De veritate EN 64
As is clear from what has been said previously, the book of life is used of God because of its resemblance to the document which directs a chief of state in admitting persons to and excluding them from citizenship. Now, this document lies between two operations, for it is subsequent to the decision of the head of the state, who selects those whom he wishes to admit in preference to those whom he excludes, and it is anterior to the admission or exclusion. Moreover, this document is merely a kind of representation of his antecedent decision. Similarly, the book of life is also nothing more than an inscription in the divine mind of Godís predestination, for by this act of predestining God predetermines who are to be admitted to the life of glory. Moreover, His knowledge of this predestination is always will Him; and His knowledge that He has predestined some is, as it were, His predestination written in Him as in a book of life.
Considered formally, therefore, the book of life and predestination are not the same, even though, considered materially, the book of life is predestination just as we say that a certain book, considered materially, is the teaching of the Apostle because it contains the Apostleís teaching. It is in this sense that Augustine speaks when he says that the book of life is predestination.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. The answer is clear from what was said above in the reply.
2. The book of life and predestination are related to the same effect but not in the same manner. Predestination regards that effect without any intervening medium; the book of life regards it through the medium of predestination. Similarly, the likenesses of things in our soul are direct likenesses; but the words written in a book indicate merely what the soul has received. Hence, a book is only mediately a sign of things.
3. The book of life can be reduced to something predicated literally of God; this something, however, is not predestination but that knowledge of predestination by which God knows that He has predestined certain persons.
Answers to Contrary Difficulties:
1í-2í. It is not difficult to answer these arguments.
Parallel readings: Summa Theol., I, 24, 1; III Sentences 31, I, 2, sol. 2.
It seems that it is, for
1. As Augustine says, the book of life is Godís knowledge. But God knows His own life, just as He knows that of others. Consequently, the book of life concerns uncreated life also.
2. The book of life represents life, but not created life; for what is first does not represent what is second, but what is second represents what is first. Consequently, the book of life represents uncreated life.
3. What is predicated of several, but predicated primarily of one and secondarily of the others, is understood simply in its primary predication. Now, life is predicated primarily of God rather than of creatures, because His life, as Dionysius has shown, is the origin of all life. Therefore, since life is used simply in the phrase the book of life, it should be understood as referring to uncreated life.
4. Just as a book implies a representation, so also does a figure, especially when a book represents something by means of figures. But the Son is said to be the figure of the Father (He 1,3). Therefore, He can be said to be a book will respect to the life of the Father.
5. Book is predicated as being in a relation to that about which the book is written. But the Son is written about in the book of life, for we read in the Psalms (39: 8): "In the head of the book it is written of me... "Now, the life of the Son is not created. Hence, the book of life is concerned will uncreated life.
6. A book and the subject treated there cannot be identical in regard to the same thing. Now, a creature is a book revealing God. Therefore, God cannot be a book revealing created life. Hence, the book of life can be spoken of only in relation to uncreated life.
7. Words, like books, pertain to knowledge. Now, Word is predicated primarily of the divine essence rather than of a creature, because, by uttering Himself, the Father utters all creatures. Consequently, the book of life is primarily concerned will uncreated life rather than will created life.
To the Contrary:
1'. According to Augustine, the book of life is predestination. However, predestination regards only creatures. Therefore, the book of life regards only creatures.
2í. A book represents a thing only by means of figures and likenesses. Now, God knows Himself, not by means of likenesses, but by means of His own essence. Therefore, He is not a book will respect to Him self.
As is clear from what has been said previously, the book of life is an enrolment which directs the one who confers life in his bestowal of it, in accordance will what has been preordained concerning a certain person. Therefore, the life from which the book of life is named has two aspects. The first is that this life is acquired through someoneís grant; the second is that it follows upon the afore-mentioned enrolment which directs its being granted.
Neither of these features is found in uncreated life. God does not acquire His life of glory but has it by His very nature. Moreover, no knowledge precedes His life, but, according to our manner of under standing, His life precedes even His knowledge. Consequently, the book of life cannot be spoken of in relation to uncreated life.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. Not all of Godís knowledge is called the book of life, but only that concerning the life which the elect are to possess. This can be gathered from the words that follow the section quoted.
