De veritate EN 70



Properly speaking, one thing is said to be comprehended by another if it is included within it, for to comprehend means to apprehend some thing in all its parts simultaneously. This is, as it were, to include it in all its aspects. Now, what is included by another thing does not exceed it; instead, it is less than or at most equal to it. These principles pertain to quantity. Consequently, there are two modes of comprehension ac cording to the two kinds of quantity, namely, dimensional (or extensive) quantity and virtual (or intensive) quantity. According to dimensional quantity, a cask comprehends will; according to virtual quantity, matter is said to comprehend form when nothing remains in the matter which has not been perfected by the form. It is in this latter manner that a knowing power is said to comprehend its object, namely, in so far as what is known lies perfectly under its cognition. When the thing known exceeds its grasp, then the knowing power falls short of comprehension.

This excess must be considered differently in the different powers. To the sensitive powers, the object is related not merely according to virtual quantity but also according to dimensional quantity; for, inasmuch as a sense is in space, the sensibles move it, not only in virtue of the quality of the proper sensibles, but also according to dimensional quantity. This is clear in the case of the common sensibles. As a result, comprehension by sense can be impeded in two ways. First, it can be impeded by an excess in the object considered from the standpoint of virtual quantity. For example, the eye is kept from comprehending the sun because the intensity of the sun’s brighmess, by which it is visible, exceeds the proportion of the eye’s ability to see it. Second, it can be impeded by an excess according to dimensional quantity. For example, the eye is kept from comprehending the entire mass of the earth. Part of it the eye sees, part of it it does not. This, however, is not true of the first example given, for we see all the parts of the sun alike, but none of them as perfectly as they might be seen.

Now, the intelligible is related to intellect only indirectly according to dimensional or natural quantity, that is, only inasmuch as the intellect receives something from sense. Consequently, our intellect is similarly kept from comprehending what is infinite according to dimensional quantity, so that some of the infinite comes into the intellect, but some of it remains outside. The intelligible is not, however, directly related to the intellect according to dimensional quantity, since the intellect is a power that does not use a physical organ. Instead, the intelligible is related to intellect according to virtual quantity. Consequently, the intellectual comprehension of those things which are understood in themselves without dependence on sense is impeded only because of an excess according to virtual quantity. This occurs, for example, when what is known can be understood in a more perfect way than the intellect understands it. For example, a person can under stand the following conclusion: "A triangle has three angles equal to two right angles," merely because of a probable reason, namely, the authority of another or because the proposition is commonly accepted. Such a person does not comprehend the proposition, not because he is ignorant of one part of it and knows another, but because that conclusion can be known by a demonstration which he does not yet know. Consequently, he does not comprehend the proposition simply be cause he has not grasped it perfectly.

Now, it is clear that there is no place for dimensional quantity in an angelic intellect, especially in its relation to the vision of God. Consequently, any equality or excess occurring here must be taken as involving virtual quantity only. Moreover, the perfection of the intelligibility of the divine essence lies beyond the grasp of angelic and all created intellects in so far as they have the power of knowing, because the truth by which the divine essence is knowable surpasses the light by which any created intellect knows. Consequently, it is impossible for any created intellect to comprehend the divine essence, not because it does not know some part of the essence, but because it cannot attain the perfect manner of knowing it.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. The entire divine essence is seen by an angel, for there is nothing in it which he does not see. Consequently, the term entire is to be explained in a privative sense, not in a sense that would suppose parts. He does not, however, see the essence perfectly. Therefore, it does not follow that he comprehends it.

2. We can consider three modes in any vision. The first mode is that of the person who sees, taken absolutely; and it means the extent of his capacity. According to this, the intellect of an angel sees God entirely; for this statement means simply that an angel uses all the force of his intellect in seeing God. The second mode is that of the thing seen; and this mode is nothing other than the thing’s quality. But, since quality in God is nothing other than His substance, His mode is His very essence. Consequently, angels see God entirely in this sense, too, for they see God’s entire mode in the same way in which they see the entire essence. The third mode is that of the vision itself, which is a medium between the one seeing and the thing seen; and therefore it signifies the mode of the one seeing in his relation to the thing seen. In this sense, one person is said to see another entirely when his vision is total, as occurs when the mode of the vision is as perfect as the mode of the thing’s visibility. As is clear from what was said above, one cannot see the divine essence entirely in this sense. In this respect, we are like one who knows that a proposition can be demonstrated but does not know the demonstration. Such a person knows the entire mode of its cognition, but he does not know it according to the complete mode in which it is knowable.

