Saturday, September 30, 2006

Q46 A1: Whether the universe of creatures always existed?

No. It is not necessary for God to will that the world should always exist because the world exists inasmuch as God wills it to exist (since the being of the world depends on the will of God, as on its cause).

Nothing except God can be eternal. And this statement is far from impossible to uphold: for it has been shown above (Q19, A4) that the will of God is the cause of things.

Therefore things are necessary according as it is necessary for God to will them, since the necessity of the effect depends on the necessity of the cause (Metaph. v, text 6).

Now it was shown above (Q19, A3), that, absolutely speaking, it is not necessary that God should will anything except Himself.

It is not therefore necessary for the world to be always; and hence it cannot be proved by demonstration. Note that Aristotle's reasons (Phys. viii) are not simply, but relatively, demonstrative -- viz. in order to contradict the reasons of some of the ancients who asserted that the world began to exist in some quite impossible manner. This appears in three ways.

Firstly, because, both in Phys. viii and in De Coelo i, text 101, he premises some opinions, as those of Anaxagoras, Empedocles and Plato, and brings forward reasons to refute them.

Secondly, because wherever he speaks of this subject, he quotes the testimony of the ancients, which is not the way of a demonstrator, but of one persuading of what is probable.

Thirdly, because he expressly says (Topic. i, 9), that there are dialectical problems, about which we have nothing to say from reason, as, "whether the world is eternal."

Q46: The beginning of the duration of creatures

  1. Have creatures always existed?
  2. Is it an article of Faith that they began to exist?
  3. How is God said to have created heaven and earth in the beginning?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Q45 A8: Whether creation is mingled with works of nature and art?

No. In the works of nature, creation does not enter because creation is presupposed to the work of nature.

The operation of nature takes place only on the presupposition of created principles; and thus the products of nature are called creatures.

The doubt on this subject arises from the forms which, some said, do not come into existence by the action of nature, but previously exist in matter; for they asserted that forms are latent.

This arose from ignorance concerning matter, and from not knowing how to distinguish between potentiality and act. For because forms pre-exist in matter, "in potentiality," they asserted that they pre-exist "simply."

Others, however, said that the forms were given or caused by a separate agent by way of creation; and accordingly, that to each operation of nature is joined creation.

But this opinion arose from ignorance concerning form. For they failed to consider that the form of the natural body is not subsisting, but is that by which a thing is.

And therefore, since to be made and to be created belong properly to a subsisting thing alone (A4), it does not belong to forms to be made or to be created, but to be "concreated."

What, indeed, is properly made by the natural agent is the "composite," which is made from matter.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Q45 A7: Whether in creatures is necessarily found a trace of the Trinity?

Yes. In rational creatures, possessing intellect and will, there is found the representation of the Trinity by way of image, inasmuch as there is found in them the word conceived, and the love proceeding, because the processions of the divine Persons are referred to the acts of intellect and will (Q27), for the Son proceeds as the word of the intellect, and the Holy Ghost proceeds as love of the will.

In all creatures there is found the trace of the Trinity, inasmuch as in every creature are found some things which are necessarily reduced to the divine Persons as to their cause. For every creature subsists in its own being, and has a form, whereby it is determined to a species, and has relation to something else.

Therefore as it is a created substance, it represents the cause and principle; and so in that manner it shows the Person of the Father, Who is the "principle from no principle."

According as it has a form and species, it represents the Word as the form of the thing made by art is from the conception of the craftsman.

According as it has relation of order, it represents the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as He is love, because the order of the effect to something else is from the will of the Creator.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Q45 A6: Whether to create is proper to any person?

No. To create is not proper to any one Person but is common to the whole Trinity because to create belongs to God according to His being, that is, His essence, which is common to the three Persons.

To create is, properly speaking, to cause or produce the being of things. And as every agent produces its like, the principle of action can be considered from the effect of the action.