2. To represent a thing means to bear its likeness. There are two kinds of likenesses, however. The first kind, like the likeness in the practical intellect, produces a thing. Through a likeness of this kind, what is first can represent what is second. The second kind of likeness comes from the thing whose likeness it is. Through a likeness of this kind, what comes later represents what comes first, and not conversely. However, the book of life represents life, not by means of the second type of likeness, but by means of the first.
3. What is predicated simply is sometimes understood as applying to that about which it is predicated only secondarily, because some qualification has been added. For example, being [will the added qualification] in another is understood as signifying an accident. Similarly, life, because of the added qualification book, is understood as signifying created life, which is life only secondarily.
4. A figure represents its original as its principle, because a figure and an image are drawn from the archetype as from a principle. The book of life, however, represents life as something that it itself has caused. Now, it belongs to God the Father to be the principle of the Son, who is the figure of the Father, but the life of the Father cannot have anything as its principle. Therefore, there is no parallel between life and a figure.
5. That text of the Psalms is understood of the Son according to His human nature.
6. A cause represents its effect, and the effect its cause. This is clear from what has been said. Accordingly, God can be called a book will respect to creatures, and creatures a book will respect to God.
7. By the force of its own proper signification, Word does not denote the principle of that which is expressed by the word; but the book of life as taken here does. Hence, the two are not similar.
Parallel readings: Summa Theol., 1, 24, 2; III Sentences 31, I, 2, sols. 1-2.
It seems that it is, for
1. Natural life, as well as the life of glory, is represented in Godís knowledge. Now, Godís knowledge of the life of glory is called the book of life. Therefore, His knowledge of natural life should be similarly called.
2. Godís knowledge contains all things according to the manner of life, because we read in John (1:3-4): "What was made, in Him was life..." Therefore, His knowledge should be called the book of life will respect to all things, especially living things.
3. Just as a person is preordained by Godís providence to the life of glory, so is he also preordained to natural life. Now, as mentioned previously, the knowledge of those preordained to the life of glory is called the book of life. Therefore, the knowledge of those preordained to natural life also is called the book of life.
4. In its explanation of that verse in the Apocalypse (3:5), "I will not blot out his name out of the book of life," the Gloss reads: "The book of life is Godís knowledge, in which all things are clear." Consequently, the book of life is said to concern all things, hence, even natural life.
5. The book of life is, as it were, knowledge of the life of glory. But the life of glory cannot be known unless natural life is also known. Therefore, the book of life likewise concerns natural life.
6. The word life has been taken from natural life and applied to the life of glory. Now, a thing is said more truly of that of which it is said properly than of that to which it is merely applied. Therefore, the book of life concerns natural life more than it concerns the life of glory.
7. What is more permanent and common is more noble. Now, natural life is more permanent than the life of glory or of grace. Similarly, it is more common, because natural life continues will the life of grace or of glory; but the opposite is not true. Therefore, natural life is more noble than the life of grace and glory. Hence, the book of life concerns the life of nature more than it concerns the life of grace or of glory.
To the Contrary:
1'. As Augustine says, the book of life is, in a sense, predestination. But predestination does not concern natural life. Hence, neither does the book of life.
2í. The book of life concerns the life which is given by God directly. Natural life, however, is given by God through the medium of natural causes. Therefore, the book of life is not about natural life.
The book of life, as mentioned previously, is that knowledge which directs the giver of life in His bestowal of it. Now, when we give anything, we need no direction unless it is necessary to separate those to whom bestowal is to be made from those to whom it is not to be made. Hence, the book of life concerns only that life which is to be granted by choice. Natural life, however, like all other natural goods, is supplied to all in general, according to each oneís capacity. The book of life, therefore, does not concern natural life but only that life which, according to a choice made by Godís will, is given to some and not to others.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. Although natural life and the life of glory are represented in Godís knowledge, His knowledge of natural life does not fulfil the notion of the book of life as does His knowledge of the life of glory for the reason given.
2. The book of life gets its name, not from the fact that it has life, but because it is a book about the life to which some are preordained by Godís election, and because the names of these persons are written down in it.
