cause makes something from an opposite. Therefore a created cause can make something from nothing.
Reply. I distinguish the major: if the thing is made from an opposite <per se>, I concede; if it is made <per accidens> from an opposite, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor: <per accidens>, I concede; <per se>, I deny. The reason is that a thing is made <per se> not from an opposite but from a passive potency; and the opposite offers resistance inasmuch as it impedes the actuation of the potency or binds the potency. But it is more difficult to make something from no potency at all than from a bound potency.
Third reply. The third objection is that the power of the maker is judged according to the measure of what is made. But created being is finite and it can be very small, as a grain of sand. Therefore for its production the infinite power of God is not necessary.
Durandus and the nominalists seem to think that this argument cannot be answered apodictically, and that the archangel Michael could create, if not the universe, at least a grain of sand.
St. Thomas replies apodictically: I distinguish the major: the power of the maker is judged according to the measure of what is made and by that alone, I deny; and also by the method of the making, I concede. I concede the minor and distinguish the conclusion: if we consider only what is made, I concede; if we consider the method of the making out of nothing, I deny.
At the end of this third reply, St. Thomas adds a confirmation of the first argument of the article: "If so much more power is required in an agent when the potency is far removed from the act, it is fitting that the power of the agent who acts with no presupposed potency, as does a creative agent, should be infinite." For example, the more arid the earth is the more the farmer must cultivate, etc.; but if the earth is not only arid but non-existing, the farmer will need an active infinite power to produce. When pupils are less intelligent and less industrious, more effort is required in the teachers, as is evident in the education of abnormal, deaf, dumb, or blind children. Great Christian charity is needed in these cases; but if the subject were nonexistent infinite active power would be needed.
These observations show vividly that the argument in the body of the article is apodictical, in spite of what Durandus says. To understand this it is sufficient to recall how the effect of creation, namely, the entire being of a thing, even of a grain of sand, differs from the effect of any other production, of generation for example.
To produce the smallest grain of sand from nothing requires the same infinite power as far as the method of operation is concerned as to produce the universe and all the angels. If the highest angel could create a grain of sand from nothing, he would be able to produce the most universal effect, namely, being as being, and he would therefore be able to produce all contingent beings inasmuch as they are beings, and thus he would be his own cause, which is repugnant.
Second part of the article: a creature cannot create even instrumentally.
St. Thomas recalls that Avicenna and Peter Lombard thought this to be possible. Avicenna explained that the first separated substance created by God creates another substance either instrumentally or by its own power (the text is not clear on this point). This second created substance is lower than the first. This substance itself creates a still lower substance somewhat in the manner of Plotinus' emanatism. Peter Lombard spoke rather of the possibility of creation through an instrument than of the fact. Durandus and a few others followed Peter Lombard.
St. Thomas' conclusion is admitted at least as probable by almost all later theologians, even by Scotus, although all do not adopt the same method of proof. In his commentary on the <Sentences>, St. Thomas held that Lombard's opinion was probable, but now he rejects it.
It should be noted that the fact of creation by an instrument with regard to the first production of things cannot be admitted without danger to the faith, for the Fourth Lateran Council declared: "God by His omnipotent power at the beginning of time established from nothing both the spiritual and the mundane creature."
The Fathers defended the dogma, "God alone is the creator of all things," against the Arians, who taught that God the Father directly created the Son and that the Son ministerially created other things. St. Augustine refuted certain Platonists, who said that God created separate intelligences, which created the inferior beings. Estius held that it was not of faith that God now creates souls without an instrument.
Among theologians there is no dispute about the fact but only about the possibility of creation by an instrument, and almost all theologians, with St. Thomas, deny the possibility.
St. Thomas' argument can be reduced to the following. An instrumental cause does not participate in the action of the principal agent unless it operates dispositively toward that effect by something proper to itself. But no creature can operate dispositively toward the effect of the Creator because there is no subject to be disposed. Therefore no creature can create instrumentally.
St. Thomas proves the major in two ways: by a reduction to absurdity and by induction.
By a reduction to absurdity as follows: If the instrument did nothing that was proper to it, it would be futile to use the instrument, nor would there be any reason to have particular instruments for particular actions. I would then be able to write with a lute.
Inductively it is clear that instruments have a proper effect, for example, a saw cuts wood, and by cutting the saw disposes toward the effect of the workman, that is, to make a bench. And this proper effect of the instrument has a certain priority with regard to the effect of the principal agent toward which it disposes; it is at least a priority of dispositive causality.
The minor is proved as follows: Creation is from no presupposed subject. Hence there is no subject to be disposed. Moreover, the effect of God creating is the whole being of a thing, which presupposes no other effect.
We note that St. Thomas says, "the instrument must operate dispositively toward the effect of the principal agent." He does not say that the instrument must effect the disposition for the effect. Man has certain instruments which effect the disposition, for instance, a pen which leaves the ink on the paper. Other instruments, however, operate only dispositively, as the trumpet in the transmission of sound by preventing the dispersion of the sound but not by producing any special disposition in the ears of the listeners.
Nevertheless in the instrument the instrumental movement is always an accident and the instrumental action is formally transitive, proceeding from the instrument as from a subordinate agent and existing terminatively in a pre-existing subject. In creation, however, there is no pre-existing subject to be disposed. Hence creation can proceed from God alone, whose action <ad extra> is not an accident but is formally immanent and only virtually transitive inasmuch as it produces an effect <ad extra> without any of the imperfections of a formally transitive action.
Let us consider Suarez' objections to this argument. Suarez says that St. Thomas' major is true of the instruments which created agents use, since created agents need apt instruments, for example, a man cannot write with a lute or make music with a pen. But God does not need an apt instrument; He can produce the baptismal grace not with water but with fire. It is sufficient that the instrument God uses have obediential potency. Therefore St. Thomas' major is not certainly verified in God the Creator.
To this objection the Thomists generally reply as follows: When God makes use of instruments, for example, to produce baptismal grace, it is not because He needs the instrument. But if <de facto> God uses a physical instrument, St. Thomas' major is verified, that is, the instrument, to be a true instrument, operates dispositively toward the effect of the principal agent. Otherwise the true notion of an instrument would not be verified and what is called an instrument would be only a means of transmission, as the air is a means for transmitting sound, and not an instrument, as the trumpet which transmits sound.
More briefly we can reply to Suarez' argument as follows: It is conceded that St. Thomas' major is true of the instruments which a created agent needs inasmuch as they are instruments; it is denied that the major is true only inasmuch as the created agent needs the instruments. The minor is conceded. With regard to the conclusion, it is conceded that no creature can create instrumentally if the major is true by reason of the need of the principal agent; it is denied if the major is true by reason of the instrument itself.
Suarez insists. The difficulty remains because St. Thomas' argument is not proved by the nature of the instrument itself. For the nature of the instrument it is not necessary that it effect the disposition in the subject; it is sufficient if it operate dispositively, as a trumpet, strengthening the voice, does not produce a previous disposition in the ears of the hearers, or as the water of baptism in the soul of the one to be baptized. But an instrument can operate dispositively without a preexisting subject.
Reply. I distinguish the major: it is sufficient for the nature of the instrument that it operate dispositively by an immanent action, I deny; by a transitive action, I concede. I contradistinguish the minor: the instrument can operate dispositively without a subject in an immanent action, let it pass; by a formally transitive action, I deny, because this action is an accident that proceeds from the instrumental agent and it ought to be terminatively in the patient. This is required for the nature of a physical instrument in which the instrumental motion is received as traveling accident, and therefore the instrument cannot operate except in a pre-existing subject.
I insist. But the immanent acts of Christ are physical instruments for producing grace and they produce grace by an action only virtually transitive.
Reply. These acts are indeed immanent but the instrumental motion in them is an accident which must be terminatively in the patient, for example, in the just man in whom the grace is produced.
It is clear that the supernatural instrumental motion educed from the obediential potency of that thing which is an instrument is a kind of <accidens viale>, a transient thing, like the light in the air that is illuminated in passing. But this motion, if it is an accident, is not only from the agent but must be terminatively in the patient or in the preexisting subject to be disposed. In other words, this instrumental motion precedes the effect of the principal agent, as becoming precedes the actual making, and therefore the instrumental motion requires a pre-existing subject. Therefore there can be a physical instrument of God to produce transubstantiation inasmuch as the body of Christ comes from bread, but there cannot be a physical instrument in creation.
In another article, the idea of creation is illustrated by comparison with natural transmutation and transubstantiation. An instrument can be present in the production of grace from the obediential potency of the soul since grace as an accident depends on the soul as its subject. Considering the method of operation out of nothing, creation is a greater work than justification, but considering the effect produced, justification is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth.
Last insistence. Why cannot there be an instrument in the creation of the soul since matter pre-exists as a subject?
The Thomists reply that matter does exist, but they deny that it exists as the subject ex quo. In the daily creation of souls there is no real terminus <a quo> and therefore no subject, for the spiritual soul is not educed from the potency of matter. The terminus <a quo> is nothing, and the human soul is produced from no presupposed subject. On the other hand, in transubstantiation there is a certain real terminus <a quo> inasmuch as it is true to say that the body of Christ is produced from bread, that is, by the conversion of the entire substance of bread (namely, the matter and form of bread) into the body of Christ. It is evident, therefore, that there can be no instrument in creation. Therefore only God can create, and the creature cannot create even instrumentally.
Sixth Article: Whether Creation Is Proper To Any Per Son Whatever
State of the question. It seems that creation is proper to one person. 1. The procession of the creature from God <ad extra> presupposes the procession of the divine persons ad intra, and that which is prior and more perfect is the cause of that which is later and less perfect. 2. In the creeds the creation of all visible and invisible things is attributed to the Father, and of the Son it is said only that all things were made through Him, and the Holy Ghost is called the vivifier. 3. In these different statements it does not seem correct to say that they are only appropriations and to say that creation is appropriated to the Father, because every divine effect is caused by the three attributes which are appropriated to the divine persons, namely, by the power which is appropriated to the Father, by the wisdom which is appropriated to the Son, and by the essential love which is appropriated to the Holy Ghost, who is personal love.
Reply. The reply is in the negative and of faith.
Proof from authority. St. Thomas cites the authority of Dionysius, who said: "All the causal things are common to the entire Trinity." These words of Pseudo-Dionysius witness the tradition of the time when he wrote.
In Sacred Scripture the work of the creation is attributed equally to one or the other of the persons: "All things were made by Him (the Word)"; "The same God, who worketh all in all. . . . But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh"; "For in Him (the Word) were all things created in heaven and on earth."
In the definitions of the Church the work of creation is equally attributed to the three persons; for example, in the Creed: "I believe in one God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in one Lord Jesus Christ. . . by whom all things were made." And the Church chants, "Come, Holy Ghost, Creator."
Finally there are many definitions and declarations of the Church, particularly the declaration of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) against the Albigenses and the Waldensians: "We firmly believe that one alone is the true God. . . the Father generating, the Son begotten, the Holy Ghost proceeding: consubstantial, coequal, co-omnipotent, and coeternal, one principle of all things, the creator of all visible and invisible things." Earlier the First Council of the Lateran (649) declared: "If anyone does not confess that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are a Trinity in unity. . . the creator and protector of all things, let him be condemned." The Eleventh Council of Toledo: "These three persons are inseparable in their action and in what they make," even in the work of the Incarnation. In the decree of Pope Eugenius IV for the Jacobites we read: In the Trinity "all things are one where there is no opposition of relation"; "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are not three principles of the creature but one principle."
The opinion of Lulle that the three persons can be known certainly and clearly by natural reason because in created effects something is found that is produced by the Father alone, something produced by the Son alone, and something produced by the Holy Ghost alone, must be judged heretical. St. Thomas proved against many earlier theologians (Abelard, Richard of St. Victor) that the mystery of the Trinity cannot be demonstrated from creatures because the creative power is common to the entire Trinity and pertains to the unity of the essence and not to the Trinity of persons.
<Proof from reason.> Since every agent acts in a manner similar to itself, the principle of an action can be known from the effect. But to create is to produce the being of things as being. Therefore creation belongs to God according to His being, which is His essence and is common to the three persons.
Explanation of the major. Is this principle, "every agent acts in a manner similar to itself," only an experimental law, as when, for instance, light illuminates, the cow generates a cow, etc., or is it a necessary principle, evident in itself from an analysis of the involved notions? We reply that it is a necessary and evident principle, since to act is to determine or actuate something, and an agent cannot determine except according to its own determination or form. Hence we say that an agent acts inasmuch as it is in act. But the subject on which the agent acts is sometimes able to receive a form similar in species to the agent, for example, when the cow generates a cow; but sometimes the subject can receive only an imperfect and analogical likeness of the agent, and thus creatures agree only analogically with God, either in being, or living, or intellection. St. Thomas says:" Since every agent acts in a manner similar to itself, for it acts always according to its form, it is necessary that there be a likeness of the form of the agent in the effect," or at least an analogical likeness inasmuch as the effect may or may not attain to the perfect likeness of the agent. For example, when St. Thomas was teaching he did not communicate the fullness of his wisdom to all his disciples, but they received his wisdom according to their capacities.
