Summa Th. I EN Qu.43 a.8

Article: 8 Whether a divine person is sent only by the person whence He proceeds eternally?

Objection: 1. It would seem that a divine person is sent only by the one whence He proceeds eternally. For as Augustine says (De Trin. iv), "The Father is sent by no one because He is from no one." Therefore if a divine person is sent by another, He must be from that other.

2. Further, the sender has authority over the one sent. But there can be no authority as regards a divine person except from origin. Therefore the divine person sent must proceed from the one sending.

3. Further, if a divine person can be sent by one whence He does not proceed, then the Holy Ghost may be given by a man, although He proceeds not from him; which is contrary to what Augustine says (De Trin. xv). Therefore the divine person is sent only by the one whence He proceeds.

On the contrary The Son is sent by the Holy Ghost, according to Is 48,16, "Now the Lord God hath sent Me and His Spirit." But the Son is not from the Holy Ghost. Therefore a divine person is sent by one from Whom He does not proceed.

I answer that There are different opinions on this point. Some say that the divine person is sent only by the one whence He proceeds eternally; and so, when it is said that the Son of God is sent by the Holy Ghost, this is to be explained as regards His human nature, by reason of which He was sent to preach by the Holy Ghost. Augustine, however, says (De Trin. ii, 5) that the Son is sent by Himself, and by the Holy Ghost; and the Holy Ghost is sent by Himself, and by the Son; so that to be sent in God does not apply to each person, but only to the person proceeding from

another, whereas to send belongs to each person.

There is some truth in both of these opinions; because when a person is described as being sent, the person Himself existing from another is designated, with the visible or invisible effect, applicable to the mission of the divine person. Thus if the sender be designated as the principle of the person sent, in this sense not each person sends, but that person only Who is the principle of that person who is sent; and thus the Son is sent only by the Father; and the Holy Ghost by the Father and the Son. If, however, the person sending is understood as the principle of the effect implied in the mission, in that sense the whole Trinity sends the person sent. This reason does not prove that a man can send the Holy Ghost, forasmuch as man cannot cause the effect of grace.

The answers to the objections appear from the above.

Question: 44 \BTREATISE ON THE CREATION (Questions 44-49)


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.

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?

Article: 1 Whether it is necessary that every being be created by God?

Objection: 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.

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.

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.

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

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 (Question [3], Article [4]) when treating of the divine simplicity that God is the essentially self-subsisting Being; and also it was shown (Question [11], Articles [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.

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.

Reply to Objection: 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.

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.

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.

Article: 2 Whether primary matter is created by God?

Objection: 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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

Reply to Objection: 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.

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).

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.

Article: 3 Whether the exemplar cause is anything besides God?

Objection: 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.

2. Further, whatever is by participation is reduced to something self-existing, as a thing ignited is reduced to fire, as stated above (Article [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.

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.

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.

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

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 (Question [15], Article [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.

Reply to Objection: 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.

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.

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.

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.

Article: 4 Whether God is the final cause of all things?

Objection: 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Reply to Objection: 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.

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.

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.

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.


The next question concerns the mode of the emanation of things from the First Principle, and this is called creation, and includes eight points of inquiry:

(1) What is creation?

(2) Whether God can create anything?

(3) Whether creation is anything in the very nature of things?

(4) To what things it belongs to be created?

(5) Whether it belongs to God alone to create?

(6) Whether creation is common to the whole Trinity, or proper to any one Person?

(7) Whether any trace of the Trinity is to be found in created things?

(8) Whether the work of creation is mingled with the works of nature and of the will?

Article: 1 Whether to create is to make something from nothing?

Objection: 1. It would seem that to create is not to make anything from nothing. For Augustine says (Contra Adv. Leg. et Proph. i): "To make concerns what did not exist at all; but to create is to make something by bringing forth something from what was already."

2. Further, the nobility of action and of motion is considered from their terms. Action is therefore nobler from good to good, and from being to being, than from nothing to something. But creation appears to be the most noble action, and first among all actions. Therefore it is not from nothing to something, but rather from being to being.

3. Further, the preposition "from" [ex] imports relation of some cause, and especially of the material cause; as when we say that a statue is made from brass. But "nothing" cannot be the matter of being, nor in any way its cause. Therefore to create is not to make something from nothing.

On the contrary On the text of Gn 1, "In the beginning God created," etc., the gloss has, "To create is to make something from nothing."

