St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book III. Of Providence

translated by Vernon J. Bourke

Chapter 1. Prologue

“The Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods” (Ps- 94:3). “For the Lord will not cast off His people” (Ps. 93:14)”For in His hand are all the ends of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are His. For the sea is His and He made it, and His hands formed dry land” (Ps. 94:4-5)

[1] That there is one First Being, possessing the full perfection of the whole of being, and that we call Him God, has been shown in the preceding Books. From the abundance of His perfection, He endows all existing things with being, so that He is fully established not only as the First Being but also as the original source of all existing things. Moreover, He has granted being to other things, not by a necessity of His nature but according to the choice of His will, as has been made clear in our earlier explanations. From this it follows that He is the Lord of the things that He has made, for we are masters of the things that are subject to our will. In fact, He holds perfect dominion over things produced by Himself, since to produce them He is in need neither of the assistance of an external agent nor of the underlying presence of matter, for He is the universal maker of the whole of being.

[2] Now, each of the things produced through the will of an agent is directed to an end by the agent. For the proper object of the will is the good and the end. As a result, things which proceed from will must be directed to some end. Moreover, each thing achieves its ultimate end through its own action which must be directed to the end by Him Who gives things the principles through which they act.

[3] So, it must be that God, Who is in all ways perfect in Himself, and Who endows all things with being from His own power, exists as the Ruler of all beings, and is ruled by none other. Nor is there anything that escapes His rule, just as there is nothing that does not receive its being from Him. As He is perfect in being and causing, so also is He perfect in ruling.

[4] Of course, the result of this rule is manifested differently in different beings, depending on the diversity of their natures. For some beings so exist as God’s products that, possessing understanding, they bear His likeness and reflect His image. Consequently, they are not only ruled but are also rulers of themselves, inasmuch as their own actions are directed to a fitting end. If these beings submit to the divine rule in their own ruling, then by virtue of the divine rule they are admitted to the achievement of their ultimate end; but, if they proceed otherwise in their own ruling, they are rejected.

[5] Still other beings, devoid of understanding, do not direct themselves to their end, but are directed by another being. Some of these are incorruptible and, as they can suffer no defect in their natural being, so in their own actions they never fail to follow the order to the end which is prearranged for them. They are unfailingly subject to the rule of the First Ruler. Such are the celestial bodies whose motions occur in ever the same way.

[6] Other beings, however, are corruptible. They can suffer a defect in their natural being, yet such a defect works to the advantage of another being. For, when one thing is corrupted, another comes into being. Likewise, in their proper actions they may fall short of the natural order, yet such a failure is balanced by the good which comes from it. Thus, it is evident that not even those things which appear to depart from the order of the primary rule do actually escape the power of the First Ruler. Even these corruptible bodies are perfectly subject to His power, just as they are created by God Himself.

[7] Contemplating this fact, the Psalmist, being filled with the Holy Spirit, first describes for us the perfection of the First Ruler, in order to point out the divine rule to us: as a perfection of nature, by the use of the term “God”; as a perfection of power, by the use of the words, “great Lord” (suggesting that He has need of no other being for His power to produce His effect); and as a perfection of authority, by the use of the phrase, “a great King above all gods” (for even if there be many rulers, they are all nonetheless subject to His rule).

[8] In the second place, handdescribes for us the manner of this rule. First, as regards those intellectual beings who are led by Him to their ultimate end, which is Himself, he uses this expression: “For the Lord will not cast off His people.” Next, in regard to corruptible beings which are not removed from the power of the First Ruler, even if they go astray sometimes in their own actions, handsays: “For in His hands are all the ends of the earth.” Then, in regard to celestial bodies which exist above all the highest parts of the earth (that is, of corruptible bodies) and which always observe the right order of the divine rule, he says: “and the heights of the mountains are His.”

[9] In the third place, he indicates the reason for this universal rule: the things created by God must also be ruled by Him. Thus it is that he says: “For the sea is His,” and so on.

[10] Therefore, since we have treated of the perfection of the divine nature in Book One, and of the perfection of His power inasmuch as He is the Maker and Lord of all things in Book Two, there remains to be treated in this third Book His perfect authority or dignity, inasmuch as He is the End and Ruler of all things. So, this will be our order of procedure: first, we shall treat of Himself, according as He is the end of all things; second, of His universal rule, according as He governs every creature [64-110]; third, of His particular rule, according as He governs creatures possessed of understanding [111-163.

Chapter 2. How Every Agent Acts for an End

[1] The first thing that we must show, then, is that in acting every agent intends an end.

[2] In the case of things which obviously act for an end we call that toward which the inclination of the agent tend the end. For, if it attain this, it is said to attain its end; but if it fail in regard to this, it fails in regard to the end in tended, as is evident in the case of the physician working fo the sake of health, and of the man who is running toward a set objective. As far as this point is concerned, it makes n difference whether the being tending to an end is a knowing being or not. For, just as the target is the end for th archer, so is it the end for the motion of the arrow. Now every inclination of an agent tends toward something definite. A given action does not stem from merely any power but heating comes from heat, cooling from cold. Thus it is that, actions are specifically distinguished by virtue of diversity of active powers. In fact, an action may sometime terminate in something which is made, as building does i a house, and as healing does in health. Sometimes, however, it does not, as in the cases of understanding an sensing. Now, if an action does in fact terminate in some thing that is made, the inclination of the agent tend through the action toward the thing that is produced. But if it does not terminate in a product, then the inclination of the agent tends toward the action itself. So, it must be that every agent in acting intends an end, sometimes the action itself, sometimes a thing produced by the action.

[3] Again, with reference to all things that act for an end, we say that the ultimate end is that beyond which the agent seeks nothing else; thus, the action of a physician goes as far as health, but when it is attained there is no desire for anything further. Now, in the action of all agents, one may find something beyond which the agent seeks nothing further. Otherwise, actions would tend to infinity, which is impossible. Since “it is impossible to proceed to infinity,” the agent could not begin to act, because nothing is moved toward what cannot be reached. Therefore, every agent acts for an end.

[4] Besides, if the actions of an agent are supposed to proceed to infinity, then there must be as a consequence to these actions either something that is produced, or nothing. Supposing that there is something that results, then the existence of this thing would come about after an infinite number of actions. But that which presupposes an infinite number of things cannot come into existence, since it is impossible to proceed to infinity. Now, that which is impossible in regard to being is impossible in regard to coming into being. And it is impossible to produce that which cannot come into being. Therefore, it is impossible for an agent to begin to produce something that presupposes an infinite number of actions.

Supposing, on the other hand, that nothing follows as a product of these actions, then the order of such actions must either depend on the ordering of the active powers (as in the case of a man who senses so that he may imagine, imagines so that he may understand, and then understands so that he may will); or it depends on the ordering of objects (thus, I think of body so that I may be able to think of soul, which latter I think so that I may be able to think of immaterial substance, which in turn I think so that I may be able to think about God). Indeed, it is impossible to proceed to infinity, either through a series of active powers (for instance, through the forms of things, as is proved in Metaphysics [Ia, 2: 994a 1–b6], for the form is the principle of action) or through a series of objects (for there is not an infinite number of beings, because there is one First Being, as we demonstrated earlier [I:42]). So, it is not possible for actions to proceed to infinity. There must, then, be something which satisfies the agent’s desire when it is attained. Therefore, every agent acts for an end.

[5] Moreover, for things which act for an end, all things intermediate between the first agent and the ultimate end are as ends in regard to things prior, and as active principles with regard to things consequent. So, if the agent’s desire is not directed to some definite thing, but, rather, the actions are multiplied to infinity, as was said, then the active principles must be multiplied to infinity. This is impossible, as we showed above. Therefore, the agent’s desire must be directed to some definite thing.

[6] Furthermore, for every agent the principle of its action is either its nature or its intellect. Now, there is no question that intellectual agents act for the sake of an end, because they think ahead of time in their intellects of the things which they achieve through action; and their action stems from such preconception. This is what it means for intellect to be the principle of action. just as the entire likeness of the result achieved by the actions of an intelligent agent exists in the intellect that preconceives it, so, too, does the likeness of a natural resultant pre-exist in the natural agent; and as a consequence of this, the action is determined to a definite result. For fire gives rise to fire, and an olive to an olive. Therefore, the agent that acts with nature as its principle is just as much directed to a definite end, in its action, as is the agent that acts through intellect as its principle. Therefore, every agent acts for an end.

[7] Again, there is no fault to be found, except in the case of things that are for the sake of an end. A fault is never attributed to an agent, if the failure is related to something that is not the agent’s end. Thus, the fault of failing to heal is imputed to the physician, but not to the builder or the grammarian. We do find fault with things done according to art, for instance, when the grammarian does not speak correctly, and also in things done according to nature, as is evident in the case of the birth of monsters. Therefore, it is just as true of the agent that acts in accord with nature as of the agent who acts in accord with art and as a result of previous planning that action is for the sake of an end.

[8] Besides, if an agent did not incline toward some definite effect, all results would be a matter of indifference for him. Now, handwho looks upon a manifold number of things with indifference no more succeeds in doing one of them than another. Hence, from an agent contingently indifferent to alternatives no effect follows, unless he be determined to one effect by something. So, it would be impossible for him to act. Therefore, every agent tends toward some determinate effect, and this is called his end.

[9] Of course, there are some actions that do not seem to be for an end. Examples are playful and contemplative actions, and those that are done without attention, like rubbing one’s beard and the like. These examples could make a person think that there are some cases of acting without an end. However, we must understand that contemplative actions are not for another end, but are themselves ends. On the other hand, acts of play are sometimes ends, as in the case of a man who plays solely for the pleasure attaching to play; at other times they are for an end, for instance, when we play so that we can study better afterward. Actions that are done without attention do not stem from the intellect but from some sudden act of imagination or from a natural source. Thus, a disorder of the.humors produces an itch and is the cause of rubbing the beard, and this is done without intellectual attention. So, these actions do tend to some end, though quite apart from the order of the intellect.

[10] Through this consideration the error of the ancient natural philosophers is refuted; they claimed that all things come about as a result of material necessity, for they completely excluded final cause from things.

Chapter 3. That Every Agent Acts for a Good

[1] Next after this we must show that every agent acts for a good.

[2] That every agent acts for an end has been made clear from the fact that every agent tends toward something definite. Now, that toward which an agent tends in a definite way must be appropriate to it, because the agent would not be inclined to it except by virtue of some agreement with it. But, what is appropriate to something is good for it. So, every agent acts for a good.

[3] Again, the end is that in which the appetitive inclination of an agent or mover, and of the thing moved, finds its rest. Now, the essential meaning of the good is that it provides a terminus for appetite, since “the good is that which all desire.” Therefore, every action and motion are for the sake of a good.

[4] Besides, every action and movement are seen to be ordered in some way toward being, either that it may be preserved in the species or in the individual, or that it may be newly acquired. Now, the very fact of being is a good, and so all things desire to be. Therefore, every action and movement are for the sake of a good.

[5] Moreover, every action and movement are for the sake of some perfection. Even if the action itself be the end, it is clear that it is a secondary perfection of the agent. But, if the action be a changing of external matter, it is obvious that the mover intends to bring about some perfection in the thing that is moved. Even the thing that is moved also tends toward this, if it be a case of natural movement. Now, we call what is perfect a good. So, every action and movement are for the sake of a good.

[6] Furthermore, every agent acts in so far as it is in act, and in acting it tends to produce something like itself. So, it tends toward some act. But every act has something of good in its essential character, for there is no evil thing that is not in a condition of potency falling short of its act. Therefore, every action is for the sake of a good.

[7] Again, an intelligent agent acts for the sake of an end, in the sense that it determines the end for itself. On the other hand, an agent that acts from a natural impulse, though acting for an end, as we showed in the preceding chapter, does not determine the end for itself, since it does not know the meaning of an end, but, rather, is moved toward an end determined for it by another being. Now, the intelligent agent does not determine the end for itself, unless it do so by considering the rational character of the good, for an object of the intellect is only motivating by virtue of the rational meaning of the good, which is the object of the will. Therefore, even the natural agent is neither moved, nor does it move, for the sake of an end, except in so far as the end is a good; for the end is determined for the natural agent by some appetite. Therefore, every agent acts for the sake of a good.

[8] Besides, there is the same general reason for avoiding evil that there is for seeking the good, just as there is the same general reason for moving downward and for moving upward. But all things are known to flee from evil; in fact, intelligent agents avoid a thing for this reason: they recognize it as an evil thing. Now, all natural agents resist corruption, which is an evil for each individual, to the full extent of their power. Therefore, all things act for the sake of a good.

[9] Moreover, that which results from the action of an agent, but apart from the intention of the agent, is said to happen by chance or by luck. But we observe that what happens in the workings of nature is either always, or mostly, for the better. Thus, in the plant world leaves are arranged so as to protect the fruit, and among animals the bodily organs are disposed in such a way that the animal can be protected. So, if this came about apart from the intention of the natural agent, it would be by chance or by luck. But this is impossible, for things which occur always, or for the most part, are neither chance nor fortuitous events, but only those which occur in few instances. Therefore, the natural agent tends toward what is better, and it is much more evident that the intelligent agent does so. Hence, every agent intends the good when it acts.

[10] Furthermore, everything that is moved is brought to the terminus of the movement by the mover and agent. So, the mover and the object moved must tend toward the same thing. Now, the object moved, since it is in potency, tends toward act, and so toward the perfect and the good, for it goes from potency to act through movement. Therefore, both the mover and the agent always intend the good in their movement and action.

[11] This is the reason why the philosophers, in defining the good, have said: “the good is what all desire. And Dionysius states that “all crave the good and the best [ De div. nom. IV, 4].”

Chapter 4

THAT EVIL IN THINGS IS NOT INTENDED

[1] From this it is clear that evil occurs in things apart from the intention of the agents.

[2] For that which follows from an action, as a different result from that intended by the agent, clearly happens apart from intention. Now, evil is different from the good which every agent intends. Therefore, evil is a result apart from intention.

[3] Again, a defect in an effect and in an action results from some defect in the principles of the action; for instance, the birth of a monstrosity results from some corruption of the semen, and lameness results from a bending of the leg bone. Now, an agent acts in keeping with the active power that it has, not in accord with the defect of power to which it is subject. According as it acts, so does it intend the end. Therefore, it intends an end corresponding to its power. So, that which results as an effect of the defect of power will be apart from the intention of the agent. Now, this is evil. Hence, evil occurs apart from intention.

[4] Besides, the movement of a mobile thing and the motion of its mover tend toward the same objective. Of itself, the mobile thing tends toward the good, but it may tend toward evil accidentally and apart from intention. This is best seen in generation and corruption. When it is under one form, matter is in potency to another form and to the privation of the form it already has. Thus, when it is under the form of air, it is in potency to the form of fire and to the privation of the form of air. Change in the matter terminates in both at the same time; in the form of fire, in so far as fire is generated; in the privation of the form of air, inasmuch as air is corrupted. Now, the intention and appetite of matter are not toward privation but toward form, for it does not tend toward the impossible. Now, it is impossible for matter to exist under privation alone, but for it to exist under a form is possible. Therefore, that which terminates in a privation is apart from intention. It terminates in a privation inasmuch as it attains the form which it intends, and the privation of another form is a necessary result of this attainment. So, the changing of matter in generation and corruption is essentially ordered to the form, but the privation is a consequence apart from the intention. The same should be true for all cases of change. Therefore, in every change there is a generation and a corruption, in some sense; for instance, when a thing changes from white to black, the white is corrupted and the black comes into being. Now, it is a good thing for matter to be perfected through form, and for potency to be perfected through its proper act, but it is a bad thing for it to be deprived of its due act. So, everything that is moved tends in its movement to reach a good, but it reaches an evil apart from such a tendency. Therefore, since every agent and mover tends to the good, evil arises apart from the intention of the agent.

[5] Moreover, in the case of beings that act as a result of understanding or of some sort of sense judgment, intention is a consequence of apprehension, for the intention tends to what is apprehended as an end. If it actually attains something which does not possess the specific nature of what was apprehended, then this will be apart from the intention. For example, if someone intends to eat honey, but he cats poison, in the belief that it is honey, then this will be apart from the intention. But every intelligent agent tends toward something in so far as he considers the object under the rational character of a good, as was evident in the preceding chapter. So, if this object is not good but bad, this will be apart from his intention. Therefore, an intelligent agent does not produce an evil result, unless it be apart from his intention. Since to tend to the good is common to the intelligent agent and to the agent that acts by natural instinct, evil does not result from the intention of any agent, except apart from the intention.

Chapter 5

ARGUMENTS WHICH SEEM TO PROVE THAT EVIL IS NOT APART FROM INTENTION

[1] Now, there are certain points which seem to run counter to this view.

[2] That which happens apart from the intention of the agent is called fortuitous, a matter of chance, something which rarely happens. But the occurrence of evil is not called fortuitous, a matter of chance, nor does it happen rarely, but always or in most cases. For corruption always accompanies generation in the things of nature. Even in the case of volitional agents sin occurs in most cases, since “it is as difficult to act in accord with virtue as to find the center of a circle,” as Aristotle says in the Nicomachean Ethics [II, 9: 1109a 24]. So, evil does not seem to happen apart from intention.

[3] Again, in Ethics III [5: 1113b 16] Aristotle expressly states that “wickedness is voluntary.” He proves this by the fact that a person voluntarily performs unjust acts: “now it is unreasonable for the agent of voluntarily unjust actions not to will to be unjust, and for the self-indulgent man not to wish to be incontinent” [1114a 11]; and he proves it also by the fact that legislators punish evil men as doers of evil in a voluntary way [1113b 22]. So, it does not seem that eviloccurs apart from the will or the intention.

[4] Besides, every natural change has an end intended by nature. Now, corruption is a natural change, just as generation is. Therefore, its end, which is a privation having the rational character of evil, is intended by nature: just as are form and the good, which are the ends of generation.

Chapter 6

ANSWERS TO THESE ARGUMENTS

[1] So that the solution of these alleged arguments maybe made more evident we should notice that evil may be considered either in a substance or in its action. Now, evil is in a substance because something which it was originally to have, and which it ought to have, is lacking in it. Thus, if a man has no wings, that is not an evil for him, because handwas not born to have them; even if a man does not have blond hair, that is not an evil, for, though he may have such hair, it is not something that is necessarily due him. But it is an evil if he has no hands, for these he is born to, and should, bave-if he is to be perfect. Yet this defect is not an evil for a bird. Every privation, if taken properly and strictly, is of that which one is born to have, and should have. So, in this strict meaning of privation, there is always the rational character of evil.

[2] Now, since it is in potency toward all forms, matter is indeed originated to have all of them; however, a certain one of them is not necessarily due it, since without this certain one it can be actually perfect. Of course, to each thing composed of matter some sort of form is due, for water cannot exist unless it have the form of water, nor can fire be unless it possess the form of fire. So, the privation of such forms in relation to matter is not an evil for the matter, but in relation to the thing whose form it is, it is an evil for it; just as the privation of the form of fire is an evil for fire. And since privations, just as much as habits and forms, are not said to exist, except in the sense that they are in a subject, then if a privation be an evil in relation to the subject in which it is, this will be evil in the unqualified sense. But, otherwise, it will be an evil relative to something, and not in the unqualified sense. Thus, for a man to be deprived of a hand is an unqualified evil, but for matter to be deprived of the form of air is not an unqualified evil, though it is an evil for the air.

[3] Now, a privation of order, or due harmony, in action is an evil for action. And because there is some due order and harmony for every action, such privation in an action must stand as evil in the unqualified sense.

[4] Having observed these points, we should understand that not everything that is apart from intention is necessarily fortuitous or a matter of chance, as the first argument claimed. For, if that which is apart from intention be either an invariable or a frequent consequence of what is intended, then it does not occur fortuitously or by chance. Take, for example, a man who directs his intention to the enjoyment of the sweetness of wine: if intoxication is the result of drinking the wine, this is neither fortuitous nor a matter of chance. Of course, it would be a matter of chance if this result followed in but few cases.

[5] So the evil of natural corruption, though a result which is apart from the intention of the agent of generation, is nevertheless an invariable consequence, for the acquisition of one form is always accompanied by the privation of another form. Hence, corruption does not occur by chance, nor as something that happens in few cases; even though privation at times is not an unqualified evil, but is only so in relation to some definite thing, as has been said. However, if it be the kind of privation which takes away what is due to the thing generated, this will be by chance and unqualifiedly evil, as in the case of the birth of monsters. For, such a thing is not the necessary result of what is intended; rather, it is repugnant to what is intended, since the agent intends a perfect product of generation.

[6] Now, evil in relation to action occurs in the case of natural agents as a result of the defect of an active power. Hence, if the agent has a defective power, the evil is a result apart from the intention, but it will not be a chance result because it follows necessarily from this kind of agent, pro-vided this kind of agent is subject to this defect of power, either always or frequently. However, it will be a matter of chance if this defect is rarely associated with this kind of agent.

[7] In the case of voluntary agents, the intention is directed to some particular good, if action is to result, for universals cause no movement, but particular things do, since actions go on in their area. Therefore, if a particular good that is intended has attached to it, either always or frequently, a privation of good according to reason, then the result is a moral evil; and not by chance, but either invariably or for the most part. This is clearly the case with a man who wills to enjoy a woman for the sake of pleasure, to which pleasure there is attached the disorder of adultery. Hence, the evil of adultery is not something which results by chance. However, it would be an instance of chance evil if some wrong resulted in a few cases from the object intended: for example, in the case of a person who kills a man while shooting at a bird.

[8] That a person may frequently direct his intention to goods of this kind, to which privations of good according to reason are consequent, results from the fact that most men live on the sense level, because sensory objects are better known to us, and they are more effective motives in the domain of particular things where action goes on. Now, the privation of good according to reason is the consequence of most goods of this kind.

[9] From this it is evident that, though evil be apart from intention, it is nonetheless voluntary, as the second argument suggests, though not essentially but accidentally so. For intention is directed to an ultimate end which a person wills for its own sake, but the will may also be directed to that which a person wills for the sake of something else, even if handwould not will it simply for itself. In the example of the man who throws his merchandise into the sea in order to save himself [cf. Ethics III, 1: 1110a 8-29], he does not intend the throwing away of the merchandise but his own safety; yet hand wills the throwing not for itself but for the sake of safety. Likewise, a person wills to do a disorderly action for the sake of some sensory good to be attained; he does not intend the dis order, nor does handwill it simply for itself, but for the sake of this result. And so, evil consequences and sins are called voluntary in this way, just as is the casting of merchandise into the sea.

[10] The answer to the third difficulty is similarly evident. Indeed, the change of corruption is never found without the change of generation; neither, as a consequence, is the end of corruption found without the end of generation. So, nature does not intend the end of corruption as separated from the end of generation, but both at once. It is not the unqualified intention of nature that water should not exist, but that there should be air, and while a thing is so existing it is not water. So, nature directly intends that this existing thing be air; it does not intend that this thing should not exist as water, except as a concomitant of the fact that it is to be air. Thus, privations are not intended by nature in themselves, but only accidentally; forms, however, are intended in themselves.

[11] It is clear, then, from the foregoing that what is evil in an unqualified sense is completely apart from intention in the workings of nature, as in the birth of monsters; on the other hand, that which is not evil in the unqualified sense, but evil in relation to some definite thing, is not directly intended by nature but only accidentally.

Chapter 7

THAT EVIL IS NOT AN ESSENCE

[1] From these considerations it becomes evident that no essence is evil in itself.

[2] In fact, evil is simply a privation of something which a subject is entitled by its origin to possess and which it ought to have, as we have said. Such is the meaning of the word “evil” among all men. Now, privation is not an essence; it is, rather, a negation in a substance. Therefore, evil is not an essence in things.

[3] Again, each thing has actual being in accord with its essence. To the extent that it possesses being, it has something good; for, if good is that which all desire, then being itself must be called a good, because all desire to be. As a consequence, then, each thing is good because it possesses actual being. Now, good and evil are contraries. So, nothing is evil by virtue of the fact that it has essence. Therefore, no essence is evil.

[4] Besides, everything is either an agent or a thing that is made. Now, evil cannot be an agent, because whatever acts does so inasmuch as it is actually existent and perfect. Similarly, it cannot be a thing that is made, for the termination of every process of generation is a form, and a good thing. Therefore, nothing is evil by virtue of its essence.

[5] Moreover, nothing tends toward its contrary, for each thing inclines to what is like and suitable to itself. Now, every being intends a good, when it is acting, as has been proved. Therefore, no being, as being, is evil.

[6] Furthermore, every essence belongs to some definite thing in nature. Indeed, if it falls in the genus of substance, it is the very nature of the thing. However, if it is in the genus of accident, it must be caused by the principles of some substance, and thus it will be natural to this substance, though perhaps it may not be natural to another substance. For example, heat is natural to fire, though it may not be natural to water. Now, what is evil in itself can not be natural to anything. For it is of the very definition of evil that it be a privation of that which is to be in a subject by virtue of its natural origin, and which should be in it. So, evil cannot be natural to any subject, since it is a privation of what is natural. Consequently, whatever is present naturally in something is a good for it, and it is evil if the thing lacks it. Therefore, no essence is evil in itself.

[7] Again, whatever possesses an essence is either a form itself, or has a form. In fact, every being is placed in a genus or species through a form. Now, a form, as such, has the essential character of goodness, because a form is a principle of action; so, too, does the end to which every agent looks; and so also does the action whereby each thing having a form is perfected. Hence, everything that has an essence is, by virtue of that fact, a good thing. Therefore, evil has no essence.

[8] Besides, being is divided by act and potency. Now, act, as such, is good, for something is perfect to the extent that it is in act. Potency, too, is a good thing, for potency tends toward act, as appears in every instance of change. Moreover, potency is also proportionate to act and not contrary to it. It belongs in the same genus with act; privation does not belong to it, except accidentally. So, everything that exists, whatever the mode of its existence, is a good thing to the extent that it is a being. Therefore, evil does not possess any essence.

[9] Moreover, we have proved in Book Two of this work [15] that every act of being, whatever its type may be, comes from God. And we have shown in Book One [28, 41] that God is perfect goodness. Now, since evil could not be the product of a good thing, it is impossible for any being, as a being, to be evil.

[10] This is why Genesis (1:31) states: “God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good”; and Ecclesiastes (3:11): “He hath made all things good in their time”; and also I Timothy (4:4): “Every creature of God is good.”

[11] And Dionysius, in chapter four of On the Divine Names says that “evil is not an existing thing,” that is, in itself; “nor is it something among things that have existence,” but it is a sort of accident, something like whiteness or blackness.

[12] Through this consideration, the error of the Manicheans is refuted, for they claimed that some things are evil in their very natures.

Chapter 8

ARGUMENTS WHICH SEEM TO PROVE THAT EVIL IS A NATURE OR SOME REAL THING

[1] Now, it appears that the preceding view may be opposed by certain arguments.

[2] Each thing is specified by its own specific difference. But evil is a specific difference in some genera; for instance, among habits and acts in the moral order. just as virtue is specifically a good habit, so is the contrary vice specifically a bad habit. The same may be said of virtuous and vicious acts. Therefore, evil is that which gives specificity to some things, and thus it is an essence and is natural to certain things.

[3] Again, of two contraries, each is a definite nature, for, if one contrary were supposed to be nothing, then it would be either a privation or a pure negation. But good and evil are said to be contraries. Therefore, evil is a nature of some sort.

[4] Besides, good and evil are spoken of by Aristotle in the Categories [8: 14a 24] as “genera of contraries.” Now, there is an essence and a definite nature for each kind of genus. There are no species or differences for non-being; so, that which does not exist cannot be a genus. Therefore, evil is a definite essence and nature.

[5] Moreover, everything that acts is a real thing. Now, evil does act precisely as evil, for it attacks the good and corrupts it. So, evil precisely as evil is a real thing.

[6] Furthermore, wherever the distinction of more or less is found, there must be certain things arranged in hierarchic order, since neither negations nor privations admit of more or less. But among evils, one may be worse than another. It would seem, then, that evil must be a real thing.

[7] Again, thing and being are convertible. There is evil in the world. Therefore, it is a real thing and a nature.

Chapter 9

ANSWERS TO THESE ARGUMENTS

[1] It is not difficult to answer these arguments. Evil and good are assigned as specific differences in moral matters, as the first argument asserted, because moral matters depend on the will. For this reason, anything that is voluntary belongs in the class of moral matters. Now, the object of the will is the end and the good. Hence, moral matters get their species from the end, just as natural actions are specified by the form of the active principle; for instance, the act of heating is specified by heat. Hence, because good and evil are so termed by virtue of a universal order, or privation of order, to the end, it is necessary in moral matters for the primary distinction to be between good and evil. Now, there must be but one primary standard in any one genus. The standard in moral matters is reason. Therefore, it must be from a rational end that things in the moral area are termed good or evil. So, in moral matters, that which is specified by an end that is in accord with reason is called good specifically; and that which is specified by an end contrary to the rational end is termed evil specifically. Yet that contrary end, even though it runs counter to the rational end, is nevertheless some sort of good: for instance, something that delights on the sense level, or anything like that. Thus, these are goods for certain animals, and even for man, when they are moderated by reason. It also happens that what is evil for one being is good for another. So, evil, as a specific difference in the genus of moral matters, does not imply something that is evil in its own essence, but something that is good in itself, though evil for man, inasmuch as it takes away the order of reason which is the good for man.

[2] From this it is also clear that evil and good are contraries according to the way they are understood in the area of moral matters, but they are not when taken without qualification, as the second argument suggested. Rather, in so far as it is evil, evil is the privation of good.

[3] In the same way, too, one may understand the statement that evil and good, as found in the moral area, are “genera of contraries”—from which phrase the third argument begins. Indeed, in all moral contraries, either both contraries are evil, as in the case of prodigality and illiberality, or one is good and the other evil, as in the case of liberality and illiberality. Therefore, moral evil is both a genus and a difference, not by the fact that it is a privation of the rational good whence it is termed evil, but by the nature of the action or habit ordered to some end that is opposed to the proper rational end. Thus, a blind man is an individual man, not inasmuch as he is blind but in so far as he is this man. So, also, irrational is an animal difference, not because of the privation of reason but by virtue of a certain kind of nature, to which the absence of reason follows as a consequence.

One can also say that Aristotle calls good and evil genera, not according to his own opinion (for he does not number them among the primary ten genera in which every kind of contrariety is found) but according to the opinion of Pythagoras, who supposed that good and evil are the first genera and first principles, and who placed ten prime contraries under each of them: under the good were, “limit, even, one, right, male, rest, straight, light, square, and finally good”; and under evil were, “the unlimited, odd, multitude, left, female, motion, curved, darkness, oblong, and finally evil [cf. Met. I, 5: 986a 24-27].Thus, here and in several places in the treatises on logic, he uses examples in accord with the views of other philosophers, as if they were more acceptable in his time.

In fact, this statement has some truth, since it is impossible for a probable statement to be entirely false. In the case of all contraries, one is perfect and the other is a diminished perfection, having, as it were, some privation mixed with it. For instance, white and hot are perfect conditions, but cold and black are imperfect, connoting something of privation. Therefore, since every diminution and privation pertains to the formal character of evil, and every perfection and fulfillment to the formal character of good, it appears to be always so between contraries, that one is included under the good and the other approaches the notion of evil. From this point of view, good and evil seem to be genera of all contraries.

[4] In this way it also becomes apparent how evil is opposed to the good, which is the starting point of the fourth argument. According as there is added a privation of a contrary form, and a contrary end, to a form and an end (which have the rational character of good and are true principles of action) the action that results from such a form and end is attributed to the privation and the evil. Yet, this attribution is accidental, for privation, as such, is not the principle of any action. Hence, Dionysius says, quite properly, in the fourth chapter of On the Divine Names, that “evil does not fight against good, except through the power of the good; in itself, indeed, it is powerless and weak,” the principle of no action, as it were. However, we say that evil corrupts the good, not only when it acts in virtue of the good, as has been explained, but also formally of itself. Thus, blindness is said to corrupt sight, for it is itself the corruption of sight; similarly, whiteness is said to color a wall, when it is the actual color of the wall.

[5] We do indeed say that something is more or less evil than another thing, in reference to the good that it lacks. Thus, things which imply a privation admit of increase or decrease in degree, as do the unequal and the dissimilar. For we say that something is more unequal when it is more removed from equality and, likewise, that something is more dissimilar when it is farther away from similitude. Consequently, a thing that is more deprived of goodness is said to be more evil, as it were, more distant from the good. However, privations do not increase as do things that have an essence, such as qualities and forms, as the fifth argument assumes, but through increase of the depriving cause. Thus, just as the air is darker when more obstacles have been placed before the light, so does a thing become farther removed from participation in the light.

[6] We also say that evil is in the world, not as possessing some essence, nor as a definitely existing thing, as the sixth argument suggested, but for the same reason that we may call something evil by virtue of its evil. For instance, blindness, or any other sort of privation, is said to exist because an animal is blinded by its blindness. Indeed, there are two ways of talking about being, as the Philosopher teaches in his Metaphysics [IV, 7: 1017a 8]. In one way, being means the essence of a thing, and thus it falls into the ten categories; so taken, no privation can be called a being. In another way, being means the truth in a judgment; in this meaning, privation is called a being, inasmuch as something is said to be deprived by virtue of a privation.

Chapter 10

THAT GOOD IS THE CAUSE OF EVIL

[1] The foregoing arguments enable us to conclude that evil is caused only by the good.

[2] For, if an evil thing were the cause of a certain evil, then the evil thing would not act, except by virtue of the good, as has been proved. So, this good must be the primary cause of the evil.

[3] Again, what does not exist is not the cause of anything. So, every cause must be a definite thing. But evil is not a definite being, as has been proved. Therefore, evil cannot be the cause of anything. if, then, evil be caused by anything, this cause must be the good.

[4] Besides, whatever is properly and of itself the cause of something tends toward a proper effect. So, if evil were of itself the cause of anything, it would tend toward an effect proper to it; namely, evil. But this is false, for it has been shown that every agent tends toward the good. Therefore, evil is not the cause of anything through evil itself, but only accidentally. Now, every accidental cause reduces to a cause that works through itself. And only the good can be a cause through itself, for evil cannot be a cause through itself. Therefore, evil is caused by the good.

[5] Moreover, every cause is either matter, or form, or agent, or end. Now, evil cannot be either matter or form, for it has been shown that both being in act and being in potency are good. Similarly, evil cannot be the agent, since anything that acts does so according as it is in act and has form. Nor, indeed, can it be an end, for it is apart from intention, as we have proved. So. evil cannot be the cause of anything. Therefore, if anything is the cause of evil, it must be caused by the good.

[6] In fact, since evil and good are contraries, one of these contraries cannot be the cause of the other unless it be accidentally; as the cold heats, as is said in Physics VIII [1: 251a 33]. Consequently, the good could not be the active cause of evil, except accidentally.

[7] Now, in the order of nature, this accidental aspect can be found either on the side of the agent or of the effect. It will be on the side of the agent when the agent suffers a defect in its power, the consequence of which is a defective action and a defective effect. Thus, when the power of an organ of digestion is weak, imperfect digestive functioning and undigested humor result; these are evils of nature. Now, it is accidental to the agent, as agent, for it to suffer a defect in its power; for it is not an agent by virtue of the fact that its power is deficient, but because it possesses some power. If it were completely lacking in power, it would not act at all. Thus, evil is caused accidentally on the part of the agent in so far as the agent is defective in its power. This is why we say that “evil has no efficient, but only a deficient, cause,” for evil does not result from an agent cause, unless because it is deficient in power, and to that extent it is not efficient.—And it reduces to the same thing if the defect in the action and in the effect arise from a defect of the instrument or of anything else required for the agent’s action; for example, when the motor capacity produces lameness because of a curvature of the tibia. For the agent acts both by means of its power and of its instrument.

[8] On the side of the effect, evil is accidentally caused by the good, either by virtue of the matter of the effect, or by virtue of its form. For, if the matter is not well disposed to the reception of the agent’s action on it, there must result a defect in the product. Thus, the births of monsters are the result of lack of assimilation on the part of the matter. Nor may this be attributed to some defect in the agent, if it fail to convert poorly disposed matter into perfect act. There is a determinate power for each natural agent, in accord with its type of nature, and failure to go beyond this power will not be a deficiency in power; such deficiency is found only when it falls short of the measure of power naturally due it.

[9] From the point of view of the form of the effect, evil occurs accidentally because the privation of another form is the necessary concomitant of the presence of a given form. Thus, simultaneously with the generation of one thing there necessarily results the corruption of another thing. But this evil is not an evil of the product intended by the agent, but of another thing, as was apparent in the preceding discussion.

[10] Thus it is clear that, in the natural order, evil is only accidentally caused by the good. Now, it works in the same way in the realm of artifacts. “For art in its working imitates nature,” and bad results occur in both in the same way.

[11] However, in the moral order, the situation seems to be different. It does not appear that moral vice results from a defect of power, since weakness either completely removes moral fault, or at least diminishes it. Indeed, weak ness does not merit moral punishment that is proper to guilt, but, rather, mercy and forgiveness. A moral fault must be voluntary, not necessitated. Yet, if we consider the matter carefully, we shall find the two orders similar from one point of view, and dissimilar from another. There is dis similarity on this point: moral fault is noticed in action only, and not in any effect that is produced; for the mora virtues are not concerned with making but with doing. The arts are concerned with making, and so it has been said tha in their sphere a bad result happens just as it does in nature Therefore, moral evil is not considered in relation to the matter or form of the effect, but only as a resultant from the agent.

[12] Now, in moral actions we find four principles arranged in a definite order. One of these is the executive power, the moving force, whereby the parts of the body are moved to carry out the command of the will. Then this power is moved by the will, which is a second principle. Next, the will is moved by the judgment of the apprehensive power which judges that this object is good or bad, for the objects of the will are such that one moves toward attainment, another moves toward avoidance. This apprehensive power is moved, in turn, by the thing apprehended. So, the first active principle in moral actions is the thing that is cognitively apprehended, the second is the apprebensive power, the third is the will, and the fourth is the motive power which carries out the command of reason.

[13] Now, the act of the power that carries out the action already presupposes the distinction of moral good or evil. For external acts of this kind do not belong in the moral area, unless they are voluntary. Hence, if the act of the will be good, then the external act is also deemed good, but if it be bad, the external act is bad. It would have nothing to do with moral evil if the external act were defective by virtue of a defect having no reference to the will. Lameness, for instance, is not a fault in the moral order, but in the natural order. Therefore, a defect of this type in the executive power either completely excludes moral fault, or diminishes it. So, too, the act whereby a thing moves the apprehensive power is free from moral fault, for the visible thing moves the power of sight in the natural order, and so, also, does any object move a passive potency. Then, too, this act of the apprehensive power, considered in itself, is without moral fault, for a defect in it either removes or diminishes moral fault, as is the case in a defect of the executive power. Likewise, weakness and ignorance excuse wrongdoing, or diminish it. The conclusion follows, then, that moral fault is found primarily and principally in the act of the will only, and so it is quite reasonable to say, as a result, that an act is moral because it is voluntary. Therefore the root and source of moral wrongdoing is to be sought in the act of the will.

[14] However, a difficulty seems to result from this investigation. Since a defective act stems from a defect in the active principle, we must understand that there is a defect in the will preceding the moral fault. Of course, if this defect be natural, then it is always attached to the will, and so the will would always commit a morally bad action when it acts. But virtuous acts show that this conclusion is false. On the other hand, if the defect be voluntary, it is already a morally bad act, and we will have to look in turn for its cause. Thus, our rational investigation will never come to an end. Therefore, we must say that the defect pre-existing in the will is not natural, to avoid the conclusion that the will sins in everyone of its acts. Nor can we attribute the defect to chance or accident, for then there would be no moral fault in us, since chance events are not premeditated and are beyond the control of reason. So, the defect is voluntary. Yet, it is not a moral fault; otherwise, we should go on to infinity. How this is possible we must now explain.

[15] As a matter of fact, the perfection of the power of every active principle depends on a higher active principle, since a secondary agent acts through the power of a primary agent. While, therefore, a secondary agent remains in a position of subordination to the first agent, it acts without any defect, but it becomes defective in its action if it happens to turn away from its subordination to the primary agent, as is illustrated in the case of an instrument, when it falls short of the motion of the agent. Now, it has been said that two principles precede the will in the order of moral actions: namely, the apprehensive power, and the object apprehended, which is the end. Since to each movable there corresponds a proper motive power, not merely any apprehensive power is the suitable motive power for any and every appetite; rather, one pertains to this appetite and another to a second appetite. Thus, just as the proper motive power for the sensory appetite is the sensory apprehensive power, so the reason itself is the proper motivator for the will.

[16] Again, since reason is able to apprehend many goods and a multiplicity of ends, and since for each thing there is a proper end, there will be, then, for the will an end and a first motivating object which is not merely any good, but some determinate good. Hence, when the will inclines to act as moved by the apprehension of reason, presenting a proper good to it, the result is a fitting action. But when the will breaks forth into action, at the apprehension of sense cognition, or of reason itself presenting some other good at variance with its proper good, the result in the action of the will is a moral fault.

[17] Hence, a defect of ordering to reason and to a proper end precedes a fault of action in the will: in regard to reason, in the case of the will inclining, on the occasion of a sudden sense apprehension, toward a good that is on the level of sensory pleasure; and in regard to a proper end, in the case when reason encounters in its deliberation some good which is not, at this time or under these conditions, really good, and yet the will inclines toward it, as if it were a proper good. Now, this defect in ordering is voluntary, for to will and not to will lie within the power of the will itself. And it is also within its power for reason to make an actual consideration, or to abstain from such a consideration, or further to consider this or that alternative. Yet, such a defect of ordering is not a moral evil, for, if reason considers nothing, or considers any good whatever, that is still not a sin until the will inclines to an unsuitable end. At this point, the act of will occurs.

[18] Thus, it is,car, both in the natural order and in the moral order, that evil is only caused by good accidentally.

Chapter 11

THAT EVIL IS BASED ON THE GOOD

[1] It can also be shown from the preceding considerations that every evil is based on some good.

[2] Indeed, evil cannot exist by itself, since it has no essence, as we have demonstrated. Therefore, evil must be in some subject. Now, every subject, because it is some sort of substance, is a good of some kind, as is clear from the foregoing. So, every evil is in a good thing.

[3] Again, evil is a certain privation, as is evident from the foregoing. Now, privation and the form that is deprived are in the same subject. But the subject of form is being in potency to form, and such being is good, because potency and act belong in the same genus. Therefore, the privation which is evil is present in a good thing, as in a subject.

[4] Besides, something is called evil due to the fact that it causes injury. But this is only so because it injures the good, for to injure the evil is a good thing, since the corruption of evil is good. Now, formally speaking, it would not injure the good unless it were in the good; thus, blindness injures a man to the extent that it is in him. So, evil must be in the good.

[5] Moreover, evil is not caused, except by the good, and then only accidentally. But everything that occurs accidentally is reducible to that which is by itself. So, with a caused evil which is the accidental effect of the good, there must always be some good which is the direct effect of the good as such, and thus this good effect is the foundation of the evil. For what exists accidentally is based on that which exists by itself.

[6] However, since good and evil are contraries, one of these contraries cannot be the subject for the other; rather, it excludes the other. It will seem to someone, at first glance, that it is improper to say that good is the subject of evil.

[7] Yet it is not improper, provided the truth be investigated to its limit. Good is spoken of in just as general a way as being, since every being, as such, is good, as we have proved. Now, it is not improper for non-being to be present in being, as in a subject. Indeed, any instance of privation is a non-being, yet its subject is a substance which is a being. However, non-being is not present in a being contrary to it, as in a subject. For blindness is not universal non-being, but, rather, this particular non-being whereby sight is taken away. So, it is not present in the power of sight as its subject, but, rather, in the animal. Likewise, evil is not present in a good contrary to it, as in its subject; rather, this contrary good is taken away by the evil. For instance, moral evil is present in a natural good, while a natural evil, which is a privation of form, is present in matter which is a good, in the sense of a being in potency.

Chapter 12

THAT EVIL DOES NOT WHOLLY DESTROY GOOD

[1] It is evident from the foregoing explanation that, no matter how much evil be multiplied, it can never destroy the good wholly.

[2] In fact, there must always continue to be a subject for evil, if evil is to endure. Of course, the subject of evil is the good, and so the good will always endure.

[3] Yet, because it is possible for evil to increase without limit, and because good is always decreased as evil increases, it appears that the good may be infinitely decreased by evil. Now, the good that can be decreased by evil must be finite, for the infinite good does not admit of evil, as we showed in Book One [39]. So, it seems that eventually the good would be wholly destroyed by evil, for, if something be subtracted an infinite number of times from a finite thing, the latter must be destroyed eventually by the subtraction.

[4] Now, it cannot be answered, as some people say, that if the subsequent subtraction be made in the same proportion as the preceding one, going on to infinity, it is not possible to destroy the good, as happens in the division of a continuum. For, if you subtract half of a line two cubits long, and then half of the remainder, and if you go on in this way to infinity, something will always remain to be divided. But, in this process of division, that which is subtracted later must always be quantitatively diminished. In fact, the half of the whole is quantitatively greater than half of the half, though the same proportion continues. This, however, cannot in any sense happen in the decreasing of good by evil, for the more the good would be decreased by evil the weaker would it become, and so, rnore open to diminution by subsequent evil. On the contrary, the later evil could be equal to, or greater than, the earlier evil; hence a proportionately smaller quantity of good would not always be subtracted by evil from the good in subsequent cases.

[5] So, another sort of answer must be given. It is evident from what has been said that evil does take away completely the good which is its contrary, as blindness does with sight. Yet there must remain the good which is the subject of evil. This, in fact, inasmuch as it is a subject, has the essential character of goodness, in the sense that it is in potency to the act of goodness which is lacking due to the evil. So, the less it is in potency to this good, the less will it be a good. Now, a subject becomes less potential to a form, not simply by the subtraction of any of its parts, nor by the fact that any part of the potency is subtracted, but by the fact that the potency is impeded by a contrary act from being able to proceed to he actuality of the form. For example, a subject is less potential in regard to cold to the extent that heat is increased in it. Therefore, the good is diminished by evil more as a result of the addition of its contrary than by the subtraction of some of its goodness. This is also in agreement with the things that have been said about evil. Indeed, we said that evil occurs apart from the intention of the agent, and that he always intends a definite good, and that it consequently implies the exclusion of another good which is contrary to it. So, the more this intended good (which apart from the agent’s intention results in evil) is multiplied, the more is the potency to the contrary good diminished. And this is rather the way in which the good is said to be diminished by evil.

[6] Now, in the natural order, this diminution of the good by evil cannot proceed to infinity. All natural forms and powers are limited, and they reach some limit beyond which they cannot extend. So, it is not possible for any contrary form, or any power of a contrary agent, to be increased to infinity, in such a way that the result would be an infinite diminution of good by evil.

[7] However, in the moral order, this diminution can proceed to infinity. For the intellect and the will have no limits to their acts. The intellect is able to go on to infinity in its act of understanding; this is why the mathematical species of numbers and figures are called infinite. Likewise, the will proceeds to infinity in its act of willing: a man who wills to commit a theft can will again to commit it, and so on to infinity. Indeed, the more the will tends toward unworthy ends, the greater is its difficulty in returning to a proper and worthy end. This is evident in he case of people in whom vicious habits have developed already, as a result of their growing accustomed to sinning. Therefore, the good of natural aptitude can be infinitely decreased by moral evil. Yet, it will never be wholly destroyed; rather, it will always accompany the nature that endures.

Chapter 13

THAT EVIL HAS A CAUSE OF SOME SORT

[1] From what has been said above it can be shown that, though evil has no direct cause of itself, still there must be an accidental cause for every evil.

[2] Whatever exists in another thing as in its subject must have some cause, for it is caused either by the principles of the subject or by some extrinsic cause. Now, evil is in the good as in a subject, as has been indicated, and so it is necessary for evil to have a cause.

[3] Again, that which is in potency to either of two contraries is not advanced to actuality under one of them unless through some cause, for no potency makes itself be in act. Now, evil is a privation of something that is natural to a man, and which he ought to have. This is why anything whatever is called evil. So, evil is present in a subject that is in potency to evil and to its contrary. Therefore, it is necessary for evil to have some cause.

[4] Besides, whatever is present in something and is not due to it from its nature comes to it from some other cause, for all things present in existing beings as natural components remain there unless something else prevents them. Thus, a stone is not moved upward unless by something else that impels it, nor is water heated unless by some heating agent. Now, evil is always present as something foreign to the nature of that in which it is, since it is a privation of what a thing has from its natural origin, and ouaht to have. Therefore evil must alwavs have some cause, either directly of itself, or accidentally.

[5] Moreover, every evil is the consequence of a good, as corruption is the result of an act of generation. But every good has a cause, other than the first good in which there is no evil, as has been shown in Book One [39]. Therefore, every evil has a cause, in regard to which it is an accidental result.

Chapter 14

THAT EVIL IS AN ACCIDENTAL CAUSE

[1] It is plain, from the same consideration, that evil, though not a direct cause of anything by itself, is, however, an accidental cause.

[2] For, if a thing is the direct cause of something, then that which is an accidental concomitant of this direct cause is the accidental cause of the resultant. Take, for instance, the fact that a builder happens to be white, then whiteness is the accidental cause of the house. Now, every evil is present in something good. And every good thing is the cause of something in some way, for matter is in one way the cause of form; in another way the converse is so. The same is true of the agent and the end. Hence, the result is not a process to infinity in causes if each thing is the cause of another thing, for there is a circle involved in causes and effects, depending on the different types of cause. So, evil is an accidental cause.

[3] Again, evil is a privation, as we have seen before. Now, privation is an accidental principle in beings subject to motion, just as matter and form are essential principles. Therefore, evil is the accidental cause of something else.

[4] Besides, from a defect in a cause there follows a defect in the effect. Now a defect in a cause is an evil. Yet, it cannot be a direct cause in itself, for a thing is not a cause by the fact that it is defective but rather by the fact that it is a being. Indeed, if it were entirely defective, it would not cause anything. So, evil is the cause of something, not as a direct cause by itself, but accidentally.

[5] Moreover, evil is found to be an accidental cause in a discursive examination of all types of cause. This is so, in the kind of cause which is efficient, since a defect in the effect and in action results from a deficiency of power in the acting cause. Then, in the type of cause that is material, a defect in the effect is caused by the unsuitable character of the matter. Again, in the kind of cause which is formal, there is the fact that a privation of another form is always the adjunct of the presence of a given form. And, in the type of cause that is final, evil is connected with an improper end, inasmuch as the proper end is hindered by it.

[6] Therefore, it is clear that evil is an accidental cause and cannot be a direct cause by itself.

Chapter 15

THAT THERE IS NO HIGHEST EVIL

[1] As a consequence, it is evident that there cannot be any highest evil which would be the first source of all evils.

[2] The highest evil ought to be quite dissociated from any good; just as the highest good is that which is completely separate from evil. Now, no evil can exist in complete separation from the good, for we have shown that evil is based upon the good. Therefore, the highest evil is nothing.

[3] Again, if the highest evil be anything, it must be evil in its own essence, just as the highest good is what is good in its own essence. Now, this is impossible, because evil has no essence, as we proved above. So, it is impossible to posit a highest evil which would be the source of evils.

[4] Besides, that which is a first principle is not caused by anything. But every evil is caused by a good, as we have shown. Therefore, evil is not a first principle.

[5] Moreover, evil acts only through the power of the good, as is clear from what has been established previously. But a first principle acts through its own power. Therefore, evil cannot be a first principle.

[6] Furthermore, since “that which is accidental is posterior to that which is per se,” it is impossible for that which is first to be accidental. Now, evil arises only accidentally, and apart from intention, as has been demonstrated. So, it is impossible for evil to be a first principle.

[7] Again, every evil has an accidental cause, as we have proved. Now, a first principle has no cause, whether direct or accidental. Therefore, evil cannot be a first principle in any genus.

[8] Besides, a per sc cause is prior to one which is accidental. But evil is not a cause, except in the accidental sense, as we have shown.” So, evil cannot be a first principle.

[9] By means of this conclusion, the error of the Manicheans is refuted, for they claimed that there is a highest evil which is the first principle of all evils.

Chapter 16

THAT THE END OF EVERYTHING IS A GOOD

[1] If every agent acts for the sake of a good, as was proved above, it follows further that the end of every being is a good. For every being is ordered to its end through its action. It must be, then, that the action itself is the end, or that the end of the action is also the end of the agent. And this is its good.

[2] Again, the end of anything is that in which its appetite terminates. Now, the appetite of anything terminates in a good; this is how the philosophers define the good: “that which all things desire.” Therefore, the end for everything is a good.

[3] Besides, that toward which a thing tends, while it is beyond the thing, and in which it rests, when it is possessed, is the end for the thing. Now, if anything lacks a proper perfection, it is moved toward it, in so far as lies within its capacity, but if it possess it the thing rests in it. Therefore, the end of each thing is its perfection. Now, the perfection of anything is its good. So, each thing is ordered to a good as an end.

[4] Moreover, things that know their end are ordered to the end in the same way as things which do not know it, though the ones that do know their end are moved toward it through themselves, while those that do not know it incline to their end, as directed by another being. The example of the archer and the arrow shows this clearly. However, things that know their end are always ordered to the good as an end, for the will, which is the appetite for a foreknown end, inclines toward something only if it has the rational character of a good, which is its object. So, also, the things which do not know their end are ordered to a good as an end. Therefore, the end of all things is a good.

Chapter 17

THAT ALL THINGS ARE ORDERED TO ONE END WHO IS GOD

[1] It is, consequently, apparent that all things are ordered to one good, as to their ultimate end.

[2] If, in fact, nothing tends toward a thing as an end, unless this thing is a good, it is therefore necessary that the good, as good, be the end. Therefore, that which is the highest good is, from the highest point of view, the end of all things. But there is only one highest good, and this is God, as has been demonstrated in Book One [42]. So, all things are ordered to one good, as their end, and this is God.

[3] Again, that which is supreme in any genus is the cause of all the members that belong in that genus; thus, fire, which is the hottest of corporeal things, is the cause of the heat of other things. Therefore, the highest good which is God is the cause of the goodness in all good things. So, also, is He the cause of every end that is an end, since whatever is an end is such because it is a good. Now, “the cause of an attribute’s inherence in a subject always itself inheres in the subject more firmly than does the attribute.” Therefore, God is obviously the end of all things.

[4] Besides, in any kind of causes, the first cause is more a cause than is the secondary cause, for a secondary cause is only a cause through the primary cause. Therefore, that which is the first cause in the order of final causes must be more the final cause of anything than is its proximate final cause. But God is the first cause in the order of final causes, since He is the highest in the order of goods. Therefore, He is more the end of everything than is any proximate end.

[5] Moreover, in every ordered series of ends the ultimate end must be the end of all preceding ends. For instance, if a potion is mixed to be given a sick man, and it is given in order to purge him, and he is purged in order to make him thinner, and he is thinned down so that he may become healthy.—then health must be the end of the thinning process, and of the purging, and of the other actions which precede it. But all things are found, in their various degrees of goodness, to be subordinated to one highest good which is the cause of all goodness. Consequently, since the good has the essential character of an end, all things are subordinated to God, as preceding ends under an ultimate end. Therefore, God must be the end of all things.

[6] Furthermore, a particular good is ordered to the common good as to an end; indeed, the being of a part depends on the being of the whole. So, also, the good of a nation is more godlike than the good of one man. Now, the highest good which is God is the common good, since the good of all things taken together depends on Him; and the good whereby each thing is good is its own particular good, and also is the good of the other things that depend on this thing. Therefore, all things are ordered to one good as their end, and that is God.

[7] Again, order among ends is a consequence of order among agents, for, just as the supreme agent moves all secondary agents, so must all the ends of secondary agents be ordered to the end of the supreme agent, since whatever the supreme agent does, He does for the sake of His end. Now, the supreme agent does the actions of all inferior agents by moving them all to their actions and, consequently, to their ends. Hence, it follows that all the ends of secondary agents are ordered by the first agent to His own proper end. Of course, the first agent of all things is God, as we proved in Book Two [15]. There is no other end for His will than His goodness, which is Himself, as we proved in Book One [74]. Therefore, all things, whether made by Him. immediately, or by means of secondary causes, are ordered to God as to their end. Now, all things are of this kind, for, as we proved in Book Two [15], there can be nothing that does not take its being from Him. So, all things are ordered to God as an end.

[8] Besides, the ultimate end of any maker, as a maker, is himself; we use things made by us for our own sakes, and, if sometimes a man makes a thing for some other purpose, this has reference to his own good, either as useful, delectable, or as a good for its own sake. Now, God is the productive cause of all things, of some immediately, of others by means of other causes, as is shown in the foregoing. Therefore, He Himself is the end of all things.

[9] Moreover, the end holds first place over other types of cause, and to it all other causes owe the fact that they are causes in act: for the agent acts only for the sake of the end, as was pointed out.” Matter is brought to formal act by the agent, and thus matter actually becomes the matter of this particular thing, as form becomes the form of this thing: through the action of the agent, and consequently through the end. So, too, the posterior end is the cause of the preceding end being intended as an end, for a thing is not moved toward a proximate end unless for the sake of a last end. Therefore, the ultimate end is the first cause of all. Now, to be the first cause of all must be appropriate to the first being, that is, to God, as was shown above. So, God is the ultimate end of all things.

[10] Thus it is said in Proverbs (16:4): “God made all things for Himself”; and in the Apocalypse (22:13): “I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last.”

Chapter 18

HOW GOD IS THE END OF ALL THINGS

[1] We must further investigate how God is the end of all. This will be made clear from the foregoing.

[2] The ultimate end of all is such that He is, nonetheless, prior to all things in existing being. Now, there is a sort of end which, though it holds first place causally in the order of intention, is posterior in existing. This is the situation with an end which the agent sets up by his own action, as a physician sets up health in a sick man by his own action; this is, of course, the physician’s end. And then there is an end which takes precedence in existing being, just as it precedes in the causal order. For instance, we call that an end which one intends to obtain by his action or motion, as fire inclines upward by its motion, and a king intends to establish a city by fighting. Therefore, God is not the end of things in the sense of being something set up as an ideal, but as a pre-existing being Who is to be attained.

[3] Again, God is at once the ultimate end of things and the first agent, as we have shown. But the end that is produced by the action of the agent cannot be the first agent; it is, rather, the effect of the agent. Therefore, God cannot be the end of things in this way, as something produced, but only as something pre-existing that is to be attained.

[4] Besides, if something act for the sake of an already existing thing, and should then set up something by its action, then this something must be added by the action of the agent to the thing for the sake of which the action is done: thus, if soldiers fight for the sake of their leader, victory will come to the leader, and this is what the soldiers cause by their actions. Now, something cannot be added to God by the action of a thing, for His goodness is completely perfect, as we showed in Book One [37ff]. The conclusion stands, then, that God is the end of things, not in the sense of something set up, or produced, by things, nor in the sense that something is added to Him by things, but in this sense only, that He is attained by things.

[5] Moreover, the effect must tend toward the end in the same way that the agent works for the end. Now, God, Who is the first agent of all things, does not act in such a way that something is attained by His action, but in such a way that something is enriched by His action. For He is not in potency to the possibility of obtaining something; rather, He is in perfect act simply, and as a result He is a source of enrichment. So, things are not ordered to God as to an end for which something may be obtained, but rather so that they may attain Himself from Himself, according to their measure, since He is their end.

Chapter 19

THAT ALL THINGS TEND TO BECOME LIKE GOD

[1] Created things are made like unto God by the fact that they attain to divine goodness. If then, all things tend toward God as an ultimate end, so that they may attain His goodness, it follows that the ultimate end of things is to become like God.

[2] Again, the agent is said to be the end of the effect because the effect tends to become like the agent; hence, “the form of the generator is the end of the generating action.” But God is the end of things in such a way that He is also their first agent. Therefore, all things tend to become like God as to their ultimate end.

[3] Besides, it is quite evident that things “naturally desire to be,” and if they can be corrupted by anything they naturally resist corrupting agents and tend toward a place where they may be preserved, as fire inclines upward and earth downward. Now, all things get their being from the fact that they are made like unto God, Who is subsisting being itself, for all things exist merely as participants in existing being. Therefore, all things desire as their ultimate end to be made like unto God.

[4] Moreover,-all created things are, in a sense, images of the first agent, that is, of God, “for the agent makes a product to his own likeness. Now, the function of a perfect image is to represent its prototype by likeness to it; this is why an image is made. Therefore, all things exist in order to attain to the divine likeness, as to their ultimate end.

[5] Furthermore, everything tends through its motion or action toward a good, as its end, which we showed above. Now, a thing participates in the good precisely to the same extent that it becomes like the first goodness, which is God. So, all things tend through their movements and actions toward the divine likeness, as toward their ultimate end.

Chapter 20

HOW THINGS IMITATE DIVINE GOODNESS

[1] From what has been said, then, it is clear that to become like God is the ultimate end of all. Now, that which possesses the formal character of an end, in the proper sense, is the good. Therefore, things tend t6ward this objective, of becoming like God, inasmuch as He is good.

[2] Creatures do not attain goodness in the same measure that it is in God, though each thing imitates divine goodness according to its measure. For, divine goodness is simple, entirely gathered together, as it were, into one being. Indeed, this divine existing being includes the entire fullness of perfection, as we proved in Book One [28]. As a result, since anything is perfect to the extent that it is good, this divine being is His perfect goodness. In fact, for God it is the same thing to be, to live, to be wise, to be blessed, and to be whatever else seems to belong to perfection and goodness; the whole divine goodness is, as it were, His divine existing being. Again, this divine being is the substance of the existing God. Now, this cannot obtain in the case of other things. We have pointed out in Book Two [15] that no created substance is its own act of being. Hence, if anything is good by virtue of the fact that it exists, none of them is its own act of being; none of them is its own goodness. Rather, each of them is good by participation in goodness, just as it is being by participation in existing being itself.

[3] Again, not all creatures are established on one level of goodness. For some of them, substance is their form and their act: this is so for the creature to whom, because of what it is essentially, it is appropriate to be, and to be good. For others, indeed, substance is composed of matter and form: to such a being it is appropriate to be, and to be good—but by virtue of some part of it, that is to say, by virtue of its form. Therefore, divine substance is its own goodness, but a simple substance participates goodness by virtue of what it is essentially, while composite substance does so by virtue of something that belongs to it as a part.

[4] In this third grade of substance, in turn, there is found a diversity in regard to being itself. For some of them that are composed of matter and form, the form fulfills the entire potentiality of the matter, so that there remains in their matter no potentiality for another form. And consequently, there is no potentiality in other matter for the form of this type of substance. Beings of this type are celestial bodies, which actuate their entire matter when they exist. For other substances, the form does not exhaust the entire potentiality of their matter; consequently, there still remains a potentiality for another form, and in some other portion of matter there remains a potentiality for this sort of form, as is the case in the elements and in things composed of the elements. In fact, since privation is the negation in a substance of something which can be present in that substance, it is clear that the privation of a form is found combined with the type of form that does not exhaust the entire potentiality of matter. Indeed, privation cannot be associated with a substance whose form exhausts the entire potentiality of its matter; nor with one which is a form in its essence; still less with one whose essence is its very act of being. Now, since it is obvious that change cannot take place where there is no potentiality to something else, for motion is the “act of that which exists potentially,” and since it is also clear that evil is the very privation of the good, it is plain that, in this lowest order of substances, the good is mutable and mixed with its contrary evil. This cannot occur in the higher orders of substances. Therefore, this substance which we have said is on the lowest level holds the lowest rank in goodness, just as it has the lowest grade in being.

[5] Still, among the parts of this sort of substance composed of matter and form, an order of goodness is found. In fact, since matter, considered in itself, is potential being and form is its act, and since composite substance is actually existent through form, the form will be good in itself; while the composite substance is so in so far as it actually possesses form; and the matter is good inasmuch as it is in potentiality to form. Besides, though anything is good in so far as it is a being, it is not, however, necessary for matter which is merely potential being to be good only in potency. For being is a term used absolutely, while good also includes a relation. In fact, a thing is not called good simply because it is an end, or because it has achieved the end; provided it be ordered to the end, it may be called good because of this relation. So, matter cannot be called a being without qualification, because it is potential being, in which a relation to existing being is implied, but it can be called good, without qualification, precisely because of this relation. It is apparent in this conclusion that good is, in a way, of wider scope than being. For this reason, Dionysius says, in the fourth chapter of On the Divine Names: “the good extends to existent beings and also to non-existent ones.” For, this non-existent thing—namely matter understood as subject to privation—desires a good, that is, to be. It is, consequently, evident that it is also good, for nothing except a good thing desires the good.

[6] There is still another way in which the goodness of a creature is defective in comparison with divine goodness. For, as we said, God in His very act of being holds the highest perfection of goodness. On the other hand, a created thing does not possess its perfection in unity, but in many items, for what is unified in the highest instance is found to be manifold in the lowest things. Consequently, God is said to be virtuous, wise, and operative with reference to the same thing, but creatures are so described with reference to a diversity of things. And so, the more multiplicity the perfect goodness of any creature requires, the more removed is it from the first goodness. If it cannot attain perfect goodness, it will keep imperfect goodness in a few items. Hence it is that, though the first and highest good is altogether simple, and the substances that are nearer to it in goodness are likewise close to it in regard to simplicity, we find some among the lowest substances to be simpler than some of their superiors, as is the case with elements in relation to animals and men; yet these lower simple beings cannot achieve the perfection of knowledge and understanding which animals and men do attain.

[7] So, it is evident from what has been said that, though God has His own perfect and complete goodness, in accord with His simple existing being, creatures do not attain the perfection of their goodness through their being alone, but through many things. Hence, although any one of them is good in so far as it exists, it cannot be called good, without qualification, if it lack any other things required for its goodness. Thus, a man who is destitute of virtue and host to vices is indeed called good, relatively speaking; that is, to the extent that be is a being, and a man. However, in the absolute sense, he is not good, but evil. So, it is not the same thing for any creature to be and to be good without qualification, although each of them is good in so far as it exists. In God, however, to be and to be good are simply the same thing.

[8] So, if each thing tends toward a likeness of divine goodness as its end, and if each thing becomes like the divine goodness in respect of all the things that belong to its proper goodness, then the goodness of the thing consists not only in its mere being, but in all the things needed for its perfection, as we have shown. It is obvious, then, that things are ordered to God as an end, not merely according to their substantial act of being, but also according to those items which are added as pertinent to perfection, and even according to the proper operation which also belongs to the thing’s perfection.

Chapter 21

THAT THINGS NATURALLY TEND TO BECOME LIKE GOD INASMUCH AS HE IS A CAUSE

[1] As a result, it is evident that things also tend toward the divine likeness by the fact that they are the cause of other things.

[2] In fact, a created thing tends toward the divine likeness through its operation. Now, through its operation, one thing becomes the cause of another. Therefore, in this way, also, do things tend toward the divine likeness, in that they are the causes of other things.

[3] Again, things tend toward the divine likeness inasmuch as He is good, as we said above. Now, it is as a result of the goodness of God that He confers being on all things, for a being acts by virtue of the fact that it is actually perfect. So, things generally desire to become like God in this respect, by being the causes of other things.

[4] Besides, an orderly relation toward the good has the formal character of a good thing, as is clear from what we have said. Now, by the fact that it is the cause of another, a thing is ordered toward the good, for only the good is directly caused in itself; evil is merely caused accidentally, as we have shown. Therefore, to be the cause of other things is good. Now, a thing tends toward the divine likeness according to each good to which it inclines, since any created thing is good through participation in divine goodness. And so, things tend toward the divine likeness by the fact that they are causes of others.

[5] Moreover, it is for the same reason that the effect tends to the likeness of the agent, and that the agent makes the effect like to itself, for the effect tends toward the end to which it is directed by the agent. The agent tends to make the patient like the agent, not only in regard to its act of being, but also in regard to causality. For instance, just as the principles by which a natural agent subsists are conferred by the agent, so are the principles by which the effect is the cause of others. Thus, an animal receives from the generating agent, at the time of its generation, the nutritive power and also the generative power. So, the effect does tend to be like the agent, not only in its species, but also in this characteristic of being the cause of others. Now, things tend to the likeness of God in the same way that effects tend to the likeness of the agent, as we have shown. Therefore, things naturally tend to become like God by the fact that they are the causes of others.

[6] Furthermore, everything is at its peak perfection when it is able to make another thing like itself; thus, a thing is a perfect source of light when it can enlighten other things. Now, everything tending to its own perfection tends toward the divine likeness. So, a thing tends to the divine likeness by tending to be the cause of other things.

[7] And since a cause, as such, is superior”to the thing caused, it is evident that to tend toward the divine likeness in the manner of something that causes others is appropriate to higher types of beings.

[8] Again, a thing must first be perfect in itself before it can cause another thing, as we have said already. So, this final perfection comes to a thing in order that it may exist as the cause of others. Therefore, since a created thing tends to the divine likeness in many ways, this one whereby it seeks the divine likeness by being the cause of others takes the ultimate place. Hence Dionysius says, in the third chapter of On the Celestial Hierarchy, that “of all things, it is more divine to become a co-worker with God”; in accord with the statement of the Apostle: “we are God’s coadjutors” (1 Cor, 3:9)

Chapter 22

HOW THINGS ARE ORDERED TO THEIR ENDS IN VARIOUS WAYS

[1] It can be shown from the foregoing that the last thing through which any real being is ordered to its end is its operation. Yet this is done in various ways, depending on the diversity of operations.

[2] One kind of operation pertains to a thing as the mover of another, as in the actions of heating or sawing. Another is the operation of a thing that is moved by another, as in the case of being heated or being sawed. Still another operation is the perfection of an actually existing agent which does not tend to produce a change in another thing. And these last differ, first of all, from passion and motion, and secondly from action transitively productive of change in exterior matter. Examples of operations in this third sense are understanding, sensing, and willing. Hence, it is clear that the things which are moved, or passively worked on only, without actively moving or doing anything, tend to the divine likeness by being perfected within themselves; while the things that actively make and move, by virtue of their character, tend toward the divine likeness by being the causes of others. Finally, the things that move as a result of being moved tend toward the divine likeness in both ways.

[3] Lower bodies, inasmuch as they are moved in their natural motions, are considered as moved things only, and not as movers, except in the accidental sense, for it may happen that a falling stone will put in motion a thing that gets in its way. And the same applies to alteration and the other kinds of change. Hence, the end of their motion is to achieve the divine likeness by being perfected in themselves; for instance, by possessing their proper form and being in their proper place.

[4] On the other hand, celestial bodies move because they are moved. Hence, the end of their motion is to attain the divine likeness in both ways. In regard to the way which involves its own perfection, the celestial body comes to be in a certain place actually, to which place it was previously in potency. Nor does it achieve its perfection any less because it now stands in potency to the place in which it was previously. For, in the same way, prime matter tends toward its perfection by actually acquiring a form to which it was previously in. potency, even though it then ceases to have the other form which it actually possessed before, for this is the way that matter may receive in succession all the forms to which it is potential, so that its entire potentiality may be successively reduced to act, which could not be done all at once. Hence, since a celestial body is in potency to place in the same way that prime matter is to form, it achieves its perfection through the fact that its entire potency to place is successively reduced to act, which could not be done all at once.

[5] In regard to the way which involves movers that actively move, the end of their motion is to attain the divine likeness by being the causes of others. Now, they are the causes of others by the fact that they cause generation and corruption and other changes in these lower things. So, the motions of the celestial bodies, as actively moving, are ordered to the generation and corruption which take Place in these lower bodies.-Nor is it unfitting that celestial bodies should move for the sake of the generation and corruption of these lower things, even though lower bodies are of less value than celestial bodies, while, of course, the end should be more important than what is for the sake of the end.

Indeed, the generating agent acts for the sake of the form of the product of generation, yet this product is not more valuable than the agent; rather, in the case of univocal agents it is of the same species as the agent. In fact, the generating agent intends as its ultimate end, not the form of the product generated, which is the end of the process of generation, but the likeness of divine being in the perpetuation of the species and in the diffusion of its goodness, through the act of handing on its specific form to others, and of being the cause of others. Similarly, then, celestial bodies, although they are of greater value than lower bodies, tend toward the generation of these latter, and through their motions to the actual eduction of the forms of the products of generation, not as an ultimate end but as thereby intending the divine likeness as an ultimate end, inasmuch as they exist as the causes of other things.

[6] Now, we should keep in mind that a thing participates in the likeness of the divine will, through which things are brought into being and preserved, to the extent that it participates in the likeness of divine goodness which is the object of His will. Higher things participate more simply and more universally in the likeness of divine goodness, while lower things do so more particularly and more in detail. Hence, between celestial and lower bodies the likeness is not observed according to complete equivalence, as it is in the case of things of one kind. Rather, it is like the similarity of a universal agent to a particular effect. Therefore, just as in the order of lower bodies the intention of a particular agent is focused on the good of this species or that, so is the intention of a celestial body directed to the common good of corporeal substance which is preserved, and multiplied, and increased through generation.

[7] As we said, since any moved thing, inasmuch as it is moved, tends to the divine likeness so that it may be perfected in itself, and since a thing is perfect in so far as it is actualized, the intention of everything existing in potency must be to tend through motion toward actuality. And so, the more posterior and more perfect an act is, the more fundamentally is the inclination of matter directed toward it. Hence. in regard to the last and most perfect act that matter can attain, the inclination of matter whereby it desires form must be inclined as toward the ultimate end of generation. Now, among the acts pertaining to forms, certain gradations are found. Thus, prime matter is in potency, first of all, to the form of an element. When it is existing under the form of an element it is in potency to the form of a mixed body; that is why the elements are matter for the mixed body. Considered under the form of a mixed body, it is in potency to a vegetative soul, for this sort of soul is the act of a body. In turn, the vegetative soul is in potency to a sensitive soul, and a sensitive one to an intellectual one. This the process of generation shows: at the start of generation there is the embryo living with plant life, later with animal life, and finally with human life. After this last type of form, no later and more noble form is found in the order of generable and corruptible things. Therefore, the ultimate end of the whole process of generation is the human soul, and matter tends toward it as toward an ultimate form. So, elements exist for the sake of mixed bodies; these latter exist for the sake of living bodies, among which plants exist for animals, and animals for men. Therefore, man is the end of the whole order of generation.

[8] And since a thing is generated and preserved in being by the same reality, there is also an order in the preservation of things, which parallels the foregoing order of generation. Thus we see that mixed bodies are sustained by the appropriate qualities of the elements; Plants, in turn, are nourished by mixed bodies; animals get their nourishment from plants: so, those that are more perfect and more powerful from those that are more imperfect and weaker. In fact, man uses all kinds of things for his own advantage: some for food, others for clothing. That is why handwas created nude by nature, since he is able to make clothes for, himself from other things; just as nature also provided him with no appropriate nourishment, except milk, because he can obtain food for himself from a variety of things. Other things handuses for transportation, since we find man the inferior of many animals in quickness of movement, and in the strength to do work; other animals being provided, as it were, for his assistance. And, in addition to this, man uses all sense objects for the perfection of intellectual knowledge. Hence it is said of man in the Psalms (8:8) in a statement directed to God: “Thou bast subjected all things under his feet,” And Aristotle says, in the Politics I [5: 1254b 9], that man has natural dominion over all animals.

[9] So, if the motion of the heavens is ordered to generation, and if the whole of generation is ordered to man as a last end within this genus, it is clear that the end of celestial motion is ordered to man, as to an ultimate end in the genus of generable and mobile beings.

Chapter 23

THAT THE MOTION OF THE HEAVENS COMES FROM AN INTELLECTUAL PRINCIPLE

[1] From the preceding we can also show that the prime motive principle of the heavens is something intellectual.

[2] Nothing that acts in function of its own species intends a form higher than its own form, for every agent tends toward its like. Now, a celestial body, acting under its own motion, tends toward the ultimate form, which is the human intellect; and which is, in fact, higher than any bodily form, as is clear from the foregoing. Therefore, a celestial body does not act for a generation according to its own species as a principal agent, but according to the species of a higher intellectual agent, to which the celestial body is related as an instrument to a principal agent. Now, the heavens act for the purpose of generation in accord with the way in which they are moved. So, a celestial body is moved by some intellectual substance.

[3] Again, everything that is moved must be moved by another being, as we proved earlier. Therefore, a celestial body is moved by something else. So, this other thing is either completely separated from it, or is united with it in the sense that the composite of the celestial body and the mover may be said to move itself, in so far as one of its parts is the mover and another part is the thing moved. Now, if it works this way, since everything that moves itself is alive and animated, it would follow that the heavens are animated, and by no other soul than an intellectual one: not by a nutritive soul, for generation and corruption are not within its power; nor by a sensitive soul, for a celestial body has no diversity of organs. The conclusion is, then, that it is moved by an intellective soul.—On the other hand, if it is moved by an extrinsic mover, this latter will be either corporeal or incorporeal. Now, if it is corporeal, it will not move unless it is moved, for no body moves unless it is moved, as was evident previously. Therefore, it will also have to be moved by another. And since there should be no process to infinity in the order of bodies, we will have to come to an incorporeal first mover. Now, that which is utterly separate from body must be intellectual, as is evident from earlier considerations. Therefore, the motion of the heavens, that is of the first body, comes from an intellectual substance.

[4] Besides, heavy and light bodies are moved by their generating agent, and by that which takes away any impediment to motion, as was proved in Physics VIII [4: 256a 1]. For it cannot be that the form in them is the mover, and the matter the thing moved, since nothing is moved unless it be a body. Now, just as the elemental bodies are simple and there is no composition in them, except of matter and form, so also are the celestial bodies simple. And so, if they are moved in the same way as heavy and light bodies, they must be moved directly by their generating agent, and accidentally by the agent which removes an impediment to motion. But this is impossible, for these bodies are not capable of generation: for they are not endowed with contrariety, and their motions cannot, be impeded. So, these bodies must be moved by movers that function through knowing; not through sensitive knowledge, as we showed, but through intellectual knowledge.

[5] Moreover, if the principle of celestial motion is simply a nature lacking any type of apprehension, then the principle of celestial motion must be the form of a celestial body, just as is the case in the elements. For, although simple forms are not movers, they are nonetheless the principles of motions, since natural motions are resultant from them, as are all other natural properties. Now, it is impossible for celestial motion to result from the form of a celestial body, as from an active principle. A form is the principle of local motion in the same way that a certain place is proper to a body by virtue of its form; it is moved to this place by the force of its form tending to it, and, since the generating agent gives the form, it is said to be the mover. For instance, it is appropriate to fire, by virtue of its form, to be in a higher place. But one place is no more appropriate than another for a celestial body, according to its form. Therefore, the principle of celestial motion is not simply the nature of the body. So, the principle of its motion must be something that moves as a result of apprehension.

[6] Furthermore, nature always tends toward one objective; hence, things which result from nature always occur in the same way, unless they are interfered with, and this happens to few of them. Indeed, that which has a deformity within its very definition cannot be an end to which a nature tends. Now, motion, by definition, is of this type, for whatever is moved, by virtue of that fact, is in a different condition before and after.” So, it is impossible for a nature to tend toward motion for the sake of motion. Therefore, it tends through motion toward rest, and the latter is related to motion as one to many. Indeed, a thing at rest is one which is in the same condition before and after. If then, the motion of the heavens were simply from a nature, it would be ordered to some condition of rest. But the contrary of this is apparent, for celestial motion is continuous. Therefore, the motion of the heavens does not arise from a nature, as its active principle, but rather from an intelligent substance.

[7] Again, for every motion that is from a nature, as an active principle, if its approach to something be natural, then its removal from that objective must be unnatural and against nature. Thus, a heavy thing naturally moves downward, but for it to move in the opposite direction is against nature. Therefore, if the motion of the heavens were natural, since it tends westward naturally, it would return to the east in the manner of a thing that recedes from the west by a motion against nature. Now, this is impossible. In celestial motion there is nothing violent and against nature. So, it is impossible for the active principle of celestial motion to be a nature. Therefore, its active principle is some apprehensive power, and through understanding, as is clear from what was said earlier. So, a celestial body is moved by an intellectual substance.

[8] Yet we must not deny that celestial motion is natural. In fact, a motion is called natural, not simply because of its active principle, but also because of its passive one. This is exemplified in the generation of simple bodies. Indeed, this generation cannot be called natural by reason of the active principle, for that is moved naturally by an active principle, which has its active principle within it; “a nature is a principle of motion in that to which it belongs.” But the active principle in the generation of a simple body is outside. So, it is not natural by reason of the active principle, but only by reason of the passive principle, which is the matter in which the natural appetite for a natural form is present. And so, the motion of a celestial body, as far as its active principle is concerned, is not natural, but voluntary and intellectual; however, in relation to its passive principle, the motion is natural, for a celestial body has a natural aptitude for such motion.

[9] This becomes clearly evident when we consider the relation of a celestial body to its location. A thing is acted on passively, and is moved, in so far as it is in potency; while it acts and moves, in so far as it is in act. Now, a celestial body, considered in its substance, is found to be indifferently related to every place, just as prime matter is to every form, as we said before. Of course, it is a different situation in the case of a heavy or light body which, considered in its nature, is not indifferent to every place, but is determined by virtue of its form to a place of its own. So, the nature of a heavy or light body is the active principle of its motion, while the nature of a celestial body is the passive principle of its motion. Hence, no one should get the impression that the latter is moved violently, as is the case with heavy and light bodies that are moved by us through understanding. For there is present in heavy and light bodies a natural aptitude for motion contrary to that in which they are moved by us, and so they are moved by us through violence. However, the motion of an animated body, in which it is moved by a soul, is not violent for it as an animal, though it is violent for it as a heavy object. Celestial bodies have no aptitude for contrary motion, but only for that whereby they are moved by an intelligent substance. Consequently, it is at once voluntary, in relation to the active principle, and natural, in relation to the passive principle.

[10] That the motion of the heavens is voluntary according to its active principle is not repugnant to the unity and uniformity of celestial motion because of the fact that the will is open to a plurality of actions and is not determined to one of them. In fact, just as a nature is determined to one objective by its power, so is the will determined to one objective by its wisdom, whereby the will is infallibly directed to one end.

[11] It is also evident from the foregoing that in celestial motion neither the approach to a certain place, nor the regression from that place, is against nature. Such a thing does occur in the motion of heavy and light bodies for two reasons. First, because the natural tendency in heavy and light things is determined to one place; hence, just as such a body naturally tends to this place, so does it go against nature in receding from it. Second, because two motions, one approaching a term and the other receding from it, are contrary. But, if we take into consideration in this motion of heavy and light bodies, not the final place but an intermediate one, then just as an approach may naturally be made to it, so also may a recession be naturally made from it. For the whole motion comes under one natural tendency, and these motions are not contrary but one and continuous.—So, too, is the situation in the motion of celestial bodies, for the tendency of their nature is not toward some determinate place, as has been said already. Also, the motion whereby a body moves in a circle, away from a point of reference, is not contrary to the motion whereby it approaches the point, but it is one continuous motion. Hence, each place in the motion of the heavens is like a middle point, and not like a terminal point in straight-line motion.

[12] Nor does it make any difference, as far as our present purpose is concerned, whether a heavenly body is moved by a conjoined intellectual substance which is its soul, or by a separate substance; nor whether each celestial body is moved immediately by God, or whether none is so moved, because all are moved through intermediary, created, intellectual substances; nor whether the first body alone is immediately moved by God, and the others through the mediation of created substances—provided it is granted that celestial motion comes from intellectual substance.