This principle is not merely an experimental law but a principle of natural philosophy; at first we recognize it in the sensible order and later we apply it metaphysically to all agents, and finally to the supreme agent in a fitting analogy. By virtue of this law, then, the principle of an action is known in its effect. But to create is to produce the being of things as such. Creation therefore belongs to God according to His being, which is His essence and is common to the three persons. That is, God produces the being of things inasmuch as He is subsisting being <per se>; but He produces created being most freely and not by any necessity of nature.
Corollary. Creation is predicated of God not personally but essentially.
Doubt. In the Our Father we say, "Our Father,. . . Thy kingdom come." Are these words addressed to God personally or essentially? According to St. Thomas they are used essentially, because the three persons operate <ad extra> as one principle, for example, in the justification of man, who thereby becomes a son of God by participation in the divine nature, which is common to the three persons. Thus when we say, "Thy kingdom come," we are speaking not only of the kingdom of the Father, but also of the kingdom of the Son and the Holy Ghost. The same is true when we say, "Thy will be done."
Doubt. When Jesus addresses the Father, as, for example, "I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth," is He speaking essentially or personally? He is speaking primarily personally because it is the person of the Son speaking to the Father ad intra, as when the Father said, "Thou art My son, this day have I begotten Thee." But the address "Father" may be used essentially by Christ when He speaks according to His human nature.
The body of the article contains a second conclusion which pertains to appropriation. It may be stated as follows: The processions of the divine persons so far as they include essential attributes appropriated to the persons are reasons for the production of creatures, or more briefly: each person is said by appropriation to have a special causality with regard to creatures.
The proof is as follows: God operates through intelligence and will. But the Son proceeds as the Word in an intellectual manner, and the Holy Ghost proceeds after the manner of love. Therefore we may say that God creates through His Son and through the Holy Ghost.
In the reply to the second objection, St. Thomas says: "Being the Creator is attributed to the Father as not having the creative power from another. Of the Son we say, 'by whom all things were made, ' inasmuch as He has power from another (or as the principle from a principle). But to the Holy Ghost, who has the same power from the first two persons, is attributed the position of governing and vivifying the creatures of the Father and the Son by dwelling in them." At the end of this reply St. Thomas recalls the theory of appropriation: to the Father is appropriated power, to the Son wisdom, and to the Holy Ghost goodness. In the reply to the third objection, he says, "Thus creation is reduced to power, ordering is reduced to wisdom, and justification to goodness."
Appropriation is generally defined as the attribution of some essential property to one person for that person's manifestation. Hence a property is not an appropriation. A property is attributed to one person and cannot be attributed to another; an appropriation, however, is common to the entire Trinity, but for the sake of the greater manifestation of that person it is attributed to one person because of some similarity. For instance, those things that pertain to the intellect are appropriated to the Son, because the Son proceeds by intellection.
Thus the Latin Fathers, proceeding in their speculations about the Trinity from the unity of nature to the Trinity of persons and attaining to this Trinity only with difficulty, tried to throw as much light as possible on the three persons. The Greek Fathers, on the other hand, proceeded from the three persons to the unity of nature and thus found no difficulty in distinguishing the persons and had little need for the theory of appropriation, found among most of the Latin Fathers. But the Greek Fathers had difficulty in explaining the unity of nature, and these difficulties were solved later by St. Augustine and St. Thomas. At the beginning of the treatise on the Holy Trinity we explained why the concept of the Latin Fathers prevailed, because it solved the difficulties that remained in the Greek concept.
Seventh Article: Whether It Is Necessary To Find A Vestige Of The Trinity In Creatures
A vestige or trace differs from an image inasmuch as it represents in some way the causality of the cause and not its form, as for example, smoke represents fire. Thus there is in creatures a vestige of the Trinity on the supposition that the Trinity has been revealed, since everything is a substance in a particular species and ordered to a good end.
Eighth Article: Whether Creation Is Mingled In The Works Of Nature And Art
We are dealing not with the creation of the human soul but with the generation of brute animals and plants. St. Thomas replied that the answer depends on the manner of conceiving the pre-existence of forms in matter.
If we say that forms pre-exist actually in matter, as the atomists and Anaxagoras (theory of the involution of forms), there is no substantial becoming or substantial change. This opinion reveals an ignorance of the nature of matter because those who hold it were not able to distinguish between potency and act.
If we say that forms in no way pre-exist in matter but are caused by some superior agent, then they are created. This seems to have been the opinion of Avicenna, and it is based on an ignorance of the nature of form, as though the form were that which is and not that by which a thing is.
But if forms really pre-exist in the potency of matter, they are not created but educed, and that which becomes is not the form but the composite. The form, as we know, is that by which something is such a being or in such a species.
Hence St. Thomas concludes: Creation is not mingled in the works of nature and art; it is found nowhere except in the production of the spiritual soul, which, as spiritual, is not in the potency of matter and cannot be educed from matter. The soul is intrinsically independent of any organism in its specific act, and therefore it is also independent of the organism in its being and its becoming because operation follows being.
By way of an appendix some commentators explain:
1. that many worlds are possible, because the creation of one world does not exhaust the infinite power of God;
2. that actually there is but one world, one by unity of coordination and subordination;
3. that the world is perfect, not the best of all possible worlds, but perfect in the sense that whatever imperfections are in the world exist for the perfection of the universe, as the shadows in a painting serve to accentuate the colors. Moreover, things that are harmful in one way are useful in another, as, for example, certain poisons like arsenic, which in moderation serve as medicine.
CHAPTER XX: QUESTION 46 THE DURATION OF CREATED BEINGS
AFTER our consideration of the first cause of being and their production from nothing, we turn to the principle of the duration of things, which is treated in three articles: 1. whether creatures were always; 2. whether it is an article of faith, or a demonstrable conclusion that they began to be; 3. how God is said to have created heaven and earth in the beginning.
First Article: Whether The World Of Creatures Was Always
State of the question. In the <Contra Gentes> and the Opus de aeternitate mundi, St. Thomas wrote at length on this question. To show the difficulties connected with this question, he presents the arguments of Aristotle and Averroes for the eternity of the world.
The principal objection is: Everything that is made is made from prime matter, which cannot exist without a form. Therefore the world was from eternity. This difficulty is proposed in different ways in the first and third objections: in the first, real potency and the real possibility presupposed by creation are identified; in the third objection it is stated that matter as the first subject of generation is ungenerated and ungenerable and is therefore eternal.
In the second objection it is stated that there are in the world incorruptible beings, at least the intellectual substances if not the heavenly bodies. But an incorruptible being has the power to be always, it will always be in the future. Then, why not always in the past? It appears to be its nature to be above time. The other difficulties pertain more to the imagination.
The fourth objection points out that the vacuum was always, and vacuum appears to be something real, as Spinoza said, space is something real, existing from all eternity.
Fifthly it is objected that motion was always because anything that begins to move is moved by another who began to move and this mover began to move when it was moved, and so on. Hence the absolutely immovable cause cannot of itself alone produce the initial movement but only permanence, or the sempiternal duration of movement. Thus Aristotle thought that every man was generated and presupposes a generator and so into the past. He was not able to understand that there could be a new effect without a new action in any mover. In Aristotle's mind the first mover moves from eternity always in the same way, drawing all things to Himself, just as the sun always illuminates and heats; any variety in movement was explained by subordinate movers, especially by the successive generations of plants and animals.
Sixthly: if the first eternal mover moves by a necessity of nature, he moves from eternity; if he moves through his will, why does he begin to move at this particular moment rather than earlier or later? Such a choice seems to have no reason, no motive, and therefore the movement is from eternity.
Seventhly: time cannot have a beginning because its entire reality is the instant, the present fluent instant which is the terminus of the past and the beginning of the future.
Eighthly: if God is prior to the world according to duration, then time was before the world because time is that duration in which earlier and later are distinguished.
Ninthly: if you posit a fully sufficient cause, the effect will follow accordingly; but God, the cause of the world, is eternal and therefore His creative action is eternal. So also His effect is eternal because there is no new effect without a new action.
Reply. Nevertheless the reply is in the negative and it is of faith. It is of faith that the universe was not created from eternity. The Fourth Council of the Lateran declared: "By His omnipotent power in the beginning of time and at the same time God made from nothing both the spiritual and corporeal creature, namely, the angelic and mundane creature, and then He made the human creature, as it were, a composite creature composed of spirit and body." The same expressions are used by the Vatican Council. Many of Eckhard's propositions have been condemned in this matter, such as the following: "As soon as God was He created the world"; "It can be conceded that the world was from eternity"; "At one time and only once, when God was and when He generated His Son, coeternal and coequal in all things to God, He also created the world."
The foundation for this doctrine is found in Sacred Scripture: "In the beginning God created heaven and earth." These words are generally understood as referring to the beginning of time." "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything from the beginning. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived, neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out:. . . before the hills I was brought forth. He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the earth." "And now glorify Thou Me, O Father, with Thyself, with the glory which I had, before the world was, with Thee. . . . Thou hast loved Me before the creation of the world." "As He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world."
With regard to the declaration of the Fourth Lateran Council, some discussion exists whether the words "at the same time" signify simultaneity of time, which is commonly accepted, or only a simultaneity of ordering, as some Fathers thought who held that the angels were created before matter. St. Thomas replies that it is more probable that the angels were created at the same time as bodies.
In the body of the article St. Thomas does not prove from reason that the world began to be or that it ought of necessity to begin; he merely proves this negative proposition: it is not necessary that the world be always and therefore it is not impossible that the world began, as we are taught by revelation. The argument is apodictical.
The possibility of mysteries that are essentially supernatural cannot be proved apodictically, it is true, but we are here concerned with the non-repugnance of a contingent fact which does not pertain to the order of grace.
The proof may be reduced to the following. Since the will of God is the cause of things, it is not necessary that anything be unless it be necessary that God wills them. But it is not necessary that God will anything except Himself. Therefore it is not necessary that the world be always, but only at that moment which God determined from eternity.
The major and the minor were proved in the question on the free will of God. There it was shown that God wills other things besides Himself freely since His goodness can be without other things and since nothing of perfection accrues to Him from other things. It was also shown that God is the cause of things by His will and that He differs from man, who generates freely indeed but not by his will but by his generative faculty inasmuch as he possesses a certain nature, and therefore man can generate only a man because his generative power is determined to one result.
Hence if God acts with the greatest freedom <ad extra> and through His will by saying, "Let the world be," it follows that the world began at that moment which God had determined from eternity, or as revelation teaches, in the beginning of time.
Among the modern philosophers, Leibnitz admitted this teaching, but he sought for some morally necessary motive on account of which God willed the world to begin at this time rather than earlier. In this he was limiting the liberty of God.
For St. Thomas particularly the beginning of the world depends simply on the will of God. St. Thomas says: "Why this part of matter is under this form and that matter under another form depends on the simple will of God just as the fact that this stone is in this part of the wall and that stone in another part depends on the will of the workman, although it is of the nature of the art that some stones be here and others there." Hence the Vatican Council declared: "By His omnipotent will in the beginning of time and at the same time God made from nothing both the spiritual and corporeal creature," and "God created by a will free from all necessity," that is, without any metaphysical, physical, or moral necessity.
In the second part of the article St. Thomas tries to show that Aristotle did not intend to give demonstrative reasons for the eternity of the world, because in another place Aristotle says expressly, "There are certain dialectic problems for which we have no reasons, as whether the world is eternal," or rather sempiternal. In yet another place, however, it seems that Aristotle tried positively to prove the sempiternity of movement and of time and from this the infinite power of the first mover.
The conclusion of the article is confirmed by the solution of the difficulties, of which these are the more important.
Reply to first difficulty. Before the world was it was possible, but this real possibility is not real passive potency, like prime matter. It is only a non-repugnance to being.
Reply to second difficulty. When incorruptible beings exist they are always, but they receive their existence from God's free will.
Reply to third difficulty. It is true that prime matter is ungenerated and cannot be generated, like an incorruptible being, and thus it begins not by generation but by creation and can be annihilated.
Reply to fourth difficulty. Before creation there was no vacuum because the vacuum is a place for a body; even a vacant place supposes certain corporeal beings between which there are unoccupied places. Hence before creation there was only a real possibility of corporeal beings as there was a real possibility of spirits; but this real possibility is not some being outside of God, it is merely a non-repugnance to being. This non-repugnance to being, however, is distinguished from simple conceivability, for the being of the mind is conceived but it cannot be produced outside the mind; it is conceivable but not realizable.
Reply to fifth difficulty. Is it true that every movement presupposes another movement, that every man presupposes a man who generates, and that the first immovable cause cannot of itself produce incipient movement so that a new effect follows without a new action in God?
