Summa Th. I EN Qu.104 a.2

Article: 2 Whether God preserves every creature immediately?

Objection: 1. It would seem that God preserves every creature immediately. For God creates and preserves things by the same action, as above stated (Article [1], ad 4). But God created all things immediately. Therefore He preserves all things immediately.

2. Further, a thing is nearer to itself than to another. But it cannot be given to a creature to preserve itself; much less therefore can it be given to a creature to preserve another. Therefore God preserves all things without any intermediate cause preserving them.

3. Further, an effect is kept in being by the cause, not only of its "becoming," but also of its being. But all created causes do not seem to cause their effects except in their "becoming," for they cause only by moving, as above stated (Question [45], Article [3]). Therefore they do not cause so as to keep their effects in being.

On the contrary A thing is kept in being by that which gives it being. But God gives being by means of certain intermediate causes. Therefore He also keeps things in being by means of certain causes.

I answer that As stated above (Article [1]), a thing keeps another in being in two ways; first, indirectly and accidentally, by removing or hindering the action of a corrupting cause; secondly, directly and "per se," by the fact that that on it depends the other's being, as the being of the effect depends on the cause. And in both ways a created thing keeps another in being. For it is clear that even in corporeal things there are many causes which hinder the action of corrupting agents, and for that reason are called preservatives; just as salt preserves meat from putrefaction; and in like manner with many other things. It happens also that an effect depends on a creature as to its being. For when we have a series of causes depending on one another, it necessarily follows that, while the effect depends first and principally on the first cause, it also depends in a secondary way on all the middle causes. Therefore the first cause is the principal cause of the preservation of the effect which is to be referred to the middle causes in a secondary way; and all the more so, as the middle cause is higher and nearer to the first cause.

For this reason, even in things corporeal, the preservation and continuation of things is ascribed to the higher causes: thus the Philosopher says (Metaph. xii, Did. xi, 6), that the first, namely the diurnal movement is the cause of the continuation of things generated; whereas the second movement, which is from the zodiac, is the cause of diversity owing to generation and corruption. In like manner astrologers ascribe to Saturn, the highest of the planets, those things which are permanent and fixed. So we conclude that God keeps certain things in being, by means of certain causes.

Reply to Objection: 1. God created all things immediately, but in the creation itself He established an order among things, so that some depend on others, by which they are preserved in being, though He remains the principal cause of their preservation.

2. Since an effect is preserved by its proper cause on which it depends; just as no effect can be its own cause, but can only produce another effect, so no effect can be endowed with the power of self-preservation, but only with the power of preserving another.

3. No created nature can be the cause of another, as regards the latter acquiring a new form, or disposition, except by virtue of some change; for the created nature acts always on something presupposed. But after causing the form or disposition in the effect, without any fresh change in the effect, the cause preserves that form or disposition; as in the air, when it is lit up anew, we must allow some change to have taken place, while the preservation of the light is without any further change in the air due to the presence of the source of light.

Article: 3 Whether God can annihilate anything?

Objection: 1. It would seem that God cannot annihilate anything. For Augustine says (Questions. 83, qu. 21) that "God is not the cause of anything tending to non-existence." But He would be such a cause if He were to annihilate anything. Therefore He cannot annihilate anything.

2. Further, by His goodness God is the cause why things exist, since, as Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 32): "Because God is good, we exist." But God cannot cease to be good. Therefore He cannot cause things to cease to exist; which would be the case were He to annihilate anything.

3. Further, if God were to annihilate anything it would be by His action. But this cannot be; because the term of every action is existence. Hence even the action of a corrupting cause has its term in something generated; for when one thing is generated another undergoes corruption. Therefore God cannot annihilate anything.

On the contrary It is written (Jr 10,24): "Correct me, O Lord, but yet with judgment; and not in Thy fury, lest Thou bring me to nothing."

I answer that Some have held that God, in giving existence to creatures, acted from natural necessity. Were this true, God could not annihilate anything, since His nature cannot change. But, as we have said above (Question [19], Article [4]), such an opinion is entirely false, and absolutely contrary to the Catholic faith, which confesses that God created things of His own free-will, according to Ps 134,6: "Whatsoever the Lord pleased, He hath done." Therefore that God gives existence to a creature depends on His will; nor does He preserve things in existence otherwise than by continually pouring out existence into them, as we have said. Therefore, just as before things existed, God was free not to give them existence, and not to make them; so after they are made, He is free not to continue their existence; and thus they would cease to exist; and this would be to annihilate them.