Chapter 24

HOW EVEN BEINGS DEVOID OF KNOWLEDGE SEEK THE GOOD

[1] Now, if a celestial body is moved by intellectual substance, as we have shown, and if the motion of a celestial body is ordered to generation in the realm of things here below, it must be that the processes of generation and the motions of these lower things start from the intention of an intelligent substance. For the intention of the principal agent and that of the instrument are directed toward the same thing. Now, the heavens is the cause of the movements of inferior bodies, by virtue of its own motion in which it is moved by an intellectual substance. It follows, then, that the heavenly body is like an instrument for intellectual substance. Therefore, the forms and movements of lower bodies are caused by intellectual substance which intends them as a principal agent, while the celestial body is like an instrument.

[2] It must be, then, that the species of things caused and intended by the intellectual agent exist beforehand in his intellect, as the forms of artifacts pre-exist in the intellect of the artist and are projected from there into their products. So, all the forms that are in these lower substances, and all their motions, are derived from the intellectual forms which are in the intellect of some substance, or substances. Consequently, Boethius says in his book, The Trinity, that “forms which are in matter have come from forms which are without matter.” And on this point, Plato’s statement is verified, that forms separated from matter are the principles of forms that are in it. Although Plato claimed that they subsist in themselves and immediately cause the forms of sensible things, we assert that they exist in an intellect and cause lower forms through the motion of the heavens.

[3] Since everything that is moved directly and not merely accidentally by another being is directed by that being to the end of its motion, and since the celestial body is moved by an intellectual substance, and, moreover, the celestial body causes, through its own motion, all the motions in these lower things, the celestial body must be directed to the end of its motion by an intellectual substance, and so must all lower bodies be directed to their own ends.

[4] So, then, it is not difficult to see how natural bodies, devoid of knowledge, are moved and perform actions for an end. They tend to the end as things directed to that end by an intellectual substance, in the way that an arrow tends toward the target when it has been aimed by the archer. just as the arrow attains its inclination to a definite end from the archer’s act of shooting it, so do natural bodies attain their inclination to natural ends, from natural movers; from which movers they also receive their forms, powers, and motions.

[5] Consequently, it is also evident that every working of nature is the work of an intelligent substance, because an effect is more fundamentally attributed to the prime mover, which aims at the end, than to the instruments which have been directed by it. And because of this we find that the workings of nature proceed toward their end in an orderly way, as do the actions of a wise man.

[6] Hence, it becomes obvious that even things which lack knowledge can be made to work for an end, and to seek the good by a natural appetite, and to seek the divine likeness and their own perfection. And there is no difference between saying one of these things or the other. For, by the fact that they tend to their own perfection they tend to the good, since a thing is good to the extent that it is perfect. Moreover, by virtue of tending to be good it tends to the divine likeness, for a thing is made like unto God in so far as it is good. And this or that particular good thing becomes an object of desire according as it is a likeness of prime goodness. So, too, for this reason it tends to its own good, because it tends to the divine likeness, and not conversely. Hence, it is clear that all things desire the divine likeness as an ultimate end.

[7] Now, the good that is proper to a thing may be received in many ways. One way depends on what is appropriate to the essential character of the individual. It is thus that an animal seeks his good, when he desires the food whereby he may be kept in existence. A second way depends on what is appropriate to the species. It is in this way that an animal desires his proper good, inasmuch as he desires the procreation of offspring and the nourishment of the same, or the performance of any other work that is for the preservation or protection of individuals belonging to his species. A third way depends on the essential character of his genus. It is in this way that an equivocal agent seeks its proper good by an act of causation, as in the case of the heavens. And a fourth way depends on the analogical likeness of things produced, in relation to their source. And it is in this way that God, Who is beyond genus, gives existing being to all, because of His own goodness.

[8] It is evident, next, that the more perfect something is in its power, and the higher it is in the scale of goodness, the more does it have an appetite for a broader common good, and the more does it seek and become involved in the doing of good for beings far removed from itself. Indeed, imperfect beings tend only to the good proper to the individual, while perfect beings tend to the good of their species. But more perfect beings tend to the good of the genus, while God, Who is most perfect in goodness, tends toward the good of being as a whole. Hence it is said by some people, and not inappropriately, that “the good, as such, is diffusive,” because the better a thing is, the more does it diffuse its goodness to remote beings. And since, “in every genus, that which is most perfect is the archetype and measure of all things belonging in the genus,” God, Who is most perfect in goodness and Who diffuses His goodness in the broadest way, must be in His diffusion the archetype for all diffusers of goodness. Now, inasmuch as a thing diffuses goodness to other beings, it comes to be their cause. As a result, it is also clear that a thing which tends to become the cause of others tends toward the divine likeness, and nonetheless it tends toward its own good.

[9] Therefore, it is not unfitting to say that the motions of the heavenly bodies and the actions of their movers are in some sense for the sake of these generable and corruptible bodies which are less worthy than they. They are not for the sake of these bodies, in the sense of an ultimate end; rather, by intending the generation of these bodies they intend their own good and the divine likeness as an ultimate end.

Chapter 25

THAT TO UNDERSTAND GOD IS THE END OF EVERY INTELLECTUAL SUBSTANCE

[1] Since all creatures, even those devoid of understanding, are ordered to God as to an ultimate end, all achieve this end to the extent that they participate somewhat in His likeness. Intellectual creatures attain it in a more special way, that is, through their proper operation of understanding Him. Hence, this must be the end of the intellectual creature, namely, to understand God.

[2] The ultimate end of each thing is God, as we have shown. So, each thing intends, as its ultimate end, to be united with God as closely as is possible for it. Now, a thing is more closely united with God by the fact that it attains to His very substance in some manner, and this is accomplished when one knows something of the divine substance, rather than when one acquires some likeness of Him. Therefore, an intellectual substance tends to divine knowledge as an ultimate end.

[3] Again, the proper operation of a thing is an end for it, for this is its secondary perfection. That is why whatever is fittingly related to its proper operation is said to be virtuous and good. But the act of understanding is the proper operation of an intellectual substance. Therefore, this act is its end. Ana that which is most perfect in this operation is the ultimate end, particularly in the case of operations that are not ordered to any products, such as the acts of understanding and sensing. Now, since operations of this type are specified by their objects, through which they are known also, any one of these operations must be more perfect when its object is more perfect. And so, to understand the most perfect intelligible object, which is God, is the most perfect thing in the genus of this operation of understanding. Therefore, to know God by an act of understanding is the ultimate end of every intellectual substance.

[4] Of course, someone could say that the ultimate end of an intellectual substance consists, in fact, in understanding the best intelligible object—not that the best object of understanding for this or that particular intellectual substance is absolutely the best intelligible object, but that, the higher an intellectual substance is, the higher will its best object of understanding be. And so, perhaps the highest created intellectual substance may have what is absolutely best as its best intelligible object, and, consequently, its felicity will consist in understanding God, but the felicity of any lower intellectual substance will lie in the understanding of some lower intelligible object, which is, however, the highest thing understood by it. Particularly would it seem true of the human intellect that its function is not to understand absolutely the best intelligible object, because of its weakness; indeed, it stands in relation to the knowing of the greatest intelligible object, “as the owl’s eye is to the sunlight.”

[5] But it seems obvious that the end of any intellectual substance, even the lowest, is to understand God. It has been shown above that the ultimate end of all things, to which they tend, is God. Though it is the lowest in the order of intellectual substances, the human intellect is, nevertheless, superior to all things that lack understanding. And so, since there should not be a less noble end for a more noble substance, the end for the human intellect will be God Himself. And an intelligent being attains his ultimate end by understanding Him, as was indicated. Therefore, the human intellect reaches God as its end, through an act of understanding.

[6] Again, just as things devoid of understanding tend toward God as an end, by way of assimilation, so intellectual substances do so by way of cognition, as is evident from the foregoing. Now, although things devoid of understanding tend to the likeness of their proximate agents, their natural tendency does not, however, rest there, for this tendency has as its end assimilation to the highest good, as is apparent from what we have said, even though these things can only attain this likeness in a very imperfect way. Therefore, however small the amount of divine knowledge that the intellect may be able to grasp, that will be for the intellect, in regard to its ultimate end, much more than the perfect knowledge of lower objects of understanding.

[7] Besides, a thing has the greatest desire for its ultimate end. Now, the human intellect has a greater desire, and love, and pleasure, in knowing divine matters than it has in the perfect knowledge of the lowest things, even though it can grasp but little concerning divine things. So, the ultimate end of man is to understand God, in some fashion.

[8] Moreover, a thing inclines toward the divine likeness as to its own end. So, that whereby a thing chiefly becomes like God is its ultimate end. Now, an intellectual creature chiefly becomes like God by the fact that it is intellectual, for it has this sort of likeness over and above what other creatures have, and this likeness includes all others. In the genus of this sort of likeness a being becomes more like God by actually understanding than by habitually or potentially understanding, because God is always actually understanding, as we proved in Book One [56]. And, in this actual understanding, it becomes most like God by understanding God Himself, for God understands all things in the act of understanding Himself,’as we proved in Book One [49]. Therefore, to understand God is the ultimate end of every intellectual substance.

[9] Furthermore, that which is capable of being loved only for the sake of some other object exists for the sake of that other thing which is lovable simply on its own account. In fact, there is no point in going on without end in the working of natural appetite, since natural desire would then be futile, because it is impossible to get to the end of an endless series. Now, all practical sciences, arts, and powers are objects of love only because they are means to something else, for their purpose is not knowledge but operation. But the speculative sciences are lovable for their own sake, since their end is knowledge itself. Nor do we find any action in human affairs, except speculative thought, that is not directed to some other end. Even sports activities, which appear to be carried on without any purpose, have a proper end, namely, so that after our minds have been somewhat relaxed through them we may be then better able to do serious jobs. Otherwise, if sport were an end in itself, the proper thing to do would be to play all the time, but that is not appropriate. So, the practical arts are ordered to the speculative ones, and likewise every human operation to intellectual speculation, as an end. Now, among all the sciences and arts which are thus subordinated, the ultimate end seems to belong to the one that is preceptive and architectonic in relation to the others. For instance, the art of navigation, to which the end, that is the use, of a ship pertains, is architectonic and preceptive in relation to the art of shipbuilding. In fact, this is the way that first philosophy is related to the other speculative sciences, for all the others depend on it, in the sense that they take their principles from it, and also the position to be assumed against those who deny the principles. And this first philosophy is wholly ordered to the knowing of God, as its ultimate end; that is why it is also called divine science. So, divine knowledge is the ultimate end of every act of human knowledge and every operation.

[10] Again, in all agents and movers that are arranged in an order, the end of the first agent and mover must be the ultimate end of all. Thus, the end of the commander of an army is the end of all who serve as soldiers under him. Now, of all the parts of man, the intellect is found to be the superior mover, for the intellect moves the appetite, by presenting it with its object; then the intellectual appetite. that is the will, moves the sensory appetites, irascible and concupiscible, and that is why we do not obey concupiscence unless there be a command from the will; and finally, the sense appetite, with the advent of consent from the will, now moves the body. Therefore, the end of the intellect is the end of all human actions. “But the end and good of the intellect are the true;” consequently, the first truth is the ultimate end. So, the ultimate end of the whole man, and of all his operations and desires, is to know the first truth, which is God.

[11] Besides, there is naturally present in all men the desire to know the causes of whatever things are observed. Hence, because of wondering about things that were seen but whose causes were hidden, men first began to think philosophically; when they found the cause, they were satisfied. But the search did not stop until it reached the first cause, for “then do we think that we know perfectly, when we know the first cause.” Therefore, man naturally desires, as his ultimate end, to know the first cause. But the first cause of all things is God. Therefore, the ultimate end of man is to know God.

[12] Moreover, for each effect that he knows, man naturally desires to know the cause. Now, the human intellect knows universal being. So, he naturally desires to know its cause, which is God alone, as we proved in Book Two [15]. Now, a person has not attained his ultimate end until natural desire comes to rest. Therefore, for human happiness which is the ultimate end it is not enough to have merely any kind of intelligible knowledge; there must be divine knowledge, as an ultimate end, to terminate the natural desire. So, the ultimate end of man is the knowledge of God.

[13] Furthermore, a body tending toward its proper place by natural appetite is moved more forcibly and swiftly as it approaches its end. Thus, Aristotle proves, in On the Heavens I [8: 27a 18], that natural motion in a straight line cannot go on to infinity, for then it would be no more moved later than earlier. So, a thing that tends more forcibly later than earlier, toward an objective, is not moved toward an indefinite objective, but tends toward some determinate thing. Now, we find this situation in the desire to know. The more a person knows, the more is be moved by the desire to know. Hence, man’s natural desire tends, in the process of knowing, toward some definite end. Now, this can be none other than the most noble object of knowledge, which is God. Therefore, divine knowledge is the ultimate end of man.

[14] Now, the ultimate end of man, and of every intellectual substance, is called felicity or happiness, because this is what every intellectual substance desires as an ultimate end, and for its own sake alone. Therefore, the ultimate happiness and felicity of every intellectual substance is to, know God.

[15] And so, it is said in Matthew (5:8): “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God”; and in John (17:3): “This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God.”

[16] With this view, the judgment of Aristotle is also in agreement, in the last Book of his Ethics [X, 7: 1177a 18], where he says that the ultimate felicity of man is “speculative, in accord with the contemplation of the best object of speculation.”

Chapter 26

WHETHER FELICITY CONSISTS IN A WILL ACT

[1] Now, since an intellectual substance, through its own operation, attains to God, not only by understanding, but also through an act of will, by desiring and loving Him and by taking delight in Him, it may appear to someone that the ultimate end and the ultimate felicity of man do not lie in knowing, but in loving God, or in some other act of will relating to Him.

[2] Especially so, since the object of the will is the good, and the good has the rational character of an end, while the true which is the object of the intellect does not have the rational character of an end, except inasmuch as it is also a good. Consequently, it does not seem that Man attains his ultimate end through an act of understanding, but rather, through an act of will.

[3] Again, the ultimate perfection of operation is delight “which perfects activity as beauty perfects youth,” as the Philosopher says in Ethics X [4: 1174b 31]. So, if perfect operation is the ultimate end, it appears that the ultimate end is more in accord with an operation of the will than of the intellect.

[4] Besides, delight seems to be so much an object of desire for its own sake that it is never desired for the sake of something else; indeed, it is foolish to ask a person why he wishes to be delighted. Now, this is characteristic of the ultimate end: it is sought for its own sake. Therefore, the ultimate end lies in an operation of the will rather than of the intellect, it would seem.

[5] Moreover, all men agree to the fullest extent in their appetite for the ultimate end, for it is natural. Now, more men seek delight than knowledge. So, it would seem that the end is delight rather than knowledge.

[6] Furthermore, the will seems to be a higher power than the intellect, for the will moves the intellect to its act; indeed, the intellect actually considers, whenever it wills to, what it retains habitually. Therefore, the action of the will seems to be nobler than the action of the intellect. And so, it seems that the ultimate end, which is happiness, consists rather in an act of will than in an act of intellect.

[7] However, it can be shown that this view is quite impossible.

[8] Since happiness is the proper good of an intellectual nature, happiness must pertain to an intellectual nature by reason of what is proper to that nature. Now, appetite is not peculiar to intellectual nature; instead, it is present in all things, though it is in different things in different ways. And this diversity arises from the fact that things are differently related to knowledge. ~For things lacking knowledge entirely have natural appetite only. And things endowed with sensory knowledge have, in addition, sense appetite, under which irascible and concupiscible powers are included. But things possessed of intellectual knowledge also have an appetite proportionate to this knowledge, that is, will. So, the will is not peculiar to intellectual nature by virtue of being an appetite, but only in so far as it depends on intellect. However, the intellect, in itself, is peculiar to an intellectual nature. Therefore, happiness, or felicity, consists substantially and principally in an act of the intellect rather than in an act of the will.

[9] Again, in the case of all powers that are moved by their objects the objects are naturally prior to the acts of these powers, just as a mover is naturally prior to the moving of its passive object. Now, the will is such a power, for the object of appetition moves the appetite. So, the will’s object is naturally prior to its act. Hence, its first object precedes every one of its acts. Therefore, no act of the will can be the first thing that is willed. But that is what the ultimate end is, in the sense of happiness. So, it is impossible for happiness, or felicity, to be the very act of the will.

[10] Besides, for all the powers capable of reflection on their own acts, the act of such a power must first be brought to bear on some other object, and then directed to its own act. If the intellect is to understand itself in the act of understanding, it must first be taken that it understands something, and then, as a result, that it understands that it is understanding. For, this act of understanding which the intellect understands pertains to some object. Hence, it is necessary either to proceed through an endless series, or, if we are to come to a first object of understanding, it will not be the act of understanding but rather some intelligible thing. Likewise, the first willed object must not be the will’s act but some other good thing. But, for an intellectual nature, the first thing that is willed is happiness itself, or felicity, since it is for the sake of this happiness that we will whatever we will. Therefore, it is impossible for felicity to consist essentially in an act of the will.

[11] Moreover, each thing possesses its true nature by virtue of the components which make up its substance. Thus, a real man differs from a painting of a man by virtue of the things that constitute the substance of man. Now, in their relation to the will act, true happiness does not differ from false happiness. In fact, the will, when it desires, loves or enjoys, is related in just the same way to its object, whatever it may be that is presented to it as a highest good, whether truly or falsely. Of course, whether the object so presented is truly the highest good, or is false, this distinction is made on the part of the intellect. Therefore, happiness, or felicity, essentially consists in understanding rather than in an act of the will.

[12] Furthermore, if any act of the will were this felicity, this act would be either one of desire, of love, or of delight. Now, it is impossible for the act of desiring to be the ultimate end. For it is by desire that the will tends toward what it does not yet possess, but this is contrary to the essential character of the ultimate end.—So, two, the act of loving cannot be the ultimate end. For a good is loved not only when possessed but also when not possessed. Indeed, it is as a result of love that what is not possessed is sought with desire, and if the love of something already possessed is more perfect, this results from the fact that the good which was loved is possessed. So, it is a different thing to possess a good which is the end, and to love it; for love, before possession, is imperfect, but after possession, perfect. —Similarly, delight is not the ultimate end. For the very possession of the good is the cause of delight: we either experience it while the good is presently possessed, or we remember it when it was formerly possessed, or we hope for it when it is to be possessed in the future. So, delight is not the ultimate end. Therefore, none of the acts of will can be this felicity substantially.

[13] Again, if delight were the ultimate end, it would be desired for its own sake. But this is false. The value of desiring a certain delight arises from the thing which delight accompanies. For the delight that accompanies good and desirable operations is good and desirable, but that which accompanies evil deeds is evil and repulsive. So, it owes the fact that it is good and desirable to something else. Therefore, delight is not the ultimate end, in the sense of felicity.

[14] Besides, the right order of things is in agreement with the order of nature, for natural things are ordered to their end without error. In the order of natural things, delight is for the sake of operation, and not conversely. In fact, we see that nature has associated pleasure with those operations of animals that are clearly ordered to necessary ends; such as to the eating of food, for this is ordered to the preservation of the individual; and to the use of sexual capacities, for this is ordered to the preservation of the species. Indeed, unless pleasure were associated with them, animals would refrain from these necessary activities that we have mentioned. Therefore, it is impossible for pleasure to be the ultimate end.

[15] Moreover, pleasure seems to be simply the repose of the will in some appropriate good, as desire is the inclination of the will toward the attainment of some good. Now, just as a man is inclined through his will to the end and reposes in it, so do physical bodies in nature possess natural inclinations to proper ends, and these inclinations come to rest when the end has already been reached. However, it is riaicuious to say that the end of a heavy body’s motion is not to be in its proper place, but that the end is the resting of the inclination whereby it tends there. If nature bad intended this at the beginning, that the inclination would come to rest, it would not have given such an inclination; instead, it gives it so that, by this means, the thing may tend to a proper place. When this has been reached, as an end, the repose of the inclination follows. And so, such repose is not the end, but rather a concomitant of the end. Nor, indeed, is pleasure the ultimate end; it is its concomitant. And so, by an even greater reason, no other act of the will is felicity.

[16] If one thing has another thing as its external end, then the operation whereby the first thing primarily attains the second will be called the ultimate end of the first thing. Thus, for those to whom money is an end, we say that to possess the money is their end, but not the loving of it, not the craving of it. Now, the ultimate end of an intellectual substance is God. So, that operation of man is substantially his happiness, or his felicity, whereby be primarily attains to God. This is the act pf understanding, for we cannot will what we do not understand. Therefore, the ultimate felicity of man lies substantially in knowing God through his intellect, and not in an act of the will.

[17] At this point, then, the answer to the arguments against our view is clear from what we have said. For, if felicity is an object of the will because it has the rational character of a highest good, that does not make it substantially an act of the will, as the first argument implied. On the contrary, from the fact that it is a first object, the conclusion is that felicity is not its act, as is apparent in what we have said.

[18] Nor, indeed, is it necessary that everything whereby a thing is in any way perfected be the end of that thing, as the second argument claimed. In fact, something may be the perfection of a thing in two ways: in one way, of a thing that already possesses its species; and in a second way, in order that the thing may acquire its species. For instance, the perfection of a house which already has its species is that to which the species of the house is ordered, namely, habitation. For a house is made for this purpose only, and so this must be included in the definition of a house if the definition is to be perfect. But the perfection for the sake of the species of the house is both that which is directed to the setting up of the species, such as its substantial principles, and also that which is ordered to the preservation of its species, such as the foundations made to hold up the house, and even those things that make the use of the house more agreeable, such as the beauty of the house. And then, that which is the perfection of the thing, in so far as it already possesses its species, is its end: as habitation is the end of the house. Likewise, the proper operation of anything, which is its use as it were, is its end. Now, the things that are perfections leading up to the species are not the end for the thing; on the contrary, the thing is their end, matter and form are for the sake of the species. Though form is the end of the generative act, it is not the end of the thing that is already generated and possessed of its species. Rather, the form is required so that the species may be complete. Similarly, factors which preserve a thing in its species, such as health and the nutritive power, though perfectants of the animal, are not the end of the animal; rather, the opposite is true. Also, items by which a thing is improved for the perfection of its proper operations, and for the more appropriate attainment of its proper end, are not the end for the thing; rather, the opposite is so. For instance, beauty is for the man, and strength is for the body, and so for other similar things which the Philosopher talks about in Ethics I [8-9: 1099b 2–1099b 28], saying that “they contribute to felicity instrumentally.”

Pleasure, however, is a perfection of operation, not in such a way that operation is ordered to it as to its species; rather, pleasure is ordered to other ends, as eating is ordered specifically to the preservation of the individual. But pleasure is like the perfection that is conducive to the species of the thing, since because of pleasure we apply ourselves more carefully and suitably to the operation in which we take pleasure. Hence the Philosopher says in Ethics X [4: 1174b 31] that “pleasure perfects operation as beauty perfects youth.” For, of course, beauty is for the sake of him in whom youth is found, and not the converse.

[19] Nor is the fact that men desire pleasure for its own sake, and not for the sake of something else, enough to indicate that pleasure is the ultimate end, as the third argument concluded. For, although pleasure is not the ultimate end, it is, of course, a concomitant of this end, since pleasure arises out of the attainment of the end.

[20] Nor do more persons seek the pleasure that is associated with knowing rather than the knowledge. Rather, there are more people who seek sensual pleasures than intellectual knowledge and its accompanying pleasure, because things that are external stand out as better known, since human knowledge starts from sensible objects.

[21] Now, what the fifth argument suggests, that the will is higher than the intellect, in the sense of moving it, is clearly false. For, primarily Ad directly, the intellect moves the will; indeed, the will, as such, is moved by its object which is the known good. But the will moves the intellect rather accidentally, that is, in so far as the act of understanding is itself apprehended as good, and so is desired by the will, with the result that the intellect actually understands. Even in this act, the intellect precedes the will, for the will would never desire the act of understanding unless, first of all, the intellect were to apprehend the act of understanding as a good.—And again, the will moves the intellect actually to perform its operation, in the way that an agent is said to move; while the intellect moves the will in the way that an end moves something, since the good that is understood is the end for the will. Now, the agent comes later, in the process of moving, than does the end, since the agent does not move except for the sake of the end. Hence, it is evident that the intellect is, without qualification, higher than the will. On the other hand, the will is higher than the intellect, accidentally and in a qualified sense.

Chapter 27

THAT HUMAN FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN PLEASURES OF THE FLESH

[1] Now, it is clear from what we have said that it is impossible for human felicity to consist in bodily pleasures, the chief of which are those of food and sex.

[2] In fact, we have shown that in the order of nature pleasure depends on operation, and not the converse. So, if operations are not the ultimate end, the pleasures that result from them are not the ultimate end, either; nor are they concomitant with the ultimate end. It stands to reason that the operations which accompany the above-mentioned pleasures are not the ultimate end, for they are ordered to certain ends that are quite obvious: eating, for instance, to the preservation of the body, and sexual intercourse to the generation of offspring. Therefore, the aforementioned Pleasures are not the ultimate end, nor are they concomitants of the ultimate end. So, felicity is not to be located in these pleasures.

[3] Again, the will is higher than sense appetite, for it moves itself, as we said above. Now, we have already shown that felicity does not lie in an act of the will. Still less will it consist in the aforementioned pleasures which are located in the sense appetite.

[4] Besides, felicity is a certain kind of good, appropriate to man. Indeed, brute animals cannot be deemed happy, unless we stretch the meaning of the term. But these pleasures that we are talking about are common to men and brutes. So, felicity should not be attributed to them.

[5] Moreover, the ultimate end is the noblest appurtenance of a thing; in fact, the term means the best. But these pleasures are not agreeable to man by virtue of what is noblest in him, namely, his understanding, but by virtue of his sense capacity. So, felicity should not be located in pleasures of this kind.

[6] Furthermore, the highest perfection of man cannot lie in a union with things inferior to himself, but, rather, in a union with some reality of a higher character, for the end is better than that which is for the sake of the end. Now, the aforementioned pleasures consist in this fact: that man is, through his senses, united with some things that are his inferiors, that is, with certain. sensible objects. So, felicity is not to be located in pleasures of this sort.

[7] Again, something which is not good unless it be moderated is not good of itself; rather, it receives goodness from the source of the moderation. Now, the enjoyment of the aforementioned pleasures is not good for man unless it be moderated; otherwise, these pleasures will interfere with each other. So, these pleasures are not of themselves the good for man. But that which is the highest good is good of itself, because what is good of itself is better than what depends on something else. Therefore, sach pleasures are not the highest good for man, that is, felicity.

[8] Besides, in the case of all things that are predicated per se, an absolute variation is directly accompanied by a similar variation in the degree of intensification. Thus, if a hot thing heats, then a hotter thing heats more, and the hottest thing will heat the most. So, if the aforementioned pleasures were goods of themselves, the maximum enjoyment of them should be the best. But this is clearly false, for excessive enjoyment of them is considered vicious, and is also, harmful to the body, and it prevents the enjoyment of similar pleasures. Therefore, they are not of themselves the good for man. So, human felicity does not consist in them.

[9] Moreover, virtuous acts are praiseworthy because they are ordered to felicity. So, if human felicity consisted in the aforementioned pleasures, a virtuous act would be more praiseworthy when it involved the enjoyment of these pleasures than when it required abstention from them. However, it is clear that this is false, for the act of temperance is given most praise when it involves abstaining from pleasures; as a result, it gets its name from this fact. Therefore, man’s felicity does not lie in the aforesaid pleasures.

[10] Furthermore, the ultimate end of everything is God, as is clear from what has been indicated earlier. So, we should consider the ultimate end of man to be that whereby be most closely approaches God. But, through the aforesaid pleasures, man is kept away from a close approach to God, for this approach is effected through contemplation, and the aforementioned pleasures are the chief impediment to contemplation, since they plunge man very deep into sensible things, consequently distracting him from intelligible objects. Therefore, human felicity must not be located in bodily pleasures.

[11] Through this conclusion we are refuting the error of the Epicureans, who placed man’s felicity in these enjoyments. Acting as their spokesman, Solomon says in Ecclesiastes (5:17): “This therefore seemed good to me, that a man should eat and drink and enjoy the fruit of his labor, and this is his portion”; and again in Wisdom (2:9): “let us everywhere leave tokens of joy, for this is our portion, and this our lot.”

[12] Also refuted is the error of the Cerinthians, for they told a fabulous story about ultimate felicity, that after the resurrection there would be, in the reign of Christ, a thousand years of carnal pleasures of the belly. Hence, they were also called Chiliasts; that is, Millenarians.

[13] Refuted, too, are the fables of the Jews and the Saracens, who identified the rewards for just men with these pleasures, for felicity is the reward for virtue.

Chapter 28

THAT FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN HONORS

[1] It is also clear from the foregoing that the highest good for man, that is felicity, does not lie in honors.

[2] Indeed, the ultimate end of man, and his felicity, is his most perfect operation, as is evident in what has preceded. Now, a man’s honor is not identified with his operation, but with something done by another person who shows respect for him. Therefore, the felicity of man should not be identified with honors.

[3] Again, that which is good and desirable on account of something else is not the ultimate end. But honor is of this sort. A person is not rightly honored unless it be because of some other good that is present in him. And this is why men seek to be honored, desiring, as it were, to have a witness to some good feature present in them. Hence, men take greater joy in being honored by important and wise people. So, man’s felicity is not to be identified with honors.

[4] Besides, the attainment of felicity is accomplished through virtue. Now, virtuous operations are voluntary; otherwise, they would not merit praise. So, felicity ought to be some good which man may attain by his own will. But the gaining of honor is not within the power of any man; rather, it is in the power of the one who gives the honor. Therefore, human felicity is not to be identified with honors.

[5] Moreover, to be worthy of honor can only be an attribute of good men. But it is possible for even evil men to be honored. So, it is better to become worthy of honor than to be honored. Therefore, honor is not the highest good for man.

[6] Furthermore, the highest good is the perfect good. But the perfect good is completely exclusive of evil. Now, that in which there can be no evil cannot itself be evil. Therefore, that which is in possession of the highest good cannot be evil. But it is possible for a bad man to attain honor. So, honor is not the highest good for man.

Chapter 29

THAT MAN’S FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN GLORY

[1] From this it is also apparent that the highest good for man does not consist in glory, which means a widely recognized reputation.

[2] Now, according to Tully, glory is “widespread repute accompanied by praise of a person.” And according to Ambrose, it is “an illustrious reputation accompanied by praise.” Now, men desire to become known in connection with some sort of praise and renown, for the purpose of being honored by those who know them. So, glory is sought for the sake of honor. Hence, if honor is not the highest good, much less is glory.

[3] Again, praiseworthy goods are those whereby a person is shown to be well ordered to his end. Now, he who is well ordered to his end has not yet achieved the ultimate end. So, praise is not given to him who has already attained the ultimate end, but honor, as the Philosopher says in Ethics I [12: 1101b 24]. Therefore, glory cannot be the highest good, because it consists principally in praise.

[4] Besides, to know is more noble than to be known; only the more noble things know, but the lowest things are known. So, the highest good for man cannot be glory, for it consists in the fact that a person is well known.

[5] Moreover, a person desires to be known only for good things; where bad things are concerned, he seeks concealment. So, to be known is a good and desirable thing, because of the good things that are known about a person. And so, these good things are better than being widely known. Therefore, glory is not the highest good, for it consists in a person being widely known.

[6] Furthermore, the highest good should be perfect, for it should satisfy the appetite. Now, the knowledge associated with fame, in which human glory consists, is imperfect, for it is possessed of the greatest uncertainty and error. Therefore, such glory cannot be the highest good.

[7] Again, the highest good for man should be what is most enduring among human affairs, for an endless duration of the good is naturally desired. Now, glory, in the sense of fame, is the least permanent of things; in fact, nothing is more variable than opinion and human praise. Therefore, such glory is not the highest good for man.

Chapter 30

THAT MAN’S FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN RICHES

[1] From this, moreover, it is also clear that riches are not the highest good for man.

[2] Indeed, riches are only desired for the sake of something else; they provide no good of themselves but only when we use them, either for the maintenance of the body or some such use. Now, that which is the highest good is desired for its own sake and not for the sake of something else. Therefore, riches are not the highest good for man.

[3] Again, man’s highest good cannot lie in the possession or keeping of things that chiefly benefit man through being spent. Now, riches are chiefly valuable because they can be expended, for this is their use. So, the possession of riches cannot be the highest good for man.

[4] Besides, an act of virtue is praiseworthy in so far as it comes closer to felicity. Now, acts of liberality and magnificence, which have to do with money, are more praiseworthy in a situation in which money is spent than in one in which it is saved. So, it is from this fact that the names of these virtues are derived. Therefore, the felicity of man does not consist in the possession of riches.

[5] Moreover, that object in whose attainment man’s highest good lies must be better than man. But man is better than riches, for they are but things subordinated to man’s use. Therefore, the highest good for man does not lie in riches.

[6] Furthermore, man’s highest good is not subject to fortune, for things subject to fortune come about independently of rational effort. But it must be through reason that man will achieve his proper end. Of course, fortune occupies an important place in the attainment of riches, Therefore, human felicity is not founded on riches.

[7] Again, this becomes evident in the fact that riches are lost in an involuntary manner, and also that they may accrue to evil men who must fail to achieve the highest good, and also that riches are unstable-and for other reasons of this kind which may be gathered from the preceding arguments.

Chapter 31

THAT FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN WORLDLY POWER

[1] Similarly, neither can worldly power be man’s highest good, since in its attainment, also, fortune can play a most important part. It is also unstable; nor is it subject to man’s will; oftentimes it comes to bad men-and these characteristics are incompatible with the highest good, as was evident in the foregoing arguments.

[2] Again, man is deemed good chiefly in terms of his attainment of the highest good. Now, he is not called good, or bad, simply because he has power, for not everyone who can do good things is a good man, nor is a person bad because he is able to do evil things. Therefore, the highest good does not consist in the fact of being powerful.

[3] Besides, all power is relative to some other thing. But the highest good is not relative to something else. Therefore, power is not man’s highest good.

[4] Moreover, a thing that one can use both for good and for evil cannot be man’s highest good, for that is better which no one can use in a bad way. Now, one can use power well or badly, “for rational powers are capable of contrary effects.” Therefore, man’s highest good does not consist in human power.

[5] Furthermore, if any sort of power is the highest good, it ought to be the most perfect. But human power is most imperfect, since it is rooted in the wills and the opinions of men, in which there is the greatest inconstancy. And the more important the power is considered to be, the more does it depend on large numbers of people, which fact also contributes to its frailty, since what depends on many can be destroyed in many ways. Therefore, man’s highest good does not lie in worldly power.

[6] Man’s felicity, then, consists in no exterior good, since all exterior goods, the ones that are called “goods of fortune,” are contained under the preceding headings.

Chapter 32

THAT FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN GOODS OF THE BODY

[1] Moreover, that man’s highest good does not lie in goods of the body, such as health, beauty, and strength, is clearly evident from similar considerations. For these things are possessed in common by both good and bad men; they are also unstable; moreover, they are not subject to the will.

[2] Again, the soul is better than the body, which is not alive, and which does not possess the aforementioned goods except by means of the soul. So, a good of the soul, like understanding and that sort of thing, is better than a good of the body. Therefore, the good of the body is not man’s highest good.

[3] Besides, these goods are common to men and other animals. But felicity is the proper good of man. Therefore, man’s felicity does not lie in the aforesaid goods.

[4] Moreover, many animals are better endowed than men, as far as the goods of the body go; for some are faster than man, some are stronger, and so on. If, then, man’s highest good lay in these things, man would not be the most excellent of animals; which is obviously false. Therefore, human felicity does not consist in goods of the body.

Chapter 33

THAT HUMAN FELICITY DOES NOT LIE IN THE SENSES

[1] In the same way, it is also apparent that man’s highest good does not lie in the goods of his sensitive part. For these goods, too, are common to men and other animals.

[2] Again, intellect is better than sense. So, the good of the intellect is better than the good of the senses. Therefore, man’s highest good does not lie in sense.

[3] Besides, the greatest pleasures in the sense order have to do with food and sexual activities; and so, the highest good ought to lie in these areas, if it were in sense. But it is not found in these things. Therefore, man’s highest good does not lie in the senses.

[4] Moreover, the senses are treasured because of their usefulness, and also because of their knowledge. Now, the entire utility of the senses has reference to the goods of the body. But sense cognition is subordinated to intellectual cognition; thus, animals devoid of understanding take no pleasure in sensing, except in regard to some benefit pertaining to the body, according as they obtain food or sexual satisfaction through sense knowledge. Therefore, man’s highest good, his felicity, does not lie in his sensitive part.

Chapter 34

THAT MAN’S ULTIMATE FELICITY DOES NOT LIE IN ACTS OF THE MORAL VIRTUES

[1] It is clear, too, that the ultimate felicity of man does not consist in moral actions.

[2] In fact, human felicity is incapable of being ordered to a further end, if it is ultimate. But all moral operations can be ordered to something else. This is evident from the most important instances of these actions. The operations of fortitude, which are concerned with warlike activities, are ordered to victory and to peace. Indeed, it would be foolish to make war merely for its own sake. Likewise, the operations of justice are ordered to the preservation of peace among men, by means of each man having his own possessions undisturbed. And the same thing is evident for all the other virtues. Therefore, man’s ultimate felicity does not lie in moral operations.

[3] Again, the moral virtues have this purpose: through them the mean is preserved in the internal passions and in regard to external things. Now, it is not possible for such a measuring of passions, or of external things, to be the ultimate end of human life, since these passions and exterior things are capable of being ordered to something else. Therefore, it is not possible for man’s ultimate felicity to lie in acts of the moral virtues.

[4] Besides, since man is man by virtue of his possession of reason, his proper good which is felicity should be in accord with what is appropriate to reason. Now, that is more appropriate to reason which reason has within itself than which it produces in another thing. So, since the good of moral virtue is something produced by reason in things other than itself, it could not be that which is best for man; namely, felicity. Rather would felicity seem to be a good situated in reason itself.

[5] Moreover, it was shown above that the ultimate end of all things is to become like unto God. So, that whereby man is made most like God will be his felicity. Now, this is not a function of moral acts, since such acts cannot be attributed to God, except metaphorically. Indeed, it does not befit God to have passions, or the like, with which moral acts are concerned. Therefore, man’s ultimate felicity, that is, his ultimate end, does not consist in moral actions.

[6] Furthermore, felicity is the proper good for man. So, that which is most proper among all human goods, for man in contrast to the other animals, is the good in which his ultimate felicity is to be sought. Now, an act of moral virtue is not of this sort, for some animals share somewhat, either in liberality or in fortitude, but an animal does not participate at all in intellectual action. Therefore, man’s ultimate felicity does not lie in moral acts.

Chapter 35

THAT ULTIMATE FELICITY DOES NOT LIE IN THE ACT OF PRUDENCE

[1] From this it is also apparent that man’s ultimate felicity does not lie in an act of prudence.

[2] For the act of prudence is only concerned with things that pertain to the moral virtues. Now, man’s ultimate felicity does not lie in acts of the moral virtues, nor, then, in the act of prudence.

[3] Again, man’s ultimate felicity consists in the best operation of man. Now, the best operation of man, according to what is proper to man, lies in a relationship to the most perfect object. But the operation of prudence is not concerned with the most perfect object of understanding or reason; indeed, it does not deal with necessary objects, but with contingent problems of action. Therefore, man’s ultimate felicity does not lie in this operation.

[4] Besides, that which is ordered to another thing as an end is not the ultimate felicity for man. But the operation,of prudence is ordered to something else as an end: both because all practical knowledge, in which category prudence is included, is ordered to action, and because prudence makes a man well disposed in regard to things that are to be chosen for the sake of the end, as is clear from Aristotle, in Ethics VI [13: 1145a 6]. Therefore, man’s ultimate felicity does not lie in the operation of prudence.

[5] Moreover, irrational animals do not participate in felicity, as Aristotle proves in Ethics I [9: 1099b 33]. However, some of them do participate somewhat in prudence, as appears in the same writer, in Metaphysics I [1: 980a 30]. Therefore, felicity does not consist in the operation of prudence.

Chapter 36

THAT FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN THE OPERATION OF ART

[1] It is also clear that it does not lie in the operation of art.

[2] For the knowledge that pertains to art is also practical knowledge. And so, it is ordered to an end, and is not itself the ultimate end.

[3] Again, the ends of art operations are artifacts. These cannot be the ultimate end of human life, for we ourselves are, rather, the ends for all artificial things. Indeed, they are all made for man’s use. Therefore, ultimate felicity cannot lie in the operation of art.

Chapter 37

THAT THE ULTIMATE FELICITY OF MAN CONSISTS IN THE CONTEMPLATION OF GOD

[1] So, if the ultimate felicity of man does not consist in external things which are called the goods of fortune, nor in the goods of the body, nor in the goods of the soul according to its sensitive part, nor as regards the intellective part according to the activity of the moral virtues, nor according to the intellectual virtues that are concerned with action, that is, art and prudence—we are left with the conclusion that the ultimate felicity of man lies in the contemplation of truth.

[2] Indeed, this is the only operation of man which is proper to him, and in it he shares nothing in common with the other animals.

[3] So, too, this is ordered to nothing else as an end, for the contemplation of truth is sought for its own sake.

[4] Also, through this operation man is united by way of likeness with beings superior to him, since this alone of human operations is found also in God and in separate substances.

[5] Indeed, in this operation handgets in touch with these higher beings by knowing them in some way.

[6] Also, for this operation man is rather sufficient unto himself, in the sense that for it he needs little help from external things.

[7] In fact, all other human operations seem to be ordered to this one, as to an end. For, there is needed for the perfection of contemplation a soundness of body, to which all the products of art that are necessary for life are directed. Also required are freedom from the disturbances of the passions—this is achieved through the moral virtues and prudence—and freedom from external disorders, to which the whole program of government in civil life is directed. And so, if they are rightly considered, all human functions may be seen to subserve the contemplation of truth.

[8] However, it is not possible for man’s ultimate felicity to consist in the contemplation which depends on the understanding of principles, for that is very imperfect, being most universal, including the potential cognition of things. Also, it is the beginning, not the end, of human enquiry, coming to us from nature and not because of our search for truth. Nor, indeed, does it lie in the area of the sciences which deal with lower things, because felicity should lie in the working of the intellect in relation to the noblest objects of understanding. So, the conclusion remains that man’s ultimate felicity consists in the contemplation of wisdom, based on the considering of divine matters.

[9] From this, that is also clear by way of induction, which was proved above by rational arguments, namely, that man’s ultimate felicity consists only in the contemplation of God.

Chapter 38

THAT HUMAN FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD WHICH IS GENERALLY POSSESSED BY MOST MEN

[1] It remains to investigate the kind of knowledge in which the ultimate felicity of an intellectual substance consists. For there is a common and confused knowledge of God which is found in practically all men; this is due either to the fact that it is self-evident that God exists, just as other principles of demonstration are—a view held by some people, as we said in Book One [25]—or, what seems indeed to be true, that man can immediately reach some sort of knowledge of God by natural reason. For, when men see that things in nature run according to a definite order, and that ordering does not occur without an orderer, they perceive in most cases that there is some orderer of the things that we sec. But who or what kind of being, or whether there is but one orderer of nature, is not yet grasped immediately in this general consideration, just as, when we see that a man is moved and performs other works, we perceive that there is present in him some cause of these operations which is not present in other things, and we call this cause the soul; yet we do not know at that point what the soul is, whether it is a body, or how it produces these operations which have been mentioned.

[2] Of course, it is not possible for this knowledge of God to suffice for felicity.

[3] In fact, the operation of the man enjoying felicity must be without defect. But this knowledge admits of a mixture of many errors. Some people have believed that there is no other orderer of worldly things than the celestial bodies, and so they said that the celestial bodies are gods. Other people pushed it farther, to the very elements and the things generated from them, thinking that motion and the natural functions which these elements have are not present in them as the effect of some other orderer, but that other things are ordered by them. Still other people, believing that human acts are not subject to any ordering, other than human, have said that men who order others are gods. And so, this knowledge of God is not enough for felicity.

[4] Again, felicity is the end of human acts. But human acts are not ordered to the aforementioned knowledge, as to an end. Rather, it is found in all men, almost at once, from their beginning. So, felicity does not consist in this knowledge of God.

[5] Besides, no man seems to be blameworthy because of the fact that he lacks felicity; in point of fact, those who lack it, but are tending toward it, are given praise. But the fact that a person lacks the aforesaid knowledge of God makes him appear very blameworthy. Indeed, a man’s dullness is chiefly indicated by this: he fails to perceive such evident signs of God, just as a person is judged to be dull who, while observing a man, does not grasp the fact that he has a soul. That is why it is said in the Psalms (13:1, 52:1): “The fool hath said in his heart: There is no God.” So, this is not the knowledge of God which suffices for felicity.

[6] Moreover, the knowledge that one has of a thing, only in a general way and not according to something proper to it, is very imperfect, just like the knowledge one might have of a man when one knows simply that he is moved. For this is the kind of knowledge whereby a thing is known only in potency, since proper attributes are potentially included within common ones. But felicity is a perfect operation, and man’s highest good ought to be based on what is actual and not simply on what is potential, for potency perfected by act has the essential character of the good. Therefore, the aforementioned knowledge is not enough for our felicity.

Chapter 39

THAT HUMAN FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD GAINED THROUGH DEMONSTRATION

[1] On the other hand, there is another sort of knowledge of God, higher than the foregoing, and we may acquire it through demonstration. A closer approach to a proper knowledge of Him is effected through this kind, for many things are set apart from Him, through demonstration, whose removal enable Him to be understood in distinction from other beings. In fact, demonstration shows that God is immutable, eternal, incorporeal, altogether simple, one, and other such things which we have shown about God in Book One[15-38].

Now, we reach a proper knowledge of a thing not only through affirmations but also through negations; for instance, it is proper to a man to be a rational animal, and so it is proper to him not to be inanimate or irrational. But there is this difference between these two modes of proper knowledge: through affirmations, when we have a proper knowledge of a thing, we know what the thing is, and bow it is separated from others; but through negations, when we have a proper knowledge of a thing, we know that it is distinct from other things, yet what it is remains unknown. Now, such is the proper knowledge that we have of God through demonstrations. Of course, this is not sufficient for the ultimate felicity of man.

[2] For, the things which pertain to a species extend to the end of that species, in most cases; in fact, things which are of natural origin are so always, or in most cases, though they may fail in a few instances because of some corruption. Now, felicity is the end of the human species, since all men naturally desire it. So, felicity is a definite common good, capable of accruing to all men, unless an impediment occurs by which some may be deprived of it. Now, few men attain the knowledge of God that we have just mentioned, acquired by way of demonstration, because of the obstacles to this knowledge which we touched on in the beginning of this work. Therefore, such knowledge of God is not essentially identical with human felicity.

[3] Then, again, to be actual is the end of what is potential, as is clear from the foregoing. So, felicity which is the ultimate end is an act to which no potency for further actuality is attached. But this sort of knowledge of God, acquired by way of demonstration, still remains in potency to something further to be learned about God, or to the same knowledge possessed in a higher way, for later men have endeavored to add something pertinent to divine knowledge to the things which they found in the heritage of their predecessors. Therefore, such knowledge is not identical with ultimate felicity.

[4] Moreover, felicity excludes all unhappiness, for no man can be at once unhappy and happy. Now, deception and error constitute a great part of unhappiness; in fact, that is what all men naturally avoid. But manifold error can accompany the aforesaid knowledge that is acquired about God, and this is evident in many men who learned some truths about God by way of demonstration, and who, following their own opinions in cases where demonstration fails them, have fallen into many errors. In fact, if there have been any men who have discovered the truth about divine things in such a way, by means of demonstration, that no falsity attached to their judgment, it is clear that there have been few such. This is not appropriate to felicity, which is a common end. So, man’s ultimate felicity does not lie in this knowledge of God.

[5] Besides, felicity consists in a perfect operation. Now, certainty is required for perfect knowledge; for this reason we are not said to know unless we learn something that cannot be otherwise, as is evident in the Posterior Analytics [I, 2: 72a17]. Now, the knowledge we have been talking about includes much uncertainty; the diversity of the sciences of divine matters among those who have tried to find out these things by way of demonstration shows this. Therefore, ultimate felicity is not found in such knowledge.

[6] Moreover, the will rests its desire when it has attained the ultimate end. But the ultimate cud of all human knowledge is felicity. So, that knowledge of God which, when acquired, leaves no knowledge of a knowable object to be desired is essentially this felicity. But this is not the kind of knowledge about God that the philosophers were able to get through demonstrations, because, even when we acquire this knowledge, we still desire to know other things that are not known through this knowledge. Therefore, felicity is not found in such knowledge of God.

[7] Furthermore, the end of every being which is in potency is to be brought into act, for it tends toward this through the motion by which it is moved to its end. Of course, every being in potency tends to become actual, in so far as that is possible. Now, there is one kind of being in potency whose entire potency can be reduced to act; hence, its end is to be completely reduced to act. Thus, a heavy body in some unusual position is in potency to its proper place. But there is another kind of thing whose entire potency cannot be reduced to act at the same time. This is the case with prime matter, and that is why, through its change, it seeks to be actuated successively under different forms which cannot be simultaneously present in it, because of their diversity. Now, our intellect is in potency to all intelligible objects, as was explained in Book Two [47]. But two intelligible objects can exist simultaneously in the possible intellect, by way of the first act which is science, though perhaps not by way of the second act which is consideration. It is evident from this that the entire potency of the possible intellect can be reduced to act at one time. So, this is required for its ultimate end which is felicity. But the aforesaid knowledge of God which can be acquired through demonstration does not do this, since, even when we possess it, We still remain ignorant of many things. Therefore, such knowledge of God is not sufficient for ultimate felicity.

Chapter 40

HUMAN FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD WHICH IS THROUGH FAITH

[1] Now, there is still another knowledge of God, in one sense superior to the aforementioned knowledge, and by this God is known to men through faith. In comparison with the knowledge that we have of God through demonstration, this knowledge through faith surpasses it, for we know some things about God through faith which, because of their sublimity, demonstrative reason cannot attain, as we said at the beginning of this work. Yet, it is not possible for man’s ultimate felicity to consist in even this knowledge of God.

[2] Felicity, indeed, is a perfect operation of the intellect as is clear from what we have said. But, in the knowledge of faith, there is found a most imperfect operation of the intellect, having regard to what is on the side of the intellect, though the greatest perfection is discovered on the side of the object. For the intellect does not grasp the object to which it gives assent in the act of believing. Therefore, neither does man’s ultimate felicity lie in this kind of knowledge of God.

[3] Again, we showed above, that ultimate felicity does not consist primarily in an act of the will. But in the knowledge of faith the will takes priority; indeed, the intellect assents through faith to things resented to it, because of an act of will and not because it is necessarily moved by the very evidence of the truth. So, man’s ultimate felicity does not lie in this knowledge.

[4] Besides, one who believes gives assent to things that are proposed to him by another person, and which he himself does not see. Hence, faith has a knowledge that is more like hearing than vision. Now, a man would not believe in things that are unseen but proposed to him by another man unless he thought that this other man had more perfect knowledge of these proposed things than he himself who does not see them. So, either the believer’s judgment is false or else the proposer must have more perfect knowledge of the things proposed. And if the proposer only knows these things by hearing them from another man, this cannot go on indefinitely, for the assent of faith would be foolish and without certitude; indeed, we would discover no first thing certain in itself which would bring certainty to the faith of the believer. Now, it is not possible for the knowledge of faith to be false and empty, as is evident from what we have said in the opening Book [I, 7]. Yet, if it were false and empty, felicity could not consist in such knowledge.

So, there is for man some knowledge of God which is higher than the knowledge of faith: either the man who proposes the faith sees the truth immediately, as is the case when we believe in Christ; or he takes it immediately from one who does see, as when we believe the Apostles and Prophets. So, since man’s felicity consists in the highest knowledge of God, it is impossible for it to consist in the knowledge of faith.

[5] Moreover, through felicity, because it is the ultimate end, natural desire comes to rest. Now, the knowledge of faith does not bring rest to desire but rather sets it aflame, since every man desires to see what he believes. So, man’s ultimate felicity does not lie in the knowledge of faith.

[6] Furthermore, the knowledge of God has been called the end because it is joined to the ultimate end of things, that is, to God. But an item of belief is not made perfectly present to the intellect by the knowledge of faith, since faith is of things absent, not of things present. For this reason the Apostle says, in 2 Corinthians (5:6-7), that “while we are in the body we walk by faith and we are absent from the Lord.” Yet God is brought into the presence of love through faith, since the believer assents to God voluntarily, according to what is said in Ephesians (3:17): “that Christ may dwell by faith in our hearts.” Therefore, it is not possible for ultimate human felicity to consist in the knowledge of faith.

Chapter 41

WHETHER IN THIS LIFE MAN IS ABLE TO UNDERSTAND SEPARATE SUBSTANCES THROUGH THE STUDY AND INVESTIGATION OF THE SPECULATIVE SCIENCES

[1] An intellectual substance has still another kind of knowledge of God. Indeed, it has been stated in Book Two [96ff] that a separate substance, in knowing its own essence, knows both what is above and what is below itself, in a manner proper to its substance. This is especially necessary if what is above it is its cause, since the likeness of the cause must be found in the effects. And so, since God is the cause of all created intellectual substances, as is evident from the foregoing, then separate intellectual substances, in knowing their own essence, must know God Himself by way of a vision of some kind. For a thing whose likeness exists in the intellect is known through the intellect by way of vision, just as the likeness of a thing which is seen corporeally is present in the sense of the viewer. So, whatever intellect understands a separate substance, by knowing what it is, sees God in a higher way than He is known by any of the previously treated types of knowledge.

[2] Hence, since some men have claimed that man’s ultimate end is in this life, because they know separate substances, we must consider whether man can know separate substances in this life. Now, on this point there is some dispute. For, our intellect in our present state understands nothing without a phantasm, and the phantasm is related to the possible intellect, whereby we understand, as colors are related to vision, as is evident from what we have treated in Book Two. Therefore, if any of us could achieve the understanding of separate substances through the intellectual knowledge which is from phantasms, then it would be possible for a person in this life to understand separate substances themselves. Consequently, by seeing these separate substances one will participate in that mode of knowledge whereby the separate substance, while understanding itself, understands God. But, if one cannot in any way attain to the understanding of separate substances through the knowledge which depends on phantasms, then it will not be possible for man in the present state of life to achieve the aforesaid mode of divine knowledge.

[3] Now, various people have claimed in different ways that we could reach an understanding of separate substances from the knowledge which is accomplished through phantasms. For instance, Avempace claimed that, through the study of the speculative sciences, we can, on the basis of things understood through phantasms, reach an understanding of separate substances. For we can by the action of the intellect abstract the quiddity of anything that has a quiddity, and which is not identical with its quiddity. Indeed, the intellect is naturally equipped to know any quiddity, in so far as it is quiddity, since the proper object of the intellect is what a thing is. But, if what is primarily understood by the possible intellect is something having a quiddity, we can abstract through the possible intellect the quiddity of that which is primarily understood. Moreover, if that quiddity also has a quiddity, it will in turn be possible to abstract the quiddity of this quiddity. And since an infinite process is impossible, it must stop somewhere. Therefore, our intellect is able to reach, by way of resolution, the knowledge of a quiddity which has no further quiddity. Now, this is the sort of quiddity proper to a separate substance. So, our intellect can, through the knowledge of those sensible things that is received from phantasms, reach an understanding of separate substances.

[4] He proceeds, moreover, to show the same thing in another, similar way. For he maintains that the understanding of one thing, say a horse, is plurally present in me and in you, simply by means of a multiplication of spiritual species which are diversified in me and in you. So, then, it is necessary that an object of understanding, which is not based on any species of this kind, be identical in me and in you. But the quiddity of an object of understanding, which quiddity our intellect is naturally capable of abstracting, has no spiritual but individual species, as we have proved, because the quiddity of a thing that is understood is not the quiddity of an individual, either spiritual or corporeal, for a thing that is understood, as such, is universal. So, our intellect is by nature capable of understanding a quiddity for which the understanding is one among all men. Now, such is the quiddity of a separate substance. Hence, our understanding is naturally equipped to know separate substance.

[5] However, if a careful consideration be made, these ways of arguing will be discovered to be frivolous. Since a thing that is understood, as such, is universal, the quiddity of the thing understood must be the quiddity of something universal; namely, of a genus or a species. Now, the quiddity of a genus or species pertaining to these sensible things, whose intellectual knowledge we get through phantasms, includes matter and form within itself. So, it is entirely unlike the quiddity of a separate substance, which latter is simple and immaterial. Therefore, it is not possible for the quiddity of a separate substance to be understood, simply because the quiddity of a sensible thing is understood through phantasms.

[6] Besides, the form which in actual being cannot be separated from a subject is not of the same rational character as the form which is separated in its being from such a subject, even though both of them can be taken, in an act of consideration, without such a subject. Thus, there is not the same essential character for magnitude and for a separate substance, unless we claim that magnitudes are separate things midway between specific forms and sensible things, as some of the Platonists maintained. Of course, the quiddity of a genus or species of sensible things cannot be separate in actual being from a given material individual, unless, perhaps, we maintain with the Platonists separate forms of things, but this has been disproved by Aristotle. Therefore, the quiddity of the aforementioned separate substances, which in no way exist in matter, is utterly different. Therefore, separate substances cannot be understood simply by virtue of the fact that these quiddities are understood.

Chapter 42

THAT WE CANNOT IN THIS LIFE UNDERSTAND SEPARATE SUBSTANCES IN THE WAY THAT ALEXANDER CLAIMED

[1] Because Alexander [of Aphrodisias] claimed that the possible intellect is capable of being generated and corrupted, in the sense that it is “a perfection of human nature resulting from a mixture of the elements,” as we saw in Book Two, and since it is not possible for such a power to transcend material conditions, he maintained that our possible intellect can never reach an understanding of separate substances. Yet he asserted that, in our present state of life, we are able to understand separate substances.

[2] In fact, he tried to show this in the following way. Whenever anything has reached maturity in its process of generation and has come to the full perfection of its substance, the operation proper to it will be at its peak, whether as action or as passion. For, as operation is consequent upon substance, so also is the perfection of operation a result of the perfection of substance. Hence, an animal, when it has become wholly perfect, is able to walk by itself. Now, the habitual understanding which is simply “intelligible species made to exist in the possible intellect by the agent intellect” has a twofold operation: one, to make potentially understood things to be actually understood, and it owes this to the role of the agent intellect; and the second is actually to understand the objects of understanding. These two things, then, man can do through an intellectual habit. So, whenever the generating of the habitual understanding has reached completion, both of these stated operations will be at their peak in it. Now, it always approaches the peak perfection of its generation when it acquires new kinds of objects of understanding. And thus, its process of generation must be completed at some time, unless there be an impediment, because no process of generation tends to an indefinite termination. So, it will reach completion whenever both operations are habitually present in the intellect, by virtue of the fact that it makes all the potential objects of und6standing actual, which is the completion of the first operation, and because of the fact that it understands all intelligible objects, both separate and not separate.

[3] Now, since according to his opinion the possible intellect cannot understand separate substances, as has already been said, he thought that we will understand separate substances through the habitual understanding, in so far as the agent intellect, which he supposes to be a separate substance, becomes the form of the habitual understanding, and a form for us ourselves. Thus, we will understand through it, as we now understand through the possible intellect; and since it is the function of the power of the agent intellect to make all things which are potentially intelligible to be actually understood, and to understand the separate substances, we will understand separate substances in this life, and also all non-separate intelligible things.

[4] So, according to this theory, we reach the knowledge of separate substances through this knowledge which comes from the phantasms, not in the sense that these phantasms and the things understood through them are means for the knowing of separate substances (as is the case with the speculative sciences, according to the position advanced in the preceding chapter), but, rather, in so far as the intelligible species are certain dispositions within us to the kind of form that the agent intellect is. And this is the first point on which these two opinions differ.

[5] Hence, when the habitual understanding will be perfected through the production in us by the agent intellect of these intelligible species, the agent intellect will itself become a form for us, as we have said. And he calls this the “acquired understanding,” which, according to their statement, Aristotle says comes from outside. And so, though the ultimate human perfection is not in the speculative sciences, as the preceding opinion claimed, man is disposed through these sciences to the attainment of the ultimate perfection. And this is the second point on which the first and second opinions differ.

[6] However, they differ on a third point, because, according to the first opinion, our actual understanding of the agent intellect is the cause of its being united with us. Whereas, according to the second opinion, the converse is the case, for, since it is united with us as a form, we understand it and the other separate substances.

[7] Now, these statements are unreasonable. Indeed, the habitual understanding, as also the possible understanding, is supposed by Alexander to be generable and corruptible. Now, the eternal cannot become the form of the generable and corruptible, according to him. For this reason, he claims that the possible intellect, which is united to us as a form, is generable and corruptible, while the agent intellect which is incorruptible is a separate substance. Hence, since the agent intellect, according to Alexander, is supposed to be an eternal separate substance, it will be impossible for the agent intellect to become the form of the habitual intellect.

[8] Moreover, the form of the intellect, as intellect, is the intelligible object, just as the form of the sense is the sensible object; indeed, the intellect receives nothing, strictly speaking, except in an intellectual way, just as the sense power only receives sensitively. So, if the agent intellect cannot be an intelligible object through the habitual intellect, then it will be impossible for it to be its form.

[9] Besides, we are said to understand something in three ways. First, as we understand by means of the intellect which is the power from which such an operation proceeds; hence, both the intellect itself is said to understand, and also the intellect’s act of understanding becomes our act of understanding. Second, we understand by means of an intelligible species; of course, we are not said to understand by it, in the sense that it understands, but because the intellective power is actually perfected by it, as the visual power is by the species of color. Third, we understand as by an intermediary through the knowing of which we come to the knowledge of something else.

[10] So, if at some point man understands separate substances through the agent intellect, this must be explained by one of these ways that have been mentioned. Now, it is not explained by the third way, for Alexander did not admit that either the possible or the habitual intellect understands the agent intellect. Nor, indeed, is it in the second way, for to understand through an intelligible species is the attribute of the intellective power for which this intelligible species is the form. Now, Alexander did not grant that the possible intellect or the habitual intellect understands separate substances; hence, it is not possible for us to understand separate substances through the agent intellect in the same way that we understand other things through an intelligible species. But, if it is as through an intellective power, then the agent intellect’s act of understanding must be man’s act of understanding. Now, this cannot be so unless one actual being is made from the substance of the agent intellect and the substance of man; indeed, it is impossible if they are two substances with different acts of being, for the operation of the one to be the operation of the other. Therefore, the agent intellect will be one existing being with man, not one accidentally, for then the agent intellect would be not a substance but an accident, as is the case when a thing that is one being accidentally is made from color and a body. The conclusion remains, then, that the agent intellect is united with man in substantial being. It will be, then, either the human soul or a part of it, and not some separate substance as Alexander claimed. Therefore, it cannot be maintained, on the basis of Alexander’s opinion, that man understands separate substances.

[11] Furthermore, if the agent intellect at any time becomes the form of one man, so that he is enabled to understand through it, by the same token it could become the form of another man similarly understanding through it. It will Mow, then, that two men will understand at the same time through the agent intellect as through their own form. This is so because the agent intellect’s own act of understanding is the act of understanding of ‘the man who understands through it, as was said already. Therefore, there will be the same act of understanding for two intelligent beings; and this is impossible.

[12] As a matter of fact, his theory is entirely frivolous. First of all because, whenever the process of generation is perfected in any member of a genus its operation must be perfected, but, of course, according to the manner of its own genus and not according to the mode of a higher genus. For instance, when the generation of air is perfected it has a development and complete movement upward, but not such that it is moved to the place proper to fire. Similarly, when the development of the habitual intellect is completed its operation of understanding will be completed according to its own mode, but not according to the mode whereby separate substances understand, so that it may understand separate substances. Hence, from the generation of the habitual intellect one cannot conclude that man will understand separate substance at some time.

[13] Secondly, it is frivolous because the perfection of an operation belongs to the same power to which the operation itself belongs. So, if to understand separate substances be a perfection of the operation of the habitual intellect, it follows that the habitual intellect understands separate substances at some point in time. Now, Alexander does not claim this, for it would follow that to understand separate substances would depend on the speculative sciences which are included under the notion of habitual understanding.

[14] Thirdly, it is frivolous because the generation of things that begin to be generated is nearly always brought to completion, since all processes of generating things are due to determinate causes which achieve their effects, either always, or in the majority of cases. If, then, the perfection of action also follows upon the completion of generation, it must also be the case that perfect operation accompanies the generated things, either always, or in the majority of cases. Now, the actual understanding of separate substances is not achieved by those who apply themselves to the development of habitual understanding, either in most cases or always; on the contrary, no man has openly declared that be had achieved this perfection. Therefore, the perfection of the operation of habitual understanding does not consist in the actual understanding of separate substances.

Chapter 43

THAT WE CANNOT IN THIS LIFE UNDERSTAND SEPARATE SUBSTANCES IN THE WAY THAT AVERROES CLAIMED

[1] Because there is very great difficulty in Alexander’s opinion, as a result of his supposition that the possible intellect in a condition of habituation is entirely corruptible, Averroes thought that be found an easier way to show that we sometimes understand separate substances. In fact, he asserted that the possible intellect is incorruptible and separate in being from us, as is also the agent intellect.

[2] He showed, first of all, that it was necessary to hold that the agent intellect is related to principles naturally known to us, either as agent is to instrument, or as form to matter. For the habitual intellect, by which we understand, has not only this action of understanding, but also another, which is to make things actually understood; indeed, we know by experience that both actions stand within our power. Now, the action of making things actual objects of understanding is more properly indicative of the meaning of habitual intellect than is the act of understanding, for to make things actually intelligible precedes the act of understanding them. But there are some things within us which are rendered actually understood in a natural way, not as a result of our effort or of the action of our will: such are the first intelligible things. In fact, to make these actually understood does not depend on the habitual intellect, through which things that we know from study are made to be actually understood; rather, these first intelligibles are the starting point of the habitual intellect. And that is why the habit of these intelligibles is also called understanding by Aristotle, in Ethics VI [6: 1141a 7]. Now, they are made to be actually understood by the agent intellect alone. And by means of them other things are made to be actually understood: these are the things that we know from study. So, to make these subsequent things actually understood is the work both of the habitual intellect, as regards first principles, and of the agent intellect. Now, one action is not attributed to two things unless one of them is related to the other as agent to instrument or as form to matter. So, the agent intellect is necessarily related to the first principles of the habitual intellect either as agent to instrument or as form to matter.

[3] In fact, he indicates how this is possible in the following way. Since the possible intellect, according to his theory, is a separate substance, it understands the agent intellect and the other separate substances, and also the first objects of speculative understanding. So, it is the subject for both types of objects. Now, whenever two things are united in one subject, one of them is like the form of the other. Thus, when color and light are present in a diaphanous body as their subject, one of them, namely, light, must be like the form of the other, namely, color. Now, this is necessary when they have an ordered relationship to each other, but not in the case of things accidentally associated in the same subject, like whiteness and musical ability. But speculatively understood things and the agent intellect do have an ordered relationship to each other, since the objects of speculative understanding are rendered actually understood by means of the agent intellect. So, the agent intellect is related to the objects of speculative understanding as form is to matter.

Therefore, when the objects of speculative understanding are united with us through the phantasms, which are in a sense their subject, the agent intellect must also be connected with us, because it is the form of the objects of speculative understanding. Thus, when the objects of speculative understanding are only potentially present in us, the agent intellect is only potentially connected with us. But, when some objects of speculative understanding are actually in us, and some are potentially present, its connection with us is partly actual and partly potential. Then it is that we are said to be in motion toward the aforementioned connection, for, as more things are made to be actually understood within us, the agent intellect becomes more perfectly connected with us. This progress and movement toward the connection is accomplished through study in the speculative sciences, through which we acquire true objects of understanding, and also false opinions that are outside the orderly process of this movement are excluded, just as monstrosities are outside the order of natural operation. Hence, men may help each other in making this progress, as they are of mutual assistance in the speculative sciences.

And so, when all potential objects of understanding have been made actual within us, the agent intellect is perfectly united with us as a form, and then we will understand perfectly through it, just as we now understand perfectly through the habitual intellect. Hence, since it is the function of the agent intellect to understand separate substances, we will then understand separate substances, as we now understand the objects of speculative understanding. And this will be the ultimate felicity of man, in which man will be “like some sort of God.”

[4] Now, the refutation of this theory is sufficiently evident from the things that we have said earlier: in fact, it proceeds from the supposition of many points which are disproved in the foregoing sections.

[5] First of all, we showed above that the possible intellect is not some substance separated from us in its being. Hence, it will not be necessary for it to be the subject of separate substances, especially since Aristotle says that the intellect is possible, “in that it is able to become all things.” From this we see that it is the subject only of those things that are made actually understood.

[6] Again, we have shown above, concerning the agent intellect, that it is not a separate substance, but a part of the soul, to which Aristotle assigns this operation: “to make things actually understood” [ De anima III, 5: 430a 14], and this lies within our power. Hence, it will not be necessary for the act of understanding -through the agent intellect to be the cause, for us, of our,capacity to understand separate substances; otherwise, we would always understand them.

[7] Furthermore, if the agent intellect is a separate substance, it cannot be joined to us except through species that have been made actually understood, according to this theory; and neither can the possible intellect, even though the possible intellect is related to these species as matter to form, while, conversely, the agent intellect is as form to matter. Now, species that have been made actually understood are joined with us, according to his theory, by means of the phantasms which are related to the possible intellect as colors to the visual power, but to the agent intellect as colors to light: as we see from the words of Aristotle in Book in of On the Soul [III, 5: 430a 15]. But to the stone in which color is present, neither the action of the power of sight as it sees nor the action of the sun as it enlightens can be attributed. Therefore, according to the aforesaid theory, it would be impossible to attribute to man either the action of the possible intellect as it understands or the action of the agent intellect as it understands separate substances or as it makes things actually understood.

[8] Besides, according to this theory, the agent intellect is not asserted to be connected with us as a form except by the fact that it is the form of objects of speculative understanding; and it is claimed to be the form of these objects because the same action belongs to the agent intellect and to these objects of understanding, which action is to make things actually understood. So, it could not be a form for us, unless by virtue of the fact that the objects of speculative understanding share in its action. Now, these objects do not share in its operation which consists in understanding separate substances, for they are the species of sensible things, unless we go back to the opinion of Avempace that the quiddities of separate substances can be known through the things that we understand about sensible objects. Therefore, it would not be at all possible for us to understand separate substances in the aforesaid way.

[9] Moreover, the agent intellect is related to the objects of speculative understanding, which it makes to be so, in a different way from its relation to separate substances, which it does not make, but only knows, according to this theory. So, there is no necessity for it to be joined to us in its function as knower of separate substances, even if it is joined to us in its function as maker of the objects of speculative understanding. Rather, there is clearly a fallacy of accident in reasoning such as his.

[10] Again, if we know separate substances through the agent intellect, this is not accomplished because the agent intellect is the form of this or that object of speculative understanding, but because it becomes a form for us, for in this way we are enabled to understand through it. Now, it becomes a form for us even through the first objects of speculative understanding, according to his own statement. Therefore, immediately at the start, man can know separate substances through the agent intellect.

[11] Of course, it might be answered that the agent intellect does not become a form for us, in a perfect way, by virtue of certain objects of speculative understanding, so that we might understand separate substances through it and the only reason for this is that these objects of speculative understanding are not sufficient for the perfecting of the agent intellect in the act of understanding separate substances. But not even all the objects of speculative understanding taken together are sufficient for that perfection of the agent intellect by which it understands separate substances. For all these objects are intelligible only in so far as they have been made to be understood, while those separate substances are intelligible by their own nature. So, not even the fact that we will know all the objects of speculative understanding will make it necessary for the agent intellect to become a form for us, in such a perfect way that we may understand separate substances through it. Or, if this is not required, then we will have to say that, in understanding any intelligible object, we understand separate substances.

Chapter 44

THAT MAN’S ULTIMATE FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN THE KIND OF KNOWLEDGE OF SEPARATE SUBSTANCES THAT THE FOREGOING OPINIONS ASSUME

[1] Of course, it is not possible to identify human felicity with such knowledge of separate substances, as the aforementioned philosophers have maintained.

[2] Indeed, a thing is futile which exists for an end which it cannot attain. So, since the end of man is felicity, to which his natural desire tends, it is not possible for the felicity of man to be placed in something that man cannot achieve. Otherwise, it would follow that man is a futile being, and his natural desire would be incapable of fulfillment, which is impossible. Now, it is clear from what has been said that man cannot understand separate substances on the basis of the foregoing opinions. So, man’s felicity is not located in such knowledge of separate substances.

[3] Again, in order that the agent intellect be united to us as a form, so that we may understand separate substances through it, it is required that the generation of the habitual intellect be complete, according to Alexander; or that all objects of speculative understanding be made actual within us, according to Averroes. And these two views reduce to the same thing, for in this explanation the habitual intellect is generated in us, in so far as the objects of speculative understanding are made actual within us. Now, all species from sensible things are potential objects of understanding. So, in order that the agent intellect be joined with any person, he must actually understand all the natures of sensible things, and all their powers, operations, and motions, through speculative understanding. This is not possible for any man to know through the principles of the speculative sciences, by which principles we are moved to a connection with the agent intellect, as they say. For, one could not attain all these objects of knowledge from the things that come under the scope of our senses, and from which the principles of the speculative sciences are drawn. So, it is impossible for a man to achieve this connection, in the manner suggested by them. Therefore, it is not possible for man’s felicity to consist in such a connection.

[4] Besides, even granting that such a connection of man with the agent intellect were possible as they describe it, it is plain that such perfection comes to very few men; so much so that not even these men, nor any other men, however diligent and expert in speculative sciences, have dared to claim such perfection for themselves. On the contrary, they all state that many things are unknown to them, Thus, Aristotle speaks of the squaring of the circle, and he can give only probable arguments for his principles for the ordering of celestial bodies, as he admits himself, in Book II of On the Heavens [5: 288a 2], and what is necessary in regard to these bodies and their movers he keeps for others to explain, in Metaphysics XI [8: 1073b 2]. Now, felicity is a definite common good, which many people can attain, “unless they are defective,” as Aristotle puts it, in Ethics I [9: 1099b 19]. And this is also true of every natural end in any species, that the members of this species do attain it, in most cases. Therefore, it is not possible for man’s ultimate felicity to consist in the aforesaid connection.

[5] However, it is clear that Aristotle, whose view the aforementioned philosophers try to follow, did not think that man’s ultimate felicity is to be found in such a connection. For he proves, in Ethics I [13: 1102a 5], that man’s felicity is his operation according to perfect virtue. Hence, he had to develop his teaching on the virtues, which handdivided into the moral and the intellectual virtues. Now, handshows in Book X [7: 1177a 18], that the ultimate felicity of man lies in speculation. Hence, it clearly does not lie in the act of any moral virtue, nor of prudence or art, though these are intellectual virtues. It remains, then, that it is an operation in accord with wisdom, the chief of the three remaining intellectual virtues, which are wisdom, science, and understanding, as he points out in Ethics VI [6: 1141a 3]. Hence, in Ethics X [8: 1179a 32], he gives his judgment that the wise man is happy. Now, wisdom, for him, is one of the speculative knowledges, “the head of the others,” as he says in Ethics VI [6]. And at the beginning of the Metaphysics [I, 1: 981b 26], he calls the science which he intends to treat in this work, wisdom. Therefore, it is clear that Aristotle’s opinion was that the ultimate felicity which man can acquire in this life is the kind of knowledge of divine things which can be gained through the speculative sciences. But that later way of knowing divine things, not by means of the speculative sciences but by a process of generation in the natural order, was made up by some of his commentators.

Chapter 45

THAT IN THIS LIFE WE CANNOT UNDERSTAND SEPARATE SUBSTANCES

[1] Hence, since separate substances cannot be known by us in this life in the preceding ways, the question remains whether we may understand these separate substances in any way during this life.

[2] Themistius tries to show that it is possible, by an argument from a less important case. Separate substances are indeed more intelligible than material ones; the latter are intelligible, in so far as they are made to be actually understood by the agent intellect, but the former are intelligible in themselves. Therefore, if our intellect comprehends these material substances, it is naturally much more capable of understanding separate substances.

[3] Now, this argument must be judged in different ways, depending on the various opinions concerning the possible intellect. For, if the possible intellect is not a power which depends on matter, and again if it is separate in being from body, as Averroes supposes, then it follows that it has no necessary relation to material things. Consequently, things that are more intelligible in themselves will be more intelligible to it. But then it seems to follow that, since we understand from the start by means of the possible intellect, we therefore understand separate substances from the start: which is clearly false.

[4] But Averroes tried to avoid this difficulty by the explanation which has been mentioned above, in connection with his opinion. And this is plainly false, on the basis of what we have established.

[5] However, if the possible intellect is not separated in being from body, then by virtue of such a union in being with body it has a necessary relation to material things, so that it could not reach a knowledge of other things except by means of these material things. Hence, it does not follow that, if separate substances are more intelligible in themselves, they are for this reason more intelligible to our intellect. And the words of Aristotle in Metaphysics II [1: 993b 9] prove this. For he says there that “the difficulty of understanding these things comes from us not from them, for our intellect is to the most evident things, as the eye of the owl is to the light of the sun.” Hence, since separate substances cannot be understood through material things that are understood, as was shown above, it follows that our possible intellect can in no way understand separate substances.

[6] This is also evident from the relation of the possible intellect to the agent intellect. A passive potency is only a potency in regard to those things that are within the power of its proper active principle; for, to every passive potency in nature there corresponds an active potency; otherwise, the passive potency would be useless, for it could not be reduced to act except through an active potency. Hence we see that the visual power is only receptive of colors which are illuminated by light. Now, the possible intellect, since it is a passive power in some sense, has its proper corresponding agent, namely, the agent intellect which is related to the possible intellect as light is to sight. So, the possible intellect is only in potency to those intelligible objects which are made by the agent intellect. Hence, Aristotle, describing both intellects in Book III of On the Soul [5: 430a 14], says that the possible intellect is “the capacity to become all things,” while the agent intellect is “the capacity to make all things”; so, each potency is understood to be referred to the same thing, but one is active and the other passive, Thus, since separate substances are not made to be actually intelligible by the agent intellect, but only material substances are, the possible intellect only includes the latter within its scope. Therefore, we cannot understand separate substances through it.

[7] For this point Aristotle made use of an appropriate example, for the eye of an owl can never see the light of the sun; though Averroes tries to ruin this example by saying that the similarity between our intellect in relation to separate substances and the eye of the owl in relation to the light of the sun does not extend to impossibility, but only to difficulty. He gives a proof for this, in the same place, using the following argument: If those things which are understood in themselves, namely, separate substances, were not possible for us to understand, they would be for no purpose, just as if there were a visible object which could not be seen by any visual power.

[8] How frivolous this argument is, is quite apparent. For, though these substances might never be understood by us, they are nonetheless understood by themselves. Hence, they are not intelligible in a purposeless way, as the sun (to pursue Aristotle’s example) is visible, yet not in a purposeless way, simply because the owl cannot see it. For man and other animals can see it.

[9] And thus, the possible intellect, if it be granted that it is united with the body in being, cannot understand separate substances. However, it makes a difference how one thinks about its substance. For, if it is supposed to be a material power, capable of generation and corruption, as some have claimed, then it follows that it is limited by its own substance to the understanding of material things. Consequently, that it could in no way understand separate substances is quite necessary, since it could not be separate in its own being.

On the other hand, if the possible intellect, though united with a body, is, however, incorruptible and not dependent on matter in its actual being, as we showed above,” it follows that the limitation to the understanding of material things accrues to it as a result of its union with the body. Consequently, when the soul will have been separated from this body, the possible intellect will be able to understand things that are intelligible in themselves, through the light of the agent intellect, which is the likeness in the intellectual soul of the light which is present in separate substances.

[10] And this is the view of our faith, concerning the understanding of separate substances by us after death, and not in this life.

Chapter 46

THAT THE SOUL DOES NOT UNDERSTAND ITSELF THROUGH ITSELF IN THIS LIFE

[1] Now, it seems that some objection may be offered against what we have said, on the basis of a text of Augustine which requires careful interpretation. In fact, he says in Book IX of The Trinity: “Just as the mind gathers knowledge of bodily things through the bodily senses, so does it obtain knowledge of incorporeal things through itself. And so, it knows itself through itself, since it is incorporeal.” Indeed, it does appear from these words that our mind understands itself, through itself, and by understanding itself it understands separate substances. And this is in opposition to what was shown above. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate how our soul understands itself through itself.

[2] Now, it cannot be said that it understands what it is, through itself. For, a cognitive potency becomes an actual knower by the fact that there is present in it that whereby the knowing is accomplished. Of course, if it be present in a potential way in the potency, one knows potentially; but if it be there actually, one knows actually; and if it be there in an intermediate fashion, one knows habitually. But the soul is always actually present to itself, never merely potentially or habitually. So, if the soul knows itself through itself, in the sense of what it is, it will always actually understand what it is. And this is plainly false.

[3] Again, if the soul understands what it is, through itself, and if every man has a soul, then every man knows what soul is. And this is plainly false.

[4] Moreover, the knowledge which comes about through something naturally implanted in us is natural, as is the case with indemonstrable principles which are known through the light of the agent intellect. If, then, we know concerning the soul what it is, through the soul itself, then this will be something naturally known. Now, in the case of things that are naturally known no one can err; for instance, in the knowing of indemonstrable principles no one makes an error. So, no one would be in error concerning what the soul is, if the soul knew this through itself. And this is clearly false, for many men have held the opinion that the soul is this or that body, and some have thought it a number or a harmony. Therefore, the soul does not, through itself, know concerning itself what it is.

[5] Besides, in any order, “that which exists through itself is prior to, and is the principle of, that which is through another.” So, that which is known through itself is known before all things that are known through another, and it is the principle of the knowing of them. Thus, the first propositions are prior to the conclusions. If, then, the soul knows through itself what it is in itself, this will be something known through itself, and, consequently, a first known thing and a principle for the knowing of other things. Now, this is clearly false. For, what the soul is no science takes as something known; rather, it is a topic proposed for investigation, starting from other items of knowledge. Therefore, the soul does not know concerning itself what it is, through itself.

[6] Now, it appears that even Augustine himself did not intend that it does. For he says in Book X of The Trinity that “the soul, when seeking knowledge of itself, does not endeavor to see itself as something absent, but takes care to observe itself as present; not to learn about itself as if it were ignorant, but to distinguish itself from what it knows as another thing.” Thus, he makes us understand that the soul, through itself, does know itself as present, but not as distinct from other things. Consequently, he says that some people have erred on this point because they have not distinguished the soul from those things which are different from it. Now, because a thing is known from the point of view of what it is, that thing is also known in distinction from others; consequently, the definition which signifies what a thing is distinguishes the thing defined from all else. Therefore, Augustine did not wish to say that, through itself, the soul knows concerning itself what it is.

[7] But neither did Aristotle intend this. Indeed, he says in Book III of On the Soul [4: 430a 2] that “the possible intellect understands itself as it does other things.” For it understands itself through an intelligible species, by which it is made actual in the genus of intelligible objects. Considered in itself, it is merely in potency in regard to intelligible being; nothing is known according to what it is potentially, but only as it is actually. Hence, separate substances, whose substances are like something actually existing in the genus of intelligible objects, do understand, concerning themselves, what they are, through their own substances; while our possible intellect does so, through an intelligible species, by which it is made an actual agent which understands. Hence, also, Aristotle, in Book III of On the Soul [4: 429a 2], demonstrates from the very act of understanding what is the nature of the possible intellect, namely, that it is “unmixed and incorruptible,” as is clear from what we have said earlier.

