Sunday, June 21, 2009

Q104 A1: Whether creatures need to be kept in being by God?

Yes. Both reason and faith bind us to say that creatures are kept in being by God because God alone is being through His own essence, since His essence is His be-ing; whereas every creature has being by participation, so that its essence is not its be-ing.

Et secundum fidem et secundum rationem, quod creaturae conservantur in esse a Deo, quia solus Deus est ens per essentiam suam, quia eius essentia est suum esse; omnis autem creatura est ens participative, non quod sua essentia sit eius esse.

God cannot grant to a creature to be preserved in be-ing after the cessation of the Divine operation; as neither can He grant it not to have received its be-ing from Himself. For the creature needs to be preserved by God, insofar as the be-ing of an effect depends on the cause of its be-ing a being.

Deus non potest communicare alicui creaturae ut conservetur in esse, sua operatione cessante; sicut non potest ei communicare quod non sit causa esse illius. Intantum enim indiget creatura conservari a Deo, inquantum esse effectus dependet a causa essendi.

The preservation of things by God is not through some new action, but through a continuation of that action whereby He gives be-ing: which action is without either motion or time.

Conservatio rerum a Deo non est per aliquam novam actionem, sed per continuationem actionis qua dat esse: quae quidem actio est sine motu et tempore.

Therefore, as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. iv, 12): "If the power of God were somehow withdrawn from His creatures who are to be ruled, their form would at once cease, and every nature would collapse."

Et ideo, ut Augustinus dicit IV super Gen. ad Litt., "virtus Dei ab eis quae creata sunt regendis si cessaret aliquando, simul et illorum cessaret species, omnisque natura concideret."