Reply to Objection: 1. Non-existence has no direct cause; for nothing is a cause except inasmuch as it has existence, and a being essentially as such is a cause of something existing. Therefore God cannot cause a thing to tend to non-existence, whereas a creature has this tendency of itself, since it is produced from nothing. But indirectly God can be the cause of things being reduced to non-existence, by withdrawing His action therefrom.

2. God's goodness is the cause of things, not as though by natural necessity, because the Divine goodness does not depend on creatures; but by His free-will. Wherefore, as without prejudice to His goodness, He might not have produced things into existence, so, without prejudice to His goodness, He might not preserve things in existence.

3. If God were to annihilate anything, this would not imply an action on God's part; but a mere cessation of His action.

Article: 4 Whether anything is annihilated?

Objection: 1. It would seem that something is annihilated. For the end corresponds to the beginning. But in the beginning there was nothing but God. Therefore all things must tend to this end, that there shall be nothing but God. Therefore creatures will be reduced to nothing.

2. Further, every creature has a finite power. But no finite power extends to the infinite. Wherefore the Philosopher proves (Phys. viii, 10) that, "a finite power cannot move in infinite time." Therefore a creature cannot last for an infinite duration; and so at some time it will be reduced to nothing.

3. Further, forms and accidents have no matter as part of themselves. But at some time they cease to exist. Therefore they are reduced to nothing.

On the contrary It is written (Qo 3,14): "I have learned that all the works that God hath made continue for ever."

I answer that Some of those things which God does in creatures occur in accordance with the natural course of things; others happen miraculously, and not in accordance with the natural order, as will be explained (Question [105], Article [6]). Now whatever God wills to do according to the natural order of things may be observed from their nature; but those things which occur miraculously, are ordered for the manifestation of grace, according to the Apostle, "To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit, unto profit" (1Co 12,7); and subsequently he mentions, among others, the working of miracles.

Now the nature of creatures shows that none of them is annihilated. For, either they are immaterial, and therefore have no potentiality to non-existence; or they are material, and then they continue to exist, at least in matter, which is incorruptible, since it is the subject of generation and corruption. Moreover, the annihilation of things does not pertain to the manifestation of grace; since rather the power and goodness of God are manifested by the preservation of things in existence. Wherefore we must conclude by denying absolutely that anything at all will be annihilated.

Reply to Objection: 1. That things are brought into existence from a state of non-existence, clearly shows the power of Him Who made them; but that they should be reduced to nothing would hinder that manifestation, since the power of God is conspicuously shown in His preserving all things in existence, according to the Apostle: "Upholding all things by the word of His power" (He 1,3).

2. A creature's potentiality to existence is merely receptive; the active power belongs to God Himself, from Whom existence is derived. Wherefore the infinite duration of things is a consequence of the infinity of the Divine power. To some things, however, is given a determinate power of duration for a certain time, so far as they may be hindered by some contrary agent from receiving the influx of existence which comes from Him Whom finite power cannot resist, for an infinite, but only for a fixed time. So things which have no contrary, although they have a finite power, continue to exist for ever.

3. Forms and accidents are not complete beings, since they do not subsist: but each one of them is something "of a being"; for it is called a being, because something is by it. Yet so far as their mode of existence is concerned, they are not entirely reduced to nothingness; not that any part of them survives, but that they remain in the potentiality of the matter, or of the subject.


We now consider the second effect of the Divine government, i.e. the change of creatures; and first, the change of creatures by God; secondly, the change of one creature by another.

Under the first head there are eight points of inquiry:

(1) Whether God can move immediately the matter to the form?

(2) Whether He can immediately move a body?

(3) Whether He can move the intellect?

(4) Whether He can move the will?

(5) Whether God works in every worker?

(6) Whether He can do anything outside the order imposed on things?

(7) Whether all that God does is miraculous?

(8) Of the diversity of miracles.

Article: 1 Whether God can move the matter immediately to the form?

Objection: 1. It would seem that God cannot move the matter immediately to receive the form. For as the Philosopher proves (Metaph. vii, Did. vi, 8), nothing can bring a form into any particular matter, except that form which is in matter; because, like begets like. But God is not a form in matter. Therefore He cannot cause a form in matter.

2. Further, any agent inclined to several effects will produce none of them, unless it is determined to a particular one by some other cause; for, as the Philosopher says (De Anima iii, 11), a general assertion does not move the mind, except by means of some particular apprehension. But the Divine power is the universal cause of all things. Therefore it cannot produce any particular form, except by means of a particular agent.

