Thursday, June 18, 2009

Q103 A6: Whether all things are immediately governed by God?

No. As to the formal aspect of government, God governs all things immediately, whereas in its execution, He governs some things by means of others, because as God is the very essence of goodness, so everything must be attributed to God in its highest degree of goodness, but it is a greater perfection for a thing to be good in itself and also the cause of goodness in others, than only to be good in itself.

Quantum igitur ad rationem gubernationis pertinet, Deus immediate omnia gubernat, quantum autem pertinet ad executionem gubernationis, Deus gubernat quaedam mediantibus aliis cum Deus sit ipsa essentia bonitatis, unumquodque attribuendum est Deo secundum sui optimum, sed, quia maior perfectio est quod aliquid in se sit bonum, et etiam sit aliis causa bonitatis, quam si esset solummodo in se bonum.

If God governed alone, things would be deprived of the perfection of causality, wherefore all that is effected by many would not be accomplished by one.

Si solus Deus gubernaret, subtraheretur perfectio causalis a rebus. Unde non totum fieret per unum, quod fit per multa.

Therefore God so governs things that He makes some of them to be causes of others in government: like a teacher, who not only imparts knowledge to his pupils, but gives also the faculty of teaching others.

Et ideo sic Deus gubernat res, ut quasdam aliarum in gubernando causas instituat: sicut si aliquis magister discipulos suos non solum scientes faceret, sed etiam aliorum doctores.

Gregory of Nyssa (Nemesius, De Nat. Hom.) reproves the opinion of Plato who divides providence into three parts: The first he ascribes to the supreme god, who watches over heavenly things and all universals; the second providence he attributes to the secondary deities, who go the round of the heavens to watch over generation and corruption; while he ascribes a third providence to certain spirits who are guardians on earth of human actions.

Gregorius enim Nyssenus reprehendit opinionem Platonis, qui divisit providentiam in tria: primam quidem primi Dei, qui providet rebus caelestibus, et universalibus omnibus; secundam vero providentiam esse dixit secundorum deorum, qui caelum circumeunt, scilicet respectu eorum quae sunt in generatione et corruptione; tertiam vero providentiam dixit quorundam Daemonum, qui sunt custodes circa terram humanarum actionum.

Plato's opinion is to be rejected, because he held that God did not govern all things immediately, even in the formal aspect of government; this is clear from the fact that he divided providence, which is the formal aspect of government, into three parts.

Opinio Platonis reprehenditur, quia etiam quantum ad rationem gubernationis, posuit Deum non immediate omnia gubernare. Quod patet per hoc, quod divisit in tria providentiam, quae est ratio gubernationis.