I answer that As said above (Question [44], Article [2]), we must consider not only the emanation of a particular being from a particular agent, but also the emanation of all being from the universal cause, which is God; and this emanation we designate by the name of creation. Now what proceeds by particular emanation, is not presupposed to that emanation; as when a man is generated, he was not before, but man is made from "not-man," and white from "not-white." Hence if the emanation of the whole universal being from the first principle be considered, it is impossible that any being should be presupposed before this emanation. For nothing is the same as no being. Therefore as the generation of a man is from the "not-being" which is "not-man," so creation, which is the emanation of all being, is from the "not-being" which is "nothing."

Reply to Objection: 1. Augustine uses the word creation in an equivocal sense, according as to be created signifies improvement in things; as when we say that a bishop is created. We do not, however, speak of creation in that way here, but as it is described above.

2. Changes receive species and dignity, not from the term "wherefrom," but from the term "whereto." Therefore a change is more perfect and excellent when the term "whereto" of the change is more noble and excellent, although the term "wherefrom," corresponding to the term "whereto," may be more imperfect: thus generation is simply nobler and more excellent than alteration, because the substantial form is nobler than the accidental form; and yet the privation of the substantial form, which is the term "wherefrom" in generation, is more imperfect than the contrary, which is the term "wherefrom" in alteration. Similarly creation is more perfect and excellent than generation and alteration, because the term "whereto" is the whole substance of the thing; whereas what is understood as the term "wherefrom" is simply not-being.

3. When anything is said to be made from nothing, this preposition "from" [ex] does not signify the material cause, but only order; as when we say, "from morning comes midday"--i.e. after morning is midday. But we must understand that this preposition "from" [ex] can comprise the negation implied when I say the word "nothing," or can be included in it. If taken in the first sense, then we affirm the order by stating the relation between what is now and its previous non-existence. But if the negation includes the preposition, then the order is denied, and the sense is, "It is made from nothing---i.e. it is not made from anything"---as if we were to say, "He speaks of nothing," because he does not speak of anything. And this is verified in both ways, when it is said, that anything is made from nothing. But in the first way this preposition "from" [ex] implies order, as has been said in this reply. In the second sense, it imports the material cause, which is denied.

Article: 2 Whether God can create anything?

Objection: 1. It would seem that God cannot create anything, because, according to the Philosopher (Phys. i, text 34), the ancient philosophers considered it as a commonly received axiom that "nothing is made from nothing." But the power of God does not extend to the contraries of first principles; as, for instance, that God could make the whole to be less than its part, or that affirmation and negation are both true at the same time. Therefore God cannot make anything from nothing, or create.

2. Further, if to create is to make something from nothing, to be created is to be made. But to be made is to be changed. Therefore creation is change. But every change occurs in some subject, as appears by the definition of movement: for movement is the act of what is in potentiality. Therefore it is impossible for anything to be made out of nothing by God.

3. Further, what has been made must have at some time been becoming. But it cannot be said that what is created, at the same time, is becoming and has been made, because in permanent things what is becoming, is not, and what has been made, already is: and so it would follow that something would be, and not be, at the same time. Therefore when anything is made, its becoming precedes its having been made. But this is impossible, unless there is a subject in which the becoming is sustained. Therefore it is impossible that anything should be made from nothing.

4. Further, infinite distance cannot be crossed. But infinite distance exists between being and nothing. Therefore it does not happen that something is made from nothing.

On the contrary It is said (Gn 1,1): "In the beginning God created heaven and earth."

I answer that Not only is it impossible that anything should be created by God, but it is necessary to say that all things were created by God, as appears from what has been said (Question [44], Article [1]). For when anyone makes one thing from another, this latter thing from which he makes is presupposed to his action, and is not produced by his action; thus the craftsman works from natural things, as wood or brass, which are caused not by the action of art, but by the action of nature. So also nature itself causes natural things as regards their form, but presupposes matter. If therefore God did only act from something presupposed, it would follow that the thing presupposed would not be caused by Him. Now it has been shown above (Question [44], Articles [1],2), that nothing can be, unless it is from God, Who is the universal cause of all being. Hence it is necessary to say that God brings things into being from nothing.

Reply to Objection: 1. Ancient philosophers, as is said above (Question [44], Article [2]), considered only the emanation of particular effects from particular causes, which necessarily presuppose something in their action; whence came their common opinion that "nothing is made from nothing." But this has no place in the first emanation from the universal principle of things.

