Monday, July 27, 2009

Q110 A4: Whether angels can work miracles?

No. God alone can work miracles because for a miracle is required that it be against the order of the whole created nature; but God alone can do this, because, whatever an angel or any other creature does by its own power, is according to the order of created nature; and thus it is not a miracle.

Solus Deus miracula facere possit quia aliquid dicitur esse miraculum, quod fit praeter ordinem totius naturae creatae; hoc autem non potest facere nisi Deus, quia quidquid facit Angelus, vel quaecumque alia creatura, propria virtute, hoc fit secundum ordinem naturae creatae; et sic non est miraculum.

Spiritual powers are able to effect whatever happens in this visible world, by employing corporeal seeds by local movement.

Spirituales potestates possunt facere ea quae visibiliter fiunt in hoc mundo, adhibendo corporalia semina per motum localem.

A miracle properly so called is when something is done outside the order of nature. But it is not enough for the formal aspect of a miracle if something is done outside the order of any particular nature; for otherwise anyone would perform a miracle by throwing a stone upwards, as such a thing is outside the order of the stone's nature.

Miraculum proprie dicitur, cum aliquid fit praeter ordinem naturae. Sed non sufficit ad rationem miraculi si aliquid fiat praeter ordinem naturae alicuius particularis; quia sic, cum aliquis proiicit lapidem sursum, miraculum faceret, cum hoc sit praeter ordinem naturae lapidis.

Properly speaking, as said above, miracles are those things which are done outside the order of the whole created nature. But as we do not know all the power of created nature, it follows that when anything is done outside the order of created nature by a power unknown to us, it is called a miracle as regards ourselves.

Miracula simpliciter loquendo, dicuntur, ut dictum est, cum aliqua fiunt praeter ordinem totius naturae creatae. Sed quia non omnis virtus naturae creatae est nota nobis, ideo cum aliquid fit praeter ordinem naturae creatae nobis notae, per virtutem creatam nobis ignotam, est miraculum quoad nos.

So when the demons do anything of their own natural power, these things are called "miracles" not in an absolute sense, but in reference to ourselves. In this way the magicians work miracles through the demons; and these are said to be done by "private contracts," inasmuch as every power of the creature, in the universe, may be compared to the power of a private person in a city. Hence when a magician does anything by compact with the devil, this is done as it were by private contract.

Sic igitur cum Daemones aliquid faciunt sua virtute naturali, miracula dicuntur non simpliciter, sed quoad nos. Et hoc modo magi per Daemones miracula faciunt. Et dicuntur fieri per privatos contractus, quia quaelibet virtus creaturae in universo se habet ut virtus alicuius privatae personae in civitate; unde cum magus aliquid facit per pactum initum cum Daemone, hoc fit quasi per quendam privatum contractum.

On the other hand, the Divine justice is in the whole universe as the public law is in the city. Therefore good Christians, so far as they work miracles by Divine justice, are said to work miracles by "public justice": but bad Christians by the "signs of public justice," as by invoking the name of Christ, or by making use of other sacred signs.

Sed iustitia divina est in toto universo sicut lex publica in civitate. Et ideo boni Christiani, inquantum per iustitiam divinam miracula faciunt, dicuntur facere miracula per publicam iustitiam. Mali autem Christiani per signa publicae iustitiae, sicut invocando nomen Christi, vel exhibendo aliqua sacramenta.