Friday, June 30, 2006

Q25 A4: Whether God can make the past not to have been?

No. God cannot effect that anything which is past should not have been because there does not fall under the scope of God's omnipotence anything that implies a contradiction.

As Aristotle says (Ethic. vi, 2): "Of this one thing alone is God deprived--namely, to make undone the things that have been done."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Q25 A3: Whether God is omnipotent?

Yes. Whatsoever has or can have the nature of being, is numbered among the absolutely possible things, in respect of which God is called omnipotent because nothing is opposed to the idea of being except non-being.

Therefore, that which implies being and non-being at the same time is repugnant to the idea of an absolutely possible thing, within the scope of the divine omnipotence. For such cannot come under the divine omnipotence, not because of any defect in the power of God, but because it has not the nature of a feasible or possible thing.

Therefore, everything that does not imply a contradiction in terms, is numbered amongst those possible things, in respect of which God is called omnipotent: whereas whatever implies contradiction does not come within the scope of divine omnipotence, because it cannot have the aspect of possibility. Hence it is better to say that such things cannot be done, than that God cannot do them.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Q25 A2: Whether the power of God is infinite?

Yes. God's power is infinite because the divine essence, through which God acts, is infinite.

Active power exists in God according to the measure in which He is actual.

And His actual existence is infinite, inasmuch as it is not limited by anything that receives it (Q7, A1).

It is not necessary that the infinite power of God should be manifested so as to produce an infinite effect. Yet even if it were to produce no effect, the power of God would not be ineffectual; because a thing is ineffectual which is ordained towards an end to which it does not attain. But the power of God is not ordered toward its effect as towards an end; rather, it is the end of the effect produced by it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Q25 A1: Whether there is power in God?

Yes. In God there is active power in the highest degree because God is pure act, simply and in all ways perfect, nor in Him does any imperfection find place.

Power is twofold--namely, passive, which exists not at all in God; and active, which we must assign to Him in the highest degree.

Active power is not contrary to act, but is founded upon it, for everything acts according as it is actual: but passive power is contrary to act; for a thing is passive according as it is potential. Whence this potentiality is not in God, but only active power.

Whenever act is distinct from power, act must be nobler than power. But God's action is not distinct from His power, for both are His divine essence; neither is His existence distinct from His essence. Hence it does not follow that there should be anything in God nobler than His power.

Power is predicated of God not as something really distinct from His knowledge and will, but as differing from them logically; inasmuch as power implies a notion of a principle putting into execution what the will commands, and what knowledge directs, which three things in God are identified.

Or we may say, that the knowledge or will of God, according as it is the effective principle, has the notion of power contained in it. Hence the consideration of the knowledge and will of God precedes the consideration of His power, as the cause precedes the operation and effect.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Q25: God's power

Having discussed God's existence (Q2), His essence (QQ3-13), and His operations (QQ14-24), we now conclude by considering the power of God (Q25) -- i.e., the principle of the divine operation as proceeding to the exterior effect -- and also the divine beatitude (Q26).

God's power is treated in six articles:
  1. Is there power in God?
  2. Is His power infinite?
  3. Is He omnipotent?
  4. Could He make the past not to have been?
  5. Could He do what He does not, or not do what He does?
  6. Could He make better what He makes?

Q24 A3: Whether anyone may be blotted out of the book of life?

Yes. The book of life is the inscription of those ordained to eternal life, to which one is directed from two sources: namely, from predestination (which direction never fails) and from grace (for whoever has grace, by this very fact becomes fitted for eternal life). This direction fails sometimes because some are directed by possessing grace, to obtain eternal life, yet they fail to obtain it through mortal sin.

Therefore those who are ordained to possess eternal life through divine predestination are written down in the book of life simply, because they are written therein to have eternal life in reality; such are never blotted out from the book of life. Those, however, who are ordained to eternal life, not through divine predestination, but through grace, are said to be written in the book of life not simply, but relatively, for they are written therein not to have eternal life in itself, but in its cause only.