2. Creation is not change, except according to a mode of understanding. For change means that the same something should be different now from what it was previously. Sometimes, indeed, the same actual thing is different now from what it was before, as in motion according to quantity, quality and place; but sometimes it is the same being only in potentiality, as in substantial change, the subject of which is matter. But in creation, by which the whole substance of a thing is produced, the same thing can be taken as different now and before only according to our way of understanding, so that a thing is understood as first not existing at all, and afterwards as existing. But as action and passion coincide as to the substance of motion, and differ only according to diverse relations (Phys. iii, text 20,21), it must follow that when motion is withdrawn, only diverse relations remain in the Creator and in the creature. But because the mode of signification follows the mode of understanding as was said above (Question [13], Article [1]), creation is signified by mode of change; and on this account it is said that to create is to make something from nothing. And yet "to make" and "to be made" are more suitable expressions here than "to change" and "to be changed," because "to make" and "to be made" import a relation of cause to the effect, and of effect to the cause, and imply change only as a consequence.

3. In things which are made without movement, to become and to be already made are simultaneous, whether such making is the term of movement, as illumination (for a thing is being illuminated and is illuminated at the same time) or whether it is not the term of movement, as the word is being made in the mind and is made at the same time. In these things what is being made, is; but when we speak of its being made, we mean that it is from another, and was not previously. Hence since creation is without movement, a thing is being created and is already created at the same time.

4. This objection proceeds from a false imagination, as if there were an infinite medium between nothing and being; which is plainly false. This false imagination comes from creation being taken to signify a change existing between two forms.

Article: 3 Whether creation is anything in the creature?

Objection: 1. It would seem that creation is not anything in the creature. For as creation taken in a passive sense is attributed to the creature, so creation taken in an active sense is attributed to the Creator. But creation taken actively is not anything in the Creator, because otherwise it would follow that in God there would be something temporal. Therefore creation taken passively is not anything in the creature.

2. Further, there is no medium between the Creator and the creature. But creation is signified as the medium between them both: since it is not the Creator, as it is not eternal; nor is it the creature, because in that case it would be necessary for the same reason to suppose another creation to create it, and so on to infinity. Therefore creation is not anything in the creature.

3. Further, if creation is anything besides the created substance, it must be an accident belonging to it. But every accident is in a subject. Therefore a thing created would be the subject of creation, and so the same thing would be the subject and also the term of creation. This is impossible, because the subject is before the accident, and preserves the accident; while the term is after the action and passion whose term it is, and as soon as it exists, action and passion cease. Therefore creation itself is not any thing.

On the contrary It is greater for a thing to be made according to its entire substance, than to be made according to its substantial or accidental form. But generation taken simply, or relatively, whereby anything is made according to the substantial or the accidental form, is something in the thing generated. Therefore much more is creation, whereby a thing is made according to its whole substance, something in the thing created.

I answer that Creation places something in the thing created according to relation only; because what is created, is not made by movement, or by change. For what is made by movement or by change is made from something pre-existing. And this happens, indeed, in the particular productions of some beings, but cannot happen in the production of all being by the universal cause of all beings, which is God. Hence God by creation produces things without movement. Now when movement is removed from action and passion, only relation remains, as was said above (Article [2], ad 2). Hence creation in the creature is only a certain relation to the Creator as to the principle of its being; even as in passion, which implies movement, is implied a relation to the principle of motion.

Reply to Objection: 1. Creation signified actively means the divine action, which is God's essence, with a relation to the creature. But in God relation to the creature is not a real relation, but only a relation of reason; whereas the relation of the creature to God is a real relation, as was said above (Question [13], Article [7]) in treating of the divine names.

2. Because creation is signified as a change, as was said above (Article [2], ad 2), and change is a kind of medium between the mover and the moved, therefore also creation is signified as a medium between the Creator and the creature. Nevertheless passive creation is in the creature, and is a creature. Nor is there need of a further creation in its creation; because relations, or their entire nature being referred to something, are not referred by any other relations, but by themselves; as was also shown above (Question [42], Article [1], ad 4), in treating of the equality of the Persons.

3. The creature is the term of creation as signifying a change, but is the subject of creation, taken as a real relation, and is prior to it in being, as the subject is to the accident. Nevertheless creation has a certain aspect of priority on the part of the object to which it is directed, which is the beginning of the creature. Nor is it necessary that as long as the creature is it should be created; because creation imports a relation of the creature to the Creator, with a certain newness or beginning.

Summa Th. I EN Qu.43 a.8