[8] And so, according to Augustine’s meaning, our mind knows itself through itself, in so far as it knows concerning itself, that it is. Indeed, from the fact that it perceives that it acts it perceives that it is. Of course, it acts through itself, and so, through itself, it knows concerning itself that it is.

[9] So, also, in regard to separate substances, the soul by knowing itself knows that they are, but not what they are, for to do the latter is to understand their substances. Indeed, when we know this about separate substances, either through demonstration or through faith, that there are certain intellectual substances, we would not be able to get this knowledge on either basis unless our soul knew on its own part this point: what it is to be intellectual. Consequently, the knowledge concerning the soul’s understanding must be used as a starting point for all that we learn about separate substances.

[10] Nor is it a necessary conclusion that, if we succeed in knowing what the soul is through the speculative sciences, we must then be able to reach a knowledge of what separate substances are, through these same sciences. As a matter of fact, our act of understanding, whereby we attain to the knowledge of what our soul is, is very remote from the intelligence of a separate substance. Nevertheless, it is possible through knowing what our soul is to reach a knowledge of a remote genus for separate substances, but this does not mean an understanding of these substances.

[11] just as we know, through itself, that the soul is, in so far as we perceive its act, and we seek to discover what it is, from a knowledge of its acts and objects, by means of the principles of the speculative sciences, so also do we ‘know concerning the things that are within our soul, such as powers and habits, that they indeed are, by virtue of our perception of their acts; but we discover what they are, from the qualitative character of their acts.

Chapter 47

THAT IN THIS LIFE WE CANNOT SEE GOD THROUGH HIS ESSENCE

[1] Now, if we are not able to understand other separate substances in this life, because of the natural affinity of our intellect for phantasms, still less are we able in this life to see the divine essence which transcends all separate substances.

[2] An indication of this may also be taken from the fact that the higher our mind is elevated to the contemplation of spiritual beings, the more is it withdrawn from sensible things. Now, the final limit to which contemplation can reach is the divine substance. Hence, the mind which sees the divine substance must be completely cut off from the bodily senses, either by death or by ecstasy. Thus, it is said by one who speaks for God: “Man shall not see me and live” (Exod. 33:20).

[3] But that some men are spoken of in Sacred Scripture as having seen God must be understood either in reference to an imaginary vision, or even a corporeal one: according as the presence of divine power was manifested through some corporeal species, whether appearing externally, or formed internally in the imagination; or even according as some men have perceived some intelligible knowledge of God through His spiritual effects.

[4] However, certain words of Augustine do present a difficulty; for it appears from them that we can understand God Himself in this life. He says in Book IX of The Trinity that “we see with the vision of the mind, in the eternal truth, from which all temporal things have been made, the form in accord with which we exist, and in accord with which we perform any action by true and right reason, either within ourselves or in bodies, and as a result of this we have with us a conception and a true knowledge of things.” He also says in Book VII of the Confessions: “Suppose both of us see that what you say is true, and both of us see that what I say is true: where, I ask, do we see it? Certainly, I do not see it in you, nor you in me, but both in that immutable truth which is above our minds. Again, he says in the book On the True Religion that “we judge all things according to the divine truth.” And he says in the Soliloquies that “truth must be known first, and through it other things can be known.” And this seems to mean the divine truth. It appears, then, from his words, that we see God Himself, Who is His own truth, and thus we know other things through Him.

[5] The same writer’s words seem to tend toward the same view, words which he puts in Book XII of The Trinity, saying the following: “It pertains to reason to judge concerning these bodily things in accord with the incorporeal and sempiternal reasons which, unless they were above the human mind, certainly would not be immutable.” Now, the immutable and sempiternal reasons cannot exist in any other location than in God, since only God, according to the teaching of our faith, is sempiternal. Therefore, it seems to follow that we are able to see God in this life, and because we see the reasons of things in Him we may judge concerning other things.

[6] However, we must not believe that Augustine held this view, in the texts which have been quoted: that we are able in this life to understand God through His essence. So, we have to make a study of how we may see this immutable truth, or these eternal reasons, in this life, and thus judge other things in accord with this vision.

[7] As a matter of fact, Augustine himself admits that truth is in the soul, in the Soliloquies, and as a result he proves the immortality of the soul from the eternity of truth. But truth is not in the soul simply in the way that God is said to be in all things by His essence, nor as He is in all things by His likeness, in the sense that each thing is called true to the extent that it approaches the likeness of God; for it is not on this basis that the soul is set above other things. Therefore, it is present in a special way in the soul, inasmuch as it knows truth. So, just as souls and other things are indeed said to be true in their own natures, because they have a likeness to the highest nature, which is Truth Itself, since it is its own actual being as understood—so also, what is known by the soul is true in so far as some likeness exists in it of that divine truth which God knows. Hence the Gloss on Psalm 11:2: “Truths are decayed from among the children of men,” says that: “as from one face there may result many reflections in a mirror, so from one first truth there may result many truths in the minds of men.

Now, although different things are known and believed to be true by different people, certain things are true on which all men agree, such as the first principles of understanding, both speculative and practical, according as an image of divine truth is reflected universally in the minds of all men. So, in so far as any mind knows anything whatever with certitude, the object is intuited in these principles, by means of which judgment is made concerning all things, by resolving them back into these principles; and so the mind is said to see all things in the divine truth, or in the eternal reasons, and is said to judge all things in accord with them. And this interpretation the words of Augustine confirm, in the Soliloquies, for handsays that the principles of the sciences are seen in the divine truth as these visible objects are seen in the light of the sun. Yet it is obvious that they are not seen in the actual body of the sun, but through its light, which is a likeness in the air of solar brilliance, transmitted to suitable bodies.

[8] Therefore, we should not gather from these words of Augustine that God can be seen in His substance in this life, but only as in a mirror. And this is what the Apostle professes concerning the knowledge of this life, for he says: “We see now through a glass in a dark manner” (1 Cor. 13:l2).

[9] Although this mirror, which is the human mind, reflects the likeness of God in a closer way than lower creatures do, the knowledge of God which can be taken in by the human mind does not go beyond the type of knowledge that is derived from sensible things, since even the soul itself knows what it is itself as a result of understanding the natures of sensible things, as we have said. Hence, throughout this life God can be known in no higher way than that whereby a cause is known through its effect.

Chapter 48

THAT MAN’S ULTIMATE FELICITY DOES NOT COME IN THIS LIFE

[1] If, then, ultimate human felicity does not consist in the knowledge of God, whereby He is known in general by all, or most, men, by a sort of confused appraisal, and again, if it does not consist in the knowledge of God which is known by way of demonstration in the speculative sciences, nor in the cognition of God whereby He is known through faith, as has been shown in the foregoing; and if it is not possible in this life to reach a higher knowledge of God so as to know Him through His essence, or even in such a way that, when the other separate substances are known, God might be known through the knowledge of them, as if from a closer vantage point, as we showed; and if it is necessary to identify ultimate felicity with some sort of knowledge of God, as we proved above; then it is not possible for man’s ultimate felicity to come in this life.

[2] Again, the ultimate end of man brings to a termination man’s natural appetite, in the sense that, once the end is acquired, nothing else will be sought. For, if he is still moved onward to something else, he does not yet have the end in which he may rest. Now, this termination cannot occur in this life. For, the more a person understands, the more is the desire to understand increased in him, and this is natural to man, unless, perchance, there be someone who understands all things. But in this life this does not happen to anyone who is a mere man, nor could it happen, since we are not able to know in this life the separate substances, and they are most intelligible, as has been shown. Therefore, it is not possible for man’s ultimate felicity to be in this life.

[3] Besides, everything that is moved toward an end naturally desires to be stationed at, and at rest in, that end; consequently, a body does not move away from the place to which it is moved naturally, unless by virtue of a violent movement which runs counter to its appetite. Now, felicity is the ultimate end which man naturally desires. So, there is a natural desire of man to be established in felicity. Therefore, unless along with felicity such an unmoving stability be attained, he is not yet happy, for his natural desire is not yet at rest. And so, when a person attains felicity he likewise attains stability and rest, and that is why this is the notion of all men concerning felicity, that it requires stability as part of its essential character. For this reason, the Philosopher says, in Ethics I [10: 1100b 5], that “we do not regard the happy man as a sort of chameleon.” Now, in this life there is no certain stability, for to any man, no matter how happy he is reputed to be, illnesses and misfortunes may possibly come, and by them he may be hindered in that operation, whatever it may be, with which felicity is identified. Therefore, it is not possible for man’s ultimate felicity to be in this life.

[4] Moreover, it appears inappropriate and irrational for the time of generation of a thing to be long, while the time of its maturity is short. For it would follow that a nature would be without its end, most of the time. Consequently, we see that animals which live but a short time also take but a short time to come to perfect maturity. Now, if felicity consists in perfect operation, in accord with perfect virtue, whether intellectual or moral, it is impossible for it to come to man until a long time has elapsed, And this is especially evident in speculative pursuits, in which man’s ultimate felicity is placed, as is clear from what we have said. For man is barely able to reach perfection in scientific speculation in the last stage of his life. But then, in most cases, only a little part of human life remains. So, it is not possible for man’s ultimate felicity to be in this life.

[5] Furthermore, all men admit that felicity is a perfect good; otherwise, it could not satisfy desire. Now, a perfect good is one which lacks any admixture of evil, just as a perfectly white thing is completely unmixed with black. Of course, it is not possible for man in the present state of life to be entirely free from evils, not only from corporeal ones, such as hunger, thirst, heat and cold, and other things of this kind, but also from evils of the soul. For we can find no one who is not disturbed at times by unruly passions, who does not at times overstep the mean in which virtue lies, either by excess or defect, who also is not mistaken in certain matters, or who at least is ignorant of things which he desires to know, or who also conceives with uncertain opinion things about which he would like to be certain. Therefore, no person is happy in this life.

[6] Again, man naturally shrinks from death, and is sorrowful at its prospect, not only at the instant when he feels its threat and tries to avoid it, but even when he thinks back upon it. But freedom from death is something man cannot achieve in this life. Therefore, it is not possible for man in this life to be happy.

[7] Besides, ultimate felicity does not consist in an habitual state, but in an operation, since habits are for the sake of acts. But it is impossible to perform any action continuously in this life. Therefore, it is impossible for man in this life to be entirely happy.

[8] Furthermore, the more a thing is desired and loved, the more does its loss bring sorrow and sadness. Now, felicity is what is most desired and loved. Therefore, its loss holds the greatest prospect of sorrow. But, if ultimate felicity were possible in this life, it is certain that it would be lost, at least by death. And it is not certain whether it would last until death, since for any man in this life there is the possibility of sickness, by which he may be completely impeded from the work of virtue: such things as mental illness and the like, by which the use of reason is halted. So, such felicity always will have sorrow naturally associated with it. Therefore, it will not be perfect felicity.

[9] However, someone may say that, since felicity is a good of intellectual nature, perfect and true felicity belongs to those beings in whom a perfect intellectual nature is found, that is, to separate substances, but that in man there is found an imperfect happiness, in the manner of some sort of participation. For, in regard to the full understanding of truth, men can attain it only through enquiry, and they are utterly deficient in regard to objects which are most intelligible in their nature, as is clear from what we have said. And so, felicity in its perfect character cannot be present in men, but they may participate somewhat in it, even in this life. And this seems to have been Aristotle’s view on felicity. Hence, in Ethics I, where he asks whether misfortunes take away happiness, having shown that felicity consists in the works of virtue which seem to be most enduring in this life, handconcludes that those men for whom such perfection in this life is possible are happy as men, as if they bad not attained felicity absolutely, but merely in human fashion.

[10] Now, we have to show that the foregoing reply does not invalidate the arguments which we have given above. Indeed, though man is by nature inferior to separate substances, handis nonetheless superior to irrational creatures. So, handattains his ultimate end in a more perfect way than they do. They achieve their ultimate end with such perfection because they seek nothing else, for the heavy thing comes to rest when it has occupied its own place; and even in the case of animals, when they enjoy sensual pleasures their natural desire is at rest. So, it is much more necessary for man’s natural desire to come to rest when he has reached his ultimate end. But this cannot come about in this life. Therefore, man does not attain felicity, understood as his proper end, during this life, as we have shown. Therefore, he must attain it after this life.

[11] Again, it is impossible for natural desire to be unfulfilled, since “nature does nothing in vain.”” Now, natural desire would be in vain if it could never be fulfilled. Therefore, man’s natural desire is capable of fulfillment, but not in this life, as we have shown. So, it must be fulfilled after this life. Therefore, man’s ultimate felicity comes after this life.

[12] Besides, as long as anything is in motion toward perfection, it is not yet at the ultimate end. But all men, while learning the truth, are always disposed as beings in motion, and as tending toward perfection, because men who come later make other discoveries, over and above those found out by earlier men, as is also stated in Metaphysics II [1: 993a 31]. So, men in the process of learning the truth are not situated as if they were at the ultimate end. Thus, since man’s ultimate felicity in this life seems mainly to consist in speculation, whereby the knowledge of the truth is sought, as Aristotle himself proves in Ethics X [7: 1177a 18], it is impossible to say that man achieves his ultimate end in this life.

[13] Moreover, everything that is in potency tends to proceed into act. So, as long as it is not made wholly actual, it is not at its ultimate end. Now, our intellect is in potency in regard to all the forms of things to be known, and it is reduced to act when it knows any one of them. So, it will not be wholly in act, nor at its ultimate end, until it knows all things, at least all these material things. But man cannot achieve this through the speculative sciences, through which he knows truth in this life. Therefore, it is not possible for man’s ultimate felicity to be in this life.

[14] For these and like reasons, Alexander and Averroes claimed that man’s ultimate felicity does not consist in the human knowledge which comes through the speculative sciences, but through a connection with a separate substance, which they believed to be possible for man in this life. But, since Aristotle saw that there is no other knowledge for man in this life than through the speculative sciences, he maintained that man does not achieve perfect felicity, but only a limited kind.

[15] On this point there is abundant evidence of how even the brilliant minds of these men suffered from the narrowness of their viewpoint. From which narrow attitudes we shall be freed if we grant in accord with the foregoing proofs that man can reach true felicity after this life, when man’s soul is existing immortally; in which state the soul will understand in the way that separate substances understand, as we showed in Book Two [81] of this work.

[16] And so, man’s ultimate felicity will lie in the knowledge of God that the human mind has after this life, according to the way in which separate substances know Him. For which reason our Lord promises us “a reward in heaven” and says that the saints “shall be as the angels… who always see God in heaven,” as it is said (Matt- 5:12; 22:30; 18:10).

Chapter 49

THAT SEPARATE SUBSTANCES DO NOT SEE GOD IN HIS ESSENCE BY KNOWING HIM THROUGH THEIR ESSENCE

[1] Moreover, we must inquire whether this knowledge er whereby the separate substances and the soul after death know God, through their own essences, suffices for their ultimate felicity.

[2] The first thing to be done, in investigating the truth of this question, is to show that the divine essence is not known through such a type of knowledge.

[3] In fact, it is possible to know a cause from its effect, in many ways. One way is to take the effect as a means of finding out, concerning the cause, that it exists and that it is of a certain kind. This occurs in the sciences which demonstrate the cause through the effect. Another way is to see the cause in the effect itself, according as the likeness of the cause is reflected in the effect; thus a man may be seen in a mirror, by virtue of his likeness. And this way is different from the first. In fact, in the first way there are two cognitions, one of the effect and one of the cause, and one is the cause of the other; for the knowledge of the effect is the cause of the knowing of its cause. But in the second way there is one vision of both, since at the same time that the effect is seen the cause is also seen in it. A third way is such that the very likeness of the cause, in its effect, is the form by which the effect knows its own cause. For instance, suppose a box had an intellect, and so knew through its form the skilled mind from which such a form proceeded as a likeness of that mind. Now, it is not possible in any of these ways to know from the effect what the cause is, unless the effect be adequate to the cause, one in which the entire virtuality of the cause is expressed.

[4] Now, separate substances know God through their substances, as a cause is known through its effect; not, of course, in the first way, for then their knowledge would be discursive; but in the second way, according as one substance sees God in another; and also in the third way, according as any one of them sees God within itself. Now, none of them is an effect adequately representing the power of God, as we showed in Book Two [22ff]. So, it is impossible for them to see the divine essence itself by this kind of knowledge.

[5] Besides, the intelligible likeness through which a thing is understood in its substance must be of the same species or, rather, of an identical species; as the form of the house which exists in the mind of the artisan is of the same species as the form of the house which exists in matter, or, rather, the species are identical; for one is not going to understand what a donkey or a horse is through the species of a man. But the nature of a separate substance is not the same in species as the divine nature, not even the same in genus, as we showed in Book One [25]. Therefore, it is not possible for a separate substance, through its own nature, to understand the divine substance.

[6] Furthermore, every created thing is limited to some genus or species. But the divine essence is unlimited, comprehending within itself every perfection in the whole of existing being, as we showed in Book One [28, 43]. Therefore, it is impossible for the divine substance to be seen through any created being.

[7] Moreover, every intelligible species whereby the quiddity or essence of any thing is understood comprehends that thing while representing it; consequently, we call words signifying what such a thing is terms and definitions. But it is impossible for a created likeness to represent God in this way, since every created likeness belongs to a definite genus, while God does not, as we explained in Book One [25]. Therefore, it is not possible for the divine substance to be understood through a created likeness.

[8] Furthermore, divine substance is its own existing being, as we showed in Book One [22]. But the being of separate substance is other than its substance, as we proved in Book Two [52]. Therefore, the essence of a separate substance is not an adequate medium whereby God could be seen essentially.

[9] However a separate substance does know through its own substance that God is, and that He is the cause of all things, that He is eminent above all and set apart from all, not only from things which exist, but also from things which can be conceived by the created mind. Even we are able to reach this knowledge of God, in some sense; for we know through His effects, that God is, and that He is the cause of other beings, that He is supereminent over other things and set apart from all. And this is the ultimate and most perfect limit of our knowledge in this life, as Dionysius says in Mystical Theology. “We are united with God as the Unknown.” Indeed, this is the situation, for, while we know of God what He is not, what He is remains quite unknown. Hence, to manifest his ignorance of this sublime knowledge, it is said of Moses that “he went to the dark cloud wherein God was” (Exod. 20:21).

[10] Now, since a lower nature only touches with its highest part the lowest part of the next higher nature, this knowledge must be more eminent in separate substances than in us. This becomes evident in a detailed consideration. For, the more closely and definitely we know the effect of a cause, the more evident does it become that its cause exists. Now, separate substances, which know God through themselves, are nearer effects and more definite bearers of the likeness of God than the effects through which we know God. Therefore, the separate substances know more certainly and clearly than we that God is.

Again, since it is possible to come in some way to the proper knowledge of a thing by means of negations, as we said above, the more a person can know that a large number of closely related things are set apart from an object, the more does one approach toward a proper knowledge of it. For instance, one approaches closer to a proper knowledge of man when he knows that he is neither an inanimate, nor an insensitive, being than when one merely knows that he is not inanimate; even though neither of them makes it known what man is. Now, separate substances know more things than we do, and things that are closer to God; consequently, in their understanding, they set apart from God more things, and more intimately related things, than we do. So, they approach more closely to a proper knowledge of Him than we do, although even these substances do not see the divine substance by means of their understanding of themselves.

Also, the more one knows how a man is placed in authority over people in higher positions, the more does one know the high position of this man. Thus, though a rustic may know that the king occupies the highest office in the kingdom, since he is acquainted only with some of the lowest official positions in the kingdom with which he may have some business, he does not know the eminence of the king in the way that another man does who is acquainted with all the leading dignitaries of the kingdom and knows that the king holds authority over them; even though neither type of lower office comprehends the exalted position appropriate to the dignity of the king. Of course, we are in ignorance, except in regard to the lowest types of beings. So, although we may know that God is higher than all beings, we do not know the divine eminence as separate substances do, for the highest orders of beings are known to them, and they know that God is superior to all of them.

Finally, it is obvious that the more the large number, and great importance, of the effects of a cause become known, the more does the causality of the cause, and its power, become known. As a result, it becomes manifest that separate substances know the causality of God, and His power, better than we do; even though we know that He is the cause of all beings.

Chapter 50

THAT THE NATURAL DESIRE OF SEPARATE SUBSTANCES DOES NOT COME TO REST IN THE NATURAL KNOWLEDGE WHICH THEY HAVE OF GOD

[1] However, it is impossible for the natural desire in separate substances to come to rest in such a knowledge of God.

[2] For everything that is an imperfect member of any species desires to attain the perfection of its species. For instance, a man who has an opinion regarding something, that is, an imperfect knowledge of the thing, is thereby aroused to desire knowledge of the thing. Now, the aforementioned knowledge which the separate substances have of God, without knowing His substance, is an imperfect species of knowledge. In fact, we do not think that we know a thing if we do not know its substance. Hence, it is most important, in knowing a thing, to know what it is. Therefore, natural desire does not come to rest as a result of this knowledge which separate substances have of God; rather, it further arouses the desire to see the divine substance.

[3] Again, as a result of knowing the effects, the desire to know their cause is aroused; thus, men began to philosophize when they investigated the causes of things.” Therefore, the desire to know, which is naturally implanted in all intellectual substances, does not rest until, after they have come to know the substances of the effects, they also know the substance of the cause. The fact, then, that separate substances know that God is the cause of all things whose substances they see, does not mean that natural desire comes to rest in them, unless they also see the substance of God Himself.

[4] Besides, the problem of why something is so is related to the problem of whether it is so, in the same way that an inquiry as to what something is stands in regard to an inquiry as to whether it exists. For the question why looks for a means to demonstrate that something is so, for instance, that there is an eclipse of the moon; likewise, the question what is it seeks a means to demonstrate that something exists, according to the traditional teaching in Posterior Analytics II [1: 89b 22]. Now, we observe that those who see that something is so naturally desire to know why. So, too, those acquainted with the fact that something exists naturally desire to know what this thing is, and this is to understand its substance. Therefore, the natural desire to know does not rest in that knowledge of God whereby we know merely that He is.

[5] Furthermore, nothing finite can fully satisfy intellectual desire. This is shown from the fact that, whenever a finite object is presented, the intellect extends its interest to something more, so that, given any finite line, it strives to apprehend a longer one; and the same thing takes place in regard to numbers. This is the reason for infinite series in numbers and in mathematical lines. Now, the eminence and power of any created substance are finite. Therefore, the intellect of a separate substance does not come to rest simply because it knows created substances, however lofty they may be, but it still tends by natural desire toward the understanding of substance which is of infinite eminence, as we showed concerning divine substance in Book One [43].

[6] Moreover, just as the natural desire to know is present in all intellectual natures, so is there present in them the natural desire to put off ignorance and lack of knowledge. Now, the separate substances know, as we have said, by the aforesaid mode of knowledge, that the substance of God is above them and above everything understood by them; consequently, they know that the divine substance is unknown to them. Therefore, their natural desire tends toward the understanding of divine substance.

[7] Besides, the nearer a thing comes to its end, the greater is the desire by which it tends to the end; thus, we observe that the natural motion of bodies is increased toward the end. Now, the intellects of separate substances are nearer to the knowledge of God than our intellects are. So, they desire the knowledge of God more intensely than we do. But, no matter how fully we know that God exists, and the other things mentioned above, we do not cease our desire, but still desire to know Him through His essence. Much more, then, do the separate substances desire this naturally. Therefore, their desire does not come to rest in the aforesaid knowledge of God.,

[8] The conclusion from these considerations is that the ultimate felicity of separate substances does not lie in the knowledge of God, in which they know Him through their substances, for their desire still leads them on toward God’s substance.

[9] Also, quite apparent in this conclusion is the fact that ultimate felicity is to be sought in nothing other than an operation of the intellect, since no desire carries on to such sublime heights as the desire to understand the truth. Indeed, all our desires for pleasure, or other things of this sort that are craved by men, can be satisfied with other things, but the aforementioned desire does not rest until it reaches God, the highest point of reference for, and the maker of, things. This is why Wisdom appropriately states: “I dwelt in the highest places, and my throne is in a pillar of a cloud” (Sirach 24:7). And Proverbs (9:3) says that Wisdom “by her maids invites to the tower.” Let those men be ashamed, then, who seek man’s felicity in the most inferior things, when it is so highly situated.

Chapter 51

HOW GOD MAY BE SEEN IN HIS ESSENCE

[1] Since it is impossible for a natural desire to be incapable of fulfillment, and since it would be so, if it were not possible to reach an understanding of divine substance such as all minds naturally desire, we must say that it is possible for the substance of God to be seen intellectually, both by separate intellectual substances and by our souls.

[2] It is already sufficiently apparent from what we have said what should be the mode of this vision. For we showed above that the divine substance cannot be seen intellectually by means of any created species. Consequently, if the divine essence is seen, it must be done as His intellect sees the divine essence itself through itself, and in such a vision the divine essence must be both what is seen and that whereby it is seen.

[3] Now, since the created intellect cannot understand any substance unless it becomes actual by means of some species, which is the likeness of the thing understood, informing it, a person might consider it impossible for a created intellect to be able to see, by means of the divine essence serving as a sort of intelligible species, the very substance of God. For the divine essence is a certain being subsisting through itself, and we showed in Book One [26] that God cannot be a form for any other being.

[4] In order to understand the truth of this matter, we must consider that self-subsistent substance is either a form only, or a composite of matter and form. And a thing composed of matter and form cannot be the form of another being, because the form in it is already limited to this matter in such a way that it could not be the form of another thing. But a being which subsists in such a way that it is a form only can be the form of another, provided its being is such that it could be participated by that other thing, as we showed concerning the human soul, in Book Two [68]. However, if its being could not be participated by another, it could not be the form of any other thing, for then it would be determined within itself by its own being, just as material things are by their own matter.

Now, this should be observed as obtaining in the same way in the order of intelligible being as it does in substantial or physical being. For, since the perfection of the intellect is what is true, in the order of intelligible objects, that object which is a purely formal intelligible will be truth itself. And this characteristic applies only to God, for, since the true is consequent on being, that alone is its own truth which is its own being. But this is proper to God only, as we showed in Book Two [15]. So, other intelligible subsistents do not exist as pure forms in the order of intelligible beings, but as possessors of a form in some subject. In fact, each of them is a true thing but not truth, just as each is a being but not the very act of being.

So, it is manifest that the divine essence may be related to the created intellect as an intelligible species by which it understands, but this does not apply to the essence of any other separate substance. Yet, it cannot be the form of another thing in its natural being, for the result of this would be that, once joined to another thing, it would make up one nature. This could not be, since the divine essence is in itself perfect in its own nature. But an intelligible species,(united with an intellect, does not make up a nature; rather, it perfects the intellect for the act of understanding, and this is not incompatible with the perfection of the divine essence.

[5] This immediate vision of God is promised us in Scripture: “We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12). It is wrong to understand this in a corporeal way, picturing in our imagination a bodily face of the Divinity, since we have shown that God is incorporeal. Nor is it even possible for us to see God with our bodily face, for the power of corporeal vision, which is associated with our face, can only apply to corporeal things. Thus, then, shall we see God face to face, in the sense that we shall see Him without a medium, as is true when we see a man face to face.

[6] In this vision, of course, we become most like unto God, and we are partakers in His happiness. For God Himself understands His own substance through His own essence; and this is His felicity. Hence it is said: “When He shall appear, we shall be like to Him, because we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). And the Lord says “I dispose to you, as My Father has disposed to me… my table, that you may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom” (Luke 22:29-30). Of course, this can be understood not in reference to corporeal food or drink, but to Him who is received at the table of Wisdom, of whom Wisdom speaks: “Eat My bread and drink the wine which I have mingled for you” (Proverbs 9:5). And so, may they who enjoy the same felicity whereby God is happy eat and drink at God’s table, seeing Him in the way that lie sees Himself.

Chapter 52

THAT NO CREATED SUBSTANCE CAN, BY ITS OWN NATURAL POWER, ATTAIN THE VISION OF GOD IN HIS ESSENCE

[1] However, it is not possible for any created substance, by its own power, to be able to attain this manner of divine vision.

[2] Indeed, a lower nature cannot acquire that which is proper to a higher nature except through the action of the higher nature to which the property belongs. For instance, water cannot be hot except through the action of fire. Now, to see God through His divine essence is proper to the divine nature, for it is the special prerogative of any agent to perform its operation through its own form. So, no intellectual substance can see God through His divine essence unless God is the agent of this operation.

[3] Again, the form proper to any being does not come to be in another being unless the first being is the agent of this event, for an agent makes something like itself by communicating its form to another thing. Now, it is impossible to see the substance of God unless the divine essence itself is the form whereby the intellect understands, as we have proved. Therefore, it is not possible for a created substance to attain this vision, except through divine action.

[4] Besides, if any two factors are to be mutually united, so that one of them is formal and the other material, their union must be completed through action coming from the side of the formal factor, and not through the action of the one that is material. In fact, form is the principle of action, while matter is the principle of passion. For the created intellect to see God’s substance, then, the divine essence itself must be joined as an intelligible form to the intellect, as we have proved. Therefore, it is not possible for the attainment of this vision to be accomplished by a created intellect except through divine action.

[5] Furthermore, “that which is of itself is the cause of that which is through another being.” But the divine intellect sees the divine substance through itself, for the divine intellect is the divine essence itself whereby the substance of God is seen, as was proved in Book One [45]. However, the created intellect sees the divine substance through the essence of God, as through something other than itself. Therefore, this vision cannot come to the created intellect except through God’s action.

[6] Moreover, whatever exceeds the limitations of a nature cannot accrue to it except through the action of another being. For instance, water does not tend upward unless it is moved by something else. Now, seeing God’s substance transcends the limitations of every created nature; indeed, it is proper for each created intellectual nature to understand according to the manner of its own substance. But divine substance cannot be understood in this way, as we showed above. Therefore, the attainment by a created intellect to the vision of divine substance is not possible except through the action of God, Who transcends all creatures.

[7] Thus, it is said: “The grace of God is life everlasting” (Rom. 6:23). In fact, we have shown that man’s happiness, which is called life everlasting, consists in this divine vision, and we are said to attain it by God’s grace alone, because such a vision exceeds all the capacity of a creature and it is not possible to reach it without divine assistance. Now, when such things happen to a creature, they are attributed to God’s grace. And the Lord says: “I will manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).

Chapter 53

THAT THE CREATED INTELLECT NEEDS AN INFLUX OF DIVINE LIGHT IN ORDER TO SEE GOD THROUGH HIS ESSENCE

[1] For such a noble vision, the created intellect must be elevated by means of an influx of divine goodness.

[2] Indeed, it is not possible for what is the proper form of one thing to become the form of another unless the latter thing participates some likeness of the thing to which the form belongs. For instance, light can only become the act of a body if the body participates somewhat in the diaphanous. But the divine essence is the proper intelligible form for the divine intellect and is proportioned to it; in fact, these three are one in God: the intellect, that whereby understanding is accomplished, and the object which is understood. So, it is impossible for this essence to become the intelligible form of a created intellect unless by virtue of the fact that the created intellect participates in the divine likeness. Therefore, this participation in the divine likeness is necessary so that the substance of God may be seen.

[3] Again, nothing is receptive of a more sublime form unless it be elevated by means of a disposition to the capacity for this form, for a proper act is produced in a proper potency. Now, the divine essence is a higher form than any created intellect. So, in order that the divine essence may become the intelligible species for a created intellect, which is needed in order that the divine substance may be seen, it is necessary for the created intellect to be elevated for this purpose by a more sublime disposition.

[4] Besides, suppose that two things are not united at first, and then later they are united; this must be done by changing both of them, or at least one. Now, suppose that a created intellect starts for the first time to see God’s substance; then, necessarily, according to the preceding arguments, the divine essence must be united with it for the first time as an intelligible species. Of course, it is not possible for the divine essence to be changed, as we showed above. So, this union must start to exist by means of a change in the created intellect. In fact, this change can only come about by means of the created intellect acquiring some new disposition.

Indeed, the same conclusion follows if it be granted that a created intellect is endowed with such a vision from the start of its creation. For, if this vision exceeds the capacity of a created nature, as we have proved, then any created intellect may be understood to enjoy complete existence in the species proper to its nature, without seeing the substance of God. Hence, whether it begins to see God at the start of its existence, or later, something must be added to its nature.

[5] Furthermore, nothing can be elevated to a higher operation unless because its power is strengthened. But there are two possible ways in which a thing’s power may be strengthened. One way is by a simple intensification of the power itself; thus, the active power of a hot thing is increased by an intensification of the heat, so that it is able to perform a stronger action of the same species. A second way is by the imposition of a new form; thus, the power of a diaphanous object is increased so that it can shine with light, by virtue of its becoming actually luminous, through the form of light received for the first time within it. And in fact, this latter kind of increase of power is needed for the acquisition of an operation of another species. Now, the power of a created intellect is not sufficient to see the divine substance, as is clear from what we have said. So, its power must be increased in order that it may attain such a vision. But the increase through the intensification of a natural power does not suffice, since this vision is not of the same essential type as the vision proper to a natural created intellect. This is evident from the difference between the objects of these visions. Therefore, an increase of the intellectual power by means of the acquisition of a new disposition must be accomplished.

[6] However, since we reach the knowledge of intelligible things from sensible things, we also take over the names proper to sense knowledge for intellectual knowledge, especially the ones which apply to sight, which, compared to the other senses, is more noble and more spiritual, and so more closely related to the intellect. Thus it is that this intellectual knowledge is called vision. And since corporeal vision is not accomplished without light, those things whereby intellectual vision is perfected take on the name fight. Hence, even Aristotle, in Book III of On the Soul [5: 430a 15], likens the agent intellect to light, because of the fact that the agent intellect makes things actually intelligible, just as light in a way makes things actually visible. Therefore, this disposition whereby the created intellect is raised to the intellectual vision of divine substance is fittingly called the light of glory; not because it makes some object actually intelligible, as does the light of the agent intellect, but because it makes the intellect actually powerful enough to understand.

[7] Now, this is the light of which it is said in the Psalms (35:10): “In Thy light we shall see the light,” that is, of the divine substance. And it is said in the Apocalypse (22:5; see also 21:23): “The city,” that is, of the Blessed, “bath no need of the sun, nor of the moon… for the glory of God bath enlightened it.” And it is said in Isaiah (60:19): “You shall no more have the sun for your light by day, neither shall the brightness of the moon enlighten you; but the Lord shall be an everlasting light for you, and your God for your glory.”—It is also so, because in God to be and to understand is the same thing; and because He is for all the cause of understanding, He is said to be the light (John 1:9): “That was the true light which enlightened every man that comes into this world” (John 1:9); and: “God is light” (1 John 1:5); and in the Psalms (103:7): “You… are clothed with light as with a garment.”And for this reason also, both God and the angels are described in Sacred Scripture in figures of fire (Exod. 24:17; Acts 2:3; Ps- 103:4), because of the brilliance of fire.

Chapter 54

ARGUMENTS BY WHICH IT SEEMS TO BE PROVED THAT GOD CANNOT BE SEEN IN HIS ESSENCE, AND THE ANSWERS TO THEM

[1] Now, someone will object against the preceding statements. No light that is added to the power of vision can elevate this power to a vision of things which exceed the capacity of bodily sight, for the power of sight is able to see colored objects only. But divine substance exceeds all the capacity of a created intellect, even more than understanding exceeds the capacity of sense. Therefore, the created intellect could not be elevated by any adventitious light so as to see the divine substance.

[2] Again, the light which is received in a created intellect is something created. And so, it is infinitely removed from God. Therefore, the created intellect cannot be elevated to the vision of the divine substance by this kind of light.

[3] Besides, if the aforesaid light can in fact do this because it is a likeness of the divine substance, then since every intellectual substance, by the fact of being intellectual, bears the divine likeness, the very nature of any intellectual substance whatever is adequate to the divine vision.

[4] Furthermore, if this light is created, then nothing prevents it from being created connatural with some creature; hence, there could be a created intellect which, by its own connatural light, would see the divine substance. The contrary of this has been proved.

[5] Moreover, “the infinite as such is unknown.” Now, we have shown in Book One [43] that God is infinite. Therefore, the divine substance cannot be seen by means of the aforesaid light.

[6] Again, there must be a proportion between the understander and the thing understood. But there is no proportion between the created intellect, even when perfected by this light, and the divine substance, because their distance apart still remains infinite. Therefore, the created intellect cannot be elevated to the vision of the divine substance by any light.

[7] For these and similar reasons some men have been moved to assert that the divine substance is never seen by any created intellect. Of course, this position both takes away true happiness from the rational creature, for it can consist in nothing other than a vision of divine substance, as we have shown; and it also contradicts the text of Sacred Scripture, as is evident from the preceding texts. Consequently, it is to be spurned as false and heretical.

[8] Indeed, it is not difficult to answer these arguments. The divine substance is not beyond the capacity of the created intellect in such a way that it is altogether foreign to it, as sound is from the object of vision, or as immaterial substance is from sense power; in fact, the divine substance is the first intelligible object and the principle of all intellectual cognition. But it is beyond the capacity of the created intellect, in the sense that it exceeds its power; just as sensible objects of extreme character are beyond the capacity of sense power. Hence, the Philosopher says that “our intellect is to the most evident things, as the eye of the owl is to the light of the sun.” So, a created intellect needs to be strengthened by a divine light in order that it may be able to see the divine essence. By this, the first argument is answered.

[9] Moreover, this sort of light raises the created intellect to the vision of God, not on the basis of a diminution of its distance from the divine substance, but by virtue of a power which it receives from -God in relation to such an effect; even though it remains far away from God in its being, as the second argument suggested. In fact, this light does not unite the created intellect with God in the act of being but only in the act of understanding.

[10] Since, however, it is proper to God Himself to know His own substance perfectly, the aforesaid light is a likeness of God, inasmuch as it conduces to the seeing of God’s substance. But no intellectual substance can be a likeness of God in this sense. For, since the divine simplicity is not equaled by any created substance, it is not possible for a created substance to have its entire perfection in the same identity; indeed, this is proper to God, as we showed in Book One [28], for He is being, understanding and blessed, identically. So, in a created intellectual substance, the light whereby it is beatified in the divine vision is one thing, while the light whereby it is in any sense perfected within its natural species, and whereby it understands in a manner proportioned to its substance, is quite a different thing. From this the answer to the third argument is evident.

[11] Now, the fourth is answered by the fact that the vision of the divine substance exceeds every natural power, as we have shown. Hence, the light whereby the created intellect is perfected for the vision of the divine substance must be supernatural.

[12] Nor does the fact that God is called infinite hinder the vision of the divine substance, as the fifth argument suggested. For, He is not called infinite in the privative sense, as quantity is. This latter kind of infinity is rationally unknown, because it is like matter devoid of form, which is the principle of knowledge. Rather, He is called infinite in the negative sense, like a self-subsistent form, not limited by matter receiving it. Hence, a being which is infinite in this sense is most knowable in itself.

[13] Now, the proportion of the created intellect to the understanding of God is not, in fact, based on a commensuration in an existing proportion, but on the fact that proportion means any relation of one thing to another, as of matter to form, or of cause to effect. In this sense, then, nothing prevents there being a proportion of creature to God on the basis of a relation of one who understands to the thing understood, just as on the basis of the relation of effect to cause. Hence the answer to the sixth objection is clear.

Chapter 55

THAT THE CREATED INTELLECT DOES NOT COMPREHEND THE DIVINE SUBSTANCE

[1] However, since the type of action appropriate to any agent depends on the efficacy of its active principle, and thus a thing whose heat is stronger performs the act of heating more intensely, then it must be that the manner of knowing depends on the efficacy of the principle of the act of knowing.

[2] Now, the aforementioned light is a certain principle of divine knowledge, because the created intellect is elevated by it to the seeing of the divine substance. Therefore, the mode of the divine vision must be commensurate with the power of this light. Of course, the aforementioned light, in its power, falls far short of the clarity of the divine intellect. So, it is impossible for the divine substance to be seen as perfectly by means of this kind of light, as it is seen by the divine intellect itself. Indeed, the divine intellect sees its substance as perfectly as its perfect capacity to be seen permits. In fact, the truth of the divine substance and the clarity of the divine intellect are equal, or, better, they are but one. So, it is impossible for a created intellect, by means of the aforesaid light, to see the divine substance as perfectly as its perfect capacity to be seen permits. Now, everything that is comprehended by a knower is known by him in as perfect a way as the knowable object permits. For instance, a person who knows that a triangle has three angles equal to two right angles, but merely as a matter of opinion on the basis of probable reasoning, since it is said to be so by wise men, does not yet comprehend it; but only the man who knows this as a definite knowable object, by means of whatever is its cause. It is impossible, then, for the created intellect to comprehend the divine substance.

[3] Again, a finite power in its operation cannot be on a par with an infinite object. But the divine substance is something infinite in relation to every created intellect, since every created intellect is limited under a definite species. So, it is impossible for any created intellect’s vision to be equal to the seeing of the divine substance; that is to say, to seeing it as perfectly as its capacity to be seen permits. Therefore, no created intellect may comprehend it.

[4] Besides, every agent acts perfectly to the extent that it participates in the form which is the principle of its operation. Now, the intelligible form, by which the divine substance is seen, is the divine essence itself, and, though it becomes the intelligible form of the created intellect, the created intellect does not grasp it according to its entire capacity. So, it does not see it as perfectly as its capacity to be seen permits. Therefore, it is not comprehended by the created intellect.

[5] Furthermore, no object of comprehension exceeds the limitations of the one who comprehends. Thus, if the created intellect were to comprehend the divine substance, the divine substance would not exceed the limits of the created intellect. But this is impossible. Therefore, it is not possible for a created intellect to comprehend the divine substance.

[6] Now, this statement that the divine substance is seen by the created intellect, yet not comprehended, does not mean that part of it is seen and part not seen, because the divine substance is entirely simple. Rather, it means that it is not seen as perfectly by the created intellect as its visibility would permit. In the same way, a man who has an opinion regarding a demonstrative conclusion is said to know it but not to comprehend it, since handdoes not know it perfectly, that is, in a scientific way, though there is no part of it that he does not know.

Chapter 56

THAT NO CREATED INTELLECT WHILE SEEING GOD SEES ALL THAT CAN BE SEEN IN HIM

[1] It is evident from this that, though the created intellect may see the divine substance, it does not know all that can be known through the divine substance.

[2] For it is only in the case of the principle being comprehended by the intellect that, once the principle is known, all its effects are of necessity known through it. Indeed, in that case, when all its effects are known from itself, a principle is known in its entire capacity. Now, other things are known through the divine essence, as the effect is known from its cause. But, since the created intellect cannot know the divine substance in such a way that it comprehends it, the intellect does not have to see all things that can be known through this substance, when it sees it.

[3] Again, the higher the nature of an intellect, the more does it know: either in the sense of a multitude of things, or even in the sense of a greater number of reasons for the same things. But the divine intellect surpasses every created intellect. So, it knows more than any created intellect does, and it does not know anything without seeing its essence, as we showed in Book One [49]. Therefore, more things are knowable through the divine essence than any created intellect can see, through the aforesaid essence.

[4] Besides, the quantity of a power depends on the things that it can do. So, it is the same to know all the things that a power can do and to comprehend the power itself. But, since the divine power is infinite, no created intellect can comprehend it, just as its essence cannot be comprehended, as we have proved. Nor can the created intellect know all that the divine power can do. But all things that the divine power can do are knowable through the divine essence, for God knows all and in no other way than through His essence. Therefore, the created intellect, seeing the divine substance, does not see all that can be seen in God’s substance.

[5] Moreover, no cognoscitive power knows a thing except under the rational character of its proper object. For instance, we do not know anything by sight except according as it is colored. Now, the proper object of the intellect is that which is, that is, the substance of a thing, as is stated in Book III of On the Soul [4: 429b 10]. Therefore, whatever the intellect knows about any thing, it knows through knowing the substance of the thing. Consequently, in any demonstration through which the proper accidents become known to us, we take as our principle that which is, as is stated in Posterior Analytics I [4: 73a 37]. Now, if the intellect knows the substance of a thing through its accidents, in accordance with what is said in Book I of On the Soul [1: 402b 21], that “the accidents contribute a good deal to the knowing of that which is,” this is accidental, inasmuch as the intellect must attain to substance through the knowledge of sensible accidents. For this reason, this procedure has no place in mathematics, but only in the area of physical things. Therefore, whatever is in a thing and cannot be known through a knowledge of its substance must be unknown to the intellect.

However, what a volitional agent wills cannot be known through a knowledge of his substance, for the will does not incline to its object in a purely natural way; this is why the will and nature are said to be two active principles. So, an intellect cannot know what a volitional agent wills except, perhaps, through certain effects. For instance, when we see someone acting voluntarily we may know what he wishes: either through their cause, as God knows our will acts, just as He does His other effects, because He is for us a cause of our willing; or by means of one person indicating his wish to another, as when a man expresses his feeling in speech. And so, since many things are dependent on the simple will of God, as is partly clear from earlier considerations, and will later be more evident, though the created intellect may see God’s, substance, it does not know all that God sees through His substance.

[6] Of course, someone can object against the foregoing that God’s substance is something greater than all the things which He can make, or understand, or will, apart from Himself; hence, if the created intellect can see God’s substance, it is much more possible for it to know all things which God understands, or wills, or makes, except for Himself.

[7] But, if it is carefully considered, the fact that something is known in itself does not have the same meaning as that it is known in its cause. For some things easily known in themselves are not, however, easily known in their causes. So, it is true that it is a greater thing to understand the divine substance than anything whatever other than that substance which might be known in itself. However, to know the divine substance and to see its effects in it is a more perfect knowledge than to know the divine substance without seeing the effects in it. And this seeing of the divine substance can be done without comprehension of it. But for all things which can be understood through it to be known is something which cannot happen without comprehending this substance, as is evident from what we have said.

Chapter 57

THAT EVERY INTELLECT, WHATEVER ITS LEVEL, CAN BE A PARTICIPANT IN THE DIVINE VISION

[1] Since the created intellect is exalted to the vision of the divine substance by a certain supernatural light, as is evident from what has been said, there is no created intellect so low in its nature that it cannot be elevated to this vision.

[2] It has been shown, in fact, that this light cannot be connatural with any creature, but, that it surpasses every created nature in its power. But what is done by supernatural power is not hindered by a diversity of nature, since divine power is infinite. And so, in the case of the healing of an afflicted person, accomplished miraculously, it makes no difference whether the person is much or little afflicted. Therefore, the varying level of the intellectual nature does not hinder the lowest member of such a nature from being able to be brought to this vision by the aforementioned light.

[3] Again, the gap between the intellect, at its highest natural level, and God is infinite in perfection and goodness. But the distance from the highest to the lowest intellect is finite, for there cannot be an infinite distance between one finite being and another. So, the distance which lies between the lowest created intellect and the highest one is like nothing in comparison to the gap which lies between the highest created intellect and God. Now, that which is practically nothing cannot make a noticeable difference; thus, the distance between the center of the earth and our level of vision is like nothing in comparison with the distance that lies between our eye level and the eighth sphere, in regard to which sphere the whole earth takes the place of a point; this is why no noticeable variation results from the fact that astronomers in their demonstrations use our eye level of sight as the center of the earth. Therefore, it makes no difference what level of intellect it is that is elevated to the vision of God by the aforementioned light: it may be the highest, the lowest, or one in the middle.

[4] Besides, it was proved above that every intellect naturally desires the vision of the divine substance, but natural desire cannot be incapable of fulfillment. Therefore, any created intellect whatever can attain to the vision of the divine substance, and the inferiority of its nature is no impediment.

[5] Hence it is that the Lord promises men the glory of the angels: “They shall be,” He says, speaking of men, “like the angels of God in heaven” (Matt. 22:30). And also it is said that there is “the same measure for man and for angel” (Apoc. 21:3-7). For this reason, too, almost everywhere in Sacred Scripture angels are described in the shape of men: either wholly, as is evident of the angels who appeared to Abraham in the likeness of men (Gen. 18:2); or partially, as is the case of the animals of whom it is said that “they had the hands of a man under their wings” (Ez. 1:8).

[6] By this conclusion we refute the error of those who have said that the human soul, no matter how much it be elevated, cannot attain equality with the higher intellects.

Chapter 58

THAT ONE BEING IS ABLE TO SEE GOD MORE PERFECTLY THAN ANOTHER

[1] Since the mode of operation results from the form which is the principle of operation, and since the principle of the vision in which the created intellect sees the divine substance is the aforementioned light, as is clear from what we have said, the mode of the divine vision must be in accord with the mode of this light. Now, it is possible for there to be different degrees of participation in this light, and so one intellect may be more perfectly illuminated than another. Therefore, it is possible that one of those who see God may see Him more perfectly than another, even though both see His substance.

[2] Again, whenever there is a highest member which surpasses others in a genus, we also find that there are degrees of more and less, depending on the greater proximity to, or distance from, this highest member. For instance, certain things are more or less hot depending on whether they are more or less near to fire, which is the highest type of hot thing. But God sees His own substance most perfectly, being the only One Who comprehends it, as we showed above. And so, of those who see Him, one may see His substance more or less than another, depending on whether one is more or less near to Him.

[3] Besides, the light of glory elevates to the divine vision due to the fact that it is a certain likeness of the divine intellect, as we have already stated. Now, it is possible for a thing to become more or less like God. Therefore, it is possible for one to see the divine substance more or less perfectly.

[4] Furthermore, because the end is related in a proportional way to the things which are directed to the end, these things must participate in the end differently, depending on the different ways in which they are disposed toward the end. But the vision of the divine substance is the ultimate end of every intellectual substance, as is clear from what we have said. Now, not all intellectual substances are disposed with equal perfection to the end; some, in fact, are more virtuous and others less, and virtue is the road to felicity. So, there must be diversity within the divine vision: some seeing the divine substance more perfectly; others, less perfectly.

[5] Thus it is that, in order to indicate the variation in this felicity, the Lord says: “In My Father’s house there are many mansions” (John 14:2).

[6] On this basis, then, the error of those who say that all rewards are equal is refuted.

[7] Moreover, just as the different degrees of glory among the blessed are evident from the mode of this vision, so from the side of the object that is seen the glory appears to be the same, for the felicity of each person is due to his seeing God’s substance, as we proved. Therefore, it is the same being that makes all blessed; yet they do not all grasp happiness therefrom in equal degree.

[8] Hence, there is no contradiction between the foregoing and what our Lord teaches (Matt. 20:10), that to all who labor in the vineyard, though they may not do equal work, there is paid nevertheless the same reward, namely, a penny, because it is the same reward that is given to all, to be seen and enjoyed, namely, God.

[9] On this point we must also take into consideration the fact that the order of corporeal movements is somewhat contrary to that of spiritual movements. For there is numerically the same first subject for all corporeal motions, but the ends are different. While there are, on the other hand, different first subjects for spiritual movements, that is to say, for acts of intellectual apprehension and of willing, their end is, however, numerically the same.

Chapter 59

HOW THOSE WHO SEE THE DIVINE SUBSTANCE MAY SEE ALL THINGS

[1] Since the vision of the divine substance is the ultimate end of every intellectual substance, as is evident from what we have said, and since the natural appetite of everything comes to rest when the thing reaches its ultimate end, the natural appetite of an intellectual substance must come to rest completely when it sees the divine substance. Now, the natural appetite of the intellect is to know the genera and species and powers of all things, and the whole order of the universe; human investigation of each of the aforementioned items indicates this. Therefore, each one who sees the divine substance knows all the things mentioned above.

[2] Again, the intellect and the senses differ on this point as is clear from Book III of On the Soul [4: 429a 14], the power to sense is destroyed, or weakened, by the more striking sense objects, so that later it is unable to perceive weaker objects; but the intellect, not being corrupted or hindered by its object but only perfected, after understanding a greater object of the intellect, is not less able to understand other intelligibles but more able. Now, the highest object in the genus of intelligible objects is the divine substance. So, the intellect which is elevated by divine light in order to see God’s substance is much more perfected by this same light, so that it may understand all other objects which exist in the nature of things.

[3] Besides, intelligible being is not of lesser scope than natural being, but perhaps it is more extensive; indeed, intellect is from its origin capable of understanding all things existing in reality, and it also understands things that have no natural being, such as negations and privations. So, whatever things are needed for the perfection of natural being are also needed for the perfection of intelligible being, and even more. But the perfection of intelligible being is present when the intellect reaches its ultimate end, just as the perfection of natural being consists in the very establishment of things in actual being. Therefore, God shows the intellect that is seeing Him all the things which He has produced for the perfection of the universe.

[4] Moreover, although one of the intellects seeing God may see Him more perfectly than another, as we have shown, each one sees Him so perfectly that its whole natural capacity is fulfilled. Or, rather, this vision exceeds all natural capacity, as we have shown. So, each one seeing the divine substance knows in this divine substance all the things to which its natural capacity extends. But the natural capacity of every intellect extends to the knowing of all genera and species and orders of things. Therefore, each one who sees God will know these things in the divine substance.

[5] Hence it is that the Lord replies to Moses, when he asks for the vision of the divine substance: “I will show thee all good” (Exod, 33:19). And Gregory says: “What do they not know, who know Him Who knows all things?”

[6] Moreover, if the foregoing statements are carefully considered, it becomes clear that, in a way, those who see the divine substance do see all things; whereas, in another way, they do not. Indeed, if the word all means whatever things pertain to the perfection of the universe, it is obvious from what has been said that those who see the divine substance do see all things, as the arguments that have just been advanced show. For, since the intellect is in some way all things, whatever things belong to the perfection of nature belong also in their entirety to the perfection of intelligible being. For this reason, according to Augustine’s Literal Commentary on Genesis, whatever things have been made by the Word of God to subsist in their proper nature have also come to be in the angelic understanding, so that they might be understood by the angels. Now, within the perfection of natural being belong the nature of species and their properties and powers, for the inclination of nature is drawn to the natures of species, since individuals are for the sake of the species. So, it is pertinent to the perfection of intellectual substance to know the natures of all species and their powers and proper accidents. Therefore, this will be obtained in the final beatitude through the vision of the divine essence. Moreover, through the cognition of natural species the individuals existing under these species are known by the intellect that sees God, as can be made evident from what has been said above on the knowledge appropriate to God and the angels.

[7] However, if the term all means all the things that God knows in seeing His own essence, then no created intellect sees all things in God’s substance, as we have showed above.

[8] But this can be considered under several points. First, in regard to those things which God can make but has not made, nor will ever make. Indeed, all things of this kind cannot be known unless His power is comprehended, and this is not possible for any intellectual creature, as we showed above. Hence, the statement in Job 11 [7ff]: “Do you think you can understand the steps of God, and find out the Almighty perfectly? He is higher than heaven, and what will you do? He is deeper than hell, and how will you know? His measure is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.” Indeed, these things are not said as though God were great in quantitative dimensions, but because His power is not limited to all things which are seen to be great, for, on the contrary, He can make even greater things.

[9] Secondly, let us consider it in regard to the reasons for the things that have been made: the intellect cannot know all of these unless it comprehend the divine goodness. For, the reason for everything that has been made is derived from the end which its maker intended. But the end of all things made by God is divine goodness. Therefore, the reason for the things that have been made is so that the divine goodness might be diffused among things. And so, one would know all the reasons for things created if he knew all the goods which could come about in created things in accord with the order of divine wisdom. This would be to comprehend divine goodness And wisdom, something no created intellect can do. Hence it is said: “I understand that man can find no reason of all those works of God” (Eccle. 8:17).

[10] Thirdly, we may consider the point in regard to those things which depend on the will of God alone: for instance, predestination, election, justification, and other similar things which pertain to the sanctification of the creature. On this matter, it is said: “No man knows the things of a man, but the spirit of man that is in him. So the things also that are of God, no man knows, but the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:11).

Chapter 60

THAT THOSE WHO SEE GOD SEE ALL THINGS IN HIM AT ONCE

[1] Now that we have shown that the created intellect, seeing the divine substance, understands all the species of things in God’s very substance, and that whatever things are seen by one species must be seen at once and by one vision, since a vision corresponds to the principle of the vision, it necessarily follows that the intellect which sees the divine substance contemplates all things at once and not in succession.

[2] Again, the highest and perfect felicity of intellectual nature consists in the vision of God, as we showed above. But felicity is not a matter of habit but of act, since it is the ultimate perfection and the ultimate end. So, of the things that are seen through the vision of the divine substance, whereby we are made blessed, all are seen actually. Therefore, one is not first and then another later.

[3] Besides, when each thing reaches its ultimate end it rests, for all motion is in order to attain an end. Now, the ultimate end of the intellect is the vision of the divine substance as we showed above. So, the intellect seeing the divine substance is not moved from one intelligible object to another. Therefore, it considers actually at once all the things that it knows through this vision.

[4] Moreover, the intellect knows all the species of things in the divine substance, as is clear from what has been said. Now in some genera there are infinite species, for example, of numbers, figures, and proportions. So, the intellect sees an infinity of things in the divine substance. But it could not see all of these unless it saw them at once, for it is impossible to pass through an infinity of things. Therefore, all that the intellect sees in the divine substance must be seen at once.

[5] Hence, what Augustine says, in Book XV of The Trinity: “Our thoughts will not then be fleeting, going to and fro from some things to others, but we shall see all our knowledge in one single glance.”

Chapter 61.

THAT THROUGH THE VISION OF GOD ONE BECOMES A PARTAKER OF ETERNAL LIFE

[1] From this consideration it is apparent that the created intellect becomes a partaker in the eternal life through this vision.

[2] For, eternity differs from time in this way: time has its being in a sort of succession, whereas the being of eternity is entirely simultaneous. But we have shown that there is no succession in the aforesaid vision; instead, all things that are seen through it are seen at once, and in one view. So, this vision is perfected in a sort of participation in eternity. Moreover, this vision is a kind of life, for the action of the intellect is a kind of life. Therefore, the created intellect becomes a partaker in eternal life through this vision.

[3] Again, acts are specified by their objects. But the object of the aforementioned vision is the divine substance in itself, and not in a created likeness of it, as we showed above. Now, the being of the divine substance is in eternity, or, rather, is eternity itself. Therefore, this vision also consists in a participation in eternity.

[4] Besides, if a given action is done in time, this will be either because the principle of the action is in time-in this sense the actions of temporal things are temporal; or because of the terminus of the operation, as in the case of spiritual substances which are above time but perform their actions on things subject to time. Now, the aforementioned vision is not in time by virtue of what is seen, for this is the eternal substance; nor by virtue of that whereby the seeing is accomplished, for this also is the eternal substance; nor even by virtue of the agent who sees, that is the intellect, whose being does not come under time, since it is incorruptible, as we proved above. Therefore, this vision consists in a participation in eternity, as completely transcending time.

[5] Furthermore, the intellective soul is created “on the border line between eternity and time,” as is stated in the Book on Causes, and as can be shown from our earlier statements. In fact, it is the lowest in the order of intellects, yet its substance is raised above corporeal matter, not depending on it. But its action, as joined to lower things which exist in time, is temporal. Therefore, its action, as joined to higher things which exist above time, participates in eternity. Especially so is the vision by which it sees the divine substance. And so, by this kind of vision it comes into the participation of eternity; and for the same reason, so does any other created intellect that sees God.

[6] Hence, the Lord says: “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God” (John 17:3).

Chapter 62

THAT THOSE WHO SEE GOD WILL SEE HIM PERPETUALLY

[1] Now, it is clear from this that those who obtain ultimate felicity as a result of the divine vision never depart from it.

[2] For, “everything which at one time exists, and at another does not, is measured by time,” as is clear in Physics IV [12: 221b 28]. But the aforementioned vision, which makes intellectual creatures happy, is not in time but in eternity. So, it is impossible for a person to lose it, once he has become a partaker in it.

[3] Again, the intellectual creature does not reach his ultimate end until his natural desire comes to rest. But, just as one naturally desires felicity, so also does he naturally desire everlasting felicity; for, since he is everlasting in his substance, he desires to possess forever that object which is desired for its own sake and not because of something else. Therefore, his felicity would not be the ultimate end unless it endured perpetually.

[4] Besides, everything that is possessed with love may cause sorrow, provided it be recognized that such a thing may be lost. But the aforesaid vision which makes men happy is especially loved by its possessors, since it is the most lovable and desirable of objects. Therefore, it would not be possible for them to avoid sorrow if they knew that they would lose it at some time. Now, if it were not perpetual, they would know this, for we have shown already, that, while seeing the divine substance, they also know other things that are naturally so. Hence, they certainly know what kind of vision it is, whether perpetual or to stop at some future time. So, this vision would not be theirs without sorrow. And thus it will not be true felicity which should be made free from all evil, as we showed above.

[5] Moreover, that which is naturally moved toward something, as to the end of its motion, may not be removed from it without violence, as in the case of a weight when it is thrown upward. But from what we have said, it is obvious that every intellectual substance tends by natural desire toward that vision. So, it cannot fail to continue that vision, unless because of violence. But nothing is taken away from a thing by violence unless the power removing it is greater than the power which causes it. Now, the cause of the divine vision is God, as we proved above. Therefore, since no power surpasses the divine power, it is impossible for this vision to be taken away by violence. Hence, it will endure forever.

[6] Furthermore, if a person ceases to see what he formerly saw, this cessation will be either because the power of sight fails him, as when one dies or goes blind, or because handis impeded in some other way, or it will be because he does not wish to see any longer, as when a man turns away his glance from a thing that he formerly saw, or because the object is taken away. And this is true in general whether we are talking about sensory or intellectual vision. Now, in regard to the intellectual substance that sees God there cannot be a failure of the ability to see God: either because it might cease to exist, for it exists in perpetuity, as we showed above, or because of a failure of the light whereby it sees God, since the light is received incorruptibly both in regard to the condition of the receiver and of the giver. Nor can it lack the will to enjoy such a vision, because it perceives that its ultimate felicity lies in this vision, just as it cannot fail to will to be happy. Nor, indeed, may it cease to see because of a removal of the object, for the object, which is God, is always existing in the same way; nor is He far removed from us, unless by virtue of our removal from Him. So, it is impossible for the vision of God, which makes men happy, ever to fail.

[7] Again, it is impossible for a person to will to abandon a good which he is enjoying, unless because of some evil which he perceives in the enjoyment of that good; even if it be simply that it is thought to stand in the way of a greater good. For, just as the appetite desires nothing except under the rational character of a good, so does it shun nothing except under the character of an evil But there can be no evil in the enjoyment of this vision, because it is the best to which the intellectual creature can attain. Nor, in fact, can it be that he who is enjoying this vision might think that there is some evil in it, or that there is something better than it. For the vision of the highest Truth excludes all falsity. Therefore, it is impossible for the intellectual substance that sees God ever to will to be without that vision.

[8] Besides, dislike of an object which one formerly enjoyed with delight occurs because this thing produces some kind of real change, destroying or weakening one’s power. And this is why the sense powers, subject to fatigue in their actions because of the changing of the bodily organs by sense objects, are corrupted, even by the best of such objects. Indeed, after a period of enjoyment, they grow to dislike what they formerly perceived with delight. And for this reason we even suffer boredom in the use of our intellect, after a long or strenuous meditation, because our powers that make use of the bodily organs become tired, and intellectual thinking cannot be accomplished without these. But the divine substance does not corrupt; rather, it greatly perfects the intellect. Nor does any act exercised through bodily organs accompany this vision. Therefore, it is impossible for anyone who at one time took joy in the delight of this vision to grow weary of it.

[9] Furthermore, nothing that is contemplated with wonder can be tiresome, since as long as the thing remains in wonder it continues to stimulate desire. But the divine substance is always viewed with wonder by any created intellect, since no created intellect comprehends it. So, it is impossible for an intellectual substance to become tired of this vision. And thus, it cannot, of its own will, desist from this vision.

[10] Moreover, if any two things were formerly united and later come to be separated, this must be due to a change in one of them. For, just as a relation does not come into being for the first time without a change in one of the things related, so also it does not cease to be without a new change in one of them. Now, the created intellect sees God by virtue of being united to Him in some way, as is clear from what we have said. So, if this vision were to cease, bringing this union to an end, it would have to be done by a change in the divine substance, or in the intellect of the one who sees it. Both of these changes are impossible: for the divine substance is immutable, as we showed in Book One [13], and, also, the intellectual substance is raised above all change when it sees God’s substance. Therefore, it is impossible for anyone to depart from the felicity in which he sees God’s substance.

[11] Besides, the nearer a thing is to God, Who is entirely immutable, the less mutable is it and the more lasting. Consequently, certain bodies, because “they are far removed from God,” as is stated in On Generation II [10: 336b 30], cannot endure forever. But no creature can come closer to God than the one who sees His substance. So, the intellectual creature that sees God’s substance attains the highest immutability. Therefore, it is not possible for it ever to lapse from this vision.

[12] Hence it is said in the Psalm (83:5): “Blessed are they who dwell in Your house, O Lord: they shall praise You for ever and ever.” And in another text: “He shall not be moved for ever that dwells in Jerusalem” (Ps. 124: 1) And again: “Your eyes shall see Jerusalem, a rich habitation, a tabernacle that cannot be removed; neither shall the nails thereof be taken away for ever; neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken, because only there our Lord is magnificent” (Is. 33:20-21). And again: “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God: and he shall go out no more” (Rev. 3:12)

[13] By these considerations, then, the error of the Platonists is refuted, for they said that separated souls, after having attained ultimate felicity, would begin to desire to return to their bodies, and having brought to an end the felicity of that life they would again become enmeshed in the troubles of this life; and also the error of Origen, who said that souls and angels, after beatitude, could again return to unhappiness.

Chapter 63

HOW MAN’S EVERY DESIRE IS FULFILLED IN THAT ULTIMATE FELICITY

[1] From the foregoing it is quite apparent that, in the felicity that comes from the divine vision, every human desire is fulfilled, according to the text of the Psalm (10-2:5): “Who satisfies your desire with good things.” And every human effort attains its completion in it. This, in fact, becomes clear to anyone who thinks over particular instances.

[2] For there is in man, in so far as he is intellectual, one type of desire, concerned with the knowledge of truth; indeed, men seek to fulfill this desire by the effort of the contemplative life. And this will clearly be fulfilled in that vision, when, through the vision of the First Truth, all that the intellect naturally desires to know becomes known to it, as is evident from what was said above.

[3] There is also a certain desire in man, based on his possession of reason, whereby he is enabled to manage lower things; this, men seek to fulfill by the work of the active and civic life. Indeed, this desire is chiefly for this end, that the entire life of man may be arranged in accord with reason, for this is to live in accord with virtue. For the end of the activity of every virtuous man is the good appropriate to his virtue, just as, for the brave man, it is to act bravely. Now, this desire will then be completely fulfilled, since reason will be at its peak strength, having been enlightened by the divine light, so that it cannot swerve away from what is right.

[4] Going along, then, with the civic life are certain goods which man needs for civic activities. For instance, there is a high position of honor, which makes men proud and ambitious, if they desire it inordinately. But men are raised through this vision to the highest peak of honor, because they are in a sense united with God, as we pointed out above. For this reason, just as God Himself is the “King of ages” (1 Tim. 1:17), so are the blessed united with Him called kings: “They shall reign with Christ” (Apoc. 20:6).

[5] Another object of desire associated with civic life is popular renown; by an inordinate desire for this men are deemed lovers of vainglory. Now, the blessed are made men of renown by this vision, not according to the opinion of men, who can deceive and be deceived, but in accord with the truest knowledge, both of God and of all the blessed. Therefore, this blessedness is frequently termed glory in Sacred Scripture; for instance, it is said in the Psalm (149:5): “The saints shall rejoice in glory.”

[6] There is, indeed, another object of desire in civic life; namely, wealth. By the inordinate desire and love of this, men become illiberal and unjust. But in this beatitude there is a plenitude of all goods, inasmuch as the blessed come to enjoy Him Who contains the perfection of all good things. For this reason it is said in Wisdom (7:11): “All good things came to me together with her.” Hence it is also said in the Psalm (111:3): “Glory and wealth shall be in His house.”

[7] There is even a third desire of man, which is common to him and the other animals, to enjoy pleasures. Men chiefly seek after this in the voluptuous life, and they become intemperate and incontinent through immoderation in regard to it. However, the most perfect delight is found in this felicity: as much more perfect than the delight of the sense, which even brute animals can enjoy, as the intellect is superior to sense power; and also as that good in which we shall take delight is greater than any sensible good, and more intimate, and more continually delightful; and also as that delight is freer from all admixture of sorrow, or concern about trouble. Of this it is said in the Psalm (35:9): “They shall be inebriated with the plenty of your house, and you shall make them drink of the torrent of your pleasure.”

[8] There is, moreover, a natural desire common to all things by which they desire their own preservation, to the extent that this is possible: men are made fearful and excessively chary of work that is bard for them by immoderation in this desire. But this desire will then be completely satisfied when the blessed attain perfect sempiternity and are safe from all harm; according to the text of Isaiah (49:10) and Apocalypse 21 [see 7:16]: “They shall no more hunger or thirst, neither shall the sun fall on them, nor any heat.”

[9] And so, it is evident that through the divine vision intellectual substances obtain true felicity, in which their desires are completely brought to rest and in which is the full sufficiency of all the goods which, according to Aristotle,” are required for happiness. Hence, Boethius also says that “happiness is a state of life made perfect by the accumulation of all goods” [ De consolatione philosophiae III, 2].

[10] Now, there is nothing in this life so like this ultimate and perfect felicity as the life of those who contemplate truth, to the extent that it is possible in this life. And so, the philosophers who were not able to get full knowledge of this ultimate happiness identified man’s ultimate happiness with the contemplation which is possible in this life. On this account, too, of all other lives the contemplative is more approved in divine Scripture, when our Lord says: “Mary has chosen the better part,” namely, the contemplation of truth, “which shall not be taken from her” (Luke 10:42). In fact, the contemplation of truth begins in this life, but reaches its climax in the future; whereas the active and civic life does not go beyond the limits of this life.

Chapter 64

THAT GOD GOVERNS THINGS BY HIS PROVIDENCE

[1] From the points that have been set forth we have adequately established that God is the end of all things. The next possible conclusion from this is that He governs, or rules, the whole of things by His providence.

[2] Whenever certain things are ordered to a definite end they all come under the control of the one to whom the end primarily belongs. This is evident in an army: all divisions of an army and their functions are ordered to the commander’s good as an ultimate end, and this is victory. And for this reason it is the function of t he commander to govern the whole army. Likewise, an art which is concerned with the end commands and makes the laws for an art I concerned with means to the end. Thus, the art of civil government commands that of the military; the military commands the equestrian; and the art of navigation commands that of shipbuilding. So, since all things are ordered to divine goodness as an end, as we showed, it follows that God, to Whom this goodness primarily belongs, as something substantially possessed and known and loved, must be the governor of all things.

[3] Again, whoever makes a thing for the sake of an end may use the thing for that end. Now, we showed above that all things possessing being in any way whatever are God’s products, and also that God makes all things for an end which is Himself. Therefore, He uses all things by directing them to their end. Now, this is to govern. So, God is the governor of all things through His providence.

[4] Besides, we have shown that God is the first unmoved mover. The first mover does not move fewer things, but more, than the secondary movers, for the latter do not move other things without the first. Now, all things that are moved are so moved because of the end, as we showed above. So, God moves all things to their ends, and He does so through His understanding, for we have shown above that He does not act through a necessity of His nature, but through understanding and will. Now, to rule or govern by providence is simply to move things toward an end through understanding. Therefore, God by His providence governs and rules all things that are moved toward their end, whether they be moved corporeally, or spiritually as one who desires is moved by an object of desire.

[5] Moreover, that natural bodies are moved and made to operate for an end, even though they do not know their end, was proved by the fact that what happens to them is always, or often, for the best; and, if their workings resulted from art, they would not be done differently. But it is impossible for things that do not know their end to work for that end, and to reach that end in an orderly way, unless they are moved by someone possessing knowledge of the end, as in the case of the arrow directed to the target by the archer. So, the whole working of nature must be ordered by some sort of knowledge. And this, in fact, must lead back to God, either mediately or immediately, since every lower art and type of knowledge must get its principles from a higher one, as we also see in the speculative and operative sciences. Therefore, God governs the world by His providence.

[6] Furthermore, things that are different in their natures do not come together into one order unless they are gathered into a unit by one ordering agent. But in the whole of reality things are distinct and possessed of contrary natures; yet all come together in one order, and while some things make use of the actions of others, some are also helped or commanded by others. Therefore, there must be one orderer and governor of the whole of things.

[7] Moreover, it is not possible to give an explanation, based on natural necessity, for the apparent motions of celestial bodies, since some of them have more motions than others, and altogether incompatible ones. So, there must be an ordering of their motions by some providence, and, consequently, of the motions and workings of all lower things that are controlled by their motions.

[8] Besides, the nearer a thing is to its cause, the more does it participate in its influence. Hence, if some perfection is more perfectly participated by a group of things the more they approach a certain object, then this is an indication that this object is the cause of the perfection which is participated in various degrees. For instance, if certain things become hotter as they come nearer to fire, this is an indication that fire is the cause of beat. Now, things are found to be more perfectly ordered the nearer they are to God. For, in the lower types of bodies, which are very far away from God in the dissimilarity of their natures, there is sometimes found to be a falling away from the regular course of nature, as in the case of monstrosities and other chance events; but this never happens in the case of the celestial bodies, though they are somewhat mutable, and it does not occur among separate intellectual substances. Therefore, it is plain that God is the cause of the whole order of things. So, He is the governor of the whole universe of reality through His providence.

[9] Furthermore, as we proved above, God brings all things into being, not from the necessity of His nature, but by understanding and will. Now, there can be no other ultimate end for His understanding and will than His goodness, that is, to communicate it to things, as is clear from what has been established. But things participate in the divine goodness to the extent that they are good, by way of likeness. Now, that which is the greatest good in caused things is the good of the order of the universe; for it is most perfect, as the Philosopher says.” With this, divine Scripture is also in agreement, for it is said in Genesis (1:31): “God saw all the things He had made, and they were very good,” while He simply said of the individual works, that “they were good.” So, the good of the order of things caused by God is what is chiefly willed and caused by God. Now, to govern things is nothing but to impose order on them. Therefore, God Himself governs all things by His understanding and will.

[10] Moreover, any agent intending an end is more concerned about what is nearer to the ultimate end, because this nearer thing is also an end for other things. Now, the ultimate end of the divine will is His goodness, and the nearest thing to this latter, among created things, is the good of the order of the whole universe, since every particular good of this or that thing is ordered to it as to an end (just as the less perfect is ordered to what is more perfect); and so, each part is found to be for the sake of its whole. Thus, among created things, what God cares for most is the order of the universe. Therefore, He is its governor.

[11] Again, every created thing attains its ultimate perfection through its proper operation, for the ultimate end and the perfection of a thing must be either its operation or the term or product of its operation. Of course, the form, by virtue of which the thing exists, is its first perfection, as is evident from Book II of On the Soul [1: 412a 28]. But the order of caused things, according to the distinction of their natures and levels, proceeds from divine Wisdom, as we showed in Book Two. So also does the order of their operations, whereby caused things draw nearer to their ultimate end. Now, to order the actions of certain things toward their end is to govern them. Therefore, God provides governance and regulation for things by the providence of His wisdom.

[12] Hence it is that Sacred Scripture proclaims God as Lord and King, according to the text of the Psalm (99:2): “The Lord, He is God”; and again: “God is the King of all the earth” (Ps. 46:8); for it is the function of the king and lord to rule and govern those subject to their command. And so, Sacred Scripture attributes the course of things to divine decree: “Who commands the sun, and it rises not, and shuts up the stars, as it were under a seal” (Job 9:7); and also in the Psalm (10:6): “He has made a decree and it shall not pass away.”

[13] Now, by this conclusion the error of the ancient philosophers of nature is refuted, for they said that all things come about as a result of material necessity, the consequence of which would be that all things happen by chance and not from the order of providence.

Chapter 65

THAT GOD PRESERVES THINGS IN BEING

[1] Now, from the fact that God rules things by His providence it follows that He preserves them in being.

[2] Indeed, everything whereby things attain their end pertains to the governance of these things. For things are said to be ruled or governed by virtue of their being ordered to their end. Now, things are ordered to the ultimate end which God intends, that is, divine goodness, not only by the fact that they perform their operations, but also by the fact that they exist, since, to the extent that they exist, they bear the likeness of divine goodness which is the end for things, as we showed above. Therefore, it pertains to divine providence that things are preserved in being.

[3] Again, the same principle must be the cause of a thing and of its preservation, for the preservation of a thing is nothing but the continuation of its being. Now, we showed above that God, through His understanding, and will, is the cause of being for all things. Therefore, He preserves all things in being through His intellect and will.

[4] Besides, no particular univocal agent can be the unqualified cause of its species; for instance, this individual man cannot be the cause of the human species, for handwould then be the cause of every man, and, consequently, of himself—which is impossible. But this individual man is the cause, properly speaking, of that individual man. Now, this man exists because human nature is present in this matter, which is the principle of individuation. So, this man is not the cause of a man, except in the sense that he is the cause of a human form coming to be in this matter. This is to be the principle of the generation of an individual man. So, it is apparent that neither this man, nor any other univocal agent in nature, is the cause of anything except the generation of this or that individual thing. Now, there must be some proper agent cause of the human species itself; its composition shows this, and also the ordering of its parts, which is uniform in all cases unless it be accidentally impeded. And the same reasoning applies to all the other species of natural things.

Now, this cause is God, either mediately or immediately. For we have shown that He is the first cause of all things. So, He must stand in regard to the species of things as the individual generating agent in nature does to generation, of which he is the direct cause. But generation ceases as soon as the operation of the generative agent ceases. Therefore, all the species of things would also cease as soon as the divine operation ceased. So, He preserves things in being through His operation.

[5] Moreover, though motion may occur for any existing thing, motion is apart from the being of the thing. Now, nothing. corporeal, unless it be moved, is the cause of anything, for no body acts unless by motion, as Aristotle proves. Therefore, no body is the cause of the being of anything, in so far as it is being, but it is the cause of its being moved toward being, that is, of the thing’s becoming. Now, the being of any thing is participated being, since no thing is its own act of being, except God, as we proved above. And thus, God Himself, Who is His own act of being, must be primarily and essentially the cause of every being. So, divine operation is related to the being of things as the motion of a corporeal mover is to the becoming and passive movement of the things that are made or moved. Now, it is impossible for the becoming and passive movement of a thing to continue if the motion of the mover cease. Therefore, it is impossible for the being of a thing to continue except through divine operation.

[6] Furthermore, just as art work presupposes a work of nature, so does a work of nature presuppose the work of God the creator. In fact, the material for art products comes from nature, while that of natural products comes through creation by God. Moreover, art objects are preserved in being by the power of natural things; a home, for instance, by the solidity of its stories. Therefore, all natural things are preserved in being by nothing other than the power of God.

[7] Again, the impression of an agent does not continue in the product, if the agent’s action ceases, unless the impression be converted into the nature of the product. Indeed, the forms of things generated, and their properties, remain in them after generation until the end, since they become natural to them. And likewise, habits are difficult to change because they are turned into a nature. But dispositions and passions, whether of the body or soul, endure for a little while after the action of the agent, but not forever, since they are present in a state transitional to nature. Now, whatever belongs to the nature of a higher type of being does not last at all after the action of the agent; light, for instance, does not continue in a diaphanous body when the source of light has gone away. Now, to be is not the nature or essence of any created thing, but only of God, as we showed in Book One [22]. Therefore, no thing can remain in being if divine operation cease.

[8] Furthermore, there are two positions regarding the origin of things: one, from faith, holding that things have been brought into being by God, at the beginning; and the position of certain philosophers, that things have emanated from God eternally. Now, in either position one has to say that things are preserved in being by God. For, if things are brought into being by God, after they were not existing, then the being of things, and similarly their non-being, must result from the divine will; for He has permitted things not to be, when He so willed; and He made things to be, when He so willed. Hence, they exist just as long as He wills them to be. Therefore, His will is the preserver of things.

But, if things have eternally emanated from God, we cannot give a time or instant at which they first flowed forth from God. So, either they never were produced by God, or their being is always flowing forth from God as long as they exist. Therefore, He preserves things in being by His operation.

[9] Hence it is said: “Upholding all things by the word of His Power” (Heb. 1:3). And Augustine says: “The power of the Creator, and the strength of the Omnipotent and All-sustaining is the cause of the subsistence of every creature. And, if this power were ever to cease its ruling of the things which have been created, their species would at once come to an end, and all nature would collapse. For the situation is not like that of a man who has built a house and has then gone away, and, while he is not working and is absent, his work stands. For, if God were to withdraw His rule from it, the world could not stand, even for the flick of an eye.”

[10] Now, by this conclusion the position of the exponents of the Law of the Moors is refuted, for, in order to be able to maintain that the world needs God’s preservation, they took the view that all forms are accidents, and that no accident endures through two instants. So that, in this view, the informing of things would be in continuous process, as if a thing would not need an agent cause except while in the process of becoming. Hence, also, some of these people are said to claim that indivisible bodies (out of which, they say, all substances are composed and which alone, according to them, possess stability) could last for about an hour if God were to withdraw His governance from things. Also, some of them say that a thing could not even cease to be unless God caused in it the accident of “cessation.”—Now, all these views are clearly absurd.

Chapter 66

THAT NOTHING GIVES BEING EXCEPT IN SO FAR AS IT ACTS BY DIVINE POWER

[1] From this it is manifest that no lower agents give being except in so far as they act by divine power.

[2] Indeed, a thing does not give being except in so far as it is an actual being. But God preserves things in being by His providence, as we showed. Therefore, it is as a result of divine power that a thing gives being.

[3] Again, when several different agents are subordinated to one agent, the effect that is produced by their common action must be attributed to them as they are united in their participation in the motion and power of this agent. For several agents do not produce one result unless they are as one. It is clear, for example, that all the men in an army work to bring about victory, and they do this by virtue of being subordinated to the leader, whose proper product is victory. Now, we showed in Book One [13] that the first agent is God. So, since being is the common product of all agents, because every agent produces actual being, they must produce this effect because they are subordinated to the first agent and act through His power.

[4] Besides, in the case of all agent causes that are ordered, that which is last in the process of generation and first in intention is the proper product of the primary agent. For instance, the form of a house, which is the proper product of the builder, appears later than the preparation of the cement, stones, and timbers, which are made by the lower workmen who come under the builder. Now, in every action, actual being is primarily intended, but is last in the process of generation. In fact, as soon as it is achieved, the agent’s action and the patient’s motion come to rest. Therefore, being is the proper product of the primary agent, that is, of God; and all things that give being do so because they act by God’s power.

[5] Moreover, the ultimate in goodness and perfection among the things to which the power of a secondary agent extends is that which it can do by the power of the primary agent, for the perfection of the power of the secondary agent is due to the primary agent. Now, that which is most perfect of all effects is the act of being, for every nature or form is perfected by the fact that it is actual, and it is related to actual being as potency is to act. Therefore, the act of being is what secondary agents produce through the power of the primary agent.

[6] Besides, the order of the effects follows the order of the causes. But the first among all effects is the act of being, since all other things are certain determinations of it. Therefore, being is the proper effect of the primary agent, and all other things produce being because they act through the power of the primary agent. Now, secondary agents, which are like particularizers and determinants of the primary agent’s action, produce as their proper effects other perfections which determine being.

[7] Furthermore, that which is of a certain kind through its essence is the proper cause of what is of such a kind by participation. Thus, fire is the cause of all things that are afire. Now, God alone is actual being through His own essence, while other beings are actual beings through participation, since in God alone is actual being identical with His essence. Therefore, the being of every existing thing is His proper effect. And so, everything that brings something into actual being does so because it acts through God’s power.

