Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Q105 A6: Whether God can do anything outside the established order of nature?

Yes. God can do something outside this order created by Him, when He chooses (for instance by producing the effects of secondary causes without them, or by producing certain effects to which secondary causes do not extend), because a higher cause is not contained by a cause of a lower order, but conversely.

Deus potest praeter hunc ordinem institutum agere, cum voluerit (puta agendo effectus secundarum causarum sine ipsis, vel producendo aliquos effectus ad quos causae secundae non se extendunt), quia causa superior non continetur sub ordine causae inferioris, sed e converso.

God fixed a certain order in things in such a way that at the same time He reserved to Himself whatever he intended to do otherwise than by a particular cause. So when He acts outside this order, He is not changed.

Deus sic rebus certum ordinem indidit, ut tamen sibi reservaret quid ipse aliquando aliter ex causa esset facturus. Unde cum praeter hunc ordinem agit, non mutatur.

Since the order of nature is given to things by God, if He does anything outside this order, it is not against nature. Wherefore Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxvi, 3): "That is natural to each thing which is caused by Him from Whom is all mode, number, and order in nature."

Cum igitur naturae ordo sit a Deo rebus inditus, si quid praeter hunc ordinem faciat, non est contra naturam. Unde Augustinus dicit, XXVI contra Faustum, quod "id est cuique rei naturale, quod ille fecerit a quo est omnis modus, numerus et ordo naturae."

If therefore we consider the order of things depending on the first cause, God cannot do anything against this order; for, if He did so, He would act against His foreknowledge, or His will, or His goodness.

Si ergo ordo rerum consideretur prout dependet a prima causa, sic contra rerum ordinem Deus facere non potest, sic enim si faceret, faceret contra suam praescientiam aut voluntatem aut bonitatem.

But if we consider the order of things depending on any secondary cause, thus God can do something outside such order; for He is not subject to the order of secondary causes; but, on the contrary, this order is subject to Him, as proceeding from Him, not by a natural necessity, but by the choice of His own will, for He could have created another order of things.

Si vero consideretur rerum ordo prout dependet a qualibet secundarum causarum, sic Deus potest facere praeter ordinem rerum. Quia ordini secundarum causarum ipse non est subiectus; sed talis ordo ei subiicitur, quasi ab eo procedens non per necessitatem naturae, sed per arbitrium voluntatis, potuisset enim et alium ordinem rerum instituere.

So Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxvi, 3): "God acts against the wonted course of nature; but by no means does He act against the supreme law, because He does not act against Himself."

Augustinus dicit, XXVI contra Faustum, quod "Deus contra solitum cursum naturae facit; sed contra summam legem tam nullo modo facit, quam contra seipsum non facit."