3. As universal being depends on the first universal cause, so determinate being depends on determinate particular causes; as we have seen above (Question [104], Article [2]). But the determinate being of a particular thing is from its own form. Therefore the forms of things are produced by God, only by means of particular causes.

On the contrary It is written (Gn 2,7): "God formed man of the slime of the earth."

I answer that God can move matter immediately to form; because whatever is in passive potentiality can be reduced to act by the active power which extends over that potentiality. Therefore, since the Divine power extends over matter, as produced by God, it can be reduced to act by the Divine power: and this is what is meant by matter being moved to a form; for a form is nothing else but the act of matter.

Reply to Objection: 1. An effect is assimilated to the active cause in two ways. First, according to the same species; as man is generated by man, and fire by fire. Secondly, by being virtually contained in the cause; as the form of the effect is virtually contained in its cause: thus animals produced by putrefaction, and plants, and minerals are like the sun and stars, by whose power they are produced. In this way the effect is like its active cause as regards all that over which the power of that cause extends. Now the power of God extends to both matter and form; as we have said above (Question [14], Article [2]; Question [44], Article [2]); wherefore if a composite thing be produced, it is likened to God by way of a virtual inclusion; or it is likened to the composite generator by a likeness of species. Therefore just as the composite generator can move matter to a form by generating a composite thing like itself; so also can God. But no other form not existing in matter can do this; because the power of no other separate substance extends over matter. Hence angels and demons operate on visible matter; not by imprinting forms in matter, but by making use of corporeal seeds.

2. This argument would hold if God were to act of natural necessity. But since He acts by His will and intellect, which knows the particular and not only the universal natures of all forms, it follows that He can determinately imprint this or that form on matter.

3. The fact that secondary causes are ordered to determinate effects is due to God; wherefore since God ordains other causes to certain effects He can also produce certain effects by Himself without any other cause.

Article: 2 Whether God can move a body immediately?

Objection: 1. It would seem that God cannot move a body immediately. For as the mover and the moved must exist simultaneously, as the Philosopher says (Phys. vii, 2), it follows that there must be some contact between the mover and moved. But there can be no contact between God and a body; for Dionysius says (Div. Nom. 1): "There is no contact with God." Therefore God cannot move a body immediately.

2. Further, God is the mover unmoved. But such also is the desirable object when apprehended. Therefore God moves as the object of desire and apprehension. But He cannot be apprehended except by the intellect, which is neither a body nor a corporeal power. Therefore God cannot move a body immediately.

3. Further, the Philosopher proves (Phys. viii, 10) that an infinite power moves instantaneously. But it is impossible for a body to be moved in one instant; for since every movement is between opposites, it follows that two opposites would exist at once in the same subject, which is impossible. Therefore a body cannot be moved immediately by an infinite power. But God's power is infinite, as we have explained (Question [25], Article [2]). Therefore God cannot move a body immediately.

On the contrary God produced the works of the six days immediately among which is included the movements of bodies, as is clear from Gn 1,9 "Let the waters be gathered together into one place." Therefore God alone can move a body immediately.

I answer that It is erroneous to say that God cannot Himself produce all the determinate effects which are produced by any created cause. Wherefore, since bodies are moved immediately by created causes, we cannot possibly doubt that God can move immediately any bodies whatever. This indeed follows from what is above stated (Article [1]). For every movement of any body whatever, either results from a form, as the movements of things heavy and light result from the form which they have from their generating cause, for which reason the generator is called the mover; or else tends to a form, as heating tends to the form of heat. Now it belongs to the same cause, to imprint a form, to dispose to that form, and to give the movement which results from that form; for fire not only generates fire, but it also heats and moves things upwards. Therefore, as God can imprint form immediately in matter, it follows that He can move any body whatever in respect of any movement whatever.

Reply to Objection: 1. There are two kinds of contact; corporeal contact, when two bodies touch each other; and virtual contact, as the cause of sadness is said to touch the one made sad. According to the first kind of contact, God, as being incorporeal, neither touches, nor is touched; but according to virtual contact He touches creatures by moving them; but He is not touched, because the natural power of no creature can reach up to Him. Thus did Dionysius understand the words, "There is no contact with God"; that is, so that God Himself be touched.

2. God moves as the object of desire and apprehension; but it does not follow that He always moves as being desired and apprehended by that which is moved; but as being desired and known by Himself; for He does all things for His own goodness.