3. In His providence, God gives life to some as a thing due to their nature, but He grants the life of glory only according to the good pleasure of His will. Consequently, He gives natural life to everything which can receive it, but not the life of glory. Hence, there is no book of natural life as there is a book of the life of glory.
4. The Gloss is not to be understood as meaning that all things are clearóthat is, all things are containedóin the book of life. It means, rather, that all winch is written in it is clear, that is, all is determined.
5. The book of life implies, as has been said, not only knowledge of the life of glory but also Godís choiceónot, however, will respect to merely natural life.
6. The life of glory is less known to us than natural life is. Consequently, we come to know the life of glory after knowing natural life. Similarly, we name the life of glory from natural life, even though more of the nature of life belongs to the life of glory than belongs to natural life. This is true of all the names that we give God which are taken from creatures. Consequently, when the word life is used by itself, it need not be understood as necessarily referring to natural life.
7. The life of glory, taken by itself, is more permanent than natural life, because it makes natural life stable. Accidentally, however, natural life is more permanent than the life of grace; that is, it is more closely related to the living thing, to which natural life, but not the life of glory, is due by reason of its essence.
Moreover, while natural life is more common in one sense than the life of glory, in another sense it is less common. For a thing is said to be common in two senses. First, it is said to be common through effect or predication; that is, it is found in many things according to one intelligible character. In this sense, that which is more common is not more noble but more imperfect, as animal is, which is more common than man. Now, it is in this sense that natural life is more common than the life of glory. Second, a thing is said to be common after the manner of a cause; that is, it resembles a cause which, while remaining numerically one, extends to many effects. In this sense, what is more common is more noble. For example, the preservation of a city is more noble than the preservation of a family. In this sense, natural life is not more common than the life of glory.
Parallel readings: See readings given for preceding article.
It seems that it does, for
1. As is evident from what Dionysius has written, what is in the effect is found in a nobler manner in the cause. Now, glory is the effect of grace. Consequently, the life of grace is more noble than the life of glory. Hence, the book of life concerns the life of grace more than it does the life of glory.
2. As mentioned earlier, the book of life is the enrolment of those who are predestined. But predestination, in general, is the preparation of grace and glory. Therefore, the book of life concerns, in general, the life of grace as well as the life of glory.
3. The book of life designates certain persons as citizens of that city in which there is life. But, just as some are made citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem through the life of glory, so some are made citizens of the Church militant through the life of grace. Therefore, the book of life concerns the life of grace as well as the life of glory.
4. What is predicated of many is understood as predicated without qualification of that of which it is predicated first. Now, the life of grace is prior to the life of glory. Therefore, when the book of life is mentioned, it is understood as referring to the life of grace.
To the Contrary:
1'. One who is in the state of grace possesses the life of grace will out qualification. His name, however, is not said to be written in the book of life without qualification; it is written there only in a certain respect, namely, in so far as he is in the state of grace. Therefore, the book of life is not concerned simply will the life of grace.
2'. The end is more noble than the means to the end. But the life of glory is the end of grace. Therefore, it is more noble. Consequently, when used without qualification, life should be understood as referring to the life of glory. Hence, the book of life used without qualification is concerned only will the life of glory.
The book of life means the enrolment of someone who will obtain life as a kind of reward and possession, for men of this sort are customarily enrolled in something. Now, a thing is said to be a possession, properly speaking, when it can be had at oneís command; and such a thing has no defects. Consequently, the Philosopher says that knowledge had about God "is not a human possession" but divine, because only God knows Himself perfectly, while manís knowledge of God is necessarily defective. Thus, life will be had as a possession when through life all the defects opposed to life are excluded. Now, this is what the life of glory does; it excludes all death, spiritual as well as physical, so that there remains not even the possibility of dying. The life of grace does not do this. Consequently, the book of life does not concern the life of grace without qualification, but only the life of glory.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. Certain causes are more noble than their effects, namely, the efficient, formal, and final causes. Hence, what exists in these causes exists in a more noble manner than what exists in their effects. On the other hand, matter is less perfect than its effects. Consequently, a thing exists in a material cause in a less noble manner than it does in the effect of this cause; for in matter it is incomplete and potential, but in the effect of the material cause its existence is actual.