St. Thomas replies that the first mover is always the same (that is, he has no new actions), but the first thing moved begins to move not by movement but by creation. Thus the first man was created, not generated. St. Thomas explains: "If the first mover were an agent acting only through his nature and not by intellect and will, the effect would follow necessarily; but because the first mover acts through his will, he can by his eternal will produce a non-eternal effect just as with his eternal intellect he can understand a non-eternal being." "From the eternal free action of God there does not follow an eternal effect, but whatever effect God wills."
This eternal divine action, formally immanent and virtually transient and transitive, is at once most free and of itself and immediately efficacious; therefore it produces its effect when it wills, that is, at the time determined from eternity. This is somewhat similar to the physician who in the morning prescribes a dose of medicine to be taken in the evening; if the doctor were able to administer the medicine without any intermediate action, the will he had in the morning would be like God's will. The will of God created the world without any intermediary through His omnipotence, which is not really distinct from God, and thus the eternal and free action of God produces its effect in time so that there is a new effect in time without any new action in eternity. Eternity is to time as the stationary apex of a cone is to the circular base of the cone, which is described successively, and as the apex goes around and is above the base so eternity is above time.
Reply to sixth difficulty. "A particular agent presupposes time as it presupposes matter..., but the universal agent produces both the thing and the time
. And the world more clearly leads to the knowledge of the divine creating power if it is not always," for in this way it is manifest that a world that has a beginning needs a cause.
Reply to seventh difficulty. When the world began, the beginning of movement and the first present moment were not the terminus of time past, for the time began with the movement itself of which it is the measure, then, for example, the first circular movement of the sun began.
Reply to eighth difficulty. Before this first instant there was nothing but imaginary time just as above the sky there is nothing but imaginary place, that is, something that can be imagined, the mere non-repugnance to the localization of corporeal beings. The conclusion, therefore, stands that it is not necessary that the world be always.
Doubt. Is it congruous that the world began, in the sense that it would be incongruous that the world was created from eternity?
Reply. It is congruous that it might appear more clearly that God alone is eternal and that God most freely created the world. Nevertheless, as we shall see in the following article, creation from eternity does not seem to be positively incongruous; God is most free to have created eternally, and in those things which God does freely the thing which God actually did is, of course, congruous but the opposite would not be incongruous.
Second Article: Whether It Is An Article Of Faith That The World Began
State of the question. As we see from the first difficulty, the title asks whether it is an article of faith or a preamble of faith that the world had a beginning. A preamble of faith is a demonstrable conclusion, as for instance that God is the efficient cause of all being and thus the Creator; such a preamble of faith can be demonstrated. An article of faith differs from a preamble of faith, for, as St. Thomas says, "Where something is found not seen by a special reason, there we have a special article (of faith)." "Thus there are twelve articles of faith (or according to another listing, fourteen) and among these is the article on creation: 'I believe in one God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.'"
The question is, then, whether it is repugnant that God created the world from all eternity, in the sense that God would precede the existence of the world by a priority only of nature and causality and not by a priority of duration, just as if a foot were on the sand from all eternity it would precede the footprint not by duration but by causality.
This question should be proposed with a restriction: whether some creature, at least one that is permanent and immobile like an angel, could be created from eternity even though movement and time must have a beginning.
St. Albert, St. Bonaventure, and Petavius and many more recent writers hold that eternal creation is repugnant; St. Augustine, St. Thomas, Capreolus, Francis Sylvester (Ferrariensis), Cajetan, Suarez, and almost all Thomists and Scholastics hold that it is not repugnant.
The question is not of great importance, although it is important to show that the proofs for the existence of God, in particular St. Thomas' five proofs, are still valid even though the world was from all eternity.
Of the difficulties proposed at the beginning of the article the sixth and seventh are the most important: "If the world was always, an infinite number of days would have preceded this day. But the infinite cannot be crossed. Therefore this day would never have arrived." "If the world were eternal, man would be generated by another and so to infinity, and thus there would be an infinite succession of subordinate efficient causes, and therefore it would be impossible to demonstrate the existence of the first cause." Moreover, according to the eighth difficulty, there would now be an infinite multitude of the souls of the deceased.
Reply. The reply is that it is an article of faith and not a demonstrable conclusion that the world began.
1. Proof from authority. That God is the Creator, in the sense that "In the beginning God created heaven and earth" is an article of faith in the proper sense. But articles of faith are distinguished from the preambles of faith by the fact that they cannot be demonstrated. With regard to creation natural reason can prove that all things outside of God are from God, and from this it follows that God produced these things from nothing. It can also be proved that God created most freely and not from a necessity of nature.
But, according to St. Thomas, we know only by faith that God did not create the world from eternity. The idea of creation contains three truths: 1. God created the universe from nothing, 2. most freely, 3. and not from eternity. The third truth is not demonstrable.
Objection. But this is not a supernatural mystery and therefore it can be known by reason alone.
Reply. This is not a mystery because the matter is essentially supernatural, I concede; but it is a mystery because of the contingency of the matter, like a future contingent of the natural order. This is, however, a past contingent.
2. Proof from reason. The conclusion which we wish to prove is that it is impossible to demonstrate that the world began.
The beginning of the world cannot be proved except on the part of the world or on the part of God. But in neither way can it be demonstrated. Therefore it is entirely indemonstrable.
Proof of the first part of the minor: the beginning of the world cannot be proved on the part of the world.
The principle of demonstration is the definition of the thing. But the definition of any created thing abstracts from here and now. Therefore the beginning of the world is indemonstrable on the part of the world.
Objection. The definition of the thing is the principle of the <a priori> demonstration from the properties of the thing. But besides this there is a demonstration <a posteriori>. Hence perhaps the beginning of the world can be demonstrated <a posteriori>.
Reply. If the world could not be from eternity, its beginning would be a property and could therefore be demonstrated from the definition of the world or of the things in the world. In other words, the beginning of the world, like the end of the world, is a contingent fact not included in the definition of the world, and it cannot be known except by experience, that is, <a posteriori> and not as the existence of the cause is demonstrated by the effect.
I insist. If the universals are always and everywhere, it is necessary that individuals be not always and everywhere. But the world is composed of particulars and individuals. Therefore the world could not be always.
Reply. The universals are always and everywhere negatively inasmuch as they abstract from here and now. Thus individuals cannot be always negatively because they do not abstract from here and now but are positively here and now. But it does not follow that they cannot be always positively. If the movement of the heavens was from eternity it would always be true to say that the heavens are in motion.
I insist. The beginning of the world can at least be proved <a posteriori> by the law of the diminution of energy, according to which the energy of the world is qualitatively diminished, as, for instance, the heat produced by local motion cannot in turn produce an equal amount of local motion. Hence the world is tending to a state of immobility and frigidity.
Reply. God could renew the physical energy of the world as He daily renews the spiritual energy of the world by creating souls. Moreover, even if this demonstration were valid it would prove at most the beginning of motion and not the beginning of a permanent and immobile creature such as the substance of the angel.
Proof of the second part of the minor, namely, the beginning of the world cannot be proved on the part of God, the cause.
The most free will of God when it is not manifested in act cannot be investigated by our reason. But God most freely created the world and at a time when He most freely willed. Therefore the beginning of the world, depending in this way on God's free will, cannot be demonstrated and can be known only by faith.
The major is clear. The free will of God can be manifested by a fact, for example, when the end of the world comes. This fact will make known God's free will about the end of the world. But in the first part of the article it was said that the beginning of the world is not made manifest either in the definition of the world or by any fact. Hence by reason of the contingency and not of the supernatural character of the matter the free will cannot be investigated. Hence it is that we cannot know with any certainty contingent futures, which depend on God's free will.
The minor is certain from what we have said earlier: God operates most freely <ad extra>, not by a necessity of nature, or a necessity of wisdom, whatever Leibnitz says, because the infinite goodness of God exists without creatures, and God's perfection is not increased by creatures.
From what he says at the end of the article, we see that at the time of St. Thomas many believed there could be a demonstration of this matter, and some thought that the demonstrations of the existence of God depended on a non-eternal world. St. Thomas, however, understood that the position of the Averroists on the eternity of the world was against faith and not against reason, at least if it is admitted that the being of things depends efficiently on God.
Reply to first difficulty. If creation were from eternity, God would have a priority only of nature and causality but not of time with reference to the world, just as in the case of the foot which is impressed on the sand always, as St. Augustine says.
Reply to second difficulty. It would still be true to say that God created the world from nothing, that is, from no presupposed subject, although creation would not be after nothing.
Reply to fourth difficulty. Those who admit the eternity of the world must perpetually look for new sciences and new civilizations, that is, the civilization which appears to be primitive is perhaps not the first of all, and if the world is from eternity we cannot determine the first race, or the first movement of the sun, or the first day.
Reply to fifth difficulty. If the world were always it would not be equal to God in eternity because in the life of the world there would be a succession and the existence of the world would not be entirely at the same moment.
Reply to sixth difficulty. There would not be a first day or a first movement of the sun. In the <Contra Gentes> St. Thomas says that this argument is not cogent: "if the world were always there would not be a first movement of the sun and thus not transition (from the first day to today because such transition always requires the two extremes)."
I insist. It would then follow that a new day would be added to infinity.
Reply. To the prior part of the infinite an addition can be made from the posterior part of infinity, and thus time would be longer under the finite aspect, that is, in the posterior part although it is infinite in the prior part.
I insist. But this multitude of days would be an infinite number, which is repugnant.
Reply. It would be an innumerable multitude but not a number, for number adds to the multitude a determined relation to unity inasmuch as numbers begin with the first one. Hence an infinite number is repugnant but not an innumerable multitude, as would be the multitude of acts of the intellect and will of a separated soul in the future without end.
I insist. If there were no first day, or second, or third, there would be no actual day.
Reply. I concede the antecedent: if there were no first day, there would be no second or third. I deny the consequence: because it is not necessary that the multitude of days past be numerable or numerated. In Aristotle's hypothesis there would be an innumerable multitude. As St. Thomas says: "Number adds to multitude the idea of mensuration, for a number is a multitude measured by one." Hence it is conceded in Aristotle's hypothesis that there would not be a first day, or a second, etc., namely, because there could not be a progressive numeration of days but only a regressive numeration, going back to the most ancient times and never arriving at the most ancient day. Such was St. Thomas' reply to the sixth difficulty.
Eternity, whose now is always stable and not fluent, would be to infinite time in its prior part as the apex of the cone is to the circular base of the cone, which is continually described as without beginning or end; in the apex there is but one point whereas in the circle of the base there is a perpetual succession.
I insist. But if time were from eternity, the infinite and innumerable multitude of hours would be much greater than the infinite multitude of days. But one infinite multitude cannot be greater than another equally infinite.
Reply. I distinguish the minor: the infinite multitude cannot be greater considered as infinite, I concede; considered as finite, I deny. Thus to the infinite multitude in its anterior part there can be an addition from the posterior part and thus it is greater considered as finite.
Reply to seventh difficulty. There cannot be an infinite process of efficient causes that are subordinate <per se>, but there seems to be no repugnance in an infinite process of causes subordinate <per accidens> in which the causality of the posterior does not depend on the causality of the antecedent, for example, "it happens that this man who generates is generated by another, but he generates inasmuch as he is a man and not inasmuch as he is the son of another man."
Reply to eighth difficulty. It is objected the souls of the dead would constitute an infinite multitude in act.
Algazel replies that this would be infinite only <per accidens> and only with regard to the posterior part. St. Thomas refuted this objection earlier, remarking that "every multitude must be in some species of multitude," but it is disputed whether his refutation is apodictical since St. Thomas himself says that this argument is only probable because an innumerable multitude does not seem to be repugnant. On another occasion St. Thomas wrote, "It has not yet been demonstrated that God cannot make infinite things in act," and "To make something infinite or infinite things in act is not repugnant to the absolute divine omnipotence." At the end of the reply to the eighth difficulty St. Thomas notes that, even though human generations cannot be from eternity, it does not follow that the physical world cannot be from eternity and that the series of brute generations had a beginning.
Last objection. If a thing is created, we must be able to say that at some time it is created. But that which does not have a principle of duration cannot be said to be created at some particular time.
Reply. In this case it would be true to say that the world is created always, just as if the foot were on the sand from eternity, it would be true to say that the footprint was always imprinted.
I insist. But then there would be no difference between creation and conservation, for creation is the first production of a thing and conservation is the continuation of that production. That is to say, creation must take place in some instant.
Reply. The concept of creation from eternity is difficult because we conceive a divine action analogously to created action, which has a beginning. Nevertheless I deny the inference and distinguish in this way: creation in time is the first production of a thing, I concede; creation from eternity, I deny. Actually creation and conservation are one single act which is called creation inasmuch as it confers being, and is called conservation inasmuch as it continues that being either in finite or infinite duration. This distinction remains even if creation were from eternity. Although this cannot be represented to the imagination, it does not seem to involve any repugnance, just as in the example of the foot on the sand from eternity. It is therefore at least probable that the world could be from eternity.
Doubt. Is this theory more probable with regard to permanent beings, like the angel, the rational soul, a stone, the sky, than with regard to successive things which consist in a certain flux, like movement and time?
