Sunday, April 30, 2006

Q14 A13: Whether the knowledge of God is of future contingent things?

Yes. God knows future contingent things because they are subject to the divine sight in their presentiality (yet they are future contingent things in relation to their own causes).

God knows all contingent things not only as they are in their causes, but also as each one of them is actually in itself.

And although contingent things become actual successively, nevertheless God knows contingent things not successively as they are in their own being (as we do) but simultaneously.

The reason is because His knowledge is measured by eternity, as is also His being; and eternity being simultaneously whole comprises all time (Q10, A2).

Hence all things that are in time are present to God from eternity, not only because He has the types of things present within Him, but because His glance is carried from eternity over all things as they are in their presentiality.

An analogy: He who goes along the road, does not see those who come after him; whereas he who sees the whole road from a height, sees at once all travelling by the way.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Q14 A12: Whether God can know infinite things?

Yes. God knows even the thoughts and affections of hearts (which will be multiplied to infinity as rational creatures go on for ever) because the divine essence, whereby the divine intellect understands, is a sufficing likeness of all things that are, or can be, not only as regards the universal principles, but also as regards the principles proper to each one: the knowledge of vision.

God does not know the infinite or infinite things, as if He enumerated part after part; since He knows all things simultaneously, and not successively.

The knowledge of God is the measure of things, not quantitatively, for the infinite is not subject to this kind of measure; but it is the measure of the essence and truth of things.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Q14 A11: Whether God knows singular things?

Yes. God knows singular things in their singularity because His essence is the sufficing principle of knowing all things made by Him, not only in the universal, but also in the singular.

Since God is the cause of things by His knowledge (Q14 A8), His knowledge extends as far as His causality extends: i.e., not only to forms, which are the source of universality, but also to matter (Q44, A2) -- and singular things are individualized by matter.

Although by one faculty we know the universal and immaterial, and by another we know singular and material things, nevertheless God knows both by His simple intellect.

Our intellect abstracts the intelligible species from the individualizing principles; hence the intelligible species in our intellect cannot be the likeness of the individual principles; and on that account our intellect does not know the singular.

But the intelligible species in the divine intellect, which is the essence of God, is immaterial not by abstraction, but of itself, being the principle of all the principles which enter into the composition of things, whether principles of the species or principles of the individual; hence by it God knows not only universal, but also singular things.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Q14 A10: Whether God knows evil things?

Yes. By the fact that God knows good things, He knows evil things also, because the essence of evil is that it is the privation of good.

God knows evil, not by privation existing in Himself, but by the opposite good: e.g., as by light, darkness is known.

The knowledge of God is not the cause of evil; but it is the cause of the good whereby evil is known.

Evil is not opposed to the divine essence, which is not corruptible by evil. Evil is opposed to the effects of God, which He knows by His essence. (And hence, by knowing these effects, He knows the opposite evils.)

Evil is not of itself knowable, inasmuch as the very nature of evil means the privation of good. Therefore evil can neither be defined nor known, except by good.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Q14 A9: Whether God has knowledge of things that are not?

Yes. God has knowledge even of things that are not because those things that are not actual are true in so far as they are in potentiality (for it is true that they are in potentiality, and as such they are known by God).

Although some things may not be in act now, still they were, or they will be; and God is said to know all these with the knowledge of vision: for since God's act of understanding, which is His being, is measured by eternity (and since eternity is without succession, comprehending all time), the present glance of God extends over all time, and to all things which exist in any time, as to objects present to Him.

But there are other things in God's power, or the creature's, which nevertheless are not, nor will be, nor were; and as regards these He is said to have knowledge, not of vision, but of simple intelligence. This is so called because the things we see around us have distinct being outside the seer.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Q14 A8: Whether the knowledge of God is the cause of things?

Yes. The knowledge of God is the cause of things because God causes things by His intellect, since His being is His act of understanding; and hence His knowledge must be the cause of things, in so far as His will is joined to it.

Natural things are midway between the knowledge of God and our knowledge: for we receive knowledge from natural things, of which God is the cause by His knowledge. Hence, as the natural objects of knowledge are prior to our knowledge, and are its measure, so the knowledge of God is prior to natural things, and is the measure of them.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Q14 A7: Whether the knowledge of God is discursive?

