"It is because the contemporary alternatives seem so one-sided and are not more evidently solutions to the problems which Thomas faced, and partly solved, that we return to him and to the tradition of theology and philosophy in which his Summa Theologiae appears: theology as the science of the first principle and this as the total knowledge of reality in its unity." -- Wayne J. Hankey, God in Himself (Oxford University Press, 1987), p.159.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Q54 A2: Whether in the angel to understand is to exist?
The action of the angel, as also the action of any creature, is not his existence.
The essence of an angel is the reason of his entire existence, but not the reason of his whole act of understanding, since he cannot understand everything by his essence. Consequently in its own specific nature as such an essence, it is compared to the existence of the angel, whereas to his act of understanding it is compared as included in the idea of a more universal object, namely, truth and being. Thus it is evident, that, although the form is the same, yet it is not the principle of existence and of understanding according to the same formality. On this account it does not follow that in the angel "to be" is the same as "to understand".
The being of every creature is restricted to one in genus and species; God's being alone is simply infinite, comprehending all things in itself, as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. v). Hence the Divine nature alone is its own act of understanding and its own act of will.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Q54 A1: Whether an angel's act of understanding is his substance?
It is impossible for anything which is not a pure act, but which has some admixture of potentiality, to be its own actuality: because actuality is opposed to potentiality. But God alone is pure act. Hence only in God is His substance the same as His existence and His action.
Q54: The knowledge of the angels
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Q53 A3: Whether the movement of an angel is instantaneous?
In every change there is a before and after. Now the before and after of movement is reckoned by time. Consequently every movement, even of an angel, is in time, since there is a before and after in it.
Q53 A2: Whether an angel passes through intermediate space?
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Q53 A1: Whether an angel can be moved locally?
And the angel can also all at once quit the whole place, and in the same instant apply himself to the whole of another place, and thus his movement will not be continuous.
The continuity of movement is according to the continuity of magnitude; and according to priority and posteriority of local movement, as the Philosopher says (Phys. iv, text 99).
But an angel is not in a place as commensurate and contained, but rather as containing it. Hence it is not necessary for the local movement of an angel to be commensurate with the place, nor for it to be according to the exigency of the place, so as to have continuity therefrom; but it is a non-continuous movement.
For since the angel is in a place only by virtual contact (Q52, A1), it follows necessarily that the movement of an angel in a place is nothing else than the various contacts of various places successively, and not at once; because an angel cannot be in several places at one time (Q52, A2).
Nor is it necessary for these contacts to be continuous. Nevertheless a certain kind of continuity can be found in such contacts, because there is nothing to hinder us from assigning a divisible place to an angel according to virtual contact (Q52, A1), just as a divisible place is assigned to a body by contact of magnitude.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Q52 A3: Whether several angels can be at the same time in the same place?
This is evident in every class of causes: for there is one proximate form of one thing, and there is one proximate mover, although there may be several remote movers.
Nor can it be objected that several individuals may row a boat, since no one of them is a perfect mover, because no one man's strength is sufficient for moving the boat; while all together are as one mover, in so far as their united strengths all combine in producing the one movement.
Hence, since the angel is said to be in one place by the fact that his power touches the place immediately by way of a perfect container (Q52 A1), there can be but one angel in one place.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Q52 A2: Whether an angel can be in several places at once?
An angel's power and nature are finite, whereas the Divine power and essence, which is the universal cause of all things, is infinite: consequently God through His power touches all things, and is not merely present in some places, but is everywhere.
Now since the angel's power is finite, it does not extend to all things, but to one determined thing. For whatever is compared with one power must be compared therewith as one determined thing.
Consequently since all being is compared as one thing to God's universal power, so is one particular being compared as one with the angelic power. The entire body to which he is applied by his power, corresponds as one place to him.
Q52 A1: Whether an angel is in a place?
A body is said to be in a place in such a way that it is applied to such place according to the contact of dimensive quantity; but there is no such quantity in the angels, for theirs is a virtual one.
An incorporeal substance virtually contains the thing with which it comes into contact, and is not contained by it: for the soul is in the body as containing it, not as contained by it.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Q51 A3: Whether the angels exercise functions of life in the bodies assumed?