Now, every disposition that prepares a subject to receive a perfection can be reduced to the material cause; and it is in this way that grace is the cause of glory. Consequently, life exists in glory in a more noble way than it does in grace.
2. Predestination does not concern grace except as grace is ordained to glory. Hence, to be predestined belongs only to those who have final grace, upon which glory follows.
3. Although those who possess the life of grace are citizens of the Church militant, the condition of the Church militant is not one in which life is possessed fully, because the possibility of dying still re mains. Hence, the book of life is not spoken of in relation to these individuals.
4. Although in the line of generation, the life of grace is prior to the life of glory, nevertheless, in the line of perfection the life of glory is priorójust as the end is prior to the means to the end.
Parallel readings Summa Theol., 1, 24, I; III Sentences 3l, I, 2, sols. 1-2.
It seems that we can, for
1. In its comment on Luke (10:20), "Rejoice in this, that your names are written...,"the Gloss reads: "By means of his heavenly or earthly deeds, a person is, as it were, engraved on Godís memory for ever." Now, just as a person is ordained to life through heavenly deeds, that is, through works of justice, so is he also ordained to death through earthly deeds, that is, through works of sin. Hence, as there is in God an enrolment of those ordained to life, so is there also in Him an enrolment of those ordained to death. Consequently, just as there is said to be a book of life in God, so should there also be said to be in Him a book of death.
2. The book of life is said to be in God only inasmuch as He has a list of those for whom He has prepared an eternal rewardóa list resembling that which a ruler on earth has, containing the names of those whom he has decided to honour. But a ruler on earth has a list of punishments and tortures as well as a list of honours and rewards. Therefore, God also has a book of death.
3. Just as God knows the predestination by which He prepares some for life, so does He also know His reprobation by which He prepares others for death. Now, the knowledge which God has of His predestination is called the book of life, as mentioned earlier. There fore, His knowledge of reprobation should be called the book of death.
To the Contrary:
According to Dionysius, "We should not venture to say anything about God unless we can support what we are saying from Scripture." Now, we do not find anything in Scripture that refers to a book of death as it refers to the book of life. Therefore, we should not affirm the existence of a book of death.
A personís knowledge about matters written in a book is superior to his knowledge of other matters. Hence, in connection will Godís knowledge of things, the term book is used of knowledge that is superior in kind to His knowledge of other truths.
Now, there are two kinds of knowledge in God, namely, knowledge of simple understanding and knowledge of approval. His knowledge of simple understanding concerns all things, both the good and the evil; but His knowledge of approval concerns only the good. Hence, the good are known to God in a more special way than the others; and for this reason they are said to be written in a book, while the evil are not. Consequently, a book of death is not spoken of as the book of life is.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. Some explain "heavenly deeds" as meaning the labours of the contemplative life, and "earthly deeds" as meaning the labours of the active life. If a person performs one or the other, however, he is enrolled for life and not for death. Therefore, both enrolments pertain to the book of life and neither to a book of death. Others understand "earthly deeds" as meaning works of sin, which, taken by themselves, simply ordain a person to death, although he may, for another reason, be ordained to life inasmuch as he may rise again after his fail, more cautious and humble.
One might also answeróand this is the better explanationóthat when a thing is said to be known by means of some other thing, this state merit can be understood in two ways. First, by means of may signify the cause of the knowledge on the part of the knower. This cannot be its meaning in the Gloss, however, because the works one does, whether they be good or bad, are not a cause of Godís foreknowledge, of His predestination, or of His eternal reprobation. Second, by means of may signify the cause on the part of what is known. This is its meaning in the Gloss. For a person is engraved on Godís memory by means of the works he has done, not because his works of the kind described are the cause of Godís knowing him, but because God knows that on account of these works he will possess life or death.
It is clear from this that the Gloss is not speaking of that enrolment for life which pertains to the book of life and is on the part of God.
2. Things are written in a book so that they may be known forever. Men who are punished, however, are kept by their very punishments from being known by other men. Hence, their names are written down only temporally until the time when their punishment is inflicted upon them. But those who are thought worthy of honours and rewards have their names written down unconditionally in order that they may be kept, as it were, in everlasting memory.
3. God does not have a special knowledge of the reprobate as He has of the predestined. Hence, no comparison can be made.