[8] Hence it is said: “God created, that all things might be” (Wis. 1:14). And in several texts of Scripture it is stated that God makes all things. Moreover, it is said in the Book on Causes that not even an intelligence gives being “unless in so far as it is divine,” that is; in so far as it acts through divine power.

Chapter 67

THAT GOD IS THE CAUSE OF OPERATION FOR ALL THINGS THAT OPERATE

[1] It is evident, next, that God is the cause enabling all operating agents to operate. In fact, every operating agent is a cause of being in some way, either of substantial or of accidental being. Now, nothing is a cause of being unless by virtue of its acting through the power of God, as we showed. Therefore, every operating agent acts through God’s power.

[2] Again, every operation that results from a certain power is attributed causally to the thing which has given the power. For instance, the natural motion of heavy and light things results from their form, depending on whether they are heavy or light, and so the cause of their motion is said to be the generating agent that has given them the form. Now, every power in any agent is from God, as from a first principle of all perfection. Therefore, since every operation results from a power, the cause of every operation must be God.

[3] Besides, it is obvious that every action which cannot continue after the influence of a certain agent has ceased results from that agent. For instance, the manifestation of colors could not continue if the sun’s action of illuminating the air were to cease, so there is no doubt that the sun is the cause of the manifestation of colors. And the same thing appears in connection with violent motion, for it stops with the cessation of violence on the part of the impelling agent. But just as God has not only given being to things when they first began to exist, and also causes being in them as long as they exist, conserving things in being, as we have shown, so also has He not merely granted operative powers to them when they were originally created, but He always causes these powers in things. Hence, if this divine influence were to cease, every operation would cease. Therefore, every operation of a thing is traced back to Him as to its cause.

[4] Moreover, whatever agent applies active power to the doing of something, it is said to be the cause of that action. Thus, an artisan who applies the power of a natural thing to some action is said to be the cause of the action; for instance, a cook of the cooking which is done by means of fire. But every application of power to operation is originally and primarily made by God. For operative powers are applied to their proper operations by some movement of body or of soul. Now, the first principle of both types of movement is God. Indeed, He is the first mover and is altogether incapable of being moved, as we shown above. Similarly, also, every movement of a will whereby Powers are applied to operation is reduced to God, as a first object of appetite and a first agent of willing. Therefore; every operation should be attributed to God, as to a first and principal agent.

[5] Furthermore, in all agent causes arranged in an orderly way the subsequent causes must act through the power of the first cause. For instance, in the natural order of things, lower bodies act through the power of the celestial bodies; and, again, in the order of voluntary things, all lower artisans work in accord with the direction of the top craftsman. Now, in the order of agent causes, God il&e first cause, as we showed in Book One [64]. And so, all lower agent causes act through His power. But the cause of an action is the one by whose power the action is done rather than the one who acts: the principal agent, for instance, rather than the instrument. Therefore, God is more especially the cause of every action than are the secondary agent causes.

[6] Again, every agent is ordered through his operation to an ultimate end, for either the operation itself is the end, or the thing that is made, that is, the product of the operation. Now, to order things to their end is the prerogative of God Himself, as we showed above. So, we have to say that every agent acts by the divine power. Therefore, He is the One Who is the cause of action for all things.

[7] Hence it is said: “Lord, Thou hast wrought all our works in us” (Is. 26:12); and: “Without Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5); and: “It is God Who works in us both to will and to accomplish according to His good will” (Phil. 2: 13). And for this reason, the products of nature are often attributed, in Scripture, to divine working, because it is He Who works in every agent operating naturally or voluntarily, as the text has it: “Have you not milked me as milk, and curdled me like cheese? You have clothed me with skin; You havet put me together with bones and sinews” (Job 10:10-11); and in the Psalm (17:14): “The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Highest gave His voice: hail and coals of fire.”

Chapter 68

THAT GOD IS EVERYWHERE

[1] As a consequence, it is clear that God must be everywhere and in all things.

[2] For, the mover and the thing moved must be simultaneous, as the Philosopher proves. But God moves all things to their operations, as we have shown. Therefore, He is in all things.

[3] Again, everything that is in a place, or in something, is in some way in contact with it. For instance, a bodily thing is in place in something according to the contact of dimensive quantity; while an incorporeal thing is said to be in something according to the contact of power, since it lacks dimensive quantity. And so, an incorporeal thing is related to its presence in something by its power, in the same way that a corporeal thing is related to its presence in something by dimensive quantity. Now, if there were any body possessed of infinite dimensive quantity, it would have to be everywhere. So, if there be an incorporeal being possessed of infinite power, it must be everywhere. But we showed in Book One [43] that God is of infinite power. Therefore, He is everywhere.

[4] Besides, as a Particular cause is to a particular effect, so is a universal cause to a universal effect. Now, a particular cause must be simultaneous with its proper particular effect. Thus, fire heats through its essence, and the soul confers life on the body through its essence. Therefore, since God is the universal cause of the whole of being, as we showed in Book Two [15], it must be that wherever being is found, the divine presence is also there.

[5] Moreover, whenever an agent is present only to one of its effects, its action cannot be transferred to another, unless by using the first effect as an intermediary, because the agent and the patient must be simultaneous. For instance, the organic motive power does not 4ve a member of the body except through the heart as an intermediary. So, if God were present to but one of His effects—for instance, to the first moved sphere which would be moved immediately by Him—it would follow that His action could not be transferred to another thing except through the mediation of this sphere. Now, this is not appropriate. Indeed, if the action of any agent cannot be transferred to other things except through the mediation of a first effect, then this effect must correspond proportionally with the agent according to its entire power; otherwise, the agent could not use his entire power. We see an instance of this in the fact that all the motions that the motive power can cause can be carried out through the heart. But there is no creature that can serve as a medium for the carrying out of whatever the divine power can do, for divine power infinitely surpasses every created thing, as is evident from the things shown in Book One [43]. Therefore, it is not appropriate to say that divine action does not extend to other effects except through the mediation of a first one. So, He is not merely present in one of His effects, but in all of them. The same reasoning will be used if a person says that He is present in some and not in others, because, no matter how many divine effects are taken, they could not be sufficient to carry out the execution of the divine power.

[6] Furthermore, an agent cause must be simultaneous with its proximate and immediate effect. But there is in everything a proximate and immediate effect of God Himself. For we showed in Book Two [21] that God alone can create. Now, there is in everything something caused by creation: prime matter in the case of corporeal things, in incorporeal things their simple essences, as is evident from the things that we determined in Book Two [15ff]. Therefore, God must be simultaneously present in all things, particularly since He continually and always preserves in being those things which He has brought into being from nonbeing, as has been shown.

[7] Hence it is said: “I fill heaven and earth” (Jer. 23:24); and in the Psalm (138:8): “If I ascend into heaven, You art there; if I descend into hell, You art present.”

[8] Through this conclusion, moreover, the error is set aside of those who say that God is in some definite part of the world (for instance, in the first heaven and in the eastern section) and that He is consequently the principle of heavenly motion.—Of course, this statement of theirs could be supported, if soundly interpreted: not, for instance, that we may understand God as being confined to some determinate part of the world, but that the source of all corporeal motions, according to the order of nature, takes its start from a determinate part, being moved by God. Because of this He is spoken of in Sacred Scripture also as being in the heavens in a particular way; in the text of Isaiah toward the end (66:1): “Heaven is My throne,” and in the Psalm (113: 16): “The heaven of heaven is the Lord’s,” and so on.—But from the fact that, apart from the order of nature, God performs some operation in even the lowest of bodies which cannot be, caused by the power of a celestial body it is clearly shown that God is immediately present, not only in the celestial body, but also in the lowest things.

[9] But we must not think that God is everywhere in such a way that He is divided in various areas of place, as if one part of Him were here and another part there. Rather, His entire being is everywhere. For God, as a completely simple being, has no parts.

[10] Nor is His simplicity something like that of a point, which is the terminus of a continuous line and thus has a definite position on this line, with the consequence that one point is impossible unless it A at one, indivisible place. In fact, God is indivisible, in the sense of existing entirely outside the genus of continuous things. And so, He is not determined in regard to place, either large or small, by any necessity of His essence requiring Him to be in a certain place, for Ile has been from eternity prior to all place. But by the immensity of His power He touches upon all things that are in place, for He is the universal cause of being, as we said. Thus, He is present in His entirety wherever He is, since He touches upon all things by His simple power.

[11] Yet, we must not think that He is present in things, in the sense of being combined with them as one of their parts. For it was shown in Book One [17, 27] that He is neither the matter nor the form of anything. Instead, He is in all things in the fashion of an agent cause.

Chapter 69

ON THE OPINION OF THOSE WHO TAKE AWAY PROPER ACTIONS FROM NATURAL THINGS

[1] From this conclusion some men have taken the opportunity to fall into error, thinking that no creature has an active role in the production of natural effects. So, for instance, fire does not give heat, but God causes heat in the presence of fire, and they said like things about all other natural effects.

[2] Now, they tried to support this error by arguments pointing out that no form, substantial or accidental, can be brought into being except by way of creation. Indeed, forms and accidents cannot come into being from matter, since they do not have matter as one of their parts. Hence, if they are made, they must be made from nothing, and this is to be created. And because creation is an act of God alone, as we showed in Book Two [21], it would seem to follow that God alone produces both substantial and accidental forms in nature.

[3] Of course, the opinion of some philosophers is partly in agreement with this position. In fact, since everything that does not exist through itself is found to be derived from that which does exist through itself, it appears that the forms of things, which are not existing through themselves but in matter, come from forms which are existent through themselves without matter. It is as if forms existing in matter were certain participations in those forms which exist without matter. And because of this, Plato claimed that the species of sensible things are certain forms separate from matter, which are the causes of being for these sensible things, according as these things participate in them.

[4] On the other hand, Avicenna maintained that all substantial forms flow forth from the agent Intelligence. But he claimed that accidental forms are dispositions of matter which have arisen from the action of lower agents disposing matter. In this way he avoided the foolish aspects of the preceding erroneous view.

[5] Now, an indication of this seemed to lie in the fact that no active power is found to exist in these bodies, except accidental form; for instance, the active and passive qualities, which do not appear to be adequate in their power to cause substantial forms.

[6] Moreover, certain things are found, among things here below, which are not generated as like from like; for instance, animals generated as a result of putrefaction. Hence, it seems that the forms of these beings come from higher principles; by the same reasoning, so do other forms, some of which are much more noble.

[7] In fact, some people derive an argument for this from the weakness of natural bodies in regard to acting. For every bodily form is combined with quantity, but quantity hinders action and motion. As an indication of this, they assert that the more that is added to the quantity of a body, the heavier it becomes and the more its motion is slowed down. So, from this they conclude that no body is active but only passive.

[8] They also try to show this by the fact that every patient is a subject for an agent, and every agent, apart from the first which creates, needs a subject lower than itself. But no substance is lower than corporeal substance. Hence, it appears that no body is active.

[9] They also add, in regard to this point, that corporeal substance is at the greatest distance from the first agent; hence, it does not seem to them that active power could reach the whole way to corporeal substance. Instead, just as God is an agent only, so is corporeal substance passive only, for it is the lowest in the genus of things.

[10] So, because of these arguments, Avicebron maintained in the book, The Source of Life, that no body is active, but that the power of spiritual substance, passing through bodies, does the actions which seem to be done by bodies.

[11] Moreover, certain exponents of the Law of the Moors are reported to adduce in support of this argument the point that even accidents do not come from the action of bodies, because an accident does not pass from subject to subject. Hence, they regard it as impossible for heat to pass over from a hot body into another body heated by it. They say, rather, that all accidents like this are created by God.

[12] Now, many inappropriate conclusions follow from the foregoing theories. For, if no lower cause, and especially no bodily one, performs any operation, but, instead, God operates alone in all things, and if God is not changed by the fact that He operates in different things, then different effects would not follow from the diversity of things in which God operates. Now, this appears false to the senses, for cooling does not result from putting something near a hot object, but only heating; nor does the generation of anything except a man result from the semen of man. Therefore, the causality of the lower type of effects is not to be attributed to divine power in such a way as to take away the causality of lower agents.

[13] Again, it is contrary to the rational character of wisdom for there to be anything useless in the activities of the possessor of wisdom. But, if created things could in no way operate to produce their effects, and if God alone worked all operations immediately, these other things would be employed in a useless way by Him, for the production of these effects. Therefore, the preceding position is incompatible with divine wisdom.

[14] Besides, the giver of some principal part to a thing gives the thing all the items that result from that part. For instance, the cause that gives weight to an elemental body also gives it downward motion. But the ability to make an actual thing results from being actually existent, as is evident in the case of God, for He is pure act and is also the first cause of being for all things, as we showed above. Therefore, if He has communicated His likeness, as far as actual being is concerned, to other things, by virtue of the fact that He has brought things into being, it follows that He has communicated to them His likeness, as far as acting is concerned, so that created things may also have their own actions.

[15] Furthermore, the perfection of the effect demonstrates the perfection of the cause, for a greater power brings about a more perfect effect. But God is the most perfect agent. Therefore, things created by Him obtain perfection from Him. So, to detract from the perfection of creatures is to detract from the perfection of divine power. But, if no creature has any active role in the production of any effect, much is detracted from the perfection of the creature. Indeed, it is part of the fullness of perfection to be able to communicate to another being the perfection which one possesses. Therefore, this position detracts from the divine power.

[16] Moreover, as it is the function of the good to make what is good, so it is the prerogative of the highest good to make what is best. But God is the highest good, as we showed in Book One. So, it is His function to make all things best. Now, it is better for a good that is conferred on a thing to be common to many than for it to be exclusive, for “the common good is always found to be more divine than the good of one alone.” But the good of one being becomes common to many if it can pass from one to the other; this cannot occur unless it can diffuse this good to others through its own action. On the other hand, if it lacks the power to transfer this good to others, it continues to keep it exclusively. Therefore, God so communicates His goodness to created beings that one thing which receives it can transfer it to another. Therefore, to take away their proper actions from things is to disparage the divine goodness.

[17] Again, to take away order from created things is to deprive them of their best possession, for individual things are good in themselves, but all things together are best because of the order of the whole. Indeed, the whole is always better than its parts, and is their end. Now, if actions be taken away from things, the mutual order among things is removed, for, in regard to things that are different in their natures, there can be no gathering together into a unity of order uniless by the fact that some of them act and others undergo action. Therefore, it is inappropriate to say that things do not have their own actions.

[18] Besides, if effects are not produced by the action of created things, but only by the action of God, it is impossible for the power of any created cause to be manifested through its effects. Of course, an effect does not show the power of a cause unless by virtue of the action which proceeding from the power terminates in the effect. Now, the nature of a cause is not known through the effect unless its power is known through this effect, for the power results from the nature. So, if created things have no actions productive of effects, it follows that no nature of anything would ever be known through the effect. And thus, all the knowledge of natural science is taken away from us, for the demonstrations in it are chiefly derived from the effect.

[19] Furthermore, it is inductively evident in all cases that like produces like. But what is generated in lower things is not merely the form, but the thing composed of matter and form, since every process of generation is from something, namely from matter, and to something, namely form. Therefore, the generating agent cannot be merely a form, but is, rather, the composite of matter and form. Therefore, it is not the separate species of things, as the Platonists claimed, nor the agent Intelligence, as Avicenna held, that is, the cause of the forms which exist in matter; Rather, it is the individual composed of matter and form.

[20] Moreover, if to act is the result of a being which is in act, it is inappropriate for a more perfect act to be deprived of action. But the substantial form is a more perfect act than accidental form. So, if accidental forms in corporeal things have their proper actions, by all the greater reason the substantial form has its proper action. But to dispose matter is not a proper action for it, since this is done by alteration, for which accidental forms are sufficient. Therefore, the substantial form of the generating agent is the source of the action, as a substantial form is put into the product of generation.

[21] Now, it is easy to break down the arguments which they bring forward. In fact, since a thing is made so that it will exist, and since a form is not called a being in the sense that it possesses being but because the composite exists by means of it, so also the form is not made, in the proper sense, but it begins to be by the fact that the composite is reduced from potency to act, which is the form.

[22] Nor, indeed, is it necessary that everything which has a form by participation should receive it immediately from that which is form essentially; rather, it may receive it immediately from another being that has a similar form, participated in the same way, and, of course, this being may act by the power of the separate form, if there be any such. So, it is in this way that an agent produces an effect like itself.

[23] Likewise, it is not necessary, because every action of lower bodies is done by active and passive qualities which are accidents, that only an accident be produced by their actions. For, just as they are caused by the substantial form which, together with matter, is the cause of all the proper accidents, these accidental forms also act by the power of the substantial form. Now, that which acts by the power of another produces an effect similar not only to itself but more especially to that by whose power it acts. For instance, from the action of an instrument there is produced in the artifact a likeness of the form in the mind of the artist. Consequently, it follows that substantial forms are produced from the action of accidental forms, as they act instrumentally through the power of the substantial forms.

[24] In the case of animals generated from putrefaction, the substantial form is caused by a corporeal agent, namely, the celestial body which is the first agent of alteration; and so all things that produce a change of form in these lower bodies do so by its power. And for this reason the celestial power is enough, without a univocal agent, to produce some imperfect forms. But to produce perfect forms, like the souls of perfect animals, there is also required a univocal agent together with the celestial agent. In fact, such animals are not generated except from semen. And that is why Aristotle says that “man and the sun generate man” [ Physics II, 2: 194b 14].

[25] Moreover, it is not true that quantity impedes the action of a form, except accidentally; that is to say, in so far as all continuous quantity is in matter, and form existing in matter, having lesser actuality, is consequently less powerful in acting. Hence, a body that has less matter and more form, for instance, fire, is more active. But, if we consider a kind of action which a form existing in matter may have, then quantity helps to increase rather than to diminish the action. For instance, the larger a hot body is, granting equal intensity of heat, the more is it able to give off heat; and granting equal degree of weight, the bigger a heavy body is, the more rapidly will it be moved by natural motion; that is why it is moved more slowly by unnatural motion. Therefore, the fact that heavy bodies have slower unnatural motion when they have larger quantity does not show that quantity impedes action, but that it helps to increase it.

[26] Nor, indeed, is it necessary for every body to lack action because bodily substance is generically the lowest in the order of things. For, even among bodies, one is higher than another, and more formal, and more active: as fire is in regard to lower bodies. Nor, in fact, is even the lowest body prevented from. acting. For it is clear that a body cannot act in its entirety, since it is composed of matter which is potential being, and of form which is act. Indeed, each thing acts according as it is in act. And because of this, every body acts in accord with its form; and related to it is another body, namely, the patient, which is a subject by virtue of its matter, because its matter is in potency to the form of the agent. But, conversely, if the matter of the agent’s body be in potency to the form of the patient’s body, they will be mutually related as agent to patient. This happens, for instance, between two elemental bodies. But, on the other hand, one may be only an agent and the other only a patient in relation to the first, as is the relation between a celestial body and an elemental body. And so, a body that is an agent acts on a subject, not by virtue of its entire body, but of the form through which it acts.

[27] Nor is it even true that bodies are at the greatest distance from God. For, since God is pure act, things are more or less distant from Him on this basis: that they are more or less in act or in potency. So, among beings that is most distant from God which is merely potential; namely, prime matter. Hence, its function is solely to undergo, and not to perform, action. But bodies, as composed of matter and form, approach the divine likeness because they possess form, which Aristotle calls a divine thing [ Physics I, 9: 192a 16]. And because of this, they act in so far as they possess form, but they undergo action in so far as they possess matter.

[28] Again, it is laughable to say that a body does not act because an accident does not pass from subject to subject. For a hot body is not said to give off heat in this sense, that numerically the same heat which is in the heating body passes over into the heated body. Rather, by the power of the heat which is in the heating body, a numerically different heat is made actual in the heated body, a heat which was previously in it in potency. For a natural agent does not hand over its own form to another subject, but it reduces the passive subject from potency to act.

[29] Therefore, we do not take away their proper actions from created things, though we attribute all the effects of created things to God, as an agent working in all things.

Chapter 70

HOW THE SAME EFFECT IS FROM GOD AND FROM A NATURAL AGENT

[1] Now, it seems difficult for some people to understand how natural effects are attributed to God and to a natural agent.

[2] For it does not seem possible for one action to proceed from two agents. So, if the action whereby a natural effect is produced proceeds from a natural body, it does not proceed from God.

[3] Again, when a thing can be done adequately by one agent, it is superfluous for it to be done by many; in fact, we see that nature does not do with two instruments what it can do with one. So, since the divine power is sufficient to produce natural effects, it is superfluous to use natural powers, too, for the production of the same effects. Or, if the natural power adequately produces the proper effect, it is superfluous for the divine power to act for the same effect.

[4] Besides, if God produces the entire natural effect, then nothing is left of the effect for the natural agent to produce. So, it does not seem to be possible to say that God produces the same effects that natural agents produce.

[5] However, these points present no difficulty, provided the things previously established be considered. In every agent, in fact, there are two things to consider: namely, the thing itself that acts, and the power by which it acts. Fire, for instance, heats by means of heat. But the power of a lower agent depends on the power of the superior agent, according as the superior agent gives this power to the lower agent whereby it may act; or preserves it; or even applies it to the action, as the artisan applies an instrument to its proper effect, though he neither gives the form whereby the instrument works, nor preserves it, but simply gives it motion. So, it is necessary for the action of a lower agent to result not only from the agent by its own power, but also from the power of all higher agents; it acts, thus, through the power of all. And just as the lowest agent is found immediately active, so also is the power of the primary agent found immediate in the production of the effect. For the power of the lower agent is not adequate to produce this effect of itself, but from the power of the next higher agent; and the power of the next one gets this ability from the power of the next higher one; and thus the power of the highest agent is discovered to be of itself productive of the effect, as an immediate cause. This is evident in the case of the principles of demonstration, the first of which is immediate. So, just as it is not unfitting for one action to be produced by an agent and its power, so it is not inappropriate for the same effect to be produced by a lower agent and God: by both immediately, though in different ways.

[6] It is also evident that, though a natural thing produces its proper effect, it is not superfluous for God to produce it, since the natural thing does not produce it except by divine power.

[7] Nor is it superfluous, even if God can by Himself produce all natural effects, for them to be produced by certain other causes. For this is not a result of the inadequacy of divine power, but of the immensity of His goodness, whereby He has willed to communicate His likeness to things, not only so that they might exist, but also that they might be causes for other things. Indeed, all creatures generally attain the divine likeness in these two ways, as we showed above. By this, in fact, the beauty of order in created things is evident.

[8] It is also apparent that the same effect is not attributed to a natural cause and to divine power in such a way that it is partly done by God, and partly by the natural agent; rather, it is wholly done by both, according to a different way, just as the same effect is wholly attributed to the instrument and also wholly to the principal agent.

Chapter 71

THAT DIVINE PROVIDENCE DOES NOT ENTIRELY EXCLUDE EVIL FROM THINGS

[1] Now, from these conclusions it becomes evident that divine providence, whereby He governs things, does not prevent corruption, deficiency, and evil from being found in things.

[2] Indeed, divine governance, whereby God works in things, does not exclude the working of secondary causes, as we have already shown. Now, it is possible for a defect to happen in an effect, because of a defect in the secondary agent cause, without there being a defect in the primary agent. For example, in the case of the product of a perfectly skilled artisan, some defect may occur because of a defect in his instrument. And again, in the case of a man whose motive power is strong, he may limp as a result of no defect in his bodily power to move, but because of a twist in his leg bone. So, it is possible, in the case of things made and governed by God, for some defect and evil to be found, because of a defect of the secondary agents, even though there be no defect in God Himself.

[3] Moreover, perfect goodness would not be found in created things unless. there were an order of goodness in them, in the sense that some of them are better than others. Otherwise, all possible grades of goodness would not be realized, nor would any creature be like God by virtue of holding a higher place than another. The highest beauty would be taken away from things, too, if the order of distinct and unequal things were removed. And what is more, multiplicity would be taken away from things if inequality of goodness were removed, since through the differences by which things are distinguished from each other one thing stands out as better than another; for instance, the animate in relation to the inanimate, and the rational in regard to the irrational. And so, if complete equality were present in things, there would be but one created good, which clearly disparages the perfection of the creature. Now, it is a higher grade of goodness for a thing to be good because it cannot fall from goodness; lower than that is the thing which can fall from goodness. So, the perfection of the universe requires both grades of goodness. But it pertains to the providence of the governor to preserve perfection in the things governed, and not to decrease it. Therefore, it does not pertain to divine goodness, entirely to exclude from things the power of falling from the good. But evil is the consequence of this power, because what is able to fall does fall at times. And this defection of the good is evil, as we showed above. Therefore, it does not pertain to divine providence to prohibit evil entirely from things.

[4] Again, the best thing in any government is to provide for the things governed according to their own mode, for the justice of a regime consists in this. Therefore, as it would be contrary to the rational character of a human regime for men to be prevented by the governor from acting in accord with their own duties—except, perhaps, on occasion, due to the need of the moment-so, too, would it be contrary to the rational character of the divine regime to refuse permission for created things to act according to the mode of their nature. Now, as a result of this fact, that creatures do act in this way, corruption and evil result in things, because, due to the contrariety and incompatibility present in things, one may be a source of corruption for another. Therefore, it does not pertain to divine providence to exclude evil entirely from the things that are governed.

[5] Besides, it is impossible for an agent to do something evil, unless by virtue of the fact that the agent intends something good, as is evident from the foregoing. But to prohibit universally the intending of the good for the individual on the part of created things is not the function of the providence of Him Who is the cause of every good thing. For, in that way, many goods would be taken away from the whole of things. For example, if the inclination to generate its like were taken away from fire (from which inclination there results this particular evil which is the burning up of combustible things), there would also be taken away this particular good which is the generation of fire and the preservation of the same according to its species. Therefore, it is not the function of divine providence totally to exclude evil from things.

[6] Furthermore, many goods are present in things which would not occur unless there were evils. For instance, there would not be the patience of the just if there were not the malice of their persecutors; there would not be a place for the justice of vindication if there were no offenses; and in the order of nature, there would not be the generation of one thing unless there were the corruption of another. So, if evil were totally excluded from the whole of things by divine providence, a multitude of good things would have to be, sacrificed. And this is as it should be, for the good is stronger in its goodness than evil is in its malice, as is clear from earlier sections. Therefore, evil should not be totally excluded from things by divine providence.

[7] Moreover, the good of the whole takes precedence over the good of a part. it is proper for a governor with foresight to neglect some lack of goodness in a part, so that there may be an increase of goodness in the whole. Thus, an artisan bides the foundations beneath earth, so that the whole house may have stability. But, if evil were removed from some parts of the universe, much perfection would perish from the ‘universe, whose beauty arises from an ordered unification of evil and good things. In fact, while evil things originate from good things that are defective, still, certain good things also result from them, as a consequence of the providence of the governor. Thus, even a silent pause makes a hymn appealing. Therefore, evil should not have been excluded from things by divine providence.

[8] Again, other things, particularly lower ones, are ordered to man’s good as an end. Now, if no evils were present in things, much of man’s good would be diminished, both in regard to knowledge and in regard to the desire or love of the good. In fact, the good is better known from its comparison with evil, and while we continue to suffer certain evils our desire for goods grows more ardent. For instance, how great a good health is, is best known by the sick; and they also crave it more than do the healthy. Therefore, it is not the function of divine providence totally to exclude evils from things.

[9] For this reason, it is said: “I make peace and create evil” (Is. 45:7); and again: “There is no evil in a city which God will not do” (Amos 3:6).

[10] Now, with these considerations we dispose of the error of those who, because they noticed that evils occur in the world, said that there is no God. Thus, Boethius introduces a certain philosopher who asks: “If God exists, whence comes evil?” [ De consolatione philosophiae I, 4]. But it could be argued to the contrary: “If evil exists, God exists.” For, there would be no evil if the order of good were taken away, since its privation is evil. But this order would not exist if there were no God.

[11] Moreover, by the foregoing arguments, even the occasion of error is removed from those who denied that divine providence is extended to these corruptible things, because they saw that many evils occur in them; they said, moreover, that only incorruptible things are subject to divine providence, things in which no defect or evil part is found.

[12] By these considerations, the occasion of erring is also taken away from the Manicheans who maintained two first agent principles, good and evil, as though evil could have no place under the providence of a good God.

[13] So, too, the difficulty of some people is solved; namely, whether evil actions are from God. Indeed, since it has been sbown that every agent produces its action by acting through the divine power, and, consequently that God is the cause both of all effects and all actions, and since it was also shown that evil and defects occur in things ruled by divine providence as a result of the establishment of secondary causes in which there can be deficiency, it is evident that bad actions, according as they are defective, are not from God but from defective proximate causes; but, in so far as they possess something of action and entity, they must be from God. Thus limping arises from the motive power, in so far as it possesses something of motion, but in regard to what it has by way of defect it is due to the crookedness of the leg.

Chapter 72

THAT DIVINE PROVIDENCE DOES NOT EXCLUDE CONTINGENCY FROM THINGS

[1] just as divine providence does not wholly exclude evil from things, so also it does not exclude contingency, or impose necessity on things.

[2] It has already been shown that the operation of providence, whereby God works in things, does not exclude secondary causes, but, rather, is fulfilled by them, in so far as they act by God’s power. Now certain effects are called necessary or contingent in regard to proximate causes, but not in regard to remote causes. Indeed, the fact that a plant bears fruit is a fact contingent on a proximate cause, which is the germinative power which can be impeded and can fail, even though the remote cause, the sun, be a cause acting from necessity. So, since there are many things among proximate causes that may be defective, not all effects subject to providence will be necessary, but a good many are contingent.

[3] Again, it pertains to divine providence that the grades of being which are possible be fulfilled, as is evident from what was said above. But being is divided into the contingent and the necessary, and this is an essential division of being. So, if divine providence excluded all contingency, not all grades of beings would be preserved.

[4] Besides, the nearer certain things are to God, the more they participate in His likeness; and the farther they are away, the more defective are they in regard to His likeness. Now, those that are nearest to God are quite immobile; namely, the separate substances which most closely approach the likeness of God, Who is completely immutable. But the ones which are next to these, and which are moved immediately by those which always exist in the same way, retain a certain type of immobility by the fact that they are always moved in the same way, which is true of the celestial bodies. It follows, then, that those things which come after them and are moved by them are far distant from the immutability of God, so that they are not always moved in the same way. And beauty is evident in this order. Now, every necessary thing, as such, always exists in the same wav. It would be incompatible, then, with divine providence. to which the establishment and preservation of order in things belongs, if all things came about as a result of necessity.

[5] Furthermore, that which is necessary is always. Now, no corruptible thing always exists. So, if divine providence required this, that all things be necessary, it would follow that nothing corruptible exists among things, and, consequently, nothing generable. Thus, the whole area of generable and corruptible things would be removed from reality. This detracts from the perfection of the universe.

[6] Moreover, in every motion there is some generation and corruption, for, in a thing that is moved, something begins and something ceases to be. So, if all generation and corruption were removed as a result of taking away the contingency of things, as we showed, the consequence would be that even motion would be taken away from things, and so would all movable things.

[7] Besides, the weakening of the power of any substance, and the hindering of it by a contrary agent, are due to some change in it. So, if divine providence does not prevent motion from going on in things, neither will the weakening of their power be prevented, nor the blocking of their power by the resistance of another thing. Now, the result of the weakness in power, and the impeding of it, is that a thing in nature does not always work uniformly, but sometimes fails in regard to what is appropriate for it naturally; and so, natural effects do not occur by necessity. Therefore, it is not the function of divine providence to impose necessity on things ruled by it.

[8] Furthermore, among things that are properly regulated by providence there should be none incapable of fulfillment. So, if it be manifest that some causes are contingent, because they can be prevented from producing their effects, it would evidently be against the character of providence for all things to happen out of necessity. Therefore, divine providence does not impose necessity on things by entirely excluding contingency from things.

Chapter 73

THAT DIVINE PROVIDENCE DOES NOT EXCLUDE FREEDOM OF CHOICE

[1] From this it is also evident that providence is not incompatible with freedom of will.

[2] Indeed, the governance of every provident ruler is ordered either to the attainment, or the increase, or the preservation of the perfection of the things governed. Therefore, whatever pertains to perfection is to be preserved by providence rather than what pertains to imperfection and deficiency. Now, among inanimate things the contingency of causes is due to imperfection and deficiency, for by their nature they are determined to one result which they always achieve, unless there be some impediment arising either from a weakness of their power, or on the part of an external agent, or because of the unsuitability of the matter. And for this reason, natural agent causes are not capable of varied results; rather, in most cases, they produce their effect in the same way, failing to do so but rarely. Now, the fact that the will is a contingent cause arises from its perfection, for it does not have power limited to one outcome but rather has the ability to produce this effect or that; for which reason it is contingent in regard to either one or the other. Therefore, it is more pertinent to divine providence to preserve liberty of will than contingency in natural causes.

[3] Moreover, it is proper to divine Providence to use things according to their own mode. Now, the mode of acting p6culiar to each thing results from its form, which is the source of action. Now, the form whereby an agent acts voluntarily is not determined, for the will acts through a form apprehended by the intellect, since the apprehended good moves the will as its object. Now, the intellect does not have one form determined to an effect; rather, it is characteristic of it to comprehend a multitude of forms. And because of this the will can produce effects according to many forms. Therefore, it does not pertain to the character of providence to exclude liberty of will.

[4] Besides, by the governance of every provident agent the things governed are led to a suitable end; hence, Gregory of Nyssa says of divine providence that it is the “will of God through which all things that exist receive a suitable end.” But the ultimate end of every creature is to attain the divine likeness, as we showed above. Therefore, it would be incompatible with providence for that whereby a thing attains the divine likeness to be taken away from it. Now, the voluntary agent attains the divine likeness because it acts freely, for we showed in Book One [88] that there is free choice in God. Therefore, freedom of will is not taken away by divine providence.

[5] Again, providence tends to multiply goods among the things that are governed. So, that whereby many goods are removed from things does not pertain to providence. But, if freedom of will were taken away, many goods would be removed. Taken away, indeed, would be the praise of human virtue which is nothing, if man does not act freely. Taken away, also, would be justice which rewards and punishes, if man could not freely do good or evil. Even the careful consideration of circumstances in processes of deliberation would cease, for it is useless to dwell upon things that are done of necessity. Therefore, it would be against the very character of providence if liberty of will were removed.

[6] Hence it is said: “God made man from the beginning and left him in the hand of his own counsel”; and again: “Before man is life and death, good and evil, that which he shall choose shall be given him” (Sirach 15:14, 18).

[7] Now, by these considerations the opinion of the Stoics is set aside, for they said that all things come about by necessity, according to an irrevocable order of causes, which the Greeks called ειμαρμενη.

Chapter 74

THAT DIVINE PROVIDENCE DOES NOT EXCLUDE FORTUNE AND CHANCE

[1] It is also apparent from the foregoing that divine providence does not take away fortune and chance from things.

[2] For it is in the case of things that happen rarely that fortune and chance are said to be present. Now, if some things did not occur in rare instances, all things would happen by necessity. Indeed, things that are contingent in most cases differ from necessary things only in this: they can fail to happen, in a few cases. But it would be contrary to the essential character of divine providence if all things occurred by necessity, as we showed. Therefore, it would also be contrary to the character of divine providence if nothing were to be fortuitous and a matter of chance in things.

[3] Again, it would be contrary to the very meaning of providence if things subject to providence did not act for an end, since it is the function of providence to order all things to their end. Moreover, it would be against the perfection of the universe if no corruptible thing existed, and no power could fail, as is evident from what was said above. Now, due to the fact that an agent fails in regard to an end that is intended, it follows that some things occur by chance. So, it would be contrary to the meaning of providence, and to the perfection of things, if there were no chance events.

[4] Besides, the large number and variety of causes stem from the order of divine providence and control. But, granted this variety of causes, one of them must at times run into another cause and be impeded, or assisted, by it in the production of its effect. Now, from the concurrence of two or more causes it is possible for some chance event to occur, and thus an unintended end comes about due to this causal concurrence. For example, the discovery of a debtor, by a man who has gone to market to sell something, happens because the debtor also went to market. Therefore, it is not contrary to divine providence that there are some fortuitous and chance events among things.

[5] Moreover, what does not exist cannot be the cause of anything. Hence, each thing must stand in the same relation to the fact that it is a cause, as it does to the fact that it is a being. So, depending on the diversity of order in beings, there must also be a diversity of order among causes. Now, it is necessary for the perfection of things that there be among things not only substantial beings but also accidental beings. Indeed, things that do not possess ultimate perfection in their substance must obtain such perfection through accidents, and the more of these there are, the farther are they from the simplicity of God. From the fact, then, that a certain subject has many accidents it follows that it is a being accidentally, because a subject and an accident, and even two accidents of one substance, are a unit and a being accidentally; as in the example of a white man, and of a musical, white being. So, it is necessary to the perfection of things that there should also be some accidental causes. Now, things which result accidentally from any causes are said to happen by chance or fortune. Therefore, it is not contrary to the rational character of providence, which preserves the perfection of things, for certain things to come about as a result of chance or fortune.

[6] Furthermore, that there be order and a gradation of causes is important to the order of divine providence. But the higher a cause is, the greater is its power; and so, its causality applies to a greater number of things. Now, the natural intention of a cause cannot extend beyond its power, for that would be useless. So, the particular intention of a cause cannot extend to all things that can happen. Now, it is due to the fact that some things happen apart from the intention of their agents that there is a possibility of chance or fortuitous occurrence. Therefore, the order of divine providence requires that there be chance and fortune in reality.

[7] Hence it is said: “I saw that the race is not to the swift… but time and chance in all” (Sirach 9:11), that is, among things here below.

Chapter 75

THAT GOD’S PROVIDENCE APPLIES TO CONTINGENT SINGULARS

[1] It is obvious from what we have shown that divine providence reaches out to singulars that are generable and corruptible.

[2] Except for the fact of their contingency, and the fact that many of them come about by chance and fortune, it does not seem that providence is inapplicable to them. For it is only on this basis that they differ from incorruptible things, and the universal natures of corruptible things, to which providence does apply, as people say. But contingency is not incompatible with providence, nor are chance or fortune or voluntary action, as we have shown. Therefore, nothing prohibits providence from also applying to these things, just as it does to incorruptible and universal things.

[3] Again, if God does not exercise providence over these singulars, this is either because He does not know them, or because He is not able to do so, or because He does not wish to take care of them. Now, it cannot be said that God does not know singulars; we showed above that God does possess knowledge of them. Nor can it be said that God is unable to take care of them, for His power is infinite, as we proved above. Nor, indeed, are these singulars incapable of being governed, since we see them governed by the use of reason in the case of men, and by means of natural instinct in the case of bees and many brute animals that are governed by some sort of natural instinct. Nor, in fact, can it be said that God does not wish to govern them, since His will is universally concerned with every good thing, and the good of things that are governed lies chiefly in the order of governance. Therefore, it cannot be said that God takes no care of these singulars.

[4] Besides, all secondary causes, by the fact of being causes, attain the divine likeness, as is evident from what we said above. Now, we find one thing in common among causes that produce something: they take care of their products. Thus, animals naturally nourish their young. So, God takes care of the things of which He is the cause. Now, He is the cause even of these particular things, as is obvious from our previous statements.” So, He does take care of them.

[5] Moreover, we showed above that God does not act in regard to created things by a necessity of His nature, but through His will and intellect. Now, things done by intellect and will are subject to the care of a provident agent, for that is what such care seems to consist in: the fact that certain things are managed through understanding. And so, the things that result from His action are subject to divine providence. But we showed before that God works through all secondary causes, and that all their products may be traced back to God as their cause; so it must be that the things that are done among singulars are His works. Therefore, these singulars, and also their motions and operations, come under the scope of divine providence.

[6] Furthermore, foolish is the providence of a person who does not take care of the things needed by the things for which he does care. But it is obvious that, if all particular things vanished, their universals could not endure. So, if God be only concerned with universals, and if He be entirely negligent of these singulars, then His providence will be foolish and imperfect.

[7] However, suppose someone says that God takes care of these singulars to the extent of preserving them in being, but not in regard to anything else; this is utterly impossible. In fact, all other events that occur in connection with singulars are related to their preservation or corruption. So, if God takes care of singulars as far as their preservation is concerned, He takes care of every contingent event connected with them.

[8] Of course, a person could say that the mere care of the universals is enough for the preservation of particulars in being, for in each species there are provided the means whereby any individual of the species may be preserved in being. For example, organs for the taking in and digestion of food have been given to animals, and also horns with which to protect themselves. Moreover, good uses of these cannot fail to be made, except in rare instances, because things that are from nature produce their effects in all cases, or frequently. Thus, it is not possible for all individuals to fall, even though a particular one may do so.

[9] But according to this argument all events that occur in connection with individuals will be subject to providence, in the same way that their preservation in being is, because nothing can happen in connection with the singular members of any species that cannot be reduced in some way to the sources of that species. And so, singulars come no more under the scope of divine providence in regard to their preservation in being than they do in regard to their other aspects.

[10] Furthermore, in the relation of things to their end, an order appears, such that accidents exist for the sake of substances, in order that substances may be perfected by them; on the other hand, within substances matter is for the sake of form, for it participates in divine goodness through form, and that is why all things were made, as we showed above. Consequently, it is clear that singulars exist for the sake of the universal nature. The sign of this is the fact that, in the case of beings whose universal nature can be preserved by one individual, there are not plural individuals of one species, as is instanced by the sun and the moon. But, since providence has the function of ordering things to their end, both the ends and the things that are related to an end must be a matter of concern to providence. Therefore, not only universals, but also singulars, come under the scope of providence.

[11] Again, this is the difference between speculative and practical knowledge: speculative knowledge and the functions that pertain to it reach their perfection in the universal, while the things that belong to practical knowledge reach their perfection in the particular. In fact, the end of speculative cognition is truth, which consists primarily and essentially in immaterial and universal things; but the end of practical cognition is operation, which is concerned with singulars. So, the physician does not heal man as a universal, but, rather, this individual man, and the whole science of medicine is ordered to this result. Now, it is obvious that providence belongs to the area of practical knowledge, for its function is to order things to their end. Therefore, God’s providence would be most imperfect if it were to confine itself to universals and not extend as far as singulars.

[12] Besides, speculative knowledge is perfected in the universal rather than in the particular, because universals are better known than particulars. Because of this, the knowledge of the most universal principles is common. However, that man who has not only universal, but also a proper, knowledge of things is more perfect in speculative science, for, the man who knows only universally merely knows a thing potentially. This is why a student is led from a universal knowledge of principles to a proper knowledge of conclusions, by his teacher who possesses knowledge of both -just as a thing is brought from potency to act by an actual being. So, in practical science, he is much more perfect who directs things to act, not only universally, but also in the particular case. Therefore, divine providence, being most perfect, extends to singulars.

[13] Moreover, since God is the cause of actual being because He is being, as was shown above, He must be the agent of providence for being, because He is being. Indeed, He does provide for things, because He is their cause. So, whatever a thing is, and whatever its mode of existing, it falls under His providence. Now, singulars are beings, and more so than universals, for universals do not subsist of themselves, but are only in singulars. Therefore, divine providence also applies to singulars.

[14] Furthermore, created things are subject to divine providence inasmuch as they are ordered by it to their ultimate end, which is divine goodness. Therefore, the participation-of divine goodness by created things is accomplished by divine providence. But even contingent singulars participate in divine goodness. So, divine providence must extend even to them.

[15] Hence it is said: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing: and not one of them shall fall on the ground without My Father” (Matt. 10:29; see 6:26). And again: “She reaches from end to end mightily” (Wis. 8:1), that is, from the noblest creatures down to the lowest of them. So, also, we oppose the view of those who said: “The Lord has forsaken the earth, and the Lord does not see” (Ez. 9:9); and again: “He walks about the poles of heaven, and He does not consider our things” (Job 22:14).

[16] By this conclusion we set aside the opinion of those who said that divine providence does not extend as far as these singular things. In fact, some attribute this opinion to Aristotle, even though it cannot be gathered from his own words.

Chapter 76

THAT GOD’S PROVIDENCE APPLIES IMMEDIATELY TO ALL SINGULARS

[1] Now, some have conceded that divine providence extends to singulars, but through certain intermediary causes. Indeed, Plato asserted a threefold providence, according to Gregory of Nyssa [Nemesius, De natura hominis, 44]. The first of these is that of the highest God, Who primarily and above all provides for His own things, that is, for all things spiritual and intellectual, but subsequently for the whole world, as far as genera and species go, and the universal causes which are the celestial bodies. Then the second type of providence is that by which provision is made for individual animals and plants, and for other generable and corruptible individuals, in respect to their generation and corruption, and other changes. Now, Plato attributes this kind of providence to the “gods that circulate about the heavens.” Aristotle, on the other hand, attributes their causality to the “oblique circle. Finally, handassigns a third kind of providence to things that pertain to human life. So, he attributes this function to certain “daemons living in the region of the earth” who are caretakers for human actions, according to him. But still, according to Plato, the second and third types of providence depend on the first, for the highest God has established the ones on the second and third levels as provident agents.

[2] Now, this theory is in agreement with the Catholic faith, in so far as it traces the providence of all things back to God as its first author. But it seems incompatible with the view of the faith, in regard to this: it says that not all particulars are immediately subject to divine providence. Now, we can show from the foregoing that they are.

[3] In point of fact, God has immediate knowledge of singulars, not merely in the sense that He knows them in their causes, but even in themselves, as we showed in Book One [65ff]of this work. But it would appear inappropriate for Him to know singulars and yet not to will their order, in which their chief good consists, for His will is the source of goodness in its entirety. Therefore, just as He knows singulars immediately, He must also establish order for them immediately.

[4] Again, the order that is established by providence among things that are governed arises from the order which the provident agent decides on within his own mind. For example, the artistic form that is produced in matter proceeds from the form that is in the mind of the artist. Now, where there are many overseers, arranged one under the next, the order that is conceived by the higher one must be handed down to the lower one; just as a lower type of an receives its principles from a higher one. If, then, the second and third provident agents are claimed to be under the first provident agent, Who is the highest God, they must receive the order that is to be established in things from the highest God. Now, it is not possible for this order to be more perfect in them than in the highest God; on the contrary, all perfections come to other things from Him by way of descent, as appears from things said earlier. The order of things must, then, be present in the secondary agents of providence, not merely universally, but also in respect to singulars; otherwise, they could not establish, order in singulars by their providence. Therefore, the ordering of singulars is much more under the control of divine providence.

[5] Besides, in the case of things regulated by human providence we find that a certain higher overseer thinks out the way in which some of the big and universal matters are to be ordered, but he does not himself think out the ordering of the smallest details; rather, handleaves these to be planned by agents on a lower level. But, as a matter of fact, this is so because of his own deficiency, either because handdoes not know the circumstances for the individual details, or because handis not able to think out the order for all, by virtue of the effort and length of time that might be needed. Now, deficiencies of this kind are far removed from God, because He knows all singular things, and He does not make an effort to understand, or require any time for it; since, by understanding Himself He knows all other things, as we showed above. Therefore, He plans even the order for all singular things. So, His providence applies to all singulars immediately.

[6] Moreover, in human affairs the lower overseers, through their own efforts, plan the order for those things whose direction has been given them by the chief executive. Of course, they do not get this ability from the man who is in charge, or even its use. Indeed, if they did get it from him, the ordering would already be accomplished by the higher executive, and they would not be the agents responsible for this ordering, but simply the ones who carry it out. Now, it is obvious from things said above that all wisdom and understanding are caused in intelligent beings by the highest God, and that no intellect can understand anything unless by divine power; just as no agent can perform any operation unless be act by this divine power. Therefore, God Himself is the disposer of all things immediately by His providence, and whatever beings are called agents of providence under Him are executors of His providence.

[7] Furthermore, a higher providence gives regulations to a lower providence, just as a statesman gives regulations and laws to the leader of an army, who gives laws and regulations to the heads of larger or smaller military units. If, then, there be other providences under the first providence of the supreme God, God must give these secondary or tertiary overseers the regulations for their commands. So, He gives them either universal regulations and laws or particular ones. But, if He gives them universal regulations for their commands, since universal regulations cannot be applied in all cases, to particulars, especially in the case of variable things that do not always remain the same, these secondary or tertiary overseers would have to give orders at times that are contrary to the regulations given them for the things subject to their control. So, they would be able to pass judgment on the regulations that they have received, as to when action should accord with these regulations and when one should overlook them. Now, this could not be, for such judgment belongs to a superior. Indeed, it is the prerogative of the one who establishes the laws to interpret them and issue dispensations from them. So, this judgment over universally given regulations must be carried out by the supreme overseer. Of course, He could not do this if He refused to involve Himself immediately in the ordering of these singular things. So, according to this, He must be the immediate overseer of these things. On the other hand, if the secondary and tertiary overseers receive particular regulations and laws from the highest overseer, then it is quite obvious that the ordering of these singulars is done immediately by divine providence.

[8] Again, the superior overseer always holds the power of judgment over the orders issued by inferior overseers, as to whether the orders are properly given or not. If, then, the secondary or tertiary overseers are under God as the first overseer, God must hold the power of judgment over the things ordered by them. In fact, He could not do this if He did not consider the order of these singulars. Therefore He Himself takes care by Himself of these singulars.

[9] Besides, if God does not immediately by Himself take care of these inferior singular things, this can only be either because He despises them or because His dignity might be lowered by them, as some people say. But this is unreasonable. It is indeed a matter of greater dignity to oversee the planning of the order for certain things than for it to be produced in them. So, if God works in all things, as we showed above, and if His dignity is not diminished thereby, and if this belongs rather to His universal and supreme power, it is in no sense something to be despised by Him, or something that might besmirch His dignity, if He exercises His providence immediately over these singulars.

[10] Moreover, every wise being who uses his power providently sets limits on the use of his power, when he acts, by ordering the objective and the extent to which it goes; otherwise, his power would not keep pace with his wisdom in such action. But it is obvious from the foregoing that the divine power, in operating, reaches to the lowest things. So, the divine wisdom is in control of ordering what, bow many, and what kind of effects proceed from His power, even down to the lowest things. Therefore, He is Himself planning the order for all things immediately by His providence.

[11] Hence it is said: “The things that are from God are well ordered” (Rom. 13:1). And again: “You have done the things of old, and have devised one thing after another; and what You have willed has been done” (Judith 9:4).

Chapter 77

THAT THE EXECUTION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE IS ACCOMPLISHED BY MEANS OF SECONDARY CAUSES

[1] We should attend to the fact that two things are required for providence: the ordering and the execution of the order. The first of these is accomplished by the cognitive power; as a consequence, those who have more perfect knowledge are called orderers of the others. “For it is the function of the wise man to order.” But the second is done by the operative power. Now, the situations in these two functions are contrary to each other. For, the more perfect an ordering is, the more does it descend to small details; but the execution of small details is appropriate to a lower power, proportionate to such an effect. Now, in God the highest perfection in regard to both functions is found; in fact, there is in Him the most perfect wisdom for ordering and the most perfect power for operating. So, He Himself through His wisdom must arrange the orders for all things, even the least; on the other hand, He may execute the small details by means of other lower powers, through which He Himself works, as does a universal and higher power through a lower and particular power. It is appropriate, then, that there be inferior agents as executors of divine providence.

[2] Again, we showed above that divine operation does not exclude the operations of secondary causes. But the resultants of the operations of secondary causes are within the scope of divine providence, since God orders all singulars by Himself, as we showed. Therefore, secondary causes are the executors of divine providence.

[3] Besides, the stronger the power of an agent is, the farther does its operation extend to more remote effects. For instance, the bigger a fire is, the farther away are the things it heats. But this does not occur in the case of an agent that acts without a medium, for whatever it acts on is adjacent to it. Therefore, since the power of divine providence is the greatest, it must extend its operation to its most distant effects through some intermediaries.

[4] Moreover, it belongs to the dignity of a ruler to have many ministers and a variety of executors of his rule, for, the more subjects he has, on different levels, the higher and greater is his dominion shown to be. But no ruler’s dignity is comparable to the dignity of the divine rule. So, it is appropriate that the execution of divine providence be carried out by diverse levels of agents.

[5] Furthermore, the propriety of its order manifests the perfection of providence, since order is the proper effect of providence. Now, it is pertinent to the propriety of order that nothing be left in disorder. So, the perfection of divine providence requires that the excess of certain things over others lit reduced to a suitable order. Now, this is done when one makes available some good for those that have less, from the abundance of those that have more. So, since the perfection of the universe requires that certain things participate in divine goodness more abundantly than others, as we showed above, the perfection of divine providence demands that the execution of the divine rule be accomplished by those that participate more fully in divine goodness.

[6] Besides, the order of causes is more noble than the order of effects, just as a cause is better than an effect. So, the perfection of providence is better manifested by the first order. But, if there were no intermediary causes carrying out divine providence, there would not be an order of causes in reality but only an order of effects, Therefore, the perfection of divine providence demands that there be intermediary causes as executors of it.

[7] Hence it is said in the Psalm (102:21): “Bless the Lord, all His hosts; you ministers of His who do His will”; and elsewhere: “Fire, hail, snow, stormy winds, which fulfill His word” (Ps. 148:8).

Chapter 78

THAT OTHER CREATURES ARE RULED BY GOD BY MEANS OF INTELLECTUAL CREATURES

[1] Since it is the function of divine providence to maintain order in things, and since a suitable order is such that there is a proportional descent from the highest things to the lowest it must be that divine providence reaches the farthest things by some sort of proportion. Now, the proportion is like this: as the highest creatures are under God and are governed by Him, so the lower creatures are under the higher ones and are ruled by them. But of all creatures the highest are the intellectual ones, as is evident from what we said earlier. Therefore, the rational plan of divine providence demands that the other creatures be ruled by rational creatures.

[2] Again, whatever type of creature carries out the order of divine providence, it is able to do so because it participates in something of the power of the first providential being; just as an instrument does not move unless, through being moved, it participates somewhat in the power of the principal agent. So, the beings that participate more fully in the power of the divine providence are executive agents of divine providence in regard to those that participate less. But intellectual creatures participate more than others in it, because an ability to establish order which is done by cognitive power, and an ability to execute it which is clone by operative power, are both -required for providence, and rational creatures share in both types of power, while the rest of creatures have operative powers only. Therefore, all other creatures are ruled by means of rational creatures under divine providence.

[3] Besides, to whomever any power is given by God, the recipient is given the power together with an ordination toward the effect of that power. For in that way all things are arranged for the best, inasmuch as each thing is ordered to all the goods that can naturally come from it. Now, the intellectual power by itself is capable of ordering and ruling; hence, we see that the operative power follows the direction of the intellective power, when they are combined in the same subject. In man, for instance, we observe that the bodily members are moved at the command of the will. The same is evident even if they are in different subjects; for instance, those men who excel in operative power must be directed by those who excel in intellectual power. Therefore, the rational plan of divine providence demands that other creatures be ruled by intellectual creatures.

[4] Moreover, particular powers are naturally adapted to be moved by universal powers; this is evident quite as much in the artistic as in the natural sphere. Now, it is obvious that intellectual power is more universal than any operative power, for the intellectual power contains universal forms, while each power is operative only because of some form proper to the agent. Therefore, all other creatures must be moved and regulated by means of intellectual powers.

[5] Furthermore, in all powers arranged in an order, one is directive in relation to the next, and it knows the rational plan best. Thus, we see in the case of the arts that one art, which is concerned with the end from which the plan for the entire artistic production is derived, directs and commands another art which makes the product, as the ‘art of navigation does in regard to shipbuilding. So, the one that introduces the form commands the one that prepares the matter. Instruments, on the other hand, which do not know the plan at all, are simply ruled. Since only intellectual creatures can know the rational plans for the ordering of creatures, it will therefore be their function to rule and govern all other creatures.

[6] Again, that which is of itself is the cause of that which is through another. But only intellectual creatures operate by themselves, in the sense that they are masters of their operations through free choice of their will. On the other hand, other creatures are involved in operation resulting from the necessity of nature, since they are moved by something else. Therefore, intellectual creatures by their operation are motivating and regulative of other creatures.

Chapter 79

THAT LOWER INTELLECTUAL SUBSTANCES ARE RULED BY HIGHER ONES

[1] Since certain intellectual creatures are higher than others, as is clear from the foregoing, the lower ones of an intellectual nature must be governed by the higher ones.

[2] Again, more universal powers are able to move particular powers, as we said. But the higher intellectual natures have more universal forms, as was shown above. Therefore, they are capable of ruling the lower intellectual natures.

[3] Besides, an intellectual potency that is nearer to the principle is always capable of ruling an intellectual power that is more removed from the principle. This is evident in both speculative and active sciences; for a speculative science which derives its principles of demonstration from another science is said to be subalternated to that other; and an active science which is nearer the end, which is the principle in matters of operation, is architectonic in regard to a more distant one. Therefore, since some intellectual substances are nearer the first principle, namely God, as was shown in Book Two [95], they will be capable of ruling others.

[4] Moreover, superior intellectual substances receive the influence of divine wisdom into themselves more perfectly, because each being receives something according to the being’s own mode. Now, all things are governed by divine wisdom. And so, things that participate more in divine wisdom must be capable of governing those that participate less. Therefore, the lower intellectual substances are governed by the higher ones.

[5] Thus, the higher spirits are also called angels, because they direct the lower spirits, as it were, by bringing messages to them; in fact, angels are spoken of as messengers. And they are also called ministers, because they carry out by their operation the order of divine providence even in the area of bodily things. Indeed, a minister is “like a living instrument,” according to the Philosopher [ Politics I, 4: 1253b 29]. So this is what is said in the Psalm (103:4): “You make your angels spirits, and your ministers a burning fire.”

Chapter 80

ON THE ORDERING OF THE ANGELS AMONG THEMSELVES

[1] Since bodily things are ruled by spiritual things, as we showed, and since there is an order of bodily things, the higher bodies must be ruled by the higher intellectual substances, while the lower bodies are ruled by the lower ones. Moreover, since the higher a substance is the more universal is its power, but the power of an intellectual substance is more universal than the power of a body, the higher intellectual substances, then, have powers incapable of functioning through bodily power, and so they are not united with bodies. But the lower ones have particular powers that are capable of functioning through certain bodily organs, and so they must be united with bodies.

[2] Now, as the higher intellectual substances are more universal in their power, they are also more perfectly receptive of divine control from Him, in the sense that they know the plan of this order down to its singular details because they receive it from God. However, this manifesting of the divine ordering stretches down by divine action to the last of the intellectual substances; as it is stated: “Is there any numbering of His soldiers? And upon whom shall not His light arise?” (Job 25:3). But the lower understandings do not receive it with such perfection that they are able to know through it the individual details which pertain to the order of providence, and which they are to execute. Rather, they know them in a general sort of way. The lower they are, the fewer details of the divine order do they receive through the first illumination which they get from the divine source. So much so, that the human understanding, which is the lowest according to natural knowledge, gets a knowledge of certain most universal items only.

[3] And thus, the higher intellectual substances obtain immediately from God a perfect knowledge of the aforementioned order; and then, other lower substances must obtain this perfect knowledge through them, just as we said above that the student’s universal knowledge is brought to perfection by the knowledge of the teacher who knows in detail. Hence, Dionysius, speaking of the highest intellectual substances whom he calls the first hierarchy, that is, the sacred sovereignty, says: “they are not sanctified by other substances but they are immediately ranged about Himself by the Godhead and are conducted to the immaterial and invisible beauty, in so far as it is permitted, and to the knowable reasons for the divine workings.” And thus, through them, handsays, “those placed below in the ranks of the celestial essences are instructed.” In this way, then, the higher understandings receive a perfect knowledge from a higher source of knowledge.

[4] Moreover, in every arrangement of providence this ordering of effects is derived from the form of the agent, because the effect must proceed from the cause by virtue of a certain likeness. Now, the fact that an agent communicates a likeness of his form to his effects is due to some end. So, the first principle in providential arrangement is the end; the second is the form of the agent; and the third is the arrangement of the order of the effects. Therefore, the highest function in the order of understanding is for the rational nature of the order to be considered in relation to the end; and the second most important thing is to observe it in relation to the form; while the third thing is to know the arrangement of this order in itself, and not in a higher source. Thus, the art which considers the end is architectonic in relation to the one which considers the form, as the art of navigating a ship is to the art of making one; but the art which considers the form is architectonic in relation to the art which merely considers the orders of the motions that are ordered in terms of the form, as the art of shipbuilding orders the skill of the workmen.

[5] So, there is a definite order in those understandings which grasp immediately in God Himself a perfect knowledge of the order of divine providence. For the highest and first intellects perceive the plan of the providential order in the ultimate end itself, which is the divine goodness, and some of them do so more clearly than others. These are called Seraphim, meaning the “ardent” or “burning” ones, because the intensity of love or desire, which are functions concerned with the end, is customarily symbolized by fire. Thus Dionysius says that, as a result of this name of theirs, there is a suggestion of “their mobility in relation to the divine, a fervent and flexible mobility, and of their leading of lower things to God,” as to their end.

[6] The second type of understandings know the plan of providence perfectly in the divine form itself. These are called Cherubim, which means “fullness of knowledge.” Indeed, knowledge is made perfect through the form of the knowable object. Hence, Dionysius says that this way of naming them suggests that they are “capable of contemplating the first operative power of divine beauty.

[7] Then, the third type of understandings consider the very arrangement of the divine judgments in themselves. These are called Thrones; for, by thrones the judiciary power is symbolized, according to this text: “You sit on the throne and judge justice” (Ps. 9:5). And so Dionysius says that this designation suggests that they are “bearers of God, immediately available for all divine undertakings.

[8] Now, the preceding statements are not to be understood in the sense that there is a difference between divine goodness, divine essence, and divine knowledge as it contains the arrangement of things; rather, there is a different way of considering each one.

[9] So, also, among the lower spirits who attain, through the higher spirits, a perfect knowledge of the divine order which they are to carry out there must be some order. In fact, the superior ones among them have a more universal power of knowing; hence, they obtain knowledge of the order of providence through principles and causes that are more universal, whereas the lower ones acquire it in more particular causes. For instance, the man who could consider the order of all natural things in the celestial bodies would be possessed of higher understanding than the man who is obliged, for the sake of perfect knowledge, to direct his gaze upon the lower bodies. So, those who can perfectly know the order of providence in the universal causes, which are intermediaries between God, Who is the most universal cause, and particular causes are intermediate between the ones who are able to consider the plan of this order in God Himself and the ones who must consider it in particular causes. These are placed by Dionysius in the middle hierarchy, for, just as it is directed by the highest, so also does it direct the lowest one, as he says in On the Celestial Hierarchy VIII.

[10] Moreover, there must be a definite order among these intellectual substances. In fact, the very arrangement in general, according to providence, is assigned first to many executors. This is accomplished through the order of Dominations, for it is the function of those who hold dominion to prescribe what the others execute. Hence, Dionysius says that the word Domination suggests “a certain freedom from control, placed above all servitude and superior to all subjection.”

[11] Then, secondly, there is a distribution and multiplication in the form of diverse effects on the part of the agent and executor. In fact, this is done by the order of Virtues, whose name, as Dionysius says in the same place, suggests “a strong forcefulness in regard to all Godlike operations, one which does not abandon its Godlike movement because of any weakening in itself.” It is evident from this that the source of universal operation belongs to this order. Hence it appears that pertinent to this order is the motion of the celestial bodies, from which bodies as universal causes, the particular effects in nature follow. So, they are called “the powers of the heavens” where it is said: “the powers of the heavens shall be moved” (Luke 21:26). Also pertinent to these spirits is the execution of divine works which are done outside the order of nature, for these are most sublime among the divine ministrations. For which reason, Gregory says, “those spirits are called Virtues through which miracles are frequently wrought” [ In Evangelium, homil. 34]. And if there be anything else that is universal and primary in the carrying out of divine ministrations, it is proper to assign it to this order.

[12] And, thirdly, the universal order of providence, already established in the effects, is guarded from all confusion, provided those things which might disturb this order are kept in check. Now, this pertains to the order of Powers. Hence, Dionysius says, in the same place, that the word Powers means “a well-ordered and unconfused ordering in regard to divine undertakings.” And Gregory says that pertinent to this order “is to check contrary powers.”

[13] Now, the lowest of the superior intellectual substances are those who receive the order of divine providence from a divine source, as it is knowable in particular causes. These are put immediately in charge of human affairs. Hence, Dionysius says of them: “this third order of spirits commands, in turn, the human hierarchies.” By human affairs we must understand all lower natures and particular causes which are related to man and which fall to the use of man, as is clear from the foregoing.

[14] Of course, there is a certain order among these. For in human affairs there is a common good which is, in fact, the good of a state or a people, and this seems to belong to the order of Principalities. Hence, Dionysius says, in the same chapter, that the name Principality suggests “a certain leadership along with sacred order.” For this reason, mention is made of “Michael the Prince of the Jews,” and of “a Prince of the Persians and a Prince of the Greeks” (Dan. 10:13, 20). And so, the arrangement of kingdoms and the changing of domination from one people to another ought to belong to the ministry of this order. Also, the instruction of those who occupy the position of leaders among men concerning matters pertinent to the administration of their rule seems to be the concern of this order.

[15] There is also a type of human good which does not lie in the community, but pertains to one. person as such; whose profit is not confined to one but is available to many. Examples are the things to be believed and practiced by all and sundry, such as items of faith, of divine worship, and the like. This pertains to the Archangels, of whom Gregory says: “they announce the most important things.” For instance, we call Gabriel an Archangel, because he announced the Incarnation of the Word to the Virgin, for the belief of all.

[16] Still another human good is pertinent to each person individually. This type of good belongs to the Angels; of whom Gregory says: “they announce less important things.” So, they are said to be “guardians of men,” according to the Psalm (90:11): “He gave His angels charge over you, to keep you in all thy ways.” Hence, Dionysius says that the Archangels are intermediate between the Principalities and the Angels, having something in common with both: with the Principalities, “in so far as they have charge of leading the lower angels,” and this is as it should be, for in human affairs private goods should be allotted on the basis of the things that are common; and in common with the Angels, because “they make announcements to the Angels and through the Angels to us,” and the function of the Angels is to make known to men “the things that pertain to them, in accord with what is proper to each man.” For this reason, too, the last order takes the common name for its own special one; that is to say, because it has the duty of making announcements immediately to us. That is also why the name Archangel is composed of both names, for Archangels are called, as it were, Principal Angels.

[17] However, Gregory assigns a different ordering to the celestial spirits; for he numbers the Principalities among the intermediate spirits, immediately after the Dominations, while he puts the Virtues among the lowest, before the Archangels. But to people who consider the matter carefully the two ways of ordering them differ but slightly. In fact, according to Gregory, Principalities are called, not those put in charge of peoples, but “who are given leadership even over good spirits,” as if they held first position in the execution of the divine ministrations. He says, indeed, that “to be put in the position of leader is to stand out as first among the rest.” Now, we said that this characteristic, in the previously given arrangement, belongs to the order of Virtues. But, according to Gregory, the Virtues are those related to certain particular operations, when in some special case outside the general order something has to be done miraculously. On the basis of this meaning, they are quite appropriately put in the same order with the lowest ones.

[18] Moreover, both ways of ordering them can find support in the words of the Apostle. For handsays: “Sitting Him,” that is, Christ, “on His right hand in heavenly places, above all principality, and power, and virtue, and dominion” (Eph. 3:20-21). It is clear that in the ascending order of this list he placed Powers above Principalities, and the Virtues above these, and the Dominations over these. Now, this is the order that Dionysius kept. However, to the Colossians, in speaking of Christ, handsays: “whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers, all things were created by Him and in Him” (Col. 1:16). In this text it appears that, starting with Thrones and going downward, he placed under them the Dominations, under them the Principalities, and under these the Powers. Now, this is the order that Gregory retained.

[19] Mention is made of the Seraphim in Isaiah (6:2, 6); of the Cherubim in Ezekiel 1 (3ff); of the ‘Archangels in the canonical Epistle of Jude (9): “When Michael the archangel, disputing with the devil, etc.”; and of the Angels in the Psalms, as we have said.

[20] There is also this common feature in all ordered powers, that all lower ones act by virtue of the higher power. Hence, what we explained as pertaining to the order of Seraphim all the lower orders carry out through the power of the Seraphim. And the same conclusion should be applied to the other orders, too.

Chapter 81

ON THE ORDERING OF MEN AMONG THEMSELVES AND TO OTHER THINGS

[1] As a matter of fact, human souls bold the lowest rank in relation to the other intellectual substances, because, as we said above,” at the start of their existence they receive a knowledge of divine providence, wherein they know it only in a general sort of way. But the soul must be brought to a perfect knowledge of this order, in regard to individual details, by starting from the things themselves in which the order of divine providence has already been established in detail. So, the soul had to have bodily organs by which it might draw knowledge from corporeal things. Yet, even with such equipment, because of the feebleness of its intellectual light, man’s soul is not able to acquire a perfect knowledge of the things that are important to man unless it be helped by higher spirits, for the divine disposition requires this, that lower spirits acquire perfection through the higher ones, as we showed above. Nevertheless, since man does participate somewhat in intellectual light, brute animals are subject to him by the order of divine providence, for they participate in no way in understanding. Hence it is said: “Let us make man to our own image and likeness,” namely, according as he has understanding, “and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts of the earth” (Gen. 1:26).

[2] Even brute animals, though devoid of understanding, have some knowledge; and so, in accord with the order of divine providence, they are set above plants and other things that lack knowledge. Hence it is said: “Behold I give you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat, and to all the beasts of the earth” (Gen. 1:29-30).

[3] Moreover, among things utterly devoid of knowledge one thing comes under another, depending on whether the one is more powerful in acting than the other. Indeed, they do not participate in anything of the disposition of providence, but only in its execution.

[4] Now, since man possesses intellect, sense, and bodily power, these are interrelated within him by a mutual order, according to the disposition of divine providence, in a likeness to the order which is found in the universe. In fact, corporeal power is subject to sense and intellectual power, as carrying out their command, and the sensitive power is subject to the intellectual and is included under its command.

[5] On the same basis, there is also found an order among men themselves. Indeed, those who excel in understanding naturally gain control, whereas those who have defective understanding, but a strong body, seem to be naturally fitted for service, as Aristotle says in his Politics [I, 5: 1254b 25]. The view of Solomon is also in accord with this, for he says: “The fool shall serve the wise” (Prov. 11:29); and again: “Provide out of all the people wise men such as fear God… who may judge the people at all times” (Exod. 18:21-22).

[6] Now, just as in the activities of one man disorder arises from the fact that understanding follows the lead of sensual power, while the sensual power is dragged down to the movement of the body by virtue of some disorder of the body, as is evident in the case of men who limp, so also does disorder arise in a human government, as a result of a man getting control, not because of the eminence of his understanding, but either because he usurps dominion for himself by bodily strength or because someone is set up as a ruler on the basis of sensual affection. Nor is Solomon silent on this kind of disorder, for he says: “There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as it were by an error proceeding from the face of the prince: a fool set in high dignity” (Eccles. 10:5-6). But disorder of this kind does not exclude divine providence; it comes about, indeed, with divine permission, as a result of the deficiency of lower agents, just as we explained in connection with other evils. Nor is the natural order entirely perverted by such disorder, for the dominion of fools is weak unless strengthened by the counsel of the wise. Hence it is said in Proverbs (20:16): “Designs are strengthened by counsels, and wars are to be arranged by governments”; and again: “a wise man is strong, and a knowing man stout and valiant: because war is managed by due ordering, and there shall be safety when there are many counsels” (Prov. 24:5-6). And since he who gives counsel rules the man who takes counsel, and in a sense governs him, it is said in Proverbs (17:2): “a wise servant shall rule over foolish sons.”

[7] So, it is evident that divine providence imposes order on all things; thus, what the Apostle says is certainly true: “the things which are of God are well ordered” (Rom. 13:1).

Chapter 82

THAT LOWER BODIES ARE RULED BY GOD THROUGH CELESTIAL BODIES

[1] Now, just as there is a difference between higher and lower intellectual substances, so also is there such a difference between corporeal substances. But intellectual substances are ruled by the higher ones, since the disposition of divine providence descends proportionally to the lowest, as we have said already. Therefore, on a like basis, the lower bodies are ordered through the higher ones.

[2] Again, the higher a body is in place, the more formal is it found to be. And even the place of a lower body reasonably follows this rule, since it is the function of form to limit, just as it is of place. In fact, water is more formal than earth, air than water, fire than air. But the celestial bodies are superior in place to all bodies. So, they are more formal than all the others, and, therefore, more active. So, they act on the lower bodies; thus, the lower ones are disposed by them.

[3] Besides, that which is in its nature perfected without contrariety is more universal than that which is not perfected in its nature without contrariety. Indeed, contrariety arises from the various things that determine and contract a genus; hence, in the realm of understanding, because it is universal the species of contraries are not contraries, for they may co-exist. But celestial bodies are perfected without any contrariety in their natures, for they are neither light nor heavy, neither hot nor cold. However, lower bodies are not perfected in their natures without some contrariety. Their motions also demonstrate this, for there is nothing contrary to the circular motion of the celestial bodies, and, consequently, there can be no violence in regard to them; but there are contraries to the motion of lower bodies, namely, downward motion as opposed to upward motion. So, celestial bodies are possessed of more universal power than lower bodies. But universal powers move particular ones, as is evident from what we have said. Therefore, celestial bodies move and dispose lower bodies.

[4] Moreover, it was shown above that all things are ruled through intellectual substances. But celestial bodies are more like intellectual substances than are other bodies because the former are incorruptible. They are also nearer to them, inasmuch as they are moved immediately by them, as we showed above. Therefore, the lower bodies are ruled by them.

[5] Furthermore, the first source of motion must be something immutable. So, the things that are nearest to immutability should be movers of the rest. But celestial bodies approach more closely to the immutability of the first source than do lower bodies, for they are not moved except by one kind of motion, namely, local motion; while other bodies are moved by all the species of motion. Therefore, the celestial bodies move and govern the lower bodies.

[6] Again, the first in any genus is the cause of members which are posterior. Now, in regard to all other motions, the first is the motion of the heavens; first of all, of course, because local motion is first among all motions, This is so in regard to time, for it alone can be perpetual, as is proved in the Physics VIII [7: 260b 29]. It is also so in regard to nature, for without it there cannot be any other kind of motion, In fact, a thing is not increased unless there be a preceding alteration by which what was formerly unlike is changed and becomes like; nor can alteration be accomplished unless there be a preceding local change, since for alteration to be achieved the agent of alteration must now be brought closer to the thing altered than it was before. It is also prior in perfection, because local motion does not change the thing in regard to any inherent factor but only according to something extrinsic; for this reason it belongs to an already perfected thing.

Secondly, even among local motions the circular is prior. And again, in regard to time: because it alone can be perpetual, as is proved in the Physics [VIII, 8: 261b 27]. And in regard to nature: for it is more simple and unified, since it is not divided into beginning, middle, and end; rather, the whole motion is like a middle. And even in perfection: because it is brought back to its origin.

Thirdly, because only the motion of the heavens is found always to be regular and uniform, for in the case of the natural motions of heavy and light things there is an increase in velocity toward the end; in the case of violent motion, there is an increase in retardation. So, the motion of the heavens must be the cause of all other motions.

[7] Besides, as the absolutely immobile is to unqualified motion, so is the immobile, that is qualified by a given motion, related to that motion. Now, that which is absolutely immobile is the source of all motion, as we proved above. So, what is immobile in regard to alteration is the source of all alteration. Now, the celestial bodies, alone among bodily things, are inalterable; their condition shows this, for it is always the same. So, the celestial body is the cause of all alteration in things that are changed by alteration. Now, in these lower bodies alteration is the source of all motion, for through alteration a thing achieves increase and generation, whereas the agent of generation is a self-mover in the local motion of heavy and light things. Therefore, the heavens must be the cause of all motion in these lower bodies.

[8] Thus, it is evident that lower bodies are ruled by God through the celestial bodies.

Chapter 83

EPILOGUE TO THE PRECEDING CHAPTERS

[1] Now, from all the things that have been pointed out we may gather that, as far as the planning of the order to be imposed on things is concerned, God disposes everything by Himself. And so, in his commentary on the text of Job 34:13 (“What other did He appoint over the earth?”) Gregory says: “Indeed, He Who created the world by Himself rules it by Himself” [ Moralia XXIV, 20]. And Boethius says, in Consolation of Philosophy III: “God disposes all things of Himself alone.”

[2] But, in regard t o the execution, He orders the lower things through the higher ones, and the bodily things through the spiritual ones. Hence, Gregory says, in his fourth Dialogue: “in this visible world nothing can be ordered except through an invisible creature.” And the lower spirits are ordered through the higher ones. Hence, Dionysius says that “the heavenly intellectual essences first give divine illumination to themselves, and then bring us manifestations which are above us.” Also, the lower bodies are ordered by the higher ones. Hence, Dionysius says that “the sun brings generation to visible bodies, and stimulates them to life itself, and nourishes, increases and perfects, cleanses and renews.”

[3] Moreover, Augustine speaks on all these points together, in the Book III of The Trinity: “As the grosser and lower bodies are ruled in a certain order by means of the subtler and more powerful ones, so are all bodies by means of the rational spirit of life, and also the sinful rational spirit of the sinner by the righteous rational spirit.”

Chapter 84. That the Celestial Bodies Make No Impression on Our Intellects

[1] From the things set forth earlier it is immediately evident that celestial bodies cannot be causes of events which go on in the understanding. Indeed, we have already shown that the order of divine providence requires the lower things to be ruled and moved by the higher ones. But the understanding surpasses all bodies in the order of nature, as is also clear from what we have said before. So, it is impossible for celestial bodies to act directly on the intellect. Therefore, they cannot be the direct cause of things that pertain to understanding.

[2] Again, no body acts except through motion, as is proved in Physics VIII [6]. But things that are immovable are not caused by motion, for nothing is caused by the motion of an agent, unless the agent moves a passive subject during the motion. So, things that are utterly apart from motion cannot be caused by the celestial bodies. But things that are in the area of understanding are entirely apart from motion, properly speaking, as is evident from the Philosopher, in Physics VII [3]. On the contrary, “through being undisturbed by motions, the soul becomes prudent and knowing” as is stated in the same place. Therefore, it is impossible for celestial bodies to be the direct cause of things that pertain to understanding.

[3] Besides, if nothing is caused by a body unless the body is moved while the motion is going on, it is necessary for everything that receives an impression from a body to be moved. Now, nothing is so moved except a body, as is proved in Physics VI [4]. So, everything that receives an impression from a body must be a body, or some power of a body. Now, we showed in Book Two that the intellect is neither a body nor a bodily power. Therefore, it is impossible for the celestial bodies directly to make an impression on the intellect.

[4] Moreover, everything that is moved by another thing is reduced by it from potency to act. But nothing is reduced by a thing from potency to act unless that thing is actual. So, every agent and mover must be in some way actual, in regard to the effects to which the passive and movable subject is in potency. Now, the celestial bodies are not actually intelligible, for they are certain individual, sensible things. And so, since our intellect is not in potency to anything except actual intelligibles, it is impossible for celestial substances directly to act on the intellect.

15] Furthermore, the proper operation of a thing depends on its nature, which, in things that are generated, is acquired, along with the proper operation, through the process of generation. This is clear in the case of heavy and light things, which immediately at the end of the process that generates them possess their proper motion unless there be some impediment. Because of this the generating agent is called a mover. So, that which in regard to the beginning of its nature is not subject to the actions of celestial bodies cannot be subject to them in regard to its operation. Now, man’s intellectual nature is not caused by any corporeal principles, but is of completely extrinsic origin, as we proved above. Therefore, the operation of the intellect does not come directly under the celestial bodies.

[6] Again, effects caused by celestial motions are subject to time, which is “the measure of the first celestial motion.” And so, events that abstract from time entirely are not subject to celestial motions. But the intellect in its operation does abstract from time, as it does also from place; in fact, it considers the universal which is abstracted from the here and now. Therefore, intellectual operation is not subject to celestial motions.

[7] Besides, nothing acts beyond the capacity of its species. But the act of understanding transcends the species and form of every sort of bodily agent, since every corporeal form is material and individuated, whereas the act of understanding is specified by its object which is universal and immaterial. As a consequence, no body can understand through its corporeal form. Still less, then, can any body cause understanding in another being.

[8] Moreover, a being cannot be subject to its inferiors by the same part whereby it is united to its superiors. But our soul is united to the intellectual substances, which are superior to the celestial bodies in the order of nature, by virtue of the part which is the understanding. In fact, our soul cannot understand unless it receives intellectual light from those substances. Therefore, it is impossible for intellectual operation directly to be subject to the celestial motions.

[9] Furthermore, our confidence in this view will be increased if we consider the statements of the philosophers on the point. As a matter of fact, the ancient natural philosophers, like Democritus, Empedocles, and those of similar persuasion, claimed that understanding does not differ from sense perception, as is evident from Metaphysics IV [5] and from Book III of On the Soul [3]. And so, the conclusion was made that, since sensation is a bodily power depending on changes in bodies, the same thing is also true of understanding. For this reason, they said that intellectual operation results from the motion of the celestial bodies, because change in lower bodies results from change in the higher bodies. According to a passage in Homer: “So understanding in gods and in earthly men is like the daylight which the father of men and gods brings down”; the reference is to the sun, or, better, to Jupiter, whom they called the highest god, understanding him to be the whole heavens, as is clear from Augustine in his City of God [IV, 11].

[10] Next came the opinion of the Stoics, who said that intellectual knowledge is caused by the fact that the images of bodies are impressed on our minds, as a sort of mirror or as a page receives the letters imprinted on it without its doing anything; as Boethius reports in Book V of the Consolation. According to their view, it followed that intellectual notions are impressed on us chiefly by an impression from the celestial bodies. Hence, the Stoics were the ones who especially asserted that the life of man is directed by a fatal necessity.

However, this theory appeared false, as time went on, as Boethius says in the same place, for the understanding combines and separates, compares the highest things with the lowest, and knows universals and simple forms that are not found in bodies. So, it is obvious that the understanding is not simply receptive of bodily images, but has a power higher than bodies, since external sensation which is only receptive of bodily images does not encompass the actions mentioned above.

[11] Now, all the philosophers who followed distinguished understanding from sense perception and attributed the cause of our knowledge not to bodies, but to immaterial things. Thus, Plato claimed that the cause of our knowledge is the Ideal Forms; while Aristotle said that it is the agent intellect.

[12] From all these views we may gather that the assertion that the celestial bodies are the cause of our act of understanding is a consequence of the opinion of those who claimed that understanding does not differ from sensation, as is clear from Aristotle in his book On the Soul [III, 3]. Now, it has been shown that this opinion is false. So, it is also obvious that the opinion which asserts that celestial bodies are directly the cause of our act of understanding is false.

[13] Hence, Sacred Scripture also ascribes the cause of our understanding, not to any body but to God: “Where is God, Who made me, Who gives songs in the night; Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, and instructs us more than the fowls of the air?” (Job 35:10-11). Again, in the Psalm (93:10): “He who teaches man knowledge.”

[14] However, we should note that, though celestial bodies cannot be directly the causes of our understanding, they may do something indirectly in regard to it. For, although the understanding is not a corporeal power, the operation of understanding cannot be accomplished in us without the operation of corporeal powers: that is, the imagination, the power of memory, and the cogitative power, as is evident from preceding explanations. And as a result, if the operations of these powers are blocked by some indisposition of the body, the operation of the intellect is impeded, as is evident in demented and sleeping persons, and in others similarly affected. And that is why even the good disposition of the human body makes one able to understand well, for, as a result of this, the aforesaid powers are in a stronger condition. Thus it is stated in Book II of On the Soul [9] that we observe that “men with soft flesh are well endowed mentally.”