Yet though these latter can be said to be blotted out of the book of life, this blotting out must not be referred to God, as if God foreknew a thing, and afterwards knew it not; but to the thing known, namely, because God knows one is first ordained to eternal life, and afterwards not ordained when he falls from grace.

Q24 A2: Whether the book of life regards only the life of glory of the predestined?

Yes. The book of life implies a conscription or a knowledge of those chosen to life because the life of glory is an end exceeding human nature.

The divine life, even considered as a life of glory, is natural to God; whence in His regard there is no election, and in consequence no book of life.

The life of grace has the aspect, not of an end, but of something directed towards an end. Hence nobody is said to be chosen to the life of grace, except so far as the life of grace is directed to glory. For this reason those who, possessing grace, fail to obtain glory, are not said to be chosen simply, but relatively.

Likewise they are not said to be written in the book of life simply, but relatively; that is to say, that it is in the ordination and knowledge of God that they are to have some relation to eternal life, according to their participation in grace.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Q24 A1: Whether the book of life is the same as predestination?

Yes. All the predestined are chosen by God to possess eternal life and this conscription of the predestined is called the book of life because the knowledge of God, by which He firmly remembers that He has predestined some to eternal life, is called the book of life.

The book of life is in God taken in a metaphorical sense, according to a comparison with human affairs: for it is usual among men that they who are chosen for any office should be inscribed in a book; as, for instance, soldiers, or counsellors, who formerly were called "conscript" fathers.

Predestination and the book of life are different aspects of the same thing: for this latter implies the knowledge of predestination.

Q24: The book of life

  1. What is the book of life?
  2. Of what life is it the book?
  3. Can anyone be blotted out of the book of life?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Q23 A8: Whether predestination can be furthered by the prayers of the saints?

Yes. Predestination is said to be helped by the prayers of the saints, and by other good works because providence, of which predestination is a part, does not do away with secondary causes but so provides effects that the order of secondary causes falls also under providence.

But predestination is not furthered by the prayers of the saints as regards the preordination.

Yet God is helped by us inasmuch as we execute His orders (1 Cor. 3:9: "We are God's co-adjutors.")

Nor is this on account of any defect in the power of God, but because He employs intermediary causes, in order that the beauty of order may be preserved in the universe; and also that He may communicate to creatures the dignity of causality.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Q23 A7: Whether the number of the predestined is certain?

Yes. The number of the predestined is certain because of His deliberate choice and determination, not only by way of knowledge, but also by way of a principal pre-ordination.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Q23 A6: Whether predestination is certain?

Yes. Predestination most certainly and infallibly takes effect, yet it does not impose any necessity (so that its effect should take place from necessity) because predestination is a part of providence (and the order of providence is infallible) but not all things subject to providence are necessary.

The order of predestination is certain, yet free-will is not destroyed; whence the effect of predestination has its contingency.

The divine knowledge and will do not destroy contingency in things, although they themselves are most certain and infallible.

And God does not permit some to fall, without raising others.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Q23 A5: Whether the foreknowledge of merits is the cause of predestination?

No. It cannot be said that anything begun in us (merits) can be the cause of the effect of predestination because there is no distinction between what flows from free will, and what is of predestination (as there is not distinction between what flows from a secondary cause and from a first cause).

It is impossible that the whole of the effect of predestination in general should have any cause as coming from us, because whatsoever is in man disposing him towards salvation, is all included under the effect of predestination, even the preparation for grace.

The cause for the predestination of some, and reprobation of others, must be sought for in the goodness of God. Thus He is said to have made all things through His goodness, so that the divine goodness might be represented in things. Now it is necessary that God's goodness, which in itself is one and undivided, should be manifested in many ways in His creation, because creatures in themselves cannot attain to the simplicity of God. Thus it is that for the completion of the universe there are required different grades of being, some of which hold a high and some a low place in the universe. That this multiformity of grades may be preserved in things, God allows some evils, lest many good things should never happen.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Q23 A4: Whether the predestined are chosen by God?

Yes. All the predestinate are objects of election and love because love precedes election in the order of reason, and election precedes predestination.

Election in us precedes love because in us the will in loving does not cause good, but we are incited to love by the good which already exists; and therefore we choose someone to love.