Many Thomists, among them John of St. Thomas and Billuart, say that this theory is more probable with regard to permanent beings, and that it is probable that the world could not be from eternity with regard to successive beings, like movement and time, although Aristotle thought that movement and time were from eternity.
According to these Thomists the second part of the argument is not apodictical, and to many others it does not seem to be more probable. They say that if the movement of heavenly bodies were from eternity it would perdure in an infinite duration without the flux of the earlier part that ceases and the later part that begins, and therefore this movement would at the same time be something permanent and something successive, which is impossible. Other Thomists, like Cajetan, Capreolus, Ferrariensis, and the Salmanticenses, concede the possibility of movement from eternity.
Reply. If the movement of the heavenly bodies were from eternity, there would be no first circular movement of the sun, as St. Thomas says earlier, and the movement would always have been something successive, that is, always in the flux of the earlier part that ceases and the later part that begins. The movement, therefore, would not be successive and permanent under the same aspect; it would be successive with regard to the parts that ceased and permanent with regard to the whole. It is sufficient to note that if movement had no beginning, there would be in movement no part that was the first of all, for example, there would be no first movement of the sun. Moreover, St. Thomas holds that it is not repugnant for the world to be from eternity in the same way as Aristotle, and Aristotle held that the world was from eternity even with regard to successive beings.
Finally if the angel were created from eternity, he would have no first cogitation. At least this cannot be demonstrated to be impossible. If it is probable that time should have a beginning, this is because it seems that creation, as distinct from conservation, ought to take place in some instant which is the beginning of time. But our explicit distinction between creation and conservation can be applied, mutatis mutandis, to creation from eternity.
This problem appears again in Kant's writings. Kant presents the first antinomy, whose thesis is: the world began in time and is limited in space, and the antithesis is: the world is infinite in time and space.
In the thesis it is proved that the world began because, as Kant says, it is repugnant that an infinite series of days should be terminated now by the present day. We reply that if this series were infinite in its anterior and posterior part it would be repugnant, but if the series is infinite only in the anterior part, it would not be repugnant.
Kant demonstrates the antithesis as follows: If the world began, it was preceded by vacant time and there is no reason why the world should begin now rather than earlier or later. St. Thomas would have replied: the world began at that moment determined by God's free will. From his antinomies Kant concluded that metaphysics was impossible and that time and space are e priori forms of sensible knowledge and that causality is an <a priori> form of our intellects.
Hence St. Thomas would have said there is no antinomy because an antinomy is a contradiction whose two parts are proved apodictically, and thus metaphysics is impossible. But actually neither part is proved because this matter depends on God's free will, and God could, if He wished, create the world from eternity just as He created it in time.
The second antinomy concerns the substance composed of simple parts or parts divided in infinity; but a continuum cannot be constituted by indivisible points. The reply is that the continuum is divisible in infinity but not divided in infinity.
The third antinomy concerns free will in the sense that free choice is against the principle that the same cause in the same circumstances produces the same effect. Reply: the same cause determined to one effect, I concede; not determined to one effect, I deny.
The fourth antinomy concerns the existence of the first cause. Kant says that if God began to act He would be measured by time. Reply: an eternal action produces its effect in time whenever it wills.
Third Article: Whether The Creation Of Things Was In The Beginning Of Time
This article seeks to determine the meaning of the words, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth." St. Thomas points out that these words are explained in three ways:
1. In the beginning of time, according to St. Basil and St. Ambrose in opposition to the older philosophers.
2. In the principle, that is, in the Son, who is the exemplary principle, according to St. Augustine and St. Jerome against the Manichaeans.
3. Before all things, that is, in the beginning of time all things, including the angels, were created at one time.
The first and third explanations are literal; the second is mystical or spiritual. St. Augustine tried to see a twofold literal sense in the words, "in the beginning," and also in the word "heaven," that is, a corporeal heaven and a spiritual heaven. This is not repugnant because these words are analogical, and God and the sacred writer, who was illuminated by divine inspiration, could have had in mind both the lower and the higher analogy, as when Christ taught us to say, "give us this day our daily bread," He understood ordinary bread, and the "supersubstantial bread" mentioned by St. Matthew.
CHAPTER XXI: QUESTION 47 THE DISTINCTION OF THINGS IN GENERAL
After considering the production of creatures in being we proceed to the distinction of things. Why? Because the first property of being is unity, to which is opposed multitude, which implies the distinction of things. Hence we treat first in question 47 of the distinction of things. Here we do not institute a search, as in the fourth proof for the existence of God, but we proceed synthetically from first principles, considering that vast problem, discussed at great length by the Greek philosophers, especially by Plato, of how the multitude can proceed from the one, most simple, supreme principle. The Greek philosophers were not able to solve the problem, and it appears again in evolutionism. In question 48 we treat of the distinction between good and evil. Why? Because good is another property of being. In this question we are given the definition of metaphysical evil. Finally, in question 50 we consider the distinction between spiritual and corporeal creatures. In these three questions, then, we have a treatise on the properties of created being. As a complement to these considerations, we have the treatise on the angels, where St. Thomas also treats of the creature as such, that is, whether the created substance is immediately operative or whether it requires a faculty or an operative potency.
In the Parisian Codex (in the National Library) question 47 has only three articles: 1. the multitude and the distinction of things; 2. their inequality; 3. the unity of the world. The Cassinese Codex, however, has a fourth article inserted between the second and third of the Parisian Codex, entitled, whether there is an order of agents among creatures. This article was written either by St. Thomas himself or by one of his disciples and it is based on what is said on this matter in the <Contra Gentes> (Bk. II, chap. 42). The Leonine edition gives this article in small type. At any rate, this article is a complement to the present question, serving as a preamble to the last article, and it contains the true teaching of St. Thomas.
First Article: Whether The Multitude And Distinction Of Things Is From God
State of the question. The meaning of the title is: whether the multitude and distinction of things is from God, not in any way whatsoever, but as intended by Him. This is the great problem of the origin of multitude. In the fourth proof for the existence of God it was easy enough to ascend from the multitude of things, which we know from experience, to the one supreme being, because the multitude does not itself give an adequate reason for the unity of similitude and composition which we find in it. Hence we must posit unity prior to every multitude. Such was Plato's dialectic ascent which attained to the idea of the supreme good; and in similar language Aristotle says that every truth and every being presupposes the greatest truth, which is the greatest being.
But if it is easy to ascend from the multitude of things to the supreme unity, it is very difficult to descend from the one supreme being to the multitude, that is, to explain how the one supreme being can be the cause of the multitude. For us who have from revelation the idea of free creation this is easy, but for those who do not possess this idea or reject it, as do the modern evolutionists, the problem is insoluble.
In ancient times Parmenides began with the idea of being and unity and concluded that multitude was unintelligible. Why? Because he could not understand how anything could be added to being to diversify it. In other words, being is being and it cannot be diversified except by something other than being. But that something other than being is non-being, which is nothing. Therefore being cannot be diversified; from eternity it is one, and always remains one and immutable. It is God. Hence Parmenides concluded that multitude is an illusion of the senses.
In the same way, Zeno's arguments (for example, that Achilles could never catch the tortoise) were intended to show the absurdity of the theory of plurality. Indeed, if the continuum were composed of indivisible points and not of divisible parts, Zeno's arguments would be irrefutable.
In the beginning of this article St. Thomas presents similar difficulties, but on the part of God. The first and second objections are: every agent acts similar to himself, inasmuch as he determines according to his own proper determination. But God is the greatest unity. Therefore God's effect is one only and not multiple. The third objection: so also the end of creatures is one, the manifestation of the divine goodness. In our day the evolutionists are trying to explain how the multitude of beings arises from some homogeneous primitive being.
In the <Contra Gentes> St. Thomas considers these difficulties at great length from chapter 39 to chapter 45 of the second book: that the distinction in things is not by chance, against Democritus (chap. 39); that prime matter is not the first cause of the distinction of things, against the dualism of Plato and many others (chap. 40); that the distinction of things does not arise from a diversity or contrariety of agents, against Avicenna (chap. 41); that the first cause of the distinction of things is not the order among secondary agents (chap. 42); that the distinction of things is not by an angel inducing diverse forms into matter (chap. 43); nor does this distinction proceed from the diversity of merits and demerits, against Origen (chap. 44), but this distinction is intended <per se> by God, the most free Creator, so that the likeness of the Creator may be found in creatures to the extent that creatures can be assimilated to God.
This problem of the origin of multitude, discussed by Plato in the dialogue entitled Parmenides, reappears in modern evolution in the following form: How did the distinction of things, mineral, vegetative, animal, and human, arise from the primitive, homogeneous being? How did vegetative life, sensation, and intellection arise? The evolutionists try to conceal the difficulty by saying that the distinction of things appeared only slowly and progressively. But metaphysically speaking it makes little difference whether these distinctions appeared slowly or suddenly, whether they appeared only after a thousand years, or six days, or suddenly. This question of time, as also with regard to creation, is of minor consequence. The important question, abstracting from time, is how a multitude can originate from the primitive unity. This question is similar to that other important question asked in the next article: If God is infinitely good and the cause of all things, what is the cause of evil?
Reply. St. Thomas shows that this problem of the origin of the multitude of things is insoluble without the idea of free creation. His reply is that the distinction of things and multitude are from the intention of the first agent, who is God.
Proof from authority. "In the beginning God created heaven and earth. . . . And He divided the light from the darkness. . . . And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament, from those that were above the firmament." This is a popular expression of the truth, accommodated to the intelligence of the Israelites, who thought of the heavens as a solid firmament. But when it is revealed that the heavens (which you think of as a solid firmament) are created by God, it is not revealed that the heavens are a solid firmament, for in the revealed proposition the verb "is" refers to "created" (the heavens are created) and not to "solid." Hence it may be that some error is mingled in the subject of the proposition without making the proposition erroneous in its formal meaning, that is, with regard to the verb "is" and those things to which "is" refers. On other occasions it is more clearly stated that God created visible and invisible beings and that God "ordered all things in measure and number and weight."
In the body of the article St. Thomas presents and then refutes two theories: the ascending evolution of the materialists and the descending evolution of Avicenna.
The theory of the ancient materialists was that the distinction of things arises by chance according to the movement of matter. This opinion was held by Democritus and later by Epicurus. Modern materialists with their theory of evolution were unable to add anything to this ancient theory; they were unable to explain how the first nebulae, the incandescendent stars, the habitable earth could come from primitive homogeneous matter except by chance or by the activity of some unknown forces, and the appearance of vegetative, sensitive, and intellectual life remained for them an insoluble enigma. They would be forced to admit that more proceeds from less and that the perfect proceeds from the imperfect, and they find themselves at a loss how to explain the multitude and diversity of organisms except by chance. But to say that these things are by chance is no explanation, but rather an absence of explanation, for chance is a cause <per accidens> which presupposes a cause ordered <per se> to one effect, and if there is no cause <per se> there can be no cause <per accidens>. A man digging a grave could not accidentally find a treasure if he were not <per se> digging in the earth and if some one else had not buried the treasure.
St. Thomas points out that Anaxagoras approached a solution of this problem when he admitted an intelligent cause that orders the universe, but at the same time Anaxagoras thought that a distinction pre-existed in eternal matter, that is in the homeomeriae.
Reply. In his reply to the materialists St. Thomas presents two arguments which apply equally to the ascending evolutionism of modern materialists.
1. If there is any distinction from matter, this distinction should be referred to some higher cause. Why? Because matter is created by God, as we have said above, for matter is not a being in itself. Matter is moved and perfected and therefore it is moved and perfected by another; matter does not move or perfect itself, it does not confer on itself vegetative, sensitive, or intellectual life; it is not its own action or its own being. Matter is always in potency to other determinations and it is not related to being, the ultimate actuality of all things, as A is to a. This argument also applies to Plato's dualism.
2. Matter is because of the form, and the form is not because of the matter. But the distinction of things takes place through the specific forms. Therefore the distinction is not on account of matter but conversely matter is on account of the distinction of things. Matter is the principle of individuation and is ordered to the multitude of species.
This second argument applies also to evolutionism, for there can be no evolution with a tendency to something definite and congruous without some finality. Otherwise the direction of such a tendency would be without any reason, and no tendency would ever attain to the constitution of any of our organs, the heart, the head, the eye, etc. John of St. Thomas restates these two arguments against materialism as follows:
1. Act is simply prior to potency, and therefore matter, which is the potency to a higher act, is not uncreated, nor is it therefore the first cause for the distinction of things, for example, the distinctions of vegetative, sensitive, and intellectual life, which matter cannot produce because it is inferior to them. Matter is merely the real capacity for receiving a perfection.
2. Potency is referred to act and is because of act, or matter is because of the form and on account of the diverse forms, and therefore it is not the cause of the specific distinction of the forms. Matter is because of the distinction of these forms.
The first conclusion therefore is that the specific distinction of things cannot be explained by a material cause.
