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aquinas summa contra gentiles book 3 summary

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. 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. [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. [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. For example, a subject is less potential in regard to cold to the extent that heat is increased in it. Chapter 56 Rather, each of them is good by participation in goodness, just as it is being by participation in existing being itself. But the divine substance does not corrupt; rather, it greatly perfects the intellect. [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. 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. 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. THAT EVIL IS BASED ON THE GOOD 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. 1:8). [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. And again: “She reaches from end to end mightily” (Wis. 8:1), that is, from the noblest creatures down to the lowest of them. 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. Rather would felicity seem to be a good situated in reason itself. 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. 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. [2] In fact, a created thing tends toward the divine likeness through its operation. Therefore, that which is in possession of the highest good cannot be evil. Therefore, they are not of themselves the good for man. 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. 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. 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.” 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, to take away their proper actions from things is to disparage the divine goodness. 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. [2] Again, the higher a body is in place, the more formal is it found to be. Such is the meaning of the word “evil” among all men. 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. 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]. Therefore, the generating agent cannot be merely a form, but is, rather, the composite of matter and form. 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. And so, felicity in its perfect character cannot be present in men, but they may participate somewhat in it, even in this life. Chapter 73 [5] Moreover, what does not exist cannot be the cause of anything. Chapter 34 But virtuous acts show that this conclusion is false. 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. 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. Thus, an artisan bides the foundations beneath earth, so that the whole house may have stability. 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 the intellect does not grasp the object to which it gives assent in the act of believing. Therefore, it is as a result of divine power that a thing gives being. 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. Therefore, every operating agent acts through God’s power. So, whatever things are needed for the perfection of natural being are also needed for the perfection of intelligible being, and even more. [7] However, in the moral order, this diminution can proceed to infinity. THAT DIVINE PROVIDENCE DOES NOT EXCLUDE FREEDOM OF CHOICE Therefore, evil is caused by the good. But every application of power to operation is originally and primarily made by God. For, primarily Ad directly, the intellect moves the will; indeed, the will, as such, is moved by its object which is the known good. Therefore, he must attain it after this life. 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. 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. [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. THAT MAN’S FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN GLORY For the intention of the principal agent and that of the instrument are directed toward the same thing. 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]. Therefore, it would not be at all possible for us to understand separate substances in the aforesaid way. In fact, all other events that occur in connection with singulars are related to their preservation or corruption. Chapter 52 Chapter 30 [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. It is, consequently, evident that it is also good, for nothing except a good thing desires the good. [3] Again, whoever makes a thing for the sake of an end may use the thing for that end. [1] From this it is clear that evil occurs in things apart from the intention of the agents. But evil is not a cause, except in the accidental sense, as we have shown.” So, evil cannot be a first principle. 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. 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. [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 highest object in the genus of intelligible objects is the divine substance. 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. 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, immediately at the start, man can know separate substances through the agent intellect. So, it is better to become worthy of honor than to be honored. Therefore, it is a real thing and a nature. 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. 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. 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. Hence the answer to the sixth objection is clear. [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. He is deeper than hell, and how will you know? [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. Indeed, all creatures generally attain the divine likeness in these two ways, as we showed above. 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. Now, everything tending to its own perfection tends toward the divine likeness. IV, 4].” 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. So, this vision would not be theirs without sorrow. 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. That God's providence applies to contingent singulars, Chapter 76. 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]. [3] In fact, it is possible to know a cause from its effect, in many ways. If it cannot attain perfect goodness, it will keep imperfect goodness in a few items. But there is only one highest good, and this is God, as has been demonstrated in Book One [42]. 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. [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. 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. Now, every being intends a good, when it is acting, as has been proved. For, in the same way, prime matter tends toward its perfection by actually acquiring a form to which it was previously in. By this, the first argument is answered. 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. [5] Another object of desire associated with civic life is popular renown; by an inordinate desire for this men are deemed lovers of vainglory. 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. [6] Furthermore, felicity is the proper good for man. Therefore, since no power surpasses the divine power, it is impossible for this vision to be taken away by violence. [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. But good and evil are said to be contraries. 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. Therefore, the preceding position is incompatible with divine wisdom. 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. So, it is much more necessary for man’s natural desire to come to rest when he has reached his ultimate end. 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 . 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. 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. Therefore, it is impossible for anyone who at one time took joy in the delight of this vision to grow weary of it. Indeed, if it were entirely defective, it would not cause anything. Certainly, I do not see it in you, nor you in me, but both in that immutable truth which is above our minds. [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. 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. THAT THE END OF EVERYTHING IS A GOOD 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. THAT THE CREATED INTELLECT DOES NOT COMPREHEND THE DIVINE SUBSTANCE Therefore, it does not pertain to divine goodness, entirely to exclude from things the power of falling from the good. 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. Not belong in the divine likeness as to an olive to an olive some imperfect forms be unknown the... Their proper operation of anything more especially the cause of all agents, one thing there necessarily results corruption. 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