No. In the divine knowledge there is no discursion because God sees all things in one act, which is Himself (therefore God sees all things together, and not successively) and because, all at once, God sees His effects in Himself as their cause (not needing to resolve the effects into their causes, i.e., from known to the unknown, from principles to conclusions).

As Augustine says (De Trin. xv), "God does not see all things in their particularity or separately, as if He saw alternately here and there; but He sees all things together at once."

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Q14 A6: Whether God knows things other than Himself by proper knowledge?

Yes. God has proper knowledge of things (which is to know them not only in general, but as they are distinct from each other) because the essence of God contains in itself all the perfection contained in the essence of any other being (and far more).

The nature proper to each thing consists in some degree of participation in the divine perfection.

The created essence is compared to the essence of God as the imperfect to the perfect act. Therefore the created essence cannot sufficiently lead us to the knowledge of the divine essence, but rather the converse.

To know a thing in general (and not in particular) is to have an imperfect knowledge. Hence our intellect, when it is reduced from potentiality to act, acquires first a universal and confused knowledge of things, before it knows them in particular (as proceeding from the imperfect to the perfect). If therefore the knowledge of God regarding things other than Himself is only universal and not special, it would follow that His understanding would not be absolutely perfect; therefore neither would His being be perfect. We must say therefore that God not only knows that all things are in Himself; but by the fact that they are in Him, He knows them in their own nature.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Q14 A5: Whether God knows things other than Himself?

Yes. God necessarily knows things other than Himself because the divine power extends to other things by the very fact that it is the first effective cause of all things: and His existence as first effective cause is His own act of understanding.

His essence contains the similitude of things other than Himself.

The intellectual operation is specified by that intelligible form (which makes the intellect in act): and this is the image of the principal thing understood. But in God this is nothing but His own essence (in which all images of things are comprehended).

Friday, April 21, 2006

Q14 A4: Whether the act of God's intellect is His substance?

Yes. The act of God's intellect is His substance because His essence itself is also His intelligible species: it necessarily follows that His act of understanding must be His essence and His existence (since in God there is no form which is something other than His existence).

The act of understanding is the perfection and act of the one understanding. To understand is not an act passing to anything extrinsic; for it remains in the operator as his own act and perfection.

Existence is the perfection of the one existing. And just as existence follows on the form, so in like manner to understand follows on the intelligible species. But in God, intellect, and the object understood, and the intelligible species, and His act of understanding are entirely one and the same.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Q14 A3: Whether God comprehends Himself?

Yes. God perfectly comprehends Himself (i.e., He knows Himself as much as He is knowable) because the power of God in knowing is as great as His actuality in existing (i.e., God is most cognitive because He is in act and free from all matter and potentiality).

Everything is knowable according to the mode of its own actuality. A thing is not known according as it is in potentiality, but in so far as it is in actuality. And God alone is pure act.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Q14 A2: Whether God understands Himself?

Yes. God understands Himself through Himself because, although in us sense or intellect is distinct from the sensible or intelligible object (since both are in potentiality), God has nothing in Him of potentiality (since He is pure act, i.e., His intellect and its object are altogether the same) so that He neither is without the intelligible species (as is the case with our intellect when it understands potentially) nor does the intelligible species differ from the substance of the divine intellect (as it differs in our intellect when it understands actually) but the intelligible species itself is the divine intellect itself: and thus God understands Himself through Himself.

As for us, the reason why we actually feel or know a thing is because our intellect or sense is actually informed by the sensible or intelligible species. And because of this only, it follows that our sense or intellect is distinct from the sensible or intelligible object, since both are in potentiality. God, however, is a pure act.

Note RO3: Existence in nature does not belong to primary matter, which is a potentiality, unless it is reduced to act by a form. Now our passive intellect has the same relation to intelligible objects as primary matter has to natural things; for it is in potentiality as regards intelligible objects, just as primary matter is to natural things.

Hence our passive intellect can be exercised concerning intelligible objects only so far as it is perfected by the intelligible species of something; and in that way it understands itself by an intelligible species, as it understands other things: for it is manifest that by knowing the intelligible object it understands also its own act of understanding, and by this act knows the intellectual faculty.

But God is a pure act in the order of existence, as also in the order of intelligible objects; therefore He understands Himself through Himself.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Q14 A1: Whether there is knowledge in God?