Parallel readings: Summa Theol., I, 12, I; 12,, ad 56, 3; 6z, 1; I-II,, 8; g, 1; II Sentences 4, 1, I; 23, 2, 2; iV Sentences 49, 2, 1; Contra Gentiles III, CC. 41,49, 5í, 54, 57; Quodibet X, 8, i In Matth., C. 5 (P. I0:53a); Comp. Theol., I, C. 104; 11, cc. 9-b; In Evang. Joannis, c. 1, lectura I, (P. Io:3bza); Q. D. De anima, 17, ad 10; In I Tim., c. 6, lectura 3 (P. b36
It seems not, for
1. We read in the Gospel according to St. John (1: 8): "No man hath seen God at any time." Commenting on this, Chrysostom writes:
"Not even the heavenly essences themselves, I mean the cherubim and seraphim, were able to see God as He is." But whoever sees God through His essence sees Him as He is. Angels, therefore, do not see God through His essence.
2. Commenting on that verse in Exodus (33:11), "And the Lord spoke to Moses face to face," the Gloss reads: "No man, no angel has ever seen the essence of God as it is." Consequently, our conclusion is the same as before.
3. According to Augustine, one desires a thing only if one does not have it. But in the first Epistle of St. Peter (1: 12), we read that "the angels desire to look upon God." Therefore, they do not see God through His essence.
4. Commenting on the first chapter of John, Chrysostom says: "Neither prophets, angels, nor archangels were able to see that which is God." Since that which is God is Godís essence, our conclusion is the same as before.
5. Whatever is seen by the intellect is seen through a form. Consequently, if the intellect of an angel were to see the divine essence, it would have to see it through some form. Now, it could not see it through the divine essence itself, because the form by which the intellect understands makes the intellect to be in act and, consequently, is the act of the intellect. Hence, the divine essence arid the intellect would be made one. But this cannot be said of the divine essence, which cannot become the constitutive part of anything. Therefore, when an angel knows God, he sees Him through the medium of some other form, and, consequently, does not see Him through His essence.
6. The intellect must be proportionate to the intelligible since the intelligible is a perfection of the one who understands. But there can be no proportion between the divine essence and an angelic intellect, for they are separated by an infinite distance, and there is no proportion between such widely separated things. Consequently, an angel cannot see God through His essence.
7. One thing can be made like another only in so far as it has received likeness of that other into itself. But by knowing God, an angelic intellect is made like God, for all knowledge takes place through assimilation. Consequently, an angel must know God through a like ness, and not through His essence.
8. Whoever knows a thing through its essence knows what that thing is. Now, as is clear from the writings of Dionysius and Damascene, one cannot know what God is, but only what He is not. No created intellect, therefore, can see God through His essence.
9. As Dionysius says, darkness is said to be in God because of the superabundance of His brightness and because He is hidden from all lights and concealed from all knowledge. Now, Godís brightness exceeds not only our intellect but also the angelic intellect. Consequently, the brightness of the divine essence is hidden from the knowledge of angels.
10. Dionysius argues as follows: all cognition is about existing things. God, however, does not exist but is above existence. Therefore, Fie cannot be known except by transcendent knowledge, which is divine knowledge.
11. Dionysius says: "If a person seeing God understood what he saw, he did not see God but only one of the things belonging to Him." Therefore, no created intellect can see God through His essence.
12. The stronger sight is, the more it can see something at a distance. Consequently, what is infinitely distant cannot be seen except by a sight that has infinite power. Now, the divine essence stands at an in finite distance from any created intellect. Therefore, since no created intellect has unlimited power, no created intellect can see God through His essence.
13. For any kind of knowledge, a judgment is necessary. A judgment, however, is made only by a superior about something inferior. Therefore, since no intellect is superior to the divine essence, no created intellect will be able to see God through His essence.
14. Boethius says: "A judgment is the act of one who judges." Consequently, what is judged is related to the judgment as something passive. But the divine essence cannot be in the relation of passivity will respect to any created intellect. Therefore, a created intellect cannot see God through His essence.
15. Whatever is seen through its essence is reached by the intellect. But no intellect can reach that which stands at an infinite distance from it. Consequently, an angelic intellect cannot see Godís essence, which stands at an infinite distance from it.