Sensation is entirely a vital function. Consequently it can in no way be said that the angels perceive through the organs of their assumed bodies. Yet such bodies are not fashioned in vain; for they are not fashioned for the purpose of sensation through them, but to this end, that by such bodily organs the spiritual powers of the angels may be made manifest.
Properly speaking, the angels do not talk through their assumed bodies; yet there is a semblance of speech, in so far as they fashion sounds in the air like to human voices.
Properly speaking, the angels cannot be said to eat, because eating involves the taking of food convertible into the substance of the eater.
Although after the Resurrection food was not converted into the substance of Christ's body, but resolved into pre-existing matter; nevertheless Christ had a body of such a true nature that food could be changed into it; hence it was a true eating. But the food taken by angels was neither changed into the assumed body, nor was the body of such a nature that food could be changed into it; consequently, it was not a true eating, but figurative of spiritual eating. This is what the angel said to Tobias: "When I was with you, I seemed indeed to eat and to drink; but I use an invisible meat and drink" (Tobit 12:19).
As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xv): "Many persons affirm that they have had the experience, or have heard from such as have experienced it, that the Satyrs and Fauns, whom the common folk call incubi, have often presented themselves before women, and have sought and procured intercourse with them. Hence it is folly to deny it. But God's holy angels could not fall in such fashion before the deluge. Hence by the sons of God are to be understood the sons of Seth, who were good; while by the daughters of men the Scripture designates those who sprang from the race of Cain. Nor is it to be wondered at that giants should be born of them; for they were not all giants, albeit there were many more before than after the deluge."
Still if some are occasionally begotten from demons, it is not from the seed of such demons, nor from their assumed bodies, but from the seed of men taken for the purpose; as when the demon assumes first the form of a woman, and afterwards of a man; just as they take the seed of other things for other generating purposes, as Augustine says (De Trin. iii), so that the person born is not the child of a demon, but of a man.
Q51 A2: Whether angels assume bodies?
Angels need an assumed body, not for themselves, but on our account; that by conversing familiarly with men they may give evidence of that intellectual companionship which men expect to have with them in the life to come.
Moreover that angels assumed bodies under the Old Law was a figurative indication that the Word of God would take a human body; because all the apparitions in the Old Testament were ordained to that one whereby the Son of God appeared in the flesh.
Q51 A1: Whether the angels have bodies naturally united to them?
It was the opinion of some that every being is a body; and consequently some seem to have thought that there were no incorporeal substances existing except as united to bodies; so much so that some even held that God was the soul of the world, as Augustine tells us (De Civ. Dei vii).
As this is contrary to Catholic Faith, which asserts that God is exalted above all things, according to Ps. 8:2: "Thy magnificence is exalted beyond the heavens"; Origen, while refusing to say such a thing of God, followed the above opinion of others regarding the other substances; being deceived here as he was also in many other points, by following the opinions of the ancient philosophers.
Bernard's expression can be explained, that the created spirit needs some bodily instrument, which is not naturally united to it, but assumed for some purpose, as will be explained (Q51 A2).
Augustine speaks, not as asserting the fact, but merely using the opinion of the Platonists, who maintained that there are some aerial animals, which they termed demons.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Q50 A5: Whether the angels are incorruptible?
When it is said that all things, even the angels, would lapse into nothing, unless preserved by God, it is not to be gathered therefrom that there is any principle of corruption in the angels; but that the nature of the angels is dependent upon God as its cause.
For a thing is said to be corruptible not merely because God can reduce it to non-existence, by withdrawing His act of preservation; but also because it has some principle of corruption within itself, or some contrariety, or at least the potentiality of matter.
Q50 A4: Whether the angels differ in species?
Q50 A3: Whether the angels exist in any great number?
Objection 3. The proper effect of the separate substances seems to be the movements of the heavenly bodies. But the movements of the heavenly bodies fall within some small determined number, which we can apprehend. Therefore the angels are not in greater number than the movements of the heavenly bodies.
