De veritate EN 27
An effect cannot be more simple than its cause. Consequently, what ever things in which one nature is found must be reduced to some one thing which is the first subject of that nature, as all hot things are reduced to one and the first hot thing, namely, fire, which, as is said in the Metaphysics, is the cause of heat in others. Now, since every resemblance involves an agreement of forms, whatever things are alike are so related that either one is the cause of the other or both are caused by one cause. Moreover, in all knowledge there is an assimilation of the knower to the known. Hence, either the knowledge is the cause of the thing known, or the thing known is the cause of the knowledge, or both are caused by one cause. It cannot be said, how ever, that what is known by God is the cause of His knowledge; for things are temporal and His knowledge is eternal, and what is temporal cannot be the cause of anything eternal. Similarly, it cannot be said that both are caused by one cause, because there can be nothing caused in God, seeing that He is whatever He has. Hence, there is left only one possibility: His knowledge is the cause of things. Conversely, our knowledge is caused by things inasmuch as we receive it from things. Angels knowledge, however, is not caused by things and is not the cause of things, but both the things which the angels know and their knowledge are from one cause; for in the same way that God communicates universal forms to things, making them subsist, He communicates likenesses of things to the minds of angels so that the angels can know them.
It should be observed, however, that knowledge as knowledge does not denote an active cause, no more than does a form as a form. Action consists, as it were, in the procession of something from the agent; but a form as a form has its act of existence by perfecting that in which it is, and by resting in that thing. Consequently, a form is not a principle of acting, except through the mediation of a power. In some cases, it is true, the form itself is the power, but not by reason of being a form. In other cases, the power is other than the substantial form of the thing. For example, the actions of bodies do not take place without the mediation of certain of their qualities. Similarly, knowledge de- notes that there is something in the knower, not that something has been caused by the knower. Hence, an effect never arises from knowledge except through the mediation of the will, which, of its very nature, implies a certain influence upon what is willed. For action never proceeds from a substance without the mediation of a power, although in the case of some substances, such as God, wil is identical will knowledge. In other substances, namely, all creatures, this is not the case. Similarly, effects proceed from God, the first cause of all things, through the mediation of secondary causes.
Hence, between His knowledge (the cause of the thing) and the thing caused there is found a twofold medium: one on the part of God, namely, the divine will; another on the part of things them selves in regard to certain effects, namely, the medium of secondary causes through whose mediation things proceed from God’s knowledge. Moreover, every effect follows not only the condition of the first cause but also that of the intermediate cause. Hence, the things known by God proceed from His knowledge as conditioned by His will and as conditioned by secondary causes. Consequently, it is not necessary that these things follow the manner of His knowledge in all respects.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. Origen’s meaning is that God’s knowledge is not a cause so necessitating the thing known that from the very fact that something is known by God it must necessarily take place. Moreover, his phrase "Because it is to be, b is known by God..."gives the reason for concluding that God knows it, not the cause of the divine knowledge.
2. Since things proceed from knowledge through the mediation of the will, it is not necessary for them to come into being whenever there is knowledge of them, but only when the will determines that they should.
3. An effect follows the necessity of its proximate cause, which can also be a means of demonstrating the effect. An effect need not follow the necessity of the first cause, since an effect can be impeded, if it is contingent, by reason of a secondary cause. This is seen in the effects produced by the motion of the celestial bodies through the mediation of inferior forces on objects subject to generation and corruption. Even though the motion of the heavens remains always the same, these effects are contingent because the natural forces are defective.
4. A thing is the proximate cause of our knowledge. Hence, it imposes its own mode upon our knowledge. But, since God is a first cause, there is no parallel. Or we may say that our knowledge of necessary things is necessary, not by reason of the f act that things known cause our knowledge, but because of the conformity of the power to the things known, which is required for knowledge.