3. That reasoning follows when the form which is the principle of an action is united to the agent according to its complete mode. Such a union is necessarily true of all non-subsistent forms, whose very existence is to be in another. But, even though the divine essence is, in some way, like a form of the intellect, still, because it is seized by the intellect only according to the manner of the intellect seizing it, and because the action here is not only that of the form but also that of the agent, the action cannot be as perfect as the form which is the principle of the action, because of the defect on the part of the agent.

4. A thing whose definition is known is comprehended only if the definition itself is comprehended. It is possible, however, to know a thing or its definition without comprehending either; consequently, the thing itself is not comprehended. Moreover, even though an angel knows in some way what God is, still he does not comprehend this.

5. Vision of God had through His essence can be called comprehension in comparison will the vision had in this life, which does not attain God’s essence. It is not, however, comprehension simply speaking, for the reason already given. Consequently, in the statements, "Hoping I may comprehend as I am also comprehended" and "I shall know even as I have been known," the word as signifies a comparison of likeness, not of equality.

6. God’s immeasurableness will be seen, but not in an immeasurable manner; for, as was said previously, His entire mode will be seen, but not entirely.


Parallel readings; Summa Theol., I, 12, 4. See also readings given for q. 8, a. 1.


It seems that he can, for

1. According to Augustine,1 in their initial state in which, as many say, the angels had only natural powers, they saw in the Word all the creatures that were to be made. Now, this would not have been possible unless they saw the Word. Therefore, by means of its purely natural powers, an angelic intellect saw God in Hi essence.

2. W can understand what is less intelligible can understand what is more intelligible. Now, the divine essence is most intelligible, because it is most free of matter; and it is because of this condition that a thing becomes actually intelligible. Therefore, since an angelic intellect can by means of its purely natural powers understand other intelligible objects, it can will even greater reason also know the divine essence by means of its purely natural powers.

3. But it was said that, even though the divine essence if taken in itself is most intelligible, it is not most intelligible to an angelic intellect.—On the contrary, the fact that what is more visible in itself is not more visible to us is due to a defect in our sight. There is no defect, however, in an angelic intellect; for, as Dionysius says, an angel is "a pure, clean and spotless mirror." Consequently, that which is more intelligible in itself is more intelligible to an angel.

4. According to the Commentator, the principle laid down by Themistius, 'This is more intelligible; therefore it is more under stood," is applicable to intellects completely separated from matter. Now, an angelic intellect is of this nature. Therefore, the principle can be applied to it.

5. Surpassing visible brilliancy is less visible to our sense of sight be cause its very brilliancy harms sight. But surpassing intelligible brilliancy does not harm our intellect; indeed, it strengthens it. Consequently, that which is more intelligible in itself is more understood by the intellect.

6. To see God in His essence is an act of the intellect. But grace lies in the affective power. Grace, therefore, is not needed in order to see God through His essence. Consequently, angels were able to reach the vision of God merely through natural powers.

7. According to Augustine, since faith by its essence is present in the soul, it is also seen through its essence by the soul. Now, God by His essence is present to the soul and is present similarly to an angel and to all creatures whatsoever. Consequently, in his purely natural state an angel could see God in His essence.

8. According to Augustine, a thing is present in the soul in three ways: through union, through a notion, and through the presence of its essence. Now, if this division is consistent, it must have been made through opposites. Consequently, since God is present to an angelic intellect through His essence, He is not present to it through a like ness. Hence, God cannot be seen by an angel by means of a likeness. If an angel, therefore, can know God in some way merely by means of his natural powers, it seems that he knows Him through His essence naturally.

9. If a thing is seen in a material mirror, the mirror itself must be seen. Now, in the state in which they were created angels saw things in the Word as in a mirror. Consequently, they saw the Word.

10. But it was said that the angels were created not in a purely natural condition but will grace—either will sanctifying grace or will charisms.—On the contrary, just as the light of nature falls short of the light of glory, so also does the light of grace given in sanctifying grace and in charisms. Consequently, if persons possessing either of these graces could see God through His essence, they could, for a like reason, do the same in the state of pure nature.

11. Things are seen only where they are. Now, before things were created, they existed only in the Word. Consequently, when the angels came to know the things that were to be made, they knew them in the Word and thus saw the Word.

12. Nature does not fail in necessary matters. But to attain its end is one of the most necessary concerns of nature. Consequently, each and every nature has been provided for in such a way that it can attain its end. Now, to see God through His essence is the end for which a rational creature exists. Therefore, by its own purely natural powers a rational creature can attain this vision.

13. Superior powers are more perfect than inferior. Now, by means of their own natures, inferior powers can attain their objects. For example, senses can attain sensibles; the imagination, objects of imagination. Consequently, since God is the object of the intelligence, as is said in Spirit and Soul, it seems that an angelic intelligence can see God through its own natural powers.