Nevertheless the divine Persons, according to the nature of their procession, have a causality respecting the creation of things. For as was said above (Q14, A8; Q19, A4), when treating of the knowledge and will of God, God is the cause of things by His intellect and will, just as the craftsman is cause of the things made by his craft.

Now the craftsman works through the word conceived in his mind, and through the love of his will regarding some object. Hence also God the Father made the creature through His Word, which is His Son; and through His Love, which is the Holy Ghost.

And so the processions of the Persons are the type of the productions of creatures inasmuch as they include the essential attributes, knowledge and will.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Q45 A5: Whether it belongs to God alone to create?

Yes. It is impossible for any creature to create, either by its own power or instrumentally (that is, ministerially) because the proper effect of God creating is what is presupposed to all other effects (and that is absolute being).

Hence nothing else can act dispositively and instrumentally to this effect, since creation is not from anything presupposed, which can be disposed by the action of the instrumental agent.

And above all it is absurd to suppose that a body can create, for no body acts except by touching or moving; and thus it requires in its action some pre-existing thing, which can be touched or moved, which is contrary to the very idea of creation.

Hence it is manifest that creation is the proper act of God alone.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Q45 A4: Whether to be created belongs to composite and subsisting things?

Yes. Properly speaking, created things are subsisting beings because, as accidents and forms and non-subsisting things are to be said to co-exist rather than to exist, so they ought to be called rather "concreated" than "created" things.

To be made and to be created properly belong to whatever being belongs; which, indeed, belongs properly to subsisting things, whether they are simple things, as in the case of separate substances, or composite, as in the case of material substances. For being belongs to that which has being--that is, to what subsists in its own being.

In the proposition "the first of created things is being," the word "being" does not refer to the subject of creation, but to the proper concept of the object of creation. For a created thing is called created because it is a being, not because it is "this" being, since creation is the emanation of all being from the Universal Being.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Q45 A3: Whether creation is anything in the creature?

Yes. Creation in the creature is only a certain relation to the Creator as to the principle of its being because when movement is removed from action and passion, only relation remains.

Creation places something in the thing created according to relation only; because what is created, is not made by movement, or by change. (For what is made by movement or by change is made from something pre-existing.)

And this happens, indeed, in the particular productions of some beings, but cannot happen in the production of all being by the universal cause of all beings, which is God. Hence God by creation produces things without movement.

It is greater for a thing to be made according to its entire substance, than to be made according to its substantial or accidental form. But generation taken simply, or relatively, whereby anything is made according to the substantial or the accidental form, is something in the thing generated. Therefore much more is creation, whereby a thing is made according to its whole substance, something in the thing created.

Creation signified actively means the divine action, which is God's essence, with a relation to the creature. But in God relation to the creature is not a real relation, but only a relation of reason; whereas the relation of the creature to God is a real relation, as was said above (Q13, A7) in treating of the divine names.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Q45 A2: Whether God can create anything?

Yes. God brings things into being from nothing because if God did only act from something presupposed, it would follow that the thing presupposed would not be caused by Him.

Nothing can be, unless it is from God, Who is the universal cause of all being.

Creation is not change, except according to a mode of understanding. For change means that the same something should be different now from what it was previously. Sometimes, indeed, the same actual thing is different now from what it was before, as in motion according to quantity, quality and place; but sometimes it is the same being only in potentiality, as in substantial change, the subject of which is matter. But in creation, by which the whole substance of a thing is produced, the same thing can be taken as different now and before only according to our way of understanding, so that a thing is understood as first not existing at all, and afterwards as existing. But as action and passion coincide as to the substance of motion, and differ only according to diverse relations (Phys. iii), it must follow that when motion is withdrawn, only diverse relations remain in the Creator and in the creature. But because the mode of signification follows the mode of understanding as was said above (Q13, A1), creation is signified by mode of change; and on this account it is said that to create is to make something from nothing. And yet "to make" and "to be made" are more suitable expressions here than "to change" and "to be changed," because "to make" and "to be made" import a relation of cause to the effect, and of effect to the cause, and imply change only as a consequence.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Q45 A1: Whether to create is to make something from nothing?