5. Although the first cause influences an effect more powerfully than a secondary cause does, the effect does not take place without the operation of the secondary cause. Hence, if it is possible for the secondary cause to fail in its operation, it is possible for the effect not to take place, even though the first cause itself cannot fail. The possibility of the effect’s not taking place would be much greater if the first cause itself could fail. Therefore, since both causes are required for the existence of an effect, a failure of either cause will result in a failure of the effect. Hence, if contingency is affirmed of either cause, the effect will be contingent. But, if only one of the causes is necessary, the effect will not be necessary, since both causes are required for the existence of the effect. But, because a secondary cause cannot be necessary if the first cause is contingent, one can say that the necessity of an effect follows the necessity of the second cause.
6. Our reply here is the same as our reply to the fourth difficulty.
Parallel readings: De veritate,, Summa Theol., I, 14, 10; 18,, ad I Sentences 36, 1,2; Contra Gentiles I, 71; Quodibet XI, 2,
It seems that He does not, for
1. All knowledge either causes the thing known, is itself caused by it, or at least proceeds from one and the same cause. But God’s knowledge is not the cause of evil things, evil things do not cause it, nor does some other thing cause both His knowledge and evil things. There fore, God does not know evil things.
2. As is said in the Metaphysics, every being is related to truth in the same way as it is related to existence. But evil, as Dionysius and Augustine say, is not a being; therefore, it is not something true. Now, nothing is known unless it is true. Hence, evil cannot be known by God.
3. The Commentator says that an intellect that is always in act does not know a privation at all. But God’s intellect is in act in the highest possible degree. Hence, it knows no privations. But, as Augustine says: "Evil is the privation of good." Therefore, God does not know evil.
4. Whatever is known is known either through its likeness or through its contrary. Now, evil is not like the divine essence through which God knows all things; nor is evil its contrary, for evil cannot harm it—and a thing is said to be evil because it is harmful. Therefore, God does not know evil things.
5. That which cannot be learned cannot be known. But, as Augustine says: "Evil cannot be learned through instruction, for only good things can be learned." Therefore, evil cannot be known, and so is not known by God.
6. Whoever knows grammar is grammatical. Therefore, whoever knows evil things is evil. But God is not evil. Hence, He does not know evil.
To the Contrary:
1'. No one avenges what he does not know. But God is the avenger of evil; therefore, He has knowledge of evil things.
2'. There is no good which God Jacks. But the knowledge of evil things is good, for by it evils are avoided. Therefore, God knows evil things.
According to the Philosopher, whoever does not understand a thing which is one does not understand anything at all. A thing is one, however, by being undivided in itself and distinct from others. Hence, whoever knows a thing must know its distinction from other things. But the first basis of distinction lies in affirmation and negation. There fore, whoever knows an affirmation must know its negation. Now, since privation is nothing but a negation having a subject (as is said in the Metaphysics and since "one of two contraries is always a privation" (as is said both in the Metaphysics and Physics —from the very fact that a thing is known, its privation and its contrary are known. Accordingly, since God has a proper knowledge of all His effects, knowing each one of them as it is, distinct in its own nature, He must know all the opposed negations and opposed privations, as well as all the contrarieties found in things. Consequently, since evil is the privation of good, by knowing any good at all and the measure of any thing whatsoever, He knows every evil thing.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. That proposition is true about knowledge had from a thing through its likeness. But evil is not known to God by its likeness, but through the likeness of its opposite. Consequently, it does not follow that God is the cause of evil things because He knows them. It follows, rather, that He is the cause of the good to which the evil is opposed.
2. From the fact that non-being is opposed to being, it is said in some way to be being, as is clear from the Metaphysics. As a consequence, from the fact that evil is opposed to good, it has the character of some thing knowable and of the true.
3. It was the opinion of the Commentator that by knowing His essence God docs not know individual effects in a determined way, that is, as they are distinct in their own proper nature, but that He knows only the nature of being which is found in all of them. Since evil is not opposed to universal but to particular being, it follows from this that God would not know evil. But this position is false, as is evident from what has been said. Hence, what follows from this position is also false, namely, that God does not know privations and evil things. For, according to the Commentator, a privation is known by an intellect only by the absence of a form from the intellect—a condition that cannot exist in an intellect which is always in act. But this is not necessary; for, from the very fact that a thing is known, its privation is known. Hence, both thing and privation are known through the presence of a form in the intellect.