2. The second theory refuted by St. Thomas might be called descending evolutionism. It calls to mind Plotinus' emanatism. This second theory was advanced by Avicenna, who tried to explain the specific distinction of things by efficient causes. Avicenna declared that God in understanding Himself produced the first intelligence (Plotinus' <logos>, the second <<hypostasis>>); then, when the first intelligence understood itself, it produced the soul of the world (Plotinus' third <<hypostasis>>, the god of the Stoics).
Modern pantheists, who support a descending evolution rather than an ascending evolution, try to explain the distinction of things in almost the same way. Spinoza tried to derive two infinite attributes from the divine substance: cogitation and infinite extension, besides the finite modes of cogitation and extension. But because he rejected free creation he was unable to derive the finite modes from an infinite substance, and therefore he simply stated without proof that these finite modes come into being successively from eternity in some necessary way.
In trying to explain the distinction of things Schelling began with the Absolute, but because he rejected the revealed truth of free creation he spoke of a fall of the Absolute by which the Absolute became the world in some kind of descent. Hegel, who supported an ascending evolution, ridiculed Schelling's dream of the fall of the Absolute, but Hegel's position is no less ridiculous, for according to Hegel God is becoming in the world but He does not yet exist and will never properly be, as Renan said.
Reply. To this second theory of the emanatists, St. Thomas replied that creation belongs to God alone and the total being of anything cannot be produced except by creation from nothing, and creation is not emanation, for in creation God is the sole efficient and final cause, but in no sense the material cause. Hence God does not become the world nor is the world made from God. Avicenna's second <hypostasis>, therefore, if it is created, cannot create a third, and the third cannot create something inferior to itself.
Furthermore, St. Thomas replies, according to Avicenna the totality and distinction of things would not derive from the intention of the first agent but from a concourse of many active causes. This concourse of causes, however, must come about by chance if it does not come from the intention of the first cause. But chance, since it is a cause <per accidens>, presupposes a cause ordered <per se> to its effect and therefore it cannot be the first cause of the specific distinction of things. Manifestly the distinction between vegetative, sensitive, and intellectual life in the world does not come from chance. In other words, there would be no finality in the world, and natural agents would tend to something determined and fitting without any reason, the order in things would be derived from an absence of order, more would come from the less, and the more perfect would come from the imperfect. Nor can it be said that the distinction in things comes from the form of secondary causes, for these forms do not exist of themselves and they themselves are distinct from one another and thus their own distinction must be explained.
Nor can it be said that the cause of the distinction in things is God inasmuch as He operates by a necessity of His nature. This argument was answered in the reply to the first difficulty and was refuted above: "It is of the nature of a natural agent that it produces one effect, because a nature (determined to one thing) operates in one and the same way unless it is impeded (for example, the vital principle in a plant operates in the same way in the same circumstances). This is because a natural agent acts according to its specific being, and as long as it is such a being it acts only in this one way. Since the divine being is infinite. . ., it cannot be that it acts by a necessity of nature unless it were to cause something infinite in being, which is impossible. The divine being, therefore, does not act by a necessity of nature, but the effects determined by its infinite perfection proceed according to the determination of its will and intellect."
The second conclusion, therefore, is that the distinction of things does not come from God as acting by a necessity of nature.
Until this point St. Thomas has not considered the opinion that the distinction of things comes from God as operating by a necessity of wisdom, an opinion espoused by the absolute optimism of Plato and by Leibnitz in modern times. Here is an attempt to explain the distinction of things, which is assumed to be necessary, by a final cause. In this instance the necessity of the distinction of things is not metaphysical or physical but moral. St. Thomas says: "Plato supposed that it was due to the goodness of God as understood and loved by God Himself that He should produce the most perfect of worlds. This could, of course, be true if we consider only those things that are and not those things that could be. This universe is the best of those that are, and the fact that it is the best is due to the goodness of God. But the goodness of God is not obligated to this universe in such a way that God could not make a better or worse universe." "Whenever the end is proportionate to the things that are made on account of that end, the wisdom of the maker is limited to some determined order. But the divine goodness is an end disproportionately exceeding created things. Therefore the divine wisdom is not determined to some order of things."
The third conclusion, therefore, is that the distinction of things does not come from God operating by a necessity of wisdom.
By eliminating the material cause, natural efficient causes, and the final cause that implies the necessity of the production of things, we come to the positive conclusion: the distinction of things arises from the free intention of God the Creator.
The proof may be somewhat easier if we join this last section of the article with the reply to the first difficulty, in which the divine liberty is affirmed.
A free agent can produce distinct effects according to whatever distinct forms he understands. But God, as a free agent, wished to manifest His goodness through diverse creatures. Therefore the distinction of things is explained by the intention of God the free Creator. and this distinction can have no other cause.
Explanation of the major. An agent that acts by its nature acts by the form by which it is, and this form is only one for each agent. Therefore such an agent acts only in one way. A free agent, however, acts according to a form received in the intellect.
Explanation of the minor. God is a voluntary and free agent. It does not conflict with God's unity and simplicity that He understands many things, for the multitude of things understood by God do not effect a real distinction in Him. Since God can understand many things, He can also make many things.
God, however, wished freely to manifest His goodness by diverse creatures. Why? St. Thomas explains in the last section: "Because by one creature the divine goodness cannot be adequately represented, God made many different things so that whatever is lacking in one to represent the divine goodness will be supplied by another."
The validity of this solution. This solution is of faith. From the philosophical viewpoint it is necessary, for the ascending evolution of the materialists and even of Hegel is repugnant both to the principle of causality (more cannot be produced by the less) and to the principle of finality (every agent acts according to the end to which it is ordered) and, moreover, ascending evolution does not explain the distinction of things. Similarly, descending evolution fails to explain the distinction of things for, if God operates by a necessity of nature, He will necessarily produce only one effect.
Similarly the absolute optimism of Plato and Leibnitz does not take into account the disproportion between any created universe and the divine goodness, which is to be manifested. We must, therefore, have recourse to the liberty of God the Creator, or we must, with Parmenides, deny all multitude and all distinction in things. In the end the solution is that the most eminent unity of God virtually contains the infinite multitude of possible things, from which God freely chose the things He wished to create.
The higher unity differs from the lower unity in the fact that it virtually contains the multitude; the higher the unity the richer its content, for, as Dionysius said, "those things that are divided in inferior beings are united in the higher beings." This is especially clear when we ascend from one order to another; the vital principle of the plant virtually contains all the acts of agents lower than itself. Similarly, the faculty of vision, which in itself is simple, extends itself to a spreading panorama; the central sense in the common sense unites the objects of the particular senses; the intellect knows the universal, which virtually contains the individual. Great musicians, like Mozart, hear the melody they are composing completely at one time and they often express the whole theme virtually in the prelude of the composition. Great philosophers reduce the whole of philosophy to a few sublime principles. When the saints arrive at the unitive way they unite in this unity various virtues. In a still higher plane, the unity and simplicity of God virtually contain the infinite multitude of possible beings, and from this multitude God chooses those that He wishes to create. By the divine liberty, then, we are able to solve the problem of how a multitude proceeds from the supreme and most simple principle. Plato and Aristotle were not able to offer a solution because they had not attained to the idea of free creation.
Second Article: Whether The Inequality Of Things Is From God
State of the question. Many men cannot understand how the inequality in things can come from God. The Manichaeans tried to explain this inequality by two, opposite principles, and Origen, trying to rectify their error, explained that in the beginning God created only intellectual beings and that all these beings were equal. Some of these sinned and as a punishment they were united to bodies. In modern times some thinkers have declared that that great inequality among animals, whereby the strong devour the weak, cannot come from God. They ask why there should be such a great inequality in the intellectual and moral aptitudes of men. This is the language of egalitarianism. As we shall see in the body of the article, it is a materialistic theory that does not take into account the subordination of the forms of agents and ends.
These unfortunate inequalities, says Schopenhauer, cannot come from a good and omnipotent God, and he concludes that God is not omnipotent and that the principle of all things is some kind of will that is always trying to persevere in being. This attempt is always associated with sorrow and is like an insatiable thirst. Therefore in his pessimism he concluded, that this desire for life must be eradicated so that we may come to that negative bliss which is the ending of all sorrow.
Schopenhauer's difficulties can be reduced to the difficulties proposed at the beginning of the present article: the best God should have made the best things, and therefore all equal, otherwise, according to the third objection, it would be an injustice for God to distribute His gifts unequally to creatures.
Reply. The reply is that the divine wisdom is the cause of the distinction of things for the sake of the perfection of the universe, and therefore the divine wisdom is also the cause of inequality.
1. Proof from authority. "Why doth one day excel another, and one light another, and one year another year, when all come of the Lord? By the knowledge of the Lord they were distinguished." In the canticle, "All ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord," we see the inequality of creatures, each of which in its own way praises the Lord. The description of the creation in the Book of Genesis shows the inequality of creatures, and the Fourth Council of the Lateran declared that "God at one time and in the beginning of time established both creatures, the spiritual and corporeal, and then the human creature, as it were a common being constituted by spirit and body."
2. Proof from reason: a) by the refutation of Origen's theory; b) positively.
a) In opposing the Manichaeans, Origen declared that God in the beginning had created spiritual beings, who were all equal. Those that sinned were bound to bodies, and the greater the sin the closer the union with matter. Some of these beings did not sin, and these now constitute the different grades of angels according to their different merits. In this way Origen combined the doctrine of original sin with the Platonic myths about the pre-existence of souls.
St. Thomas replies: "The totality of corporeal beings would then not be because of the communication of God's goodness to creatures but for the punishment of sin. But this is contrary to the words of Genesis, "And God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good." St. Augustine exclaims: "What could be more stupid than to say that by this sun, as there is but one in the world, God was concerned not with the splendor of beauty or the welfare of corporeal things, but that this sun came to be because one soul sinned?"
What could be more stupid than to say that the stars are in the sky, that the pure air exists, that the rose, the lily, the dove, the lamb were made because someone sinned? St. Augustine is speaking formally when he says, "what could be more stupid," for it is stupidity, opposed to the wisdom which explains the beauty of even the sensible world as a manifestation of God's goodness, while this theory explains all this by sin, not by the highest cause but by something that is less than nothing. Schopenhauer's doctrine is even greater folly when he speaks of a fall of the Absolute or of God. He tries to explain the inequalities and sorrows of the world by a primitive, non-omnipotent, or rather impotent will. The first cause is subsisting being itself and therefore omnipotent, because operation follows being, and anything that is able to possess the nature of being is comprised in the object of divine power, which can effect anything that has no repugnance to being.
b) The positive proof is from the principle of finality, out of which is drawn the corollary of the principle of the subordination of ends, forms, and agents, against materialistic egalitarianism. Leibnitz adopted St. Thomas' argument but exaggerated it, as we shall see. St. Thomas' argument can be reduced to the following: The specific or formal distinction is more important than the material or numerical distinction, because matter is on account of the form and the individuals in any species of corruptible beings are for the conservation of the species. But the formal distinction always requires inequality, since the forms of things are subordinate like numbers, ascending from the elements to mixed beings, to plants, and to animals, and in each instance one species is found more perfect than the others, for example, the diamond or radium among minerals, the rose among the flowers, and man among the animals. Therefore the inequality of beings is required for the perfection of the universe so that in different ways the wisdom of God might make known His goodness.
The major is evident, since matter is because of the form, according to the principle of finality that the imperfect is on account of the perfect. In the same way the many individuals of the same species of corruptible being are for the conservation of the species. Excluding the subsisting spiritual soul, individuals are ordered to the preservation of the species. Thus individuals pass away but the species remains; it is negatively eternal in the sense that it prescinds from the here and now, and thus it is somehow above time, representing the divine idea, the idea of rose, of lily, of lion, etc. Therefore, St. Thomas says, the hen gathers the chicks under her wing and defends them against the hawk because the hen naturally loves the good of its species more than its own good.
The major therefore is certain, namely, the formal or specific distinction is more important than the material or numerical distinction; any material individual of this or that species is of minor importance. This, however, is not true of a person, because the soul of the person is subsisting and immortal and thus is of greater value than the species of lion or horse.
The minor. But the formal distinction requires the inequality or subordination of forms. This is affirmed with a serene mind and not lugubriously as was the case with Origen. On this point St. Thomas differs entirely from the pessimism of Schopenhauer. But it should be noted that the holy doctor is speaking here of the primary distinction and inequality existing prior to sin; he is not now speaking of how after original and actual sin this inequality is often increased and causes that miserable state of servitude in which so many men spent their entire lives before the spread of Christianity.
The primary inequality of things pertains to their natures independently of sin, for, as Aristotle says, "the species of things are subordinate like numbers." For numbers vary by the addition or subtraction of unity and the species of things differ by the addition or subtraction of a specific difference. for example, a substance is incorporeal or corporeal, and here there is inequality; similarly, the corporeal substance is living or inanimate; if living, it is sensitive or not; if sensitive, it is rational or not. Everywhere we find the inequality and subordination of forms as with numbers.
Hence St. Thomas says, "In each of these we find one species more perfect than the others," for example, man among the animals, and the animals that have both internal and external senses are superior to the animals that do not possess all the senses, as the oyster and the sponge, which appear to have only the sense of touch. So there is also a certain subordination among plants and flowers and among minerals; the diamond, or perhaps radium, seems to be the most precious of minerals.