14. But it was said that such a comparison cannot be made, because the objects of other powers do not exceed the powers themselves, but God exceeds all created intelligences on the contrary, no matter how much a created intelligence is perfected by the light of glory, God always infinitely surpasses it. Consequently, if "excess" prevented one from seeing God through His essence, no created intellect would ever be able to attain a state of glory in which it would see God through His essence. This, however, is absurd.

15. In Spirit and Soul, we read: "The soul is a likeness of all wisdom," but so is an angel, for the same reason. Now, things are known naturally by means of their likenesses. Consequently, an angel naturally knows those things which belong to wisdom. But, as Augustine says, wisdom is about divine matters. An angel, therefore, can come to see God through His essence by means of his natural powers.

16. In order that a created intellect see God through His essence, all that is required 15 that it be made hike God. Now, by its very nature, the intellect of an angel is godlike. Consequently, it can see God through His essence by means of its own natural powers.

17. All knowledge of God is either as through a mirror or through His essence. This is clear from the first Epistle to the Corinthians (13:12): "We see now through a glass in a dark manner, but then face to face." Now, in their natural condition angels do not know God as through a mirror, because, as Augustine says: "From the lime they were created they enjoyed the eternal vision of the Word. They did not 'know the invisible things of God through things that are made." (This latter type of knowledge is "seeing through a glass.") Consequently, angels naturally see God through His essence.

i8. We see a thing without a medium if we can think of it without thinking about something else. An angel, however, can by his natural knowledge think of God without thinking about any creature. Consequently, he can see God without any medium; and this is to see Him through His essence.

19. Augustine says that those realities which are in the soul in their essence are known by the soul through their essence. But the divine essence is in the soul in this manner. Therefore.

20. That which is not seen through its essence is seen through a species if it is seen at all. Now, the divine essence cannot be seen through a species, for a species is more simple than that of which it is the species. Consequently, since the divine essence is known naturally by an angel, it is known by him through its essence.

To the Contrary:

1'. To see God through His essence is life eternal. This is clear from the Gospel of St. John (17:3): "This is eternal life, etc." Now, one cannot attain eternal life through merely natural powers; for, as it is said in the Epistle to the Romans (6:2 3): "The grace of God is life everlasting." Consequently, by merely natural powers, one cannot attain the vision of God through His essence.

2’. Augustine says that, even though the soul is made to know God, it can be led to this act of knowledge only by the infusion of divine light. Consequently, no one can by his natural power see God through His essence.

3’. Nature does not transcend its limits. Now, the divine essence surpasses any created nature. Consequently, the divine essence cannot be seen by any natural cognition.



In order that God be seen through His essence, the divine essence must be united will the intellect in some way as an intelligible form. However, what is to be perfected can be united will a form only after a disposition is present which makes the subject to be perfected capable of receiving such a form, because a definite act takes place only in a potency suitable for it. For example, a body is united will a soul as will its form only after it has been organized and disposed. Similarly, there must be some disposition produced in the intellect by which it is made perfectible by this form, the divine essence. This disposition is brought about by an intellectual light; and, were this light natural, an intellect could see God in His essence by its purely natural powers. It is impossible, however, for it to be natural, because the ultimate disposition for a form and the form itself must belong to one order. Consequently, if one is natural, so is the other. The divine essence, however, is not the natural intelligible form of a created intellect.

This is clear from the principle that act and potency always belong to one genus. Hence, potency in the genus of quantity has no relation to an act in the genus of quality; and, similarly, the natural form of a created intellect can belong only to that genus in which the potency of a created intellect exists. As a result, the form of the intellect can

not be a sensible form, since it belongs to another genus, but can be only an immaterial form belonging to the same genus as the intellect. Now, just as a sensible form lies below the genus of created intellectual powers, so does the divine essence lie above it. Consequently, the divine essence is not a form within the ambit of the natural power of the intellect. Therefore, that intellectual light by which a created intellect receives the ultimate disposition for union will the divine essence as will an intelligible form is not a natural light, but a supernatural light. And this is the light of glory of which the Psalmist speaks when he says (35:10): "In thy light we shah see light."

