Monday, November 06, 2006

Q55 A3: Whether the higher angels understand by more universal species than the lower angels?

Yes. The higher the angel is, by so much the fewer species will he be able to apprehend the whole mass of intelligible objects (and therefore his forms must be more universal; each one of them, as it were, extending to more things) because in God the whole plenitude of intellectual knowledge is contained in one thing, that is to say, in the Divine essence, by which God knows all things.

This plenitude of knowledge is found in created intellects in a lower manner, and less simply. Consequently it is necessary for the lower intelligences to know by many forms what God knows by one, and by so many forms the more according as the intellect is lower.

An example of this can in some measure be observed in ourselves. For some people there are who cannot grasp an intelligible truth, unless it be explained to them in every part and detail; this comes of their weakness of intellect: while there are others of stronger intellect, who can grasp many things from few.