Yes. In God there exists the most perfect knowledge because the immateriality of a thing is the reason why it is cognitive: the mode of knowledge is according to the mode of immateriality.

Since God is in the highest degree of immateriality (Q7, A1), it follows that He occupies the highest place in knowledge (cognitio).

Intelligent beings are distinguished from non-intelligent beings in that the latter possess only their own form; whereas the intelligent being is naturally adapted to have also the form of some other thing; for the idea of the thing known is in the knower.

Now the contraction of the form comes from the matter. Hence, as we have said above (Q7, A1), forms, according as they are the more immaterial, approach more nearly to a kind of infinity.

Plants do not know, because they are wholly material. But sense is cognitive because it can receive images free from matter, and the intellect is still further cognitive, because it is more separated from matter and unmixed.

Note RO2: Man has different kinds of knowledge (habet diversas cognitiones), according to the different objects of his knowledge (secundum diversa cognita).

He has "intelligence" (intelligentia) as regards the knowledge of principles.

He has "science" (scientia) as regards knowledge of conclusions.

He has "wisdom" (sapientia) according as he knows the highest cause.

He has "counsel" (consilium) or "prudence" (prudentia) according as he knows what is to be done.

Note RO3: Divine knowledge does not exist in God after the mode of created knowledge.

Q14: God's knowledge

Q14 considers God's knowledge with sixteen articles:
  1. Is there knowledge in God?
  2. Does God understand Himself?
  3. Does He comprehend Himself?
  4. Is His understanding His substance?
  5. Does He understand other things besides Himself?
  6. Does He have a proper knowledge of them?
  7. Is the knowledge of God discursive?
  8. Is the knowledge of God the cause of things?
  9. Does God have knowledge of non-existing things?
  10. Does He have knowledge of evil?
  11. Does He have knowledge of individual things?
  12. Does He know the infinite?
  13. Does He know future contingent things?
  14. Does He know enunciable things?
  15. Is the knowledge of God variable?
  16. Does God have speculative or practical knowledge of things?

God's intellectual operations

Having treated of God's existence (Q2) and what we can know of His essence (QQ3-13), we turn now to consider His operations, beginning with five questions on the operations of His intellect:

God's knowledge (Q14).

The ideas (Q15), which exist in His knowledge.

Truth (Q16) in God, for knowledge is of things that are true.

Falsity (Q17) in God.

The life of God (Q18), since to understand belongs to living beings.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Q13 A12: Whether affirmative propositions can be formed about God?

Yes. True affirmative propositions can be formed about God because the plurality of predicate and subject in the proposition represents the plurality of idea (since in every true affirmative proposition the predicate and the subject signify in some way the same thing in reality, and different things in idea); thus by composition does the intellect represent the unity of the reality.

God, as considered in Himself, is altogether one and simple; yet our intellect knows Him by different conceptions, because it cannot see Him as He is in Himself.

Nevertheless, although it understands Him under different conceptions, it knows that one and the same simple object corresponds to its conceptions.

Our intellect cannot comprehend simple subsisting forms, as they really are in themselves; therefore it apprehends the simple form as a subject, and attributes something else to it.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Q13 A11: Whether this name, HE WHO IS, is the most proper name of God?

Yes. This name HE WHO IS is most properly applied to God because of three reasons:

(1) it signifies simply existence itself (since the existence of God is His essence itself, which can be said of no other)

(2) it is most universal (it determines no mode of being, but is indeterminate to all; and therefore it denominates the "infinite ocean of substance": pelagus substantiae infinitum et indeterminatum)

(3) its consignification (since it signifies present existence, and this above all properly applies to God, whose existence knows not past or future)

Note RO2: This name HE WHO IS is the name of God more properly than this name "God," as regards its source, namely, existence; and as regards the mode of signification and consignification, as said above.

But as regards the object intended by the name, this name "God" is more proper, as it is imposed to signify the divine nature.

And still more proper is the Tetragrammaton, imposed to signify the substance of God itself, incommunicable and, if one may so speak, singular.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Q13 A10: Whether this name "God" is applied to God univocally by nature, by participation, and according to opinion?

No. This name "God" in the three aforesaid significations is taken neither univocally nor equivocally, but analogically because it is manifest that the name has different meanings, but that one of them is comprised in the other significations.