Yes. If the emanation of the whole universal being from the first principle be considered, it is impossible that any being should be presupposed before this emanation because creation, which is the emanation of all being, is from the "not-being" which is "nothing", just as the generation of a man is from the "not-being" which is "not-man".

We must consider not only the emanation of a particular being from a particular agent, but also the emanation of all being from the universal cause, which is God; and this emanation we designate by the name of creation.

Augustine uses the word creation in an equivocal sense, according as to be created signifies improvement in things; as when we say that a bishop is created. We do not, however, speak of creation in that way here.

Now what proceeds by particular emanation, is not presupposed to that emanation; as when a man is generated, he was not before, but man is made from "not-man," and white from "not-white".

Nothing is the same as no being. Hence if the emanation of the whole universal being from the first principle be considered, it is impossible that any being should be presupposed before this emanation.

Q45: The mode of emanation of things from the first principle

  1. What is creation?
  2. Can God create anything?
  3. Is creation anything in the very nature of things?
  4. To what things does it belong to be created?
  5. Does it belong to God alone to create?
  6. Is creation common to the whole Trinity, or proper to any one Person?
  7. Is any trace of the Trinity to be found in created things?
  8. Is the work of creation mingled with the works of nature and of the will?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Q44 A4: Whether God is the final cause of all things?

Yes. The divine goodness is the end of all things because it does not belong to the First Agent, Who is agent only, to act for the acquisition of some end; He intends only to communicate His perfection, which is His goodness.

Every creature, however, intends to acquire its own perfection, which is the likeness of the divine perfection and goodness.

It is said (Proverbs 16:4): "The Lord has made all things for Himself."

RO1: To act from need belongs only to an imperfect agent, which by its nature is both agent and patient. But this does not belong to God, and therefore He alone is the most perfectly liberal giver, because He does not act for His own profit, but only for His own goodness.

RO3: All things desire God as their end, when they desire some good thing, whether this desire be intellectual or sensible, or natural, i.e. without knowledge; because nothing is good and desirable except forasmuch as it participates in the likeness to God.

Q44 A3: Whether the exemplar cause is anything besides God?

No. God Himself is the first exemplar of all things because things made by nature receive determinate forms (and this determination of forms must be reduced to the divine wisdom as its first principle, for divine wisdom devised the order of the universe, which order consists in the variety of things) and therefore we must say that in the divine wisdom are the types of all things, which types we have called ideas (i.e., exemplar forms existing in the divine mind [Q15, A1]), and these ideas, though multiplied by their relations to things, in reality are not apart from the divine essence (according as the likeness to that essence can be shared diversely by different things).

Moreover, in things created one may be called the exemplar of another by the reason of its likeness thereto, either in species, or by the analogy of some kind of imitation.

The exemplar is the same as the idea. But ideas, according to Augustine (QQ. 83, qu. 46), are "the master forms, which are contained in the divine intelligence." Therefore the exemplars of things are not outside God.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Q44 A2: Whether primary matter is created by God?

Yes. Primary matter is created by the universal cause of things because whatever is the cause of things considered as beings, must be the cause of things, not only according as they are "such" by accidental forms, nor according as they are "these" by substantial forms, but also according to all that belongs to their being at all in any way.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Q44 A1: Whether it is necessary that every being be created by God?

Yes. All things which are diversified by the diverse participation of being, so as to be more or less perfect, are caused by one First Being, Who possesses being most perfectly because all beings apart from God are not their own being, but are beings by participation.

Though the relation to its cause is not part of the definition of a thing caused, still it follows, as a consequence, on what belongs to its essence; because from the fact that a thing has being by participation, it follows that it is caused.