To the Contrary:
1'. In the Gospel according to St. Matthew (18:10) we read: "Their angels always see the face of my Father." Now, to see the face of the Father is to see His essence. Angels, therefore, see God through His essence.
2í. Beatified angels see God in the way in which we have been promised to see Him when we are beatified. But we will see God through His essence, as is clear from the first Epistle of St. John (3:2): "When he shah appear, we shah be like to him; because we shall see him as he is." Therefore, angels see God through His essence.
3í. Angels know the one who has made them. But the divine essence itself is the cause of angels. Therefore, angels see the divine essence.
4í. 'Whatever is seen is seen either through its essence or through a likeness. But Godís likeness is not something other than His essence, because whatever is in God is God. Consequently, angels see God through His essence.
5í. The intellect is stronger when it knows than the will when it loves. Consequently, Augustine says: "The intellect goes first; the will act follows later or not at all." Now, angels love the divine essence. Therefore, they see it in a much higher degree.
Treating this question, some philosophers have erred by saying that no created intellect can see God through His essence; for they concentrated only on the distance lying between a created intellect and the divine essence. Since this position is heretical, it cannot be held.
It is clear that the beatitude of any intellectual creature consists in its most perfect operation. Now, the supreme element of any rational creature is his intellect. Consequently, the beatitude of any rational creature consists in the most noble act of his intellectual vision. The nobility of intellectual vision, however, comes from the nobility of what is understood, just as the Philosopher says that the most perfect operation of sight takes place when it is in good condition and is directed to the most beautiful of all those things that fall under its view. If in its most perfect vision a rational creature would not see the divine essence, then its beatitude would not be God Himself but something inferior to Him. This, however, is not possible, for the ultimate perfection of all things consists in their reaching their principle; and our faith tells us that God Himself immediately created all rational creatures. Hence, according to faith, all rational creatures who attain beatitude should see God through His essence.
Now, however, we must consider or understand how we can see God through His essence. In all vision there must be posited something by which the one who sees beholds what is seen. This medium is either the very essence of the thing seen, as is true in the case of Godís knowledge of Himself, or some likeness of the thing seen, as is true in the case of a man seeing a stone. This is necessary, because the person who knows and the known should in some manner become one in the act of knowing. Godís essence, however, cannot be seen by a created intellect by means of a likeness. For, in all cognition taking place through likeness, the perfection of cognition is determined by the conformity which the likeness has will that thing whose likeness it is; and I mean a conformity in representation, such as a species in the soul has will the thing outside the soul even though it does not have a conformity will it in real existence. Consequently, if a likeness represents a genus, but not a species, the thing is known according to the intelligible character of the genus but not according to that of the species. If the like ness were to fail to represent even the genus, however, it would represent the thing only according to a likeness which is merely analogous. In such a case, the thing would not be known even according to the intelligible character of the genus. This would happen, for example, if I were to know a substance through the likeness of an accident.
Now, any likeness of the divine essence that is received into a created intellect can have no proportion will the divine essence other than that of analogy. Consequently, knowledge which is had through such a likeness is not knowledge of God Himself through His essence. In fact, it is more imperfect than that which would be had if a sub stance were known through the likeness of an accident. Consequently, those persons who said that God is not seen through His essence taught that only a certain brightness of the divine essence will be seen, meaning by brightness a likeness of the uncreated light through which, they affirmed, God could be seen but which was unable to represent the divine essenceójust as the light received by our eyes fails to represent the brightness of the sun, will the result that we cannot fix our vision upon the sunís brightness but can see only some of its brilliant rays. It remains, therefore, that that by which a created intellect sees God through His essence is the divine essence itself.
It is not necessary, however, for the divine essence to become the form of the intellect but only to become related to the intellect after the manner of a form. Consequently, just as one actual being results from matter and a form which is a part of the thing; so, will the necessary differences, the created intellect and the divine essence become one in the act of understanding when the intellect understands and the divine essence is understood through itself.