In God, however, it is the reverse. For His will, by which in loving He wishes good to someone, is the cause of that good possessed by some in preference to others.

If the communication of the divine goodness in general be considered, God communicates His goodness without election, inasmuch as there is nothing which does not in some way share in His goodness.

But if we consider the communication of this or that particular good, He does not allot it without election, since He gives certain goods to some men, which He does not give to others. Thus in the conferring of grace and glory election is implied.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Q23 A3: Whether God reprobates any man?

Yes. As men are ordained to eternal life through the providence of God, it likewise is part of that providence to permit some to fall away from that end (this is called reprobation) because it belongs to providence to permit certain defects in those things which are subject to providence.

Reprobation differs in its causality from predestination. This latter is the cause both of what is expected in the future life by the predestined--namely, glory--and of what is received in this life--namely, grace. Reprobation, however, is not the cause of what is in the present--namely, sin; but it is the cause of abandonment by God. It is the cause, however, of what is assigned in the future--namely, eternal punishment. But guilt proceeds from the free-will of the person who is reprobated and deserted by grace.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Q23 A2: Whether predestination places anything in the predestined?

No. Predestination is not anything in the predestined but only in the person who predestines because predestination is a kind of type of the ordering of some persons towards eternal salvation, existing in the divine mind.

The execution, however, of this order is in a passive way in the predestined, but actively in God.

Grace does not come into the definition of predestination, as something belonging to its essence, but inasmuch as predestination implies a relation to grace, as of cause to effect, and of act to its object. Whence it does not follow that predestination is anything temporal.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Q22 A4: Whether providence imposes any necessity on things foreseen?

No, not on all things. Divine providence imposes necessity upon some things but not upon all (as some formerly believed) because to providence it belongs to order things towards an end, but after the divine goodness, which is an extrinsic end to all things, the principal good in things themselves is the perfection of the universe, which would not be, were not all grades of being found in things, whence it pertains to divine providence to produce every grade of being.

The effect of divine providence is not only that things should happen somehow but that they should happen either by necessity or by contingency.

Therefore whatsoever divine providence ordains to happen infallibly and of necessity happens infallibly and of necessity; and that happens from contingency, which the plan of divine providence conceives to happen from contingency.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Q22 A3: Whether God has immediate providence over everything?

Yes. God has immediate providence over everything because He has in His intellect the types of everything, even the smallest, and whatsoever causes He assigns to certain effects, He gives them the power to produce those effects, whence it must be that He has beforehand the type of those effects in His mind.

Two things belong to providence--namely, the type of the order of things foreordained towards an end; and the execution of this order, which is called government.

There are certain intermediaries of God's providence for He governs things inferior by superior, not on account of any defect in His power, but by reason of the abundance of His goodness; so that the dignity of causality is imparted even to creatures.

Thus Plato's opinion, as narrated by Gregory of Nyssa (De Provid. viii, 3), is exploded. Plato taught a threefold providence. First, one which belongs to the supreme Deity, Who first and foremost has provision over spiritual things, and thus over the whole world as regards genus, species, and universal causes. The second providence, which is over the individuals of all that can be generated and corrupted, he attributed to the divinities who circulate in the heavens; that is, certain separate substances, which move corporeal things in a circular direction. The third providence, over human affairs, he assigned to demons, whom the Platonic philosophers placed between us and the gods, as Augustine tells us (De Civ. Dei, 1, 2: viii, 14).

Note RO3: It is better for us not to know low and vile things, because by them we are impeded in our knowledge of what is better and higher; for we cannot understand many things simultaneously; because the thought of evil sometimes perverts the will towards evil. This does not hold with God, Who sees everything simultaneously at one glance, and whose will cannot turn in the direction of evil.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Q22 A2: Whether everything is subject to the providence of God?

Yes. All things are subject to divine providence, not only in general, but even in their own individual selves because since every agent acts for an end, the ordering of effects towards that end extends as far as the causality of the first agent extends.

Since the providence of God is nothing less than the type of the order of things towards an end, it necessarily follows that all things, inasmuch as they participate in existence, must likewise be subject to divine providence.