Reply to Objection 3. This is Aristotle's argument (Metaph. xii, text 44), and it would conclude necessarily if the separate substances were made for corporeal substances. For thus the immaterial substances would exist to no purpose, unless some movement from them were to appear in corporeal things. But it is not true that the immaterial substances exist on account of the corporeal, because the end is nobler than the means to the end. Hence Aristotle says (Metaph. xii, text 44) that this is not a necessary argument, but a probable one. He was forced to make use of this argument, since only through sensible things can we come to know intelligible ones.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Q50 A2: Whether an angel is composed of matter and form?
For a thing is understood according to its degree of immateriality; because forms that exist in matter are individual forms which the intellect cannot apprehend as such.
But things distinguished by the intellect are not necessarily distinguished in reality; because the intellect does not apprehend things according to their mode, but according to its own mode.
Hence material things which are below our intellect exist in our intellect in a simpler mode than they exist in themselves.
Angelic substances, on the other hand, are above our intellect; and hence our intellect cannot attain to apprehend them, as they are in themselves, but by its own mode, according as it apprehends composite things; and in this way also it apprehends God.
Although there is no composition of matter and form in an angel, yet there is act and potentiality. And this can be made evident if we consider the nature of material things which contain a twofold composition.
The first is that of form and matter, whereby the nature is constituted. Such a composite nature is not its own existence but existence is its act. Hence the nature itself is related to its own existence as potentiality to act.
Therefore if there be no matter, and supposing that the form itself subsists without matter, there nevertheless still remains the relation of the form to its very existence, as of potentiality to act. And such a kind of composition is understood to be in the angels; and this is what some say, that an angel is composed of, "whereby he is," and "what is," or "existence," and "what is," as Boethius says. For "what is," is the form itself subsisting; and the existence itself is whereby the substance is; as the running is whereby the runner runs.
But in God "existence" and "what is" are not different. Hence God alone is pure act.
Q50 A1: Whether an angel is altogether incorporeal?
Yes. There are some incorporeal things comprehensible by the intellect alone because intellect is above sense.
The perfection of the universe requires that there should be intellectual creatures. Now intelligence cannot be the action of a body, nor of any corporeal faculty; for every body is limited to "here" and "now." Hence the perfection of the universe requires the existence of an incorporeal creature.
The ancients, however, not properly realizing the force of intelligence, and failing to make a proper distinction between sense and intellect, thought that nothing existed in the world but what could be apprehended by sense and imagination. And because bodies alone fall under imagination, they supposed that no being existed except bodies, as the Philosopher observes (Phys. iv, text 52,57). Thence came the error of the Sadducees, who said there was no spirit (Acts 23:8).
Q50: The substance of the angels absolutely considered
QQ50-64: Treatise on the Angels
INTELLECT: His power (Q54) and medium (Q55) of knowledge. The immaterial (Q56) and material (Q57) objects known. The manner (Q58) whereby he knows them.
WILL: The will itself (Q59) and its movement, which is love (Q60).
ORIGIN: How they were brought into natural existence (Q61) and perfected in grace (Q62). How some of them became wicked: Their sins (Q63) and punishment (Q64).
Q49 A3: Whether there be one supreme evil which is the cause of every evil?
No being is called evil by participation, but by privation of participation. Hence it is not necessary to reduce it to any essential evil.
Evil can only have an accidental cause. Hence reduction to any per se cause of evil is impossible.
In the causes of evil we do not proceed to infinity, but reduce all evils to some good cause, whence evil follows incidentally.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Q49 A2: Whether the supreme good, God, is the cause of evil?
The form which God chiefly intends in things created is the good of the order of the universe.
Now, the order of the universe requires, as was said above (Q22, A2, ad 2; Q48, A2), that there should be some things that can, and do sometimes, fail.
And thus God, by causing in things the good of the order of the universe, consequently and as it were incidentally, causes the corruptions of things, according to 1 Kgs. 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." But when we read that "God hath not made death" (Wisdom 1:13), the sense is that God does not will death for its own sake.
Nevertheless the order of justice belongs to the order of the universe; and this requires that penalty should be dealt out to sinners.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Q49 A1: Whether good can be the cause of evil?