4. The opposition of one thing to another can be taken in two ways: first, in general, as when we say that evil is opposed to good, and in this sense evil is opposed to God; second, in particular, as when we say that this white thing is opposed to this black thing, and in this sense an evil is opposed only to that good which can be taken away by this evil and to which it would be harmful. In this second way evil is not opposed to God. Augustine accordingly says: "Vice is opposed to God in the way in which evil is opposed to good." But, to the nature which it vitiates, vice is opposed not merely as evil to good but also as some thing harmful to that nature.
5. In so far as evil is known, it is a good; for to know evil is a good. Thus, it is true that whatever can be learned is a good—not that it is good in itself, but that it is good only in so far as it is known.
6. Grammar is known by possessing the art of grammar. But evil is not known by possessing it. Hence, no analogy can be drawn.
Parallel readings: Summa Theol., I, 15, 1; 44, 3; I Sentences 36, 2, 1; I Metaph., lectura 15, nn. 232—33.
It seems that there are no ideas in Him, for
1. God’s knowledge is most perfect. Now, knowledge had from the essence of a thing is more perfect than knowledge had from its likeness. Consequently, God knows things, not by means of their likenesses, but by means of their essences. Hence, those likenesses of things which are called ideas do not exist in God.
2. But it was said that God knows things more perfectly by knowing them through His essence, which is a likeness of things, than He would if He knew them through their own essences.—On the contrary, knowledge is an assimilation to the thing known. Hence, the more the medium of knowing resembles and is united will the thing known, the more perfectly is the thing known by means of that medium. But the essence of created things is more united will things than the divine essence is. Consequently, God would know things more perfectly if He knew them by means of their essences than He does by knowing them through His own essence.
3. But it was said that the perfection of knowledge consists in the union of the medium of knowledge will the knower, not will the thing known.—On the contrary, the species of a thing, which is in the intellect, is rendered individual by the act of existence it has in the intellect; but in relation to the thing known it has the character of a universal, since it is a likeness of the thing according to its common nature and not according to its particular conditions. Yet the knowledge which is made possible by means of that species is not singular but universal. Hence, knowledge follows the relation of the species to the thing known rather than its relation to the knower.
4. The Philosopher criticizes Plato’s theory of ideas because the latter asserted that the forms of material things existed without matter. Now, these forms would exist without matter to a much greater extent were they in the divine intellect instead of being outside of it, because the divine intellect is the acme of immateriality. Therefore, it is much more inconsistent to say that ideas exist in the divine intellect.
5. The Philosopher criticizes Plato’s theory of ideas because the ideas he posited can neither generate nor be generated, and hence are useless. But, if the ideas are said to be in the divine mind, they also will not be generated -because whatever is generated is composite—nor will they generate, for, since whatever is generated is composite and whatever generates resembles what is generated, that which generates must also be composite. Hence, it would be inconsistent to say that there are ideas in the divine mind.
6. Dionysius says that God knows existing things by means of the non-existing, and that He does not know them by means of ideas. But the only reason for affirming the existence of ideas in God is so He can know things by their means. Hence, ideas do not exist in God’s mind.
7. Whatever has been modeled upon an archetype is proportionate to it. But there is no proportion of a creature will God, just as there is no proportion between what is finite and what is infinite. Therefore, in God there cannot be any archetypes of creatures; consequently, since ideas are exemplary forms, it seems that ideas of things do not exist in God.
8. Ideas are the rule of knowledge and action. But that which can not err in its knowledge or action does not need a rule for either; and, since God is this kind of being, it seems out of place to say that there are ideas in him.