Now, the condition of the human body does come under the influence of celestial motions. In fact, Augustine says, in the City of God V, that “it is not utterly absurd to say that certain influences of the stars are able to produce differences in bodies only.” And Damascene says, in Book II [ De fide orthodoxa ], that “different planets establish in us diverse temperaments, habits and dispositions.””So, the celestial bodies work indirectly on the good condition of understanding. Thus, just as physicians may judge the goodness of an intellect from the condition of its body, as from a proximate disposition, so also may an astronomer judge from the celestial motions, as the remote cause of such dispositions. In this way, then, it is possible that there is some truth in what Ptolemy says in his Centiloquium: “When, at the time of a man’s birth, Mercury is in conjunction with Saturn and is itself in a strong condition, it gives inwardly to things the goodness of understanding.”

Chapter 85

THAT THE CELESTIAL BODIES ARE NOT THE CAUSES OF OUR ACTS OF WILL AND CHOICE

[1] It further appears from this that the celestial bodies are not the causes of our acts of will or of our choices.

[2] Indeed, the will belongs in the intellectual part of the soul, as is evident from the Philosopher in Book III of On the Soul. So, if celestial bodies cannot directly make an impression on our intellect, as we showed, then neither will they be able to make an impression directly on the will.

[3] Again, every choice and act of will is caused immediately in us from an intelligible apprehension, for the intellectual good is the object of the will, as is clear from Book III of On the Soul [10]. For this reason, perversity cannot result in the act of choice, unless the intellectual judgment is defective in regard to the particular object of choice, as is evident from the Philosopher in Ethics VII [3]. But the celestial bodies are not the cause of our act of understanding. Therefore, they cannot be the cause of our act of choice.

[4] Besides, whatever events occur in these lower bodies as a result of the influence of celestial bodies happen naturally, because these lower bodies are naturally subordinated to them. So, if our choices do occur as a result of the impression of celestial bodies, they will have to occur naturally; that is to say, a man might choose naturally to have his operations go on, just as brutes are involved in operations by natural instinct, and as inanimate bodies are moved naturally. In that case, there would not be choice and nature, as two active principles, but only one, and that is nature. The contrary of this view is evident from Aristotle, in Physics II [5]. Therefore, it is not true that our choices originate from the influence of the celestial bodies.

[5] Moreover, things that are done naturally are brought to their end by determinate means, and so they always happen in the same way, for nature is determined to one result. But human choices tend to their end in various ways, both in moral actions and in artistic productions. Therefore, human choices are not accomplished by nature.

[6] Furthermore, things that are done naturally are done rightly in most cases, for nature does not fail, except in rare cases. So, if man were to choose naturally, his choices would be right in most cases. Now, this is evidently false. Therefore, man does not choose naturally. But he would have to ff he chose as a result of the impulsion of celestial bodies.

[7] Again, things that belong to the same species do not differ in their natural operations which result from the nature of their species. Thus, every swallow builds its nest in the same way, and every man understands naturally known first principles in the same way. Now, choice is an operation resulting from the species of man. So, if man were to choose. naturally, then all men would have to choose in the same way. This is clearly false, both in moral and in artistic actions.

[8] Besides, virtues and vices are the proper principles for acts of choice, for virtues and vices differ in the fact that they choose contraries. Now, the political virtues and vices are not present in us from nature but come from custom, as the Philosopher proves, in Ethics II [1], from the fact that whatever kind of operations we have become accustomed to, and especially from boyhood, we acquire habits of the same kind. And so, our acts of choice are not in us from nature. Therefore, they are not caused from the influence of celestial bodies, according to which things occur naturally.

[9] Moreover, celestial bodies make no direct impression, except on bodies, as we showed. So, if they are the cause of our acts of choice, this will be either because they influence our bodies, or because they influence external things. But in neither way can they be an adequate cause of our act of choice. In fact, it is not an adequate cause of our choice, for some corporeal things to be externally presented to us; for it is clear that on encountering some pleasurable object, say an item of food or a woman, the temperate man is not moved to choose it, but the intemperate man is moved. Likewise, whatever change might take place in our body as a result of the influence of a celestial body, it would not suffice to cause our choice, because there are no other results from this in us than certain passions, more or less strong. But passions, whatever their strength, are not an adequate cause for choice, since by the same passions an incontinent man is led to follow them by choice, while a continent man is not so induced. Therefore, it cannot be said that celestial bodies are the causes of our acts of choice.

[10] Furthermore, no power is given anything unless it has a use. But man has the power of judging and deliberating on all the things that may be done by him, whether in the use of external things or in the entertaining or repelling of internal passions. Of course, this would be useless if our choice were caused by celestial bodies which do not come under our control. Therefore, celestial bodies are not the cause of our act of choice.

[11] Again, man is naturally a political animal, or a social one. This is apparent, indeed, from the fact that one man is not sufficient unto himself if he lives alone, because nature provides but few things that are sufficient for man. Instead, it gives him reason whereby he may make ready all the things needed for life, such as food, clothing, and the like; one man is not sufficient to do all these things. So, to live in society is naturally implanted in man. But the order of providence does not take away from a thing what is natural to it, but provides for each thing in accord with its nature, as is evident from what we have said. Therefore, man is not so ordered by the order of providence that his social life is taken away. Now, it would be removed if our acts of choice arose from impressions due to the celestial bodies, as do the natural instincts of other animals.

[12] Besides, it would be useless for laws and rules of living to be promulgated if man were not master of his own choices. Useless, too, would be the employment of punishments and rewards for good or evil deeds, in regard to which it is not in our power to choose one or the other. In fact, if these things disappear, social life is at once corrupted. Therefore, man is not so established by the order of providence that his choices originate from the motions of the celestial bodies.

[13] Moreover, men’s choices are made in regard to goods and evils. So, if our choices originated from the motions of the stars, it would follow that the stars would be the direct cause of evil choices. But an evil thing has no cause in nature, since evil results from a defect of a cause and has no direct cause, as we showed above. Therefore, it is not possible for our choices to originate directly and of themselves from celestial bodies as causes.

[14] Now, someone might be able to oppose this argument by saying that every bad choice arises from a good that is desired, as we showed above. For instance, the choice of an adulterer arises from the desire for a pleasurable good associated with sexual activity, and some star moves him toward this universal good. As a matter of fact, this is necessary for the accomplishment of the generating of animals, and this common good should not be set aside because of the particular evil of this person who makes a bad choice as a result of such prompting.

[15] But this argument is not adequate if celestial bodies are claimed to be the direct cause of our choices, in the sense that they make direct impressions on the intellect and will. For the impression of a universal cause is received in any being according to the mode of that being. So, the influence of a star, that impels toward the pleasure associated with the generative act will be received in any being according to its own mode. Thus we observe that different animals have different times and various ways of reproducing, according to what befits their nature, as Aristotle says in his treatise on the History of Animals [V, 8]. So, intellect and will are going to receive the influence of this star according to their own mode. But, when an object is desired in accordance with the mode of intellect and reason, there is no sin in the choice; in fact, a choice is bad, always because it is not in accord with right reason. Therefore, if celestial bodies were the cause of our choices, there would never be a bad choice for us.

[16] Moreover, no active power extends to effects that are beyond the species and nature of the agent, for every agent acts by virtue of its form. But the act of willing surpasses every bodily species, as does the act of understanding. Indeed, just as we understand universals, so also is our will attracted to the universal object; for example, “we hate every kind of thief,” as the Philosopher says in his Rhetoric [II, 4]. Therefore our will-act is not caused by a celestial body.

[17] Furthermore, things that are related to an end are proportioned to that end. But human choices are ordered to felicity as their ultimate end. Of course, it does not consist in any corporeal goods but in the union of the soul with divine things by way of understanding, as we showed above, both according to the view of faith and according to the opinions of the philosophers. Therefore, celestial bodies cannot be the cause of our acts of choice.

[18] Hence it is said: “Be not afraid of the signs of heaven which the heathens fear; for the laws of people are vain” (Jer. 10:2-3).

[19] By this conclusion the theory of the Stoics is also refuted, for they claimed that all our acts, and even our choices, are ordered by the celestial bodies. This is also said to have been the position of the ancient Pharisees among the Jews. The Priscillianists, too, shared this error, as is stated in the book On Heresies [Augustine, 70].

[20] It was also the opinion of the old natural philosophers who claimed that sensation and understanding did not differ. Thus, Empedocles said that “the will is increased in men, as in other animals, in respect to what is present”; that is, according to the present instant resulting from the celestial motion that causes time, as Aristotle reports it in his book On the Soul [III, 3].

[21] Yet we should note that, though celestial bodies are not directly the cause of our choices, in the sense of directly making impressions on our wills, some occasion for our choices may be indirectly offered by them, because they do make an impression on bodies, and in a twofold sense. In one way, the impressions of the celestial bodies on external bodies are for us the occasion of a certain act of choice; for instance, when the atmosphere is disposed to severe cold by the celestial bodies, we choose to get warmed near a fire or to do other such acts which suit the weather. In a second way, they make an impression on our bodies; when a change occurs in them, certain movements of the passions arise in us; or we are made prone by their impressions to certain passions, as the bilious are prone to anger; or again, some bodily disposition that is an occasion for an act of choice may be caused in us by their impression, as when, resulting from our illness, we choose to take medicine. At times, too, a human act may be caused by the celestial bodies, in the sense that some people become demented as a result of a bodily indisposition and are deprived of the use of reason. Strictly speaking, there is no act of choice for such people, but they are moved by a natural instinct, as are brutes.

[22] Moreover, it is plain and well known by experience that such occasions, whether they are external or internal, are not the necessary cause of choice, since man is able, on the basis of reason, either to resist or obey them. But there are many who follow natural impulses, while but few, the wise only, do not take these occasions of acting badly and of following their natural impulses. This is why Ptolemy says, in his Centiloquium: “the wise soul assists the work of the stars”; and that “the astronomer could not give a judgment based on the stars, unless he knew well the power of the soul and the natural temperament”; and that “the astronomer should not speak in detail on a matter, but in general.” That is to say, the impression from the stars produces its result in most people who do not resist the tendency that comes from their body, but it is not always effective, for, in one case or another a man may resist, perhaps, the natural inclination by means of reason.

Chapter 86

THAT THE CORPOREAL EFFECTS IN THINGS HERE BELOW DO NOT NECESSARILY RESULT FROM THE CELESTIAL BODIES

[1] Not only is it impossible for the celestial bodies to impose necessity on human choice; in fact, not even corporeal effects in things here below necessarily result from them.

[2] For the impressions of universal causes are received in their effects according to the mode of the recipients. Now, these lower things are fluctuating and do not always maintain the same condition: because of matter which is in potency to many forms and because of the contrariety of forms and powers. Therefore, the impressions of celestial bodies are not received in these lower things by way of necessity.

[3] Again, an effect does not result from a remote cause unless there be also a necessary intermediate cause; just as in syllogisms, from a necessary major and a contingent minor, a necessary conclusion does not follow. But celestial bodies are remote causes, whereas the proximate causes of lower effects are the active and passive powers in these lower things, which are not necessary causes, but contingent, for they may fail in a few instances. So, effects in these lower bodies do not follow of necessity from the motions of the celestial bodies.

[4] Besides, the motion of the celestial bodies always is in the same mode. So, if the effect of the celestial bodies on these lower ones came about from necessity, the events in lower bodies would always happen in the same way. Yet they do not always occur in the same way, but in most cases. So, they do not come about by necessity.

[5] Moreover, it is not possible for one necessary thing to come to be out of many contingent things, because, just as any contingent thing of itself can fall short of its effect, so, too, all of them may together. Now, it is obvious that the individual effects that are accomplished in these lower things, as a result of the impression of celestial bodies, are contingent. Therefore, the combination of these events that occur in lower things as a result of the impression of celestial bodies is not a necessary one, for it is plain that any one of them may be prevented from happening.

[6] Moreover, the celestial bodies are agents in the order of nature; they need matter on which to act. So, the need for matter is not removed as a result of the action of celestial bodies. Now, the matter on which the celestial bodies act consists of the lower bodies which, being corruptible in their nature, may be just as able to fail in their operations as they are able to fail in their being. Thus, their nature has this characteristic: they do not produce their effects by necessity. Therefore, the effects of the celestial bodies do not come about by necessity, even in the lower bodies.

[7] But someone will say, perhaps, that the effects of the celestial bodies must be accomplished. Yet, possibility is not removed from the lower bodies by this fact, because each effect is in potency before it comes about. So, it is then called possible, but when it now becomes actual, it passes from possibility to necessity. All of this comes under the control of the celestial bodies; and so, the fact that the effect is at one time possible is not removed in this way, even though it is necessary that this effect be produced at another time. Indeed, this is the way that Albumasar, in his book, Introduction to Astronomy, tries to defend the possible.

[8] But one cannot defend this meaning of the possible. For there is a sort of possibility that depends on what is necessary. Indeed, what is necessary in regard to actual being must be possible in regard to being; and what is not possible in relation to being is impossible in regard to being; and what is impossible in regard to being is necessarily nonbeing. Therefore, what is necessary in relation to being is necessary in relation to non-being. But this is impossible. So, it is impossible for something to be necessary in relation to being, yet not possible in regard to this being. Therefore, possible being follows from necessary being.

[9] As a matter of fact, we do not have to defend this meaning of possible against the statement that effects are caused by necessity, but, rather, the possible that is opposed to the necessary, in the sense that the possible is called that which can be, and also not be. Now, a thing is not called possible, or contingent, in this way from the sole fact that it is at one time in potency and at another time in act, as the preceding answer takes it. In fact, in that preceding sense there is possibility and contingency even in celestial motions, for there is not always an actual conjunction or opposition of the sun or moon. Rather, it is sometimes actually so, sometimes potentially so; yet these events are necessary, for demonstrations of such events may be given. But the possible, or contingent, that is opposed to the necessary has this characteristic: it is not necessary for it to happen when it is not. This is indeed so, because it does not follow of necessity from its cause. Thus, we say that Socrates will sit is a contingent fact, but that he. will die is necessary, because the second of these facts follows necessarily from its cause, whereas the first does not. So, if it follows necessarily from the celestial motions that their effects will occur at some time in the future, then the possible and contingent that is opposed to the necessary is thereby excluded.

[10] Moreover, we should note that, in order to prove that the effects of the celestial bodies come about by necessity, Avicenna uses an argument like this in his Metaphysics [X, 1]. If any effect of the celestial bodies is blocked, this must be due to some voluntary or natural cause. But every voluntary or natural cause is reducible to some celestial source. Therefore, even the blocking of the effects of the celestial bodies results from some celestial sources. So, if the entire order of celestial things be taken together, it is impossible for its effect ever to fail to come about. Hence he concludes that the celestial bodies produce necessarily the effects which must occur in these lower bodies, both the voluntary and the natural ones.

[11] But this way of arguing, as Aristotle says in Physics [II, 4], was used by some of the ancients who denied chance and fortune on the basis of the view that there is a definite cause for every effect. If the cause be granted, then the effect must be granted. Thus, since everything occurs by necessity, there is nothing fortuitous or by chance.

[12] He answers this argument, in Metaphysics VI [2-3], by denying two propositions which the argument uses. One of these is: “if any cause be granted, it is necessary to grant its effect.” Indeed, this is not necessary in the case of all causes, for a certain cause, though it may be the direct, proper and sufficient cause of a given effect, may be hindered by the interference of another cause so that the effect does not result. The second proposition that he denies is: “not everything that exists in any way at all has a direct cause, but only those things that exist of themselves; on the other hand, things that exist accidentally have no cause.” For instance, there is a cause within a man for the fact that he is musical, but there is no cause for the fact that he is at once white and musical. As a matter of fact, whenever plural things occur together because of some cause they are related to each other as a result of that cause, but whenever they occur by accident they are not so related to each other. So, they do not occur as a result of a cause acting directly; their occurrence is only accidental. For instance, it is an accident to the teacher of music that he teaches a white man; indeed, it is quite apart from his intention; rather, he intends to teach someone who is capable of learning the subject.

[13] And thus, given a certain effect, we will say that it had a cause from which it did not necessarily follow, since it could have been hindered by some other accidentally conflicting cause. And even though it be possible to trace this conflicting cause back to a higher cause, it is not possible to trace this conflict, which is a hindrance, back to any cause. Thus, it cannot be said that the hindrance of this or that effect proceeds from a celestial source. Hence, we should not say that the effects of celestial bodies come about in these lower bodies as a result of necessity.

[14] Hence, Damascene says, in Book II [ De fide orthodoxa ], that “the celestial bodies are not the cause of any process of generating things that come into being, or of the process of corrupting things that are corrupted”; that is to say, these effects do not come about of necessity from them.

[15] Aristotle also says, in On Sleep II, that “of those signs which occur in bodies, and even of the celestial signs, such as movements of water and wind, many of their results do not come about. For, if another movement occurs, stronger than the one which is a sign of the future, then the event does not happen; just as many of our well laid plans, which were suitable to be accomplished, come to no result, because of the interference of higher powers.”

[16] Ptolemy, too, in his Fourfold Work, says: “Again, we should not think that higher events proceed inevitably, like things that happen under divine control and which can in no way be avoided, nor as things which come about truly and of necessity. He also says in the Centiloquium: “These prognostications that I give you are midway between the necessary and the possible.”

Chapter 87

THAT THE MOTION OF A CELESTIAL BODY IS NOT THE CAUSE OF OUR ACTS OF CHOICE BY THE POWER OF ITS SOUL MOVING US, AS SOME SAY

[1] However, we should note that Avicenna maintains that the motions of the celestial bodies are also the causes of our acts of choice, not simply as occasions, as was said above, but directly. For he claims that the celestial bodies are animated. Hence, since celestial motion is from a soul and is the motion of a body, therefore, just as it is a bodily motion with the power of causing change in bodies, so as a motion from the soul it must have the power to make an impression on our souls. And thus, the celestial motion is the cause of our acts of will and choice. On this point also he seems to return to the theory of Albumasar, in his Introduction I.

[2] But this theory is not reasonable. Every effect proceeding through an instrument from an efficient cause must be proportionate to the instrument, as also to the agent, for we cannot use just any instrument for any effect. Hence, a result cannot be accomplished by means of an instrument if the action of the instrument in no way covers the result. Now, the action of a body in no way extends to the production of a change of understanding and will, as we showed, unless, perchance, by accident, through a change in the body, as we said before. So, it is impossible for the soul of a celestial body, if it be animated, to make an impression on the intellect and will by means of the motion of a celestial body.

[3] Again, a particular agent cause, when acting, bears a likeness to the universal agent cause and is patterned on it. But, if a human soul were to impress another human soul through a corporeal operation, as when it reveals its thought by means of meaningful speech, the bodily action initiated by one soul does not reach the other soul without the mediation of its body. In fact, the spoken word moves the auditory organ, and then, having been so perceived by the sense power, it extends its message to the understanding. So, if the celestial soul makes an impression on our souls through bodily movement, that action will not reach our soul without making a change in our body. Now, this is not a cause of our acts of choice, but simply an occasion, as is clear from the foregoing. Therefore, celestial motion will not be a cause of our act of choice, except as a mere occasion.

[4] Besides, since the mover and the thing moved must be simultaneous, as is proved in Physics VII the motion must extend in a definite order, from the first mover to the last thing that is moved; that is, such that the mover moves what is far away from it by means of what is near to it. Now, our body is nearer than our soul is to the celestial body which is asserted to be moved by a soul joined to it, for our soul has no relation to a celestial body except through our body. This is evident from the fact that separate intelligences have no relation to a celestial body, unless, perhaps, that of a mover to a thing moved. So, a change in a celestial body, initiated by its soul, does not reach our soul except through the mediation of our body. But our soul is not moved when our body is moved, except accidentally; nor does choice result from a change in our body, except by way of occasion, as we said. Therefore, celestial motion, by virtue of the fact that it is from a soul, cannot be the cause of our act of choice.

[5] Moreover, according to the theory of Avicenna and some other philosophers, the agent intellect is a separate substance that acts on our souls by making potentially understood things to be actually understood. Now, this is done by abstraction from all material conditions, as is evident from our explanations in Book Two. So, that which acts directly on the soul does not act on it through corporeal motion, but, rather, through abstraction from everything corporeal. Therefore, the soul of the heavens, if it be animated, cannot be the cause of our acts of choice or understanding through the motion of the heavens.

[6] It is also possible to prove by the same arguments that the motion of the heavens is not the cause of our acts of choice by means of separate substances, if someone claims that the heavens are not animated, but moved by a separate substance.

Chapter 88

THAT SEPARATE CREATED SUBSTANCES CANNOT BE DIRECTLY THE CAUSE OF OUR ACTS OF CHOICE AND WILL, BUT ONLY GOD

[1] Now, we must not think that the souls of the heavens, if there be such, or any other created, separate, intellectual substances can directly insert a will-act into us or cause our act of choice to occur.

[2] For the actions of all creatures are embraced under the order of divine providence, so they cannot operate outside its laws. But it is the law of providence that everything be moved immediately by its proximate cause. So, unless such an order were obeyed, a superior created cause could neither move nor do anything. Now, the proximate mover of the will is the good as apprehended, which is its object, and it is moved by it, just as sight is by color. So, no created substance can move the will except by means of a good which is understood. Now, this is done by showing it that something is a good thing to do: this is the act of persuading. Therefore, no created substance can act on the will, or be the cause of our act of choice, except in the way of a persuading agent.

[3] Again, a thing is by nature capable of being moved by, and of undergoing a passion from, an agent with a form by which the thing can be reduced to act, for every agent acts through its form. But the will is reduced to act by the desirable object which gives rest to its desire. Now, the will’s desire finds rest in the divine good only, as in its ultimate end, as is evident from what we said above. Therefore, God alone can move the will in the fashion of an agent.

[4] Besides, as natural inclination in an inanimate thing, which is also called natural appetite, is related to its proper end, so also is the will, which is also called intellectual appetite, in an intellectual substance. Now, to give natural inclinations is the sole prerogative of Him Who has established the nature. So also, to incline the will to anything, is the sole prerogative of Him Who is the cause of the intellectual nature. Now, this is proper to God alone, as is evident from our earlier explanations. Therefore, He alone can incline our will to something.

[5] Moreover, the violent, as is said in Ethics III [1], is “that whose principle is outside; the patient making no contribution of force.” So, if the will is moved by some external principle, the motion will be violent. Now, I am talking about being moved by some external principle which moves in the way of an agent, and not in the way of an end. But the violent is incompatible with the voluntary. So, it is impossible for the will to be moved by an extrinsic principle as by an agent; rather, every movement of the will must proceed from within. Now, no created substance is joined to the intellectual soul in regard to its inner parts, but only God, Who is alone the cause of its being and Who sustains it in being. Therefore, by God alone can voluntary movement be caused.

[6] Furthermore, violent movement is opposed to natural and voluntary movement, because both of the latter must arise from an intrinsic source. The only way in which an external agent moves a thing naturally is by causing an intrinsic principle of motion within the movable thing. Thus, a generating agent, which gives the form of weight to a heavy generated body, moves it downward in a natural way. No other extrinsic being can move a natural body without violence, except perhaps accidentally, by removing an impediment, and this uses a natural motion, or action, rather than causes it. So, the only agent that can cause a movement of the will, without violence, is that which causes an intrinsic principle of this movement, and such a principle is the very power of the will. Now, this agent is God, Who alone creates a soul, as we showed in Book Two. Therefore, God alone can move the will in the fashion of an agent, without violence.

[7] Hence it is said in Proverbs (21:1): “The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; wherever He wishes, He turns it.” And again in Philippians (2:13): “It is God Who works in us, both to will and to accomplish, according to His good will.”

Chapter 89

THAT THE MOVEMENT OF THE WILL IS CAUSED BY GOD AND NOT ONLY THE POWER OF THE WILL

[1] Some people, as a matter of fact, not understanding how God could cause a movement of the will in us without prejudice to freedom of will, have tried to explain these textsin a wrong way. That is, they would say that God causes willing and accomplishing within us in the sense that He causes in us the power of willing, but not in such a way that He makes us will this or that. Thus does Origen, in his Principles, explain free choice, defending it against the texts above.

[2] So, it seems that there developed from this view the opinion of certain people who said that providence does not apply to things subject to free choice, that is, to acts of choice, but, instead, that providence is applied to external events. For he who chooses to attain or accomplish something, such as to make a building or to become rich, is not always able to reach this end; thus, the results of our actions are not subject to free choice, but are controlled by providence.

[3] To these people, of course, opposition is offered quite plainly by the texts from Sacred Scripture. For it is stated in Isaiah (26:2): “O Lord, Thou hast wrought all our works in us.” So, we receive not only the power of willing from God, but also the operation.

[4] Again, this statement of Solomon, “wherever He wishes, He turns it” shows that divine causality is not only extended to the power of the will but also to its act.

[5] Besides, God not only gives powers to things but, beyond that, no thing can act by its own power unless it acts through His power, as we showed above. So, man cannot use the power of will that has been given him except in so far as he acts through the power of God. Now, the being through whose power the agent acts is the cause not only of the power, but also of the act. This is apparent in the case of an artist through whose power an instrument works, even though it does not get its own form from this artist, but is merely applied to action by this man. Therefore, God is for us the cause not only of our will, but also of our act of willing.

[6] Moreover, a more perfect order is found in spiritual things than in corporeal ones. Among bodies, however, every motion is caused by the first motion. Therefore, among spiritual things, also, every movement of the will must be caused by the first will, which is the will of God.

[7] Furthermore, we showed somewhat earlier that God is the cause of every action and that He operates in every agent. Therefore, He is the cause of the movements of the will.

[8] Besides, an argument that is pertinent is offered by Aristotle, in Book VIII of the Eudemian Ethics, as follows. There must be a cause for the fact that a person understands, deliberates, chooses, and wills, for every new event must have some cause. But, if its cause is another act of deliberation, and another act of will preceding it, then, since one cannot go on to infinity in these acts, one must reach something that is first. Now, a first of this type must be something that is better than reason. But nothing is better than intellect and reason except God. Therefore, God is the first principle of our acts of counsel and of will.

Chapter 90

THAT HUMAN ACTS OF CHOICE AND OF WILL ARE SUBJECT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE

[1] It is clear, next, that even acts of human willing and choosing must be subject to divine providence.

[2] For, everything that God does He does as a result of the order of His providence. So, since He is the cause of our act of choice and volition, our choices and will-acts are subject to divine providence.

[3] Again, all corporeal things are governed through spiritual beings, as we showed above.But spiritual beings act on corporeal things through the will. Therefore, if choices and movements of the wills of intellectual substances do not belong to God’s providence, it follows that even corporeal things are withdrawn from His providence. And thus, there will be no providence at all.

[4] Besides, the more noble things are in the universe, the more must they participate in the order in which the good of the universe consists. So, in Physics II [4], Aristotle accuses the ancient philosophers of putting chance and fortune in the make-up of the celestial bodies, but not in things below. Now, the intellectual substances are more noble than bodily substances. Therefore, if bodily substances, in their substances and actions, fall under the order of providence, so do intellectual substances, for a greater reason.

[5] Moreover, things that are nearer the end fall more definitely under the order which is for the end, for by their mediation other things also are ordered to the end. But the actions of intellectual substances are more closely ordered to God as end than are the actions of other things, as we showed above. So, the actions of intellectual substances, by which God orders all things to Himself, more definitely fall under the order of providence than the actions of other things.

[6] Furthermore, the governance of providence stems from the divine love whereby God loves the things created by Him; in fact, love consists especially in this, “that the lover wills the good for his loved one.” So, the more that God loves things, the more do they fall under His providence. Moreover, Sacred Scripture also teaches this in the Psalm (144:20) when it states: “The Lord keeps all those who love Him.” And the Philosopher, also, supports this view, in Ethics X [8], when he says that God takes greatest care of those who love understanding, as He does of His friends. It may, then, be gathered from this, that He loves intellectual substances best. Therefore, their acts of will and choice fall under His providence.

[7] Again, man’s internal goods, which are dependent on will and action, are more proper to man than things that are outside him, like the acquisition of wealth or anything else of that kind. Hence, man is deemed good by virtue of the former and not of the latter. So, if acts of human choice and movements of will do not fall under divine providence, but only their external results, it will be truer that human affairs are outside providence than that they come under providence. But this view is suggested by the words of blasphemers: “He walks about the poles of heaven, and He does not consider our things” (Job 22:14); and again: “The Lord has forsaken the earth, and the Lord does not see” (Ez. 9:9); and also: “Who is he who will command a thing to be done, when the Lord does not command it?” (Lam. 3:37).

[8] However, certain passages in Sacred Scripture appear to be consonant with the aforementioned view. It is said in fact (Sirach 15:14): “God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel”; and later: “He has set water and fire before you; stretch forth your hand to whichever you wish. Before man is life and death, good and evil; that which he chooses shall be given him” (Sirach 15:14, 17-18). And also: “Consider that I have set before thee this day life and good, and on the other hand death and evil” (Deut. 30:15). But these words are brought forward to show that man is possessed of free choice, not that his choices are placed outside divine providence.

[9] Likewise, Gregory of Nyssa states in his book On Man: “Providence is concerned with the things that are not in our power, but not with those that are in our power”; and, following him, Damascene states in Book II, that “God foreknows the things that are within our power, but He does not predetermine them.” These texts should be explained as meaning that things in our power are not subject to determination by divine providence in the sense that they receive necessity from it.

Chapter 91

HOW HUMAN EVENTS MAY BE TRACED BACK TO HIGHER CAUSES

[1] From the things shown above we can gather how human actions may be traced back to higher causes and are not performed fortuitously.

[2] Of course, acts of choice and movements of the will are controlled immediately by God. And human intellectual knowledge is ordered by God through the mediation of the angels. Whereas matters pertinent to bodily things, whether they are internal or external, when they come within the use of man, are governed by God by means of the angels and the celestial bodies.

[3] Now, in general, there is one reason for this. Everything that is multiform, mutable, and capable of defect must be reducible to a source in something that is uniform, immutable, and capable of no defect. But all things that are within our power are found to be multiple, variable, and defectible.

[4] It is clear that our acts of choice have the character of multiplicity, since choices are made of different things, by different people, in different ways. They are also mutable, both because of the instability of the mind, which is not firmly fixed on the ultimate end, and also because of the fluctuating character of the things which provide our circumstantial environment. That they are defectible, of course the sins of men testify. But the divine will is uniform, because by willing one object it wills all else, and it is immutable and without defect, as we showed in Book One. So, the movement of all wills and choices must be traced back to the divine will, and not to any other cause, for God alone is the cause of our acts of will and choice.

[5] Likewise, our understanding has the quality of multiplicity, since we gather, as it were, intelligible truth from many sense objects. It is also mutable, for it advances by discursive movement from one thing to another, proceeding from known things to unknown ones. It is, moreover, defectible, because of the admixture of imagination with sensation, as the errors of mankind show. On the other hand, the cognitive acts of the angels are uniform: for they receive the knowledge of truth from one fount of truth; namely, God. Their cognition is also immutable, because they see directly the pure truth about things by a simple intuition, not by a discursive movement from effects to their causes or the reverse. It is even incapable of defect, since they directly intuit the very natures, or quiddities, of things, and understanding cannot err in regard to such objects, just as sense cannot err in regard to proper sensibles. We, however, make guesses as to the quiddities of things from their accidents and effects. Therefore, our intellectual knowledge must be regulated by means of the angelsknowledge.

[6] Again, in regard to human bodies and the external things that men use, it is obvious that there is in them a multiplicity of admixture and contrariety; and that they are not moved uniformly, since their motions cannot be continuous; and that they are defectible through alteration and corruption. In contrast, the celestial bodies are uniform in the way of simple beings with no contrariety in their constitution. Their motions are also uniform, continuous, and always in the same condition. Nor can there be corruption or alteration in them. Hence, it is necessary for our bodies, and the others which come under our use, to be regulated by means of the motions of the celestial bodies.

Chapter 92

HOW A PERSON IS FAVORED BY FORTUNE AND HOW MAN IS ASSISTED BY HIGHER CAUSES

[1] Next, we can show how a person might be said to be favored by fortune.

[2] In fact, we say that some good fortune has befallen a man “when something good happens to him, without his having intended it.” For example, a man digging in a field may find a treasure for which he was not looking. Now, something may happen to a certain agent which is not intended by him as he is doing his job, but which is not unintended by the superior under whom he is working. Suppose, for instance, a master orders a servant to go to a certain place to which the master has already sent another servant, unknown to the first one; the encounter with his fellow servant is not intended by the servant who has been sent, but it is not unintended by the master who sent him. And so, though the meeting is fortuitous and a matter of chance to this servant, it is not so to the master, but has been a planned event. So, since man is ordered in regard to his body under the celestial bodies, in regard to his intellect under the angels, and in regard to his will under God—it is quite possible for something apart from man’s intention to happen, which is, however, in accord with the ordering of the celestial bodies, or with the control of the angels, or even of God. For, though God alone directly works on the choice made by man, the action of an angel does have some effect on man’s choice by way of persuasion, and the action of a celestial body by way of disposition, in the sense that the corporeal impressions of celestial bodies on our bodies give a disposition to certain choices. So, when as a result of the influence of higher causes in the foregoing way a man is inclined toward certain choices that are beneficial to him, but whose benefit he does not know by his own reasoning, and when besides this his intellect is illuminated by the light of intellectual substances so that he may do these things, and when his will is inclined by divine working to choose something beneficial to him while he is ignorant of its nature, he is said to be favored by fortune. And, on the contrary, he is said to be subject to misfortune when his choice is inclined to contrary results by higher causes, as is said of a certain man: “Write this man barren, a man that shall not prosper in his days” (Jer. 22:30).

[3] But, on this point, a difference is to be noted. The impressions of celestial bodies on our bodies cause natural dispositions of our bodies within us. Thus, as a result of a disposition left by a celestial body in our body, a man is called not merely fortunate or unfortunate, but also wen or ill favored by nature, and it is in this way that the Philosopher says, in his Magna Moralia, that a man favored by fortune is also favored by nature. Indeed, this fact, that one man chooses things beneficial to him, whereas another man chooses things harmful to him, apart from their proper reasoning, cannot be understood as resulting from differences of intellectual nature, because the nature of intellect and will is one in all men. In fact, a formal diversity would lead to a difference according to species, whereas a material diversity leads to a numerical difference. Hence, in so far as man’s intellect is enlightened for the performance of some action, or as his will is prompted by God, the man is not said to be favored by birth, but, rather, well guarded or well governed.

[4] Again, another difference on this matter is to be observed. As a matter of fact, the operation of an angel and of a celestial body is merely like something disposing toward choice; while God’s operation is like something perfecting. Now, since a disposition which results from a quality of the body, or from an intellectual persuasion, does not bring necessity to the act of choice, a man does not always choose what his guardian angel intends, or that toward which a celestial body gives inclination. But a man does choose in all cases the object in accord with God’s operation within his will. Consequently, the guardianship of the angels is sometimes frustrated, according to this text: “We would have cured Babylon, but she is not healed” (Jer. 51:9); and still more is this true of the inclination of the celestial bodies, but divine providence is always steadfast.

[5] Moreover, there is still another difference to be considered. Since a celestial body does not dispose to a choice, unless it makes an impression on our body by which man is stimulated to choose in the way that passions induce one to choose, every disposition to choice which results from the celestial bodies works by means of some passion, as when a person is led to choose something by means of hatred, or love, or anger, or some similar passion. But a person is disposed to an act of choice by an angel, by means of an intellectual consideration, without passion. In fact, this happens in two ways. Sometimes, a man’s understanding is enlightened by an angel to know only that something is a good thing to be done, but it is not instructed as to the reason why it is a good, since this reason is derived from the end. Thus, at times, a man thinks that something is a good thing to be done, “but, if he be asked why, he would answer that he does not know. Hence, when he reaches a beneficial end, to which he has given no thought before, it will be fortuitous for him. But sometimes he is instructed by angelic illumination, both that this act is good and as to the reason why it is good, which depends on the end. And if this be so, when he reaches the end which he has thought about before, it will not be fortuitous. We should also note that, just as the active power of a spiritual nature is higher than a corporeal one, so also is it more universal. Consequently, the disposition resulting from a celestial body does not extend to all the objects which human choice covers.

[6] Still another point: the power of the human soul, or also of an angel, is particularized in comparison with divine power which, in fact, is universal in regard to all beings. Thus, then, some good thing may happen to a man which is apart from his own intention, and apart from the inclination given by celestial bodies, and apart from the enlightenment coming from the angels—but not apart from divine providence, which is regulative, just as it is productive, of being as such, and, consequently, which must include all things under it. Thus, some good or evil may happen to man that is fortuitous in relation to himself, and in relation to the celestial bodies, and in relation to the angels, but not in relation to God. Indeed, in relation to Him, nothing can be a matter of chance and unforeseen, either in the sphere of human affairs or in any matter.

[7] But, since fortuitous events are those apart from intention, and since moral goods cannot be apart from intention, because they are based on choice, in their case no one can be called well or ill favored by fortune. However, in regard to them, a person can be called well or ill favored by birth; when, as a result of the natural disposition of his body, he is prone to virtuous, or vicious, acts of choice. But in regard to external goods, which can accrue to a man apart from his intention, a man may be said to be both favored by birth and by fortune, and also governed by God and guarded by the angels.

[8] Moreover, man may obtain from higher causes still another help in regard to the outcome of his actions. For, since a man has both the ability to choose and to carry out what he chooses, he may at times be assisted by higher causes in regard to both or he may also be hindered. In regard to choice, of course, as we said, man is either disposed by the celestial bodies to choose something, or he is enlightened by the guardianship of the angels, or even he is inclined by divine operation. But in regard to the carrying out of the choice man may obtain from a higher cause the strength and efficacy needed to accomplish what he has chosen. Now, this can come not only from God and the angels, but also from the celestial bodies, to the extent that such efficacy is located in his body. For it is obvious that inanimate bodies also obtain certain powers and abilities from the celestial bodies, even beyond those which go along with the active and passive qualities of the elements, which, doubtless, are also subject to the celestial bodies. Thus, the fact that a magnet attracts iron is due to the power of a celestial body, and so have certain stones and herbs other hidden powers. So, nothing prevents a man, too, from getting, as a result of the influence of a celestial body, a certain special efficiency in doing some bodily actions, which another man does not possess: for instance, a physician in regard to healing, a farmer in regard to planting,’and a soldier in regard to fighting.

[9] Now, in a much more perfect way, God lavishes on man this special efficiency in the carrying out of His works efficaciously. So, in regard to the first kind of help, which applies to the act of choosing, God is said to direct man, whereas in regard to the second kind of help He is said to strengthen man. And these two forms of help are touched on together in the Psalms (26:1), where it is said in regard to the first: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” and in regard to the second: “The Lord is the protector of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”

[10] But there are two differences between these two helps. First, man is assisted by the first kind of help, both in regard to things subject to the power of man, and also in regard to other things. But the second sort of help extends only to things of which man’s power is capable. Indeed, the fact that a man digging a grave discovers a treasure results from no power of man; so, in regard to such an outcome, man may be helped by the fact that be is prompted to look in the place where the treasure is, not, however, in the sense that he is given any power to find treasure. But, in the case of the physician healing, or the soldier winning a fight, he may be helped in regard to the end, and also in the sense that he may carry out the choice efficaciously, by means of a power acquired from a higher cause. Hence, the first kind of help is more universal. The second difference is that the second help is given to carry out efficaciously what he intends. Consequently, since fortuitous events are apart from one’s intention, man cannot, properly speaking, be called fortunate as a result of such help, as he can be from the first, as we showed above.

[11] Now, it is possible for a man to be well or ill favored by fortune, in some cases, when he is the sole agent, as for instance, when he is digging in the earth, he finds a treasure lying there. In other cases, it may result from the action of another concurrent cause, as when the man going to market to buy something encounters a debtor whom he did not think he would find. Now, in the first case, the man is helped so that something good happens to him, only in the fact that he is directed to the choosing of an object to which something advantageous is attached, and this comes about apart from his intention. But in the second case, both agents must be directed to choose the action, or movement, which is the occasion for their meeting.

[12] We must consider another thing in regard to what was said above. For we said that, in order for something favorable or unfavorable to happen to a man on the basis of fortune, the help can come from God, and it can also come from a celestial body: in so far as a man is inclined by God to choose something with which there is combined an advantageous, or disadvantageous, result which the chooser has not thought of before, and in so far as he is disposed by a celestial body to choose such an object. Now, this advantage, or disadvantage, is fortuitous in regard to man’s choice; in regard to God, it loses the character of the fortuitous, but not in regard to the celestial body.

This becomes evident, as follows. In fact, an event does not lose its fortuitous character unless it may be referred back to a direct cause. But the power of a celestial body is an agent cause, not by way of understanding and choice, but as a nature. Now, it is proper for a nature to tend to one objective. So, if an effect is not simply one result, then its direct cause cannot be a natural power. But, when two things are combined with each other accidentally, they are not truly one, but only accidentally so. Hence, there can be no direct, natural cause for this union. Let us suppose, then, that a certain man is prompted to dig a grave by the influence of a celestial body, working by way of a passion as we said. Now, the grave and the location of the treasure are one only accidentally, for they have no relation to each other. Hence, the power of the celestial body cannot directly give an inclination toward this entire result: that this man should dig this grave and that it should be done at the place where the treasure is. But an agent working through understanding can be the cause of an inclination to this entire result, for it is proper to an intelligent being to order many things into one. It is clear, indeed, that even a man who knew where the treasure was might send another man who did not know to dig a grave in that same place and thus to find a treasure unintentionally. So, in this way, fortuitous events of this kind, when referred to their divine cause, lose their fortuitous character, but when referred to a celestial cause, they do not.

[13] It is also apparent by the same reasoning that a man cannot be universally favored by fortune through the power of a celestial body, but only in regard to this or that incident. I say universally, meaning that a man might have the ability in his nature, resulting from the influence of a celestial body, to choose always, or in most cases, objects to which certain advantages or disadvantages are accidentally connected. For nature is ordered to one result only. But these factors, in terms of which good or bad fortune befalls a man, are not reducible to any one thing; rather, they are indeterminate and indefinite, as the Philosopher teaches in Physics II, and as is clear to our senses. So, it is not possible for a man to have the ability in his nature to choose always those objects from which advantageous results accidentally follow. But it is possible that, by celestial influence, he may be inclined to choose one thing to which an advantage is accidentally attached; then, from another inclination to another advantage; and from a third to a third advantage; but not in such a way that all such advantages would follow from one inclination. However, from one divine disposition a man can be directed to all results.

Chapter 93

ON FATE: WHETHER AND WHAT IT IS

[1] It is evident from the points set forth above what view we should take regarding fate.

[2] Indeed, men observe that many things happen by accident in this world if their particular causes be considered, and some men have maintained that they are not even ordered by higher causes. To these people it has appeared that there is no fate at all.

[3] But others have attempted to reduce these events to certain higher causes from which they result in an orderly way, in accord with a definite plan. These people have asserted that there is fate in the sense that things observed to happen by chance are “pre-fated,” that is, foretold and pre-ordained to happen.

[4] Some of these people, then, have tried to reduce all contingent events which occur by chance, here below, to causes among the celestial bodies, and even human acts of choice to the controlling power of the stars; to which power all things are subject, they claimed, with a certain necessity which they called fate. Of course, this theory is impossible and foreign to the faith, as is clear from our preceding considerations.

[5] On the other hand, some men have desired to reduce to the control of divine providence all things whatsoever that appear to happen by chance in these lower beings. Hence, they said that all things are done by fate, meaning by fate the ordering which is found in things as a result of divine providence. Thus, Boethius says [ De consol. phil. IV, 6]: “fate is a disposition inherent in mutable things, whereby providence connects each thing with His orders.” In this description of fate, “disposition” is used for ordering; while the phrase “inherent in things” is used to distinguish fate from providence; since the ordering, as present in the divine mind and not yet impressed on things, is providence, but, as already unfolded in things, it is called fate. Moreover, he speaks of “mutable things” to show that the order of providence does not take away contingency and mobility from things, as some men have claimed.

[6] So, according to this meaning, to deny fate is to deny providence. But, since we should not even have names in common with unbelievers, lest occasion for error could be taken from the association of names, the name fate is not to be used by the faithful lest we appear to agree with those who have held a wrong opinion about fate, by subjecting all things to the necessitation of the stars. Consequently, Augustine says, in Book V of the City of God: “If any man calls the will, or power, of God by the name, fate, let him hold his view, but correct his way of speaking.” And also Gregory, in accord with the same understanding of it, says: “Far be it from the minds of the faithful to say that there is any fate.”

Chapter 94

ON THE CERTAINTY OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE

[1] Now, there is a difficulty that arises out of the foregoing. If all things that are done here below, even contingent events, are subject to divine providence, then, seemingly, either providence cannot be certain or else all things happen by necessity.

[2] In fact, the Philosopher shows in the Metaphysics [V, 3] that, if we assert that every effect has a direct cause, and again that, given any direct cause we must necessarily grant its effect, it follows that all future events come about by necessity. For, if each effect has a direct cause, then any future effect will be reducible to a present or past cause. Thus, if we ask whether a certain man is to be killed by robbers, the cause preceding this effect is his encounter with the robbers; and, in turn, another cause precedes this effect, namely, the fact that he went out of his home; still another precedes this, that he wished to look for water; and a cause precedes this, namely, his thirst; and this was caused by the eating of salted foods; and this eating is going on now, or was done in the past. Therefore, if it be so, that, granted the cause, the effect must be granted, then necessarily, if he cats salt foods, he must get thirsty; and if he is thirsty, he must desire to get water; and if he desires to get water, he must go out of his home; and if he leaves his home, the robbers must encounter him; and if they encounter him, he must be killed. So, from the first to the last, it is necessary for this eater of salty foods to be killed by robbers. Therefore, the Philosopher concludes that it is not true that, granted the cause, the effect must be granted; since there are some causes which can fail. Again, it is not true that every effect has a direct cause, for something that comes about accidentally, for instance, that this man who wishes to look for water encounters the robbers, has no cause.

[3] Now, by this reasoning it appears that all effects that may be reduced to some direct cause, present or past, which when granted requires that the effect be granted must of necessity happen. Either, then, we must say that not all effects are subject to divine providence and, thus, that providence does not apply to all—but we showed earlier that it does; or else it is not necessarily so, that, granted providence, its effect must be granted, and thus providence is not certain; or, finally, it is necessary for all things to happen by necessity. For providence is not only in present or past time, but in eternity, since nothing can be in God that is not eternal.

[4] Again, if divine providence is certain, then this conditional proposition must be true: If God foresees this, then this will happen. Now, the antecedent of this conditional proposition is necessary, for He is eternal. Therefore, the consequent is necessary, for every consequent in a conditional proposition must be necessary when the antecedent is necessary. So, the consequent is like the conclusion of the antecedent, and whatever follows from a necessary proposition must be necessary. Therefore, it follows that, if divine providence is certain, all things must occur by necessity.

[5] Besides, suppose that something is foreseen by God; for example, that a certain man will become a ruler. Now, it is either possible that be will not rule, or it is not. But, if it is not possible that be will not rule, then it is impossible for him not to rule; therefore, it is necessary for him to rule. However, if it is possible that he will not rule, and if, given the possible something impossible does not follow, then it does follow that divine providence will fail; hence, it is not impossible for divine providence to fail. Therefore, it is either necessary, if all things are foreseen by God, that divine providence be not certain or else that all things happen by necessity.

[6] Moreover, Tully argues as follows, in his book On Divination [II, 7]: if all things are foreseen by God, the order of causes is certain. But, if this is true, all things are done by fate. And if all things are done by fate, nothing is within our power, there is no volitional choice. Therefore, it follows that free choice is taken away if divine providence be certain. And in the same way it will follow that all contingent causes are taken away.

[7] Furthermore, divine providence does not exclude intermediate causes, as we showed above, But, among causes, some are contingent and capable of failing. So, it is possible for an effect of providence to fail. Therefore, God’s providence is not certain.

[8] However, for the purpose of answering these arguments, we must repeat some of the observations put down before, so that it may be made clear that nothing escapes divine providence; also, that the order of divine providence cannot possibly be changed; and yet that it is not necessary for all things to happen of necessity simply because they come about as a result of divine providence.

[9] First, then, we must consider the fact that, since God is the cause of all existing things, giving being to all, the order of His providence must embrace all things. Indeed, on the things on which He has lavished being He must also lavish preservation and guide them toward perfection in their ultimate end.

[10] Now, two things must be considered in the case of any provident agent—namely, premeditation of the order, and the establishment of the premeditated order—in the things that are subject to providence. The first of these pertains to the cognitive power, while the second belongs to the operative. Between the two there is this difference: in the act of premeditating the order, the more perfect that providence is, the more can the order of providence be extended to the smallest details. The fact that we are not able to think out, ahead of time, the order of all particular events in regard to matters to be arranged by us stems from the deficiency of our knowledge, which cannot embrace all singular things. However, the more a person is able to think ahead about a plurality of singular things, the more adroit does he become in his foresight, while the man whose foresight is restricted to universals only participates but little in prudence. Now, a similar consideration can be made in regard to all the operative arts. But, in regard to imposing the premeditated order on things, the providence of a governing agent is more noble and perfect the more universal it is and the more it accomplished his premeditated plan by means of a plurality of ministers, because this controlling of ministers occupies an important place -in the order that pertains to foresight.

Moreover, divine providence must consist in the highest pe tion, since He is absolutely and universally perfect, as we showed in Book One. So, in the function of providential foresight, by means of the sempiternal meditative act of His wisdom, He orders all things, no matter how detailed they may appear; and whatever things perform any action, they act instrumentally, as moved by Him. And they obediently serve as His ministers in order to unfold in things the order of providence, which has been thought out, as I might say, from eternity. But, if all things able to act must serve as ministers to Him in their actions, it is impossible for any agent to block the execution of divine providence by acting in opposition to it. Nor is it possible for divine providence to be hindered by the defect of any agent or patient, since every active and passive power is caused in things in accord with divine disposition. It is also impossible for the execution of divine providence to be impeded by a change in the provident Agent, since God is altogether immutable, as we showed above. The conclusion remains, then, that divine foresight is utterly incapable of being frustrated.

[11] Next, we must consider that every agent intends the good and the better, in so far as he can, as we showed above. But the good and the better are not considered in the same way, in the whole and in the parts. For, in the whole, the good is integrity, which is the result of the order and composition of its parts. Consequently, it is better for there to be an inequality among the parts of the whole, without which the order and perfection of the whole cannot be, than for all its parts to be equal, even if each of them were to exist on the level of the most important part. However, if the parts are considered in themselves, each part of a lower grade would be better if it were on the level of the higher part. This is exemplified in the human body: in fact, the foot would be a more worthy part if it possessed the beauty and power of the eye, but the whole body would be more imperfect if it lacked the functioning of the foot.

Therefore, the intention of a particular agent tends toward a different objective from that of the universal agent. Indeed, the particular agent tends to the good of the part without qualification, and makes it the best that it can, but the universal agent tends to the good of the whole. As a result, a defect which is in accord with the intention of the universal agent may be apart from the intention of the particular agent. Thus, it is clear that the generation of a female is apart from the intention of a particular nature, that is, of the power which is in this semen which, as much as possible, tends to a perfect result of conception; but it is in accord with the intention of the universal nature, that is, of the power of the universal agent for the generation of inferior beings, that a female be generated; for without a female the generation of a number of animals could not be accomplished. Similarly, corruption, decrease, and every defect pertain to the intention of the universal nature, but not of the particular nature, for each thing avoids defect, and tends to perfection, to the extent that it can. So, it is evident that the intention of the particular agent is that its effect become as perfect as is possible in its kind, but the intention of the universal nature is that this individual effect become perfect in a certain type of perfection, say in male perfection, while another would become so in female perfection.

Now the primary perfection among the parts of the whole universe appears on the basis of the contingent and the necessary. For the higher beings are necessary and incorruptible and immobile, and the more they fall short of this condition, the lower the level on which they are established. Thus, the lowest things may be corrupted even in regard to their being, whereas they are changed in regard to their dispositions, and they produce their effects not necessarily but contingently. So, any agent that is a part of the universe intends as much as possible to persevere in its actual being and natural disposition, and to make its effect stable. However, God, Who is the governor of the universe, intends some of His effects to be established by way of necessity, and others contingently. On this basis, He adapts different causes to them; for one group of effects there are necessary causes, but for another, contingent causes. So, it falls under the order of divine providence not only that this effect is to be, but also that this effect is to be contingently, while another is to be necessarily. Because of this, some of the things that are subject to providence are necessary, whereas others are contingent and not at all necessary.

[17] So, it is obvious that, though divine providence is the direct cause of an individual future effect, and though it is so in the present, or in the past, indeed from eternity, it does not follow, as the first argument implies, that this individual effect will come about of necessity. For divine providence is the direct cause why this effect occurs contingently. And this cannot be prevented.

[13] From this it is also evident that this conditional proposition is true: If God foresees that this event will be, it will happen, just as the second argument suggested. But it will occur in the way that God foresaw that it would be. Now, He foresaw that it would occur contingently. So, it follows that, without fail, it will occur contingently and not necessarily.

[14] It is also clear that, if this thing which, we grant, is foreseen by God as to occur in the future belongs in the genus of contingent beings, it will be possible for it, considered in itself, not to be; for thus is it foreseen, as something that is contingent, as able not to be. Yet it is not possible for the order of providence to fail in regard to its coming into being contingently. Thus the third argument is answered. Consequently, it can be maintained that this man may not become a ruler if he be considered in himself, but not if he be considered as an object of divine foresight.

[15] Also, the objection that Tully offers seems frivolous, in view of the foregoing. Indeed, since not only effects are subject to divine providence, but also causes and ways of being, as is obvious from what we have asserted before, it does not follow that, if everything be done by divine providence, nothing is within our power. For the effects are foreseen by God, as they are freely produced by us.

[16] Nor can the possibility of failure on the part of secondary causes, by means of which the effects of providence are produced, take away the certainty of divine providence, as the fifth argument implied. For God Himself operates in all things, and in accord with the decision of His will, as we showed above. Hence, it is appropriate to His providence sometimes to permit defectible causes to fail, and at other times to preserve them from failure.

[17] Finally, those arguments in favor of the necessity of effects foreseen by God, which might be drawn from the certainty of knowledge, are solved above, where we treated of God’s knowledge.

Chapter 95

THAT THE IMMUTABILITY OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE DOES NOT SUPPRESS THE VALUE OF PRAYER

[1] We should also keep in mind the fact that, just as the immutability of providence does not impose necessity on things that are foreseen, so also it does not suppress the value of prayer. For prayer is not established for the purpose of changing the eternal disposition of providence, since this is impossible, but so that a person may obtain from God the object which he desires.

[2] Indeed, it is appropriate for God to consent to the holy desires of a rational creature, not in the sense that our desires may move the immutable God, but that He, in His goodness, takes steps to accomplish these desired effects in a fitting way. For, since all things naturally desire the good, as we proved above, and since it pertains to the supereminence of divine goodness to assign being, and well-being, to all in accord with a definite order, the result is that, in accord with His goodness, He fulfills the holy desires which are brought to completion by means of prayer.

[3] Again, it is proper for a mover to bring the object that is moved to its end; hence, a thing is moved toward its end, and attains its end, and finds rest in it, by means of the same nature. Now, every desire is a certain movement toward the good, and indeed it cannot be present in things unless it be from God, Who is good essentially and the source of goodness. In fact, every mover moves toward something like itself. So, it is proper for God, in accord with His goodness, to bring to a fitting conclusion the proper desires that are expressed by our prayers.

[4] Besides, the nearer certain things are to the mover, the more efficaciously do they follow the influence of the mover; for instance, things that are nearer to a fire become hotter from it. Now, intellectual substances are nearer to God than are inanimate natural substances. Therefore, the influence of divine motion is more efficacious on intellectual substances than on other natural substances. But natural bodies participate in divine motion to the extent that they receive from Him a natural appetite for the good, and even in the appetite for fulfillment which is realized when they attain their appropriate ends. Therefore, there is much more reason for intellectual substances attaining the fulfillment of their desires which are presented to God by prayer.

[5] Moreover, it pertains to the essential meaning of friendship for the lover to will the fulfillment of the desire of the beloved, because he wishes the good and the perfect for the beloved. This is the reason for the statement that “it is characteristic of friends that they will the same thing. Now, we showed above that God loves His creature, and the more that any one of them participates in His goodness which is the first and chief object of His love, the more does He love it. So, He wills the desires of a rational creature to be satisfied, for, compared to other creatures, it participates most perfectly in divine providence. But His will is perfective in regard to things; indeed, He is the cause of things through His will, as we showed above. Therefore, it is appropriate to divine providence for Him to fulfill the desires of a rational creature when they are presented to Him through prayer.

[6] Furthermore, a creature’s good is transmitted by the divine goodness in accord with a certain likeness. But this characteristic seems most approvable among men: that they should not refuse consent to those who ask for favors in a just manner. Because of this, men are called liberal, clement, merciful, and upright. Therefore, this characteristic, of granting upright prayers, especially belongs to divine goodness.

[7] Hence, it is said in the Psalm (144:19): “He will do the will of those who fear Him, and He will hear their prayers and save them”; and again the Lord says: “Everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened” (Mat. 7:8).

Chapter 96

THAT SOME PRAYERS ARE NOT GRANTED BY GOD

[1] Now, it is not inappropriate if also, at times, the requests of some who pray are not granted by God.

[2] For we showed by reasoning that God fulfills the desires of a rational creature, to the extent that he desires the good. Now, it sometimes happens that what is sought in prayer is not a true, but an apparent, good; speaking absolutely, it is an evil. Therefore, such a prayer is not capable of being granted by God. Hence, it is said in James (4:3): “You ask and you receive not, because you ask amiss.”

[3] Likewise, because God moves us to the act of desiring, we showed that it is appropriate for Him to fulfill our desires. Now, the thing that is moved is not brought to its end by the mover unless the motion be continued. So, if the movement of desire is not continued by constant prayer, it is not inappropriate for the prayer to fail to receive its expected result. Hence, the Lord says in Luke (18:1) “that we ought always to pray and not to faint”; also, the Apostle says, in 1 Thessalonians (5:17): “Pray without ceasing.”

[4] Again, we showed that God fulfills in a suitable way the desire of a rational creature, depending on its nearness to Him. But one becomes near to Him through contemplation, devout affection, and humble but firm intention. So, the prayer which does not approach God in this way is not capable of being heard by God. Hence, it is said in the Psalm (101:18): “He has had regard to the prayer of the humble”; and in James (1:6): “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.”

[5] Besides, we showed that on the basis of friendship God grants the wishes of those who are holy. Therefore, he who turns away from God’s friendship is not worthy of having his prayer granted. Hence, it is said in Proverbs (28:9): “He who turns away his ears from hearing the law, his prayer shall be an abomination.” And again in Isaiah (1:15): “When you multiply prayer, I will not hear, for your hands are full of blood.”

[6] For the same reason it happens sometimes that a friend of God is not beard when he prays for those who are not God’s friends, according to the passage in Jeremiah (7:16): “Therefore, do not You pray for this people, nor take to You praise and supplication for them, and do not withstand me: for I will not hear You.”

[7] However, it happens at times that a person is refused because of friendship a petition which he asks of a friend, since he knows that it is harmful to him, or that the opposite is more helpful to him. Thus, a physician may deny sometimes the request of a sick person, having in mind that it is not beneficial to him in the recovery of his health. Consequently, since we showed that God, because of the love which He has for the rational creature, satisfies his desires when they are presented to Him through prayer, it is no cause for astonishment if at times He does not grant the petition, even of those whom He especially loves, in order to provide something that is more helpful for the salvation of the petitioner. For this reason, He did not withdraw the sting of the flesh from Paul, though he asked it thrice, for God foresaw that it was helpful to him for the preservation of humility, as is related in 2 Corinthians (12:7-9). Hence, the Lord says to certain people, in Matthew (20:22): “You do not know what you ask”; and it is said in Romans (8:26): “For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought.” For this reason, Augustine says in his letter to Paulinus and Therasia: “The Lord is good, for He often does not grant what we desire, so that He may give us what we desire even more.”

[8] It is apparent, then, from the foregoing that the cause of some things that are done by God is prayers and holy desires. But we showed above that divine providence does not exclude other causes; rather, it orders them so that the order which providence has determined within itself may be imposed on things. And thus, secondary causes are not incompatible with providence; instead, they carry out the effect of providence. In this way, then, prayers are efficacious before God, yet they do not destroy the immutable order of divine providence, because this individual request that is granted to a certain petitioner falls under the order of divine providence. So, it is the same thing to say that we should not pray in order to obtain something from God, because the order of His providence is immutable, as to say that we should not walk in order to get to a place, or eat in order to be nourished; all of which are clearly absurd.

[9] So, a double error concerning prayer is set aside as a result of the foregoing. Some people have said that prayer is not fruitful. In fact, this has been stated both by those who denied divine providence altogether, like the Epicueans, and by those who set human affairs apart from divine providence, as some Peripatetics do, and also by those who thought that all things subject to providence occur of necessity, as the Stoics did. From all these views, it follows that prayer is fruitless and, consequently, that all worship of the Deity is offered in vain. Indeed, this error is mentioned in Malachi (3:14), where it states: “You have said: He labors in vain who serves God. And what profit is it that we have kept His ordinances, and that we have walked sorrowful before the Lord of hosts?”

[10] Contrariwise, others have in fact said that the divine disposition is capable of being changed by prayers; thus, the Egyptians said that fate was subject to change by prayers and by means of certain idols, incensings, or incantations.

[11] Indeed, certain statements in the divine Scriptures seem, according to their superficial appearance, to favor this view. For it is said that Isaiah, at the command of the Lord, said to King Hezekiah: “Thus says the Lord: Take order with Your house, for You shall die, and shall not live”; and that, after the prayer of Hezekiah, “the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying: Go and say to Hezekiah… I have heard Your prayer… behold I will add to Your days fifteen years” (Is. 38:1-5). And again, it is said in the name of the Lord: “I will suddenly speak against a nation and against a kingdom to root out and to pull down and to destroy it. If that nation against which I have spoken shall repent of their evil, I will also repent of the evil that I have thought to do to them” (Jer. 18:7-8). And in Joel (2:13-14): “Turn to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful… Who knows whether God will return and forgive?”

[12] Now, these texts, if understood superficially, lead to an unsuitable conclusion. For it follows, first of all, that God’s will is mutable; also, that something accrues to God in the course of time; and further, that certain things that occur in time to creatures are the cause of something occurring in God. Obviously, these things are impossible, as is evident from earlier explanations.

[13] They are opposed, too, by texts of Sacred Scripture which contain the infallible truth clearly expressed. Indeed, it is said in Numbers (23:19): “God is not as a man that He should lie, nor as the son of man that He should be changed. Did He say then, and will not do it? Has he spoken, and will He not fulfill?” And in 1 Sam (15:29): “The triumpher in Israel will not spare, and will not be moved to repentance; for He is not a man that He should repent.” And in Malachi (3:6): “I am the Lord and I do not change.”

[14] Now, if a person carefully considers these statements, he will find that every error that occurs on these points arises from the fact that thought is not given to the difference between universal and particular order. For, since all effects are mutually ordered, in the sense that they come together in one cause, it must be that, the more universal the cause is, the more general is the order. Hence, the order stemming from the universal cause which is God must embrace all things. So, nothing prevents some particular order from being changed, either by prayer, or by some other means, for there is something outside that order which could change it. For this reason, it is not astonishing for the Egyptians who reduce the order of human affairs to the celestial bodies, to claim that fate, which depends on the stars, can be changed by certain prayers and ceremonies. Indeed, apart from the celestial bodies and above them is God, Who is able to impede the celestial bodieseffect which was supposed to follow in things here below as a result of their influence.

But, outside the order that embraces all things, it is not possible for anything to be indicated by means of which the order depending on a universal cause might be changed. That is why the Stoics, who considered the reduction of the order of things to God to be to a universal cause of all things, claimed that the order established by God could not be changed for any reason. But, again on this point, they departed from the consideration of a universal order, because they claimed that prayers were of no use, as if they thought that the wills of men and their desires, from which prayers arise, are not included under that universal order. For, when they say that, whether prayers are offered or not, in any case the same effect in things follows from the universal order of things, they clearly isolate from that universal order the wishes of those who pray. For, if these prayers be included under that order, then certain effects will result by divine ordination by means of these prayers, just as they do by means of other causes. So, it will be the same thing to exclude the effect of prayer as to exclude the effect of all other causes. Because, if the immutability of the divine order does not take away their effects from other causes, neither does it remove the efficacy of prayers. Therefore, prayers retain their power; not that they can change the order of eternal control, but rather as they themselves exist under such order.

[15] But nothing prevents some particular order, due to an inferior cause, from being changed through the efficacy of prayers, under the operation of God Who transcends all causes, and thus is not confined under the necessity of any order of cause; on the contrary, all the necessity of the order of an inferior cause is confined under Him as being brought into being by Him. So, in so far as something in the order of inferior causes established by God is changed through prayer, God is said to turn or to repent; not in the sense that His eternal disposition is changed, but that some effect of His is changed. Hence, Gregory says that “God does not change His plan, though at times He may change His judgment”; not, I say, the judgment which expresses His eternal disposition, but the judgment which expresses the order of inferior causes, in accord with which Hezekiah was to have died, or a certain people were to have been punished for their sins. Now, such a change of judgment is called God’s repentance, using a metaphorical way of speaking, in the sense that God is disposed like one who repents, for whom it is proper to change what he had been doing. In the same way, He is also said, metaphorically, to become angry, in the sense that, by punishing, He produces the same effect as an angry person.

Chapter 97

HOW THE DISPOSITION OF PROVIDENCE HAS A RATIONAL PLAN

[1] From the points set forth above it may be seen clearly that the things which are disposed by divine providence follow a rational plan.

[2] Indeed, we showed that God, through His providence, orders all things to the divine goodness, as to an end;not, of course, in such a way that something adds to His goodness by means of things that are made, but, rather, that the likeness of His goodness, as much as possible, is impressed on things. However, since every created substance must fall short of the perfection of divine goodness, in order that the likeness of divine goodness might be more perfectly communicated to things, it was necessary for there to be a diversity of things, so that what could not be perfectly represented by one thing might be, in more perfect fashion, represented by a variety of things in different ways. For instance, when a man sees that his mental conception cannot be expressed adequately by one spoken word, he multiplies his words in various ways, to express his mental conception through a variety of means. And the eminence of divine perfection may be observed in this fact, that perfect goodness which is present in God in a unified and simple manner cannot be in creatures except in a diversified manner and through a plurality of things. Now, things are differentiated by their possession of different forms from which they receive their species. And thus, the reason for the diversity of forms in things is derived from this end.

[3] Moreover, the reason for the order of things is derived from the diversity of forms. Indeed, since it is in accord with its form that a thing has being, and since anything, in so far as it has being, approaches the likeness of God Who is His own simple being, it must be that form is nothing else than a divine likeness that is participated in things. Hence, Aristotle, where he speaks about form in Physics I [9], quite appropriately says that it is “something godlike and desirable.” But a likeness that is viewed in relation to one simple thing cannot be diversified unless by virtue of the likeness being more or less close or remote. Now, the nearer a thing comes to divine likeness, the more perfect it is. Consequently, there cannot be a difference among forms unless because one thing exists more perfectly than another. That is why Aristotle, in Metaphysics VIII [3], likens definitions, through which the natures of things and forms are signified, to numbers, in which species are varied by the addition or subtraction of unity; so, from this, we are made to understand that the diversity of forms requires different grades of perfection.

This is quite clear to one who observes the natures of things. He will find, in fact, if he makes a careful consideration, that the diversity of things is accomplished by means of gradations. Indeed, he will find plants above inanimate bodies, and above plants irrational animals, and above these intellectual substances. And among individuals of these types he will find a diversity based on the fact that some are more perfect than others, inasmuch as the highest members of a lower genus seem quite close to the next higher genus; and the converse is also true; thus, immovable animals are like plants. Consequently, Dionysius says [ De div. nom. VII, 3] “Divine wisdom draws together the last members of things in a first class, with the first members of things in a second class.” Hence, it is apparent that the diversity of things requires that not all be equal, but that there be an order and gradation among things.

[4] Now, from the diversity of forms by which the species of things are differentiated there also results a difference of operations. For, since everything acts in so far as it is actual (because things that are potential are found by that very fact to be devoid of action), and since every being is actual through form, it is necessary for the operation of a thing to follow its form. Therefore, if there are different forms, they must have different operations.

[5] But, since each thing attains its proper end through its own action, various proper ends must be distinguished in things, even though the ultimate end is common to all.

[6] From the diversity of forms there also follows a diverse relationship of matter to things. In fact, since forms differ because some are more perfect than others, there are some of them so perfect that they are self-subsistent and self-complete, requiring no sub-structure of matter. But other forms cannot perfectly subsist by themselves, and do require matter as a foundation, so that what does subsist is not simply form, nor yet merely matter, but a thing composed of both.

[7] Now, matter and form could not combine to make up one thing unless there were some proportion between them. But, if they must be proportionally related, then different matters must correspond to different forms. Hence, it develops that some forms need simple matter, while others need composite matter; and also, depending on the various forms, there must be a different composition of parts, adapted to the species of the form and to its operation.

[8] Moreover, as a result of the diversified relationship to matter, there follows a diversity of agents and patients. For, since each thing acts by reason of its form, but suffers passion and is moved by reason of its matter, those things whose forms are more perfect and less material must act on those that are more material and whose forms are more imperfect.

[9] Again, from the diversity of forms and matters and agents there follows a diversity of properties and accidents. Indeed, since substance is the cause of accident, as the perfect is of the imperfect, different proper accidents must result from different substantial principles. In turn, since from different agents there result different impressions on the patients, there must be, depending on the different agents, different accidents that are impressed by agents.

[10] So, it is evident from what we have said that, when various accidents, actions, passions, and arrangements are allotted things by divine providence, this distribution does not come about without a rational plan. Hence, Sacred Scripture ascribes the production and governance of things to divine wisdom and prudence. Indeed, it is stated in Proverbs (3:19-20): “The Lord by wisdom bath founded the earth; He has established the heavens by prudence. By His wisdom the depths have broken out, and the clouds grow thick with dew.” And in Wisdom (8:1) it is said of the wisdom of God that “it reaches from end to end mightily, and orders all things sweetly.” Again, it is said in the same book: “You have ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight” (Wis. 11:21). Thus, we I may understand by measure: the amount, or the mode, or degree, of perfection pertaining to each thing; but by number: the plurality and diversity of species resulting from the different degrees of perfection; and by weight: the different inclinations to proper ends and operations, and also the agents, patients, and accidents which result from the distinction of species.

[11] Now, in the aforesaid order, in which the rational Plan of divine providence is observed, we have said that first place is occupied by divine goodness as the ultimate end, which is the first principle in matters of action. Next comes the numerical plurality of things, for the constitution of which there must be different degrees in forms and matters, and in agents and patients, and in actions and accidents. Therefore, just as the first rational principle of divine providence is simply the divine goodness, so the first rational principle in creatures is their numerical plurality, to the establishment and conservation of which all other things seem to be ordered. Thus, on this basis it seems to have been reasonably stated by Boethius, at the beginning of his Arithmetic, that: “All things whatever that have been established, at the original coming into being of things, seem to have been formed in dependence on the rational character of numbers.

[12] Moreover, we should consider the fact that operative and speculative reason partly agree and partly disagree. They agree, indeed, on this point: just as speculative reason starts from some principle and proceeds through intermediaries to the intended conclusion, so does operative reason start from something that is first, and go through certain intermediaries to the operation, or to the product of the operation, which is intended. But the principle in speculative matters is the form and that which is; while in operative matters it is the end, which at times is the form, at other times something else. Also, the principle in speculative matters must always be necessary, but in operative matters it is sometimes necessary and sometimes not. Indeed, it is necessary for a man to will felicity as his end, but it is not necessary to will to build a house. Likewise, in matters of demonstration the posterior propositions always follow of necessity from the prior ones, but it is not always so in operative reasoning; rather, it is only so when there can be only this single way of reaching the end. For instance, it is necessary for a man who wishes to build a house to get some lumber, but the fact that he tries to get lumber made of fir depends solely on his own will, and not at all on the reason for building the house.

[13] And so, the fact that God loves His goodness is necessary, but the fact that it is represented by means of creatures is not necessary, because divine goodness is perfect without them. Hence, the fact that creatures are brought into existence, though it takes its origin from the rational character of divine goodness, nevertheless depends solely on God’s will. But, if it be granted that God wills to communicate, in so far as is possible, His goodness to creatures by way of likeness, then one finds in this the reason why there are different creatures, but it does not necessarily follow that they are differentiated on the basis of this or that measure of perfection, or according to this or that number of things. On the other hand, if we grant that, as a result of an act of divine will, He wills to establish this particular number of things, and this definite measure of perfection for each thing, then as a result one finds the reason why each thing has a certain form and a certain kind of matter. And the same conclusion is obvious in regard to the things that follow.

[14] So, it becomes apparent that providence disposes things according to a rational plan; yet this plan is taken as something based on the divine will.

[15] Thus, a double error is set aside by the foregoing points. There is the mistake of those who believe that all things follow, without any rational plan, from God’s pure will. This is the error of the exponents of the Law of the Moors, as Rabbi Moses says; according to them, it makes no difference whether fire heats or cools, unless God wills it so. Also refuted is the error of those who say that the order of causes comes forth from divine providence by way of necessity. It is evident from what we have said that both of these views are false.

[16] However, there are some texts of Scripture that seem to attribute all things to the pure divine will. These are not expressed in order that reason may be removed from the dispensation of providence, but to show that the will of God is the first principle of all things, as we have already said above. Such a text is that of the Psalm (134:6): “All things whatsoever the Lord hath willed, He hath done”; again in Job (9:12): “Who can say to Him: Why dost You so?” Also in Romans (9:19): “Who resists His will?” And Augustine says: “Nothing but the will of God is the first cause of health and sickness, of rewards and punishments, of graces and retributions.”

[17] And so, when we ask the reason why,” in regard to a natural effect, we can give a reason based on a proximate cause; provided, of course, that we trace back all things to the divine will as a first cause. Thus, if the question is asked: “Why is wood heated in the presence of fire?” it is answered: “Because heating is the natural action, of fire”; and this is so “because beat is its proper accident.” But this is the result of its proper form, and so on, until we come to the divine will. Hence, if a person answers someone who asks why wood is heated: “Because God willed it,” he is answering it appropriately, provided he intends to take the question back to a first cause; but not appropriately, if he means to exclude all other causes.

Chapter 98

HOW GOD CAN ACT APART FROM THE ORDER OF HIS PROVIDENCE, AND HOW NOT

[1] Moreover, from the foregoing, consideration can be made of a twofold order: one depends on the first cause of all, and consequently takes in all things; while the other is particular, since it depends on a created cause and includes the things that are subject to it. The second is also of many types, depending on the diversity of causes that are found among creatures. Yet, one order is included under another, just as one cause stands under another. Consequently, all particular orders are contained under the universal order, and they come down from that order which is present in things by virtue of their dependence on the first cause. An illustration of this may be observed in the political area. As a matter of fact, all the members of a family, with one male head of the household, have a definite order to each other, depending on their being subject to him. Then, in turn, both this bead of the family and all other fathers who belong to his state have a certain order in regard to each other, and to the governor of the state; and again, the latter, together with all other governors who belong in the kingdom, have an order in relation to the king.

[2] However, we can consider the universal order in two ways, in accord with which all things are ordered by divine providence: that is to say, in regard to the things subject to the order, and in regard to the plan of the order which depends on the principle of order. Now, we showed in Book Two’. that these things which are subordinated to God do not come forth from Him, as from one who acts by natural necessity, or any other kind of necessity, but from His simple will, especially as regards the original establishment of things. The conclusion remains, then, that apart from the things that fall under the order of divine providence God can make other things, for His power is not tied down to these things.

[3] But, if we were to consider the foregoing order in relation to the rational plan which depends on the principle, then God cannot do what is apart from that order. For that order derives, as we showed, from the knowledge and will of God, ordering all things to His goodness as an end. Of course, it is not possible for God to do anything that is not willed by Him, since creatures do not come forth from Him by nature but by will, as has been shown. Nor, again, is it possible that something be done by Him which is not comprehended in His knowledge, since it is impossible for anything to be willed unless it be known. Nor, further, is it possible for Him to do anything in regard to creatures which is not ordered to His goodness as an end, since His goodness is the proper object of His will. In the same way, since God is utterly immutable, it is impossible for Him to will something which He has previously rejected with His will; or for Him to begin to know something new; or to order it to His goodness in a new way. Therefore, God can do nothing that does not fall under the order of His providence, just as He can do nothing that is not subject to His operation. Nevertheless, if His power be considered without qualification, He can do other things than those which are subject to His providence or operation, but, because of the fact that He cannot be mutable, He cannot do things that have not been eternally under the order of His providence.

[4] Now, certain people who have not kept this distinction in mind have fallen into various errors. Thus, some have tried to stretch the immutability of divine order to the things themselves that are subject to the order, asserting that all things must be as they are, with the result that some have said that God can do no things other than what He does. Against this view is what is found in Matthew (26:53): “Cannot I ask my Father, and He will give me more than twelve legions of angels?”

[5] Certain others, conversely, have transferred the mutability of things subject to divine providence to a mutability of divine providence, thinking in their carnal wisdom that God, in the fashion of a carnal man, is mutable in His will. Against this it is stated in Numbers (23:19): “God is not as a man that He should lie, nor as the son of man that He should be changed.”

[6] Others still have removed contingent events from divine providence. Against them it is said in Lamentations (3:37): “Who can command a thing to be done, when the Lord commands it not?”

Chapter 99

THAT GOD CAN WORK APART FROM THE ORDER IMPLANTED IN THINGS, BY PRODUCING EFFECTS WITHOUT PROXIMATE CAUSES

[1] It remains to show now that He can act apart from the order implanted by Him in things.

[2] Indeed, there is an order divinely instituted in things to the effect that lower things are moved through higher ones by God, as we said above. Now, God can act apart from this order; for instance, He may Himself produce an effect in lower things, with nothing being done, in this case, by a higher agent. In fact, there is a difference on this point between an agent that acts by natural necessity and one that acts according to will; an effect cannot result from one that acts by natural necessity except according to the mode of the active power—so, an agent that has very great power cannot directly produce a small effect, but it produces an effect in proportion to its power. But, in this effect, there is sometimes less power than in the cause, and so, by means of many intermediaries, there finally comes to be a small effect from the highest cause. However, the situation is not the same in the case of an agent working through will. For one who acts through will is able at once to produce without an intermediary any effect that does not exceed its power. For instance, the very perfect artisan can produce any kind of work that the less perfect artisan could make. Now, God operates through will, and not through natural necessity, as we showed above. Therefore, He can produce immediately, without special causes, the smaller effects that are produced by lower causes.

[3] Again, the divine power is related to all active powers as a universal power in regard to particular powers, as is evident from our earlier statements. Now, universal active power can be limited in two ways for the purpose of producing a particular effect. One way is by means of a particular intermediate cause: thus, the active power of a celestial body is limited to the effect of generating human beings, by the particular power which is in the semen; so, too, in syllogisms, the force of the universal proposition is limited to a particular conclusion, by the inclusion of a particular premise. Another way is by means of understanding, which apprehends a definite form and produces it in the effect. But the divine understanding is capable of knowing not only the divine essence which is like a universal active power, and also not only of knowing universal and first causes, but all particular ones, as is clear from the things said above. Therefore, it is able to produce immediately every effect that any particular agent can bring about.

[4] Besides, since accidents result from the substantial principles of a thing, the agent who immediately produces the substance of a thing must be able immediately to cause, in relation to this thing, anything whatever that results from the thing’s substance. For instance, the generating agent, because it gives the form, gives all the properties and resultant motions. Now, we showed above that God, at the first establishment of things, brought all things immediately into being by creation. Therefore, He is able immediately to move anything to any effect without intermediate causes.

[5] Moreover, the order of things flows forth from God into things, according as it is foreknown in His intellect. We observe, for example, in human affairs that the head of a state imposes on the citizens an order that is preconceived within himself. But the divine understanding is not determined by necessity to this particular order, in the sense that He can understand no other order; because even we can apprehend intellectually another order. For instance, it can be understood by us that God may form a man from the earth without the use of semen. Therefore, God can bring about the proper effect of these causes without lower causes.

[6] Furthermore, although the order implanted in things by divine providence represents in its own way divine goodness, it does not represent it perfectly, because the goodness of a creature does not attain to equality with divine goodness. But that which is not perfectly represented by a given copy may again be represented in another way besides this one. Now, the representation in things of the divine goodness is the end for the production of things by God, as we showed above. Therefore, the divine will is not limited to this particular order of causes and effects in such a manner that it is unable to will to produce immediately an effect in things here below without using any other causes.

[7] Again, the whole of creation is more subject to God than the human body is to its soul, for the soul is in proportion to its body, as its form, but God surpasses all proportion to creation. Now, as a result of the soul imagining something and being moved by strong emotion in regard to it, there follows at times a change in the body toward good health or sickness, independent of the action of the bodily principles that are present from birth in the body, in order to affect sickness or health. Therefore, by all the greater reason, as a result of divine will, an effect can be produced in creatures without using the causes that are naturally brought into being for the purpose of producing such an effect.

[8] Besides, according to the order of nature, the active powers of the elements are subordinated to the active powers of the celestial bodies. But, at times, celestial power brings about the proper effect of the elemental powers without the action of the element. An example is the sun heating, independently of the action of fire. Therefore, the divine power, for a much greater reason, can produce the proper effects of. created causes without the action of these causes.

[9] Now, if someone says that, since God did implant this order in things, the production in things of an effect independently of its proper causes, and apart from the order established by Him, could not be done without a change in this order, this objection can be refuted by the very nature of things. For the order imposed on things by God is based on what usually occurs, in most cases, in things, but not on what is always so. In fact, many natural causes produce their effects in the same way, but not always. Sometimes, indeed, though rarely, an event occurs in a different way, either due to a defect in the power of an agent, or to the unsuitable condition of the matter, or to an agent with greater strength-as when nature gives rise to a sixth finger on a man. But the order of providence does not fail, or suffer change, because of such an event. Indeed, the very fact that the natural order, which is based on things that happen in most cases, does fail at times is subject to divine providence. So, if by means of a created power it can happen that the natural order is changed from what is usually so to what occurs rarely—without any change of divine providence—then it is more certain that divine power can sometimes produce an effect, without prejudice to its providence, apart from the order implanted in natural things by God. In fact, He does this at times to manifest His power. For it can be manifested in no better way, that the whole of nature is subject to the divine will, than by the fact that sometimes He does something outside the order of nature. Indeed, this makes it evident that the order of things has proceeded from Him, not by natural necessity, but by free will.

[10] Nor should this argument, that God does a thing in nature in order to manifest Himself to the minds of men, be regarded as of slight importance, because we showed above that all corporeal creatures are, in a sense, ordered to intellectual nature as an end; moreover, the end of this intellectual nature is divine knowledge, as we showed in earlier remarks. So, it is not astonishing that some change is made in corporeal substance in order to make provision for the knowing of God by intellectual nature.

Chapter 100

THAT THINGS WHICH GOD DOES APART FROM THE ORDER OF NATURE ARE NOT CONTRARY TO NATURE

[1] However, it seems that we should keep in mind that, though God at times does something apart from the order implanted in things, He does nothing contrary to nature.

