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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • FIRST PART (FP: QQ 1-119)
      • Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] Out. Para. 1/2 - TREATISE ON THE CREATION (QQ 44-49)
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Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] Out. Para. 1/2 - TREATISE ON THE CREATION (QQ 44-49)


THE PROCESSION OF CREATURES FROM GOD, AND OF THE FIRST CAUSE OF ALL
THINGS (FOUR ARTICLES)

After treating of the procession of the divine persons, we must consider
the procession of creatures from God. This consideration will be
threefold: (1) of the production of creatures; (2) of the distinction
between them; (3) of their preservation and government. Concerning the
first point there are three things to be considered: (1) the first cause
of beings; (2) the mode of procession of creatures from the first cause;
(3) the principle of the duration of things.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] Out. Para. 2/2

Under the first head there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether God is the efficient cause of all beings?

(2) Whether primary matter is created by God, or is an independent
coordinate principle with Him?

(3) Whether God is the exemplar cause of beings or whether there are
other exemplar causes?

(4) Whether He is the final cause of things?


Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

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

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that it is not necessary that every being be
created by God. For there is nothing to prevent a thing from being
without that which does not belong to its essence, as a man can be found without whiteness. But the relation of the thing caused to its cause does
not appear to be essential to beings, for some beings can be understood
without it; therefore they can exist without it; and therefore it is
possible that some beings should not be created by God.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, a thing requires an efficient cause in order to exist.
Therefore whatever cannot but exist does not require an efficient cause.
But no necessary thing can not exist, because whatever necessarily
exists cannot but exist. Therefore as there are many necessary things in
existence, it appears that not all beings are from God.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, whatever things have a cause, can be demonstrated by
that cause. But in mathematics demonstration is not made by the efficient
cause, as appears from the Philosopher (Metaph. iii, text 3); therefore
not all beings are from God as from their efficient cause.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is said (Rm. 11:36): "Of Him, and by Him, and in Him
are all things."

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[1] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, It must be said that every being in any way existing is
from God. For whatever is found in anything by participation, must be
caused in it by that to which it belongs essentially, as iron becomes
ignited by fire. Now it has been shown above (Q[3], A[4]) when treating
of the divine simplicity that God is the essentially self-subsisting
Being; and also it was shown (Q[11], AA[3],4) that subsisting being must
be one; as, if whiteness were self-subsisting, it would be one, since
whiteness is multiplied by its recipients. Therefore all beings apart
from God are not their own being, but are beings by participation.
Therefore it must be that all things which are diversified by the diverse
participation of being, so as to be more or less perfect, are caused by
one First Being, Who possesses being most perfectly.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[1] Body Para. 2/2

Hence Plato said (Parmen. xxvi) that unity must come before multitude;
and Aristotle said (Metaph. ii, text 4) that whatever is greatest in
being and greatest in truth, is the cause of every being and of every
truth; just as whatever is the greatest in heat is the cause of all heat.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Though the relation to its cause is not part of the
definition of a thing caused, still it follows, as a consequence, on what
belongs to its essence; because from the fact that a thing has being by
participation, it follows that it is caused. Hence such a being cannot be
without being caused, just as man cannot be without having the faculty of
laughing. But, since to be caused does not enter into the essence of
being as such, therefore is it possible for us to find a being uncaused.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: This objection has led some to say that what is necessary
has no cause (Phys. viii, text 46). But this is manifestly false in the
demonstrative sciences, where necessary principles are the causes of
necessary conclusions. And therefore Aristotle says (Metaph. v, text 6),
that there are some necessary things which have a cause of their
necessity. But the reason why an efficient cause is required is not
merely because the effect is not necessary, but because the effect might
not be if the cause were not. For this conditional proposition is true,
whether the antecedent and consequent be possible or impossible.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The science of mathematics treats its object as though it
were something abstracted mentally, whereas it is not abstract in
reality. Now, it is becoming that everything should have an efficient
cause in proportion to its being. And so, although the object of
mathematics has an efficient cause, still, its relation to that cause is
not the reason why it is brought under the consideration of the
mathematician, who therefore does not demonstrate that object from its
efficient cause.


Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether primary matter is created by God?