9. We read in the Metaphysics that just as being one in quantity causes equality, so being one in quality causes resemblance. Now, be cause of the difference between God and a creature, a creature can in no way be said to be equal to God, nor can God be said to be equal to a creature. Therefore, there is nothing in God that resembles a creature. Consequently, since idea means a likeness of a thing, it seems that there are no ideas of things in God.
10. If ideas are in God, they are there only for the production of creatures. But Anselm says: "It is sufficiently clear that in the Word, through which all things have been made, likenesses of things do not exist. Only the one simple essence is present." Therefore, it seems that ideas, which are called the likenesses of things, do not exist in God.
i 2. God knows Himself in the same way in which He knows other things; otherwise, His knowledge would be multiple and divisible. Now, God does not know Himself by means of an idea. Therefore, He does not know other things by means of ideas.
To the Contrary:
2'. Augustine says: "Whoever denies that there are ideas is an infidel, since he denies the existence of the Son." Therefore.
2’. Every intellectual agent possesses within himself a plan of his work; otherwise, he would not know what he was doing. But God acts through His intellect, and He is not ignorant of what He is doing. Therefore, there exist within Him intelligible characters of things, and these are called ideas.
3’. As is said in the Physics: "The three causes, namely, the efficient, final, and formal causes, are ultimately identical." Now, God is the efficient and final cause of things. Hence, He is also their formal cause —but as an exemplary cause, since He cannot be a form that is part of a creature. We conclude as before.
4'. A particular effect is not produced by a universal cause unless the universal cause is proper or appropriated. Now, all particular effects are from God, who is the universal cause of all things. Hence, they should come from Him in so far as He is the proper or appropriated cause of each and every one of them. But this would not be possible unless the intelligible characters of things existed in Him. Hence, the intelligible characters of things, that is, ideas, must exist in Him.
5’. Augustine says: "I regret that I said that there are two worlds, one the object of sense, the other the object of intellect—not because this is not true, but because I said it as though it were an original idea, when in fact it had been previously pointed out by philosophers, and because this manner of speaking is not usual in Holy Scripture." Now, the intelligible world is nothing other than the idea of the world. Hence, it is true that there are ideas.
6’. Speaking to God, Boethius says: "You have drawn all things from the highest pattern, having in your mind the glorious world— you, the most glorious of all." Therefore, the pattern of the world, and of all that is in the world, is in God; and our conclusion is the same as before.
7’. In the Gospel according to John (2:3-4), we read: "What was made in him was life... " This means, as Augustine says, that all creatures are in the divine mind as a piece of furniture is in the mind of a cabinetmaker. Now, a piece of furniture is in the mind of a cabinetmaker by means of its idea and likeness. Therefore, ideas of all things are in God.
8’. A mirror does not lead us to the knowledge of things unless their likenesses are reflected in it. Now, the uncreated Word is a mirror that leads to the knowledge of all creatures, because by the Word the Father utters Himself and all other things. Therefore, likenesses of all things are in the Word.
9’. Augustine says: "The Son is the Father’s art, containing the living forms of all things." Now, those forms are nothing other than ideas. Therefore, ideas exist in God.
10'. Augustine says that there are two ways of knowing things: through an essence and through a likeness. Now, God does not know things by means of their essence, because only those things which are present in the knower are known in this manner. Therefore, since He does know things, as is clear from what has been said previously, He must know them by means of their likenesses. Hence, our conclusion is the same as before.
As Augustine says: "We can literally translate S as species or forms." Now, the form of a thing has three meanings. First, it can mean that from which a thing gets its form, as when we say that the informing of an effect proceeds from the form of the agent. Now, an action does not necessarily result in effects that attain the complete character of the form of the agent, for effects often fail short of this, especially in the case of equivocal causes. Consequently, the form from which something gets its form is not said to be its idea or form. Second, the form of a thing can mean that by which a thing is informed, as when we say that the soul is the form of man, and the shape of a statue is the form of the bronze. Now, although form, which is part of the composite, is truly said to be the form of a thing, we do not usually call it its idea, because it seems that the word idea signifies a form separate from that whose form it is. Third, the form of a thing can mean that according w which a thing is informed. This is the exemplary form in imitation of which a thing is made. It is in this meaning that idea is ordinarlly used. Hence, the idea of a thing is the form which a thing imitates.