Therefore, the natural capacity of any intellect has a determinate relation to some created intelligible form. This relationship, however, differs in man and in angels, since in man it is to an intelligible form abstracted from sense (all man’s knowledge has its origin in sense); however, in angels it is to an intelligible form not received from sense, and especially to that form which is their own essence. Consequently, the knowledge of God that an angel can naturally attain is simply that which he gets when he sees Him through his own substance. Hence, we read in The Causes: "An intelligence understands what lies above it through the mode of its own substance," because, inasmuch as it is caused by God, its substance is a certain likeness of the divine essence. The knowledge of God that man can naturally attain, however, is had through knowing Him by means of sensible form which, by the light of the active intellect, is abstracted from sensible conditions. Hence, in its commentary on the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans (1:20), "For the invisible things of him, etc.," the G1oss states that men were given help toward knowing God by sensible creatures and by the natural light of reason. However, knowledge of God had by means of a created form is not vision of Him through His essence. Consequently, neither man nor angel can attain the vision of God through His essence by their own purely natural powers.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. This statement of Augustine, that angels saw things in the Word, can be understood as referring to angels, not as they were immediately after their creation, but as they were when they were beatified. Or the reply might be given that, even though they did not see the Word through His essence when they were in a natural state, they saw Him in some way by means of a likeness existing within them, and it was from this knowledge that they were able to know creatures. Later, however, they knew them much more fully in the Word when they saw the Word through His essence, since, in so far as a cause is known, its effects are known by means of the cause.

2. Even though the divine essence, taken in itself, is most knowable, it is not most knowable to a created intellect, because it lies outside the order of the latter.

3. The angelic intellect is said to be a pure and spotless mirror will out defect because in view of its genus it does not suffer from a defect of intelligible light as the human intellect does. The intelligible light of the human intellect is obscured to such an extent that it must be passive in regard to phantasms under the limitations of space and time and progress discursively from one thing to another. This is why Isaac says: "Reason is born in the shadow of intelligence" and why its intellectual power can grasp the quiddities only of intelligible created forms belonging to its own genus. But the angelic intellect is also found to be "dark" and defective in its relation to the divine essence, which lies outside its genus. Therefore, it falls short of seeing the di vine essence, even though the latter in itself is most knowable.

4. This statement of the Commentator is understood as referring to knowledge of created intelligibles, not to knowledge of the uncreated essence. A created intelligible substance is in itself most intelligible, but is less intelligible to us for this reason, that it exceeds forms abstracted by sense, our natural means of knowledge. Similarly in fact, even to a much greater extent—the divine essence exceeds the created intelligible form by which angelic intellects know. Consequently, an angelic intellect understands the divine essence less [than created things] even though it is more intelligible in itself, just as our intellect knows less about an angelic essence than it does about sensible things, even though an angelic essence is more intelligible in itself.

5. Even though surpassing intelligible brilliancy does not harm the intellect but strengthens it, it sometimes lies beyond the representation of the form by which the intellect understands; and, for this reason, it hinders the intellect. Consequently, the following statement in the Metaphysics that the intellect is related to what is most manifest in nature "as the eye of the bat is to the light of the sun" is true.

6. For the vision of God through His essence, grace is not required as some kind of immediate disposition; but by grace man merits that the light of glory be given him, and through this he sees God in His essence.

7. Faith is known through its essence in so far as its essence is joined to the intellect as an intelligible form, and not for any other reason. But the divine essence is not joined to a created intellect in this manner during life. It merely sustains the intellect in its act of existence.

8. That division is made, not through opposing things, but through opposing formal concepts. Consequently, there is no reason why some thing cannot be in the soul in one manner, say, through its essence, and in another manner also, as through its likeness or image. For an image and likeness of God exist in the soul, even though God is also present there through His essence.

9. The answer here is the same as that given to the first difficulty.

10. Neither sanctifying grace for charisms suffice for vision of God through His essence. Only perfected grace is sufficient, and this is the light of glory.

11. Even before things existed in their own natures they existed not only in the Word but also in the minds of angels. Consequently, they could be seen even though the Word was not seen through His essence.

12. As the Philosopher says, many degrees of perfection are found in things. The first and most perfect degree is that wherein a thing has its own goodness without the motion or the help of another, just as the most perfect health exists in one who is healthy by himself without the help of medicine. This is the degree proper to divine perfection. The second degree is that wherein one can attain perfect goodness will slight help or will a little motion, like a man who can keep his health will only a little exercise. The third degree is that wherein one acquires perfect goodness only through many motions, like a man who acquires perfect health only after much exercise. The fourth degree belongs to him who can never acquire perfect goodness, but can ac quire only some goodness by means of many motions. The fifth degree belongs to him who cannot acquire any goodness at all and has no movement towards goodness. He is like a man who has an incurable disease and, consequently, does not take any medicine.