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that primary matter is not created by God. For
whatever is made is composed of a subject and of something else (Phys. i,
text 62). But primary matter has no subject. Therefore primary matter
cannot have been made by God.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, action and passion are opposite members of a division.
But as the first active principle is God, so the first passive principle
is matter. Therefore God and primary matter are two principles divided against each other, neither of which is from the other.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, every agent produces its like, and thus, since every
agent acts in proportion to its actuality, it follows that everything
made is in some degree actual. But primary matter is only in
potentiality, formally considered in itself. Therefore it is against the
nature of primary matter to be a thing made.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (Confess. xii, 7), Two "things hast Thou
made, O Lord; one nigh unto Thyself" - viz. angels - "the other nigh unto
nothing" - viz. primary matter.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[2] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, The ancient philosophers gradually, and as it were step
by step, advanced to the knowledge of truth. At first being of grosser
mind, they failed to realize that any beings existed except sensible
bodies. And those among them who admitted movement, did not consider it
except as regards certain accidents, for instance, in relation to
rarefaction and condensation, by union and separation. And supposing as
they did that corporeal substance itself was uncreated, they assigned
certain causes for these accidental changes, as for instance, affinity,
discord, intellect, or something of that kind. An advance was made when
they understood that there was a distinction between the substantial form
and matter, which latter they imagined to be uncreated, and when they
perceived transmutation to take place in bodies in regard to essential
forms. Such transmutations they attributed to certain universal causes,
such as the oblique circle [*The zodiac], according to Aristotle (De
Gener. ii), or ideas, according to Plato. But we must take into
consideration that matter is contracted by its form to a determinate
species, as a substance, belonging to a certain species, is contracted by
a supervening accident to a determinate mode of being; for instance, man
by whiteness. Each of these opinions, therefore, considered "being" under
some particular aspect, either as "this" or as "such"; and so they
assigned particular efficient causes to things. Then others there were
who arose to the consideration of "being," as being, and who assigned a
cause to things, not as "these," or as "such," but as "beings."

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[2] Body Para. 2/2

Therefore whatever is the cause of things considered as beings, must be
the cause of things, not only according as they are "such" by accidental
forms, nor according as they are "these" by substantial forms, but also
according to all that belongs to their being at all in any way. And thus
it is necessary to say that also primary matter is created by the
universal cause of things.
Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The Philosopher (Phys. i, text 62), is speaking of
"becoming" in particular - that is, from form to form, either accidental
or substantial. But here we are speaking of things according to their
emanation from the universal principle of being; from which emanation matter itself is not excluded, although it is excluded from the former
mode of being made.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Passion is an effect of action. Hence it is reasonable that
the first passive principle should be the effect of the first active
principle, since every imperfect thing is caused by one perfect. For the
first principle must be most perfect, as Aristotle says (Metaph. xii,
text 40).

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The reason adduced does not show that matter is not
created, but that it is not created without form; for though everything
created is actual, still it is not pure act. Hence it is necessary that
even what is potential in it should be created, if all that belongs to
its being is created.


Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the exemplar cause is anything besides God?

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the exemplar cause is something besides God.
For the effect is like its exemplar cause. But creatures are far from
being like God. Therefore God is not their exemplar cause.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, whatever is by participation is reduced to something
self-existing, as a thing ignited is reduced to fire, as stated above
(A[1]). But whatever exists in sensible things exists only by
participation of some species. This appears from the fact that in all
sensible species is found not only what belongs to the species, but also
individuating principles added to the principles of the species.
Therefore it is necessary to admit self-existing species, as for
instance, a "per se" man, and a "per se" horse, and the like, which are
called the exemplars. Therefore exemplar causes exist besides God.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, sciences and definitions are concerned with species
themselves, but not as these are in particular things, because there is
no science or definition of particular things. Therefore there are some
beings, which are beings or species not existing in singular things, and
these are called exemplars. Therefore the same conclusion follows as
above.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[3] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, this likewise appears from Dionysius, who says (Div.
Nom. v) that self-subsisting being is before self-subsisting life, and
before self-subsisting wisdom.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