3. The Philosopher (Phys. viii, 10) intends to prove that the power of the first mover is not a power of the first mover "of bulk," by the following argument. The power of the first mover is infinite (which he proves from the fact that the first mover can move in infinite time). Now an infinite power, if it were a power "of bulk," would move without time, which is impossible; therefore the infinite power of the first mover must be in something which is not measured by its bulk. Whence it is clear that for a body to be moved without time can only be the result of an infinite power. The reason is that every power of bulk moves in its entirety; since it moves by the necessity of its nature. But an infinite power surpasses out of all proportion any finite power. Now the greater the power of the mover, the greater is the velocity of the movement. Therefore, since a finite power moves in a determinate time, it follows that an infinite power does not move in any time; for between one time and any other time there is some proportion. On the other hand, a power which is not in bulk is the power of an intelligent being, which operates in its effects according to what is fitting to them; and therefore, since it cannot be fitting for a body to be moved without time, it does not follow that it moves without time.

Article: 3 Whether God moves the created intellect immediately?

Objection: 1. It would seem that God does not immediately move the created intellect. For the action of the intellect is governed by its own subject; since it does not pass into external matter; as stated in Metaph. ix, Did. viii, 8. But the action of what is moved by another does not proceed from that wherein it is; but from the mover. Therefore the intellect is not moved by another; and so apparently God cannot move the created intellect.

2. Further, anything which in itself is a sufficient principle of movement, is not moved by another. But the movement of the intellect is its act of understanding; in the sense in which we say that to understand or to feel is a kind of movement, as the Philosopher says (De Anima iii, 7). But the intellectual light which is natural to the soul, is a sufficient principle of understanding. Therefore it is not moved by another.

3. Further, as the senses are moved by the sensible, so the intellect is moved by the intelligible. But God is not intelligible to us, and exceeds the capacity of our intellect. Therefore God cannot move our intellect.

On the contrary The teacher moves the intellect of the one taught. But it is written (Ps 93,10) that God "teaches man knowledge." Therefore God moves the human intellect.

I answer that As in corporeal movement that is called the mover which gives the form that is the principle of movement, so that is said to move the intellect, which is the cause of the form that is the principle of the intellectual operation, called the movement of the intellect. Now there is a twofold principle of intellectual operation in the intelligent being; one which is the intellectual power itself, which principle exists in the one who understands in potentiality; while the other is the principle of actual understanding, namely, the likeness of the thing understood in the one who understands. So a thing is said to move the intellect, whether it gives to him who understands the power of understanding; or impresses on him the likeness of the thing understood.

Now God moves the created intellect in both ways. For He is the First immaterial Being; and as intellectuality is a result of immateriality, it follows that He is the First intelligent Being. Therefore since in each order the first is the cause of all that follows, we must conclude that from Him proceeds all intellectual power. In like manner, since He is the First Being, and all other beings pre-exist in Him as in their First Cause, it follows that they exist intelligibly in Him, after the mode of His own Nature. For as the intelligible types of everything exist first of all in God, and are derived from Him by other intellects in order that these may actually understand; so also are they derived by creatures that they may subsist. Therefore God so moves the created intellect, inasmuch as He gives it the intellectual power, whether natural, or superadded; and impresses on the created intellect the intelligible species, and maintains and preserves both power and species in existence.

Reply to Objection: 1. The intellectual operation is performed by the intellect in which it exists, as by a secondary cause; but it proceeds from God as from its first cause. For by Him the power to understand is given to the one who understands.

2. The intellectual light together with the likeness of the thing understood is a sufficient principle of understanding; but it is a secondary principle, and depends upon the First Principle.

3. The intelligible object moves our human intellect, so far as, in a way, it impresses on it its own likeness, by means of which the intellect is able to understand it. But the likenesses which God impresses on the created intellect are not sufficient to enable the created intellect to understand Him through His Essence, as we have seen above (Question [12], Article [2]; Question [56], Article [3]). Hence He moves the created intellect, and yet He cannot be intelligible to it, as we have explained (Question [12], Article [4]).

Article: 4 Whether God can move the created will?

Objection: 1. It would seem that God cannot move the created will. For whatever is moved from without, is forced. But the will cannot be forced. Therefore it is not moved from without; and therefore cannot be moved by God.

2. Further, God cannot make two contradictories to be true at the same time. But this would follow if He moved the will; for to be voluntarily moved means to be moved from within, and not by another. Therefore God cannot move the will.