[2] In fact, since God is pure act, whereas all other things have some admixture of potency, God must be related to all else as a mover is to what is moved, and as the active is to what is in potency. Now, considering a thing that is in potency in the natural order to a certain agent, if some impression is made on it by that agent, this is not contrary to nature in an absolute sense, though it may be at times contrary to the particular form which is corrupted by this action. Thus, when fire is generated and air is corrupted by the fiery agent, natural generation and corruption take place. So, whatever is done by God in created things is not contrary to nature, even though it may seem to be opposed to the proper order of a particular nature.

[3] Again, since God is the primary agent as we showed above, all things that come after Him are like instruments for Him. But instruments are made for the purpose of subserving the action of the principal agent, while being moved by him. Consequently, the matter and form of an instrument should be such that they are suitable for the action which the principal agent intends. This is why it is not contrary to the nature of an instrument for it to be moved by a principal agent, but, rather, is most fitting for it. Therefore, it is not contrary to nature when created things are moved in any way by God; indeed, they were so made that they might serve Him.

[4] Besides, even among corporeal agents it may be observed that the motions that go on in lower bodies, as a result of the action of higher ones, are not violent or contrary to naturethough they may not seem to be in agreement with the natural motion which the lower body has in accord with the particular character of its form, For instance, we do not say that the tidal ebb and flow of the sea is a violent motion, because it results from the influence of a celestial body; even though the natural motion of water is only in one direction, toward the center. T’herefore, it is much more impossible to say that whatever is done in any creature by God is violent or contrary to nature.

[5] Moreover, the primary measure of the essence and nature of each thing is God; just as He is the first being, which is the cause of being in all things. Now, since a judgment concerning anything is based on its measure, what is natural for anything must be deemed what is in conformity with its measure. So, what is implanted by God in a thing will be natural to it. Therefore, even if something else is impressed on the same thing by God, that is not contrary to nature.

[6] Furthermore, all creatures are related to God as art products are to an artist, as is clear from the foregoing. Consequently, the whole of nature is like an artifact of the divine artistic mind. But it is not contrary to the essential character of an artist if he should work in a different wat on his product, even after he has given it its first form. Neither, then, is it against nature if God does something to natural things in a different way from that to which the course of nature is accustomed.

[7] Hence, Augustine says: “God, the creator and founder of all natures, does nothing contrary to nature; for what the source of all measure, number and order in nature does, is natural to each thing” [ Contra Faustum, XXVI, 3].

Chapter 101

ON MIRACLES

[1] Things that are at times divinely accomplished, apart from the generally established order in things, are customarily called miracles; for we admire with some astonishment a certain event when we observe the effect but do not know its cause. And since one and the same cause is at times known to some people and unknown to others, the result is that of several who see an effect at the same time, some are moved to admiring astonishment, while others are not. For instance, the astronomer is not astonished when he sees an eclipse of the sun, for he knows its cause, but the person who is ignorant of this science must be amazed, for he ignores the cause. And so, a certain event is wondrous to one person, but not so to another. So, a thing that has a completely hidden cause is wondrous in an unqualified way, and this the name, miracle, suggests; namely, what is of itself filled with admirable wonder, not simply in relation to one person or another. Now, absolutely speaking, the cause hidden from every man is God. In fact, we proved above that no man in the present state of life can grasp His essence intellectually. Therefore, those things must properly be called miraculous which are done by divine power apart from the order generally followed in things.

[2] Now, there are various degrees and orders of these miracles. Indeed, the highest rank among miracles is held by those events in which something is done by God which nature never could do. For example, that two bodies should be coincident; that the sun reverse its course, or stand still; that the sea open up and offer a way through which people may pass. And even among these an order may be observed. For the greater the things that God does are, and the more they are removed from the capacity of nature, the greater the miracle is. Thus, it is more miraculous for the sun to reverse its course than for the sea to be divided.

[3] Then, the second degree among miracles is held by those events in which God does something which nature can do, but not in this order. It is a work of nature for an animal to live, to see, and to walk; but for it to live after death, to see after becoming blind, to walk after paralysis of the limbs, this nature cannot do—but God at times does such works miraculously. Even among this degree of miracles a gradation is evident, according as what is done is more removed from the capacity of nature.

[4] Now, the third degree of miracles occurs when God does what is usually done by the working of nature, but without the operation of the principles of nature. For example, a person may be cured by divine power from a fever which could be cured naturally, and it may rain independently of the working of the principles of nature.

Chapter 102

THAT GOD ALONE, WORKS MIRACLES

[1] It can be shown from the foregoing that God alone can work miracles.

[2] In fact, whatever is completely confined under a certain order cannot work above that order. But every creature is established under the order which God has put in things. So, no creature can operate above this order; but that is what it means to work miracles.

[3] Again, when any finite power produces the proper effect to which it is determined, this is not a miracle, though it may be a matter of wonder for some person who does not understand that power. For example, it may seem astonishing to ignorant people that a magnet attracts iron or that some little fish might hold back a ship. But the potency of every creature is limited to some definite effect or to certain effects. So, whatever is done by the power of any creature cannot be called a miracle properly, even though it may be astonishing to one who does not comprehend the power of this creature. But what is done by divine power, which, being infinite, is incomprehensible in itself, is truly miraculous.

[4] Besides, every creature needs for its action some subject on which to act, for it is the prerogative of God alone to make something out of nothing, as we showed above. Now, nothing that requires a subject for its action can do anything other than that to which the subject is in potency, for the agent acts on the subject in order to bring it from potency to act. So, just as no creature can create, so no creature can produce any effect in a thing except what is within the potency of that thing. But many miracles are divinely accomplished, when something is done in a thing, which is not within the potency of that thing; for instance, that a dead person be revived, that the sun move backwards, that two bodies be coincident. Therefore, these miracles cannot be done by any created power.

[5] Moreover, the subject in which an action goes on has a relation both to the agent that reduces it from potency to act and to the act to which it is reduced. Hence, just as a certain subject is in potency to some definite act, and not to merely any act, so also is it impossible for it to be reduced from potency to some definite act except by means of some definite agent. Indeed, a different kind of agent is required to reduce to different types of act. For instance, since air is potentially either fire or water, it is actually made into fire by one agent and into water by a different one. Likewise, it is clear that corporeal matter is not brought to the condition of perfect actuality by the sole power of a universal agent; rather, there must be a particular agent by which the influence of the universal power is limited to a definite effect. Of course, corporeal matter may be brought to less perfect actuality by universal power alone, without a particular agent. For example, perfect animals are not generated by celestial power alone, but require a definite kind of semen; however, for the generation of certain imperfect animals, celestial power by itself is enough, without semen. So, if the effects that are accomplished in these lower bodies are naturally capable of being done by superior universal causes without the working of particular lower causes, such accomplishment is not miraculous. Thus, it is not miraculous for animals to be originated from putrefaction, independently of semen. But, if they do not naturally come about through superior causes alone, then particular lower causes are needed for their development. Now, when some effect is produced by a higher cause through the mediation of proper principles, there is no miracle. Therefore, no miracles can be worked in any way by the power of the higher creatures.

[6] Furthermore, it seems to pertain to the same rational principle for a thing to be produced from a subject; for that to which the subject is in potency to be produced; and for an orderly action to be produced through definite intermediate stages. Indeed, a subject is not advanced to proximate potency unless it has become actual in regard to the intermediate stages; thus, food is not immediately potential flesh, but only when it has been changed into blood. Now, every creature must have a subject, in order to make something, nor can it make anything to which the subject is not in potency, as we showed. So, it cannot make anything unless the subject is brought to actuality through definite intermediate stages. Miracles, then, which result from the fact that an effect is produced, but not according to the order in which it can be accomplished naturally, cannot be worked by the power of a creature.

[7] Again, a certain order may be observed in the types of motion. The primary motion is local movement, and so it is the cause of the other kinds, since the first in any genus is the cause of the subsequent items in that genus. Now, every effect that is produced in these lower things must be produced by some generation or alteration. So, this must occur by means of something that is moved locally if it be accomplished by an incorporeal agent, which, strictly speaking, cannot be moved locally. Now, the effects that are produced by incorporeal substances through corporeal instruments are not miraculous, since bodies only work naturally. Therefore, created incorporeal substances cannot work any miracles by their own power, and much less can corporeal substances whose every action is natural.

[8] So, it is the prerogative of God alone to work miracles. Indeed, He is superior to the order in which the whole of things are contained, just as from His providence this entire order flows. Moreover, His power, being utterly infinite, is not limited to any special effect or to the production of a particular effect in any limited way, or order.

[9] Hence it is said about God in the Psalm (135:4): “Who alone does great wonders.”

Chapter 103

HOW SPIRITUAL SUBSTANCES DO CERTAIN WONDERFUL THINGS WHICH, HOWEVER, ARE NOT TRULY MIRACLES

[1] It was Avicenna’s position that matter is much more obedient to separate substances, in the production of a certain effect, than it is to the contrary agencies within matter. Consequently, he claimed that, when there is an act of apprehension in the aforesaid substances, there results at times an effect in these things here below—for instance, rain, or the healing of a sick person—without the mediation of a corporeal agent.

[2] He took an indication of this from our soul. For, when it is possessed of a strong imagination, its body may be changed by an act of cognition alone. For example, when a man is walking over a beam placed at some height, he falls quite easily because, through fear, he imagines his fall. But he would not fall if the beam were placed on the earth, where there would be no possibility of fearing a fall. It is also obvious that, simply as a result of the cognitive act of the soul, the body becomes hot, as happens in those who are prone to concupiscence, or anger; or it may also grow cold, as happens in those subject to fear. Sometimes, too, it is moved by a strong cognitive act toward some illness, such as fever, or even leprosy. And on this basis, he says that, if the soul be pure, not subject to bodily passions, and strong in its cognitive functioning, then not only its own body, but even external bodies, obey its act of apprehension. So much so, that on the occurrence of its act of apprehension a sick person may be cured, or some similar result may occur. And he claims that this is the explanation of the casting of a spell by fascination; namely, that the soul of a person strongly moved by malevolence has the power to inflict an injury on someone, particularly a child, who is quite susceptible to impressions, because of the tender condition of his body. Consequently, Avicenna favored the notion that it is much more likely that the cognitive functions of separate substances, which he regarded as the souls or movers of the spheres, result in certain effects in lower bodies, without the action of any corporeal agent.

[3] Now, this theory is in agreement with his other views. For he asserts that all substantial forms flow down to these lower bodies from separate substances, and that corporeal agents are merely to prepare matter to receive the impression of a separate agent. Of course, this is not true, according to the teaching of Aristotle, who proves, in the Metaphysics [VI, 8], that the forms which are in matter do not come from separate forms, but from forms which are in matter; in this way, in fact, the likeness between the maker and the thing made is discovered.

[4] Moreover, the example that he takes from the influence of the soul on the body does not help his contention much. For no change in the body results from an act of apprehension unless there be attached to the apprehension some sort of emotion, such as joy or fear, or lust, or some other passion. Now, passions of this kind occur along with a definite motion of the heart, from which there results later a change of the whole body, either in the way of local motion or of alteration. Consequently, it still remains true that the act of apprehension in a spiritual substance does not alter the body except through the mediation of local motion.

[5] Again, what he suggests in regard to fascination does not happen as a result of the apprehension of one person immediately changing the body of another, but because, by means of the motion of the heart, it causes a change in the body that is united with the soul; and its change reaches the eye, from which it is possible to affect something external, particularly if it is easily changed. Thus, for instance, the eye of a menstruating woman may affect a mirror.

[6] So, with the exception of the use of the local motion of some body, a created spiritual substance cannot by its, own power produce any form in bodily matter, in the sense that matter would be directly subject to it in order to become actual in terms of a form. Of course, there is this capacity within the power of a spiritual substance: a body is obedient to it in regard to local motion. But, to move any body locally, it makes use of any naturally active power in order to produce its effects, just as the art of metal working makes use of fire in order to soften the metal. Now, this is not miraculous, properly speaking. So, the conclusion stands, that created spiritual substances do not work miracles by their own power.

[7] Now, I say by their own power, since nothing prevents these substances from working miracles provided they act through divine power. This may be seen from the fact that one order of angels is specially assigned, as Gregory says, to the working of miracles. He even says that some of the saints “work miracles by their power,” and not merely through intercession.

[8] However, we should bear in mind the fact that, when either angels or demons make use of natural things in order to produce definite effects, they use them as instruments, just as a physician uses certain herbs as instruments of healing. Now, there proceeds from an instrument not merely an effect corresponding to the power of the instrument, but also an effect beyond its power, in so far as it acts through the power of the principal agent. For instance, a saw or an axe could not make a bed unless they worked as things moved by the art adapted to such a product. Nor could natural heat generate flesh without the power of the vegetative soul which uses it as a sort of instrument. So, it is appropriate that certain higher effects result from these natural things, due to the fact that spiritual substances use them as instruments.

[9] So, then, although such effects cannot be called miracles without qualification, since they do result from natural causes, they remain wonderful to us, in two senses. In one way, this is ‘because such causes are applied by spiritual substances to the Production of their effects, in a fashion that is strange to us. As a consequence, the works of clever artisans appear wondrous because it is not evident to other people how they are produced. In a second way, this is due to the fact that natural causes which are applied to the production of certain effects receive a particular power as a result of their being instruments of spiritual substances. This latter way comes rather close to the notion of a miracle.

Chapter 104

THAT THE WORKS OF MAGICIANS ARE NOT SOLELY DUE TO THE INFLUENCE OF CELESTIAL BODIES

[1] There have been some who say that works of this kind, which are astonishing to us when accomplished by the arts of magic, are not performed by spiritual substances but by the power of celestial bodies.And indication of this is seen in the fact that the precise position of the stars is carefully noted by those who perform these works. Moreover, they make use of certain herbs, and other corporeal things, as aids in the preparation, as it were, of low-grade matter for the reception of the influence of celestial power.

[2] But this view is clearly opposed by the apparitions. Indeed, since it is not possible for understanding to be caused by corporeal principles, as we proved above, it is impossible for effects peculiar to intellectual nature to be caused by the power of a celestial body. Now, among these workings of the magicians some events appear which are the proper functions of a rational nature. For instance, answers are given concerning things removed by theft, and concerning other such matters, and this could be done only through understanding. So, it is not true that all effects of this kind are caused solely by the power of celestial bodies.

[3] Again, speech is itself an act peculiar to a rational nature. Now, certain agents that speak to men appear in these performances, and they reason discursively about various matters. Therefore, it is not possible for things like this to be done solely by the power of celestial bodies.

[4] Now, if someone says that apparitions of this kind do not work through external sensation, but only through the imagination, then, first of all, this does not seem true. In fact, imaginary forms do not look like true things to an observer unless there be a loss of discriminatory power in the external senses. For it is impossible for a person to be made to regard images as things unless the natural power of sense discrimination has been overcome. But these vocal messages and apparitions are made to men who exercise their external senses freely. So, it is not possible for these visions and auditory responses to be solely a matter of imagination.

[5] Then, too, from imaginary forms it is not possible for intellectual knowledge beyond the natural or acquired ability of the intellect to come to a person. This is clear even in the case of dreams, in which, though there may be some premonition of future events, not everyone who experiences dreams is able to understand their meaning. But, through these visions or auditory messages which appear in the performances of magicians, intellectual knowledge of things which surpass the capacity of his understanding often comes to a person. Examples are the revealing of hidden treasures, the showing of future events, and sometimes true answers are given concerning scientific demonstrations. So, it must be that either these apparitions and vocal messages are not grasped through the imagination only, or, at least, that this case of a man being brought to a knowledge of such matters through imaginary presentations of this kind is done by the power of a higher understanding, and is not done solely by the power of celestial bodies.

[6] Again, what is done by the power of celestial bodies is a natural effect, for the forms that are caused in lower bodies by the power of celestial bodies are natural. So, that which cannot be natural for anything cannot be done by the power of celestial bodies. But some such things are said to be done during the aforementioned performances; for instance, in the presence of a certain man, the bolt of any door is opened for him, a certain person can become invisible, and many other such things are reported. Therefore, it is not possible for this to be done by the power of celestial bodies.

[7] Besides, whenever a subsequent perfection is conferred on a subject by the power of the celestial bodies, what is prior to this perfection is also conferred. Now, the power of self-movement is subsequent to the possession of a soul, for it is proper to animated beings for them to move themselves. So, it is impossible for something inanimate to be made able to move itself by the power of celestial bodies. But it is said that this can be done by the arts of magic; that a statue, for instance, can move itself, or even speak. So, it is not possible for the effect of the arts of magic to be done by celestial power.

[8] Now, if it is suggested that this statue receives a principle of life from the power of celestial bodies, this is impossible. In fact, the principle of life in all living things is the substantial form, “for living beings, to live is to be,” as the Philosopher says in Book II [4] of On the Soul. But it is impossible for a thing to receive a new substantial form without losing the form which it previously possessed, “for the generation of one thing is the corruption of another thing.” Now, in the process of making a statue no substantial form is ejected; rather, what is accomplished is a change of shape only, and this is accidental; the form of copper, or other material, remains. So, it is not possible for these statues to receive a principle of life.

[9] Again, if anything is moved by a principle of life, it must have sense power: the mover is, in fact, sense or understanding. Now, understanding is not present in things subject to generation and corruption, without sensation. But sensation cannot be present where there is no touch, nor can touch be without an organ that has a balanced mixture of sensory qualities. Now, such a balanced mixture is not found in stone, or wax, or metal, from which a statue is made. Therefore, it is not possible for these statues to be moved by a principle of life.

[10] Besides, perfect living things are not generated by the celestial power alone, but also from semen, “for man, together with the sun, generates a man.” On the other hand, things generated without semen, by the celestial power alone, are animals generated from putrefaction, and they are the lower type of animals. So, if these statues receive a principle of life, whereby to move themselves, through the celestial power alone, they must be the lowest grade of animals. Yet this would be false if they work through an internal principle of life, for noble operations appear among their activities, since they give answers about hidden things.

[11] Moreover, it is possible for a natural effect produced by the power of celestial bodies to be accomplished without the operation of an art. For, though a man might work by means of some artful device for the purpose of generating frogs, yet it happens that frogs are generated without any artificial device. So, if these statues that are made by the art of necromancy receive their principle of life from the power of celestial bodies, there should be a possibility of finding a case of the generation of such statues apart from art of this kind. But such a case is not found. It is obvious, then, that these statues do not have a principle of life, nor are they moved by the power of a celestial body.

[12] The position of Hermes is disposed of by these considerations, for he spoke as follows, as Augustine reports it in the City of God [VIII, 23]: “Just as God is the maker of the celestial gods, so man is the maker of the gods who are in the temples, content in their nearness to man. I mean the animated statues, endowed with sense and spirit, that do such great and unusual things; statues that foresee future events, predicting them from dreams and from many other things, that cause weaknesses in men and also cure them, that give sorrow and joy, in accord with one’s merits.

[13] This view is also refuted by divine authority, for it is said in the Psalm (134:15-17): “The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold, the works of men’s hands. They have a mouth and they do not speak… neither is there any breath in their mouths.”

[14] However, it does not seem necessary to deny altogether that some power may be present in the aforementioned objects, resulting from the power of the celestial bodies—only it will be for those effects, of course, which any lower bodies are able to produce by the power of celestial bodies.

Chapter 105

WHERE THE PERFORMANCES OF THE MAGICIANS GET THEIR EFFICACY

[1] Now, it remains to investigate where the arts of magic get their efficacy. Indeed, this can easily be thought out if attention is paid to their method of operation.

[2] As a matter of fact, in their performances they use certain significant words in order to produce given effects. But a word, as endowed with meaning, has no force except as derived from some understanding: either from the understanding of the speaker or from the understanding of the one to whom it is spoken. As an example of such dependence on the understanding of the speaker, suppose an intellect is of such great power that a thing can be caused by its act of conception, and that the function of the spoken word is to present, in some way, this conception to the effects that are produced. As an example of dependence on the understanding of the person to whom the speech is directed, take the case of a listener who is induced to do something, through the reception in his intellect of the meaning of the word. Now, it cannot be claimed that these meaningful words spoken by magicians get their efficacy from the understanding of the speaker. Indeed, since power results from essence, a diversity of power manifests a diversity of essential principles. But the intellect of men in general is so disposed that its knowledge is caused by things, instead of it being able to cause things by its act of conception. So, if there be any men who, by their own power, can change things by the words which express their intellectual thought, they will belong to a different species and will be called men in an equivocal sense.

[3] Moreover, the power to do something is not acquired by study, but only the knowledge of what to do. Now, some men acquire through study the ability to produce these magical performances. So, there is no special power in them to produce effects of this kind, but only knowledge.

[4] Now, if someone says that men like this, in distinction from other men, receive the aforesaid power from birth, due to the power of the stars, so that, no matter how much instruction is given to other men, if they do not possess this from birth, they cannot be successful in works of this kind, our first answer must be that the celestial bodies are not able to make an impression on the understanding, as we showed above. Therefore, no intellect can receive from the power of the stars such a power that the expression of its thought through speech is capable of producing something.

[5] But, if it be said that even the imagination produces something when it utters meaningful words, and that the celestial bodies can make an impression on this utterance since this action is performed by means of a bodily organ, this cannot be true in regard to all the effects produced by these arts. It has been shown that not all of these effects can be produced by the power of the stars. Neither, then, can a man receive from the power of the stars this power to produce such effects.

[6] So, we are left with the conclusion that effects of this kind are accomplished by some understanding to which the speech of the person uttering these words is addressed. An indication of this fact is that meaningful words such as the magicians use are called invocations, supplications, adjurations, or even commands, implying that one person is speaking to another.

[7] Again, in the practices of this art they use certain symbols and specially shaped figures. Now, shape is the principle of neither action nor passion; if it were, mathematical bodies would be active and passive. Hence, it is not possible to dispose matter by special figures so that it will be receptive to a natural effect. So, the magicians do not use figures as dispositions. The conclusion remains, then, that they may use them only as signs, for there is no third possibility. Now, we do not use signs except in regard to other intelligent beings. Therefore, the arts of magic get their efficacy from another intelligent being to whom the speech of the magician is addressed.

[8] Now, if someone says that some figures are proper to certain celestial bodies, and so lower bodies are marked by certain figures for the reception of the influences of the celestial bodies, this does not seem a reasonable answer. In fact, a patient is not ordered to the reception of the influence of an agent, unless it be because it is in potency. So, only those things whereby a thing becomes potential, in some way, determine it to receive a special impression. But matter is not disposed by figures so that it is in potency to any form, because figure, according to its rational meaning, abstracts from all sensible matter and form, for it is a mathematical object. Therefore, a body is not determined by figures or symbols for the reception of any influence from a celestial body.

[9] Moreover, certain figures are assigned as proper to celestial bodies, as their effects; for the shapes of lower bodies are caused by the celestial bodies. But the aforesaid arts do not use characters or figures like the effects of celestial bodies. Rather, they are the productions of man, working by means of art. So, the assigning of certain figures as proper to celestial bodies seems to contribute nothing to the discussion.

[10] Furthermore, as we have shown, natural matter is not in any way disposed toward form by figures. So, the bodies on which these figures are put have the same readiness to receive the celestial influence as any other bodies of the same species. Now, the fact that a thing acts on one of a group of things equally disposed, because of something specially assigned to that agent which is to be found on that object and not on another, is not indicative of an agent which acts by natural necessity, but, rather, of one which acts through will. It is clear, then, that arts of this sort which use figures to produce certain effects do not get their efficacy from a natural agent, but from some intellectual substance that acts through understanding.

[11] Indeed, the very name that they give to such figures demonstrates this point, for they call them characters. As a matter of fact, a character is a sign. By this usage we are given to understand that they do not use these figures except as signs addressed to some intellectual nature.

[12] However, since figures are like specific forms for art objects, some person could say that nothing prevents the construction of a figure, which specifies an image, as result of some power due to celestial influence, not as a figure, but as it specifies the artifact which obtains its power from the stars. However, concerning the letters with which something is written on an image, and the other characters, nothing else can be said than that they are signs. Hence, they are directed only to some intellect. This is also shown by the offerings, prostrations, and other similar practices which they use, for they can be nothing but signs of reverence addressed to some intellectual nature.

Chapter 106

THAT THE INTELLECTUAL SUBSTANCE WHICH PROVIDES THE EFFICACY FOR MAGIC WORKS IS NOT MORALLY GOOD

[1] We must further inquire what this intellectual nature is, by whose power such operations are done.

[2] First of all, it appears not to be good and praiseworthy. To offer patronage to things that are contrary to virtue is not the act of a well-disposed understanding. But this is done in these arts, for they are often used for purposes of adultery, theft, homicide, and other kinds of wrongdoing. As a result, the practitioners of these arts are called malefics. So, the intellectual nature on whose assistance these arts depend is not well disposed in relation to virtue.

[3] Again, a morally well-disposed intellect should not be the associate of, and provide protection for, scoundrels, while having nothing to do with the best men. Now, evil men often make use of these arts. Therefore, the intellectual nature from whose help these arts get their efficacy is not well disposed in relation to virtue.

[4] Besides, it pertains to a well-disposed intellect to bring men back to things that are proper goods for men, namely, the goods of reason. Consequently, to lead them away from these goods, by diverting them to the least important goods, is the mark of an improperly disposed intellect. Men do not make any progress by means of these arts in the goods of reason which are the sciences and the virtues, but, rather, in certain least important things, such as the finding of stolen goods and the catching of thieves, and such things. Therefore, the intellectual substances with whose aid these arts are exercised are not well disposed in relation to virtue.

[5] Moreover, some deception and irrationality are observable in the practices of these arts. In fact, arts of this kind need a man who is not engrossed in sexual matters, yet they often are used to arrange illicit affairs. But, in the workings of a well-disposed intellect nothing unreasonable or out of keeping with its nature is apparent. Therefore, these arts do not employ the patronage of an intellect that is well disposed in relation to virtue.

[6] Furthermore, he who feels called upon to help another by the committing of a crime is not well disposed in his intellect. But this is done in these arts, for we read about some people who, in their practice, have killed innocent children. Therefore, those by whose help such things are done are not good intellects.

[7] Again, the proper good of an intellect is truth. So, since to attract to the good is proper to a good being, it seems to be the function of every well-disposed intellect to bring others to the truth. But in the practices of the magicians many things are done whereby men are made sport of and are deceived. So, the intellect whose help they use is not well disposed morally.

[8] Besides, a well-disposed intellect is attracted by truth, takes pleasure in it and not in lies. But the magicians use certain lies in their invocations, by which they entice those whose help they employ. They also make certain impossible threats, such as, unless he who is being invoked provides help, the magician who is asking it will shatter the sky, or displace the stars, as Porphyry relates in his Letter to Anebontes. Therefore, these intellectual substances with whose help the works of the magicians are accomplished do not seem to be well disposed in their intellect.

[9] Moreover, it does not seem the attribute of a possessor of a well-disposed intellect for it, if it be superior, to submit like an inferior to the one who commands it, or, if it is inferior, to permit itself to be invoked as if it were a superior. But the magicians humbly invoke as their superiors those whose assistance they employ, but when they appear the magicians command them like inferiors. So, in no way do they seem well disposed in relation to intellect.

[10] By these considerations the error of the pagans is set aside, for they attributed such works to the gods.

Chapter 107

THAT THE INTELLECTUAL SUBSTANCE WHOSE HELP THE ARTS OF MAGIC USE IS NOT EVIL IN ITS OWN NATURE

[1] Now, it is not possible for there to be natural malice in the intelligent substances with whose help the arts of magic work.

[2] A thing does not tend accidentally, but essentially, to the objective to which it inclines by its nature, as, for instance, a heavy body tends downward. But, if intellectual substances of this kind are evil in their nature, they tend to evil naturally. Therefore, they do not tend accidentally, but essentially, to evil. But this is impossible, for we showed above that all things essentially tend to the good, and that nothing tends to evil, except accidentally. Therefore, these intellectual substances are not evil in their nature.

[3] Again, whatever is present in things must be either a cause or a thing caused; otherwise, it would have no relation to other things. So, these substances are either causes only or they are also caused. Now, if they are causes, and if evil cannot be the cause of anything, except accidentally, as we showed above, but if everything that is accidental must be traced back to what is essential, then there must be something in them prior to their malice, something by which they may be causes. Now, first in each thing is its nature and essence. Therefore, substances of this kind are not evil in their nature.

[4] Moreover, the same thing follows, if they are caused. For no agent acts unless it intends the good. So, evil cannot be the effect of any cause, except accidentally. Now, that which is only caused accidentally cannot be according to nature, since every nature has a definite way of coming into being. Therefore, it is impossible for substances of this kind to be evil in their nature.

[5] Furthermore, each thing has its proper act of being in accord with the mode of its nature. Now, to be, as such, is good: the mark of this is that all things desire to be. Therefore, if substances of this kind were evil in their nature, they would have no act of being.

[6] Again, we showed above that nothing can be unless it gets its act of being from the first being, and that the first being is the highest good. Now, since every agent, as such, produces something like itself, the things that come from the first being must be good. Therefore, the aforesaid substances, in so far as they exist and have a nature, cannot be evil.

[7] Besides, it is impossible for anything to be which is wholly deprived of participation in the good. For, since the desirable and the good are the same thing, if something were utterly devoid of goodness it would have nothing desirable in it; but to each thing its own being is desirable. Therefore, it is necessary that, if anything is called evil in its nature, then this is not evil in the absolute sense, but evil in relation to a particular thing or in some particular way. Thus, poison is not an unqualified evil, but only to this individual for whom it is harmful. Hence, “what is one man’s poison is another man’s meat.” Now, this happens because the particular good that is proper to this individual is contrary to the particular good that is proper to another individual. Thus, heat, which is good for fire, is the contrary to and is destructive of cold, which is good for water. Now, something which is by its nature ordered to the good that is not particular, but absolute, cannot be called evil naturally, even in this sense. But every intellect is such, for its good is found in its proper operation, which is concerned with universals and with things that exist without qualification. So, it is impossible for any intellect to be evil in its own nature, either absolutely or relatively so.

[8] Moreover, in each thing that possesses understanding the intellect moves the appetite according to the natural order, for the proper object of the will is the good that is understood. But the good of the will consists in the fact that it follows the understanding; in our case, for instance, the good is what is in accord with reason, but what is apart from reason is evil. So, in the natural order, an intellectual substance wills the good. It is impossible, then, for these intellectual substances, whose help the arts of magic use, to be naturally evil.

[9] Furthermore, since the will tends naturally toward the good that is understood as to its proper object and end, it is impossible for an intellectual substance to have a will evil in its nature unless its intellect naturally errs in regard to the judgment of the good. But no intellect can be like that, for false judgments in the area of intellectual operations are like monsters among natural things; they are not in accord with nature, but apart from nature. In fact, the good of the intellect, and its natural end, is the knowledge of truth. Therefore, it is impossible for any intellect to exist which is naturally deceived in its judgment of the true. And so, neither is it possible for there to be an intellectual substance naturally possessing a bad will.

[10] Again, no cognitive potency fails in the knowing of its object unless because of some defect or corruption in itself, since it is ordered according to its own rational character to the knowledge of this object. Thus, sight does not fail in the knowing of color unless there be some corruption present in sight itself. But all defect and corruption are apart from nature, because nature intends the being and perfection of the thing. So, it is impossible that there be any cognitive power which naturally falls short of the right judgment of its object. But the proper object of the intellect is the true. It is impossible, then, for there to be an intellect naturally tending to err in regard to the knowledge of the true. Therefore, neither can any will naturally fall short of the good.

[11] This is also solidly supported by the text of Scripture. Indeed, it is said in 1 Timothy (4:4): “Every creature of God is good”; and in Genesis (1:31): “God saw all things that He had made, and they were very good.”

[12] By this, then, we refute the error of the Manicheans, who asserted that intellectual substances of this kind, whom we call by the customary name of demons or devils, are naturally evil.

[13] Also disposed of is the view which Porphyry reports, in his Letter to Anebontes, where he says: “Some people are of the opinion that there is a kind of spirits whose function is to hear the requests of the magicians, spirits who are false by nature, having every form, taking on the appearance of gods and demons and the souls of the dead. And this is the kind that produces all these apparitions, whether good or bad. Moreover, as regards the things that are truly good, no help is given by them; or, better, they do not even know them. Instead, they advise evil things, and blame and frequently binder zealous followers of virtue; and they are full of boldness and pride; they take pleasure in frothy exhalations and are overcome by false praises.” Indeed, these words of Porphyry quite plainly express the evil character of the demons whose help the magic arts employ. The only point in which his words are objectionable is his statement that this evil is naturally present in them.

Chapter 108

ARGUMENTS WHEREBY IT SEEMS TO BE PROVED THAT THERE CAN BE NO SIN IN DEMONS

[1] Now, if malice is not natural in the demons, and if it has been shown that they are evil, it must follow that they are had voluntarily. So, we must ask how this can be, for it seems to be altogether impossible.

[2] Indeed, it was shown in Book Twos that no intellectual substance is naturally united to a body except the human soul, or also, according to some thinkers, the souls of celestial bodies. But, in regard to the latter, it is not appropriate to think that they are evil, since the motion of the celestial bodies is most orderly, and in a way is the source of the entire order of nature. Now, every other cognitive potency besides the intellect uses animated bodily organs. So, it is not possible for there to be in substances of this kind any cognitive power other than understanding. Hence, whatever they know, they understand. Now, one does not err in regard to the object which one understands, since all error arises from a failure to understand. Therefore, there can be no error in such substancesknowledge. Moreover, no sin can occur in the will without error, since the will always tends toward the good as apprehended. Consequently, unless there is an error in the apprehension of the good, there cannot be a sin in the will. Therefore, it seems that there can be no sin in the will of these substances.

[3] Again, in our case, as regards the things of which we possess universal knowledge, sin occurs in our will because the judgment of reason is impeded on a particular point by some passion which shackles the reason. But these passions cannot occur in demons, because such passions belong to the sensitive part of the soul, which cannot operate without a bodily organ. So, if separate substances of this kind have right knowledge on the universal level, it is impossible for their will to incline to evil because of a defect of knowledge on the particular level.

[4] Besides, no cognitive power is deceived in regard to its proper object, but only in regard to something foreign to it. For instance, sight is not deceived in judging color, but, when a man judges by sight concerning the taste or species of a thing, deception may occur in that case. But the proper object of understanding is the quiddity of a thing. Hence, in the cognitive act of an intellect, provided it apprehend pure quiddities, deception cannot occur. Rather, all intellectual deception seems to happen because it apprehends the forms of things mixed together with phantasms, as happens in our case. But such a mode of knowing is not found in intellectual substances that are not united with a body, since phantasms cannot be without a body. Tlerefore, it is not possible for cognitive error to occur in separate substances; neither, then, can sin be in their will.

[5] Moreover, falsity occurs in our case in the intellectual operation of composing and dividing, as a result of the fact that it does not apprehend the quiddity of a thing simply, but, rather, combines something with the thing that is apprehended. Of course, in the operation of the intellect, whereby it apprehends that which is, no falsity occurs except accidentally, by virtue of mixing, even in this operation, some part of the operation of the intellect composing and dividing. Indeed, this happens because our intellect does not immediately attain the knowledge of the quiddity of a thing, but with a certain order in the process of inquiry. For example, we first apprehend animal, then we divide it into the opposed differences, and, leaving one aside, we put the other with the genus, until we come to the definition of the species. Now, falsity may occur in this process if something is taken as a difference in the genus which is not a difference in the genus. Of course, to proceed in this way to the quidditative knowledge of something pertains to an intellect reasoning discursively from one thing to another. This is not proper to separate intellectual substances, as we showed above. Hence, it does not seem that any error can occur in the knowledge of these substances. Consequently, neither can sin occur in their will.

[6] Furthermore, since in no case does the appetite of a thing tend to anything other than its proper good, it seems impossible for that for which there is uniquely but one sole good to err in its appetite. For this reason, though something wrong may happen in natural things because of a contingent defect in the working of the appetite, such wrong never occurs in natural appetite; thus, a stone always tends downward, whether it achieves its goal or is stopped. But sin does occur in our act of appetition, because, since our nature is composed of the spiritual and the corporeal, there are several goods for us. Our good in regard to understanding is indeed different from what it is according to sensation, or even according to the body. Now, there is a certain order of these various things that are man’s goods, based on the fact that what is less primary is subordinated to what is more primary. Hence, a sin occurs in our will when, failing to observe this order, we desire what is only relatively good for us, in opposition to what is absolutely good. However, such a complexity and diversity of goods is not found in the separate substances; on the contrary, every good for them is according to the understanding. Therefore, it is not possible for there to be a sin in the will for them, as it would seem.

[7] Again, in us sin occurs in the will, as a result of excess or defect, and virtue consists in the mean between these. So, in things which do not admit of excess or defect, but only of the mean, it is not possible for the will to sin. For instance, no one can sin by desiring justice, for justice is itself a certain mean. Now, separate intellectual substances cannot desire anything except intellectual goods; indeed, it is ridiculous to say that those who are incorporeal in their nature desire corporeal goods, or that those without sense power desire sensible goods. But among intellectual goods one can find no excess, for these goods are in themselves means between excess and defect; just as the true is a mean between two errors, one of which goes too far, the other not far enough. Consequently, both sensible and corporeal goods achieve the mean, to the extent that they are in accord with reason. So, it does not seem that separate intellectual substances can sin by their will.

[8] Besides, incorporeal substance seems farther removed from defects than is corporeal substance. But, in the case of corporeal substances that are without contrariety, no defect can occur; for instance, in the celestial bodies. Much less possible, then, is it for any sin to occur in separate substances, which are removed both from contrariety, from matter, and from motion, from which sources any possible defect would seem to come.

Chapter 109

THAT SIN CAN OCCUR IN DEMONS, AND IN WHAT WAY

[1] However, that there is sin of the will in demons is obvious from the text of Sacred Scripture. In fact, it is said in 1 John (3:8) that “the devil sins from the beginning”; and in John (8:44) it is said that “the devil is a liar and the father of lies” and that “he was a murderer from the beginning.” And in Wisdom (2:24) it is said that “by the envy of the devil, death came into the world.”

[2] Moreover, if anyone wished to follow the views of the Platonists, that would be an easy way to answer the arguments stated above. For they say that demons are animals with an aerial body; and so, since they have bodies united to them, there can also be in them a sensitive part. Hence, they also attribute passions to them, which are for us a cause of sin; namely, anger, hate, and others of like kind. This is why Apuleius says that they are passive in their mind.

[3] Also, apart from this contention that they are united to bodies according to the views of Plato, it might perhaps be possible to claim another kind of knowledge in them, other than that of the intellect. For, according to Plato, the sensitive soul is also incorruptible. Hence, it must have an operation in which the body does not share. Thus, nothing is to prevent the operation of the sensitive soul and, consequently, passions from taking place in any intellectual substance, even though it is not united with a body. And so, there remains in them the same source of sinful action that is found in us.

[4] However, both of these foregoing views are impossible. As a matter of fact, we showed above that there are no other intellectual substances united to bodies besides human souls. Moreover, that the operations of the sensitive soul cannot go on without the body is apparent from the fact that, with the corruption of any organ of sensation, the operation of one sense is corrupted. For instance, if the eye be destroyed, vision fails. For this reason, when the organ of touch is corrupted, without which an animal cannot exist, the animal must die.

[5] So, for the clarification of the aforesaid difficulty, we must give some consideration to the fact that, as there is an order in agent causes, so also is there one in final causes, so that, for instance, a secondary end depends on a principal one, just as a secondary agent depends on a principal one. Now, something wrong happens in the case of agent causes when a secondary agent departs from the order of the principal agent. For example, when the leg bone fails because of its crookedness in the carrying out of the motion which the appetitive power has commanded, limping ensues. So, too, in the case of final causes, when a secondary end is not included under the order of the principal end, there results a sin of the will, whose object is the good and the end.

[6] Now, every will naturally wishes what is a proper good for the volitional agent, namely, perfect being itself, and it cannot will the contrary of this. So, in the case of a volitional agent whose proper good is the ultimate end, no sin of the will can occur, for the ultimate end is not included under the order of another end; instead, all other ends are contained under its order. Now, this kind of volitional agent is God, Whose being is the highest goodness, which is the ultimate end. Hence, in God there can be no sin of the will.

[7] But in any other kind of volitional agent, whose proper good must be included under the order of another good, it is possible for sin of the will to occur, if it be considered in its own nature. Indeed, although natural inclination of the will is present in every volitional agent to will and to love its own perfection so that it cannot will the contrary of this, yet it is not so naturally implanted in the agent to so order its perfection to another end, that it cannot fail in regard to it, for the higher end is not proper to its nature, but to a higher nature. It is left, then, to the agent’s choice, to order his own proper perfection to a higher end. In fact, this is the difference between those agents who have a will, and those things which are devoid of will: the possessors of will order themselves and their actions to the end, and so they are said to be free in their choice; whereas those devoid of will do not order themselves to their end, but are ordered by a higher agent, being moved by another being to the end, not by themselves.

[8] Therefore, it was possible for sin to occur in the will of a separate substance, because it did not order its proper good and perfection to its ultimate end, but stuck to its own good as an end. And because the rules of action must be derived from the end, the consequence is that this separate substance tried to arrange for the regulation of other beings from himself wherein he had established his end, and thus his will was not regulated by another, higher one. But this function belongs to God alone. In terms of this, we should understand that “he desired to be equal to God” (Is. 14:14). Not, indeed, that his good would be equal to the divine good, for this thought could not have occurred in his understanding, and in desiring such a thing he would have desired not to exist, since the distinction of species arises from the different grades of things, as is clear from previous statements.

However, to will to rule others, and not to have his will ruled by a higher one, is to will to take first place and, in a sense, not to be submissive; this is the sin of pride. Hence, it may appropriately be said that the first sin of the demon was pride. But since a diversified and pluralized error results from one error concerning the starting point, multiple sin followed in his will as a result of the first disorder of the will which took place in the demon: sins both of hatred toward God, as One Who resists his pride and punishes his fault most justly, and of envy toward man, and many other similar sins.

[9] We should also consider that, when an agent’s proper good is related to several higher goods, the volitional agent is free to depart from the order of one superior and free not to abandon the order of another, whether it be higher or lower. Thus, a soldier who is subordinate to the king and to the leader of the army can order his will to the leader’s good and not to the king’s, or vice versa. But, if the leader departs from the order of the king, the will of the soldier who abandons the will of the leader and directs his will to the king is going to be good, whereas the will of the soldier who follows the will of the leader against the will of the king is going to be bad, for the order of a lower principle depends on the order of a higher one. Now, separate substances are not only subordinated to God, but one of them is subordinated to another, from the first to the last, as we showed in Book Two. And since in each volitional agent under God there can be a sin of the will, if he were considered in his own nature, it was possible for some of the higher ones, or even the highest of all, to sin in his will. And, in fact, this is probably what happened, for he would not have been satisfied with his own good as an end unless his good were quite perfect. So, it possibly happened in this way: some of the lower ones, through their own will, ordered their good to his, and departing from the divine order they sinned in like fashion; others, however, observing in the movement of their will the divine order, rightly departed from the order of the sinful one, even though he was a superior in the order of nature. But how the will of both kinds perseveres immutably in goodness, or in evil, will be shown in Book Four, for this has to do with the punishments and rewards of the good and the evil.

[10] But there is this difference between man and a separate substance: in one man there are several appetitive powers, one subordinated to the other. Now, this is not the case in separate substances, though one of these substances stands under another. Now, sin occurs in the will when in any way the lower appetite rebels. So, just as sin could occur in the separate substances, either by being turned away from the divine order, or by one of the lower ones being turned aside from the order of a superior one which continues under the divine order, so also, in one man, sin may occur in two ways. One way is due to the fact that the human will does not order its proper good to God; in fact, this kind of sin is common both to man himself and to the separate substance. Another way is due to the good of the lower appetite not being ruled in accord with the higher appetite; for example, we may desire the pleasures of the flesh to which the concupiscible appetite inclines, in discord with the order of reason. Now, this latter kind of sin cannot occur in separate substances.

Chapter 110

ANSWER TO THE PREVIOUS ARGUMENTS

[1] So, then, it is not difficult to answer the arguments that have been presented.

[2] As a matter of fact, we are not forced to say that there was error in the understanding of a separate substance, in judging a good not to be a good. Instead, it was in not considering the higher good to which its proper good should have been directed. Now, the reason for this lack of consideration could have been that the will was vehemently turned toward its own good, for to turn to this or that object is a characteristic of free will.

[3] It is evident, also, that he desired only one good, that is, his own; but there was sin in this, because he set aside the higher good to which he should have been ordered. just as sin in us is due to the fact that we desire lower goods, that is, those of the body, in discord with the order of reason, so in the devil there was sin, because he did not relate his own good to the divine good.

[4] Moreover, it is clear that he overlooked the mean of virtue, in so far as he did not subject himself to the order of a superior; thus, he gave himself more importance than was proper, while giving less to God than was due Him to Whom all should be subject as to the Orderer of the primary rule. So, it is evident that, in this sin, the mean was not abandoned because of an excess of passion, but simply because of inequity under justice, which is concerned with actions. In fact, actions are possible in the case of separate substances, but passions are in no way possible.

[5] Nor, indeed, is it a necessary conclusion that, if no defect can be present in higher bodies, for this reason sin cannot occur in separate substances. For bodies and all things devoid of reason are only moved to action; they do not act of themselves, for they do not have control over their acts. Consequently, they cannot depart from the primary rule which actuates and moves them, except in the sense that they cannot adequately receive the regulation of the primary rule. Of course, this is so due to the indisposition of matter. For this reason, the higher bodies, in which this indisposition of matter has no place, never can fall short of the rightness of the primary rule. But rational substances, or intellectual ones, are not merely acted upon; rather, they also move themselves to their proper acts. Indeed, the more perfect their nature is, the more evident is this characteristic in them, for, the more perfect their nature is, the more perfect is their power to act. Consequently, perfection of nature does not preclude the possibility of sin occurring in them in the aforesaid way: namely, because they fasten upon themselves, and pay no attention to the order of a higher agent.

Chapter 111

THAT RATIONAL CREATURES ARE SUBJECT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE IN A SPECIAL WAY

[1] From the points which have been determined above,it is manifest that divine providence extends to all things. Yet we must note that there is a special meaning for providence in reference to intellectual and rational creatures, over and above its meaning for other creatures.

For they do stand out above other creatures, both in natural perfection and in the dignity of their end. In the order of natural perfection, only the rational creature holds dominion over his acts, moving himself freely in order to perform his actions. Other creatures, in fact, are moved to their proper workings rather than being the active agents of these operations, as is clear from what has been said. And in the dignity of their end, for only the intellectual creature reaches the very ultimate end of the whole of things through his own operation, which is the knowing and loving of God; whereas other creatures cannot attain the ultimate end except by a participation in its likeness. Now, the formal character of every work differs according to the diversity of the end and of the things which are subject to the operation; thus, the method of working in art differs according to the diversity of the end and of the subject matter. For instance, a physician works in one way to get rid of illness and in another way to maintain health, and he uses different methods for bodies differently constituted. Likewise, in the government of a state, a different plan of ordering must be followed, depending on the varying conditions of the persons subject to this government and on the different purposes to which they are directed. For soldiers are controlled in one way, so that they may be ready to fight; while artisans will be managed in another way, so that they may successfully carry out their activities. So, also, there is one orderly plan in accord with which rational creatures are subjected to divine providence, and another by means of which the rest of creatures are ordered.

Chapter 112

THAT RATIONAL CREATURES ARE GOVERNED FOR THEIR OWN SAKES, WHILE OTHERS ARE GOVERNED IN SUBORDINATION TO THEM

[1] First of all, then, the very way in which the intellectual creature was made, according as it is master of its acts, demands providential care whereby this creature may provide for itself, on its own behalf; while the way in which other things were created, things which have no dominion over their acts, shows this fact, that they are cared for, not for their own sake, but as subordinated to others. That which is moved only by another being has the formal character of an instrument, but that which acts of itself has the essential character of a principal agent. Now, an instrument is not valued for its own sake, but as useful to a principal agent. Hence it must be that all the careful work that is devoted to instruments is actually done for the sake of the agent, as for an end, but what is done for the principal agent, either by himself or by another, is for his own sake, because he is the principal agent. Therefore, intellectual creatures are so controlled by God, as objects of care for their own sakes; while other creatures are subordinated, as it were, to the rational creatures.

[2] Again, one who holds dominion over his own acts is free in his activity, “for the free man is he who acts for his own sake.” But one who is acted upon by another, under necessity, is subject to slavery. So, every other creature is naturally subject to slavery; only the intellectual creature is by nature free. Now, under every sort of government, provision is made for free men for their own sakes, but for slaves in such a way that they may be at the disposal of free men. And so, through divine providence provision is made for intellectual creatures on their own account, but for the remaining creatures for the sake of the intellectual ones.

[3] Besides, whenever things are ordered to any end, and some of these things cannot attain the end through their own efforts, they must be subordinated to things which do achieve the end and which are ordered to the end for their own sakes. Thus, for instance, the end of an army is victory, and this the soldiers may achieve through their own act of fighting; that is why only soldiers are needed for their own sake in an army. All others, who are assigned to different tasks—for instance, caring for the horses and supplying the weapons—are needed for the sake of the soldiers in the army. Now, from what has been seen earlier, it is established that God is the ultimate end of the whole of things; that an intellectual nature alone attains to Him in Himself, that is, by knowing and loving Him, as is evident from what has been said. Therefore, the intellectual nature is the only one that is required in the universe, for its own sake, while all others are for its sake.

[4] Moreover, in any whole the principal parts are needed in themselves in order to constitute the whole, but the other parts are for the preservation or for some betterment of the principal ones. Now, of all the parts of the universe the more noble are intellectual creatures, since they come closer to the divine likeness. Therefore, intellectual creatures are governed by divine providence for their own sakes, while all others are for the intellectual ones.

[5] Furthermore, it is evident that all parts are ordered to the perfection of the whole, since a whole does not exist for the sake of its parts, but, rather, the parts are for the whole. Now, intellectual natures have a closer relationship to a whole than do other natures; indeed, each intellectual substance is, in a way, all things. For it may comprehend the entirety of being through its intellect; on the other hand, every other substance has only a particular share in being. Therefore, other substances may fittingly be providentially cared for by God for the sake of intellectual substances.

[6] Again, as a thing is acted upon in the course of nature, so is it disposed to action by its natural origin. Now, we see that things do go on in the course of nature in such a way that intellectual substance uses all others for itself: either for the perfecting of its understanding, since it contemplates the truth in them; or for the exercise of its power and the development of its knowledge, in the fashion of an artist who develops his artistic conception in bodily matter; or even for the support of his body which is united with the intellectual soul, as we see in the case of men. Therefore, it is clear that all things are divinely ruled by providence for the sake of intellectual substances.

[7] Besides, what a man desires for its own sake is something which he always desires, for that which is, because of itself, always is. On the other hand, what a man desires for the sake of something else is not necessarily always desired; rather, the duration of the desire depends on that for which it is sought. Now, the being of things flows forth from the divine will, as is shown in our earlier considerations. Therefore, those things which always exist among beings are willed by God for their own sake, while things which do not always exist are not for their own sake, but for the sake of something else. Now, intellectual substances come closest to existing always, for they are incorruptible. They are also immutable, excepting only their act of choice. Therefore, intellectual substances are governed for their own sake, in a sense, while others are for them.

[8] Nor is what was shown in earlier arguments opposed to this, namely, that all parts of the universe are ordered to the perfection of the whole. For all parts are ordered to the perfection of the whole, inasmuch as one is made to serve another. Thus, in the human body it is apparent that the lungs contribute to the perfection of the body by rendering service to the heart; hence, it is not contradictory for the lungs to be for the sake of the heart, and also for the sake of the whole organism. Likewise, it is not contradictory for some natures to be for the sake of the intellectual ones, and also for the sake of the perfection of the universe. For, in fact, if the things needed for the perfection of intellectual substance were lacking, the universe would not be complete.

[9] Similarly, too, the foregoing is not opposed by the fact that individuals are for the sake of their proper species. Because they are ordered to their species, they possess a further ordination to intellectual nature. For a corruptible thing is not ordered to man for the sake of one individual man only, but for the sake of the whole human species. A corruptible thing could not be of use to the whole human species except by virtue of the thing’s entire species. Therefore, the order whereby corruptible things are ordered to man requires the subordination of individuals to their species.

[10] However, we do not understand this statement, that intellectual substances are ordered for their own sake by divine providence, to mean that they are not more ultimately referred to God and to the perfection of the universe. In fact, they are said to be providentially managed for their own sake, and other things for their sake, in the sense that the goods which they receive through divine goodness are not given them for the advantage of another being, but the things given to other beings must be turned over to the use of intellectual substances in accord with divine providence.

[11] Hence it is said in Deuteronomy (4:19): “Lest you see the sun and the moon and the other stars, and being deceived by error, you adore and serve them, which the Lord Your God created for the service of all the nations that are under heaven”; and again in the Psalm (8:8): “You subjected all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, moreover the beasts of the field”; and in Wisdom (12:18) it is said: “You, being Master of power, judge with tranquillity, and with great favor dispose of us.”

[12] Through these considerations we refute the error of those who claim that it is a sin for man to kill brute animals. For animals are ordered to man’s use in the natural course of things, according to divine providence. Consequently, man uses them without any injustice, either by killing them or by employing them in any other way. For this reason, God said to Noah: “As the green herbs, I have delivered all flesh to you” (Gen. 9:3).

[13] Indeed, if any statements are found in Sacred Scripture prohibiting the commission of an act of cruelty against brute animals, for instance, that one should not kill a bird accompanied by her young (Deut. 22:6), this is said either to turn the mind of man away from cruelty which might be used on other men, lest a person through practicing cruelty on brutes might go on to do the same to men; or because an injurious act committed on animals may lead to a temporal loss for some man, either for the agent or for another man; or there may be another interpretation of the text, as the Apostle (1 Cor. 9:9) explains it, in terms of “not muzzling the ox that treads the corn” (Deut. 25:4).

Chapter 113

THAT THE RATIONAL CREATURE IS DIRECTED BY GOD TO HIS ACTIONS NOT ONLY BY AN ORDERING OF THE SPECIES, BUT ALSO ACCORDING TO WHAT BEFITS THE INDIVIDUAL

[1] It is evident, as a result, that only the rational creature is directed by God to his actions, not only in accord with what is suitable to the species, but also in accord with what is suitable to the individual. Each thing appears to exist for the sake of its operation; indeed, operation is the ultimate perfection of a thing. Therefore, each thing is ordered to its action by God according to the way in which it is subordinated to divine providence. Now, a rational creature exists under divine providence as a being governed and provided for in himself, and not simply for the sake of his species, as is the case with other corruptible creatures. For the individual that is governed only for the sake of the species is not governed for its own sake, but the rational creature is governed for his own sake, as is clear from what we have said.And so, only rational creatures receive direction from God in their acts, not only for the species, but for the individual.

[2] Again, whenever beings are directed in their acts, solely on the basis of what pertains to the species, the capacity to act or not to act is not present in them. For things that are associated with the species are common and natural to all individuals contained in the species. Now, natural functions are not within our power to control. So, if man were able to direct his acts only in accord with what is suitable to the species, he would not have within him the capacity to act or not to act. Rather, he would have to follow the natural inclination common to the whole species, as is the case with all irrational creatures. Therefore, it is obvious that a rational creature has the ability to direct his acts, not only in accord with the species, but also in accord with the individual.

[3] Besides, as we showed above, divine providence extends to all singular things, even to the least. In the case of those beings, then, whose actions take place apart from the inclination appropriate to their species, it is necessary for them to be regulated in their acts by divine providence, over and above the direction which pertains to the species. But many actions are evident, in the case of the rational creature, for which the inclination of the species is not enough. The mark of this is that such actions are not alike in all, but differ in various cases. Therefore, the rational creature must be directed by God in his acts, not only specifically, but also individually.

[4] Moreover, God takes care of each nature according to its capacity; indeed, He created singular creatures of such kinds that He knew were suited to achieving the end under His governance. Now, only the rational creature is capable of this direction, whereby his actions are guided, not only specifically, but also individually. For he possesses understanding and reason, and consequently he can grasp in what different ways a thing may be good or bad, depending on its suitability for various individuals, times, and places. Therefore, only the rational creature is directed in his acts by God, individually as well as specifically.

[5] Furthermore, the rational creature is subject to divine providence in such a way that he is not only governed thereby, but is also able to know the rational plan of providence in some way. Hence, it is appropriate for him to exercise providence and government over other things. This is not the case with other creatures, for they participate in providence only to the extent of being subordinated to it. Through this possession of the capacity to exercise providence one may also direct and govern his own acts. So, the rational creature participates in divine providence, not only by being governed passively, but also by governing actively, for he governs himself in his personal acts, and even others. Now, all lower types of providence are subordinated, as it were, to divine providence. Therefore, the governing of the acts of a rational creature, in so far as they are personal acts, pertains to divine providence.

[6] Again, the personal acts of a rational creature are properly the acts that stem from the rational soul. Now, the rational soul is capable of perpetual existence, not only in function of the species, as is the case with other creatures, but also in an individual sense. Therefore, the acts of a rational creature are directed by divine providence not only for the reason that they are important to the species, but also inasmuch as they are personal acts.

[7] This is why, though all things are subject to divine providence, the care of man is especially attributed to it in Sacred Scripture, in the text of the Psalm (8:5): “What is man that You art mindful of him?” and of 1 Corinthians (9:9): “Does God take care of oxen?” Indeed, these statements have been so expressed because God takes care of human acts, not only as they pertain to the species, but also inasmuch as they are personal acts.

Chapter 114

THAT LAWS ARE DIVINELY GIVEN TO MAN

[1] It is apparent, next, that it was necessary for law to be divinely given to man. just as the acts of irrational creatures are directed by God through a rational plan which pertains to their species, so are the acts of men directed by God inasmuch as they pertain to the individual, as we have shown.But the acts of irrational creatures, as pertaining to the species, are directed by God through natural inclination, which goes along with the nature of the species. Therefore, over and above this, something must be given to men whereby they may be directed in their own personal acts. And this we call law.

[2] Again, the rational creature, as we have said, is so subjected to divine providence that he even participates in a certain likeness of divine providence, in so far as he is able to govern himself in his own acts, and also others. Now, that whereby the acts of such agents are governed is called law. Quite appropriately, then, law was given to men by God.

[3] Besides, since law is simply a certain rational plan and rule of operation, it is fitting that law be given only to those beings who know the rational character of their work. Now, this is proper only to a rational creature. Therefore, it was appropriate that law was given to the rational creature only.

[4] Moreover, law should be given to those having the ability to act and not to act. Now, this is true of the rational creature only. Therefore, only the rational creature is capable of receiving law.

[5] Furthermore, since law is nothing but a rational plan of operation, and since the rational plan of any kind of work is derived from the end, anyone capable of receiving the law receives it from him who shows the way to the end. Thus does the lower artisan depend on the architect, and the soldier on the leader of the army. But the rational creature attains his ultimate end in God, and from God, as we have seen in the foregoing. Therefore, it is appropriate for law to be given men by God.

[6] Hence it is said in Jeremiah (31:33): “I will give my law in their bowels”; and in Hosea (8:12; Douay modified): “I shall write my manifold laws for them.”

Chapter 115

THAT THE DIVINE LAW PRINCIPALLY ORDERS MAN TOWARD GOD

[1] From this conclusion we may gather what it is to which the divinely given law principally tends.

[2] It is evident that every lawmaker intends to direct men by means of laws toward his own end, principally. Thus, the leader of an army intends victory and the ruler of a state intends peace. But the end which God intends is God Himself. Therefore, the divine law principally looks to the ordering of man toward God.

[3] Again, as we have said, law is a rational plan of divine providence, in its governing capacity, proposed to the rational creature. But the governance of God, as providence, conducts individual beings to their own ends. Therefore, man is chiefly ordered to his end by the divinely given law. Now, the end for the human creature is to cling to God, for his felicity consists in this, as we have shown above. So, the divine law primarily directs man to this end: that he may cling to God.

[4] Besides, the intention of every legislator is to make those to whom he gives the law good; as a consequence, the precepts of law should be concerned with acts of virtue. So, those acts which are best are chiefly intended by divine law. But of all human acts, those whereby man clings to God are best, in the sense that they are nearer to the end. Therefore, the divine law primarily orders men in regard to those acts.

[5] Moreover, that from which the law derives its efficacy should be the most important thing in the law. But the divinely given law derives its efficacy among men from the fact that man is subject to God, for no one is bound by the law of a ruler if he is not subject to him. Therefore, this should be of primary importance in divine law: that the human mind must cling to God.

[6] Hence it is said in Deuteronomy (10:3.2): “And now, Israel, what does the Lord Your God require of You: but that You fear the Lord Your God, and walk in His ways, and love Him, and serve the Lord Your God, with all your heart and with all your soul?”

Chapter 116

THAT THE END OF DIVINE LAW IS THE LOVE OF GOD

[1] Since the intention of divine law is primarily to this purpose, that man may cling to God, and since man is best able to cling to God through love, it must be that the intention of divine law is primarily ordered to an act of love.

[2] Now, it is quite clear that man chiefly clings to God through love. For there are two things in man by which he is enabled to cling to God, namely, intellect and will. For by means of the lower parts of his soul he cannot cling to God, but only to inferior things. Now, the union which is effected through the intellect is completed by the union which pertains to the will, because through his will man in some way rests in that which the intellect apprehends. But the will adheres to a thing, either because of love or because of fear, but not in the same way. For, if one clings to something because of fear, he clings because of something else, for instance, to avoid an evil which threatens unless he clings to that thing. But, if one clings to a thing because of love, he does so for the sake of that thing. Now, what is valued for its own sake is of greater importance than what is for the sake of something else. Therefore, the adherence to God in love is the best possible way of clinging to Him. So, this is what is chiefly intended in the divine law.

[3] Again, the end of every law, and above all of divine law, is to make men good. But a man is deemed good from his possession of a good will, through which he may put into act whatever good there is in him. Now, the will is good because it wills a good object, and especially the greatest good, which is the end. So, the more the will desires such a good, the more does a man advance in goodness. But a man has more desire for what he wills because of love than for what he wills because of fear only, for what he loves only from a motive of fear is called an object of mixed involuntariness. Such is the case of the man who wills to throw his merchandise into the sea because of fear.Therefore, the love of the highest good, namely, God, above all else makes men good, and is chiefly intended in the divine law.

[4] Besides, man’s goodness stems from virtue, “for virtue is what makes its possessor good.” Hence, law also intends to make men virtuous, and the precepts of law are concerned with acts of the virtues. But it is a condition of virtue that the virtuous man must act with firmness and joy. But love is the chief producer of this result, for we do a thing firmly, and with joy, as a result of love. Therefore, love of the good is the ultimate object. intended in divine law.

[5] Moreover, legislators move those to whom the law is given by means of a command pertaining to the law as it is promulgated. In the case of all who are moved by a first mover, any one of them is moved more perfectly when he participates more fully in the motion of the prime mover, and in his likeness. Now, God, Who is the giver of divine law, makes all things because of His love. So, he who tends toward God in this way, namely, by loving Him, is most perfectly moved toward Him. Now, every agent intends perfection in the object of his action. Therefore, this is the end of all legislation: to make man love God.

[6] Hence it is said in 1 Timothy (1:5): “The end of the commandment is charity”; and in Matthew (22:37-38) it is said that “the first and greatest commandment of the law is: Love the Lord Your God.”

[7] As a further consequence, the New Law, as the more perfect, is called the law of love; while the Old Law, as less perfect, is the law of fear.

Chapter 117

THAT WE ARE ORDERED BY DIVINE LAW TO THE LOVE OF NEIGHBOR

[1] The next point after this is that divine law intends the love of neighbor.

[2] For there should be a union in affection among those for whom there is one common end. Now, men share in common the one ultimate end which is happiness, to which they are divinely ordered. So, men should be united with each other by a mutual love.

[3] Again, whoever loves a person must, as a consequence, also love those loved by that person and those related to him. Now, men are loved by God, for He has prearranged for them, as an ultimate end, the enjoyment of Himself. Therefore, it should be that, as a person becomes a lover of God, he also becomes a lover of his neighbor.

[4] Besides, since “man is naturally a social animal,” he needs to be helped by other men in order to attain his own end. This is most fittingly accomplished by mutual love which obtains among men. Therefore, by the law of God, which directs men to their ultimate end, mutual love is prescribed for us.

[5] Moreover, so that man may devote his time to divine matters, he needs tranquillity and peace. Now, things that are potential disturbances to peace are removed principally by mutual love. So, since the divine law orders men in order that they may devote themselves to divine matters, it is necessary for mutual love to be engendered among men by divine law.

[6] Furthermore, divine law is offered to man as an aid to natural law. Now, it is natural to all men to love each other. The mark of this is the fact that a man, by some natural prompting, comes to the aid of any man in need, even if he does not know him. For instance, he may call him back from the wrong road, help him up from a fall, and other actions like that: “as if every man were naturally the familiar and friend of every man. Therefore, mutual love is prescribed for men by the divine law.

[7] Hence it is said in John (15:12): “This is my commandment: that you love one another”; and in 1 John (4:21): “This commandment we have from God, that he who loves God love also his brother”; and in Matthew (22:39) it is said that the second commandment is: “Love Your neighbor.”

Chapter 118

THAT THROUGH DIVINE LAW MEN ARE BOUND TO THE RIGHT FAITH

[1] From this it becomes clear that men are bound to the right faith through divine law.

[2] Indeed, just as the origin of bodily love lies in the vision accomplished through the bodily eye, so also the beginning of spiritual love ought to lie in the intellectual vision of an object of spiritual love. Now, we cannot possess the vision of God, as an object of spiritual vision, in this life except through faith, because it exceeds the power of natural reason, and particularly because our happiness consists in the enjoyment of Him. Therefore, we must be led to the right faith by the divine law.

[3] Again, the divine law orders man for this purpose, that he may be entirely subject to God. But, just as man is subject to God as far as will is concerned, through loving, so is he subject to God as far as intellect is concerned, through believing; not, of course, by believing anything that is false, for no falsity can be proposed to man by God Who is truth. Consequently, he who believes something false does not believe in God. Therefore, men are ordered to the right faith by the divine law.

[4] Besides, whoever is in error regarding something that is of the essence of a thing does not know that thing. Thus, if someone understood irrational animal with the notion that it is a man, he would not know man. Now, it would be a different matter if he erred concerning one of man’s accidents. However, in the case of composite beings, the person who is in error concerning one of their essential principles does know the thing, in a relative way, though he does not know it in an unqualified sense. For instance, he who thinks that man is an irrational animal knows him according to his genus. But this cannot happen in reference to simple beings; instead, any error at all completely excludes knowledge of the being. Now, God is most simple. So, whoever is in error concerning God does not know God, just as the man who thinks that God is a body does not know God at all, but grasps something else in place of God. However, the way in which a thing is known determines the way in which it is loved and desired. Therefore, he who is in error about God can neither love God nor desire Him as an end. So, since the divine law intends this result, that man love and desire God, man must be bound by divine law to bold a right faith concerning God.

[5] Moreover, false opinion holds the same place in regard to objects of the intellect that vice opposed to virtue has in regard to moral matters, “for truth is the good of the intellect.” But it is the function of divine law to prohibit vices. Therefore, it also pertains to it to exclude false opinions about God and matters concerned with God.

[6] Thus it is said in Hebrews (11:6): “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” And in Exodus (20:2) before the other precepts of the law are given, right faith concerning God is put in first place; moreover, it is said: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord Your God is one” (Deut. 6:4).

[7] Through this consideration we exclude the error of those who say that it makes no difference to the salvation of man whatever be the faith with which he serves God.

Chapter 119

THAT OUR MIND IS DIRECTED TO GOD BY CERTAIN SENSE OBJECTS

[1] Since it is connatural for man to receive knowledge through his senses, and since it is very difficult to transcend sensible objects, divine provision has been made for man so that a reminder of divine things might be made for him, even in the order of sensible things. The purpose of this is that the intention of man might be better recalled to divine matters, even in the case of the man whose mind is not strong enough to contemplate divine things in themselves.

[2] And it was for this reason that sensible sacrifices were instituted: man offers these to God, not because God needs them, but so that man may be reminded that he ought to refer both his own being and all his possessions to God as end, and thus to the Creator, Governor, and Lord of all.

[3] In fact, certain blessings using sensible things are provided for man, whereby man is washed, or anointed, or fed, or given drink, along with the expression of sensible words, so that man may be reminded through sensible things that intelligible gifts come to him from without, and from God, Whose name is expressed in sensible words.

[4] So, certain sensible works are performed by man, not to stimulate God by such things, but to awaken man himself to divine matters by these actions, such as prostrations, genuflections, vocal ejaculations, and hymns. These things are done not because God needs them, for He knows all things, and His will is immutable, and the disposition of His mind does not admit of movement from a body for His own sake; rather, we do these things for our sakes, so that our attention may be directed to God by these sensible deeds and that our love may be aroused. At the same time, then, we confess by these actions that God is the author of soul and body, to Whom we offer both spiritual and bodily acts of homage.

[5] For this reason, it is not astonishing if heretics who deny that God is the author of our body condemn such manifestations. This condemnation shows that they have not remembered that they are men when they judge that the representation of sensible objects to themselves is not necessary for inner knowledge and for love. For it is evident from experience that the soul is stimulated to an act of knowledge or of love by bodily acts. Hence, it is obvious that we may quite appropriately use even bodily things to elevate our mind to God.

[6] Now, the cult of God is said to consist in these bodily manifestations to God. For we are said to cultivate those things to which we devote effort through our works. Indeed, we show our zeal in regard to God by our activity, not, of course, to benefit Him (as we are said to do, when we cultivate other things by our actions), but because we approach more closely to God by such acts. And since we directly tend toward God through interior acts, we therefore properly give cult to God by interior acts. Yet exterior acts also pertain to the cult of God, according as our mind is lifted up to God by such acts, as we have said.

[7] Also, this cult of God is called religion, because in some way man binds’ himself by such acts, so that he will not wander away from God, and also because man feels that he is obligated by some sort of natural prompting to pay, in his own way, reverence to God, from Whom comes the beginning of man’s being and of all good.

[8] As a consequence, too, religion takes the name piety. For piety is the means whereby we pay due honor to our parents. Hence, the fact that honor is rendered to God, the Parent of all beings, seems appropriately to be attributed to piety. And for this reason, those who are opposed to these things concerned with the cult of God are called impious.

[9] And because God is not only the cause and source of our being, but also because our entire existence is within His power, and because we owe Him everything that is present in us, and as a consequence He is truly our Lord, what we offer Him in homage is called service.

[10] Of course, God is not a lord in the accidental sense, as one man is over another; He is so through nature. And so, service is owed to God in one way, and to man in another, for we are accidentally subject to a man whose lordship over things is limited and also derivative from God. Hence, the service which is owed to God is technically called latria among the Greeks.

Chapter 120

THAT THE CULT PROPER TO LATRIA IS TO BE OFFERED TO GOD ALONE

[1] There have been some who have thought that the cult of latria should be offered not only to the first principle of things, but even to all creatures which exist above man. Hence, some, though of the opinion that God is the one, first, and universal principle of things, have nevertheless thought that latria should be offered, first of all, after the highest God, to celestial intellectual substances whom they called gods, whether they were substances completely separated from bodies or whether they were the souls of the spheres or the stars.

[2] Secondly, they thought that it should be offered also to certain intellectual substances united, as they believed, to aerial bodies; and these they called daemons. Yet, because they believed them to be above men, as an aerial body is above a terrestrial body, they claimed that even these substances are to be honored with divine cult by men. And in relation to men they said that those substances are gods, being intermediaries between men and the gods. Moreover, because the souls of good men, through their separation from the body, have passed over into a state higher than that of the present life, they held the opinion in their belief that divine cult should be offered to the souls of the dead, whom they called heroes, or manes.

[3] In fact, some people, holding the view that God is the World Sou1, have believed that the cult of divinity is to be offered to the entire world and to each of its parts; not, of course, for the sake of the bodily part, but for the sake of the “Soul,” which they said was God, just as honor is rendered to a wise man, not because of his body, but because of his soul.

[4] Indeed, some men said that even things below man’s level in nature are to be honored with divine cult because some power of a higher nature is participated by them. Hence, since they believed that certain idols made by men receive a supernatural power, either from the influence of celestial bodies or from the presence of certain spirits, they said that divine cult should be offered to images of this kind. And they even called these idols gods. For which reason they are also said to be idolaters, since they offer the cult of latria to idols, that is, to images.

[5] Now, it is unreasonable for people who maintain only one, separate, first principle to offer divine cult to another being. For we render cult to God, as we have said, not because He needs it, but so that a true opinion concerning God may be strengthened in us, even by means of sensible things. But an opinion on the point that God is one, exalted above all things, cannot be established in us through sensible things unless we honor Him with something unique, which we call divine cult. So, it is evident that a true opinion concerning the one principle is weakened if divine cult is offered to several beings.

[6] Again, as we said above, this kind of exterior worship is necessary to man so that man’s mind may be aroused to a spiritual reverence for God. Now, for the mind of man to be moved toward something custom plays a great part, since we are easily moved toward objectives that have become customary. Of course, human custom supports this practice, in that the honor which is offered to the person holding the highest office in the state, for example, the king or emperor, should be offered to no other person. Therefore, man’s mind ought to be stimulated so that he will think that there is but one highest principle of things by means of his offering something to this principle which is offered to none other. This we call the cult of latria.

[7] Besides, if the cult of latria were owed to any person because of his superiority and not because he is the highest being, then since one man may be superior to another, and there is the same possibility among angels, it would follow that one man ought to offer ]atria to another, and one angel to another angel. And since, among men, he who is superior in one way may be inferior in another way, it would follow that men should mutually offer latria to each other. This is not appropriate.

[8] Moreover, by human custom, special repayment should be made for special benefit. Now, there is a special benefit which man receives from the highest God, namely, man’s own creation, for it has been shown in Book Two that God alone is the Creator. Therefore, man ought to return something special to God in acknowledgment of this special benefit. This is the cult of latria.

[9] Furthermore, latria implies service. But service is owed to a lord. Now, a lord is properly and truly one who gives precepts of action to others and who takes his own rule of action from no one else. On the other hand, one who carries out what has been ordered by a superior is more a minister than a lord. But God, Who is the highest principle of reality, disposes all things to their proper actions through His providence, as we showed above. Hence, in Sacred Scripture both angels and celestial bodies are said to minister to God, Whose order they carry out; and also to us, for it is to our advantage that their actions accrue (Ps. 13.2:21; Heb. 1:14). Therefore, the cult of latria which is owed to the highest Lord is not to be offered except to the highest principle of things.

[10] Again, among other items which pertain to latria, sacrifice may be seen to have a special place, for genuflections, prostrations, and other manifestations of this kind of honor may also be shown to men, though with a different intention than in regard to God. But it is agreed by any man that sacrifice should be offered to no person unless he is thought to be God or unless one pretends to think so. Now, external sacrifice is representative of true, interior sacrifice, by which the human mind offers itself to God. Indeed, our mind offers itself to God as the principle of its creation, the author of its actions, the end of its happiness. These attributes are, in fact, appropriate to the highest principle of things only. For we have showed above that the creative cause of the rational soul is the highest God alone; moreover, He alone is able to incline the will of man to whatever He wishes, as was shown above; so also it is evident from our preceding considerations” that man’s ultimate felicity consists solely in the enjoyment of Him. Therefore, man ought to offer sacrifice and the cult of latria only to the highest God, and not to any other kind of spiritual substances.

[11] Now, though the theory which claims that God is nothing but the world soul is a departure from the truth, as we showed above, while the other position is true which maintains that God is a separate being and that all other intellectual substances depend on Him for their existence, whether separated from, or joined to, a body—still, the first theory provides a more rational basis for offering the cult of latria to different things. For, in offering the cult of latria to a variety of things one appears to be offering it to the one highest God, since, according to their theory, the different parts of the world are related to Him as the different members of the human body are to the human soul. But reason is also opposed to this view. For they say that the cult of latria should not be offered to the world by reason of its body, but because of its soul, which they assert to be God. Thus, though the bodily part of the world is divisible into different parts, the world soul is, however, indivisible. So, the cult of divinity ought not be offered to a variety of things, but to one only.

[12] Besides, if the world be supposed to have a soul which animates the whole and all its parts, this cannot be understood as a nutritive or sensitive soul, because the operations of these parts of the soul are not suitable to all parts of the universe. And even granting that the world might have a sensitive or nutritive soul, the cult of latria would not be due it because of such souls, for this cult is not due to brute animals or to plants. The conclusion remains, then, that their assertion that God, to Whom latria is owed, is the world soul must be understood of the intellectual soul. In fact, this soul is not the perfection of individually distinct parts of the body, but in some way has reference to the whole. This is even evident in the case of our soul which is less noble, for the intellect has no corporeal organ, as is proved in Book III of On the Soul [4]. Therefore, even on the basis of their theory, the cult of divinity should not be offered to the various parts of the world, but to the entire world because of its soul.

[13] Moreover, if in their theory there be but one soul which animates the whole world and all its parts, and if the world is not termed God except on account of the soul, then there will be but one God. And thus the cult of divinity will be owed to one being only. On the other hand, if there be but one soul for the whole, and if the different parts, in turn, have different souls, they have to say that the souls of the parts are subordinated to the soul of the whole; for the same proportion holds between perfections as between perfectible things. Now, supposing that a number of intellectual substances exist in an ordered hierarchy, the cult of latria will be due only to the one which holds the highest rank among them, as we showed in opposing the previous theory. Therefore, the cult of latria should not be offered to the parts of the world, but only to the whole.

[14] Furthermore, it is evident that some parts of the world have no soul of their own. Therefore, this cult should not be offered to them. Yet these men had the practice of honoring all the elements of the world, namely, earth, water, fire, and other inanimate bodies of like kind.

[15] Again, it is obvious that a superior does not owe the cult of latria to an inferior. Now, man is superior in the order of nature, at least in regard to all lower bodies, to the extent that be has a more perfect form. Therefore, the cult of latria should not be offered by man to lower bodies, even if some cult were owed them on the supposition that they possessed souls of their own.

[16] The same inappropriate conclusion must follow if someone were to say that the individual parts of the world have their own souls but the whole does not possess one common soul. For it will still remain necessary for the highest part of the world to have a more noble soul, to which alone, according to the premises, the cult of latria will be owed.

[17] But more unreasonable than these theories is the one which states that the cult of latria should be offered to images. For, if images of this sort have power or worth of any kind derived from celestial bodies, then the cult of latria is not due them on this basis, because such worship is not even due to those celestial bodies, unless, perchance, because of their souls, as some have claimed. But these images are claimed to have received some power from celestial bodies through the physical power of these bodies.

[18] Again, it is evident that they do not obtain from celestial bodies any perfection which is as noble as is the rational soul. So, they are inferior in degree of worth to any man. Therefore, no cult is owed them by man.

[19] Besides, a cause is more powerful than its effect. Now, the makers of these images are men. So, man owes no cult to them.

[20] But, if it be said that these images have some virtue or worth due to the fact that certain spiritual substances are connected with them, even this will not suffice, because the cult of latria is owed to no spiritual substance except the highest.

[21] Moreover, the rational soul is combined with man’s body in a more noble way than that whereby a spiritual substance might be attached to the aforesaid images. So, man will still remain on a higher level of dignity than the aforesaid images.

[22] Furthermore, since these images at times admit of harmful effects, it is evident that, if they derive their result from some spiritual substances, then those spiritual substances are vicious. This can also be clearly proved from this fact: they are deceptive in their answers and they demand certain actions contrary to virtue from their devotees. And so, they are inferior to good men. Therefore, the cult of latria is not owed to them.

[23] Therefore, it is clear from what we have said that the cult of latria is due to the one, highest God only. Thus it is said in Exodus (22:20): “He who sacrifices to the gods shall be put to death, save only to the Lord”; and in Deuteronomy (6:13): “You shall fear the Lord Your God, and shall serve Him only.” And in Romans (1:72-73) it is said of the Gentiles: “For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts and of creeping things”; and later (verse 25): “Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is God above all blessed for ever.”

[24] So, since it is unfitting for the cult of latria to be offered to any other being than the first principle of things, and since to incite to unworthy deeds can only be the work of a badly disposed rational creature, it is evident that men have been solicited by the urging of demons to develop the aforesaid unworthy cults, and these demons have been presented in place of God as objects of men’s worship because they craved divine honor. Hence it is said in the Psalm (95:5): “All the gods of the Gentiles are devils”; and in 1 Corinthians (10:20): “the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to God.”

[25] Therefore, since this is the chief intent of divine law: that man be subject to God and that he should offer special reverence to Him, not merely in his heart, but also orally and by bodily works, so first of all, in Exodus 20, where the divine law is promulgated, the cult of many gods is forbidden when it is said: “You shall not have strange gods before me” and “You shall not make to Yourself a graven thing, nor any likeness” (20:3-4). Secondly, it is forbidden man to pronounce vocally the divine name without reverence, that is, in order to lend support to anything false; and this is what is said: “You shall not take the name of God in vain” (20:7). Thirdly, rest is prescribed at certain times from outward works, so that the mind may be devoted to divine contemplation; and thus it is stated: “Remember that You keep holy the sabbath day” (20:8).

Chapter 121

THAT DIVINE LAW ORDERS MAN ACCORDING TO REASON IN REGARD TO CORPOREAL AND SENSIBLE THINGS

[1] Now, just as man’s mind may be raised up to God by means of corporeal and sensible things, if one use them in a proper way to revere God, so, too, the improper use of them either completely distracts the mind from God, and so the end of the will is fixed in inferior things, or such abuse slows down the inclination of the mind toward God so that we become attached to things of this kind to an extent greater than is necessary. But the divine law was given for this chief purpose: so that man might cling to God. Therefore, it does pertain to the divine law to order man in regard to his love and use of bodily and sensible things.

[2] Again, as man’s mind is subordinated to God, so is the body subordinated to the soul, and the lower powers to reason. But it pertains to divine providence, of which divine law is but a rational plan proposed by God to man, to see that individual things keep their proper order. Therefore, man must be so ordered by divine law that his lower powers may be subject to reason, and his body to his soul, and so that external things may subserve the needs of man.

[3] Besides, any law that is rightly established promotes virtue. Now, virtue consists in this: that both the inner feelings and the use of corporeal things be regulated by reason. So, this is something to be provided for by divine law.

[4] Moreover, it is the function of every lawmaker to determine by law the things without which observation of the law is impossible. Now, since law is proposed to reason, man would not follow the law unless all the other things which belong to man were subject to reason. So, it is the function of divine law to command the submission to reason of all the other factors proper to man.

[5] Thus it is said: “Let your service be reasonable” (Rom. 12:1); and again: “This is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thes. 4:3).

[6] Now, by this conclusion we refute the error of some who say that those acts only are sinful whereby one’s neighbor is offended or scandalized.

Chapter 122

THE REASON WHY SIMPLE FORNICATION IS A SIN ACCORDING TO DIVINE LAW, AND THAT MATRIMONY IS NATURAL

[1] From the foregoing we can see the futility of the argument of certain people who say that simple fornication is not a sin. For they say: Suppose there is a woman who is not married, or under the control of any man, either her father or another man. Now, if a man performs the sexual act with her, and she is willing, he does not injure her, because she favors the action and she has control over her own body. Nor does he injure any other person, because she is understood to be under no other person’s control. So, this does not seem to be a sin.

[2] Now, to say that he injures God would not seem to be an adequate answer. For we do not offend God except by doing something contrary to our own good, as has been said. But this does not appear contrary to man’s good. Hence, on this basis, no injury seems to be done to God.