These considerations are valid against materialism and mechanism, which take into consideration only quantity and not quality. If quality is something prior to quantity, the variation of heat from the tenth to the twentieth degree is perhaps greater than between the twentieth and thirtieth degrees. Materialism looks at everything as if it were in the same horizontal plane, as if, for instance, animals were machines and as if the human soul were not essentially superior to the soul of the brute. This is absolute egalitarianism, which reduces everything to the lowest plane.
Spiritualism, on the other hand, considers everything as in a vertical line, inasmuch as the species of things are subordinated in a hierarchy for the splendor of the universe, because those things that are united in God can be only divisively in creatures and because the formal distinction requires inequality. Many modern writers do not understand this subordination, confusing it with coordination, for example, when they compare the first cause and the second cause with two men rowing a boat.
The conclusion is confirmed by the solution of the objections.
Reply to first objection. The most perfect agent produces his perfect total effect, but he produces it with a subordination of parts, for example, with the subordination of organs and functions in the plant and animal organisms. The animal would be less perfect if all its parts were equal, if all, for instance, had the dignity or importance of the eye.
Thus the universe is more perfect with angels, men, animals, plants, minerals than if there were only angels and all the angels were equal. Here was Origen's error. According to St. Thomas the angels could not be equal, for in the angels there is a particular subordination of forms since the angels are pure subsisting forms. Since individuation takes place through matter, there can be only one individual in each angelic species. Michael is the only individual in his species. Hence among the angels we have a perfect hierarchy or subordination.
Reply to second objection. In the Blessed Trinity there is equality according to the processions <ad intra> by which the entire divine nature is communicated. The Word and the Holy Ghost are equal to the Father. On the other hand there must be inequality in the procession <ad extra> because the creature is an inadequate manifestation of the divine goodness and many subordinate creatures are required.
Reply to third objection. The primitive inequality is not unjust since it is because of the perfection of the universe. This Origen was not able to understand.
Thus some are born inclined to fortitude and must acquire meekness, others inclined to meekness must acquire fortitude. Each must ascend the mountain of perfection by traversing the various parts of the mountain. The justice of God is not commutative, regulating the changes among equals, but it is distributive according to the requirements of the common good. God is His own law. Cajetan remarks: "Therefore God is just in condescension in order to manifest His goodness."
Leibnitz exaggerated this doctrine of inequality when he denied matter in his monadology and reduced all substance to spiritual monads which are subordinated as are the angels in St. Thomas' doctrine. Leibnitz held that there could not be in the world two beings absolutely similar because God would have created these perfectly similar beings without reason, just as a man would have two perfectly similar copies of the same edition of Virgil in his library without reason.
Reply. Two perfectly similar individuals can exist, especially in succession, for the preservation of the species and they are distinguished from each other by matter marked by quantity, as in the case of two drops of water or two perfectly identical twins. We concede only that there cannot be two angels perfectly similar in species, and this would also be true of men if they were monads without matter.
St. Thomas does admit a certain individual inequality of souls in the same human species: the soul of Christ is higher even in the natural order than the soul of Judas, but this inequality is not unrelated to the body, although on the other hand a body is better disposed because of a higher individual soul, since causes are mutually causes to each other in different genera of causes.
Third Article: Whether There Is An Order Of Agents In Creatures
If this article was not written by St. Thomas, it was composed by one of his disciples from what St. Thomas says on this matter elsewhere. This article completes the question and serves as a preamble to the fourth article: whether there is only one world.
In this article it is asked whether the subordination of agents is not only formal but also dynamic. It appears that it is not dynamic: 1. because the omnipotent God can act without an intermediate subordinate agent; 2. because this dynamic subordination would be a return to the separated ideas of Plato, for the subordinate agents would at the same time be exemplary ideas; 3. if one creature were the active cause of another, it would also be its final cause; and God alone is the end of all things.
Reply. Nevertheless the reply is in the affirmative, that is, in creatures the subordination of agents corresponds to the subordination of ends.
Proof from authority. "There is no power but from God; and those that are, are ordained from God." As Dionysius said, in this way God rules the lower through the higher.
Proof from reason. The proof is twofold: indirect and direct.
a) The indirect proof is a refutation of the doctrine of occasionalism, already proposed in St. Thomas' day, according to which it is not the fire that heats but God in the fire.
Reply. The active powers, as well as the qualities and forms, attributed to things would be futile if they effected nothing. St. Thomas says: "Indeed all created things would seem to be somehow futile if they were stripped of their proper operation, because all things are because of their operation," or as Cajetan says, because of themselves as operating. "It is not due to some lack of power that God acts through the mediation of creatures, but because of the abundance of His goodness inasmuch. . . as He communicates the dignity of causality to creatures." This causality is explained by the distinction between potency and act, which Malebranche and Leibnitz failed to recognize and therefore they fell back on occasionalism when they were unable to explain the transitive activity of creatures.
b) The conclusion is proved directly from the inequality required in creatures to manifest the divine goodness, as we stated in the preceding article. The proof may be reduced to the following: The more perfect is compared to the less perfect as act to potency, and it is the nature of what exists in act that it act on that which is in potency. But there is inequality in creatures inasmuch as one is more perfect than another. Therefore it is necessary that one creature act on another, by the power of God, the first agent. We have in mind here agents that are <per se> subordinate, not univocal causes, subordinate <per accidens>, such as men who are successive by the succession of generation.
Explanation of the major. If in nature some inferior being is in potency to receive some perfection, it is of the nature of a superior being in act that it act on that which is in potency, for example, if the fruits of the earth need warmth to ripen, it is in order that the sun, which is hot in act, should provide heat for the earth. The minor is evident. Therefore there must be a subordination of agents.
Corollary. The order or subordination of agents corresponds to the subordination of ends, as St. Thomas frequently pointed out: "It is necessary, since every agent acts for an end, that every cause direct its effects to its end, and therefore, since there is an order of ends according to the order of agents or movers, it is necessary that man be directed to the ultimate end by the movement of the first mover." Hence St. Thomas says also in this article, "matter is ordered to the form, the elements to mixed beings, plants to animals, and animals to man." We see then that the order of the universe arises from the fact that one creature acts on another and that one creature is made to the likeness of another (for every agent acts in some way similar to itself) and that one creature is the end of another. Thus minerals are assimilated by plants, plants by animals, and animals by men. We see here an external finality of the inferior being to the superior which can be corroborated by the internal finality of the superior being, for example, the animal acts for an end and in assimilating the plant for its own sustenance it uses an appropriate means to the end of sustaining itself and thus it appears that according to external finality plants are because of animals.
First corollary. Man is a microcosm, a sort of compendium of the universe inasmuch as he reflects this subordination of agents and ends. The intellective part of the soul moves the sensitive faculties and members and uses them for its higher end, because the end of the agent and patient is the same but in different ways. So also the sensitive part uses the vegetative part, and the vegetative part uses the lower aliments which it assimilates through the nutritive function and by respiration.
In this microcosm we see the dynamic order of the whole universe, the threefold subordination of agents, ends, and forms inasmuch as the superior agent in acting in a manner similar to itself is also a kind of exemplar of the effect produced in the inferior being. St. Thomas says: "God is the prime exemplar of all things, but secondarily the creature is an exemplar of another creature." For example, our reason is modified by prudence, and this is an exemplar of the rectitude of the sensitive appetite governed by temperance.
Second corollary. The pantheists look for a substantial unity in the universe and without reason deny the two extrinsic causes of the world, the efficient and final causes, while evidently the world has a dynamic unity which participates in efficient and final causality.
Third corollary. From all this it appears that the principle of finality (every agent acts for an end) is no less necessary and no less evident than the principle of efficient causality (every thing that is made has an efficient cause). Indeed there can be no efficient causality without finality, nor can there be a tendency which does not tend to an end. The end is the first and supreme of the four causes and thus, at least in itself, the principle of finality is prior to the principle of efficient causality and better known <per se>.
Fourth (Third) Article: Whether There Is Only One World
State of the question. We are inquiring here about the fact, not the possibility, of the numerical unity of the world. It seems that there are many worlds: 1. because God could create many worlds; 2. because many worlds would be better than one, since many goods are better than a few; 3. as man is multiplied, the world ought also be multiplied. Democritus thought that many worlds resulted from the concourse of the atoms. The question asked here is not the same as that about the plurality of worlds in the sense of the stars being inhabited. The opinion that the stars or plants are inhabited is not contrary to the conclusion of this article, since the stars and planets and everything that moves in them constitute one universe.
Reply. St. Thomas' reply is that the world is unique.
1. This is proved from the language of the Scriptures: "The world was made by Him."
2. It is proved also from the divine ordination to one and the same end. All the things that are from God have a relation to one another and to God Himself, that is, all things are coordinated and subordinated and thus constitute a complete whole, which is called the universe. The unity of the world, therefore, is a unity of order.
Reply to first objection. From the unity of order existing in things, Aristotle reached the conclusion that God the governor is one: "Beings are averse to being ill disposed, and a plurality of principles is not good. Therefore there is but one principle." This text of Aristotle is adduced to prove that for him God is not only the ultimate end of the world, attracting all things to Himself, but also the governor, at least of the genera and species if not of individuals, as Averroes contended. From this argument it also follows that by His ordered power God cannot make many worlds without some relation to one another; they must at least be coordinated with regard to the same ultimate end, since it is the part of a wise being to put things in order.
Reply to second objection. No agent intends a material plurality as an end because a material multitude does not have a definite terminus and because it can always be increased; the material multitude must be ordered to something higher as matter is ordered to the form. From this it follows that there would be no reason for God to create two similar worlds only numerically distinct. We may ask why two worlds rather than three or four or more?
Reply to third objection. St. Thomas says: "It is not possible that there be another earth besides this one because every earth would be borne naturally to the same middle point," that is, to the center of the world. This is the opinion of the ancients proposed by Aristotle, but it was not proved. Cajetan says that St. Thomas was speaking not of an absolute impossibility but of a physical impossibility under the present laws of the universe according to the Ptolemaic system.
Doubt. Whether God could create two unequal worlds? This does seem to be impossible because such worlds would be subordinated by reason of their inequality.
Brief review. The distinction of things in general.
We see, therefore, that the origin of multiplicity and of the distinction of things depends on the divine liberty and the divine ideas, that is, in the ultimate analysis on the divine unity, which virtually contains an infinity of possible beings. In this multiplicity and distinction we see a unity of order or subordination of forms, agents and ends, a unity that is at once static and dynamic. Plato and Aristotle prepared the way for this solution by answering Parmenides' arguments against the existence of the multitude, but since they had not attained an explicit notion of free creation from nothing, their teaching remained confused about the origin of multitude and the distinction of things in general. We see here the superiority of Christian philosophy and especially of Christian theology.
CHAPTER XXII: QUESTION 103 THE GOVERNANCE OF THINGS IN GENERAL
After considering creation and the distinction of things in general, we consider the divine governance before taking up creatures in particular. As was said earlier in treating of divine providence, the governance of things is the execution of providence. It is part of divine providence to order things to their end, and the execution of this order is divine governance. Similarly, in human affairs we distinguish the executive power from the legislative power.
St. Thomas considers the divine governance according to the four kinds of causes: 1. whether there is divine governance and what it is formally; 2. what is its end; 3. why the divine governance must proceed from one supreme efficient cause alone; 4. what the divine governance effects and how (that is, its efficacy). In this way we consider whatever belongs <per se> to the divine governance. Human society, and the Church as well, ought to be studied according to these four causes if we wish to know everything that pertains to them of necessity.
First Article: Whether The World Is Governed By Anyone
State of the question. The materialists, pessimists, and all who reject divine providence deny any governance of the world. They hold, as we shall see in the third difficulty, that in their movements the principal parts of the world are determined to one end by some necessity and therefore do not need any governance.
Reply. Nevertheless the reply is that the world is governed, and this truth is of faith. All the texts of Scripture that affirm the existence of divine providence can be offered as proof. St. Thomas cites the text, "But Thy providence, O Father, governeth it." God is considered the Father who gives life, and who nourishes, elevates, and governs His children with knowledge and benevolence.
The divine governance is proved <a posteriori> as follows: Means are not ordered to an end except by a governing intellect which understands the nature of the means. But in the world there are many means excellently ordered to a good end. Therefore the world is governed by one intelligence. Moreover, in opposition to Kant, this intelligence must be its own being and intellection, wisdom and truth itself, for otherwise this intelligence itself would be ordered to intellection and to truth by some higher governor.
The existence of the divine governance can also be proved <a priori> to a certain extent from a consideration of the divine goodness inasmuch as it produces things in being, so it also pertains to it to lead things to their end, which is to rule. To govern, properly speaking, is to lead things conveniently to their proper end as the arrow is directed by the archer.