Hence such a being cannot be without being caused, just as man cannot be without having the faculty of laughing.

But, since to be caused does not enter into the essence of being as such, therefore is it possible for us to find a being uncaused.

The science of mathematics treats its object as though it were something abstracted mentally, whereas it is not abstract in reality. Now, it is becoming that everything should have an efficient cause in proportion to its being. And so, although the object of mathematics has an efficient cause, still, its relation to that cause is not the reason why it is brought under the consideration of the mathematician, who therefore does not demonstrate that object from its efficient cause. Thus the demonstration of God's efficient causality belongs not to mathematics but to physics.

QQ44-49: Creation

PRODUCTION: The first cause (Q44) of beings. Creation (Q45), which is the mode of emanation of creatures from the first cause. The beginning of the duration (Q46) of creatures.

The distinction of things in general(Q47). The distinction of good and evil: evil (Q48) and its cause (Q49).

The distinction of creatures -- spiritual (or angels), corporeal, and man (which is both) -- is outlined below (QQ50-119).

Q44: The procession of creatures from God, and of the first cause of all things

  1. Is God the efficient cause of all beings?
  2. Is primary matter created by God, or is an independent coordinate principle with Him?
  3. Is God the exemplar cause of beings or are there other exemplar causes?
  4. Is He the final cause of things?

Q43 A8: Whether a divine person is sent only by the person whence He proceeds eternally?

No. If the person sending is understood as the principle of the effect implied in the mission, in that sense the whole Trinity sends the person sent because a divine person is sent by one from Whom He does not proceed.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Q43 A7: Whether it is fitting for the Holy Ghost to be sent visibly?

Yes. The Son has been sent visibly as the author of sanctification and the Holy Ghost as the sign of sanctification because it belongs to the Holy Ghost, Who proceeds as Love, to be the gift of sanctification; to the Son as the principle of the Holy Ghost, it belongs to the author of this sanctification.

Q43 A6: Whether the invisible mission is to all who participate grace?

Yes. The invisible mission is sent to all in whom there is the indwelling of grace and a certain renewal by grace because mission in its very meaning implies that he who is sent either begins to exist where he was not before, as occurs to creatures, or begins to exist where he was before, but in a new way, in which sense mission is ascribed to the divine persons.

The invisible mission is directed to the blessed at the very beginning of their beatitude. The invisible mission is made to them subsequently, not by "intensity" of grace, but by the further revelation of mysteries; which goes on till the day of judgment. Such an increase is by the "extension" of grace, because it extends to a greater number of objects. To Christ the invisible mission was sent at the first moment of His conception; but not afterwards, since from the beginning of His conception He was filled with all wisdom and grace.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Q43 A5: Whether it is fitting for the Son to be sent invisibly?

Yes. It belongs to both the Son and to the Holy Ghost to be invisibly sent because it belongs to both to dwell in the soul by grace.

The whole Trinity dwells in the mind by sanctifying grace, according to Jn. 14:23: "We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him." But that a divine person be sent to anyone by invisible grace signifies both that this person dwells in a new way within him and that He has His origin from another.

The soul is made like to God by grace. Hence for a divine person to be sent to anyone by grace, there must needs be a likening of the soul to the divine person Who is sent, by some gift of grace. Because the Holy Ghost is Love, the soul is assimilated to the Holy Ghost by the gift of charity: hence the mission of the Holy Ghost is according to the mode of charity. Whereas the Son is the Word, not any sort of word, but one Who breathes forth Love. Hence Augustine says (De Trin. ix 10): "The Word we speak of is knowledge with love."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Q43 A3: Whether the invisible mission of the divine person is only according to the gift of sanctifying grace?

Yes. The Holy Ghost Himself is given and sent and He proceeds temporally only according to sanctifying grace because the rational creature by its operation of knowledge and love attains to God Himself, and according to this special mode God is said not only to exist in the rational creature but also to dwell therein as in His own temple, and no other effect can be put down as the reason why the divine person is in the rational creature in a new mode, except sanctifying grace.