[3] Likewise, it also would seem an inadequate answer to say that some injury is done to one’s neighbor by this action, inasmuch as he may be scandalized. Indeed, it is possible for him to be scandalized by something which is not in itself a sin. In this event, the act would be accidentally sinful. But our problem is not whether simple fornication is accidentally a sin, but whether it is so essentially.

[4] Hence, we must look for a solution in our earlier considerations. We have said that God exercises care over every person on the basis of what is good for him. Now, it is good for each person to attain his end, whereas it is bad for him to swerve away from his proper end. Now, this should be considered applicable to the parts, just as it is to the whole being; for instance, each and every part of man, and every one of his acts, should attain the proper end. Now, though the male semen is superfluous in regard to the preservation of the individual, it is nevertheless necessary in regard to the propagation of the species. Other superfluous things, such as excrement, urine, sweat, and such things, are not at all necessary; hence, their emission contributes to man’s good. Now, this is not what is sought in the case of semen, but, rather, to emit it for the purpose of generation, to which purpose the sexual act is directed. But man’s generative process would be frustrated unless it were followed by proper nutrition, because the offspring would not survive if proper nutrition were withheld. Therefore, the emission of semen ought to be so ordered that it will result in both the production of the proper offspring and in the upbringing of this offspring.

[5] It is evident from this that every emission of semen, in such a way that generation cannot follow, is contrary to the good for man. And if this be done deliberately, it must be a sin. Now, I am speaking of a way from which, in itself, generation could not result: such would be any emission of semen apart from the natural union of male and female. For which reason, sins of this type are called contrary to nature. But, if by accident generation cannot result from the emission of semen, then this is not a reason for it being against nature, or a sin; as for instance, if the woman happens to be sterile.

[6] Likewise, it must also be contrary to the good for man if the semen be emitted under conditions such that generation could result but the proper upbringing would be prevented. We should take into consideration the fact that, among some animals where the female is able to take care of the upbringing of offspring, male and female do not remain together for any time after the act of generation. This is obviously the case with dogs. But in the case of animals of which the female is not able to provide for the upbringing of offspring, the male and female do stay together after the act of generation as long as is necessary for the upbringing and instruction of the offspring. Examples are found among certain species of birds whose young are not able to seek out food for themselves immediately after batching. In fact, since a bird does not nourish its young with milk, made available by nature as it were, as occurs in the case of quadrupeds, but the bird must look elsewhere for food for its young, and since besides this it must protect them by sitting on them, the female is not able to do this by herself. So, as a result of divine providence, there is naturally implanted in the male of these animals a tendency to remain with the female in order to bring up the young. Now, it is abundantly evident that the female in the human species is not at all able to take care of the upbringing of offspring by herself, since the needs of human life demand many things which cannot be provided by one person alone. Therefore, it is appropriate to human nature that a man remain together with a woman after the generative act, and not leave her immediately to have such relations with another woman, as is the practice with fornicators.

[7] Nor, indeed, is the fact that a woman may be able by means of her own wealth to care for the child by herself an obstacle to this argument. For natural rectitude in human acts is not dependent on things accidentally possible in the case of one individual, but, rather, on those conditions which accompany the entire species.

[8] Again, we must consider that in the human species offspring require not only nourishment for the body, as in the case of other animals, but also education for the soul. For other animals naturally possess their own kinds of prudence whereby they are enabled to take care of themselves. But a man lives by reason, which he must develop by lengthy temporal experience so that he may achieve prudence. Hence, children must be instructed by parents who are already experienced people. Nor are they able to receive such instruction as soon as they are born, but after a long time, and especially after they have reached the age of discretion. Moreover, a long time is needed for this instruction. Then, too, because of the impulsion of the passions, through which prudent judgment is vitiated, they require not merely instruction but correction. Now, a woman alone is not adequate to this task; rather, this demands the work of a husband, in whom reason is more developed for giving instruction and strength is more available for giving punishment. Therefore, in the human species, it is not enough, as in the case of birds, to devote a small amount of time to bringing up offspring, for a long period of life is required. Hence, since among all animals it is necessary for male and female to remain together as long as the work of the father is needed by the offspring, it is natural to the human being for the man to establish a lasting association with a designated woman, over no short period of time. Now, we call this society matrimony. Therefore, matrimony is natural for man, and promiscuous performance of the sexual act, outside matrimony, is contrary to man’s good. For this reason, it must be a sin.

[9] Nor, in fact, should it be deemed a slight sin for a man to arrange for the emission of semen apart from the proper purpose of generating and bringing up children, on the argument that it is either a slight sin, or none at all, for a person to use a part of the body for a different use than that to which it is directed by nature (say, for instance, one chose to walk on his hands, or to use his feet for something usually done with the hands) because man’s good is not much opposed by such inordinate use. However, the inordinate emission of semen is incompatible with the natural good; namely, the preservation of the species. Hence, after the sin of homicide whereby a human nature already in existence is destroyed, this type of sin appears to take next place, for by it the generation of human nature is precluded.

[10] Moreover, these views which have just been given have a solid basis in divine authority. That the emission of semen under conditions in which offspring cannot follow is illicit is quite clear. There is the text of Leviticus (18:27-23): “You shall not lie with mankind as with womankind… and You shall not copulate with any beast.” And in 1 Corinthians (6:10): “Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind… shall possess the kingdom of God.

[11] Also, that fornication and every performance of the act of reproduction with a person other than one’s wife are illicit is evident. For it is said: “There shall be no whore among the daughters of Israel, nor whoremonger among the sons of Israel” (Deut. 23:17); and in Tobit (4:13): “Take heed to keep Yourself from all fornication, and beside Your wife never endure to know a crime”; and in 1 Corinthians (6:18): “Fly fornication.”

[12] By this conclusion we refute the error of those who say that there is no more sin in the emission of semen than in the emission of any other superfluous matter, and also of those who state that fornication is not a sin.

Chapter 123

THAT MATRIMONY SHOULD BE INDIVISIBLE

[1] If one will make a proper consideration, the preceding reasoning will be seen to lead to the conclusion not only that the society of man and woman of the human species, which we call matrimony, should be long lasting, but even that it should endure throughout an entire life.

[2] Indeed, possessions are ordered to the preservation of natural life, and since natural life, which cannot be preserved perpetually in the father, is by a sort of succession preserved in the son in its specific likeness, it is naturally fitting for the son to succeed also to the things which belong to the father. So, it is natural that the father’s solicitude for his son should endure until the end of the father’s life. Therefore, if even in the case of birds the solicitude of the father gives rise to the cohabitation of male and female, the natural order demands that father and mother in the human species remain together until the end of life.

[3] It also seems to be against equity if the aforesaid society be dissolved. For the female needs the male, not merely for the sake of generation, as in the case of other animals, but also for the sake of government, since the male is both more perfect in reasoning and stronger in his powers. In fact, a woman is taken into man’s society for the needs of generation; then, with the disappearance of a woman’s fecundity and beauty, she is prevented from association with another man. So, if any man took a woman in the time of her youth, when beauty and fecundity were hers, and then sent her away after she had reached an advanced age, he would damage that woman contrary to natural equity.

[4] Again, it seems obviously inappropriate for a woman to be able to put away her husband, because a wife is naturally subject to her husband as governor, and it is not within the power of a person subject to another to depart from his rule. So, it would be against the natural order if a wife were able to abandon her husband. Therefore, if a husband were permitted to abandon his wife, the society of husband and wife would not be an association of equals, but, instead, a sort of slavery on the part of the wife.

[5] Besides, there is in men a certain natural solicitude to know their offspring. This is necessary for this reason: the child requires the father’s direction for a long time. So, whenever there are obstacles to the ascertaining of offspring they are opposed to the natural instinct of the human species. But, if a husband could put away his wife, or a wife her husband, and have sexual relations with another person, certitude as to offspring would be precluded, for the wife would be united first with one man and later with another. So, it is contrary to the natural instinct of the human species for a wife to be separated from her husband. And thus, the union of male and female in the human species must be not only lasting, but also unbroken.

[6] Furthermore, the greater that friendship is, the more solid and long-lasting will it be. Now, there seems to be the greatest friendship between husband and wife, for they are united not only in the act of fleshly union, which produces a certain gentle association even among beasts, but also in the partnership of the whole range of domestic activity. Consequently, as an indication of this, man must even “leave his father and mother” for the sake of his wife, as is said in Genesis (2:24). Therefore, it is fitting for matrimony to be completely indissoluble.

[7] It should be considered, further, that generation is the only natural act that is ordered to the common good, for eating and the emission of waste matters pertain to the individual good, but generation to the preservation off the species. As a result, since law is established for the common good, those matters which pertain to generation must, above all others, be ordered by laws, both divine and human. Now, laws that are established should stem from the prompting of nature, if they are human; just as in the demonstrative sciences, also, every human discovery takes its origin from naturally known principles. But, if they are divine laws, they not only develop the prompting of nature but also supplement the deficiency of natural instinct, as things that are divinely revealed surpass the capacity of human reason. So, since there is a natural prompting within the human species, to the end that the union of man and wife be undivided, and that it be between one man and one woman, it was necessary for this to be ordered by human law. But divine law supplies a supernatural reason, drawn from the symbolism of the inseparable union between Christ and the Church, which is a union of one spouse with another (Eph. 5:24-32). And thus, disorders connected with the act of generation are not only opposed to natural instinct, but are also transgressions of divine and human laws. Hence, a greater sin results from a disorder in this area than in regard to the use of food or other things of that kind.

[8] Moreover, since it is necessary for all other things to be ordered to what is best in man, the union of man and wife is not only ordered in this way because it is important to the generating of offspring, as it is in the case of other animals, but also because it is in agreement with good behavior, which right reason directs either in reference to the individual man in himself, or in regard to man as a member of a family, or of civil society. In fact, the undivided union of husband and wife is pertinent to good behavior. For thus, when they know that they are indivisibly united, the love of one spouse for the other will be more faithful. Also, both will be more solicitous in their care for domestic possessions when they keep in mind that they will remain continually in possession of these same things. As a result of this, the sources of disagreements which would have to come up between a man and his wife’s relatives, if he could put away his wife, are removed, and a more solid affection is established among the relatives. Removed, also, are the occasions for adultery which are presented when a man is permitted to send away his wife, or the converse. In fact, by this practice an easier way of arranging marriage with those outside the family circle is provided.

[9] Hence it is said in Matthew (5:31) and in 1 Corinthians (7:10): “But I say to you… that the wife depart not from her husband.”

[10] By this conclusion, moreover, we oppose the custom of those who put away their wives, though this was permitted the Jews in the old Law, “by reason of the hardness of their hearts” (Mat. 19:8); that is, because they were ready to kill their wives. So, the lesser evil was permitted them in order to prevent a greater evil.

Chapter 124

THAT MATRIMONY SHOULD BE BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN

[1] It seems, too, that we should consider bow it is inborn in the minds of all animals accustomed to sexual reproduction to allow no promiscuity; hence, fights occur among animals over the matter of sexual reproduction. And, in fact, among all animals there is one common reason, for every animal desires to enjoy freely the pleasure of the sexual act, as he also does the pleasure of food; but this liberty is restricted by the fact that several males may have access to one female, or the converse. The same situation obtains in the freedom of enjoying food, for one animal is obstructed if the food which he desires to eat is taken over by another animal. And so, animals fight over food and sexual relations in the same way. But among men there is a special reason, for, as we said, man naturally desires to know his offspring, and this knowledge would be completely destroyed if there were several males for one female. Therefore, that one female is for one male is a consequence of natural instinct.

[2] But a difference should be noted on this point. As far as the view that one woman should not have sexual relations with several men is concerned, both the aforementioned reasons apply. But, in regard to the conclusion that one man should not have relations with several females, the second argument does not work, since certainty as to offspring is not precluded if one male has relations with several women. But the first reason works against this practice, for, just as the freedom of associating with a woman at will is taken away from the husband, when the woman has another husband, so, too, the same freedom is taken away from a woman when her husband has several wives. Therefore, since certainty as to offspring is the principal good which is sought in matrimony, no law or human custom has permitted one woman to be a wife for several husbands. This was even deemed unfitting among the ancient Romans, of whom Maximus Valerius reports that they believed that the conjugal bond should not be broken even on account of sterility.

[3] Again, in every species of animal in which the father has some concern for offspring, one male has only one female; this is the case with all birds that feed their young together, for one male would not be able to offer enough assistance to bring up the offspring of several females. But in the case of animals among whom there is no concern on the part of the males for their offspring, the male has promiscuous relations with several females and the female with plural males. This is so among dogs, chickens, and the like. But since, of all animals, the male in the human species has the greatest concern for offspring, it is obviously natural for man that one male should have but one wife, and conversely.

[4] Besides, friendship consists in an equality. So, if it is not lawful for the wife to have several husbands, since this is contrary to certainty as to offspring, it would not be lawful, on the other hand, for a man to have several wives, for the friendship of wife for husband would not be free, but somewhat servile. And this argument is corroborated by experience, for among husbands having plural wives the wives have a status like that of servants.

15] Furthermore, strong friendship is not possible in regard to many people, as is evident from the Philosopher in Ethics VIII [5]. Therefore, if a wife has but one husband, but the husband has several wives, the friendship will not be equal on both sides. So, the friendship will not be free, but servile in some way.

[6] Moreover, as we said, matrimony among humans should be ordered so as to be in keeping with good moral customs. Now, it is contrary to good behavior for one man to have several wives, for the result of this is discord in domestic society, as is evident from experience. So, it is not fitting for one man to have several wives.

[7] Hence it is said: “They shall be two in one flesh” (Gen. 7.: 24).

[8] By this, the custom of those having several wives is set aside, and also the opinion of Plato who maintained that wives should be common. And in the Christian period he was followed by Nicolaus, one of the seven deacons.

Chapter 125

THAT MATRIMONY SHOULD NOT TAKE PLACE BETWEEN CLOSE RELATIVES

[1] Moreover, because of reasonable considerations of this kind it has been ordered by the laws that certain persons, related by their origin, are excluded from matrimony.

[2] In fact, since there is in matrimony a union of diverse persons, those persons who should already regard themselves as one because of having the same origin are properly excluded from matrimony, so that in recognizing themselves as one in this way they may love each other with greater fervor.

[3] Again, because the acts performed by husband and wife are associated with a certain natural shame, it is necessary that those persons to whom respect is due because of the bond of blood should be prohibited from performing such actions with each other. Indeed, this reason seems to have been suggested in the Old Testament law, in the text which states: “You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister” (Lev. 18:9), and also in other texts.

[4] Besides, for man to be much given to sexual pleasures contributes to the dissolution of good moral behavior; because, since this pleasure greatly occupies the mind, reason is withdrawn from things which should be done rightly. Now, if a man were permitted sexual relations with those persons with whom he must live, such as sisters and other relatives, excessive indulgence in this pleasure would result, for the occasion for sexual relations with such persons could not be removed. Therefore, it was suitable to good moral behavior for such union to be prohibited by laws.

[5] Furthermore, the enjoyment of sexual relations “greatly corrupts the judgment of prudence.” So, the multiplication of such pleasure is opposed to good behavior. Now, such enjoyment is increased through the love of the persons who are thus united. Therefore, intermarriage between relatives would be contrary to good behavior, for, in their case, the love which springs from community of origin and upbringing would be added to the love of concupiscence, and, with such an increase of love, the soul would necessarily become more dominated by these pleasures.

[6] Moreover, in human society it is most necessary that there be friendship among many people. But friendship is increased among men when unrelated persons are bound together by matrimony. Therefore, it was proper for it to be prescribed by laws that matrimony should be contracted with persons outside one’s family and not with relatives.

[7] Besides, it is unfitting for one to be conjugally united with persons to whom one should naturally be subject. But it is natural to be subject to one’s parents. Therefore, it would not be fitting to contract matrimony with one’s parents, since in matrimony there is a conjugal union.

[8] Hence it is said: “No man shall approach to her that is near of kin to him” (Lev. 18:6).

[9] By these arguments the custom of those who practice carnal relations with their relatives is refuted.

[10] Moreover, we should note that just as natural inclination tends toward things which happen in most cases, so also positive law depends on what happens in most cases. It is not contrary to the foregoing arguments if in a particular case the outcome might be otherwise, for the good of many should not be sacrificed for the sake of one person’s good, because “the good of many is always more divine than the good of one person.” However, lest the disadvantage which could occur in the individual case be altogether without remedy, there remains with lawmakers and others of similar function the authority to grant a dispensation from what is generally required by law, in view of what is necessary in any particular case. For, if the law be a human one, it can be dispensed by men who have such power. But, if the law be divinely given, dispensation can be granted by divine authority; as, in the Old Law, permission seems to have been granted by dispensation to have several wives and concubines and to put away one’s wife.

Chapter 126

THAT NOT ALL SEXUAL INTERCOURSE IS SINFUL

[1] Now, just as it is contrary to reason for a man to perform the act of carnal union contrary to what befits the generation and upbringing of offspring, so also is it in keeping with reason for a man to exercise the act of carnal union in a manner which is suited to the generation and upbringing of offspring. But only those things that are opposed to reason are prohibited by divine law, as is evident from what we said above. So, it is not right to say that every act of carnal union is a sin.

[2] Again, since bodily organs are the instruments of the soul, the end of each organ is its use, as is the case with any other instrument. Now, the use of certain bodily organs is carnal union. So, carnal union is the end of certain bodily organs. But that which is the end of certain natural things cannot be evil in itself, because things that exist naturally are ordered to their end by divine providence, as is plain from what was said above. Therefore, it is impossible for carnal union to be evil in itself.

[3] Besides, natural inclinations are present in things from God, Who moves all things. So, it is impossible for the natural inclination of a species to be toward what is evil in itself. But there is in all perfect animals a natural inclination toward carnal union. Therefore, it is impossible for carnal union to be evil in itself.

[4] Moreover, that without which a thing cannot be what is good and best is not evil in itself. But the perpetuation of the species can only be preserved in animals by generation, which is the result of carnal union. So, it is impossible for carnal union to be evil in itself.

[5] Hence it is said in 1 Corinthians (7:28): “if a virgin marry, she has not sinned.”

[6] Now, this disposes of the error of those who say that every act of carnal union is illicit, as a consequence of which view they entirely condemn matrimony and marriage arrangements. In fact, some of these people say this because they believe that bodily things arise, not from a good, but from an evil, source.

Chapter 127

THAT THE USE OF FOOD IS NOT A SIN IN ITSELF

[1] just as the exercise of sexual capacities is without sin, provided it be carried on with reason, so also in the case of the use of food. Now, any action is performed in accord with reason when it is ordered in keeping with what befits its proper end. But the proper end of taking food is the preservation of the body by nutrition. So, whatever food can contribute to this end may be taken without sin. Therefore, the taking of food is not in itself a sin.

[2] Again, no use of a thing is evil in itself unless the thing itself is evil in itself. Now, no food is by nature evil, for everything is good in its own nature, as we showed above.But a certain article of food may be bad for a certain person because it is incompatible with his bodily state of health. So, no taking of food is a sin in itself, by virtue of the type of thing that it is; but it can be a sin if in opposition to reason a person uses it in a manner contrary to his health.

[3] Besides, to use things for the purpose for which they exist is not evil in itself. But plants exist for the sake of animals; indeed, some animals exist for the sake of others, and all exist for the sake of man, as is evident from earlier considerations. Therefore, to use either plants or the flesh of animals for eating or for whatever other utility they may have for man is not a sin in itself.

[4] Moreover, a sinful defect may be transferred from the soul to the body, but not conversely, for we call something sinful according as there is a deordination of the will. Now, food pertains immediately to the body, not to the soul. So, the taking of food cannot be a sin in itself unless, of course, it be incompatible with rectitude. It could be so, in one way, by virtue of incompatibility with the proper end of food: thus, for the sake of the pleasure associated with eating food a man might eat food which works against the health of his body, either because of the kind of food or the quantity. This could be so in another way, because it is opposed to the situation of the person who uses the food or of those with whom he lives; for instance, a man might eat finer foods than his circumstances could well provide and in a manner different from the customs of the people with whom he lives. It is possible in a third way, by virtue of food being prohibited by law for some special reason: thus, in the Old Law, certain kinds of food were prohibited for a symbolic reason; and in Egypt the eating of the flesh of the ox was prohibited in olden times so that agriculture would not be hindered; or even because certain rules prohibit the use of certain foods, with a view to the restraint of concupiscence.

[5] Hence, the Lord says: “What goes into the mouth does not defile a man” (Mat. 15:11). And in 1 Corinthians (10:25) it is said: “Whatever is sold in the meat market, eat; asking no question for conscience’ sake.” And in 1 Timothy (4:4) it is said: “Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving.”

[6] By this conclusion we refute the error of some people who say that the use of certain foods is illicit in itself. Of these the Apostle speaks in the same place (1 Tim. 4:1-3): “in the last times some shall depart from the faith forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats which God created to be received with thanksgiving.”

[7] Now, since the use of food and sexual capacities is not illicit in itself, but can only be illicit when it departs from the order of reason, and since external possessions are necessary for the taking of food, for the upbringing of offspring and the support of a family, and for other needs of the body, it follows also that the possession of wealth is not in itself illicit, provided the order of reason be respected. That is to say, a man must justly possess what he has; he must not set the end of his will in these things, and he must use them in a fitting way for his own and others’ benefit. Hence, the Apostle does not condemn the rich, but he gives them a definite regulation for the use of their wealth, when he says: “Charge the rich of this world not to be highminded, nor to trust in the uncertainty of riches, but… to be rich in good works, to give easily, to communicate to others” (1 Tim. 6:17-18); and in Ecclesiasticus (31:8): “Blessed is the rich man that is found without blemish, and that hath not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasure.”

[8] By this we also set aside the error of those who, as Augustine says in his book On Heresies, “most arrogantly call themselves Apostolics, because they refuse to accept into their communion those who practice marriage, and who possess goods of their own (practices which the Catholic Church has), and also many monks and clerics. But these men are thereby heretics, for, in separating themselves from the Church, they think that there is no hope for those who use these things which they do without.”

Chapter 128

HOW MAN IS ORDERED BY THE LAW OF GOD IN REGARD TO HIS NEIGHBOR

[1] From the things that we have said it is clear that man is directed by the divine law to observe the order of reason in regard to all things that can come to his use. Among all those things which come within the use of man, the most important are other men. “For man is by nature a social animal,” because he needs many things which cannot be provided by one man alone. Therefore, it is necessary for man to be instructed by divine law, so that he may five in relation to other men, according to the order of reason.

[2] Again, the end of divine law is for man to cling to God. But one man may be aided to this end by another man, both in regard to knowledge and to love. For men are of mutual assistance to each other in the knowing of truth, and one man may stimulate another toward the good, and also restrain him from evil. Hence it is said: “Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27:17). And it is said in Ecclesiastes (4:9-12): “It is better therefore that two should be together than one, for they have the advantage of their society; if one fall, he shall be supported by the other. Woe to him who is alone; for, when he falls, he has no one to lift him up. And if two lie together, they shall warm one another. How shall one alone be warmed? And if a man prevails against one, the two shall withstand him.” Therefore, it was necessary for the society of men, in their mutual interrelations, to be ordered by divine law.

[3] Besides, divine law is a certain plan of divine providence for the purpose of governing men. Now, it is the function of divine providence to maintain the individuals subject to it under proper order, in such a way that each may take its proper place and level. Therefore, divine law so orders men in regard to each other that each man may keep his order. This is for men to be at peace with each other, for “peace among men is nothing but ordered concord,” as Augustine says.

[4] Moreover, whenever certain things are subordinated to another, they must be ordered in a manner concordant to each other; otherwise, they might hinder each other in the attaining of their common end. This is clear in the case of an army which is concordantly ordered to victory, the end of the commander. Now, each man is ordered to God by divine law, so there must be among men, according to divine law, an ordered concord, peace that is, so that they may not hinder each other.

[5] Hence it is said in the Psalm (147:14): “Who hath placed peace in Your borders.” And the Lord said: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace” (John 16:33).

[6] Now, an ordered concord is preserved among men when each man is given his due, for this is justice. And so, it is said in Isaiah (32:17): “the work of justice shall be peace.” Therefore, by divine law precepts had to be given, so that each man would give his neighbor his due and would abstain from doing injuries to him.

[7] Moreover, among men a person is most in debt to his parents. And so, among the precepts of the law ordering us in regard to our neighbor, Exodus (20:12-17) Puts first: “Honor Your father and Your mother.” In this text it is understood to be commanded that each man must render what he owes, both to his parents and to other persons, in accord with another text: “Render to all men their dues” (Rom. 13:7). Next to be put down are the precepts commanding abstinence from causing various sorts of harm to one’s neighbor. For instance, that we must not offend him by any deeds against his person; thus it was said: “You shall not kill”; nor against a person associated with him, for it was written: “You shall not commit adultery”; nor against his external goods, for it was written: “You shall not steal.” We are also prohibited from offending our neighbor by words that are contrary to justice, for it was written: “You shall not bear false witness against Your neighbor.” And since God is the judge, even of our hearts, we are prohibited from offending our neighbor in our heart, “by desiring his wife” or any of his goods.

[8] Now, that he may observe this kind of justice which is prescribed by divine law man is impelled in two ways: in one, from within; in the other way, from without. From within, of course, man is voluntary in regard to observing what divine law prescribes. In fact, this is accomplished by man’s love of God and his neighbor, for he who loves a person gives him his due spontaneously and joyfully, and he even adds something in excess by way of liberality. So, the complete fulfillment of the law depends on love, according to the text of the Apostle: “Love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10). And the Lord says that, “on these two commandments,” that is, on the love of God and of neighbor, “depends the whole law” (Mat. 22:40). But since some people are not so disposed internally that they will do spontaneously what the law orders, they must be forced from without to fulfill the justice of the law. Of course, since this is done only from fear of punishments, they do not fulfill the law in freedom, but in servility. Hence it is said in Isaiah (26:9): “When You make Your judgments on the earth,” that is, by punishing the wicked, “all the inhabitants of the world shall learn justice.”

[9] The first, then, “are a law unto themselves” (Rom. 2:14), for they have charity which impels them in place of law and makes them act with liberality. So, it was not necessary to promulgate an external law for their sake, but for the sake of those who are not inclined of themselves toward the good. Hence it is said in 1 Timothy (1:9): “The law is not made for the just man, but for the unjust.” This should not be understood as if the just were not obliged to obey the law, as some have badly understood it, but that these people are inclined of themselves to do what is just, even without a law.

Chapter 129

THAT SOME HUMAN ACTS ARE RIGHT ACCORDING TO NATURE AND NOT MERELY BECAUSE THEY ARE PRESCRIBED BY LAW

[1] From the foregoing it is apparent that things prescribed by divine law are right, not only because they are put forth by law, but also because they are in accord with nature.

[2] Indeed, as a result of the precepts of divine law, man’s mind is subordinated to God, and all other things that arc in man’s power are ordered under reason. Now, the natural order requires that lower things be subject to higher things. Therefore, the things prescribed by divine law are naturally right in themselves.

[3] Again, men receive from divine providence a natural capacity for rational judgment, as a principle for their proper operations. Now, natural principles are ordered to natural results. So, there are certain operations that are naturally suitable for man, and they are right in themselves, not merely because they are prescribed by law.

[4] Besides, there must be definite kinds of operations which are appropriate to a definite nature, whenever things have such a definite nature. In fact, the operation appropriate to a given being is a consequent of that nature. Now, it is obvious that there is a determinate kind of nature for man. Therefore, there must be some operations that are in themselves appropriate for man.

[5] Moreover, whenever a certain thing is natural to any being, that without which this certain thing cannot be possessed must also be natural, “for nature is not defective in regard to necessary things.” But it is natural for man to be a social animal, and this is shown by the fact that one man alone does not suffice for all the things necessary to human life. So, the things without which human society cannot be maintained are naturally appropriate to man. Examples of such things are: to preserve for each man what is his own and to refrain from injuries. Therefore, there are some things among human acts that are naturally right.

[6] Furthermore, we showed above that man has this natural endowment, he may use lower things for the needs of his life. Now, there is a definite measure according to which the use of the aforesaid things is proper to human life, and if this measure is set aside the result is harmful to man, as is evident in the immoderate eating of food. Therefore, there are some human acts that are naturally fitting and others that are naturally unfitting.

[7] Again, according to the natural order, the body of man is for the sake of his soul and the lower powers of the soul are for the sake of reason, just as in other things matter is for the sake of form and instruments are for the sake of the principal agent. But, because of one thing being ordered to another, it ought to furnish help to that other, and not offer it any hindrance. So, it is naturally right for the body and the lower powers of the soul to be so managed by man that thereby his activity of reason, and his good, are least hindered and are, instead, helped. But, if it happens otherwise, the result will naturally be sinful. Therefore, drinking bouts and feastings, and inordinate sexual activities through which rational activity is hindered, and domination by the passions which do not permit free judgment of reason—these are naturally evil things.

[8] Besides, those acts by which he inclines toward his natural end are naturally appropriate to an agent, but those that have the contrary effect are naturally inappropriate to the agent. Now, we showed above that man is naturally ordered to God as his end. Therefore, the things by which man is brought to the knowledge and love of God are naturally right, but whatever things have the contrary effect are naturally evil for man.

[9] Therefore, it is clear that good and evil in human activities are based not only on the prescription of law, but also on the natural order.

[10] Hence it is said in the Psalm (18:10): “the judgments of the Lord are true, justified in themselves.”

[11] By this conclusion we set aside the position of those who say that things are just and right only because they are prescribed by law.

Chapter 130

ON THE COUNSELS THAT ARE GIVEN IN DIVINE LAW

[1] Since the best thing for man is to become attached in his mind to God and divine things, and since it is impossible for man intensively to busy himself with a variety of things in order that man’s mind may be applied to God with greater liberty, counsels are given in the divine law whereby men are withdrawn from the busy concerns of the present life as far as is possible for one who is living an earthly life. Now, this detachment is not so necessary to man for justice that its absence makes justice impossible; indeed, virtue and justice are not removed if man uses bodily and earthly things in accord with the order of reason. And so, divine law admonitions of this kind are called counsels, not precepts, inasmuch as man is urged to renounce lesser goods for the sake of better goods.

[2] Moreover, in the general mode of human life, human concern is devoted to three items: first, to one’s own person, what he should do, or where he should spend his time; second, to the persons of those connected with him, chiefly his wife and children; and third, to the acquisition of external things, which a man needs for the maintenance of life. So, to cut off solicitude for external things the counsel of poverty is given in the divine law, that is to say, so that one may cast off the things of this world with which his mind could be involved with some concern. Hence, the Lord says: “If You would be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor… and come, follow me” (Mat. 19:21). And to cut off concern for wife and children there is given man the counsel of virginity or continence. Hence, it is said in 1 Corinthians (7:25): “Now, concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord, but I give counsel.” And giving the reason for this counsel, he adds: “He who is without a wife is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord: how he may please God. But he who is with a wife is solicitous for the things of the world: how he may please his wife, and he is divided” (1 Cor. 7:32-33). Finally, to cut off man’s solicitude even for himself there is given the counsel of obedience, through which man hands over the control of his own acts to a superior. Concerning which it is said: “Obey your prelates and be subject to them. For they watch as being ready to render an account of your souls” (Heb. 13:17).

[3] But, since the highest perfection of human life consists in the mind of man being detached from care, for the sake of God, and since the three counsels mentioned above seem most definitely to prepare one for this detachment, they appear to belong quite appropriately to the state of perfection; not as if they were perfections themselves, but that they are dispositions to perfection, which consists in being detached from care, for the sake of God. And the words of our Lord, when He advises poverty, definitely show this, for He says: “If you would be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor… and follow me” (Mat. 19:21), thus putting the perfection of life in the following of Him.

14] They may also be called the effects and signs of perfection. When the mind becomes attached to a thing with intense love and desire, the result is that it sets aside other things. So, from the fact that man’s mind is fervently inclined by love and desire to divine matters, in which it is obvious that perfection is located, it follows that he casts aside everything that might hold him back from this inclination to God: not only concern for things, for wife, and the love of offspring, but even for himself. And the words of Scripture suggest this, for it is said in the Canticle of Canticles (8:7): “if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he will account it as nothing”; and in Matthew (13:45): “the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls, who, when he found one pearl of great price, went his way and sold all that he had and bought it”; and also in Philippians (3:7-8): “the things that were gain to me… I counted as dung, that I might gain Christ.”

[5] So, since the aforesaid three counsels are dispositions to perfection, and are the effects and signs of perfection, it is fitting that those who pledge themselves to these three by a vow to God should be said to be in the state of perfection.

[6] Now, the perfection to which these three counsels give a disposition consists in detachment of the mind for God. Hence, those who profess the aforesaid vows are called religious, in the sense that they offer themselves and their goods to God, as a special kind of sacrifice: as far as goods are concerned, by poverty; in regard to their body, by continence; and in regard to their will, by obedience. For religion consists in a divine cult, as was said above.

Chapter 131

ON THE ERROR OF THE ATTACKERS OF VOLUNTARY POVERTY

[1] There have been some people who, in opposition to the teaching of the Gospel, have disapproved the practice of voluntary poverty. The first of these to be found is Vigilantius, whom, however, some others have followed later, calling themselves teachers of the law, understanding neither the things they say, nor whereof they affirm” (1 Tim. 1:7). They were led to this view by these and similar arguments.

[2] Natural appetite requires every animal to provide for itself in regard to the necessities of its life; thus, animals that are not able to find the necessities of life during every period of the year, by a certain natural instinct gather the things needed for life during the season when they can be found, and they keep them; this practice is evident in the case of bees and ants. But men need many things for the preservation of life which cannot be found in every season. So, there is a natural tendency in man to gather and keep things necessary to him. Therefore, it is contrary to natural law to throw away, under the guise of poverty, all that one has gathered together.

[3] Again, all have a natural predilection for the things whereby their being may be preserved, because all things desire to be. But man’s life is preserved by means of the substance of external goods. So, just as each man is obliged by natural law to preserve his life, so is he obliged to preserve external substance. Therefore, as it is contrary to the law of nature for a man to injure himself, so, too, is it for a man to deprive himself by voluntary poverty of the necessities of life.

14] Besides, “man is by nature a social animal,” as we said above. But society could not be maintained among men unless one man helped another. So, it is natural to men for one to help another in need. But those who discard external substance, whereby most help can be given others, render themselves by this practice unable to give help. Therefore, it is against natural instinct, and against the good of mercy and charity, for a man to discard all worldly substance by voluntary poverty.

[5] Moreover, if it be evil to possess the substance of this world, but if it be good to deliver one’s neighbors from evil and bad to lead them into evil, the conclusion is that to give the substance of this world to a needy person is an evil and to take from an owner is a good. Now, this is not right. So, it is a good thing to possess the substance of this world. Therefore, to throw it away entirely is an evil thing.

[6] Furthermore, occasions of evil are to be avoided. But poverty is an occasion of evil, since some are induced, as a result of it, to acts of theft, of false praise and perjury, and the like. Therefore, poverty should not be embraced voluntarily; rather, should care be taken to avoid its advent.

[7] Again, since virtue lies in a middle way, corruption comes from both extremes. Now, there is a virtue of liberality, which gives what should be given and retains what should be retained. But the vice of defect is illiberality, which retains both the things that should and should not be retained. So, too, it is a vice of excess, for all things to be given away. This is what the people do who assume poverty voluntarily. Therefore, this is vicious, and similar to prodigality.

[8] Moreover, these arguments seem to be confirmed by the text of Scripture. For it is said: “Give me neither beggary nor riches; give me only the necessaries of life, lest perhaps being filled, I should be tempted to deny, and say: Who is the Lord? Or being compelled by poverty, I should steal, and forswear the name of my God” (Prov. 30:8-9).

Chapter 132

ON THE WAYS OF LIFE OF THOSE WHO PRACTICE VOLUNTARY POVERTY

[1] Now, it seems that this problem may be better treated if we examine in greater detail the ways in which those who practice voluntary poverty must live.

[2] The first way of so living is for each person to sell his possessions, and for all to live in common on the proceeds. This appears to have been the practice under the Apostles in Jerusalem, for it is said: “As many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the price of the things they sold, and laid it down before the feet of the Apostles. And distribution was made to every one as he had need” (Acts 4:34-35). But it does not seem that effective provision is made for human life, according to this way.

[3] First, because it is not easy to get a number of persons who have large possessions to adopt this life. So, if distribution is made among many of the proceeds derived from a few rich people, the amount will not be sufficient for any length of time.

[4] Next, because it is possible and easy for such a fund to disappear, either through fraud on the part of the managers or by theft or robbery. So, those who follow this kind of poverty will be left without support for life.

[5] Again, many things happen whereby men are forced to change their location. It will not be easy, then, to provide from the common fund gathered from such sale of possessions for those who will perhaps be scattered in various places.

[6] Then, there is a second way of so living: this is to hold common possessions, from which provision is made for individual persons, according to their needs, as is the practice in many monasteries. But even this way of living does not seem appropriate.

[7] In fact, earthly possessions are the source of worry, both in regard to taking care of their revenues and in regard to their protection against frauds and attacks. Moreover, the larger they are, the more people are required to take care of them, and, so, the larger must these possessions be to give adequate support to all these people. And thus, in this way, the very purpose of voluntary poverty vanishes, at least in regard to the many men who must concern themselves with the management of the possessions.

[8] Again, common possession is usually a cause of disagreement. People who hold nothing in common, such as the Spaniards and Persians, do not seem to get into legal disputes, but, rather, those who do bold something in common. This is why there are disagreements even among brothers. Now, discord is the greatest impediment to giving over one’s mind to divine matters, as we said above. So, it seems that this way of living obstructs the end of voluntary poverty.

[9] There is still a third way of living: that is for those who practice voluntary poverty to live from the labor of their hands. Indeed, this was the way of life followed by the Apostle Paul, and he recommended his practice to others by his example and by his teaching. For it is stated in 2 Thessalonians (3:8-10): “Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nothing, but in labor and toil we worked night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you. Not as if we had not power, but that we might give ourselves a pattern unto you, to imitate us. For also, when we were with you, this we declared to you, that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat.” But even this way of living does not seem to be appropriate.

[10] As a matter of fact, manual labor is necessary for the support of life, because by it anything may be acquired. Now, it seems foolish for a man to give away what is needed and then to work to get it again. If, then, it is necessary after the adoption of voluntary poverty again to acquire by manual labor that by which a man may support himself, it was useless to give up all that he had for the support of life.

[11] Again, voluntary poverty is counseled, so that a person may be disposed by it to follow Christ in a better way, because be is freed by it from worldly concerns. But it seems to require greater concern for a person to get his food by his own labor than for him to use what he possesses for the support of his life, and especially if he has possessions of modest size, or that are capable of being moved, from which something would be available to provide for the needs of life. Therefore, to live by the labor of one’s hands does not seem to be suitable to the intention of those embracing voluntary poverty.

[12] Added to this is the fact that even our Lord, while taking away from his disciples solicitude for earthly things, in the parable of the birds and the lilies of the field seems to forbid them manual labor. For He says: “Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap nor gather into barns”; and again: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labor not, neither do they spin” [Mat. 6:26-28].

[13] Moreover, this way of life seems inadequate. In fact, there are many who desire perfection of life, for whom neither the ability nor the skill is available to enable them to spend their lives in manual labor, because they are neither brought up, nor informed, in such pursuits. Indeed, in this case, country people and workmen would be in a better position to embrace perfection of life than those who have devoted themselves to the pursuit of wisdom, but who have been reared in wealth and comfort, which they have left behind for the sake of Christ. It is also possible for some who embrace voluntary poverty to become disabled or to be otherwise prevented from the possibility of working. So, in such a case, they would become destitute of the necessities of life.

[14] Again, the labor of no small amount of time is requisite for gaining the necessities of life; this is obvious in the case of many who devote all their time to it, yet hardly manage to make an adequate living. Now, if it were necessary for followers of voluntary poverty to make their living by manual labor, the result would be that they might take up the greater part of their lives in this kind of work; consequently, they would be kept away from other, more necessary activities, such as the pursuit of wisdom, and teaching, and other such spiritual exercises. In this way, voluntary poverty would be an impediment to perfection of life rather than a disposition helpful to it.

[5] Moreover, if someone says that manual labor is necessary in order to avoid idleness, this is not an adequate objection to the argument. For it would be better to avoid idleness by occupations under the moral virtues, in which riches serve an instrumental role, for instance, in giving alms and things like that, rather than by manual labor. Besides, it would be futile to counsel poverty simply because men who have become poor would refrain from idleness and devote their lives to manual labors, unless it were done in such a way that they could devote themselves to more noble activities than those which are customary in the ordinary lives of men.

[16] But, if someone says that manual labor is necessary for the mastering of fleshly concupiscences, this is not a pertinent objection. Our question is: whether it is necessary for followers of voluntary poverty to make their living by manual labor. Besides, it is possible to control the concupiscences of the flesh in many other ways, namely, by fasting, vigils, and other such practices. Moreover, they could use manual labor for this purpose even if they were rich and did not need to work to gain a living.

[17] Then, there is still a fourth way of living: that is, the followers of voluntary poverty may live on the goods which are offered them by others, who, while keeping their own wealth, wish to make a contribution to this perfection of voluntary poverty. And it seems that our Lord and His disciples practiced this way of life, for we read in Luke (8:2-3) that certain women followed Christ and “ministered to Him out of their substance.” However, even this way of life does not seem proper.

[18] For it does not seem reasonable for a person to part with his own goods and then live off another man.

[19] Besides, it seems improper for a person to take from another and make no repayment to him, for, in giving and receiving, the equality of justice should be observed. But it can be maintained that some of those recipients who live on the bounty of others may render some sort of service to these others. This is why ministers of the altar, and preachers who supply the people with teaching and other divine services, are observed accepting, not inappropriately, the means of livelihood from them. “For the workman is worthy of his meat,” as the Lord says in Matthew (10:10). For which reason, the Apostle says in 1 Corinthians (9:13-14) that “the Lord ordained that they who preach the gospel should live by the gospel… just as they who work in the holy place eat the things that are of the holy place.” So, it seems improper for those who serve the people in no special function to take the necessities of life from the people.

[20] Again, this way of living seems to be a source of loss to others. For there are people who, of necessity, must be supported by the benefactions of others and who cannot provide for themselves because of poverty and sickness. The alms received by them must be decreased if those who embrace poverty voluntarily have to be supported on the gifts of others, because there are not enough men, nor are men much inclined, to support a great number of poor people. Consequently, the Apostle commands in 1 Timothy (5:16) that, if anyone have a widow related to him, “let him minister to her, that the Church may be sufficient for them that are widows indeed.” So, it is improper for men who choose poverty to take over this way of living.

[21] Besides, freedom of mind is absolutely necessary for perfection in virtue, for, when it is taken away, men easily become “partakers of other men’s sins” (see 1 Tim. 5:22), either by evident consent, or by flattering praise, or at least by pretended approval. But much that is prejudicial to this freedom of mind arises from the aforesaid way of life; indeed, it is not possible for a man not to shrink from offending a person on whose bounty be lives. Therefore, the way of life under discussion is a hindrance to perfection of virtue, which is the purpose of voluntary poverty. Thus, it does not seem to suit those who are voluntarily paupers.

[22] Moreover, we do not control what depends on the will of another person. But what a giver gives of his own goods depends on his will. So, insufficient provision is made for the control of their means of livelihood by voluntary paupers living in this way.

[23] Furthermore, paupers who are supported by the gifts of others have to reveal their needs to others and beg for necessities. Now, this kind of begging makes mendicants objects of contempt, and even nuisances. In fact, men think themselves superior to those who have to be supported by them, and many give with reluctance. But those who embrace perfection of life should be held in reverence and love, so that men may more readily imitate them and emulate their state of life. Now, if the opposite happens, even virtue itself may be held in contempt. Therefore, to live by begging is a harmful way of life for those who embrace poverty voluntarily for the sake of perfect virtue.

[24] Besides, for perfect men, not only evils must be avoided, but even things that have an appearance of evil, for the Apostle says in Romans 12:17 (1 Thes. 5:22): “From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves.” And the Philosopher says [ Ethics IV, 9] that the virtuous man should not only avoid disgraceful actions, but also those which appear disgraceful. Now, mendicancy has the appearance of an evil, since many people beg because of greed. Therefore, this way of life should not be adopted by perfect men.

[25] Moreover, the counsel of voluntary poverty was given in order that man’s mind might be withdrawn from solicitude for earthly things and more freely devoted to God. But this way of living by begging requires a great deal of solicitude; in fact, there seems to be greater solicitude involved in getting things from others than in using what is one’s own. So, this way of living does not seem appropriate for those taking on voluntary poverty.

[26] Now, if anyone wants to praise mendicancy because of its humility, he would seem to be speaking quite unreasonably. For humility is praised because earthly exaltation is held in contempt, and it consists in riches, honors, renown, and things like that; but it is not praised for contemning the loftiness of virtue, in regard to which we should be magnanimous. So, it would contribute to the bad repute of humility if anyone in the name of humility did anything derogatory to the higher character of virtue. But mendicancy is derogatory to it: both because “it is better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) and because it has the appearance of something disgraceful, as we said. Therefore, mendicancy should not be praised because of its humility.

[27] There have been some, finally, who asserted that followers of perfection in life should have no concern at all, either to beg, or to work, or to keep anything for themselves, but that they should look to God alone for the support of life-because of what is said in Matthew (6:25): “Be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat or drink, nor for your body, what you shall put on”; and later: “Be not solicitous for tomorrow” (Mat. 6:24). Now, this seems completely unreasonable.

[28] Indeed, it is foolish to wish for an end, and then to neglect the things that are related to the end. But human solicitude is related to the end of eating, for by it one obtains food for oneself. So, those who cannot live without eating ought to have some concern about obtaining food.

[29] Besides, solicitude for earthly things need not be avoided, unless it hinders the contemplation of eternal matters. But a man endowed with mortal flesh cannot live unless he does many things whereby contemplation is interrupted, things like sleeping, eating, and other such actions. Therefore, solicitude for the necessities of life is not to be set aside on this basis, that it is an impediment to contemplation.

[30] Moreover, there is a marvelously absurd consequence. For, on the same reasoning, one could say that he does not wish to walk, or to open his mouth to eat, or to avoid a falling stone or a Plunging sword, but would rather wait for God to do something. This is to tempt God. Therefore, solicitude for the means of living is not to be rejected entirely.

Chapter 133

IN WHAT WAY POVERTY IS GOOD

[1] So, then, in order to show the truth in regard to the foregoing arguments, and what view we should take regarding poverty, we shall make a consideration of riches. As a matter of fact, external riches are necessary for the good of virtue; since by them we support our body and give assistance to other people. Now, things that are means to an end must derive their goodness from the end. So, external riches must be a good for man; not, of course, the principal one, but as a secondary good. For the end is the principal good, while other things are good because they are ordered to the end. This is why it has seemed to some people that the virtues are the greatest goods for man, while external riches are his least important goods. Now, things that are means to an end must be measured in accord with the requirements of the end. Therefore, riches are good, to the extent that they advance the practice of virtue, but if this measure is departed from, so that the practice of virtue is hindered by them, then they are not to be numbered among goods, but among evils. Hence, it happens to be a good thing for some people to possess riches, for they use them for the sake of virtue, but for others it is a bad thing to have them, for these people are taken away from virtue by them, either through too much solicitude or affection for them, or also because of mental pride resulting from them.

[2] However, since there are virtues of the active and the contemplative life, both types have a different need for external riches. For the contemplative virtues need them only for the support of nature, but the active virtues need them for this, and also for the helping of others with whom one must live. Hence, the contemplative life is more perfect, even on this point, for it needs fewer things. Now, it seems proper to this kind of life for a man to devote himself entirely to divine things, which perfection the teaching of Christ urges on man. Hence, for followers of this type of perfection a very small amount of external riches suffices, that is, just the amount needed to support nature. And so, the Apostle says, in 1 Timothy (6:8): “Having food and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content.”

[3] So, poverty is praiseworthy according as it frees man from the vices in which some are involved through riches. Moreover, in so far as it removes the solicitude which arises from riches, it is useful to some, namely, those disposed to busy themselves with better things. However, it is harmful to others, who, being freed from this solicitude, fall into worse occupations. Hence, Gregory says: “Often, those who have lived a life of human activities have been well occupied, but have been killed by the sword of their own retirement.” However, in so far as poverty takes away the good which results from riches, namely, the assisting of others and the support of oneself, it is purely an evil; except in the case where the temporal help that is offered to neighbors can be compensated for by a greater good, that is, by the fact that a man who lacks riches can more freely devote himself to divine and spiritual matters. But the good of supporting oneself is so necessary that it can be compensated for by no other good, since no man should take away from himself the support of life, under the pretext of obtaining another good.

[4] And so, such poverty is praiseworthy when a man is freed by it from earthly concerns and devotes himself more freely to divine and spiritual things, provided, of course, that the ability remains along with it in man to support himself in a lawful manner, for which support not many things are needed. Thus, the less one’s way of living in poverty requires of solicitude, the more praiseworthy it is. For poverty in itself is not good, but only in so far as it liberates from those things whereby a man is hindered from intending spiritual things. Hence, the measure of its goodness depends on the manner in which man is freed by means of it from the aforementioned obstacles. And this is generally true of all external things: they are good to the extent that they contribute to virtue, but not in themselves.

Chapter 134

ANSWERS TO THE ARGUMENTS BROUGHT FORWARD ABOVE AGAINST POVERTY

[1] Now that these things have been seen, it is not difficult to answer the foregoing arguments by which poverty is attacked.

[2] Although there is naturally present in man a desire to gather the things necessary for life, as the first argument suggested, it is not, however, such that every man must be occupied with this work. Indeed, not even among the bees do all have the same function; rather, some gather honey, others build their homes out of wax, while the rulers are not occupied with these works. And the same should hold in the case of man. In fact, since many things are needed for man’s life, for which one man could not suffice of himself, it is necessary for different jobs to be done by different people. For some should be farmers, some caretakers of animals, some builders, and so on for the other tasks. And since the life of man requires not only corporeal but, even more, spiritual goods, it is also necessary for some men to devote their time to spiritual things, for the betterment of others; and these must be freed from concern over temporal matters. Now, this division of various tasks among different persons is done by divine providence, inasmuch as some people are more inclined to one kind of work than to another.

[3] In this way, then, it is clear that those who abandon temporal things do not take away from themselves their life support, as the second argument implies. For there remains with them a good expectation of supporting their lives, either from their own labors, or from the benefactions of others, whether they take them as common possessions or for daily need. Thus, indeed, “what we can do through our friends, we do by ourselves, in a sense,” as the Philosopher says [ Ethics III, 3], and so, what is possessed by friends is possessed by us, in a way.

[4] Moreover, there should be mutual friendship among men, in accord with which they assist each other either in spiritual or in earthly functions. Of course, it is a greater thing to help another in spiritual matters than in temporal affairs, as much greater as spiritual things are more important than temporal ones, and more necessary for the attainment of the end which is beatitude. Hence, he who gives up, through voluntary poverty, the possibility of succoring others in temporal things, so that he may acquire spiritual goods whereby he may more beneficially help others, he does not work against the good of human society, as the third argument concludes.

[5] It is clear from things said earlier that riches are a definite good for man, when they are ordered to the good of reason, though not in themselves. Hence, nothing prevents poverty from being a greater good, provided one is ordered to a more perfect good by it. And thus, the fourth argument is answered.

[6] And since neither riches, nor poverty, nor any external thing is in itself man’s good, but they are only so as they are ordered to the good of reason, nothing prevents a vice from arising out of any of them, when they do not come within man’s use in accord with the rule of reason. Yet they are not to be judged evil in themselves; rather, the use of them may be evil. And so, neither is poverty to be cast aside because of certain vices which may be at times occasioned by it, as the fifth argument tried to show.

[7] Hence, we must consider that the mean of virtue is not taken according to the amount of exterior goods that come into use, but according to the rule of reason. So, it sometimes happens that what is excessive in relation to the quantity of an external thing may be moderate in relation to the rule of reason. For no one inclines to greater things than does the magnanimous man; nor is there anyone who surpasses in greatness of expenditures the magnificent man. So, they adhere to a mean that does not consist in the amount of expense, or anything like that, but in so far as they neither exceed the rule of reason, nor fall short of it. Indeed, this rule measures not only the size of a thing that is used, but also the circumstances of the person, and his intention, the fitness of place and time, and other such things that are necessary in acts of virtue. So, no one runs counter to virtue through voluntary poverty, even if he abandons everything. Nor does he do this wastefully, since he does it with a proper end, and with due attention to other circumstances. For it is a greater thing to risk one’s life, which, of course, a person may do under the virtue of fortitude if he observes the proper circumstances, than to abandon all his goods for a due end. And so, the sixth argument is answered.

[8] What is suggested on the basis of the words of Solomon is not to the contrary. For it is evident that he speaks of forced poverty, which is often the occasion for thievery.

Chapter 135

ANSWER TO THE OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE DIFFERENT WAYS OF LIFE OF THOSE WHO EMBRACE VOLUNTARY POVERTY

[1] After these answers, we must make a consideration of the ways in which devotees of voluntary poverty must live.

[2] Now, the first way, that is, for all to live in common on the proceeds of possessions that are sold, is one which will work, but not for a long time. So, the Apostles instituted this way of living for the faithful in Jerusalem, because they foresaw through the Holy Spirit that they would not remain together for long in Jerusalem, both because of the persecutions to come from the Jews, and because of the imminent destruction of the city and its people. As a result, it was not necessary to provide for the faithful, except for a short time. Consequently, when they went out to other peoples, among whom the Church was to be established and to continue to endure, there is no account of their establishing this mode of living.

[3] But the fraud which can be committed by the distributors is no argument against this way of life. For, this is common to all modes of living in which people dwell together—less so, in this way, since it seems more difficult for followers of perfection in life to commit fraud. Also, a remedy is provided against this, in the prudent selection of trustworthy distributors. Thus, under the Apostles, Stephen and others were chosen who were deemed worthy of this office (Acts 6:3ff).

[4] Then, the second way is also suitable for those who embrace voluntary poverty: that is, for them to live on common possessions.

[5] Nor is any of the perfection to which devotees of voluntary poverty tend lost by this way. For it is possible for it to be arranged that possessions be obtained in a proper manner through the effort of one of them, or of a small number of men, and so the others who remain without solicitude for temporal things may freely give their time to spiritual matters, which is the fruit of voluntary poverty. Nor, in fact, do those who take over this solicitude for the others lose anything of their perfection of life, because what they appear to lose by a lack of free time they gain in the service of charity, in which perfection of life also consists.

[6] Nor, indeed, in this way of life, is concord taken away as a result of common possessions. People should embrace voluntary poverty who are of the type that hold temporal things in contempt, and such people cannot disagree about temporal goods that are common, especially since they ought to look for nothing from these temporal things except the necessities of life, and, besides, the distributors ought to be trustworthy. Nor can this way of life be disapproved because certain people abuse it, for bad men use even good things badly, just as good men use bad things in a good way.

[7] Moreover, the third way of living is appropriate to those who embrace voluntary poverty; namely, they may live by the labor of their hands.

[8] Indeed, it is not foolish to give away temporal things so that they may again be acquired by manual labor, as the first argument to the contrary suggested, because the possession of riches required solicitude in getting them, or even in keeping them, and they attracted the love of man to them; and this does not happen when a person applies himself to the gaining of his daily bread by manual labor.

[9] Besides, it is clear that but a little time is enough for the acquisition of food sufficient for the support of nature by means of manual labor, and not much solicitude is needed. However, to amass riches or to acquire a large amount of supplies, as worldly workmen propose, requires the spending of much time and the application of great care. In this, the answer to the second argument is evident.

[10] However, we should bear in mind that the Lord in the Gospel did not prohibit labor, but only mental solicitude for the necessities of life. For He did not say: “Do not work,” but, rather: “Be not solicitous.” This He proves from a weaker case. For, if birds and lilies are sustained by divine providence, things which are of lower estate and unable to labor at those tasks whereby men gain their living, it is much more likely that He will provide for men who are of more worthy estate and to whom He has given the capacity to seek their livelihood through their own labors. Thus, it is not necessary to be afflicted by anxious concern for the needs of this life. Hence, it is evident that there is nothing derogatory to this way of life in the words of the Lord which were cited.

[11] Nor, in fact, can this way of living be rejected because it is inadequate. The fact that in a few cases a man may be unable to gain what suffices for the needs of life by manual labor alone is due either to sickness or some like disability. However, an arrangement is not to be rejected because of a defect which occurs rarely, for such things happen in nature and in the order of voluntary acts. Nor is there any way of living whereby things may be so arranged that failure cannot occur at times, for even riches can be taken away by theft or robbery; so, also, the man who lives from the work of his hands can grow feeble. Yet there is a remedy in connection with the way of life that we are talking about; namely, that help be given him whose labor is not enough to provide his living, either by other men in the same society who can do more work than is necessary for them or else by those who have riches. This is in accord with the law of charity and natural friendship whereby one man comes to the assistance of another who is in need. Hence, while the Apostle said, in 2 Thessalonians (3:10): “if any man will not work, neither let him eat”—for the sake of those who are not able to gain a living by their own labor—he adds a warning to others, saying: “But you, brethren, be not weary in well doing” (2 Thes. 3:13).

[12] Moreover, since a few things suffice for the needs of life, those who are satisfied with little need not spend a great deal of time in gaining what is necessary by manual labor. So, they are not much hindered from the spiritual works on account of which they embraced voluntary poverty, especially since, while working with their hands, they may think about God and praise Him and do other practices like this which people living alone should do. However, so that they may not altogether be precluded from spiritual works, they can also be helped by the benefactions of the rest of the faithful.

[13] Now, although voluntary poverty is not adopted for the purpose of getting rid of idleness or controlling the flesh by manual work, since this even possessors of riches could do, there is no doubt that manual labor is useful for that purpose, even without the need of gaining a living. However, idleness can be avoided by other more useful occupations, and concupiscence of the flesh conquered by stronger remedies. Hence, the need to work does not apply, for these reasons, to people who have, or can have, other means on which they may properly live. For, only the necessity of livelihood forces one to work with his hands, and thus the Apostle says, in II Thessalonians (3:10): “if any man will not work, neither let him eat.”

[34] The fourth way of living, from those things that are offered by others, is also suitable for those who embrace voluntary poverty.

[15] For, it is not inappropriate that he who has given away his own goods for the sake of an objective which contributes to the benefit of others should be supported by the gifts of these others. Indeed, unless this were so, human society could not endure, because, if every man took care of his own possessions only, there would be no one to serve the common welfare. So, it is quite fitting to human society that those who have set aside concern for their own goods, and who serve the common welfare, should be supported by those whose welfare they serve. Indeed, it is for this same reason that soldiers live on stipends paid by others and that the rulers of a republic are provided for from the common funds. As a matter of fact, those who adopt voluntary poverty in order to follow Christ renounce all things so that they may serve the common welfare, enlightening the people by their wisdom, learning, and examples, or strengthening them by prayer and intercession.

[16] As a result, it is clear that there is nothing disgraceful in their living on the gifts of others, because they make a greater return: on their part, receiving temporal support; but in regard to others, contributing to progress in spiritual matters. Hence, the Apostle says, in 2 Corinthians (8:14): “Let your abundance,” that is, in temporal things, “supply their want,” of the same things, “that their abundance,” that is, in spiritual goods, “also may supply your want.” For he who helps another shares in his work, both in its good and in its evil.

[17] Now, by their examples they incite others to virtue, for it develops that those who profit by their examples become less attached to riches when they observe other people completely abandoning their wealth for the sake of perfection in life. But the less a man loves riches, and the more intent on virtue he is, the more readily, also, does he distribute his wealth for the needs of others. As a result, those who embrace voluntary poverty and live on the gifts of others, rather than causing loss to the poor by taking the benefactions which would support the lives of others, become more beneficial to other poor people, because they by words and examples stimulate other men to works of mercy.

[18] Moreover, it is clear that men of perfect virtue, such as they must be who adopt voluntary poverty, since they hold riches in contempt, do not lose their freedom of mind because of the petty amount that they accept from others for the maintenance of life. As a matter of fact, a man does not lose his independence of mind unless it be because of things which are dominant in his affections. Hence, a man does not lose his independence because of things he despises, even if they are given to him.

[19] Now, although the maintenance of those who live on the gifts of others depends on the will of the givers, this is not, for that reason, an inadequate way of supporting the life of Christ’s poor. For it does not depend on the will of one man but on the will of many. Hence, it is not probable that, among the vast number of the faithful, there would not be many people who would readily supply the needs of those whom they hold in reverence because of the perfection of their virtue.

[20] Nor is it unfitting for them to declare their needs and ask for what is necessary, whether for others or for themselves. Indeed, we read that even the Apostles did this: not only did they receive what was necessary from those to whom they preached, which was rather a matter of rightful authority than of mendicancy, because of the rule of the Lord that they who serve, “the gospel should live by the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:13-14), but they also did it for the poor who were in Jerusalem (Acts 9:27ff.; 2 Cor. 8 and 9) and who, having given up their possessions, were living in poverty, yet were not preaching to the Gentiles; rather, their spiritual manner of living entitled them to such support. Hence, the Apostle urges, not as a matter of obligation but of good will on the part of the givers (2 Cor. 9:7), the aiding of such people by means of alms; and this is nothing but begging. Now, this begging does not make men objects of contempt, provided it is done with moderation, for need and not to excess, and without undue insistence, with consideration for the circumstances of the persons from whom the request is made, and for the place and time—all of which must be observed by those devoted to perfection in life.

[21] As a result, it is clear that such begging has no appearance of the disgraceful. It would have, if it were done with insistence and lack of discretion for the sake of pleasure or superfluity.

[22] Of course, it is evident that mendicancy is associated with a certain humiliation. For, as to suffer an action is less noble than to do it, so to receive is less noble than to give, and to be ruled and obedient is less noble than to govern and command, although by virtue of some added circumstance this evaluation may be reversed.

[23] However, it is the mark of humility to accept humiliations without hesitation; not in all cases, of course, but when it is necessary. For, since humility is a virtue, it does not work without discretion. So, it is not proper to humility, but to stupidity, for a man to accept every kind of humiliation, but what must be done for the sake of virtue a person does not reject because of humiliation. For example, if charity demands that some humiliating duty be performed for a neighbor, one will not refuse it through humility. Therefore, if it is necessary for the adoption of the perfection of the life of poverty that a man beg, then to suffer this humiliation is proper to humility. Sometimes, too, it is virtuous to accept humiliations even though our job does not require it, in order by our example to encourage others who have such a burden, so that they may bear it readily. For, a general may at times serve like an ordinary soldier, in order to spur on others. Sometimes, mo reover, we use humiliations virtuously for their medicinal value. For instance, if a man’s mind is prone to undue pride, he may make beneficial use, in due moderation, of humiliations, either self-imposed or caused by others, in order to restrain this tendency to pride, provided that through bearing these things he puts himself on a level, as it were, with even the lowliest men who perform low-grade tasks.

[24] Now, the error of those who regard all solicitude for the gaining of a living for oneself as forbidden by God is altogether unreasonable. Indeed, every act requires solicitude. So, if a man ought to have no concern for corporeal things, then it follows that he ought not to be engaged in corporeal action, but this is neither possible nor reasonable. In fact, God has ordained activity for each thing in accord with the proper perfection of its nature. Now, man was made with a spiritual and bodily nature. So, he must by divine disposition both perform bodily actions and keep his mind on spiritual things. However, this way of human perfection is not such that one may perform no bodily actions, because, since bodily actions are directed to things needed for the preservation of life, if a man fail to perform them he neglects his life which every man is obliged to preserve. Now, to look to God for help in those matters in which a man can help himself by his own action, and to omit one’s own action, is the attitude of a fool and a tempter of God. Indeed, this is an aspect of divine goodness, to provide things not by doing them directly, but by moving others to perform their own actions, as we showed above. So. one should not look to God in the hope that, without performing any action by which one might help oneself, God will come to one’s aid, for this is opposed to the divine order and to divine goodness.

[25] But since, in spite of our having the power to act, we do not have the power to guarantee the success of our actions in attaining their proper end, because of impediments which may occur, this success that may come to each man from his action lies within the disposition of divine providence. Therefore, the Lord commands us not to be solicitous concerning what pertains to God, namely, the outcome of our actions. But He has not forbidden us to be concerned about what pertains to us, namely, our own work. So, he who is solicitous about things that he can do does not act against the Lord’s precept. Rather, he does who is solicitous concerning the things which can result, even if he carries out his own actions, so that he omits the actions that are required to avoid these eventualities, against which we must rather place our hope in God’s providence, by which even the birds and the flowers are supported. To have solicitude of this kind seems to pertain to the error of the Gentiles who deny divine providence. This is why the Lord concludes that we must not be “solicitous for tomorrow.” He did not forbid us, by this injunction, from taking care in time of the things necessary for the future, but, rather, from being concerned about future events in despair of divine help. Or, perhaps, He forbade preoccupation today with the solicitude which one should have tomorrow, for each day has its own concerns; hence, He adds: “Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof” (Mat. 6:34).

[26] And thus, it is clear that those who adopt voluntary poverty can live in various appropriate ways. Among these ways, that is more praiseworthy which makes man’s mind free, to a greater degree, from solicitude about temporal matters and from activity in connection with them.

Chapter 136

ON THE ERROR OF THOSE WHO ATTACK PERPETUAL CONTINENCE

[1] Now, just as in the case of the opposition to the perfection of poverty, so also have some perverse-minded men spoken against the good of continence. Some of them try to destroy the good of continence by these and like arguments.

[2] In fact, the union of husband and wife is directed to the good of the species. For the good of the species is more godlike than the good of the individual. Therefore, he who completely abstains from the act whereby the species is preserved commits a greater sin than he would if he abstained from an act by which the individual is preserved, such as eating and drinking and the like.

[3] Again, by the divine order, organs are given man that are suited for procreation, and so are the concupiscible power that stimulates him and also other similar endowments related to it. Hence, he who completely abstains from the act of generation seems to act against the divine ordinance.

[4] Besides, if it is a good thing for one man to be continent, it is better for many, and best for all to do so. But the conclusion of this would be the extinction of the human race. So, it is not good for any man to be completely continent.

[5] Moreover, chastity, like the other virtues, lies in a mean. Therefore, just as a man acts against virtue and is intemperate if he devotes himself entirely to matters of concupiscence, so also does he act against virtue and is he without feeling who totally abstains from matters of concupiscence.

[6] Furthermore, it is impossible for some feelings of sexual concupiscence to fail to arise in a man, for they are natural. Now, to resist these feelings of concupiscence fully and, as it were, to wage a continuous fight against them produces more disturbance than if a man indulges moderately in concupiscent activities. Therefore, since mental disturbance is most incompatible with perfection of virtue, it appears to be opposed to virtue for a man to observe perpetual continence.

[7] Such, then, seem to be the objections against perpetual continence. It is also possible to add to them the command of the Lord which, we read, was given to our first parents in Genesis (1:28; 9:1): “Increase and multiply, and fill the earth.” This was not revoked, but seems rather to have been confirmed by the Lord in the Gospel, where it is said: “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mat. 19:6), when He speaks of the matrimonial union. But those who observe perpetual continence clearly act against this precept. So, it seems to be illicit to observe perpetual continence.

[8] However, it is not difficult to answer these objections in terms of the things that were established above.

[9] For we should keep in mind that one type of rational explanation is to be used for things which belong to the needs of the individual man, while a different one applies to the things that pertain to the needs of the group. In regard to things pertinent to the needs of the individual man, it is necessary to make provision for each person. Now, of this type are food and drink, and other goods having to do with the maintenance of the individual. Hence, each man must make use of food and drink. But, in the case of things that are necessary for the group, it is not necessary for the assignment to be given to each person in the group; indeed, this is not even possible. For it is clear that many things are needed by a group of men, such as food, drink, clothing, housing and the like, which cannot all be procured by one man. And so, different tasks must be given to different persons, just as different organs of the body are directed to different functions. So, since procreation is not a matter of the need of the individual but of the need of the whole species, it is not necessary for all men to devote themselves to acts of generation; instead, certain men, refraining from these acts, undertake other functions, such as the military life or contemplation.

[10] From this the answer to the second argument is clear. Indeed, the things that are necessary for the entire species are given man by divine providence, but it is not necessary for each man to use every one of them. For man has been given skill in building and strength for fighting, however, this does not mean that all men must be builders or soldiers. Likewise, though the generative power and things related to its act have been divinely provided, it is not necessary for each man to direct his intention to the generative act.

[11] Asa result, the answer to the third objection is also evident. Though it is better for some individuals to abstain from the things that are necessary for the group, it is not good for all to abstain. The same situation is apparent in the order of the universe, for, although spiritual substance is better than the corporeal, that universe in which there are spiritual substances only would not be better but more imperfect. And even though an eye is better than a foot in the body of an animal, the animal would not be perfect unless it had both eye and foot. So, too, the community of mankind would not be in a perfect state unless there were some people who direct their intention to generative acts and others who refrain from these acts and devote themselves to contemplation.

[12] Moreover, what is objected fourthly, that virtue must lie in the mean, is answered by what was said above in regard to poverty. For the mean of virtue is not always taken according to the quantity of the thing that is ordered by reason, but, rather, according to the rule of reason which takes in the proper end and measures the appropriate circumstances. And so, to abstain from all sexual pleasures, without a reason, is called the vice of insensibility. But, if it be done in accord with reason, it is a virtue which surpasses man’s ordinary way of life, for it makes men share somewhat in the divine likeness; hence, virginity is said to be related to the angels (Mat. 22:30).

[13] In regard to the fifth argument, it should be said that the solicitude and occupation which encumber those who are married, concerning their wives, children and the procuring of the necessities of life, are continuous. But the disturbance which a man suffers in the fight against concupiscent tendencies is for a limited time. For this decreases as a result of a man refusing to consent to it; in fact, the more a person indulges in pleasures, the more does the desire for pleasure grow in him. Thus, concupiscent feelings are weakened by acts of abstinence and other corporeal practices suitable to those who have the vow of continence. Moreover, the enjoyment of corporeal delights distracts the mind from its peak activity and hinders it in the contemplation of spiritual things much more than the disturbance that results from resisting the concupiscent desires for these pleasures, because the mind becomes very strongly attached to carnal things through the enjoyment of such pleasures, especially those of sex. For enjoyment makes the appetite become fixed on the thing that is enjoyed. And so, for those people who devote their attention to the contemplation of divine things and of every kind of truth, it is especially harmful to have been addicted to sexual pleasures and particularly beneficial to abstain from them. Now, this is not to suggest that, although it is generally better for the individual man to observe continence than to engage in matrimony, the latter may not be better in a particular case. Hence, the Lord, having mentioned continence, says: “All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given” (Mat. 19:11).

[14] To what is asserted in the last objection, on the ground of the precept given to our first parents, the reply is evident from what has been said. Indeed, that precept is concerned with the natural inclination in man to preserve the species by the act of generation; however, this need not be carried out by all men, but by some, as we said.

[15] Now, just as it is not expedient for every man to abstain from matrimony, so also it is not a good thing to do so at all times, if the increase of the race requires matrimony: whether because of a lack of men, as in the beginning when the human race began to multiply; or because of the small number of the faithful, in which situation they should multiply by carnal generation, as was the case in the Old Testament. Thus, the counsel of practicing perpetual continence was reserved to the New Testament, when the faithful are multiplied by a spiritual generation.

Chapter 137

ANOTHER ERROR CONCERNING PERPETUAL CONTINENCE

[1] Moreover, there have been some others who, though not disapproving perpetual continence, have, however, put the state of matrimony on the same level with it. This is the heresy of the Jovinians. But the falsity of this error is quite apparent from the foregoing, since by continence man is made more skillful in raising his mind to spiritual and divine matters, and so he is placed, in a way, above the level of a man and in a certain likeness to the angels.

[2] Nor is it any objection that some men of most perfect virtue have practiced matrimony, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for, the stronger the power of the mind is, the less likely is it to be cast down from its heights by any things whatsoever. So, though they were married, they did not love the contemplation of truth and divine things any less. Rather, as the state of their times demanded, they embraced matrimony for the sake of increasing the numbers of the faithful.

[3] Nor, in fact, is the perfection of one person a sufficient argument for the perfection of a state of life, since. one man can use a minor good with a more perfect intention than another man could use a greater good. Therefore, the fact that Abraham or Moses was more perfect than many men who observe continence does not mean that the state of matrimony is more perfect than the state of continence, or even equal to it.

Chapter 138

AGAINST THOSE WHO ATTACK VOWS

[1] It has seemed foolish to some people to bind oneself by a vow to obey anyone, or to any kind of practice. In fact, the more freely any good action is done, the more virtuous it seems to be. On the other hand, the more and the greater the necessity whereby a man is constrained to a certain practice, the less freely does it seem to be performed. So, it appears derogatory to the praiseworthy character of virtuous acts for them to be done under the necessity of obedience or a vow.

[2] Now, these men seem to ignore the meaning of necessity. In fact, there are two kinds of necessity. One is that of coaction. This kind decreases the value of virtuous acts, because it is contrary to the voluntary, for what is done under coaction is what is against the will. But there is another necessity that results from interior inclination. This does not diminish the value of a virtuous act, but increases it, for it makes the will incline more intensely toward an act of virtue. Indeed, it is evident that the more perfect a habit of virtue is, I the more forcefully does it make the will tend to the good of virtue, and less likely to fall short of it. So that, if it reaches the end of perfection, it confers a certain necessity of acting well, as in the case of the blessed who are not able to sin, as will appear later. Yet, because of this, neither is any freedom of will lost, nor goodness of the act.

[3] However, there is still another necessity resulting from the end, as when we say that someone must have a ship in order to cross the sea. Again it is evident that this necessity does not decrease freedom of will or the goodness of the acts. Rather, the fact that a man does something that is necessary for an end is praiseworthy in itself; and the better the end, the more praiseworthy it is.

[4] Now, it is clear that the necessity of practicing what one has vowed to do, or of obeying a person to whom one has subjected himself, is not the necessity of coaction or even that resulting from interior inclination, but it is from a relation to the end. For it is necessary for a person who takes a vow to do this or that thing if he is to fulfill the vow or practice obedience. So, since these ends are praiseworthy, inasmuch as by them man subjects himself to God, the aforesaid necessity in no way diminishes the value of virtue.

[5] We should further consider that the carrying out of things which a person has vowed, or the fulfilling of the orders of a man to whom the person has subjected himself for God’s sake, are actions worthy of greater praise and reward. It is possible, of course, for one act to pertain to two vices, provided the act of one vice be directed to the end of another vice. For instance, when a man steals so that he may fornicate, the act is specifically one of avarice, but by its intention it belongs to lust. In the same way, it also happens in the case of virtues that the act of one virtue is ordered to another virtue. Thus, when one gives away his possessions so that he may enjoy the friendship of charity with another man, this act specifically belongs to liberality, but from its end it pertains to charity. Now, acts of this kind acquire greater value from the greater virtue, that is, from charity rather than from liberality. Hence, though it loses its character as an exclusive act of liberality by virtue of its ordination to charity, it will be more praiseworthy and worthy of greater reward than if it were done liberally, with no relation to charity.

[6] So, let us suppose a man performing some work of a definite virtue, say a man who is fasting or restraining himself continently from sexual pleasure—now, if he does this without a vow it will be an act of chastity or of abstinence, but if he does it as a result of a vow it is referred further to another virtue whose scope includes the vowing of something to God; that is, to the virtue of religion which is better than chastity or abstinence, inasmuch as it makes us rightly disposed in relation to God. So, the act of abstinence or continence will be more praiseworthy in the case of the man who performs it under a vow, even though he does not take so much delight in abstinence or continence due to the fact that he is taking his delight in a higher virtue, that is, religion.

[7] Again, what is most important in virtue is a proper end, for the rational character of a good act stems chiefly from the end. So, if the end is more eminent, then, even if one is somewhat less than perfect in the act, it will be for him a more virtuous act. For example, take the case of a man who proposes to make a long journey for a virtuous purpose, while another man undertakes a short one; he who proposes to do more for the sake of virtue will be more praiseworthy, even though he makes slower progress on the trip. But suppose a man does something for God’s sake, offering this act to God: if he does this under a vow he offers God not only the act, but also his power. Thus, it is evident that his intention is to offer something greater to God. So, his act will be more virtuous by reason of his intention for a greater good, even if, in the execution of it, another man might appear more fervent.

[8] Besides, the act of will which precedes an act continues in its power through the whole performance of the act, and renders it worthy of praise, even when the agent is not thinking during the execution of the work of the commitment of will from which the act began. In fact, it is not necessary for a man who undertakes a journey for God’s sake actually to think about God during every part of the trip. Now, it is clear that the man who vows that he will do a certain thing wills it more intensely than one who simply decides to do it, for the first man not only wills to do it, but he wills to strengthen himself so that he will not fail to act. So, by this act of voluntary intention there is produced a praiseworthy execution of the vow accompanied by a certain fervor, even when the will-act is not actually continued during the operation, or is continued in a slack way.

[9] And so, what is done as a result of a vow becomes more praiseworthy than what is done without a vow, provided other conditions are equal.

Chapter 139

THAT NEITHER MERITORIOUS ACTS NOR SINS ARE EQUAL

[1] Next, it is plain that neither all good works, nor all sins, are equal. Indeed, counsel is given only in regard to the better good.Now, counsels are given in the divine law concerning poverty, continence, and other like things, as we said above. So, these are better than the practice of matrimony and the possession of temporal things, but it is possible to act virtuously according to these latter, provided the order of reason be observed, as we showed above. Therefore, not all acts of the virtues are equal.

[2] Again, acts get their species from their objects. So, the better the object is, the more virtuous the act will be in its species. Now, the end is better than the means to the end; and of the means, the closer one is to the end, the better it is. Hence, among human acts, that one is best which is directed immediately to the ultimate end, namely, God. After that, an act is better in its species the closer its object is to God.

[3] Besides, the good in human acts is dependent on their being regulated by reason. But it happens that some acts come nearer to reason than others. The more definitely these acts pertain to reason itself, the more they share in the good of reason, in comparison with the acts of the lower powers which reason commands. Therefore, there are some human acts that are better than others.

[4] Moreover, the precepts of the law are best fulfilled as a result of love, as we said above. But it happens that one man does what is prescribed for him to do with greater love than another man. So, one virtuous act will be better than another.

[5] Furthermore, while man’s acts are rendered good as a result of virtue, it is possible for the same virtue to be more intensified in one man than in another. So, one human act must be better than another.

[6] Again, if human acts are made good by the virtues, then that act must be better which belongs to the better virtue. But it is possible for one virtue to be better than another; for instance, magnificence than liberality, and magnanimity than moderation. So, one human act will be better than another.

[7] Hence, it is said, 1 Cor. (7:38): “He who gives his virgins in marriage does well: and he does not give them does better.”

[8] Moreover, it is apparent for the same reason that not all sins are equal, since one gets farther away from the end through one sin than through another, and the order of reason may be more perverted, and more harm may be done one’s neighbor.

[9] Hence, it is said, in Ezekiel (16:47): “You have done almost more wicked things than they in all your ways.”

[10] Now, by this consideration we refute the error of those who say that all meritorious acts and all sins are equal.

[11] As a matter of fact, the view that all virtuous acts are equal seems to have a certain reasonableness, since every act is virtuous as a result of the goodness of its end. Hence, if there is some end of goodness for all good acts, then all must be equally good.

[12] However, although there is but one ultimate end for the good, the acts that derive their goodness from it receive different degrees of goodness. For, there is in the goods that are ordered to the ultimate end a difference of degree, in so far as some are better and nearer to the ultimate end than others. Hence, there will be degrees of goodness both in the will and in its acts, depending on the diversity of goods in which the will and its act terminate, even though the ultimate end be the same.

[13] Similarly, also, the notion that all sins are equal seems to have some reasonableness, since sin occurs in human acts solely because a person overlooks the rule of reason. But a man who departs a little from reason overlooks its rule, just as one who misses it by a wide margin. So, it would seem that a sin is equal whether the wrong done was small or great.

[14] Now, support for this argument seems to come from the practice in human courts of law. In fact, if a boundary line is set up which a certain man is not to cross, it makes no difference to the judge whether he trespassed for a large distance or a small one; just as it is unimportant, when a fighter goes over the ropes, whether he goes very far. So, in the case of a man overstepping the rule of reason, it makes no difference whether he bypasses it a little or a great deal.

[15] However, if one takes a more careful look at it, in all matters in which the perfect and the good consists in some sort of commensuration, the greater the departure from the proper measurement, the worse will it be. Thus, health consists in a properly measured amount of humors, and beauty in a due proportion of bodily members, while truth lies in a measured relation of the understanding, or of speech, to the thing. Now, clearly, the more inequality there is in the humors, the greater the sickness; and the greater the disorder in the members of the body, the greater is the ugliness; and the farther one departs from the truth, the greater is the falsity. For instance, the man who thinks that three is five is not as wrong as the one who thinks three is a hundred. Now, the good pertaining to virtue consists in a certain commensuration, for there is a mean that is set up between opposed vices according to a proper judgment of the limiting circumstances. Therefore, the more it departs from this harmonious balance, the greater the evil is.

[16] Moreover, it is not the same thing to transgress virtue and to trespass over boundaries set up by a judge. Virtue is, in fact, good in itself, and so to depart from virtue is an evil in itself. Hence, to go farther away from virtue is a greater evil. But to pass over a boundary line set up by a judge is not essentially evil, but accidentally so—to the extent, that is, that it is prohibited. But in the case of events that are accidental, it is not necessary that “if one event taken without qualification follows another event without qualification, then an increase in the first event is followed by an increase in the second.” This only follows in things which exist of themselves. For instance, it does not follow that, if a white man is musical, then a whiter man will be more musical, but it does follow that, if a white thing is a distinctive object of sight, a whiter thing is a more distinctive object for sight.

[17] Yet there is this point to be noted regarding the differences among sins: that one kind is mortal and another venial. Now, the mortal is that which deprives the soul of spiritual life. The meaning of this life may be taken from two points in the comparison with natural life. In fact, a body is naturally alive because it is united to a soul which is the source of life for it. Moreover, a body that is made alive by a soul moves by itself, but a dead body either remains without movement or is only moved from outside. So, too, the will of man, when united by a right intention to its ultimate end, which is its object and, in a sense, its form, is also enlivened. And when it adheres to God and neighbor through love, it moves from an interior principle to do the right things. But when the intention and love of the ultimate end are removed, the soul becomes, as it were, dead, since it does not move of itself to do right actions, but either entirely ceases to do them or is led to do them solely by something external, namely, the fear of punishments. So, whatever sins are opposed to the intending and loving of the ultimate end are mortal. But, if a man is properly disposed in regard to them, yet falls somewhat short of the right order of reason, his sin will not be mortal but venial.

Chapter 140

THAT A MAN’S ACTS ARE PUNISHED OR REWARDED BY GOD

[1] It is apparent from the foregoing that man’s acts are punished or rewarded by God.

[2] For the function of punishing and rewarding belongs to him whose office it is to impose the law; indeed, lawmakers enforce observance of the law by means of rewards and punishments. But it belongs to divine providence to lay down the law for men, as is clear from the previous statements. Therefore, it belongs to God to punish and reward men.

[3] Again, wherever there is a proper order to an end, this order must lead to the end, while a departure from this order prevents the attainment of the end. For things which depend on the end derive their necessity from the end; that is to say, this means is necessary if the end is to be attained—and under these conditions, if there be no impediment, the end is achieved. Now, God has imposed on men’s acts a certain order in relation to the final good, as is evident from preceding statements. So, it must be, if this order is rightly laid down, that those who proceed according to this order will attain the final good, and this is to be rewarded; but those who depart from this order by means of sin must be cut off from the final good, and this is to be punished.