God knows all things, both universal and particular. And since His knowledge may be compared to the things themselves, as the knowledge of art to the objects of art, all things must of necessity come under His ordering, as all things wrought by art are subject to the ordering of that art.

Man is not the author of nature; but he uses natural things in applying art and virtue to his own use. Hence human providence does not reach to that which takes place in nature from necessity; but divine providence extends thus far, since God is the author of nature.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Q22 A1: Whether providence can suitably be attributed to God?

Yes. It is necessary to attribute providence to God because it belongs to prudence to direct other things towards an end whether in regard to oneself (as for instance, a man is said to be prudent, who orders well his acts towards the end of life, but in God Himself there can be nothing ordered towards an end, since He is the last end) or in regard to others subject to him (and in this way prudence or providence may suitably be attributed to God).

Two things pertain to the care of providence--namely, the reason of order (ratio ordinis), which is called providence (providentia) and disposition (dispositio); and the execution of order (executio ordinis), which is termed government (gubernatio). Of these, the first is eternal, and the second is temporal.

Providence resides in the intellect but presupposes the act of willing the end. Nobody gives a precept about things done for an end unless he wills that end. Hence prudence presupposes the moral virtues, by means of which the appetitive faculty is directed towards good.

Even if Providence has to do with the divine will and intellect equally, this would not affect the divine simplicity, since in God both the will and intellect are one and the same thing, as we have said above (Q19).

God's operations of intellect and will

We now proceed to consider Providence (Q22), in respect to all created things; for in the science of morals, after the moral virtues themselves, comes the consideration of prudence, to which providence belongs.
  1. Is providence suitably assigned to God?
  2. Does everything come under divine providence?
  3. Is divine providence immediately concerned with all things?
  4. Does divine providence impose any necessity upon things foreseen?
Predestination (Q23) and the book of life (Q24) are then to be treated next in connection with God's operations of intellect and will.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Q21 A4: Whether in every work of God there are mercy and justice?

Yes. God out of abundance of His goodness bestow upon creatures what is due to them more bountifully than is proportionate to their deserts because less would suffice for preserving the order of justice than what the divine goodness confers but the influence of the first cause is more intense than that of second causes since between creatures and God's goodness there can be no proportion.

Although creation presupposes nothing in the universe yet it does presuppose something in the knowledge of God.

In this way too the idea of justice is preserved in creation by the production of beings in a manner that accords with the divine wisdom and goodness.

And the idea of mercy, also, is preserved in the change of creatures from non-existence to existence.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Q21 A3: Whether mercy can be attributed to God?

Yes. Mercy is especially to be attributed to God, as seen in its effect, but not as an affection of passion because a person is said to be merciful [misericors], as being, so to speak, sorrowful at heart [miserum cor] (i.e., being affected with sorrow at the misery of another as though it were his own) and hence it follows that he endeavors to dispel the misery of this other, as if it were his: and this is the effect of mercy.

To sorrow, therefore, over the misery of others belongs not to God; but it does most properly belong to Him to dispel that misery, whatever be the defect we call by that name.

The communicating of perfections, absolutely considered, appertains to goodness, as shown above (Q6, A1, A4); insofar as perfections are given to things in proportion, the bestowal of them belongs to justice, as has been already said (Q21, A1); insofar as God does not bestow them for His own use, but only on account of His goodness, it belongs to liberality; insofar as perfections given to things by God expel defects, it belongs to mercy.

Q21 A2: Whether the justice of God is truth?

Yes. God's justice, which establishes things in the order conformable to the rule of His wisdom (which is the law of His justice) is suitably called truth because as works of art are related to art, so are works of justice related to the law with which they accord.

When the mind is the rule or measure of things, truth consists in the equation of the thing to the mind, just as the work of an artist is said to be true, when it is in accordance with his art.

Justice, as to the law that governs, resides in the reason or intellect; but as to the command whereby our actions are governed according to the law, it resides in the will.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Q21 A1: Whether there is justice in God?

Yes. God is truly just because He gives to all existing things what is proper to the condition of each (and preserves the nature of each in the order and with the powers that properly belong to it).