God is in all things by His essence, power and presence, according to His one common mode, as the cause existing in the effects which participate in His goodness. Above and beyond this common mode, however, there is one special mode belonging to the rational nature wherein God is said to be present as the object known is in the knower, and the beloved in the lover.

We are said to possess only what we can freely use or enjoy: and to have the power of enjoying the divine person can only be according to sanctifying grace. And yet the Holy Ghost is possessed by man, and dwells within him, in the very gift itself of sanctifying grace. Hence the Holy Ghost Himself is given and sent.

By the gift of sanctifying grace the rational creature is perfected so that it can freely use not only the created gift itself, but enjoy also the divine person Himself; and so the invisible mission takes place according to the gift of sanctifying grace; and yet the divine person Himself is given.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Q43 A2: Whether mission is eternal, or only temporal?

Both. The Son may proceed eternally as God; but temporally, by becoming man, according to His visible mission, or likewise by dwelling in man according to His invisible mission because "mission" and "giving" have only a temporal significance in God; but "generation" and "spiration" are exclusively eternal; whereas "procession" and "giving," in God, have both an eternal and a temporal signification.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Q43 A1: Whether a divine person can be properly sent?

Yes. The mission of a divine person is a fitting thing, as meaning in one way the procession of origin from the sender, and as meaning a new way of existing in another because the Son is said to be sent by the Father into the world, inasmuch as He began to exist visibly in the world by taking our nature; whereas "He was" previously "in the world" (John 1:1).

Mission implies inferiority in the one sent, when it means procession from the sender as principle, by command or counsel: the one commanding is the greater, and the counsellor is the wiser. In God, however, it means only procession of origin, which is according to equality (Q42, A4; Q42, A6).

The divine person sent neither begins to exist where he did not previously exist, nor ceases to exist where He was. Hence such a mission takes place without a separation, having only distinction of origin.

Q43: The mission of the divine persons

  1. Is it suitable for a divine person to be sent?
  2. Is mission eternal, or only temporal?
  3. In what sense is a divine person invisibly sent?
  4. Is it fitting that each person be sent?
  5. Are both the Son and the Holy Ghost invisibly sent?
  6. To whom is the invisible mission directed?
  7. The visible mission
  8. Does any person send Himself visibly or invisibly?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Q42 A6: Whether the Son is equal to the Father in power?

Yes. The Son is equal to the Father in power (and the same applies to the Holy Ghost in relation to both) because the very notion of the divine paternity and filiation requires that the Son should be the Father's equal in greatness: that is, in perfection of nature.

Power of action is a consequence of perfection in nature. In creatures, for instance, we see that the more perfect the nature, the greater power is there for action.

As the same essence is paternity in the Father and filiation in the Son, so by the same power the Father begets, and the Son is begotten.

Hence it is clear that the Son can do whatever the Father can do; yet it does not follow that the Son can beget; for to argue thus would imply transition from substance to relation, for generation signifies a divine relation.

So the Son has the same omnipotence as the Father, but with another relation: the Father possessing power as "giving" (signified when we say that He is able to beget); while the Son possesses the power of "receiving" (signified by saying that He can be begotten).

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Q42 A5: Whether the Son is in the Father, and conversely?

Yes. According to each of three points of consideration the Son and the Father are in each other: the essence, the relation, and the origin.

The Father is in the Son by His essence, forasmuch as the Father is His own essence, and communicates His essence to the Son not by any change on His part. Hence it follows that as the Father's essence is in the Son, the Father Himself is in the Son; likewise, since the Son is His own essence, it follows that He Himself is in the Father in Whom is His essence.

It is also manifest that as regards the relations, each of two relative opposites is in the concept of the other.