Note, however, that a thing can imitate a form in two ways. It can imitate it because of the agent’s intention, as an artist makes his painting imitate someone whose portrait he is making. It happens at times, however, that such an imitation is not intentional, but happens by chance or by accident. For example, painters frequently paint some thing resembling someone when they have not intended to do so. Now, what imitates a form by chance is not said to be formed according to that form, because according to seems to imply direction to an end. Hence, since the exemplary form or idea is that according to which a thing is formed, the exemplary form or idea should imitate something intentionally, not accidentally.
We see also that a thing acts because of an end in two ways. The agent himself may determine his end—and this is true of all intellectual agents—or the end of the agent may be determined by another prin cipal agent. For example, the flight of an arrow is toward a definite end, but this end is determined by the archer. Similarly, an operation of a nature which is for a definite end presupposes an intellect that has pre-established the end of the nature and ordered it to that end. For this reason, every work of nature is said to be a work of intelligence. Consequently, if a thing imitating something else comes into existence through an agent which has not itself determined the end, the form imitated will not have the character of an exempiar or idea merely because of what has happened. For example, we do not say that the form of the man who generates is the idea or exemplar of the man who is generated; but we use these terms only when an agent acting for an end has determined the end himself—whether the form imitated be within him or outside of him. For we say that the form of art in the artist is the plan or idea of the artistic product, and we also say that form outside the artist is a plan if he imitates it when he makes a thing. This, therefore, seems to constitute the character of an idea: It must be a form which something imitates because of the intention of an agent who antecedently determines the end himself.
Consequently, it is clear that those who say that all things happen by chance cannot admit the existence of ideas. This opinion, however, is criticized by philosophers, because things which happen by chance do not happen uniformly, but happen only in a few instances. We see, however, that the course of nature always, or at least in most cases, proceeds in an uniform manner.
Similarly, those who say that all things proceed from God by a necessity of nature and not by a decision of will cannot admit ideas, because those who act impelled by the necessity of nature do not determine the end for themselves. This cannot be the case here, however, because, if a thing acts for an end but does not determine that end itself, it has its end determined for it by something else superior to it; and thus there would be a cause superior to God. This, of course, is impossible, since all those who speak of God understand Him to be the first cause of beings.
For these reasons, Plato affirmed the existence of ideas, avoiding the opinion of the Epicureans, who asserted that everything happens by chance, and that of Empedocles and others who asserted that everything happens because of a natural necessity. This reason for affirming ideas, namely, on account of the previous planning of the works that are to be done, is suggested by Dionysius, who says: "We say that exemplars in God are the intelligible characters of things that come to be, the individually pre-existing causes of subsistent beings. These, theology calls 'predefinitions. They predetermine and cause godly and good inclinations in creatures. It is according to these that the supersubstance predefines and produces all things." However, because an exemplary form or idea has, in some sense, the nature of an end, and because an artist receives the form by which he acts—if it is outside of him—we cannot say that the divine ideas are outside of God. They can be only within the divine mind, for it is unreasonable to say that God acts on account of an end other than Himself or that He receives that which enables Him to act from a source other than Himself.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. The perfection of knowledge can be considered either with reference to the knower or will reference to the thing known. When it is said, therefore, that knowledge by means of an essence is more perfect than that had by means of a likeness, this is to be understood as referring to what is known. For that which is knowable in itself is in itself, known more than that which, not knowable in itself, is known only in so far as it is in a knower by means of its likeness. In this sense, it is not inconsistent to say that created things are less knowable than the divine essence, which is knowable by its very nature.