How it is possible for a separated essence to be joined to the intellect as a form has been shown by the Commentator. Whenever two things are received in something that can receive, and one of them is more perfect than the other, the proportion of what is more perfect to that which is less perfect is like the proportion of a form to what it perfectsójust as light is the perfection of colour when both are received in a transparent medium. Consequently, since a created intellect, because present in a created substance, is less perfect than the divine essence, the divine essence bears to it in some way the relation of a form as long as it exists in it. We can find some sort of example of this among natural things. A self-subsistent thing cannot be the form of any matter if it contains matter itself. For example, a stone cannot be the form of any matter. A self-subsistent thing lacking matter, however, can be the form of matter, as is clear in the case of the soul. Similarly and in some way or other, and even though it is pure act and has an act of being entirely distinct from the intellect, the divine essence becomes related to the intellect as its form in the act of understanding. For this reason, Peter Lombard says that the union of the body will a rational soul is, in a way, an example of the beatifying union of a rational spirit will God.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. The statement, "This is seen as it is," can be understood in two ways. First, it can mean that the very mode of the thingís existence comes within oneís vision, that is to say, the very mode of the thingís existence is seen along will the thing. It is in this way that God, as He is, is seen by angels and will be seen by the blessed; for they will see that His essence has that manner of being which it has. That verse in the first Epistle of John, "We shah see him as he is" (3:2), is to be understood in this sense. Second, however, it can mean that the manner mentioned determines the vision of the one who sees. In other words, the manner of the vision itself is the same as the manner of the essence of the thing seen. In this sense, no created intellect can see God as He is; for it is impossible for the mode of a created intellectís vision to be as sublime as the mode of Godís existence. The statement of Chrysostom should be understood in this sense.
2-3-4. A similar reply should be given to the second, third, and fourth difficulties.
5. The form by which an intellect sees God when it sees Him through His essence is the divine essence itself. From this, however, it follows, not that the essence is that form which is a part of a thing in its existence, but only that in the act of knowing it has a relation similar to that of a form which is a part of a thing in its existence.
6. Properly speaking, a proportion is nothing else but a relation of a quantity to a quantity, such as arises when one quantity is equal to or three times another. The term proportion was then transferred to signify the relation of one reality to another. For example, even though no relation of quantity is involved, matter is said to be proportioned to form inasmuch as it is related to form as its matter. Similarly, a created intellect is proportionate to the sight of the divine essence inasmuch as, in some way, it is related to the latter as to an intelligible form, even though the perfections of the two are incommensurable because an infinite distance lies between them.
7. Assimilation is required for knowledge for this reason only, that the knower be in some way united to what is known. However, when the thing itself is united through its own essence to the intellect, the union is more perfect than if it had taken place through a likeness. Consequently, since the divine essence is united to the angelic intellect as its form, there is no need that the angelic intellect be informed by some likeness which would serve as a medium for knowing the divine essence.
8. The statements of Dionysius and of Damascene should be under stood as referring to the vision had in this life, in which a person sees God through some form or other. Since this form falls short of representing the divine essence, the latter cannot be seen through it. All that is known is that God transcends this intellectual representation of Him. Consequently, that which God is remains hidden; and this is the most exalted mode of knowledge that we can attain while we are in this life. Hence, we do not know w hat God is, but only what He is not. Nevertheless, the divine essence represents itself sufficiently. But when it becomes, as it were, the form of the intellect, the intellect knows not only what God is not but also what He is.
9. Godís splendour proves too much for the intellects of persons in this life for two reasons. First, it lies beyond the grasp of their intellectual power. From this it follows that the perfection of our vision is not equal to the perfection of His essence, because what an action can accomplish is determined by the agentís perfection. Second, it transcends the form by which our intellects now understand. Consequently, God is not seen now through His essence, as is clear from what has been said. In the beatific vision, however, while God still transcends the power of a created intellect, and the perfection of our vision still does not equal the perfection of His being, He does not lie beyond the form by which He is seen. Consequently, that which is God will be seen.
10. Dionysiusís argument proceeds from the knowledge had while in this life This is had from forms in existing creatures, and, consequently, it cannot attain to what is transcendent. Such is not the case, however, of the vision had in heaven. His argument, therefore, is not pertinent to the problem at hand.
11. That statement of Dionysius should be understood as referring to the vision had in this life, wherein God is known through some created form. Our reason for saying this has been explained above.