Since good as perceived by intellect is the object of the will, it is impossible for God to will anything but what His wisdom approves. This is, as it were, His law of justice, in accordance with which His will is right and just.

Hence, what He does according to His will He does justly: as we do justly what we do according to law. But whereas law comes to us from some higher power, God is a law unto Himself.

Q21: God's justice and mercy

In our own wills we find both the passions (such as joy and love), and the habits of the moral virtues (such as justice and fortitude). Hence we considered the love (Q20) of God first, but now His justice and mercy (Q21) in four articles:
  1. Is there justice in God?
  2. Can His justice be called truth?
  3. Is there mercy in God?
  4. Are justice and mercy in every work of God?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Q20 A4: Whether God always loves more the better things?

Yes. God loves more the better things because it has been shown that God's loving one thing more than another is nothing else than His willing for that thing a greater good: because God's will is the cause of goodness in things (and the reason why some things are better than others, is that God wills for them a greater good).

God loves Christ not only more than He loves the whole human race, but more than He loves the entire created universe: because He willed for Him the greater good in giving Him "a name that is above all names," insofar as He was true God.

God loves the human nature assumed by the Word of God in the person of Christ more than He loves all the angels; for that nature is better, especially on the ground of the union with the Godhead.

But speaking of human nature in general, and comparing it with the angelic, the two are found equal, in the order of grace and of glory: since according to Rev 21:17, the measure of a man and of an angel is the same. Yet so that, in this respect, some angels are found nobler than some men, and some men nobler than some angels. But as to natural condition an angel is better than a man.

God therefore did not assume human nature because He loved man, absolutely speaking, more; but because the needs of man were greater (just as the master of a house may give some costly delicacy to a sick servant, that he does not give to his own son in sound health).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Q20 A3: Whether God loves all things equally?

No. God loves some things more than others because since God's love is the cause of goodness in things, no one thing would be better than another, if God did not will greater good for one than for another.

God is said to have equally care of all, not because by His care He deals out equal good to all, but because He administers all things with a like wisdom and goodness.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Q20 A2: Whether God loves all things?

Yes. God loves all existing things because all existing things, in so far as they exist, are good, since the existence of a thing is itself a good (and likewise, whatever perfection it possesses).

Although creatures have not existed from eternity, except in God, yet because they have been in Him from eternity, God has known them eternally in their proper natures; and for that reason has loved them, even as we, by the images of things within us, know things existing in themselves.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Q20 A1: Whether love exists in God?

Yes. In God there is love because love is the first movement of the will and of every appetitive faculty.

Q20: God's love

We have just discussed God's will (Q19). In our own wills we find both the passions (such as joy and love), and the habits of the moral virtues (such as justice and fortitude). Hence we shall next consider the love (Q20) of God, and then His justice and mercy (Q21).

Q20 has four articles:
  1. Does love exist in God?
  2. Does He love all things?
  3. Does He love one thing more than another?
  4. Does He love more the better things?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Q19 A12: Whether five expressions of will are rightly assigned to the divine will?

Yes. Five expressions of will -- namely, prohibition, precept, counsel, operation, and permission -- are rightly assigned to the divine will because by these signs we name the expression of will by which we are accustomed to show that we will something.

It may be said that permission and operation refer to present time, permission being with respect to evil, operation with regard to good. Whilst as to future time, prohibition is in respect to evil, precept to good that is necessary and counsel to good that is of supererogation.

Q19 A11: Whether the will of expression is to be distinguished in God?

Yes. In God there are distinguished will in its proper sense, and will as attributed to Him by metaphor because will in its proper sense is called the will of good pleasure; and will metaphorically taken is the will of expression, inasmuch as the sign itself of will is called will.

Q19 A10: Whether God has free-will?

Yes. God has free will with respect to what He does not necessarily will because God necessarily wills His own goodness, but other things not necessarily (Q19 A3).

It is manifestly impossible for Him to will the evil of sin; yet He can make choice of one of two opposites, inasmuch as He can will a thing to be, or not to be.

In the same way we ourselves, without sin, can will to sit down, and not will to sit down.