2. Two things are required for a species which is a medium of knowledge. First, it must represent the thing known. This belongs to a species in so far as it approaches the nature of what is known. Second, it must have a spiritual or immaterial act of existing. This belongs to a species in so far as it has its act of existing in the knower. For this reason, a thing is known better by means of an intellectual species than by means of the species in sense, since the former is more immaterial. Similarly, a thing is known better by means of the species in the divine mind than it could be known by means of its own essence— even granting that the essence of a thing could be the medium of knowledge despite its materiality.
3. Two elements of knowledge must be considered. First, we must consider its nature; and this is determined by the relation of the species to the intellect in which it exists. Second, we must consider the de terminate character which the knowledge has will respect to its object; and this follows the relation that the species has to the thing itself. Hence, the more similar the species is as a representation to the thing known, the more determinate is the knowledge; and the more it approaches immateriality, which belongs to the nature of the knower in so far as he knows, the more efficacious it is in the production of knowledge.
4. It is contrary to the nature of natural forms that they should be immaterial in themselves; but it is not inconsistent for them to acquire immateriality from the one in whom they exist. Consequently, in our intellects, the forms of natural things are immaterial. Hence, while it would be incorrect to assert that ideas of natural things have a separate subsistence, it would be correct to say that they are in the divine mind.
5. Strictly speaking, the ideas existing in the divine mind neither generate nor are generated, but rather create or produce things. Hence, Augustine says: "Although they themselves neither begin nor cease to be, nevertheless, whatever can begin or cease to be is said to be informed according to them." Nor is it necessary, when composite things are made, for the first efficient cause to resemble what is generated: this is true only of the proximate efficient cause. Since Plato asserted that the ideas are the proximate principle of generation, the argument mentioned in the difficulty is directed against him.
6. Dionysius wished to say merely that God does not know by means of an idea received from things or in such a manner that He would know a thing differently by means of an idea. For this reason, another translation of this passage reads: "Nor does He by His vision come into contact will individual things." Hence, from this argument, it is not impossible for ideas to exist.
7. Although there can be no proportion between God and a creature, there can be a proportionality, as we have previously shown.
8. Just as God does not need an essence other than His act of existence, because He cannot not be, neither does He need a norm other than Himself, because He cannot know or act in a way that would be faulty. The reason for this perfection is that He is His own norm, just as the reason for the necessity of His existence is that His essence is His act of existence.
9. In God there is no dimensional quantity on whose basis an equality could be established. There is in Him, however, quantity after the manner of intensive quantity. For example, whiteness is said to be great when it attains the perfect fullness of its nature. The intensity of a form, moreover, refers to the manner in which that form is possessed. Now, although that which is divine may in some way be passed on to creatures, we can never grant that a creature possesses it in the same way in which God possesses it. Hence, although we grant that there exists a likeness between a creature and God in some way, we do. not grant that they are equal in any way whatsoever.
10. As will be evident to one who carefully considers Anselm’s words, Anselm means to say merely that in the 'Word there exists no likeness drawn from things themselves, but, instead, all the forms of things are taken from the Word. Accordingly, he means that the Word is not a likeness of things, but things are imitations of the Word. Consequently, this argument does not dispense will the ideas, since an idea is a form which something imitates.
11. The statement that God knows Himself in the same way in which He knows other things is true if we are speaking about the way of knowing will reference to the knower. It is not true, however, if we are speaking about the way of knowing will reference to the thing known, because the creature which is known by God is not the same in the real order as the medium by which God knows. But He Himself is really the same as it. Consequently, it does not follow that there is multiplicity in His essence.
Parallel readings: Summa Theol., I, 15, 2 44, 3; 47, I, ad 2; I Sentences 36, 2, 2; III Sentences 12, sol. 2; Contra Gentiles I, 5 De potentia, 16, ad 12—4; Quolibet IV, 1, 1.
It seems not, for
1. The things which are predicated essentially of God are not less true of Him than those which are predicated personally of Him. Now, a plurality of personal properties involves a plurality of persons, and for this reason God is said to be triune. Consequently, since ideas are essential perfections because common to all three Persons, if the number of ideas is determined by the number of things that there are, it follows that there are not only three Persons but an infinite number of them.