Evil is the absence of the good which is natural and due to a thing. But that anything fail from its natural and due disposition can come only from some cause drawing it out of its proper disposition.
But only good can be a cause; because nothing can be a cause except inasmuch as it is a being, and every being, as such, is good.
If we consider the four special kinds of causes, we see that the agent, the form, and the end, import some kind of perfection which belongs to the notion of good. Even matter, as a potentiality to good, has the nature of good.
Now that good is the cause of evil by way of the material cause was shown above (Q48, A3). For it was shown that good is the subject of evil.
But evil has no formal cause, rather is it a privation of form.
Likewise, neither has it a final cause, but rather is it a privation of order to the proper end; since not only the end has the nature of good, but also the useful, which is ordered to the end.
Evil, however, has a cause by way of an agent, not directly, but incidentally.
Evil has a deficient cause in voluntary things otherwise than in natural things. For the natural agent produces the same kind of effect as it is itself, unless it is impeded by some exterior thing; and this amounts to some defect belonging to it. Hence evil never follows in the effect, unless some other evil pre-exists in the agent or in the matter.
But in voluntary things the defect of the action comes from the will actually deficient, inasmuch as it does not actually subject itself to its proper rule. This defect, however, is not a fault, but fault follows upon it from the fact that the will acts with this defect.
Evil has no direct cause, but only an incidental cause.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Q48 A6: Whether pain has the nature of evil more than fault has?
God is the author of the evil of pain, but not of the evil of fault. And this is because the evil of pain takes away the creature's good, which may be either something created, as sight, destroyed by blindness, or something uncreated, as by being deprived of the vision of God, the creature forfeits its uncreated good. But the evil of fault is properly opposed to uncreated good; for it is opposed to the fulfilment of the divine will, and to divine love, whereby the divine good is loved for itself, and not only as shared by the creature. Therefore it is plain that fault has more evil in it than pain has.
Although fault results in pain, as merit in reward, yet fault is not intended on account of the pain, as merit is for the reward; but rather, on the contrary, pain is brought about so that the fault may be avoided, and thus fault is worse than pain.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Q48 A5: Whether evil is adequately divided into penalty and fault?
Evil is the privation of good, which chiefly and of itself consists in perfection and act. Act, however, is twofold; first, and second. The first act is the form and integrity of a thing; the second act is its operation. Therefore evil also is twofold.
In one way it occurs by the subtraction of the form, or of any part required for the integrity of the thing, as blindness is an evil, as also it is an evil to be wanting in any member of the body.
In another way evil exists by the withdrawal of the due operation, either because it does not exist, or because it has not its due mode and order. But because good in itself is the object of the will, evil, which is the privation of good, is found in a special way in rational creatures which have a will.
Therefore the evil which comes from the withdrawal of the form and integrity of the thing, has the nature of a pain; and especially so on the supposition that all things are subject to divine providence and justice, as was shown above (Q22, A2); for it is of the very nature of a pain to be against the will.
But the evil which consists in the subtraction of the due operation in voluntary things has the nature of a fault; for this is imputed to anyone as a fault to fail as regards perfect action, of which he is master by the will. Therefore every evil in voluntary things is to be looked upon as a pain or a fault.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Q48 A4: Whether evil corrupts the whole good?
To prove this we must consider that good is threefold. One kind of good is wholly destroyed by evil, and this is the good opposed to evil, as light is wholly destroyed by darkness, and sight by blindness. Another kind of good is neither wholly destroyed nor diminished by evil, and that is the good which is the subject of evil; for by darkness the substance of the air is not injured. And there is also a kind of good which is diminished by evil, but is not wholly taken away; and this good is the aptitude of a subject to some actuality.
The diminution, however, of this kind of good is not to be considered by way of subtraction, as diminution in quantity, but rather by way of remission, as diminution in qualities and forms. The remission likewise of this habitude is to be taken as contrary to its intensity. For this kind of aptitude receives its intensity by the dispositions whereby the matter is prepared for actuality; which the more they are multiplied in the subject the more is it fitted to receive its perfection and form; and, on the contrary, it receives its remission by contrary dispositions which, the more they are multiplied in the matter, and the more they are intensified, the more is the potentiality remitted as regards the actuality.