Regarding origin also, it is clear that the procession of the intelligible word is not outside the intellect, inasmuch as it remains in the utterer of the word. What also is uttered by the word is therein contained. And the same applies to the Holy Ghost.

Q42 A4: Whether the Son is equal to the Father in greatness?

Yes. We must say that the Son was eternally equal to the Father in greatness because the greatness of God is nothing but the perfection of His nature and belongs to the essence.

In God there exist real true paternity and filiation.

As, therefore, the same essence, which in the Father is paternity, in the Son is filiation, so the same dignity which, in the Father is paternity, in the Son is filiation.

Q42 A3: Whether in the divine persons there exists an order of nature?

Yes. In God order exists according to origin, without priority, and this is called 'the order of nature' because principle, according to origin, without priority, exists in God (Q33, A1).

In things created, even when what is derived from a principle is co-equal in duration with its principle, the principle still comes first in the order of nature and reason, if formally considered as principle.

If, however, we consider the relations of cause and effect, or of the principle and the thing proceeding therefrom, it is clear that the things so related are simultaneous in the order of nature and reason, inasmuch as the one enters the definition of the other.

But in God the relations themselves are the persons subsisting in one nature. So, neither on the part of the nature, nor on the part the relations, can one person be prior to another, not even in the order of nature and reason.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Q42 A2: Whether the person proceeding is co-eternal with His principle, as the Son with the Father?

Yes. The Son existed whensoever the Father existed and thus the Son is co-eternal with the Father, and likewise the Holy Ghost is co-eternal with both because the Father does not beget the Son by will, but by nature, and the Father's nature was perfect from eternity, and the action whereby the Father produces the Son is not successive (because otherwise the Son would be successively generated, and this generation would be material, and accompanied with movement: which is quite impossible).

Athanasius declares that "all the three persons are co-eternal with each other."

In time there is something indivisible--namely, the instant; and there is something else which endures--namely, time. But in eternity the indivisible "now" stands ever still, as we have said above (Q10, A2 ad 1, A4 ad 2).

But the generation of the Son is not in the "now" of time, or in time, but in eternity.

And so to express the presentiality and permanence of eternity, we can say that "He is ever being born," as Origen said (Hom. in Joan. i). But as Gregory [Moral. xxix, 21] and Augustine [Super Ps. 2:7 said, it is better to say "ever born," so that "ever" may denote the permanence of eternity, and "born" the perfection of the only Begotten.

Thus, therefore, neither is the Son imperfect, nor "was there a time when He was not," as Arius said.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Q42 A1: Whether there is equality in God?

Yes. We must admit equality among the divine persons because if there were any inequality in the divine persons, they would not have the same essence (and thus the three persons would not be one God, which is impossible).

Athanasius says that "the three persons are co-eternal and co-equal to one another."

In the divine persons there is nothing for us to consider but the essence which they have in common and the relations in which they are distinct. Now equality implies both --namely, distinction of persons (for nothing can be said to be equal to itself) and unity of essence (since for this reason are the persons equal to one another, that they are of the same greatness and essence).

Now it is clear that the relation of a thing to itself is not a real relation. Nor, again, is one relation referred to another by a further relation: for when we say that paternity is opposed to filiation, opposition is not a relation mediating between paternity and filiation. For in both these cases relation would be multiplied indefinitely.

Therefore equality and likeness in the divine persons is not a real relation distinct from the personal relations: but in its concept it includes both the relations which distinguish the persons, and the unity of essence.

Q42: Equality and likeness among the divine persons

  1. Is there equality among the divine persons?
  2. Is the person who proceeds equal to the one from Whom He proceeds in eternity?
  3. Is there any order among the divine persons?
  4. Are the divine persons equal in greatness?
  5. Is the one divine person in another?
  6. Are they equal in power?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Q41 A6: Whether several persons can be the term of one notional act?

No. In God there is only one Father, one Son, and one Holy Ghost because divine perfection and the total absence of matter in God require that there cannot be several Sons in God, etc.