[4] Besides, as things in nature are subject to the order of divine providence, so are human acts, as is clear from what was said earlier. In both cases, however, it is possible for the proper order to be observed or overlooked. Yet there is this difference: the observance or transgression of the due order is put within the control of the human will, but it is not within the power of things in nature to fall short of or to follow the proper order. Now, effects must correspond in an appropriate way with their causes. Hence, just as when natural things adhere to a due order in their natural principles and actions, the preservation of their nature and the good in them necessarily follows, while corruption and evil result when there is a departure from the proper and natural order-so also, in human affairs, when a man voluntarily observes the order of divinely imposed law, good must result, not as if by necessity, but by the management of the governor, and this is to be rewarded. On the contrary, evil follows when the order of the law has been neglected, and this is to be punished.

[5] Moreover, to leave nothing unordered among things pertains to the perfect goodness of God; as a result, we observe that every evil in things of nature is included under the order of something good. So, the corruption of air is the generation of fire and the killing of a sheep is the feeding of a wolf. Hence, since human acts are subject to divine providence, just as things in nature are, the evil which occurs in human acts must be contained under the order of some good. Now, this is most suitably accomplished by the fact that sins are punished. For in that way those acts which exceed the due measure are embraced under the order of justice which reduces to equality. But man exceeds the due degree of his measure when he prefers his own will to the divine will by satisfying it contrary to God’s ordering. Now, this inequity is removed when, against his will, man is forced to suffer something in accord with divine ordering. Therefore, it is necessary that human sins be given punishment of divine origin and, for the same reason, that good deeds receive their reward.

[6] Furthermore, divine providence not only arranges the order of things, it also moves all things to the execution of the order thus arranged, as we showed above. Now, the will is moved by its object, which is a good or bad thing. Therefore, it is the function of divine providence to offer men good things as a reward, so that their will may be moved to make right progress, and to set forth evil things as punishment, so that their will may avoid disorder.

[7] Besides, divine providence has so ordered things that one will be useful to another. But it is most appropriate for man to derive profit for his final good, both from another man’s good and another man’s evil, in the sense that he may be stimulated to good action by seeing that others who do good are rewarded, and that he may be turned back from evil action by observing that those who do evil are punished. So, it is proper to divine providence that evil men be punished and good men rewarded.

[8] Hence, it is said, in Exodus (20:5-6): “I am Your God… visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children… and showing mercy… to them who love me and keep my commandments.” And again, in the Psalm (61:13): “For You will render to every man according to his works.” And in Romans (2:6-8): “Who will render to every man according to his works; to those indeed who, according to patience in good work, glory and honor… but to those… who do not obey the truth but give credit to iniquity, wrath and indignation.”

[9] Now, by this we set aside the error of some people who assert that God does not punish. In fact, Marcion and Valentine said that there is one good God, and another God of justice Who punishes.

Chapter 141

ON THE DIVERSITY AND ORDER OF PUNISHMENTS

[1] As we have just seen, since a reward is what is set before the will as an end whereby one is stimulated to good action, punishment, on the contrary, in the guise of some evil that is to be avoided, is set before the will to restrain it from evil. So, just as it is essential to a reward that it be a good that is agreeable to the will, so is it essential to punishment that it be an evil and contrary to will. Now, evil is a privation of the good. Hence, the diversity and order of punishments must depend on the diversity and order of goods.

[2] Now, felicity is the highest good for man, for it is his ultimate end, and the nearer anything is to this end, the higher the place that it occupies among man’s goods. But the nearest thing to it is virtue, and any other thing, if there be such, which helps man in good action whereby he attains happiness. Next comes the proper disposition of his reason and of the powers subject to it. After this comes soundness of body, which is needed for ready action. In final place are external things which we use as aids to virtue.

[3] So, the greatest punishment will be for man to be cut off from happiness. After this ranks deprivation of virtue and of any perfection of the natural powers of the soul that is related to good action. Next comes the disorder of the natural powers of the soul; then, bodily injury; and finally, the taking away of exterior goods.

[4] However, because it is essential not only that punishment by a privation of the good, but also that it be contrary to the will, for not every man’s will regards good things as they really are, it happens at times that what deprives one of the greater good is less repugnant to the will and thus seems to be less punishing. Hence it is that a good many men who think better of and know more about sensible and corporeal things than they do about intellectual and spiritual goods have a greater fear of bodily punishments than of spiritual ones. In the opinion of these people the order of punishments seems the reverse of the abovementioned ranking. With them, injuries of the body are deemed the greatest punishment, together with the loss of external things; whereas they regard disorder of soul, loss of virtue, and the deprivation of the divine enjoyment, in which man’s ultimate felicity consists, as of slight or no importance.

[5] Now, the result of this is that they do not think that men’s sins are punished by God, for they see many sinners enjoying bodily vigor, highly favored by external good fortune, of which goods virtuous men are sometimes deprived.

[6] To people who consider the matter rightly this should not seem astonishing. For, since external goods are subordinated to internal goods, and body to soul, external and bodily goods are good for man to the extent that they contribute to the good of reason, but to the extent that they hinder the rational good they turn into evils for man. Now, God, the disposer of things, knows the measure of human virtue. Hence, He at times provides corporeal and external goods for the virtuous man as an aid to his virtue, and in this He confers a benefit on him. At other times, however, He takes away these things from man, because He considers such things to be for him a hindrance to virtue and divine enjoyment. Indeed, from the fact that external goods may turn into evils for man, as we said, their loss may consequently become, by the same reasoning, a good thing for man.

So, if every punishment is an evil, and if it is not a bad thing for a man to be deprived of external and corporeal goods in accord with what is helpful to progress in virtue, then it will not be a punishment for a virtuous man if he be deprived of external goods as an aid to virtue. On the contrary, however, it will be for the punishment of evil men if external goods are granted them, for by them they are incited to evil. Hence it is said in Wisdom (14:11) that “the creatures of God are turned to an abomination, and a temptation to the souls of men, and a snare to the feet of the unwise.”

However, since it is essential to punishment that it be not only an evil but that it be against the will, the loss of corporeal and external things, even when it helps man toward virtue and not toward evil, is called a punishment, in an improper sense, because it is contrary to will.

[7] Still, as a result of the disorder in man, it happens that a man may not judge things as they are, but may set corporeal things above spiritual ones. Now, such a disorder is either a fault or it stems from some preceding fault. Consequently, it is evident that there is no punishment for man, even in the sense of being contrary to will, without a prior fault.

[8] This is also clear from another fact: these things that are good in themselves would not turn into evils for man, because of their abuse, unless some disorder were present within man.

[9] Besides, the fact that the things which the will favors because they are naturally good must be taken away from man for the advancement of virtue arises from a disorder in man which is either a fault or the result of a fault. Indeed, it is obvious that some disorder in the affections of man is caused by a previous sin, and so afterwards he is more easily inclined to sin. So, man is not without fault, also, in the fact that he must be helped to the good of virtue by what is for him something of a punishment, inasmuch as it is absolutely against his will, even though it be desired sometimes, in a relative way, because reason looks to the end. But, we shall talk later about this disorder in human nature which results from original sin. However, it is now evident to what extent God punishes men for their sins, and that He does not punish unless there be some fault.

Chapter 142

THAT NOT ALL REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS ARE EQUAL

[1] Since divine justice requires, for the preservation of equality in things, that punishments be assigned for faults and rewards for good acts, then, if there are degrees in virtuous acts and in sins, as we showed, there must also be degrees among rewards and punishments. Otherwise, equality would not be preserved, that is, if a greater punishment were not given to one who sins more, or a greater reward to one who acts better. Indeed, the same reasoning seems to require different retribution on the basis of the diversity of good and evil, and on the basis of the difference between the good and the better, or between the bad and the worse.

[2] Again, the equality proper to distributive justice is such that unequal things are assigned to unequal persons. Therefore, there would not be a just compensation by punishments and rewards if all rewards and all punishments were equal.

[3] Besides, rewards and punishments are set up by a lawmaker so that men may be drawn away from evil things and toward good things, as is evident from what was said above. But it is not only necessary for men to be attracted to goods and drawn away from evils, but also good men must be encouraged to better things and evil men discouraged from worse things. This could not be done if rewards and punishments were equal. Therefore, punishments and rewards must be unequal.

[4] Moreover, just as a thing is disposed toward a form by natural dispositions, so is a man disposed toward punishments and rewards by good and bad works. But the order which divine providence has established in things has this feature: things that are better disposed obtain a more perfect form. Therefore, depending on the diversity of good or bad works, there must be a diversity of punishments and rewards.

[5] Furthermore, it is possible for variations of degree to apply to good and bad works in two ways: in one way, numerically, in the sense that one man has more good or bad works than another; in a second way, qualitatively, in the sense that one man accomplishes a better or worse work than another. Now, to the increase which depends on the number of works there must be a corresponding increase in rewards and punishments; otherwise, there would not be a compensation under divine justice for all the things that a person does, if some evils remained unpunished and some goods unrewarded. So, by equivalent reasoning, for the increase which depends on the different quality of the works there must be a corresponding inequality of rewards and punishments.

[6] Hence, it is said in Deuteronomy (25:7): “According to the measure of the sin shall the measure also of the stripes be.” And in Isaiah (27:8): “In measure against measure, when it shall be cast off, I shall judge it.”

[7] By this we dispose of the error of those who say that in the future all rewards and punishments will be equal.

Chapter 143

ON THE PUNISHMENT DUE TO MORTAL AND VENIAL SIN IN RELATION TO THE ULTIMATE END

[1] Now, it is obvious from the foregoing that it is possible to sin in two ways. One way is such that the mental intention is entirely broken away from the order to God, Who is called the ultimate end of all good people; and this is mortal sin. The second way is such that, while the ordering of the human mind to the ultimate end remains, some impediment is brought in whereby one is held back from freely tending toward the end; and this is called venial sin. So, if there must be a difference of punishments depending on a difference of sins, it follows that he who commits a mortal sin must be punished in such a way that he may be cut off from the end of man, but he who sins venially must not be punished so that he is cut off but so that he is retarded or made to suffer difficulty in acquiring the end. For, thus is the equality of justice preserved: in whatever way man voluntarily turns away from his end by sinning, in the same way in the order of punishment, involuntarily, he is impeded in regard to the attainment of his end.

[2] Again, as will is in men, so is natural inclination in the things of nature. Now, if the inclination toward its end be taken away from a natural thing, it becomes altogether unable to reach its end. For example, when a heavy body loses its weight through corruption and becomes light, it will not reach its proper place. But, if there be an impediment to its motion, while its inclination to the end remains, then, when the obstacle is removed, it will reach its end. Now, in the man who commits a mortal sin, the intention of his will is completely turned away from his ultimate end; while in the man who commits a venial sin, his intention continues to be fixed on the end, but he is somewhat hindered in that he improperly fixes his intention on the means to the end. Therefore, for the one who sins mortally, this is the proper punishment: to be completely cut off from the attainment of the end. But for the one who sins venially, he must suffer some difficulty before he reaches the end.

[3] Besides, when a person obtains some good that he did not intend, this is due to fortune and chance. So, if he whose intention is turned away from the ultimate end is to attain the ultimate end, this will be due to fortune and chance. But this is not right. In fact, the ultimate end is a good of the understanding. Now, fortune is repugnant to understanding, since fortuitous events occur apart from the ordering of understanding. Moreover, it is not appropriate for the understanding to attain its end in an unintelligent manner. Therefore, he will not attain his ultimate end who, by sinning mortally, has his intention turned away from the ultimate end.

[4] Moreover, matter does not get its form from the agent unless it be disposed to the form. Now, the end or the good is a perfection of the will, just as form is for matter. Hence, the will is not going to obtain its ultimate end unless it be appropriately disposed. But the will is disposed toward its end by the intention and desire for the end. Therefore, he whose intention is averted from the end will not obtain that end.

[5] Furthermore, in the case of things ordered to an end, the relationship is such that, if the end occurs or will occur, then the means to the end must also be available, but if the means to the end are not available, then the end will not occur. For, if the end can occur even without the presence of the means to the end, it is futile to seek the end by such means. But it is admitted by all men that man, through works of virtue, among which the chief one is the intention of the proper end, may attain his ultimate end which is felicity. So, if a person acts against virtue, with his intention turned away from the ultimate end, it is fitting that he be deprived of his ultimate end.

[6] Hence, it is said, Matthew (7:23): “Depart from me, all you who work iniquity.”

Chapter 144

THAT BY MORTAL SIN A MAN IS ETERNALLY DEPRIVED OF HIS ULTIMATE END

[1] This punishment by which a person is deprived of the ultimate end should be interminable.

[2] For there is no privation of a thing unless one is born to possess that thing; in fact, a newborn puppy is not said to be deprived of sight. But man is not born with a natural aptitude to attain his end in this life, as we have proved. So, the privation of this kind of end must be a punishment after this life. But after this life there remains in man no capacity to acquire the ultimate end. The soul needs a body for the obtaining of its end, in so far as it acquires perfection through the body, both in knowledge and in virtue. But the soul, after it has been separated from its body, will not again return to this state in which it receives perfection through the body, as the reincarnationists claimed. We have argued against them above. Therefore, he who is punished by this punishment, so that he is deprived of the ultimate end, must remain deprived of it throughout eternity.

[3] Again, if there is a privation of something which is naturally required, it is impossible for this to be restored unless there be a breaking down of the subject to the underlying matter, so that another subject may again be generated anew, as is the case when an animal loses the power of sight or any other sense power. Now, it is impossible for what has been already generated to be again generated, unless it is first corrupted. In that case, from the same matter it is possible for another whole being to be generated, not the same numerically but in species. But spiritual things, such as a soul or an angel, cannot be broken down by corruption into an underlying matter so that another member of the same species may in turn be generated. So, if such a being is deprived of what it must have in its nature, then such a privation has to continue perpetually. But there is in the nature of a soul and of an angel an ordering toward the ultimate end Who is God. So, if it departs from this order by virtue of some punishment, this punishment will endure perpetually.

[4] Besides, natural equity seems to demand that each person be deprived of the good against which he acts, for by this action he renders himself unworthy of such a good. So it is that, according to civil justice, he who offends against the state is deprived completely of association with the state, either by death or by perpetual exile. Nor is any attention paid to the extent of time involved in his wrongdoing, but only to what he sinned against. There is the same relation between the entirety of our present life and an earthly state that there is between the whole of eternity and the society of the blessed who, as we showed above,share in the ultimate end eternally. So, he who sins against the ultimate end and against charity, whereby the society of the blessed exists and also that of those on the way toward happiness, should be punished eternally, even though he sinned for but a short space of time.

[5] Moreover, “before the divine seat of judgment the will is counted for the deed,” since, “just as man sees those things that are done outwardly, so does God see the heart of men” (1 Sam. 16:7). Now, he who has turned aside from his ultimate end for the sake of a temporal good, when he might have possessed his end throughout eternity, has put the temporal enjoyment of this temporal good above the eternal enjoyment of the ultimate end. Hence, it is evident that he much preferred to enjoy this temporal good throughout eternity. Therefore, according to divine judgment, he should be punished in the same way as if he had sinned eternally. But there is no doubt that an eternal punishment is due an eternal sin. So, eternal punishment is due to him who turns away from his ultimate end.

[6] Furthermore, by the same principle of justice, punishments are assigned to wrongdoings and rewards to good acts. “Now, the reward for virtue is happiness.” And this is, of course, eternal, as we showed above. Therefore, the punishment whereby one is cut off from happiness should be eternal.

[7] Hence, it is said, in Matthew (25:46): “And these shall go into everlasting punishment, but the just, into life everlasting.”

[8] Now, by this conclusion we set aside the error of those who say that the punishments of the wicked are to be ended at some time. In fact, this view seems to have originated from the theory of certain philosophers who said that all punishments are for purposes of purification and so are to terminate at some time.

[9] This view seemed persuasive on the basis of human custom. Indeed, the punishments under human law are applied for the remedy of vices, and so they are like medicines. On the basis of reason, also, if a punishment were assigned by a punishing agent, not for the sake of something else, but for its own sake alone, it would follow that the agent takes pleasure in punishments for their own sake, which is not in keeping with divine goodness. So, punishments must be inflicted for the sake of something else. And there seems to be no other more suitable end than the correction of vices. So, it seems that all punishments may fittingly be said to be purgatorial and, consequently, requiring termination at some time, since what can be purged out is accidental to a rational creature and may be removed without consuming the substance.

[10] Now, we have to concede that punishments are not inflicted by God for their own sake, as if God delighted in them, but they are for something else; namely, for the imposing of order on creatures, in which order the good of the universe consists. Now, this order of things demands that all things be divinely arranged in a proportionate way. This is why it is said in the Book of Wisdom (11:21) that God made all things, “in weight, number and measure.” Now, just as rewards are in proportional correspondence with the acts of the virtues, so are punishments with sins. And to some sins are proportioned eternal punishments, as we showed. So, God inflicts eternal punishments for certain sins so that due order may be observed in things, which order manifests His wisdom.

[11] However, if one concede that all punishments are applied for the correction of behavior and not for anything else, one is still not forced by this admission to assert that all punishments are purgatorial and terminable. For even according to human laws some people are punished with death, not, of course, for their own improvement, but for that of others. Hence, it is said in Proverbs (19:75): “the wicked man being scourged, the fool shall be wiser.” Then, too, some people, in accord with human laws, are perpetually exiled from their country, so that, with them removed, the state may be purer. Hence, it is said in Proverbs (22:10): “Cast out the scoffer, and contention shall go with him, and quarrels and reproaches shall cease.” So, even if punishments are used only for the correction of behavior, nothing prevents some people, according to divine judgment, from having to be separated perpetually from the society of good men and to be punished eternally, so that men may refrain from sinning, as a result of their fear of perpetual punishment, and thus the society of good men may be made purer by their removal. As it is said in the Apocalypse (21:27): “There shall not enter it,” that is, into the heavenly Jerusalem, by which the society of good men is designated, “anything defiled or that works abomination or falsehood.”

Chapter 145

THAT SINS ARE PUNISHED ALSO BY THE EXPERIENCE OF SOMETHING PAINFUL

[1] Those who sin against God are not only to be punished by their exclusion from perpetual happiness, but also by the experience of something painful. Punishment should proportionally correspond to the fault, as we said above. In the fault, however, the mind is not only turned away from the ultimate end, but is also improperly turned toward other things as ends. So, the sinner is not only to be punished by being excluded from his end, but also by feeling injury from other things.

[2] Again, punishments are inflicted for faults so that men may be restrained from sins by the fear of these punishments, as we said above. But no one fears to lose what he does not desire to obtain. So, those who have their will turned away from the ultimate end do not fear to be cut off from it. Thus, they cannot be restrained from sinning simply by exclusion from the ultimate end. Therefore, another punishment must also be used for sinners, which they may fear while they are sinners.

[3] Besides, if a man makes inordinate use of a means to the end, he may not only be deprived of the end, but may also incur some other injury. This is exemplified in the inordinate eating of food, which not only fails to maintain strength, but also leads to sickness. Now, the man who puts his end among created things does not use them as he should, namely, by relating them to his ultimate end. So, he should not only be punished by losing happiness, but also by experiencing some injury from them.

[4] Moreover, as good things are owed to those who act rightly, so bad things are due to those who act perversely. But those who act rightly, at the end intended by them, receive perfection and joy. So, on the contrary, this punishment is due to sinners, that from those things in which they set their end they receive affliction and injury.

[5] Hence, divine Scripture not only threatens sinners with exclusion from glory, but also with affliction from other things. For it is said, in Matthew (25:41): “Depart from me you cursed into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.” And in the Psalm (10:7), “He shall rain snares upon sinners, fire and brimstone and storms of winds shall be the portion of their cup.”

[6] By this we refute the error of Al-Ghazali, who claimed that this punishment only is applied to sinners, that they are afflicted with the loss of their ultimate end.

Chapter 146

THAT IT IS LAWFUL FOR JUDGES TO INFLICT PUNISHMENTS

[1] Since some people pay little attention to the punishments inflicted by God, because they are devoted to the objects of sense and care only for the things that are seen, it has been ordered accordingly by divine providence that there be men in various countries whose duty it is to compel these people, by means of sensible and present punishments, to respect justice. It is obvious that these men do not sin when they punish the wicked, for no one sins by working for justice. Now, it is just for the wicked to be punished, since by punishment the fault is restored to order, as is clear from our statements above. Therefore, judges do no wrong in punishing the wicked.

[2] Again, in various countries, the men who are put in positions over other men are like executors of divine providence; indeed, God through the order of His providence directs lower beings by means of higher ones, as is evident from what we said before. But no one sins by the fact that he follows the order of divine providence. Now, this order of divine providence requires the good to be rewarded and the evil to be punished, as is shown by our earlier remarks. Therefore, men who are in authority over others do no wrong when they reward the good and punish the evil.

[3] Besides, the good has no need of evil, but, rather, the converse. So, what is needed to preserve the good cannot be evil in itself. Now, for the preservation of concord among men it is necessary that punishments be inflicted on the wicked. Therefore, to punish the wicked is not in itself evil.

[4] Moreover, the common good is better than the particular good of one person. So, the particular good should be removed in order to preserve the common good. But the life of certain pestiferous men is an impediment to the common good which is the concord of human society. Therefore, certain men must be removed by death from the society of men.

[5] Furthermore, just as a physician looks to health as the end in his work, and health consists in the orderly concord of humors, so, too, the ruler of a state intends peace in his work, and peace consists in “the ordered concord of citizens.” Now, the physician quite properly and beneficially cuts off a diseased organ if the corruption of the body is threatened because of it. Therefore, the ruler of a state executes pestiferous men justly and sinlessly in order that the peace of the state may not be disrupted.

[6] Hence, the Apostle says, in 1 Corinthians (5:6): “Know you not that a little leaven corrupts the whole lump?” And a little later he adds: “Put away the evil one from among yourselves” (1 Cor. 5:13). And in Romans (13:4) it is said of earthly power that “he does not carry the sword in vain: for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him who does evil.” And in 1 Peter (2:13-14) it is said: “Be subject therefore to every human creature for God’s sake: whether it be to the king as excelling, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of the good.”

[7] Now, by this we set aside the error of some who say that corporeal punishments are illicit to use. These people adduce as a basis for their error the text of Exodus (20:13): “You shall not kill,” which is mentioned again in Matthew (5:21). They also bring up what is said in Matthew (13:30), that the Lord replied to the stewards who wanted to gather up the cockle from amidst the wheat: “Let both grow until the harvest.” By the cockle we understand the children of the wicked one, whereas by the harvest we understand the end of the world, as is explained in the same place (Mat. 13:38-40). So, the wicked are not to be removed from among the good by killing them.

[8] They also allege that so long as a man is existing in this world he can be changed for the better. So, he should not be removed from the world by execution, but kept for punishment.

[9] Now, these arguments are frivolous. Indeed, in the law which says “You shall not kill” there is the later statement: “You shall not allow wrongdoers to live” (Exod. 22: 18). From this we are given to understand that the unjust execution of men is prohibited. This is also apparent from the Lord’s words in Matthew 5. For, after He said: “You have heard that it was said to them of old: You shall not kill” (Mat. 5:21), He added: “But I say to you that whosoever is angry with his brother,” etc. From this He makes us understand that the killing which results from anger is prohibited, but not that which stems from a zeal for justice. Moreover, how the Lord’s statement, “Let both grow until the harvest,” should be understood is apparent through what follows: “lest perhaps, gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it” (Mat. 13: 29). So, the execution of the wicked is forbidden wherever cannot be done without danger to the good. Of course, this often happens when the wicked are not clearly distinguished from the good by their sins, or when the danger of the evil involving many good men in their ruin is feared.

[10] Finally, the fact that the evil, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit the fact that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement. They also have at the critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so stubborn that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from evil, it is possible to make a highly probable judgment that they would never come away from evil to the right use of their powers.

Chapter 147

THAT MAN NEEDS DIVINE HELP TO ATTAIN HAPPINESS

[1] Since it is plain from earlier chaptersthat divine providence controls rational creatures in a different way from other things, because they differ from other things in the way that their own nature was established, it remains to be shown that, by virtue of the dignity of their end, a higher mode of governance is used by divine providence in their case.

[2] Now, it is obvious that, according to what befits their nature, they achieve a higher participation in the end. In fact, since they have an intellectual nature, they are able by its operation to attain to intelligible truth, and this is not possible for other things that are devoid of understanding. And, of course, because they can reach intelligible truth by their natural operation, it is clear that divine provision is made for them in a different way than for other things. Inasmuch as man is given understanding and reason, by which he can both discern and investigate the truth; as he is also given sensory powers, both internal and external, whereby he is helped to seek the truth; as he is also given the use of speech, by the functioning of which he is enabled to convey to another person the truth that he conceives in his mind—thus constituted, men may help themselves in the process of knowing the truth, just as they may in regard to the other needs of life for man is “a naturally social animal.”

[3] But, beyond this, man’s ultimate end is fixed in a certain knowledge of truth which surpasses his natural capacity: that is, he may see the very First Truth in Itself, as we showed above. Now, this is not granted to lower creatures, that is, the possibility of their reaching an end which exceeds their natural capacity. So, the different mode of governance in regard to men and in regard to other, lower creatures must be noted as a result of this end. For, the things that are related to an end must be proportionate to that end. So, if man is ordered to an end which exceeds his natural capacity, some help must be divinely provided for him, in a supernatural way, by which he may tend toward his end.

[4] Again, a thing of an inferior nature cannot be brought to what is proper to a higher nature except by the power of that higher nature. For example, the moon, which does not shine by its own light, becomes luminous by the power and action of the sun, and water, which is not hot of itself, becomes hot by the power and action of fire. Now, to see the very First Truth in Itself so transcends the capacity of human nature that it is proper to God alone, as we showed above. Therefore, man needs divine help so that he may reach this end.

[5] Besides, each thing attains its ultimate end by its own operation. Now, operation gets its power from the operating principle; thus, by the action of the semen there is generated a being in a definite species, whose power preexists in the semen. Therefore, man is not able by his own operation to reach his ultimate end, which transcends the capacity of his natural powers, unless his operation acquires from divine power the efficacy to reach the aforesaid end.

[6] Moreover, no instrument can achieve its ultimate perfection by the power of its own form, but only by the power of the principal agent, although by its own power it can provide a certain disposition to the ultimate perfection. Indeed, the cutting of the lumber results from the saw according to the essential character of its own form, but the form of the bench comes from the skilled mind which uses the tool. Likewise, the breaking down and consumption of food in the animal body is due to the heat of fire, but the generation of flesh, and controlled growth and similar actions, stem from the vegetative soul which uses the heat of fire as an instrument. Now, all intellects and wills are subordinated as instruments under a principal agent to God, Who is the first intellect and will. So, their operations must have no efficacy in regard to the ultimate perfection which is the attainment of final happiness, except through the divine power. Therefore, a rational nature needs divine help to obtain the ultimate end.

[7] Furthermore, there are many impediments presented to man in the attaining of his end. For he is hindered by the weakness of his reason, which is easily drawn into error by which he is cut off from the right way of reaching his end. He is also hindered by the passions of his sensory nature, and by the feelings whereby he is attracted to sensible and lower things; and the more he attaches himself to these, the farther he is removed from his ultimate end, for these things are below man, whereas man’s end is above him. He is further hindered by frequent bodily illness from the carrying out of his virtuous activities whereby he may tend toward happiness. Therefore, man needs divine help, but he may fall completely short of the ultimate end as a result of these obstacles.

[8] Hence, it is said, in John (6:44): “No man can come to Me, except the Father, Who hath sent Me, draw him,” and again: “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).

[9] By this we set aside the error of the Pelagians, who said that man could merit the glory of God by his free choice alone.”

Chapter 148

THAT BY THE HELP OF DIVINE GRACE MAN IS NOT FORCED TOWARD VIRTUE

[1] Now, it might seem to someone that by divine help some external compulsion to good action is exercised on man, because it has been said: “No man can come to Me, except the Father, Who hath sent Me, draw him” (John 6:44); and because of the statement in Romans (8:14): “Whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”; and in 2 Corinthians (5:14): “the charity of Christ presses us.” Indeed, to be drawn, to be led, and to be pressed seem to imply coaction.

[2] But that this is not true is clearly shown. For divine providence provides for all things according to their measure, as we have shown above.But it is proper to man, and to every rational nature, to act voluntarily and to control his own acts, as it is clear from what we have said before. But coaction is contrary to this. Therefore, God by His help does not force men to right action.

[3] Again, that divine help is provided man so that he may act well is to be understood in this way: it performs our works in us, as the primary cause performs the operations of secondary causes, and as a principal agent performs the action of an instrument. Hence, it is said in Isaiah (26:1213): “You have wrought all our works for us, O Lord.” Now, the first cause causes the operation of the secondary cause according to the measure of the latter. So, God also causes our works in us in accord with our measure, which means that we act voluntarily and not as forced. Therefore, no one is forced to right action by the divine help.

[4] Besides, man is ordered to his end by his will, for the object of the will is the good and the end. Now, divine help is chiefly afforded us so that we may obtain our end. So, this help does not exclude from us the act of our will, but, rather, in a special way, produces this act in us. Hence, the Apostle says, in Philippians (2:13): “it is God Who works in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to good will.” But coaction excludes the act of the will in us, since we do under force that whose contrary we will. Therefore, God does not force us by His help to act rightly.

[5] Moreover, man reaches his ultimate end by acts of the virtues, for felicity is assigned as a reward for virtue. Now, forced acts are not acts of the virtues, since the main thing in virtue is choice, which cannot be present without voluntariness to which violence is opposed. Therefore, man is not divinely compelled to act rightly.

[6] Furthermore, the means to the end should be in proportion to the end. But the ultimate end which is felicity is appropriate only to voluntary agents, who are masters of their acts. Hence, we call neither inanimate things nor brute animals, happy, just as they are neither fortunate nor unfortunate, except metaphorically. Therefore, the help that is divinely given men to attain felicity is not coercive.

[7] Hence, it is said in Deuteronomy (30:15-18): “Consider that the Lord has set before you this day life and good, and on the other hand death and evil; that you may love the Lord your God, and walk in His ways… But if your heart turns away so that you will not hear… I foretell you this day that you shall perish.” And in Sirach (15-18): “Before man is life and death, good and evil; what he chooses shall be given him.”

Chapter 149

THAT MAN CANNOT MERIT DIVINE HELP IN ADVANCE

[1] From what has been said it is quite manifest that man cannot merit divine help in advance. For everything is related as matter to what is above it. Now, matter does not move itself to its own perfection; rather, it must be moved by something else. So, man does not move himself so as to obtain divine help which is above him; rather, he is moved by God to obtain it.” Now, the movement of the mover precedes the movement of the movable thing in reason and causally. Therefore, divine help is not given to us by virtue of the fact that we initially move ourselves toward it by good works; instead, we make such progress by good works because we are preceded by divine help.

[2] Again, an instrumental agent is not disposed to he brought to perfection by the principal agent, unless it acts by the power of the principal agent. Thus, the heat of fire no more prepares matter for the form of flesh than for any other form, except in so far as the heat acts through the power of the soul. But our soul acts under God, as an instrumental agent under a principal agent. So, the soul cannot prepare itself to receive the influence of divine help except in so far as it acts from divine power. Therefore, it is preceded by divine help toward good action, rather than preceding the divine help and meriting it, as it were, or preparing itself for it.

[3] Besides, no particular agent can universally precede the action of the first universal agent, because the action of a particular agent takes its origin from the universal agent, just as in things here below, all motion is preceded by celestial motion. But the human soul is subordinated to God as a particular agent under a universal one. So, it is impossible for there to be any right movement in it which divine action does not precede. Hence, the Lord says, in John (15:5): “without Me you can do nothing.”

[4] Moreover, compensation is in proportion to merit, because in the repaying of compensation the equality of justice is practiced. Now, the influence of divine help which surpasses the capacity of nature is not proportionate to the acts that man performs by his natural ability. Therefore, man cannot merit the aforesaid help by acts of that kind.

[5] Furthermore, knowledge precedes the movement of the will. But the knowledge of the supernatural end comes to man from God, since man could not attain it by natural reason because it exceeds his natural capacity. So, divine help must precede the movements of our will toward the ultimate end.

[6] Hence, it is said in Titus (3:5): “Not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us.” And in Romans (9: 16) the action of willing is “not his who wills,” nor is the action of running “his who runs,” but both are “of God who shows mercy.” For, to perform a good act of willing and of doing, man must be preceded by divine help. For instance, it is customary to attribute an effect not to the proximate agent of. operation, but to the first mover; thus, the victory is ascribed to the general even though it is accomplished by the work of the soldiers. Not that free choice of the will is excluded by these words, as some have wrongly understood them, as if man were not the master of his own internal and external acts; the text shows that man is subject to God. And it is said in Lamentations (5:21): “Convert us, O Lord, to You, and we shall be converted.” From which it is clear that our conversion to God is preceded by God’s help which converts us.

[7] However, we read in Zechariah (3:3) a statement made in the name of God: “Turn to me… and we shall turn to you.” Not, of course, that the working of God fails to precede our conversion, as we said, but that He subsequently assists our conversion, whereby we turn to Him, by strengthening it so that it may reach its result and by confirming it so that it may obtain its proper end.

[8] Now, by this we set aside the error of the Pelagians, who said that this kind of help is given us because of our merits, and that the beginning of our justification is from ourselves, though the completion of it is from God.

Chapter 150

THAT THE AFORESAID DIVINE HELP IS CALLED GRACE, AND WHAT SANCTIFYING GRACE IS

[1] Since what is given a person, without any preceding merit on his part, is said to be given to him gratis, and because the divine help that is offered to man precedes all human merit, as we showed,it follows that this help is accorded gratis to man, and as a result it quite fittingly took the name grace. Hence, the Apostle says, in Romans (11:6): “And if by grace, it is not now by works: otherwise grace is no more grace.”

[2] But there is another reason why the aforesaid help of God has taken the name grace. In fact, a person is said to be in the “good graces” of another because he is well liked by the other. Consequently, he who is loved by another is said to enjoy his grace. Now, it is of the essence of love that the ]over wishes good and does what is good for the object of his love. Of course, God wishes and does good things in regard to every creature, for the very being of the creature and all his perfection result from God’s willing and doing, as we showed above. Hence, it is said in Wisdom (11:25): “For You love all things that are, and hate none of the things which You have made.” But a special mark of divine love is observable in the case of those to whom He offers help so that they may attain a good which surpasses the order of their nature, namely, the perfect enjoyment, not of some created good, but of Himself. So, this help is appropriately called grace, not only because it is given gratis, as we showed, but also because by this help man is, through a special prerogative, brought into the good graces of God. Hence, the Apostle says, in Ephesians (1:5-6): “Who predestinated us to the adoption of children… according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He hath graced us in His beloved Son.”

[3] Now, this grace, within the man who is graced by it, must be something, a sort of form and perfection for that man. For, a thing that is directed toward an end must have a continual relation to it, because the mover continually moves the moved object, until the object comes to its end as a result of the motion. Therefore, since man is directed to the ultimate end by the help of divine grace, as we showed, man must continually enjoy this help until he reaches his end. Now, this would not be if man participated in the aforesaid help as a motion or passion and not as an enduring form which is, as it were, at rest in him. In fact, a motion and a passion would not be present in man except when he was actually converted to the end, and this act is not continually performed by man, as is especially evident in the case of sleeping man. Therefore, sanctifying grace is a form and perfection remaining in man even when he is not acting.

[4] Again, God’s love is causative of the good which is in us, just as a man’s love is called forth and caused by some good thing which is in the object of his love. But man is aroused to love someone in a special way because of some special good which pre-exists in the person loved. Therefore, wherever there is found a special love of God for man, there must consequently be found some special good conferred on man by God. Hence, since in accord with the preceding explanation sanctifying grace marks a special love of God for man, it must be that a special goodness and perfection is marked, as being present in man, by this term.

[5] Besides, everything is ordered to an end suitable to it by the rational character of its form, for there are different ends for different species. But the end to which man is directed by the help of divine grace is above human nature. Therefore, some supernatural form and perfection must be superadded to man whereby he may be ordered suitably to the aforesaid end.

[6] Moreover, man must reach his ultimate end by his own operations. Now, everything operates in accord with its own form. So in order that man may be brought to his ultimate end by his own operations, a form must be superadded to him from which his operations may get a certain efficacy in meriting his ultimate end.

[7] Furthermore, divine providence makes provision for all things in accord with the measure of their nature, as is evident from preceding statements. Now, this is the measure proper for man: for the perfection of their operations there must be present in them, above their natural potencies, certain perfections and habits whereby they may operate well and do the good, connaturally, easily and enjoyably, as it were. Therefore, the help of grace which man obtains from God in order to reach the ultimate end designates a form and perfection present in man.

[8] Hence, in Scripture, the grace of God is signified by some sort of light, for the Apostle says in Ephesians (5:8): ” you were heretofore darkness, but now, light in the Lord.” Properly enough, then, the perfection whereby man is initially moved to his ultimate end, which consists in the vision of God, is called light, for this is the principle of the act of seeing.

[9] By this we set aside the opinion of certain men who say that the grace of God places nothing within man, just as something is not put into a person as a result of the statement that he has the good graces of a king, but only in the king who likes him. It is clear, then, that they were deceived by their failure to note the difference between divine and human love. For divine love is causative of the good which He loves in anything, but human love is not always so.

Chapter 151

THAT SANCTIFYING GRACE CAUSES THE LOVE OF GOD IN US

[1] From the foregoing it becomes evident that man achieves this result through the help of divine sanctifying grace: the fact that he loves God.

[2] For sanctifying grace is an effect in man of divine love. But the proper effect in man of divine love seems to be the fact that he loves God. Indeed, this is the principal thing in the lover’s intention: to be loved in turn by the object of his love. To this, then, the lover’s main effort inclines, to attract his beloved to the love of himself; unless this occurs, his love must come to naught. So, this fact that he loves Cod is the result in man of sanctifying grace.

[3] Again, there must be some union of things for which there is one end, as a result of their being ordered to this end. Thus, in a state men are unified by a certain concord, so that they may be able to attain the public good, and soldiers in combat must be united and act with one accord, so that victory, the common end, may be achieved. Now, the ultimate end, to which man is brought with the help of divine grace, is the vision of God in Hisessence, which is proper to God Himself. Thus, this final good is shared with man by God. So, man cannot be brought to this end unless he be united with God by the conformation of his will. And this is the proper effect of love, for “it is proper to friends to approve and disapprove the same things, and to be delighted in and to be pained by the same things.”Hence, by sanctifying grace man is established as a lover of God, since man is directed by it to the end that has been shared with him by God.

[4] Besides, since the end and the good are the proper object of the appetite or affection, man’s affections must be chiefly perfected by sanctifying grace, which directs man to his ultimate end. But the chief perfection of the affections is love. The mark of this is that every movement of feeling is derived from love, for no one desires, hopes, or rejoices except because of a good which is loved. Likewise, neither does anyone experience repugnance, fear, sorrow, or anger except because of what is opposed to the good that is loved. Therefore, the principal effect of sanctifying grace is for man to love God.

[5] Moreover, the form whereby a thing is ordered to an end makes the thing somewhat like the end. For instance, a body acquires through the form of weight a likeness and conformity to the place toward which it is moved naturally. But we showed that sanctifying grace is a certain form in man whereby he is ordered to his ultimate end, Who is God. So, man achieves the likeness to God through grace. Now, likeness is the cause of love, for everything loves its like (See Sirach 13:19). Therefore, by grace man is made a lover of God.

[6] Furthermore, it is required for perfection of operation that a person act steadily and promptly. Now, love produces this result especially; because of it, even difficult things are lightly regarded. So, since man’s operations must become perfect as a result of sanctifying grace, as appears from what we have said, it is necessary for the love of God to be established in us through this grace.

[7] Hence, the Apostle says, in Romans (5:5): “the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.” Moreover, the Lord has promised His vision to those who love Him, saying in John (14:21): “he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father; and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him.”

[8] Thus, it is clear that grace, which directs us to the final divine vision, causes the love of God in us.

Chapter 152

THAT DIVINE GRACE CAUSES FAITH IN US

[1] Now, as a result of divine grace causing charity in us, it is also necessary for faith to be caused in us by grace.

[2] Indeed, the movement whereby we are directed by grace to our ultimate end is voluntary, not violent, as we showed above. Now, there cannot be a voluntary movement toward something unless it is known. So, the knowledge of the ultimate end must be accorded us by grace, so that we may be voluntarily directed to it. But this knowledge cannot be by means of open vision in this life, as we showed above. Therefore, this knowledge must be through faith.

[3] Again, in every knowing being the mode of knowledge depends on the mode of its proper nature; hence, the mode of knowing is different for an angel, a man, and a brute animal, inasmuch as their natures are different, as is clear from things said earlier. But to man, in order that he may attain his ultimate end, there is added a perfection higher than his own nature, namely, grace, as we have shown. Therefore, it is necessary that, above man’s natural knowledge, there also be added to him a knowledge which surpasses natural reason. And this is the knowledge of faith, which is of the things that are not seen by natural reason.

[4] Besides, whenever something is moved by an agent to what is proper to the agent, the thing moved must be, at the start, imperfectly subject to the impulsions of the agent, impulsions that remain somewhat foreign and improper to it, until at the end of the movement they do become proper to it. For example, wood is first heated by fire, and that heat does not belong to the wood but is apart from its nature; at the end, however, when the wood is now ignited, the heat becomes proper and connatural to it. Likewise, when a person is being taught by a teacher, he must at the start accept the teacher’s conceptions, not as one who understands them by himself, but by way of belief, as things which are beyond his capacity; but at the end, when he has become learned, he can understand them. Now, as is clear from what we have said, we are directed by the help of divine grace to our ultimate end. But the ultimate end is an open vision of the First Truth in Itself, as we showed above. Therefore, before it comes to this end, man’s intellect must be subject to God by way of belief, under the influence of divine grace which accomplishes this.

[5] Moreover, at the beginning of this work we indicated the advantages which made it necessary for divine truth to be offered to men by way of belief. It is also possible to conclude from these reasons that it was necessary for faith to be a product in us of divine grace.

[6] Hence, the Apostle says to the Ephesians (2:8): “by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God.”

[7] By this conclusion we set aside the error of the Pelagians, who said that the beginning of faith in us was not from God but from ourselves.

Chapter 153

THAT DIVINE GRACE CAUSES HOPE IN US

[1] On the same premises it can be shown that the hope of future happiness must be caused in us by grace.

[2] In fact, the love that a man has for others arises in man from the love that he has for himself, for a man stands in relation to a friend as he does to himself. But a person loves himself inasmuch as he wishes the good for himself, just as he loves another person by wishing him good. So, by the fact that a man is interested in his own good he is led to develop an interest in another person’s good. Hence, because a person hopes for good from some other person, a way develops for man to love that other person in himself, from whom he hopes to attain the good. Indeed, a person is loved in himself when the lover wishes the good for him, even if the lover may receive nothing from him. Now, since by sanctifying grace there is produced in man an act of loving God for Himself,the result was that man obtained hope from God by means of grace. However, though it is not for one’s own benefit, friendship, whereby one loves another for himself, has of course many resulting benefits, in the sense that one friend helps another as he helps himself. Hence, when one person loves another, and knows that he is loved by that other, he must get hope from him. Now, by grace man is so established as a lover of God, through the love of charity, that he is also instructed by faith that he is first loved by God: according to the passage found in 1 John (4:10): “In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because He hath first loved us.” It follows, then, from the gift of grace that man gets hope from God. It is also clear from this that just as hope is a preparation of man for the true love of God, so also man is conversely strengthened in hope by charity.

[3] Again, in every lover there is caused a desire to be united with his beloved, in so far as that is possible; as a result, it is most enjoyable to live with friends. So, if by grace man is made a lover of God, there must be produced in him a desire for union with God, according as that is possible. But faith, which is caused by grace, makes it clear that the union of man with God in the perfect enjoyment in which happiness consists is possible. Therefore, the desire for this fruition results in man from the love of God. But the desire for anything bothers the soul of the desirer, unless there be present some hope of attainment. So, it was appropriate that in man, in whom God’s love and faith are caused by grace, there should also be caused a hope of acquiring future happiness.

[4] Besides, if some difficulty should emerge among things ordered to a desired end, hope of attaining the end provides solace. For instance, a person suffers but slightly from the bitterness of medicine because of his hope for good health. But in our process of working toward happiness, which is the end of all our desires, many difficulties present burdens to be borne, because virtue, by which one advances toward happiness, “is concerned with difficulties.” Therefore, in order that man may tend toward happiness smoothly and readily, it was necessary to provide him with the hope of obtaining happiness.

[5] Moreover, no one is moved toward an end that he judges impossible to attain. So, in order that a person may push forward toward the end, he must have a feeling toward the end as toward something possible of attainment, and this is the feeling of hope. Therefore, since man is directed toward his ultimate end of happiness by grace, it was necessary for the hope of attaining happiness to be impressed on man’s power of feeling by means of grace.

[6] Hence, it is said in 1 Peter (1:3-4): “He hath regenerated us unto a lively hope… unto an inheritance incorruptible, reserved for heaven.” And again in Romans (8:24) it is said: “we are saved by hope.”

Chapter 154

ON THE GIFTS OF GRATUITOUS GRACE, INCLUDING A CONSIDERATION OF THE DIVINATIONS OF DEMONS

[1] Since man can only know the things that he does not see himself by taking them from another who does see them, and since faith is among the things we do not see, the knowledge of the objects of faith must be handed on by one who sees them himself. Now, this one is God, Who perfectly comprehends Himself, and naturally sees His essence. Indeed, we get faith from God. So, the things that we hold by faith must come to us from God. But, since the things that come from God are enacted in a definite order, as we showed above, a certain order had to be observed in the manifestation of the objects of faith. That is to say, some persons had to receive them directly from God, then others from them, and so on in an orderly way down to the lowest persons.

[2] Now, wherever there is an order among things, it is necessary that, the nearer one thing is to the first principle, the stronger it must be. This is apparent in the order of divine manifestation. For invisible things whose vision is beatifying, and to which faith applies, are first revealed by God to the blessed angels through open vision, as is clear from our previous statements.

[3] In turn, by the intermediary ministry of the angels they are manifested to certain men; not, of course, through open vision, but through a kind of certitude resulting from divine revelation.

[4] This revelation, then, is accomplished by means of a certain interior and intelligible light, elevating the mind to the perception of things that the understanding cannot reach by its natural light. For, just as the understanding by its natural light is made certain concerning things that it knows by that light (for instance, concerning first principles), so also does it acquire certitude concerning things which it apprehends by supernatural light. Now, this latter certitude is needed so that the things that are grasped by divine revelation may be offered to others, for we cannot present things to others with assurance if we have not certain knowledge of them. Now, accompanying this light that we have mentioned, which illumines the mind from within, there are at times in divine revelation other external or internal aids to knowledge; for instance, a spoken message, or something heard by the external senses which is produced by divine power, or something perceived internally through imagination due to God’s action, or also some things produced by God that are seen by bodily vision, or that are internally pictured in the imagination. From these presentations, by the light internally impressed on the mind, man receives a knowledge of divine things. Consequently, without the interior light, these aids do not suffice for a knowledge of divine things, but the interior light does suffice without them.

[5] However, this revelation of the invisible things of God belongs to wisdom, which is properly the knowledge of divine things. ‘nus, it is said in Wisdom (7:27-28) that the wisdom of God “conveys herself through nations into holy souls… for God loves no one but him who dwells with wisdom.” And again in Sirach (15:5) it is said: “the Lord has filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.”

[6] But, since “the invisible things of God… are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,” not only divine things are revealed to men by divine grace, but also some created things, and this seems to pertain to knowledge. Hence, it is said in Wisdom (7:17): “For He has given me the true knowledge of the things that are: to know the disposition of the whole world, and the virtues of the elements.” And in 2 Chronicles (1:12) the Lord said to Solomon: “Knowledge and wisdom are granted to you.”

[7] But the things that man knows he cannot properly convey to the knowledge of another man, except by speech. So, since those who receive a revelation from God, according to the divinely established order, should instruct others, it was necessary for them also to be given the grace of speech, in keeping with what the benefit of those who were to be instructed demanded. Hence, it is said in Isaiah (50:4): “The Lord hath given me a learned tongue, that I should know how to uphold by word him that is weary.” And the Lord says to the disciples, in Luke (21:15): “I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist and gainsay.” And also for this reason, when it was necessary for the truth of the faith to be preached by a few men to different peoples, some were divinely instructed to “speak with divers tongues,” as is said in Acts (2:4): “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Spirit gave them to speak.”

[8] But because oral teaching that is offered requires confirmation so that it may be accepted, unless it be evident in itself, and because things that are of faith are not evident to human reason, it was necessary for some means to be provided whereby the words of the preachers of the faith might be confirmed. Now, they could not be confirmed by any rational principles in the way of demonstration, since the objects of faith surpass reason. So, it was necessary for the oral teaching of the preachers to be confirmed by certain signs, whereby it might be plainly shown that this oral teaching came from God; so, the preachers did such things as healing the sick, and the performance of other difficult deeds, which only God could do. Hence, the Lord, sending forth His disciples to preach, said in Matthew (10:8): “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils.” And it is said at the end of Mark (16:20): “But they going forth preached everywhere: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.”

[9] But there was still another way of confirmation, in so far as the preachers of truth were found to speak true things about hidden events which could be made evident later, so that credit was given them as speakers of truths about matters which men were not able to experience. Hence, the a gift of prophecy was necessary, whereby they might know and reveal to others, through God’s revelation, future events and things generally concealed from men. Thus, in this way, when they were discovered to tell about true events, belief would be accorded them in regard to matters of faith. Hence, the Apostle says, in 1 Corinthians (14:24-25): “If all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an unlearned person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is judged by all; the secrets of his heart are made manifest; and so, falling down on his face, he will adore God, affirming that God is among you indeed.”

[10] However, an adequate testimony to the faith is not supplied by this gift of prophecy unless it were concerned with things that can be known by God alone, just as miracles are of such nature that God alone can work them. Now, these things are especially, in the affairs of this world, the secrets of our hearts, which God alone can know, as we showed above, and contingent future events which also come only under divine cognition, for He sees them in themselves because they are present to Him by reason of His eternity, as we showed above.

[11] Of course, some contingent future events can also be foreknown by men; not, indeed, according as they are future, but inasmuch as they pre-exist in their causes. When these latter are known, either in themselves or through some of their evident effects, which are called signs, a foreknowledge of some future effects may be acquired by man. Thus, a physician foreknows future death or good health,from the condition of natural strength, which he knows from the pulse, the urine, and signs of this kind. Now, this kind of knowledge of future matters is partly certain, but partly uncertain. In fact, there are some pre-existing causes from which future events follow of necessity; for instance, if there be a pre-existing composition of contraries in an animal, death results necessarily. But, from some pre-existing causes future effects do not follow necessarily, but usually. For instance, in most cases a perfect human being results from the insemination of a mother by a man’s semen; sometimes, however, monsters are generated, because of some obstruction which overcomes the operation of the natural capacity. So, there is certain foreknowledge of the first kind of effects, but of those mentioned in the second case there is no infallibly certain foreknowledge. However, the foreknowledge that is acquired concerning future events from divine revelation, according to prophetic grace, is altogether certain, just as divine foreknowledge is also certain. Indeed, God does not merely foreknow future events as they are in their causes, but infallibly, as they are in themselves, as we showed earlier. And so, prophetic knowledge of future things is given man in the same way, with perfect certitude. Nor is this certitude opposed to the contingency of future events, any more than the certitude of divine knowledge is, as we showed above.

[12] However, some future events are at times revealed to prophets, not as they are in themselves, but as they are in their causes. In that case, if the causes are obstructed from achieving their effects, nothing prevents the prophetic forecast from being modified. Thus, Isaiah foretold to the ailing Hezekiah: “take order with Your house, for You shall die, and not live” (Is. 38:1), but be was restored to health; and Jonah the Prophet foretold that “after forty days, Nineveh shall be destroyed” (Jonah 3:4), Yet it was not overturned. Hence, Isaiah made his prophecy of the coming death of Hezekiah according to the order of his bodily condition and of the lower causes in relation to this result, and Jonah prophesied the disruption of Nineveh according to the demands of its merits; however, in both cases, it turned out differently, in accord with the working of a free and health-giving God.

[13] And so, prophetic prediction of future events is an adequate argument for the faith, since, though men do know some things in advance about future matters, their knowledge of future contingencies is not accompanied by certitude, as is the foreknowledge of prophecy. For, though prophetic revelation is sometimes accomplished on the basis of the order of causes to a given effect, yet at the same time, or later, a revelation may be made to the same prophet concerning the outcome of the future event, as to how it is to be modified. For example, the healing of Hezekiah was revealed to Isaiah (Isa. 38:5), and the saving of the Ninevites to Jonah (Jonah 4:5ff.).

[14] But malign spirits strive to corrupt the truth of the faith, just as they make bad use of the working of wonders, in order to lead to error and weaken the proof of the true faith, even though they do not perform miracles in the proper sense, but things that appear wonderful to men, as we showed above—so also they abuse prophetic prediction, not, of course, prophesying, but foretelling certain things according to the order of causes hidden to man, so that they seem to know in advance future events in themselves. Now, though contingent effects come from natural causes, these spirits, as a result of the subtlety of their understanding, can know more than men as to when and bow the effects of natural causes may be obstructed. So, in foretelling future things, they appear to be more astonishing and more truthful than men, no matter how learned the latter may be. Of course, among natural causes, the highest and farthest removed from our knowledge are the powers of,the celestial bodies. That these are known to the spirits under discussion, in accord with what is proper to their nature, is evident from earlier explanations. Therefore, since all lower bodies are controlled through the powers and motions of the higher bodies, these spirits are far more able than any astronomer to foretell future winds and storms, changing conditions of the atmosphere, and other such things which occur in the changing of lower bodies as a result of the motion of the higher bodies. Also, though celestial bodies can make no impression directly on the intellectual part of the soul, as we showed above, a good many men follow the impulse of their bodily passions and tendencies, on which we have shown that the celestial bodies do have an influence. In fact, it is only possible for wise men, of whom the number is small, to resist this kind of passion by using their reason. So, the result is that many predictions can be made concerning man’s acts, although even these spirits fail at times in their predictions because of freedom of choice.

[15] However, they do not make their predictions of what they foreknow by enlightening the mind, as is done in the case of divine revelation. Indeed, it is not their intention that the human mind be perfected in order to know the truth, but, rather, that it be turned away from the truth. Now, they sometimes predict, indeed, by impressing the imagination, either during sleep, as when they show the signs of certain future events through dreams, or while one is awake, as is apparent in the case of people in a trance or frenzy who foretell future events. At other times, too, they do it through external signs, for instance, by the movement and chirping of birds, and by means of the appearances of the inner parts of animals, and by the drawing of certain kinds of mathematical figures, and in other like ways which seem to work by some kind of lot. At still other times, they do it by visual apparitions and by predicting future events in speech that can be heard.

[16] Although the last of these ways is obviously the work of evil spirits, some people have made efforts to explain the other ways in terms of natural causes. They say, in fact, that when a celestial body moves toward definite effects in these things here below, some signs of the result of the influence of the same body appear, because different things receive the celestial influence in different ways. On this basis, then, they say that the change that is produced in a thing by the celestial body can be taken as a sign of the change in another thing. Hence, they say that movements that are apart from rational deliberation, such as visions in people who are dreaming and in those who are out of their mind, and the flight and crying of birds, and the drawing of figures, when a person does not deliberate on how many points he should draw, are all the results of the influence of a celestial body. So, they say that things like these can be the signs of future effects that are caused by the motion of the heavens.

[17] However, since this has little reason, it is better to think that the predictions that are made from signs of this kind take their origin from some intellectual substance, by whose power the aforesaid motions occurring without deliberation are controlled, in accord with what befits the observation of future events. And while these movements are sometimes controlled by the divine will, through the ministry of good spirits, since many things are revealed by God through dreams-as to Pharaoh (Gen. 41:25), and to Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:28), and “lots that are cast into the lap, that are also at times disposed of by the Lord,” as Solomon says (Prov. 16:33).Yet most of the time they happen as a result of the working of evil spirits, as the holy Doctors say, and as even the Gentiles themselves agree. For Maximus Valerius says that the practice of auguries and dreams, and that sort of thing, belongs to the religion in which idols were worshiped. And so, in the Old Law, along with idolatry, all these practices were prohibited. Indeed, it is said in Deuteronomy (18:9-11): “beware lest you have a mind to imitate the abominations of those nations,” that is, those that serve idols; “neither let there be found among you anyone who expiates his son or daughter, making them to pass through the fire; or who consults soothsayers, or observes dreams and omens; neither let there be any wizard nor charmer, nor anyone who consults pythonic spirits, or fortune tellers, or who seeks the truth from the dead.”

[18] Moreover, prophecy attests to the preaching of the faith in another way, namely, in so far as some tenets of the faith are preached which took place in time, such as the birth of Christ, His passion and resurrection, and events of that kind. And lest these be thought fictions made by the preachers, or to have come about by chance, they are shown to have been preached long beforehand by the Prophets. Consequently, the Apostle says in Romans (1:1): “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which He had promised before, by His prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning His Son, Who was made to Him of the seed of David, according to the flesh.”

[19] Following the degree of those who receive revelation directly from God, another degree of grace is necessary. In fact, since men receive revelation from God not only for their own time, but also for the instruction of all men that are to come, it was necessary that the things revealed to them not only be recounted orally to their contemporaries, but also that they be written down for the instruction of men to come. Consequently, there had to be some who would interpret this kind of writings. Now, this should be a divine grace, just as revelation was accomplished by the grace of God. Hence, it is said in Genesis (40:8): “Does not interpretation belong to God?”

[20] Then there follows the last degree: of those, namely, who faithfully believe the things that are revealed to others, and interpreted by still others. But that this is a gift of God was shown earlier.

[21] But, since some things are done by evil spirits similar to the things whereby the faith is confirmed, both in the working of wonders and in the revelation of future events, as we said above, lest men that have been deceived by such things believe in a lie, it is necessary that they be instructed by the help of divine grace concerning the discernment of this kind of spirits, in accord with what is said in 1 John (4:1): “do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits if they are of God.”

[22] Now, the Apostle enumerates these effects of grace, that are directed to the instruction and confirmation of the faith, in 1 Corinthians (12:8-10), saying: “To one indeed, by the Spirit is given the word of wisdom; and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to another, faith in the same Spirit; to another, the grace of healing in one Spirit; to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, the discerning of spirits; to another, divers kinds of tongues; to another, the interpretation of speeches.”

[23] By this conclusion we set aside the error of certain Manicheans, who say that corporeal miracles are not performed by God. At the same time we exclude the error of those men, in so far as they assert that the Prophets did not speak by the Spirit of God. We also dispose of the error of Prisca and Montanus, who said that the Prophets, like epileptics, did not understand what they spoke about. For this does not agree with divine revelation, whose chief effect is the illumination of the mind.

[24] Among the effects of grace that have been noted above there is a difference which must be observed. Though the name grace is suitable to all, since it is conferred gratis, without preceding merit, only the effect of love is further entitled to the name grace by virtue of the fact that it makes one in the good graces of God. For it is said in Proverbs (8:17): “I love them that love me.” Thus, faith and hope, and other things related to faith, can be present in sinners who are not in the good graces of God. But love alone is the special gift of the just, for “he who abides in charity abides in God, and God in him,” as is said in 1 John (4:16).

[25] Moreover, there is still another difference to be considered in the preceding effects of grace. Some of them are necessary during the whole life of man, for without them he cannot be saved: for example, to believe, hope, love, and obey the commandments of God. So, in regard to these effects, there must be certain habitual perfections present in men, so that they may perform these acts when the occasion demands. But other effects are necessary, not for a whole life, but for definite times and places; for example, to work miracles, to foretell future events, and such actions. So, for these actions habitual perfections are not given, but certain impressions are made by God, which cease to exist as soon as the act stops, and these impressions have to be repeated when the act is again to be repeated. Thus, the mind of the Prophet is illumined for each revelation by a new light, and in each case of the working of miracles there must be a new influence of divine power.

Chapter 155

THAT MAN NEEDS THE HELP OF GRACE TO PERSEVERE IN THE GOOD

[1] Man also needs the help of divine grace so that he may persevere in the good.

[2] Indeed, everything that is variable in itself needs the help of an immovable mover so that it may be fixed on one objective. But man is subject to variation, both from evil to good and from good to evil. So, in order that he may immovably continue in the good, which is to persevere, he needs divine help.

[3] Again, for that which surpasses the powers of free choice, man needs the help of divine grace. But the power of free choice does not extend to the effect of final perseverance in the good. This is evident as follows. In fact, the power of free choice applies to those things which fall within the scope of election. Now, what is chosen is some particular operation that can be performed. But such a particular operation is what is here and now present. Hence, that which falls under the power of free choice is something that is to be done now. But to persevere does not mean something as now operable, but the continuation of an operation throughout time. Now, this effect, of persevering in the good, is beyond the power of free choice. Therefore, man needs the help of divine grace to persevere in the good.

[4] Besides, though man is the master of his action through will and free choice, he is not the master of his natural powers. So, while he is free to will or not to will something, he cannot by willing produce such a result that his will, by the very fact of willing, would be immovably fixed on what be wills or chooses. But this is what is required for perseverance; that is, the will must endure immovably in the good. So, perseverance is not within the scope of free choice. Therefore, the help of divine grace must be available to man so that he may persevere.

[5] Moreover, suppose that there are several agents in succession, such that one of them acts after the action of another: the continuation of the action of these agents cannot be caused by any one of them, for no one of them acts forever; nor can it be caused by all of them, since they do not act together. Consequently, the continuity must be caused by some higher agent that always acts, just as the Philosopher proves, in Physics vin, that the continuity of the generative process in animals is caused by some higher, external agent. Now, let us suppose the case of someone who is persevering in the good. There are, then, in his case many movements of free choice tending toward the good, successively following each other up to the end. So, for this continuation in the good, which is perseverance, no one of these movements can be the cause, since none of them lasts forever. Nor can all of them together, for they are not together, and so they cannot cause something together. It remains, then, that this continuation is caused by some higher being. Therefore, man needs the help of higher grace to persevere in the good.

[6] Furthermore, if many things are ordered to one end, their entire order until they reach the end comes from the first agent directing them to the end. Now, in the case of a man who perseveres in the good there are many movements and many actions reaching to the end. So, the entire order of these movements and actions must be caused by the first agent directing them to the end. But we showed that they are directed by the help of divine grace to the ultimate end. Therefore, the entire order and continuity of good works, in him who perseveres in the good, is due to the help of divine grace.

[7] Hence, it is said to the Philippians (1:6): “He who hath begun a good work in you will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus”; and in 1 Peter (5:10): “the God of all grace, Who has called us to His eternal glory… after you have suffered a little, will Himself perfect you and confirm you and establish you.”

[8] There are also found in Sacred Scripture many prayers in which perseverance is sought from God: thus, in the Psalm (16:5): “Perfect You my goings in Your paths, that my footsteps be not moved”; and in 2 Thessalonians (2:15-16): “May God, our Father, exhort your hearts and confirm you in every work and word.” This is also what is asked in the Lord’s Prayer, especially when one says, “Your kingdom come”; indeed, the kingdom of God will not come for us unless we have persevered in the good. Now it would be ridiculous to ask something from God if He were not the giver of it. So, man’s perseverance is from God.

[9] By this we set aside the error of the Pelagians, who said that free choice is sufficient for man to persevere in the good, and that he does not need the help of grace for this purpose.

[10] However, we should note that even he who possesses grace asks God that he may persevere in the good. just as free choice is not sufficient without the external help of God, for this effect of persevering in the good, so neither is a habit infused in us enough for this purpose. For habits that are divinely infused in us during the present state of life do not take away entirely from free choice the possibility of being moved toward evil, even though free choice is somewhat fixed in the good by means of them. And so, when we say that man needs the help of grace to persevere unto the end, we do not understand that, in addition to habitual grace previously infused to assure good operation, another must further be infused for persevering; what we do understand is that, once possessed of all the gratuitous habits, a man still needs the help of divine providence externally governing him.

Chapter 156

THAT HE WHO FALLS FROM GRACE THROUGH SIN MAY AGAIN BE RESTORED THROUGH GRACE

[1] From these considerations it is apparent that man, even if he does not persevere but falls into sin, may be restored to the good by the help of grace.

[2] Indeed, it pertains to the same power to maintain the continued salvation of a person and to restore it when it has been interrupted, just as health is continually maintained by natural power in the body, and an interruption of health is repaired by that same natural power. Now, man perseveres in the good by means of divine grace, as we showed. Therefore, if one has fallen as a result of sin, he may be restored by means of the same grace.

[3] Again, an agent that does not require a disposition in its subject can impress its effect on the subject, no matter how the subject be disposed. For this reason, God, Who does not require a subject that is disposed for His action, can produce a natural form without a disposition of the subject; for example, when He enlightens the blind, revives the dead, and so on for similar cases. But, just as He requires no natural disposition in a corporeal subject, He does not need merit in the will in order to grant grace, for it is given without there being any merits, as we showed. Therefore, God can grant a person sanctifying grace, through which sins are removed, even after he has fallen from grace by sin.

[4] Besides, the only things that man cannot recover when they are lost are those which come to him through generation, such as his natural potencies and organs, and the reason for this is that man cannot be generated a second time. Now, the help of grace is not given man through generation, but after he already exists. Therefore, he can again be restored in order to destroy sin after the loss of grace.

[5] Moreover, grace is a habitual disposition in the soul, as we showed. But habits that are acquired by activity, if lost, can again be acquired through the acts suitable for their acquisition. So, it is much more likely that, if it be lost, grace uniting one to God and freeing one from sin can be restored by divine working.

[6] Furthermore, among the works of God, none is futile, as none is futile among the works of nature, for nature gets this characteristic from God. Now, it would be futile for something to be moved if it could not reach the end of its motion. It must be, then, that what is naturally moved toward an end is able to come to that end. But, after man has fallen into sin, for as long as he continues in the present state of life, there remains in him an aptitude to be moved toward the good. The signs of this are the desire for the good and sorrow for evil which still continue in man after sin. So, it is possible for man to again return after sin to the good which grace works in man.

[7] Again, no passive Potency is found in the nature of things which cannot be reduced to act by some natural active potency. Much less, then, is it possible for there to be a potency in the human soul which is not reducible to act by divine active potency. But there remains in the human soul, even after sin, a potency toward the good; for the natural potencies are not removed by sin, and by means of them the soul is directed toward its good. So, it can be restored to the good by divine potency. Thus, man can obtain the remission of sins by means of grace.

[8] Hence, it is said in Isaiah (1:18): “If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow”; and in Proverbs (10:12): “charity covers all sins.” This, too, we ask daily of the Lord, and not in vain, for we say: “Forgive us our trespasses.”

[9] By this we set aside the error of the Novatians, who said that man could not obtain pardon for sins which he commits after baptism.

Chapter 157

THAT MAN CANNOT BE FREED FROM SIN EXCEPT THROUGH GRACE

[1] On the same basis, it can be shown that man cannot revive from mortal sin except through grace.

[2] For by mortal sin man is turned away from his ultimate end. But man is not ordered to his ultimate end except by grace. Therefore, by grace alone can man revive from sin.

[3] Again, an offense can be removed only by love. But through mortal sin man offends God, for it is said that “God hates sinners” (see Wis. 14:9; Sirach 12:3, 7), inasmuch as He wills to deprive them of the ultimate end which He makes ready for those whom He loves. So, man cannot revive from mortal sin except through grace, whereby a certain friendship is developed between God and man.

[4] For this purpose, also, all the arguments given abovefor the necessity of grace could be brought forward.

[5] Hence, it is said in Isaiah (43:25): “I am He who blots out your iniquities for My own sake”; and in the Psalm (84:3): “You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sins.”

[6] By this we set aside the error of the Pelagians, who said that man can rise from sin by his free will.

Chapter 158

HOW MAN IS FREED FROM SIN

[1] Since man cannot return to one member of a pair of contraries without moving away from the other extreme, he must, in order to return to the state of rectitude by means of grace, move away from the sin whereby he had swerved from rectitude. And because man is chiefly directed toward the ultimate end, and also turned away from it, through his will, it is not only necessary for man to abandon sin in the external act, but also to renounce it in his will, for the purpose of rising again from sin. Now, man renounces sin in his will provided he repents his past sin and forms the intention of avoiding it in the future. So, it is necessary that a man who is rising again from sin both repent for past sin and intend to avoid future sin. Indeed, if he would not make up his mind to refrain from sin, then sin in itself would not be against his will. But, if he did will to refrain from sin, but was not sorry for past sin, then this sin that he had committed would not be against his will. Now, the movement whereby one moves away from something is contrary to the movement whereby one approaches it; thus, whitening is contrary to blackening. Consequently, the will must abandon sin by moving in a contrary direction from those movements whereby it was inclined toward sin. Now, it was inclined toward sin by appetition and enjoyment in regard to lower things. Therefore, it must move away from sin by means of certain penances whereby it suffers some injury because of the sin that it has committed. For, just as the will was drawn toward consent to the sin by means of pleasure, so is it strengthened in the detestation of sin by means of penances.

[2] Again, we observe that even brute animals may be drawn back from the greatest pleasures by means of painful blows. But he who rises again from sin must not only detest past sin, but also avoid future sin. So, it is fitting that he suffer some affliction for his sin so that in this way he may be strengthened in his resolution to avoid sins.

[3] Besides, the things that we gain as a result of labor and suffering we love more and preserve more carefully. Thus, those who amass wealth by their own labor spend less money than those who get it without work—say, from their parents or in any other way. But for the man who is rising again from sin, it is most necessary that he maintain the state of grace and the love of God carefully, for he lost them by sinning through negligence. Therefore, it is proper for him to endure labor and suffering for the sins that he has committed.

[4] Moreover, the order of justice demands that a punishment be assigned for a sin. Now, the wisdom of the governance of God becomes evident from the fact that order is preserved in things. So, it belongs to the manifestation of the divine goodness, and of the glory of God, for punishment to be the payment for sin. But the sinner, by sinning, acts against the order that is divinely established, thus trespassing against the laws of God. So, it is fitting that he should pay for this action by punishing himself because he had formerly sinned; indeed, in this way, he dissociates himself entirely from disorder.

[5] By this, then, it becomes evident that, after a man has secured remission of his sin by grace and has been brought back to the state of grace, he remains under an obligation, as a result of God’s justice, to some penalty for the sin that he has committed. Now, if he imposes this penalty on himself by his own will, he is said to make satisfaction to God by this: inasmuch as he attains with labor and punishment the divinely established order by punishing himself for the sin, which order he had transgressed by sinning through following his own will. But, if he does not exact this penalty of himself, then, since things subject to divine providence cannot remain disordered, this penalty will be inflicted on him by God. Such a punishment is not called one of satisfaction, since it is not due to the choice of the one who suffers it; but it will be called purificatory, because through being punished by another he will be cleansed, as it were, until whatever disorder there was in him is brought back to proper order. Hence, there is this statement of the Apostle in 1 Corinthians (11:31-32): “if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged, but whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world.”

[6] It should be kept in mind, however, that when the mind is turned away from sin the displeasure with sin can be so forceful, and the attachment of the mind to God so strong, that no obligation to punishment will remain. For, as may be gathered from things said earlier, the punishment that a person suffers after the remission of sin is necessary so that the mind may adhere more firmly to the good; since man is chastised by punishments, these punishments are, then, like remedies. It is also necessary so that the order of justice may be observed, in the sense that he who has sinned must stand the penalty. But love for God is enough to set the mind of man firmly in the direction of the good, especially if this love be strong; and displeasure for a past fault, when intense, brings great sorrow. Consequently, through the strength of one’s love for God, and of one’s hatred of past sin, there is removed the need for punishments of satisfaction or of purification. Moreover, if this strength be not great enough to set aside punishments entirely, nevertheless, the stronger it is, the smaller will be the punishment that suffices.

[7] “But the things that we can accomplish through the efforts of our friends we seem to do ourselves,”for friendship makes two persons one in love, and especially in the love of charity. And so, just as a person can make satisfaction to God by himself, so also can he do it through another person, especially in case of necessity. Indeed, the punishment that a friend suffers for oneself one regards as if it were suffered by oneself. Thus, one does not escape punishment provided one suffer along with a suffering friend—and all the more so, the more one is the cause of his suffering. Besides, the love of charity in the person who suffers for a friend makes his satisfaction more acceptable to God than if he suffered for himself, for in the one case it is prompted by charity; in the other, by necessity. It may be taken from this that one person can make satisfaction for another provided both abide in charity. Hence, the Apostle says in Galatians (6:2): “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so you shall fulfill the law of Christ.”

Chapter 159

THAT IT IS REASONABLE TO HOLD A MAN RESPONSIBLE IF HE DOES NOT TURN TOWARD GOD, EVEN THOUGH HE CANNOT DO THIS WITHOUT GRACE

[1]I As we gather from the foregoing,since one cannot be directed to the ultimate end except by means of divine grace, without which no one can possess the things needed to work toward the ultimate end, such as faith, hope, love, and perseverance, it might seem to some person that man should not be held responsible for the lack of such aids. Especially so, since he cannot merit the help of divine grace, nor turn toward God unless God convert him, for no one is held responsible for what depends on another. Now, if this is granted, many inappropriate conclusions appear. In fact, it follows that he who has neither faith, hope, nor love of God, nor perseverance in the good, is not deserving of punishment; whereas, it is clearly stated in John (3:36): “He who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” And since no one reaches final happiness without the aids that we have mentioned, it follows that there are certain men who neither attain happiness nor suffer punishment from God. The contrary of this is shown from the statement in Matthew (25:34, 41) that to all who are present at the divine judgment, it will be said: “Come… possess you the kingdom prepared for you” or “Depart… into everlasting fire.”

[2] To settle this difficulty, we ought to consider that, although one may neither merit in advance nor call forth divine grace by a movement of his free choice, he is able to prevent himself from receiving this grace: Indeed, it is said in Job(21:34): “Who have said to God: Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of Your ways”; and in Job (24:13): “They have been rebellious to the light.” And since this ability to impede or not to impede the reception of divine grace is within the scope of free choice, not undeservedly is responsibility for the fault imputed to him who offers an impediment to the reception of grace. In fact, as far as He is concerned, God is ready to give grace to all; “indeed He wills all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” as is said in 1 Timothy (2:4).But those alone are deprived of grace who offer an obstacle within themselves to grace; just as, while the sun is shining on the world, the man who keeps his eyes closed is held responsible for his fault, if as a result some evil follows, even though he could not see unless he were provided in advance with light from the sun.

Chapter 160

THAT MAN IN THE STATE OF SIN, WITHOUT GRACE, CANNOT AVOID SIN

[1] Now, this statement of ours, that it is within the power of free choice not to offer an impediment to grace,is applicable to those persons in whom natural potency is integrally present. But if, through a preceding disorder, one swerves toward evil, it will not at all be within his power to offer no impediment to grace. For, though at any definite instant he may be able to refrain from a particular act of sin by his own power, however, if long left to himself, he will fall into sin, whereby an impediment is offered to grace.

Indeed, whenever man’s mind swerves away from the state of rectitude it is evident that he has departed from the order of his proper end. So, what should be the most important thing in his affection, the ultimate end, becomes a less important object of love than that object to which his mind is inordinately turned, as if to an ultimate end. So, whenever anything comes up that is in agreement with the inordinate end but incompatible with his proper end, it will be chosen, unless he is brought back to his proper end, so that be favors the proper end above all things, and this is the effect of grace. However, in so far as he chooses something that is incompatible with his ultimate end, he offers an impediment to grace, for grace gives the direction to the end. It is consequently obvious that after sin a man cannot refrain from all sin during the period preceding his being brought back to the proper order by grace.

[2] Besides, when the mind is inclined toward some object it does not stand in a relation of impartiality toward contrary alternatives, but, instead, is more favorable to the object to which it is inclined. But unless it be drawn away from it by a certain concern arising from rational examination, the mind chooses the object to which it is more favorable; hence, in sudden actions, an indication of one’s inner state of character may be especially found. But it is not possible for a man’s mind continually to maintain such vigilance that it can make a rational investigation of whatever he ought to will or do. Thus, it follows that the mind at times chooses what it is inclined to, provided the inclination be undisturbed, And so, if it be inclined toward sin, it will not long stay without sinning, thus offering an impediment to grace, unless it is brought back to the state of rectitude.

[3] The impulsion of the bodily passions also works toward this result, as also do the things that are attractive on the sense level, and most occasions for bad action whereby man is easily stimulated to sin, unless one be drawn back by means of a firm attachment to the ultimate end, which grace produces.

[4] Consequently, the opinion of the Pelagians is evidently stupid, for they said that man in the state of sin is able to avoid sin, without grace. The contrary to this is apparent from the petition in the Psalm (70:9): “When my strength shall fail, do not forsake me.” And the Lord teaches us to pray: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

[5] However, although those who are in sin cannot avoid by their own power putting an impediment in the way of grace, as we showed, unless they be helped in advance by grace, nevertheless, this is regarded as their fault, because this defect is left in them as a result of a previous fault. Thus, for example, an intoxicated man is not excused from homicide committed in the state of intoxication which he got into through his own fault.

[6] Besides, although he who is in sin does not have, of his own power, the ability entirely to avoid sin, he has it in his power at present to avoid this or that sin, as we said. Hence, whatever one he does commit, he does so voluntarily. And so, not undeservedly, he is held responsible for his fault.

Chapter 161

THAT GOD FREES SOME MEN FROM SIN AND LEAVES OTHERS IN SIN

[1] Now, although the man who sins puts an impediment in the way of grace, and as far as the order of things requires he ought not to receive grace, yet, since God can act apart from the order implanted in things,as He does when He gives sight to the blind or life to the dead-at times, out of the abundance of His goodness, He offers His help in advance, even to those who put an impediment in the way of grace, turning them away from evil and toward the good. And just as He does not enlighten all the blind, or heal all who are infirm, in order that the working of His power may be evident in the case of those whom He heals, and in the case of the others the order of nature may be observed, so also, He does not assist with His help all who impede grace, so that they may be turned away from evil and toward the good, but only some, in whom He desires His mercy to appear, so that the order of justice may be manifested in the other cases. Hence, the Apostle says, in Romans (9:22-23): “What if God, willing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction, that He might show the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy which He has prepared unto glory?”

[2] However, while God does indeed, in regard to men who are held back by the same sins, come to the assistance of and convert some, while He suffers others or permits them to go ahead in accord with the order of things—there is no reason to ask why He converts the former and not the latter. For this depends on His will alone; just as it resulted from His simple will that, while all things were made from nothing, some were made of higher degree than others; and also, just as it depends on the simple will of the artisan that, from the same material uniformly disposed, he forms some vessels for noble uses and others for ignoble purposes. Hence, the Apostle says, in Romans (9:21): “Or does not the potter have power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?”

[3] By this we set aside the error of Origen, who said that certain men are converted to God, and not others, because of some works that their souls had done before being united to their bodies. In fact, this view has been carefully disproved in our Book Two.

Chapter 162

THAT GOD IS NOT THE CAUSE OF SIN FOR ANY PERSON

[1] Although God does not convert certain sinners to Himself, but leaves them in their sins according to their merits, He does not lead them into sinful action.

[2] In fact, men sin because they turn away from Him Who is their ultimate end, as is evident from our earlier statements.But, when every agent acts for an end that is proper and suitable to it, it is impossible by the action of God for any of them to be turned away from the ultimate end, Who is God. So, it is impossible for God to cause any persons to sin.

[3] Again, good cannot be the cause of evil. But sin is an evil for man, since it is opposed to man’s proper good which is to live in accord with reason. Therefore, it is impossible for God to be the cause of sinful action for anyone.

[4] Besides, all wisdom and goodness in man are derived from the wisdom and goodness of God, as a certain likeness of Him. But it is incompatible with human wisdom and goodness to cause anyone to sin; much more, then, is it incompatible with these divine qualities.

[5] Moreover, every sin stems from a defect in the proximate agent, and not from the influence of the primary agent: as the defect of limping results from the condition of the leg bone and not from the motor power, for, in fact, whatever perfection of motion is apparent in the act of limping, it is due to this power. But the proximate agent of human sin is the will. Therefore, the defect of sin comes from the will of man and not from God Who is the primary agent; from Him, however, comes whatever pertains to perfection of action in the sinful act.

[6] Hence, it is said in Sirach (15:12): “Say not: He caused me to err. For He has no need of wicked men.” And later: “He commanded no man to act wickedly, and He has given no man license to sin” (Sirach 15:,21). And in James (1:13) it is said: “Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted by God: for God is not a tempter of evils.”

[7] However, some passages are found in Scripture, from which it seems that God is the cause of sinning for certain men. Indeed, it is said in Exodus (10:1): “I have hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and the heart of his servants”; and in Isaiah (6:10): “Blind the heart of this people, and make their ears heavy… lest they see with their eyes… and be converted, and I heal them”; and in Isaiah (63:17): “You made us err from Your ways; You have hardened our heart, lest we fear You.” Again, in Romans (1:28) it is said: “God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient.” All these texts are to be understood in this way: God does not grant to some people His help in avoiding sin, while to others He does grant it.

[8] Moreover, this help is not only the infusing of grace, but also external guardianship, whereby the occasions of sinning are taken away from man by divine providence and whereby provocations to sin are suppressed. God also helps man in opposing sin by the natural light of reason and by the other natural goods which He accords man. So, when He takes away these aids from some, according to the merit of their action, as His justice demands, He is said to harden or to blind them, or to do any of the other things mentioned.

Chapter 163

ON PREDESTINATION, REPROBATION, AND DIVINE ELECTION

[1] So, since we have shownthat some men are directed by divine working to their ultimate end as aided by grace, while others who are deprived of the same help of grace fall short of their ultimate end, and since all things that are done by God are foreseen and ordered from eternity by His wisdom, as we showed above, the aforementioned differentiation of men must be ordered by God from eternity. According, then, as He has preordained some men from eternity, so that they are directed to their ultimate end, He is said to have predestined them. Hence, the Apostle says, in Ephesians (1:5): “Who predestinated us unto the adoption of children… according to the purpose of His will.” On the other hand, those to whom He has decided from eternity not to give His grace He is said to have reprobated or to have hated, in accord with what we find in Malachi (1:2-3): “I have loved Jacob, but have hated Esau.” By reason of this distinction, according to which He has reprobated some and predestined others, we take note of divine election, which is mentioned in Ephesians (1:4): “He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world.”

[2] Thus, it appears that predestination, election, and reprobation constitute a certain section of divine providence, according as men are ordered to their ultimate end by divine providence. Hence, it is possible to show that predestination and election impose no necessity, by the same reasoning whereby we showed above that divine providence does not take away contingency from things.

[3] Moreover, that predestination and election do not find their cause in any human merits can be made clear, not only from the fact that God’s grace which is the effect of predestination is not preceded by merits but rather precedes all human merits, as we showed, but it can also be shown from this, that the divine will and providence is the first cause of things that are done, but that there can be no cause of the divine will and providence, although, among the effects of providence, and likewise of predestination, one may be the cause of another.

“For who,” as the Apostle says (Rom. 11:35-36), “has first given to Him, and who shall make recompense to Him? For of Him, and in Him, and by Him, are all things. To Him be honor and glory for ever. Amen.”

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