Therefore, if contrary dispositions cannot be multiplied and intensified to infinity, but only to a certain limit, neither is the aforesaid aptitude diminished or remitted infinitely, as appears in the active and passive qualities of the elements; for coldness and humidity, whereby the aptitude of matter to the form of fire is diminished or remitted, cannot be infinitely multiplied. But if the contrary dispositions can be infinitely multiplied, the aforesaid aptitude is also infinitely diminished or remitted; yet, nevertheless, it is not wholly taken away, because its root always remains, which is the substance of the subject. Thus, if opaque bodies were interposed to infinity between the sun and the air, the aptitude of the air to light would be infinitely diminished, but still it would never be wholly removed while the air remained, which in its very nature is transparent. Likewise, addition in sin can be made to infinitude, whereby the aptitude of the soul to grace is more and more lessened; and these sins, indeed, are like obstacles interposed between us and God, according to Is. 59:2: "Our sins have divided between us and God." Yet the aforesaid aptitude of the soul is not wholly taken away, for it belongs to its very nature.
The good which is opposed to evil is wholly taken away; but other goods are not wholly removed, as said above.
The aforesaid aptitude is a medium between subject and act. Hence, where it touches act, it is diminished by evil; but where it touches the subject, it remains as it was. Therefore, although good is like to itself, yet, on account of its relation to different things, it is not wholly, but only partially taken away.
Some, imagining that the diminution of this kind of good is like the diminution of quantity, said that just as the continuous is infinitely divisible, if the division be made in an ever same proportion (for instance, half of half, or a third of a third), so is it in the present case. But this explanation does not avail here. For when in a division we keep the same proportion, we continue to subtract less and less; for half of half is less than half of the whole. But a second sin does not necessarily diminish the above mentioned aptitude less than a preceding sin, but perchance either equally or more. Therefore it must be said that, although this aptitude is a finite thing, still it may be so diminished infinitely, not "per se," but accidentally; according as the contrary dispositions are also increased infinitely, as explained above.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Q48 A3: Whether evil is in good as in its subject?
Evil imports the absence of good. But not every absence of good is evil. For absence of good can be taken in a privative and in a negative sense.
Absence of good, taken negatively, is not evil; otherwise, it would follow that what does not exist is evil, and also that everything would be evil, through not having the good belonging to something else; for instance, a man would be evil who had not the swiftness of the roe, or the strength of a lion.
But the absence of good, taken in a privative sense, is an evil; as, for instance, the privation of sight is called blindness.
The form which makes a thing actual is a perfection and a good; and thus every actual being is a good; and likewise every potential being, as such, is a good, as having a relation to good. For as it has being in potentiality, so has it goodness in potentiality.
Evil is not in existing things as a part, or as a natural property of any existing thing.
Evil is not in the good opposed to it as in its subject, but in some other good, for the subject of blindness is not "sight," but "animal."
Hence one good can coexist with the privation of another good.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Q48 A2: Whether evil is found in things?
Evil is distant both from simple being and from simple "not-being," because it is neither a habit nor a pure negation, but a privation.
As the Philosopher says (Metaph. v, text 14), being is twofold.
In one way it is considered as signifying the entity of a thing, as divisible by the ten categories; and in that sense it is convertible with thing, and thus no privation is a being, and neither therefore is evil a being.
In another sense being conveys the truth of a proposition which unites together subject and attribute by a copula, notified by this word "is"; and in this sense being is what answers to the question, "Does it exist?" and thus we speak of blindness as being in the eye; or of any other privation. In this way even evil can be called a being.
Through ignorance of this distinction some, considering that things may be evil, or that evil is said to be in things, believed that evil was a positive thing in itself.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Q48 A1: Whether evil is a nature?
As the Philosopher says (Metaph. iv, text 6), "the first kind of contrariety is habit and privation," as being verified in all contraries; since one contrary is always imperfect in relation to another, as black in relation to white, and bitter in relation to sweet. And in this way good and evil are said to be genera not simply, but in regard to contraries; because, as every form has the nature of good, so every privation, as such, has the nature of evil.
