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.