Reply to third objection. In natural things we find a certain necessity by which they are determined to one end; thus the eye is determined to seeing, the ear to hearing, the foot to walking, so that this end constitutes the reason for the existence of these means that are ordered to itself. But this ordering presupposes an ordering intellect in the Author of nature. Otherwise the intelligibility in things would come from non-intelligence, from a blind and material necessity; order would come from the privation of order, the more perfect from the less perfect in opposition to the principle of causality, and all things would be without a reason for their existence, that is, without any reason for being rather than not being.
Second Article: Whether The End Of The Governance Of The World Is Something Out Side The World
State of the question. It seems that the end of the world is its order and peace, that is, something intrinsic to the world for the good of the multitude is its peace.
Reply. Nevertheless the reply is that God Himself is the final end of the governance of the world.
Proof from Scripture. "The Lord hath made all things for Himself"; "To make thee higher than all nations which He hath created, to His own praise and name and glory." This thought is frequently repeated in the psalms, namely, that God made all things to manifest His goodness. This truth was defined by the Vatican Council: "If anyone shall deny that the world was established for the glory of God, let him be anathema"; and in another chapter, "God, by His goodness and omnipotent power, not to increase His happiness or to acquire it, but to manifest His perfection by the goods which He imparts to creatures, by His most free counsel made all things."
Proof from reason. Since every agent acts for a proportionate end, the end corresponds to the principle. But the efficient principle of the world is a cause extrinsic to it. Therefore the final end of the world is also some good extrinsic to it. In other words, and this is a corollary of the principle of finality (every agent acts for a proportionate end): the order of subordination among agents must correspond to the order of ends. Therefore corresponding to the supreme and most universal agent we have a most universal ultimate end, namely, the manifestation of the supreme goodness through the good imparted to things.
Reply to second objection. "To this one thing every thing tends, namely, to partake of the good and to be assimilated to the supreme good as much as is possible."
Reply to third objection. The order of the universe is its proximate end, but its ultimate end is God Himself, or the manifestation of the divine goodness. Similarly, the order of an army is ordered to something higher, to victory and the defense of the country. Inferior creatures cannot know and possess God, but intellectual creatures can, especially when they are elevated to the order of grace.
"God wills Himself as the end; He wills other things as the means to the end." If God were to act on account of a created good as His ultimate end, the act would be inordinate and absurd, something like a mortal sin in God, and the creature thus inordinately desired would be most unfortunate because it would be ordered to itself and not to God the highest good. Here we see the inanity of the doctrine according to which God created us ultimately for ourselves and not to manifest His own goodness. Evidently, if every agent acts for a proportionate end, the subordination of agents must correspond to the subordination of ends.
Third Article: Whether The World Is Governed By One
State of the question. The second objection states the difficulty of the Manichaeans: created things often are opposed to each other as if some proceeded from a good principle and some from an evil principle.
Reply. The reply is in the affirmative and of faith according to the words of St. Paul: "Yet to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto Him."
Proof from reason. It is necessary that the governance of the world ordered to the supreme good should be the best. But the best governance is that which is through one being. Why? Because governance is the direction of those who are governed to a good, which supposes unity as against dissolution. The cause of unity, however, is one <per se>, since several beings cannot agree unless they are united in some way. Therefore the governance of the world, since it is the best, is by one governor.
This is a strict demonstration and it is found to be true even in human affairs. And this best kind of government by one supposes a wise and good governor, capable of leading his subjects to unity and to their end.
Such governance is necessary particularly when the end to be attained is arduous and involves a complexity of problems that are difficult of solution, and when the multitude is incapable of attaining its end, as often happens in great masses of people where it is difficult to establish order. If, however, those who are ruled are close to perfection, there is less need of a strong rule, for here the words are verified, "these. . . are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts." Thus an imperfect rule suffices for perfect subjects, but a perfect rule is needed for the imperfect and for the multitude, which in itself remains imperfect. We read in the Scripture: "Where there is no governor, the people shall fall; but there is safety where there is much counsel." Therefore a king should have about him the wisest counselors, reserving the final judgment to himself. Hence we see that the same principles by which the universe is ruled are applied, with some modifications, to human society.
Reply to second objection. In reply to the objection of the Manichaeans, St. Thomas says: "Contrary things, although they are in disagreement with regard to proximate ends, nevertheless agree inasmuch as they are coordinated in the one order of the universe and ordered to the final end." That is, created things frequently are at variance with one another with regard to proximate ends, but this does not prove the existence of some evil principle, for, as St. Augustine says: "God, who is the highest good, would in no way allow anything evil in His works unless He were so omnipotent and so good that He could make good things even from evil."
Fourth Article: Whether The Effect Of Divine Governance Is One Only Or Plural
Reply. The principal effect of the divine governance, through the conservation and movement of things, is that creatures are assimilated to God through the participation in good and inasmuch as creatures move other creatures to good. The particular effects of the divine governance, however, are innumerable.
Fifth Article: Whether All Things Are Subject To The Divine Governance
State of the question. It appears that all things are not subject to God's governance, for, as we read in Ecclesiastes, many things are fortuitous. Moreover, we read, "Doth God take care for oxen?" and even of the rational creature Sacred Scripture says: "God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel."
Reply. It is of faith that all things are subject to the divine governance. The Vatican Council declared: "All things that He established God guards and governs by His providence, 'reaching from end to end mightily, and ordering all things sweetly.'" "All things are naked and open to His eyes," even those things that are in the future by the free action of creatures.
Proof from reason. "Just as there can be nothing that is not created by God, so there can be nothing that is not subject to His governance." Again, "as there is nothing that is not ordered to the divine goodness as to its end, so it is impossible that any being should be outside the divine governance."
Therefore, both from the viewpoint of the supreme agent and from the viewpoint of the ultimate end it is clear that all things are subject to the divine governance. The opposite opinion is rightly called "stupid," since stupidity makes a judgment about things on the basis of the lowest kind of cause, that is, chance, and opposes wisdom, which judges all things on the basis of the highest cause and the ultimate end.
Reply to first objection. Many things, indeed, happen beyond the intention of nature and are said to happen by chance. But in these cases chance would not exist beyond the intention of nature if the things of nature did not tend to an end under the divine governance. "By the very fact that something casual is found in these things it is demonstrated that these things are subject to the divine rule." Moreover, nothing happens by chance or fate from God's viewpoint; the casual takes place only in view of other causes.
Ecclesiastes does not teach the opposite. The sacred writer also holds that many things are hidden from us: "As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones are joined together in the womb of her that is with child; so thou knowest not the works of God, who is the maker of all." Hence Ecclesiastes concludes: "Let us all hear together the conclusion of the discourse. Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is all man. And all things that are done, God will bring into judgment for every error, whether it be good or evil."
Reply to second objection. When it is said that "God does not have care for oxen," this means that He does not care for them in the same way that He cares for rational creatures, to whom He gives precepts, counsel, and rewards, and whom He punishes.
Reply to third objection. The rational creature as a secondary cause governs itself, but over and above this it is governed by God, the first cause.
Sixth Article: Whether All Things Are Directly Governed By God
State of the question. It seems that God governs all things directly because through Himself without mediate causes He can govern all things. In this God differs from an earthly ruler, who because of the imperfection of a creature cannot do all things or be present everywhere and therefore needs helpers.
Reply. Providence, which is the plan or order of divine governance, extends directly to all things, but with regard to the execution of divine providence God governs inferior beings through superior beings.
The reason is as follows: "The most desirable thing in all practical knowledge is that every particular which is effected should be known, as, for instance, in the science of medicine. Hence God knows even the smallest things. But on the other hand, that government is better which communicates to certain things the dignity of causality with regard to other things, just as that teacher is better who not only makes his students learned but also develops teachers. It is therefore pertinent to God's dignity as the supreme governor that He govern inferior beings through superior beings although His providence directly knows and orders even the lowest beings.
Seventh Article: Whether Anything Can Happen Beyond The Order Of Divine Governance
Reply. The reply is in the negative and of faith according to the Scriptures, where we read: "O Lord, Lord, almighty king, for all things are in Thy power, and there is none that can resist Thy will, if Thou determine to save Israel."
The reason is that, since God is the first and most universal cause (without whom second causes cannot act), it is impossible that anything can happen beyond the order of the divine governance.
Evil cannot happen without the divine permission, and God permits evil for some greater good, as He permits persecution for the sake of the patience and glory of martyrs. Moreover, from God's viewpoint nothing happens by chance, for from eternity God willed or permitted the accidental conjunctions of second causes. Similarly, two servants of the same master meet each other by chance, but it is not a matter of chance for the master who sent the servants to the same place.
Eighth Article: Whether Anything Can Work Again St The Order Of The Divine Governance
Reply. Nothing can resist the order of the divine governance as it proceeds from God, the most universal cause of the good of the whole universe, but a being may well resist this order as it proceeds from a particular cause. Thus those who sin oppose some determined good according to the law of God and therefore they are justly punished by God. Cajetan points out in connection with the reply to the first objection that "those who sin mortally look at two things: first, what they intend to do, and this is good in a sense; and secondly, something beyond their intention, and this is the deformity of the act, consisting in the privation of the proper order. Here sinners depart from a certain order of good and act against this order." But even this deformity is permitted by God for the sake of a greater good, at least with regard to the end of the whole universe, and thus sinners do not oppose the divine governance in general but only in a particular instance.
CHAPTER XXIII: QUESTION 104 THE CONSERVATION OF CREATURES
The first effect of the divine governance is the conservation of creatures; the second effect is the movement of creatures either directly by God or through the mediation of superior creatures.
First Article: Whether Creatures Need To Be Con Served In Being By God
State of the question. It seems that creatures need not be conserved by God in being because: 1. many creatures are incorruptible; 2. a builder can erect a structure that will last for many ages, and a fortiori God can do the same with beings; 3. in no creature do we find a positive tendency to non-being; 4. divine conservation would be an action without a positive effect, because whatever is does not become.
Reply. The reply is that creatures need divine conservation and this truth is of faith. Of the Son of God we read in the Scriptures, "upholding all things by the word of His power"; in the language of the Bible "uphold" signifies the same as "conserve," and the same interpretation is accepted by the Septuagints, Philo, and in Christian tradition. We read further, "For in Him we live and move and are," "For of Him and by Him and in Him are all things," "And He is before all, and by Him all things consist." St. Thomas says, "Both according to faith and according to reason we must say that creatures are conserved in being by God."
Proof from reason. 1. God indirectly conserves corruptible things by removing from them corruptive principles. 2. Directly and <per se> God conserves all creatures even those creatures that are incorruptible.
Every effect that depends on a certain cause not only according to its becoming but also directly according to its being needs to be conserved directly by that cause. But every creature depends directly for its being on God, who alone is being itself in essence. Therefore every creature needs to be conserved directly by God.
Proof of the major. Every effect depends on its cause in the way it is caused. Just as the becoming of a thing cannot perdure when the action of the agent which is the cause of the becoming ceases (for example, the passive erection of the house ceases when the builder does not work), so the being of a thing does not perdure when the action of the agent which is the cause of its being ceases.
Proof of the minor. God alone is being by essence because His essence is His being, whereas the creature is being by participation, and its essence is not its being.
Hence, if the conserving action of God were to cease, every creature would be annihilated, just as, says St. Augustine, "the atmosphere would be continually darkened" if the illuminative action of the sun were to cease.
To understand this reasoning we must note the opposition between the cause of the becoming and the direct cause of the being of a thing. When a father begets a son he is the direct cause of the passive generation of his son but not of the son's being. Thus the son often remains alive after the death of the father. Indeed, if the father were the direct cause of the very nature and the very being of his son, he would be his own cause since nature and being are found in the father and the son in the same way, inasmuch as they belong to the same species.
On the other hand, since God is being by essence He is the direct cause of the very being of every creature, and the creature is being by participation, depending on essential being as long as it perdures, just as the diffused light in the air depends on the illumination of the sun and ceases with the cessation of this illumination.
We may understand this more readily if we recall that there are causes in the world upon which the permanence of their effects depends after the effects are produced. For example, atmospheric pressure and solar heat are required for the conservation of a living animal as well as for its production; the object of sensation not only objectively causes sensation but also conserves it, and when the object is removed the sensation ceases. In the intellectual order, too, the knowledge of principles is necessary not only for acquiring the knowledge of the conclusions but also to conserve that knowledge, and similarly if the desire for the end ceases, the desire for the means to that end also ceases.
From this we may be able better to understand St. Thomas' words: "It is manifest that if two things are of the same species, one cannot be the cause of the form of the other inasmuch as the form is such a form because it would then be the cause of its own form; it can, however, be the cause of this form inasmuch as it is in matter, that is, inasmuch as this matter acquires this (individuated) form. This is a cause according to becoming, as when a man begets a man, or when fire kindles fire.
Evidently, a cow, however perfect it may be, cannot be the cause of bovinity or of the bovine race, for then it would be its own cause. The cause of the bovine race is the divine idea of cow, or the idea of this species.
Hence if a cause is of the same species as its effect, it is a direct cause only of the becoming. If, on the other hand, the cause is of a higher nature than its effect, it not only produces the effect but also conserves it. Thus God, who is being by essence, conserves every creature, which is being by participation.