That there are not several Sons, for example, is not due to any lack of begetting power in the Father.

Thus several persons cannot be the term of one notional act; for this four reasons may be given.

The first reason is in regard to the relations by which alone are the Persons distinct. For since the divine Persons are the relations themselves as subsistent, there would not be several Fathers, or several Sons in God, unless there were more than one paternity, or more than one filiation. And this, indeed, would not be possible except owing to a material distinction: since forms of one species are not multiplied except in respect of matter, which is not in God. Wherefore there can be but one subsistent filiation in God: just as there could be but one subsistent whiteness.

The second reason is taken from the manner of the processions. For God understands and wills all things by one simple act. Wherefore there can be but one person proceeding after the manner of word, which person is the Son; and but one person proceeding after the manner of love, which person is the Holy Ghost.

The third reason is taken from the manner in which the persons proceed. For the persons proceed naturally, as we have said (Q41, A2), and nature is determined to one.

The fourth reason is taken from the perfection of the divine persons. For this reason is the Son perfect, that the entire divine filiation is contained in Him, and that there is but one Son. The argument is similar in regard to the other persons.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Q41 A5: Whether the power of begetting signifies a relation, and not the essence?

No. The power of begetting signifies principally the divine essence and not the relation only (nor does it signify the essence as identified with the relation, so as to signify both equally) because that by which the Father begets is the divine nature, in which the Son is like to Him.

The power of begetting signifies the divine nature directly, but the relation indirectly.

For although paternity is signified as the form of the Father, nevertheless it is a personal property, being in respect to the person of the Father, what the individual form is to the individual creature.

Now the individual form in things created constitutes the person begetting, but is not that by which the begetter begets, otherwise Socrates would beget Socrates. So neither can paternity be understood as that by which the Father begets, but as constituting the person of the Father, otherwise the Father would beget the Father.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Q41 A4: Whether in God there is a power in respect of the notional acts?

Yes. As the notional acts exist in God, so must there be also a power in God regarding these acts because power only means the principle of act.

As we understand the Father to be principle of generation, and the Father and the Son to be the principle of spiration, we must attribute the power of generating to the Father, and the power of spiration to the Father and the Son.

In every generator we must suppose the power of generating, and in the spirator the power of spirating.

As a person, according to notional acts, does not proceed as if made, so the power in God as regards the notional acts has no reference to a person as if made, but only as regards the person as proceeding.

Power signifies a principle: and a principle implies distinction from that of which it is the principle. Now we must observe a double distinction in things said of God: one is a real distinction, the other is a distinction of reason only.

By a real distinction, God by His essence is distinct from those things of which He is the principle by creation: just as one person is distinct from the other of which He is principle by a notional act.

But in God the distinction of action and agent is one of reason only, otherwise action would be an accident in God.

With regard to the actions "to understand" and "to will", we cannot ascribe power to God in its proper sense, but only after our way of understanding and speaking: inasmuch as we designate by different terms the intellect and the act of understanding in God, whereas in God the act of understanding is His very essence which has no principle.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Q41 A3: Whether the notional acts proceed from something?

Yes. The Son was not begotten from nothing, but from the Father's substance because if the Son of God proceeds from the Father out of nothing, He could not be properly and truly called the Son.

It was explained above (Q27, A2; Q33, AA2-3) that paternity, filiation and nativity really and truly exist in God.

The true Son of God is not from nothing; nor is He made, but begotten.

That certain creatures made by God out of nothing are called sons of God is to be taken in a metaphorical sense, according to a certain likeness of assimilation to Him Who is the true Son.

The Son of God is begotten of the substance of the Father, but not in the same way as man is born of man; for a part of the human substance in generation passes into the substance of the one begotten, whereas the divine nature cannot be parted.

The Father in begetting the Son does not transmit any part of His nature, but communicates His whole nature to Him, the distinction only of origin remaining.