Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Q111 A1: Whether an angel can enlighten man?

Yes. Men are enlightened by the angels because natural reason, which is immediately from God, can be strengthened by an angel.

Homines illuminantur per Angelos quia ratio naturalis, quae est immediate a Deo, potest per Angelum confortari.

Again, the more the human intellect is strengthened, so much higher an intelligible truth can be elicited from the species derived from creatures. Thus man is assisted by an angel so that he may obtain from creatures a more perfect knowledge of God.

Et similiter ex speciebus a creaturis acceptis, tanto altior elicitur intelligibilis veritas, quanto intellectus humanus fuerit fortior. Et sic per Angelum adiuvatur homo, ut ex creaturis perfectius in divinam cognitionem deveniat.

The human intellect, however, cannot grasp the universal truth itself unveiled; because its nature requires it to understand by turning to the phantasms, as above explained (Q84, A7).

Sed intellectus humanus non potest ipsam intelligibilem veritatem nudam capere, quia connaturale est ei ut intelligat per conversionem ad phantasmata, ut supra dictum est.

So the angels propose the intelligible truth to men under the similitudes of sensible things, according to what Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. i), that, "It is impossible for the divine ray to shine on us, otherwise than shrouded by the variety of the sacred veils."

Et ideo intelligibilem veritatem proponunt Angeli hominibus sub similitudinibus sensibilium; secundum illud quod dicit Dionysius, I cap. Cael. Hier., quod "impossibile est aliter nobis lucere divinum radium, nisi varietate sacrorum velaminum circumvelatum."