Reply to first objection. The potency to non-being is not positively in incorruptible beings, but God can remove from such creatures His conserving influence.
Reply to second objection. God cannot communicate to a creature that it continue in being after the divine action ceases, just as He cannot communicate to a creature that He should not be its cause.
Reply to third objection. In corruptible creatures there is a tendency to non-being inasmuch as the matter of these beings desires another form; and these beings need to be conserved even indirectly by the removal of that which may corrupt them.
Reply to fourth objection. "God's conservation is not a new action, it is a continuation of the action which confers being. This action, however, is without movement or time," that is, it is a continuation of the creative action above time by which God creates without any instrument and without any intermediary matter and those things that cannot be produced except by creation, namely, the angels and spiritual souls. Therefore God directly conserves matter, the soul, and the angels, in being, and He is therefore intimately present in these creatures.
Several corollaries may be deduced from the principle that St. Thomas lays down in this article: "When an effect that is not born is to receive the imprint of the agent in the same manner as the imprint is in the agent...., then the cause of this effect is the cause not only of the becoming but also of the being." Thus the influence of Christ is as necessary for the conservation of the Church as it was for its institution; the same is true of the influence of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the same way the influence of the founders of religious orders perdures even in heaven so that their orders may continue in being. St. Thomas' influence also perdures that the true spirit of his doctrine may be conserved.
We see, then, that there are, under God's conservation, subordinate conserving causes but always in the sense that the most universal effect, namely, being, must be attributed to the most universal cause. The proper effect, according to the fourth mode of predication <per se>, necessarily and directly depends on the proper cause, just as in the second mode of predication the properties depend on the essence from which they are derived. As illumination depends on light, so the being of things depends on God, who is subsisting being itself.
Second Article: Whether God Conserves Every Creature Directly
Reply. God directly conserves the very being of things inasmuch as it is being, but other agents, subordinate to God, conserve being as such being, for example, the sun conserves the light in the atmosphere. Similarly the influence of other subordinate causes is necessary for the conservation of vegetative and sensitive life on the surface of the earth; and the succession of day and night and of the four seasons, without which there would be no generations or conservation of life, depends on the regular movement of the stars.
In the spiritual order God directly conserves spiritual souls in being, and under God the angels and the saints in their way illumine souls and assist them to know and love divine things and to conserve the principles of the spiritual life.
Third Article: Whether God Could Reduce Anything To Nothing
Reply. As God most freely created and conserves all things, according to the words of Scripture, "Whatsoever the Lord pleased He hath done," so He could cease to supply being to creatures, which would reduce them to nothing. Annihilation would not be an action; it would be the cessation of conservation.
Reply to second objection. Without prejudice to His goodness, God could have refrained from creating. Erroneously Leibnitz asserted the contrary: God would not be infinitely good and wise if He had not created, and if He had not created the best of all possible worlds. To which Bossuet replied: "God is in no way greater for having created the universe."
Fourth Article: Whether Anything Is Ever Reduced To Nothing
Reply. The reply is in the negative, based on the words of Holy Scripture, "I have learned that all the works which God made, continue forever."
By His ordinary power God annihilates neither material beings, whose corruption is not annihilation since their matter remains, nor immaterial beings, in which there is no potency for non-being since they are incorruptible.
Neither by His extraordinary power, that is, miraculously, does God ever annihilate anything, because such annihilation does not pertain to the manifestation of His glory and grace. Hence there is never a motive for annihilation on the part of the end.
Some theologians, like Scotus, thought that by the Eucharistic consecration the substance of bread is annihilated when the body of Christ becomes present; but to preserve the proper use of the terms, the Councils of Florence and of Trent taught that the substance of bread is not annihilated but is changed into the body of Christ.
Reply to second objection. St. Thomas noted: "Those things that do not have a contrary, although they may have a limited power, perdure in eternity." Some thinkers have used this text to defend the principle of inertia, or the inertia of movement, namely, if some mobile thing, actually in motion, were to be deprived of every influence, it would persevere always in motion if it did not meet an obstacle. This cannot be proved <a posteriori> because we cannot isolate any mobile thing from every influence, especially every invisible influence, nor can we verify the statement that the movement would always perdure unless there were an obstacle. This principle of inertia is a postulate suggested by experience, but it is not evident, and it cannot be demonstrated <a priori> or <a posteriori>, as the better physicists admit today.
Reply to third objection. The forms of corporeal things, which cease to exist by the corruption of the composite, are not annihilated; they remain in the potency of the matter.
It is evident, then, that the conservation of things is the continuation of free creation from nothing. If the world had been created from eternity, God would have only a priority of causality and not of duration with regard to the world, but the unique, immobile instant of eternity would always be infinitely above time and it would embrace all time including that which might be infinite in its prior part.
CHAPTER XXIV: QUESTION 105 THE CHANGE OF CREATURES BY GOD
Although this question is in itself of great importance, we will not consider it at length because we have already solved the principal difficulties arising from it.
First Article: Whether God Can Directly Move Matter To The Form
State of the question. It seems that the most universal cause can directly produce only the most universal effect, that is, the being of all things inasmuch as it is being, but not the most particular effect, for example, forming this particular body out of matter.
Reply. The reply is in the affirmative, for we read in the Scriptures: "The Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth." The reason is that a being in passive potency can be reduced to act by that active potency which has this being in its power. But matter is under the power of God inasmuch as it is produced by God. Therefore matter can be reduced to act by the divine power.
Reply to first objection. An angel cannot do this because matter is not in its power. An angel cannot directly change water into wine by a direct action on the matter itself to educe the form of wine without preliminary alterations. The angel can only move bodies locally, but it can do this quickly and skillfully.
Reply to second objection. If God acted by a necessity of nature, He could produce but one effect, but God acts freely, not only with the freedom with which man freely begets only a man, but God acts directly by His will and intellect and He knows not only the universal natures of things but also this particular form which is to be imprinted on the slime of the earth.
Second Article: Whether God Can Directly Move A Body
The reply is in the affirmative, for the same reason as given in the preceding article. The contact of God moving with the body that is moved is not quantitative contact, but rather a contact of power or a dynamic contact. Thus God touches but He is not touched because the natural power of no creature can reach Him.
Third Article: Whether God Directly Moves The Created Intellect
The reply is in the affirmative. God moves the created intellect: 1. because, as the first intelligence, He gives the creature the power of intellection; 2. because He is the supreme intelligible, in whom other intelligibles pre-exist intelligibly and from whom these intelligibles are derived for other intellects. Thus God causes the intelligible species in angels directly, and in our intellect by means of the abstraction from sensible things.
Fourth Article: Whether God Can Move The Created Will
State of the question. It appears that God cannot move the created will because whatever is moved extrinsically is forced; because to move voluntarily is to be moved from within and not by another; and because voluntary deeds would not be imputed to man for merit or demerit. These objections were revived by Molinism.
St. Thomas replies that it belongs to God to move the will objectively and efficaciously, and especially interiorly by inclining it. Proof from Scripture. "For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish." Other texts were cited above.
Proof from reason. 1. On the part of the object the will is not adequately or efficaciously moved except by God because God alone is the universal good in being, which adequates and exceeds the capacity of the will. Thus God alone, clearly seen, irresistibly attracts our will. 2. Further, God alone can move the will by inclining it interiorly, just as He alone is the cause of the power of willing. The order of agents must correspond to the order of ends, and therefore only the supreme agent can move beings to the final end, to the universal good.
Reply to first objection. In moving the will, God does not force it, because He gives the will an inclination that is proper to it, and in accord with this inclination He moves the will from within. Thus God also moves the will to some particular good according to its inclination to the universal good.
Reply to second objection. To be moved voluntarily is to be moved of oneself, that is, by an intrinsic principle. But that intrinsic principle is a second cause, which is moved by the first cause.
Reply to third objection. If the will were to be moved by God in such a way that it did not move itself as a second cause, the acts of the will would not be imputed for merit or demerit. But such is not the case." Since the divine will is most efficacious, it follows not only that those things take place which God wishes, but that these things take place in the manner that God wishes. But God wishes certain effects to take place contingently (some even voluntarily) and therefore He has prepared contingent (and voluntary) causes for these effects" and He moves these causes in accord with their condition.
Fifth Article: Whether God Operates In Every Operation
The reply is in the affirmative according to the words of Scripture, "Thou hast wrought all our works for us," "For in Him we live and move and are," "The same God, who worketh all in all." In this article St. Thomas rejects two errors which are opposed to each other. According to nominalism, no created power operates in things; God alone directly does all things, for example, fire does not heat, it is God operating in the fire. On the other hand, others say that the creature can act without divine movement and thus the creature is not subordinate to the first cause; God and the creature are two coordinate causes, like two men rowing a boat.
St. Thomas takes a position above these opposing views. The operation always follows being, and the mode of operation follows the mode of being. Therefore God alone, who is being <per se>, operates of Himself without any superior movement, whereas the creature, which is being by participation, does not operate except dependently on the divine movement. That is, "God not only gives forms to things but He conserves them in being, and He applies them to action, and is the end of all actions."
If the creature were to pass from potency to act, or to action, without the divine movement, more would proceed from less, the perfect from the imperfect in opposition to the principle of causality, and the proofs for the existence of God based on motion and on efficient causes would lose their force. "Thus God is the cause of every action inasmuch as He gives the power to act, inasmuch as He conserves that power, inasmuch as He applies the power to action, and inasmuch as every power acts by His power." "God could not have made a natural thing so that it could operate without the divine operation." Nothing has been more explicitly stated by the Thomists.
Molina, however, found himself at variance with this teaching of St. Thomas. He said: "Two things in this doctrine of St. Thomas cause me difficulty. The first is that I cannot see or understand that movement and that application in second causes by which God moves these causes to act." For Molina the influx of God's general power is simultaneous, it does not flow into the second cause and apply it to action but flows directly into the effect of the second cause, "not unlike two men rowing a boat." Suarez maintained the same view. The Thomists reply that if this were true the second cause would be coordinate with the first cause and it would not be properly subordinated in causality, and the transition from potency to act would not be explained. On the other hand, we must say that the second cause is subordinated to the first cause in such a way that the whole effect is from God as from the first cause and from the creature as from the second cause, just as the fruit of the vine is entirely from the branch as the proximate cause and from the whole vine itself as from the radical cause.
God, therefore, actuates the vital functions of plants and animals, just as He actuates the vitality of our intellects and the liberty of our wills without any violence being inflicted. For God moves our will according to the inclination of the will, which He conserves, and so God is more intimately present in our liberty than this liberty is to itself. God, however, never causes the disorder in a sinful act; this inordination proceeds solely from a defective cause. Our liberty is a secondary liberty which depends on the first liberty, and the idea of liberty is predicated only analogically of uncreated and of created liberty.
Sixth Article: Whether God Can Do Anything Out Side The Order Found In Things
The reply is in the affirmative. St. Thomas' demonstration may be summed up as follows: That higher free cause upon which the application of hypothetically necessary laws depends and which is not bound by such laws is able to act without regard to these laws. But God is the omnipotent free cause upon whom the application of all hypothetically necessary laws depends (these laws constitute the order of action of all created nature), and the divine liberty is not bound by this order of action. Therefore God can act without regard to the order of action established in created nature, or in other words, God can work a miracle.
The following is an example of a hypothetically necessary law: when only natural causes are active in natural conditions, the resurrection of a body is impossible. But in the miracle of resurrection a supernatural free cause intervenes, namely, God. On the other hand, God cannot act without regard to metaphysical and mathematical principles (for example, make a square circle), because these principles are not hypothetically but absolutely necessary.
Just as a man can act without regard to his usual custom, so God is free to act without regard to the laws of nature, which are His customs in moving creatures.
We delay no longer in this argument, which we have defended and explained at length in another place.
Seventh Article: Whether Everything That God Does Outside The Natural Order Of Things Is A Miracle
The reply is in the affirmative, because a miracle is properly defined as a sensible fact produced in the world by God outside the order of action found in created nature.
Eighth Article: Whether One Miracle Is Greater Than Another
St. Thomas divides miracles according to the degree in which they exceed the powers of nature: 1. those that go beyond the powers of nature with regard to the substance of the fact, as the glorification of the body, which nature can in no way accomplish; 2. those that exceed the powers of nature with regard to the subject in which they take place, as the resurrection of the body, for while nature can cause life it cannot do so in a corpse; 3. those that exceed the powers of nature with regard to the manner in which they take place, as the instantaneous conversion of water into wine, which nature can bring about only gradually through the fermentation of the grape.
In a later question St. Thomas explains that fate is a certain disposition of natural causes to produce a determined effect; but this disposition depends on divine providence and does not preclude either the intervention of the divine liberty or human intervention. Neither does fate exclude chance, which exists in second causes (for example, when a man digs a grave and by chance comes on a treasure); but chance does not exist with regard to God, who orders even those things that are said to be casual or fortuitous.
Having disposed of these questions related to the question on creation, we turn now to the distinction of things in general and in particular.
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