As was said above, the parts of the universe are ordered to each other, according as one acts on the other, and according as one is the end and exemplar of the other. But, as was said above, this can only happen to evil as joined to some good. Hence evil neither belongs to the perfection of the universe, nor does it come under the order of the same, except accidentally, that is, by reason of some good joined to it.
Q48: The distinction of things in particular
Q47 A3: Whether there is only one world?
This world is called one by the unity of order, whereby some things are ordered to others (and whatever things come from God, have relation of order to each other, and to God Himself).
Therefore those only can assert that many worlds exist who do not acknowledge any ordaining wisdom, but rather believe in chance, as Democritus, who said that this world, besides an infinite number of other worlds, was made from a casual concourse of atoms.
From the unity of order in things Aristotle infers (Metaph. xii, text 52) the unity of God governing all; and Plato (Tim.), from the unity of the exemplar, proves the unity of the world, as the thing designed.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Q47 A2: Whether the inequality of things is from God?
As the wisdom of God is the cause of the distinction of things, so the same wisdom is the cause of their inequality. This may be explained as follows.
A twofold distinction is found in things; one is a formal distinction as regards things differing specifically; the other is a material distinction as regards things differing numerically only. And as the matter is on account of the form, material distinction exists for the sake of the formal distinction.
Hence we see that in incorruptible things there is only one individual of each species, forasmuch as the species is sufficiently preserved in the one; whereas in things generated and corruptible there are many individuals of one species for the preservation of the species.
Whence it appears that formal distinction is of greater consequence than material. Now, formal distinction always requires inequality, because as the Philosopher says (Metaph. viii, 10), the forms of things are like numbers in which species vary by addition or subtraction of unity.
Hence in natural things species seem to be arranged in degrees; as the mixed things are more perfect than the elements, and plants than minerals, and animals than plants, and men than other animals; and in each of these one species is more perfect than others.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Q47 A1: Whether the multitude and distinction of things come from God?
Monday, October 02, 2006
Q46 A3: Whether the creation of things was in the beginning of time?
Nothing is made except as it exists. But nothing exists of time except "now." Hence time cannot be made except according to some "now"; not because in the first "now" is time, but because from it time begins.
The words of Genesis, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth," are expounded in a threefold sense in order to exclude three errors.
(1) For some said that the world always was, and that time had no beginning; and to exclude this the words "In the beginning" are expounded--viz. "of time."
(2) And some said that there are two principles of creation, one of good things and the other of evil things, against which "In the beginning" is expounded--"in the Son." For as the efficient principle is appropriated to the Father by reason of power, so the exemplar principle is appropriated to the Son by reason of wisdom, in order that, as it is said (Psalm 103:24), "Thou hast made all things in wisdom," it may be understood that God made all things in the beginning--that is, in the Son; according to the word of the Apostle (Colossians 1:16), "In Him"--viz. the Son--"were created all things."
(3) But others said that corporeal things were created by God through the medium of spiritual creation; and to exclude this it is expounded thus: "In the beginning"--i.e. before all things--"God created heaven and earth."
For four things are stated to be created together--viz. the empyrean heaven, corporeal matter (by which is meant the earth), time, and the angelic nature.
Q46 A2: Whether it is an article of faith that the world began?
The newness of the world cannot be demonstrated on the part of the world itself. For the principle of demonstration is the essence of a thing. Now everything according to its species is abstracted from "here" and "now"; whence it is said that universals are everywhere and always. Hence it cannot be demonstrated that man, or heaven, or a stone were not always.
Likewise neither can it be demonstrated on the part of the efficient cause, which acts by will. For the will of God cannot be investigated by reason, except as regards those things which God must will of necessity; and what He wills about creatures is not among these, as was said above (Q19,A 3).
But the divine will can be manifested by revelation, on which faith rests. Hence that the world began to exist is an object of faith, but not of demonstration or science.
And it is useful to consider this, lest anyone, presuming to demonstrate what is of faith, should bring forward reasons that are not cogent, so as to give occasion to unbelievers to laugh, thinking that on such grounds we believe things that are of faith.