3. Further, movement is attributed to the mover rather than to the one moved; wherefore homicide is not ascribed to the stone, but to the thrower. Therefore, if God moves the will, it follows that voluntary actions are not imputed to man for reward or blame. But this is false. Therefore God does not move the will.

On the contrary It is written (Ph 2,13): "It is God who worketh in us [Vulgate---'you'] both to will and to accomplish."

I answer that As the intellect is moved by the object and by the Giver of the power of intelligence, as stated above (Article [3]), so is the will moved by its object, which is good, and by Him who creates the power of willing. Now the will can be moved by good as its object, but by God alone sufficiently and efficaciously. For nothing can move a movable thing sufficiently unless the active power of the mover surpasses or at least equals the potentiality of the thing movable. Now the potentiality of the will extends to the universal good; for its object is the universal good; just as the object of the intellect is the universal being. But every created good is some particular good; God alone is the universal good. Whereas He alone fills the capacity of the will, and moves it sufficiently as its object. In like manner the power of willing is caused by God alone. For to will is nothing but to be inclined towards the object of the will, which is universal good. But to incline towards the universal good belongs to the First Mover, to Whom the ultimate end is proportionate; just as in human affairs to him that presides over the community belongs the directing of his subjects to the common weal. Wherefore in both ways it belongs to God to move the will; but especially in the second way by an interior inclination of the will.

Reply to Objection: 1. A thing moved by another is forced if moved against its natural inclination; but if it is moved by another giving to it the proper natural inclination, it is not forced; as when a heavy body is made to move downwards by that which produced it, then it is not forced. In like manner God, while moving the will, does not force it, because He gives the will its own natural inclination.

2. To be moved voluntarily, is to be moved from within, that is, by an interior principle: yet this interior principle may be caused by an exterior principle; and so to be moved from within is not repugnant to being moved by another.

3. If the will were so moved by another as in no way to be moved from within itself, the act of the will would not be imputed for reward or blame. But since its being moved by another does not prevent its being moved from within itself, as we have stated (ad 2), it does not thereby forfeit the motive for merit or demerit.

Article: 5 Whether God works in every agent?

Objection: 1. It would seem that God does not work in every agent. For we must not attribute any insufficiency to God. If therefore God works in every agent, He works sufficiently in each one. Hence it would be superfluous for the created agent to work at all.

2. Further, the same work cannot proceed at the same time from two sources; as neither can one and the same movement belong to two movable things. Therefore if the creature's operation is from God operating in the creature, it cannot at the same time proceed from the creature; and so no creature works at all.

3. Further, the maker is the cause of the operation of the thing made, as giving it the form whereby it operates. Therefore, if God is the cause of the operation of things made by Him, this would be inasmuch as He gives them the power of operating. But this is in the beginning, when He makes them. Thus it seems that God does not operate any further in the operating creature.

On the contrary It is written (Is 26,12): "Lord, Thou hast wrought all our works in [Vulg.: 'for'] us."

I answer that Some have understood God to work in every agent in such a way that no created power has any effect in things, but that God alone is the ultimate cause of everything wrought; for instance, that it is not fire that gives heat, but God in the fire, and so forth. But this is impossible. First, because the order of cause and effect would be taken away from created things: and this would imply lack of power in the Creator: for it is due to the power of the cause, that it bestows active power on its effect. Secondly, because the active powers which are seen to exist in things, would be bestowed on things to no purpose, if these wrought nothing through them. Indeed, all things created would seem, in a way, to be purposeless, if they lacked an operation proper to them; since the purpose of everything is its operation. For the less perfect is always for the sake of the more perfect: and consequently as the matter is for the sake of the form, so the form which is the first act, is for the sake of its operation, which is the second act; and thus operation is the end of the creature. We must therefore understand that God works in things in such a manner that things have their proper operation.

In order to make this clear, we must observe that as there are few kinds of causes; matter is not a principle of action, but is the subject that receives the effect of action. On the other hand, the end, the agent, and the form are principles of action, but in a certain order. For the first principle of action is the end which moves the agent; the second is the agent; the third is the form of that which the agent applies to action (although the agent also acts through its own form); as may be clearly seen in things made by art. For the craftsman is moved to action by the end, which is the thing wrought, for instance a chest or a bed; and applies to action the axe which cuts through its being sharp.