2. It was said, however, that ideas are not essential properties, since they are the essence itself.—On the contrary, God’s goodness, wisdom, and power are His essence, yet they are said to be essential at tributes. Therefore, even though they are His essence, ideas can be called His essential properties.
3. Whatever is attributed to God should be attributed to Him as existing in the most noble manner possible. Now, God is the principle of all things; hence, whatever pertains to the nobility of a principle should be said to exist in Him in the highest possible degree. However, unity is a perfection of this sort, because, as is said in The Causes: "Every power is more infinite when it has unity than when it is multiplied." Hence, the highest unity is in God. He is, therefore, not only one in reality, but also one in concept, because that which is one in both respects is more one than that which is one merely in one respect. Consequently, many intelligible characters or ideas do not exist in God.
4. The Philosopher says: "What is entirely one cannot be separated either by intellect, time, place, or concept—especially will regard to its substance." Consequently, if God is one in the highest degree be cause He is being in the highest degree, conceptual distinctions are not applicable to Him; so, our original position stands.
5. If there are many ideas, they must be unequal, because one idea will contain only the act of existence, another, both existence and life, a third, both of these and intellection besides—according as the thing, whose idea it is, resembles God in one or many respects. But, since it is inconsistent to say that there is any inequality in God, it seems that there cannot be many ideas in Him.
6. Material causes can be reduced to one first matter, and efficient and final causes can be reduced in a similar manner. Consequently, formal causes can also be reduced to one first form. The end-term of this reduction, however, will be ideas, because, as Augustine says: "these are the principal forms or intelligible characters of things." Hence, there is only one idea in God.
7. But it was said that, although there is only one first form, ideas are nevertheless said to be many because of the different relations this form has.—On the contrary, it cannot be said that ideas are multiplied because of their relation to God in whom they exist, for He is one; nor can they be multiplied because of their relation to what is made ac cording to them and as these creatures exist in the first cause, since, as Dionysius says, in the first cause creatures exist as one. Finally, ideas cannot be multiplied because of their relation to what is made according to them and as these things exist in their own natures, because creatures are temporal and ideas are eternal. Hence, there is no possible way of saying that the ideas are many because of their relation to the first form.
8. The relation between God and creature does not exist in God; it exists only in the creature. But an idea or exemplar implies a relation of God to a creature. Therefore, that relation is not in God but only in the creature. Now, since the idea is in God, ideas cannot be multiplied by relations of this sort.
9. An intellect that knows by means of many species is composite and moves from one to another. But this way of knowing is far from God’s way. Therefore, since ideas are the intelligible characters of things by which God understands, it seems that there are not many ideas in Him.
To the Contrary:
1'. The same thing under the same aspect can, of its very nature, produce only one and the same reality. But God produces many and different things. Hence, God causes things, not according to one concept, but according to many concepts. But the concepts by which God produces things are ideas. Therefore, there are many ideas in God.
2’. Augustine says: "It remains, therefore, that all things are created by plan, but a man not by the same plan as a horse. So to think would be absurd." Each thing is therefore created according to its own plan; hence, there are many ideas.
3'. Augustine says that it is just as wrong to say that the plan which God has of man in general is the same as that of this man in particular as it is to say that the idea of an angle is the same as that of a square. It seems, therefore, that there are many plans in God’s ideas.
4'. The Epistle to the Hebrews ( i: states: "By faith we under stand that the world was framed by the word of God; that from in visible things visible things might be made." Note that he refers to the ideal species as invisible things (plural). Hence, there are many ideas.
5’. The saints eau ideas art and the world, as is clear from the authorities cited. But art implies plurality, for art is a collection of precepts converging toward one end. World has a similar connotation, since it implies the collection of all creatures. Hence, we should affirm the existence of many ideas in God.
De veritate EN 27