The multiplication of names does not depend on the predication of the name, but on the signification.

Neither a Catholic nor a pagan knows the very nature of God as it is in itself; but each one knows it according to some idea of causality, or excellence, or remotion.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Q13 A9: Whether this name "God" is communicable?

No. This name "God" is incommunicable in reality, but communicable in opinion, because this name "God" is communicable, not in its whole signification, but in some part of it by way of similitude.

But if any name were given to signify God not as to His nature but as to His "suppositum" (i.e., accordingly as He is considered as "this something") that name would be absolutely incommunicable (as, for instance, perhaps the Tetragrammaton among the Hebrew).

The singular, from the fact that it is singular, is divided off from all others. Hence every name imposed to signify any singular thing is incommunicable both in reality and idea; for the plurality of this individual thing cannot be; nor can it be conceived in idea. Hence no name signifying any individual thing is properly communicable to many, but only by way of similitude; as for instance a person can be called "Achilles" metaphorically, forasmuch as he may possess something of the properties of Achilles, such as strength.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Q13 A8: Whether this name "God" is a name of the nature?

Yes. The name "God" signifies the divine nature because, although God is not known to us in His nature (but is made known to us from His operations or effects), this name was imposed to signify Him existing above all things who is exercising universal providence over all things (since we can name a thing according to the knowledge we have of its nature from its properties and effects).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Q13 A7: Whether names which imply relation to creatures are predicated of God temporally?

Yes. The names which import relation to creatures are applied to God temporally because it is manifest that creatures are really related to God Himself (since God is outside the whole order of creation, and all creatures are ordered to Him, and not conversely).

In God, however, there is no real relation to creatures, but a relation only in idea, inasmuch as creatures are referred to Him.

Thus there is nothing to prevent these names which import relation to the creature from being predicated of God temporally, not by reason of any change in Him, but by reason of the change of the creature.

For example, as a column is on the right of an animal, without change in itself, but by change in the animal who is pacing around the column.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Q13 A6: Whether names predicated of God are predicated primarily of creatures?

No. As regards what the name signifies, these analogical names are applied primarily to God rather than to creatures, because these perfections flow from God to creatures.

But as regards the imposition of the names, they are primarily applied by us to creatures, because creatures are that which we know first.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Q13 A5: Whether what is said of God and of creatures is univocally predicated of them?

No. Univocal predication is impossible between God and creatures because no name belongs to God in the same sense that it belongs to creatures.

For example, "wisdom" in creatures is a quality, but not in God.

Instead, some things are said of God and creatures analogically, and not in a purely equivocal nor in a purely univocal sense. For we can name God only from creatures (Q13 A1).

This mode of community of idea is a mean between pure equivocation and simple univocation. For in analogies the idea is not, as it is in univocals, one and the same, yet it is not totally diverse as in equivocals; but a term which is thus used in a multiple sense signifies various proportions to some one thing.

For an example of analogy, consider how "healthy" has multiple senses: when applied to urine, "healthy" signifies the sign of animal health; and when applied to medicine, "healthy" signifies the cause of the same health.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Q13 A4: Whether names applied to God are synonymous?

No. Although the names applied to God signify one thing, they are not synonymous because they signify that one thing under many and different aspects.

Synonymous terms, however, signify one thing under one aspect.

The many aspects of these non-synonymous names, when applied to God, are not empty and vain, for there corresponds to all of them one simple reality, but represented by them in a manifold and imperfect manner.

The idea signified by the name is the conception in the intellect of the thing signified by the name. But our intellect, since it knows God from creatures, in order to understand God, forms conceptions proportional to the perfections flowing from God to creatures.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Q13 A3: Whether any name can be applied to God in its literal sense?

Yes. Not all names are applied to God in a metaphorical sense (e.g., "rock"), but there are some which are said of Him in their literal sense, because as regards what is signified by these names (e.g., "being", "good", "living", etc.), they belong properly to God.

That is, they belong to God more properly than they belong to creatures, and are applied primarily to Him.

But note: as regards their mode of signification, these literal names do not properly and strictly apply to God; for their mode of signification applies to creatures.

That is, what such a literal name signifies does not belong to Him in the ordinary sense of its signification, but in a more eminent way.