Thus then does God work in every worker, according to these three things. First as an end. For since every operation is for the sake of some good, real or apparent; and nothing is good either really or apparently, except in as far as it participates in a likeness to the Supreme Good, which is God; it follows that God Himself is the cause of every operation as its end. Again it is to be observed that where there are several agents in order, the second always acts in virtue of the first; for the first agent moves the second to act. And thus all agents act in virtue of God Himself: and therefore He is the cause of action in every agent. Thirdly, we must observe that God not only moves things to operated, as it were applying their forms and powers to operation, just as the workman applies the axe to cut, who nevertheless at times does not give the axe its form; but He also gives created agents their forms and preserves them in being. Therefore He is the cause of action not only by giving the form which is the principle of action, as the generator is said to be the cause of movement in things heavy and light; but also as preserving the forms and powers of things; just as the sun is said to be the cause of the manifestation of colors, inasmuch as it gives and preserves the light by which colors are made manifest. And since the form of a thing is within the thing, and all the more, as it approaches nearer to the First and Universal Cause; and because in all things God Himself is properly the cause of universal being which is innermost in all things; it follows that in all things God works intimately. For this reason in Holy Scripture the operations of nature are attributed to God as operating in nature, according to Jb 10,11: "Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh: Thou hast put me together with bones and sinews."

Reply to Objection: 1. God works sufficiently in things as First Agent, but it does not follow from this that the operation of secondary agents is superfluous.

2. One action does not proceed from two agents of the same order. But nothing hinders the same action from proceeding from a primary and a secondary agent.

3. God not only gives things their form, but He also preserves them in existence, and applies them to act, and is moreover the end of every action, as above explained.

Article: 6 Whether God can do anything outside the established order of nature?

Objection: 1. It would seem that God cannot do anything outside the established order of nature. For Augustine (Contra Faust. xxvi, 3) says: "God the Maker and Creator of each nature, does nothing against nature." But that which is outside the natural order seems to be against nature. Therefore God can do nothing outside the natural order.

2. Further, as the order of justice is from God, so is the order of nature. But God cannot do anything outside the order of justice; for then He would do something unjust. Therefore He cannot do anything outside the order of nature.

3. Further, God established the order of nature. Therefore it God does anything outside the order of nature, it would seem that He is changeable; which cannot be said.

On the contrary Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxvi, 3): "God sometimes does things which are contrary to the ordinary course of nature."

I answer that From each cause there results a certain order to its effects, since every cause is a principle; and so, according to the multiplicity of causes, there results a multiplicity of orders, subjected one to the other, as cause is subjected to cause. Wherefore a higher cause is not subjected to a cause of a lower order; but conversely. An example of this may be seen in human affairs. On the father of a family depends the order of the household; which order is contained in the order of the city; which order again depends on the ruler of the city; while this last order depends on that of the king, by whom the whole kingdom is ordered.

If therefore we consider the order of things depending on the first cause, God cannot do anything against this order; for, if He did so, He would act against His foreknowledge, or His will, or His goodness. But if we consider the order of things depending on any secondary cause, thus God can do something outside such order; for He is not subject to the order of secondary causes; but, on the contrary, this order is subject to Him, as proceeding from Him, not by a natural necessity, but by the choice of His own will; for He could have created another order of things. Wherefore God can do something outside this order created by Him, when He chooses, for instance by producing the effects of secondary causes without them, or by producing certain effects to which secondary causes do not extend. So Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxvi, 3): "God acts against the wonted course of nature, but by no means does He act against the supreme law; because He does not act against Himself."

Reply to Objection: 1. In natural things something may happen outside this natural order, in two ways. It may happen by the action of an agent which did not give them their natural inclination; as, for example, when a man moves a heavy body upwards, which does not owe to him its natural inclination to move downwards; and that would be against nature. It may also happen by the action of the agent on whom the natural inclination depends; and this is not against nature, as is clear in the ebb and flow of the tide, which is not against nature; although it is against the natural movement of water in a downward direction; for it is owing to the influence of a heavenly body, on which the natural inclination of lower bodies depends. Therefore since the order of nature is given to things by God; if He does anything outside this order, it is not against nature. Wherefore Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxvi, 3): "That is natural to each thing which is caused by Him from Whom is all mode, number, and order in nature."

2. The order of justice arises by relation to the First Cause, Who is the rule of all justice; and therefore God can do nothing against such order.

3. God fixed a certain order in things in such a way that at the same time He reserved to Himself whatever he intended to do otherwise than by a particular cause. So when He acts outside this order, He does not change.

Summa Th. I EN Qu.104 a.2