12. A sense of sight must be very strong if it sees what is at some distance from it; for sight is a passive power, and the more perfect a passive potency is, the less is required to move it. Conversely, the more perfect an active power is, the more it can move. Again, a thing is more susceptible to being heated, the less heat it requires to become hot. But the more distant a thing seen is, the smaller is the visual angle; consequently, less of the thing seen comes to the sense of sight. However, if an equal form were to come from what is near and from what is far, the near object would not be seen less than the distant object would be. Now, even though an infinite distance lies between God and an angelic intellect, He is nevertheless joined to that intellect by His en- tire essence. Consequently, the cases are not similar.
13. There are two kinds of judgments. In the first, we judge how a thing should be; and this kind of judgment can be made only by one who is superior about what is inferior. In the second, we judge how things are; and this kind of judgment can be both about what is superior and about what is equal, for I am equally able to judge if one is standing or sitting, whether he be a king or a peasant. This second kind of judgment is found in cognition.
14. A judgment is not an action which passes out from the agent into an exterior thing which is then changed by it. Instead, it is an operation that remains as a perfection in the one who judges. Consequently, that about which the intellect or the sense judges need not be passive, even though it may be signified as passive. As a matter of fact, what is sensed and what is understood (the object of a judgment) are related to intellect and sense more like agents, inasmuch as the operations of sensation and understanding are in a certain sense passive.
15. A created intellect never attains the divine essence so as to be of the same nature. It does attain it, however, as an ifitelligible form.
Parallel readings: De veritate, 2, 2, ad 5-7; 20, 5; Summa Theol., I, 12, 7; I-II, 4, 3, ad 1; III, 10, 1; III Sentences 14, 2, 1; 27, 3, 2; IV Sentences 49, 2, 3; In Ephes., C. 5, lectura (P. i In 1TM c 6,3 (P. i De div. nom., c. 1, lects. 1-2 (P. 15:2611) seq. 1TM 269a seq.); De cantate, a. b, ad 5; in Evang. Joannis, c. 1, lectura II (P. bo:3Izb); Comp. Theol., I, c. io6; Contra Gentiles III,
It seems that they do, for
1. If what is simple is seen, the whole of it is seen. Now, the divine essence is simple. Therefore, when a beatified angel sees it, he sees the entire essence and consequently comprehends it.
2. It was said, however, that even though the entire essence is seen, it is not seen entirely.óOn the contrary, entirely signifies a certain mode, but every mode of the divine essence is the essence itself. There fore, if the entire essence is seen, it will be seen entirely.
3. The effectiveness of an action is measured by the form, which is the principle of action on the part of the agent. This is clear from the case of heat and the process of heating. Now, the form by which the intellect understands is the principle of intellectual vision. Consequently, the effectiveness of the intellect in seeing God will be as great as the perfection of the divine essence. Therefore, the intellect will comprehend the divine essence.
4. Just as the most perfect way of knowing composite intelligible objects is to know them by demonstration, so also the most perfect way of knowing the in composite is to know what they are.
Now, every composite intelligible object known by demonstration is comprehended. Consequently, if one knows what a thing is, he comprehends it. But those who know God through His essence know what He is, since to know what a thing is, is to know its essence. Angels, therefore, comprehend the divine essence.
5. In the Epistle to the Philippians (3: 12), we read: "But I follow after, hoping I may comprehend as I am also comprehended." But God perfectly comprehended the Apostle. The Apostle, therefore, was moving to a stage wherein he would perfectly comprehend God.
6. The gloss on the passage cited immediately above says: "'If I may comprehend that is, that I may know the immensity of God that surpasses any intellect." Now, God is incomprehensible only by reason of His immensity. Therefore, the blessed perfectly comprehend the divine essence.
To the Contrary:
1'. In his commentary on Luke, Ambrose says: "No one has looked upon the abundance of goodness which lives in God. Neither mind nor eye has comprehended it."
2'. In his treatment of the vision of God, Augustine says: "No one has ever comprehended the fullness of God, either will his bodily eyes or will his mind."
3í. According to Augustine in the same work: "A thing is comprehended if its limits can be seen." Now, this is impossible in the case of God, for He is infinite. Consequently, He cannot be comprehended.
De veritate EN 64