In summary: literal names imply corporeal conditions, not in the thing signified, but as regards their mode of signification; whereas those which are applied to God metaphorically imply and mean a corporeal condition in the thing signified.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Q13 A2: Whether any name can be applied to God substantially?

Yes. Some names signify the divine substance, and are predicated substantially of God, although they fall short of a full representation of Him because these names express God so far as our intellects know Him, as the excelling principle of whose form the effects fall short.

Some names signify the divine substance, but in an imperfect manner, even as creatures represent it imperfectly.

So when we say, "God is good," the meaning is not, "God is the cause of goodness," or "God is not evil"; the meaning is, "Whatever good we attribute to creatures, pre-exists in God," and in a more excellent and higher way.

Hence it does not follow that God is good, because He causes goodness; but rather, on the contrary, He causes goodness in things because He is good.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Q13 A1: Whether a name can be given to God?

Yes. God can be named by us because we can give a name to anything insofar as we can understand it.

As Aristotle realized, because words are signs of ideas, and ideas the similitude of things, it is evident that words relate to the meaning of things signified through the medium of the intellectual conception.

We have minds capable of knowing something about God by reasoning with our intellect from His manifest physical effects to the concept of their first cause.

Of course, His essence is above all that we do understand about God and signify in word.

Q13: The names of God

We conclude our study of what we can know of the essence of God by summarizing what we can say of God when predicating names of Him:
  1. Can God be named by us?
  2. Are any names applied to God predicated of Him substantially?
  3. Are any names applied to God said of Him literally, or are all to be taken metaphorically?
  4. Are any names applied to God synonymous?
  5. Are some names applied to God and to creatures univocally or equivocally?
  6. Supposing they are applied analogically, are they applied first to God or to creatures?
  7. Are any names applicable to God from time?
  8. Is this name "God" a name of nature, or of the operation?
  9. Is this name "God" a communicable name?
  10. Is it taken univocally or equivocally as signifying God, by nature, by participation, and by opinion?
  11. Is this name, "Who is," the supremely appropriate name of God?
  12. Can affirmative propositions be formed about God?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Q12 A13: Whether by grace a higher knowledge of God can be obtained than by natural reason?

Yes. We have a more perfect knowledge of God by grace than by natural reason because the knowledge which we have by natural reason contains images (percepts derived from sensible objects) and the natural intelligible light (enabling us to abstract from percepts intelligible conceptions); in both of these, human knowledge is assisted by the revelation of grace.

The intellect's natural light is strengthened by the infusion of gratuitous light. And sometimes also the images in the human imagination are divinely formed (e.g., visions and voices), so as to express divine things better than those do which we receive from sensible objects.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Q12 A12: Whether God can be known in this life by natural reason?

Yes. God is known by natural knowledge because we can know of Him from the images of His effects.

From the knowledge of sensible things the whole power of God cannot be known (nor therefore can His essence be seen). But because they are His effects and depend on their cause, we can be led from them so far as to know of God whether He exists and, further, to know of Him what must necessarily belong to Him (i.e., as the first cause of all things, exceeding all things caused by Him).

Monday, April 03, 2006

Q12 A11: Whether anyone in this life can see the essence of God?

No. It is impossible for the soul of man in this life to see the essence of God because our soul, as long as we live in this life, has its being in corporeal matter; hence naturally it knows only what has a form in matter, or what can be known by such a form.

But it is evident that the Divine essence cannot be known through the nature of material things. For it was shown above (Q12, A9) that the knowledge of God by means of any created similitude is not the vision of His essence.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Q12 A10: Whether those who see the essence of God see all they see in it at the same time?

Yes. What is seen in the essence of God is seen not successively, but at the same time because things seen in God are not seen singly by their own similitude but all are seen by the one essence of God: hence they are seen simultaneously, and not successively.

As regards their natural knowledge, whereby they know things by diverse ideas given them, the angels do not know all things simultaneously, and thus they are moved in the act of understanding according to time; but as regards what they see in God, they see all at the same time.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Q12 A9: Whether what is seen in God by those who see the Divine essence, is seen through any similitude?

No. Those who see the divine essence see what they see in God not by any likeness, but by the divine essence itself united to their intellect because all things are seen in God as in an intelligible mirror.

That is, the cognitive faculty is assimilated not by likenesses (i.e., similitudes or ideas) but by the object itself (i.e., by His own essence).