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

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, God is the first exemplar cause of all things. In proof
whereof we must consider that if for the production of anything an
exemplar is necessary, it is in order that the effect may receive a
determinate form. For an artificer produces a determinate form in matter
by reason of the exemplar before him, whether it is the exemplar beheld
externally, or the exemplar interiorily conceived in the mind. Now it is
manifest that things made by nature receive determinate forms. This
determination of forms must be reduced to the divine wisdom as its first
principle, for divine wisdom devised the order of the universe, which
order consists in the variety of things. And therefore we must say that
in the divine wisdom are the types of all things, which types we have
called ideas - i.e. exemplar forms existing in the divine mind (Q[15],
A[1]). And these ideas, though multiplied by their relations to things,
in reality are not apart from the divine essence, according as the
likeness to that essence can be shared diversely by different things. In
this manner therefore God Himself is the first exemplar of all things.
Moreover, in things created one may be called the exemplar of another by
the reason of its likeness thereto, either in species, or by the analogy
of some kind of imitation.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Although creatures do not attain to a natural likeness to
God according to similitude of species, as a man begotten is like to the
man begetting, still they do attain to likeness to Him, forasmuch as they
represent the divine idea, as a material house is like to the house in
the architect's mind.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: It is of a man's nature to be in matter, and so a man
without matter is impossible. Therefore although this particular man is a
man by participation of the species, he cannot be reduced to anything
self-existing in the same species, but to a superior species, such as
separate substances. The same applies to other sensible things.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Although every science and definition is concerned only
with beings, still it is not necessary that a thing should have the same
mode in reality as the thought of it has in our understanding. For we
abstract universal ideas by force of the active intellect from the
particular conditions; but it is not necessary that the universals should
exist outside the particulars in order to be their exemplars.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[3] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: As Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv), by "self-existing life
and self-existing wisdom" he sometimes denotes God Himself, sometimes the
powers given to things themselves; but not any self-subsisting things, as
the ancients asserted.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether God is the final cause of all things?

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that God is not the final cause of all things. For
to act for an end seems to imply need of the end. But God needs nothing.
Therefore it does not become Him to act for an end.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the end of generation, and the form of the thing
generated, and the agent cannot be identical (Phys. ii, text 70), because
the end of generation is the form of the thing generated. But God is the
first agent producing all things. Therefore He is not the final cause of
all things.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, all things desire their end. But all things do not
desire God, for all do not even know Him. Therefore God is not the end of
all things.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[4] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, the final cause is the first of causes. If, therefore,
God is the efficient cause and the final cause, it follows that before
and after exist in Him; which is impossible.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is said (Prov. 16:4): "The Lord has made all things
for Himself."

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Every agent acts for an end: otherwise one thing would
not follow more than another from the action of the agent, unless it were
by chance. Now the end of the agent and of the patient considered as such
is the same, but in a different way respectively. For the impression
which the agent intends to produce, and which the patient intends to
receive, are one and the same. Some things, however, are both agent and
patient at the same time: these are imperfect agents, and to these it
belongs to intend, even while acting, the acquisition of something. But
it does not belong to the First Agent, Who is agent only, to act for the
acquisition of some end; He intends only to communicate His perfection,
which is His goodness; while every creature intends to acquire its own
perfection, which is the likeness of the divine perfection and goodness.
Therefore the divine goodness is the end of all things.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: To act from need belongs only to an imperfect agent, which
by its nature is both agent and patient. But this does not belong to God,
and therefore He alone is the most perfectly liberal giver, because He
does not act for His own profit, but only for His own goodness.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The form of the thing generated is not the end of
generation, except inasmuch as it is the likeness of the form of the
generator, which intends to communicate its own likeness; otherwise the
form of the thing generated would be more noble than the generator, since
the end is more noble than the means to the end.
Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: All things desire God as their end, when they desire some
good thing, whether this desire be intellectual or sensible, or natural,
i.e. without knowledge; because nothing is good and desirable except
forasmuch as it participates in the likeness to God.

Aquin.: SMT FP Q[44] A[4] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: Since God is the efficient, the exemplar and the final
cause of all things, and since primary matter is from Him, it follows
that the first principle of all things is one in reality. But this does
not prevent us from mentally considering many things in Him, some of
which come into our mind before others.





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