Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Q104 A3: Whether God can annihilate anything?

Yes. God's goodness is the cause of things, not as though by natural necessity, because the Divine goodness does not depend on created things, but [exercises causality] through His free will.

Bonitas Dei est causa rerum, non quasi ex necessitate naturae, quia divina bonitas non dependet ex rebus creatis, sed per liberam voluntatem.

Wherefore, as without prejudice to His goodness, He might not have brought forth things into be-ing, so, without prejudice to His goodness, He might not preserve things in be-ing.

Unde sicut potuit sine praeiudicio bonitatis suae, res non producere in esse; ita absque detrimento suae bonitatis, potest res in esse non conservare.

If God were to annihilate anything, this would not imply any action on God's part, but a mere cessation of His action.

Si Deus rem aliquam redigeret in nihilum, hoc non esset per aliquam actionem, sed per hoc quod ab agendo cessaret.

Non-be-ing has no direct causality, for nothing is a cause except inasmuch as it is a being; and being, strictly speaking, is the cause of be-ing a being. Therefore God is not able to be the cause of a thing to tend to non-be-ing: but a creature has this tendency of itself, inasmuch as it is [brought forth] from nothing. But indirectly God is able to be the cause which annihilates things: i.e., by withdrawing His action from things.

Non esse non habet causam per se, quia nihil potest esse causa nisi inquantum est ens; ens autem, per se loquendo, est causa essendi. Sic igitur Deus non potest esse causa tendendi in non esse: sed hoc habet creatura ex seipsa, inquantum est de nihilo. Sed per accidens Deus potest esse causa quod res in nihilum redigantur: subtrahendo scilicet suam actionem a rebus.

It is written (Jeremiah 10:24): "Correct me, O Lord, but yet with judgment; and not in Thy fury, lest Thou bring me to nothing."

Dicitur Ierem. X, "corripe me, domine, verumtamen in iudicio, et non in furore tuo, ne forte ad nihilum redigas me."