Now, irrational natures can in no way attain perfect goodness which is beatitude. They can attain only some imperfect goodness, their natural end, which they achieve through the force of their own natures. Rational creatures, however, can attain perfect goodness, that is, beatitude. Yet, in order to attain this, they need more things than lower natures need in order obtain their ends. Consequently, even though rational creatures are more noble, it does not follow that they can attain their end by means of their own natural powers as lower natures do. For, to attain beatitude through one’s own power belongs exclusively to God.

13. A similar reply should be given to this difficulty about the ordering of powers.

14. Even though a created intellect is never elevated by the light of glory to such an extent that the distance between it and the divine essence is no longer infinite, yet, as a result of this light, the intellect is united will the divine essence as will an intelligible form; and this union can happen in no other way.

15. By his natural powers an angel can know God through a likeness; but this knowledge is not the same as seeing God through His essence.

16. The natural conformity which an angelic intellect has will God is not such that it is proportioned to the divine essence as to an intelligible form. It consists rather in this, that an angelic intellect does not receive its knowledge of sensible things from sense as we do; and in other respects, too, the angelic intellect resembles God more than it resembles the human intellect.

17. A thing is seen in three different ways. First, it is seen through its essence, in the way in which a visible essence itself is joined to sight when the eye sees light. Second, it is seen through a species, as takes place when the likeness of a thing is impressed on my sense of sight when I see a stone. Third, it is seen "through a mirror"; and this takes place when the thing’s likeness, through which it is known, is not caused in the sight by the thing itself directly but by that in which the likeness of the thing is represented, just as sensible species are caused in a mirror.

Now, to see God in the first manner is natural only to God. It lies above the nature of man and angel. To see God in the second manner is natural to an angel. To see God in the third manner, however, is natural to man himself, for he can come to know God from creatures inasmuch as they represent Him somehow or other. Consequently, the statement that all knowledge is either through an essence or through a mirror should be taken as referring to human knowledge. The knowledge which an angel naturally has of God lies between these two types.

18. An image of a thing can be considered in two ways. First, it can be considered in so far as it is a certain thing; and since as a thing it is distinct from that of which it is an image, under this aspect the motion of the cognitive power to the image will be other than its motion to ward that of which it is an image. Second, it can be considered in so far as it is an image. Under this aspect, the motion toward the image will be the same as the motion toward that of which it is an image. Consequently, when a thing is known by means of a resemblance existing in its effect, the cognitive motion can pass over immediately to the cause without thinking about any other thing. This is the way in which the intellect of a person still in this life can think of God without thinking of any creature.

19. Those things which are in the soul in their essence and are united will it as intelligible forms are understood by the soul through their essences. The divine essence, however, is not present this way in the soul of one still in this life. Consequently, the argument proves nothing.

20. That argument is talking about species abstracted from things, and these must be more simple than the things themselves. A created [angelic] intellect, however, does not know God naturally through such a likeness, but only through a likeness imprinted by Him. Consequently, the argument proves nothing.


Parallel readings: De veritate, 20, aa. 4-6; Summa Theol., I, 12, 8; 57,5; io6, 2, ad I; III, 20, 2 II Sentences II, 2, aa. 1— III Sentences i 2, sols. 2-4; 1V Sentences 45, 3, I; 49, 2, 5; Contra Gentiles III, cc. 6, 5


It seems that he does, for

1. As Isidore says: "Angels see all things in the Word of God before they come into being."

2. Every faculty of sight sees those things whose likenesses it has within it. But the divine essence, a likeness of all things, is joined to the angelic intellect as an intelligible form. Consequently, when an angel sees God through His essence he sees all things.

3. If an angel does not know all things, this is because of a defect in his faculty of knowing or in its objects or in the medium of his cognition. But his lack of knowledge is not due to any defect in the angel’s intellect, for, as Dionysius says, an angel "is a pure and spotless mirror." Nor is it due to any defect in the objects of this faculty, for all things are knowable in the divine essence. Finally, it is not due to any defect in the medium by which angels know, for the divine essence represents all things perfectly. Consequently, seeing God, an angel sees all things.

4. An angel’s intellect is more perfect than the intellect possessed by a human soul. But the human soul has the power to know all things; for as is said in The Soul, it is "all things in some manner" since it is natural for it to know all things. Consequently, an angelic intellect can also know all things. Now, nothing is more effective in bringing an angelic intellect to the act of cognition than the divine essence. There fore, when an angel sees the divine essence he knows all things.

5. As Gregory says, love in heaven is equated will knowledge, for there one’s love is proportioned to his knowledge. But one who loves God will love in Him all things lovable. Consequently, one who sees God will see all things knowable.

6. If an angel, seeing God, does not see all things, then this is only because all the intelligibles are infinite. But an angel is not kept from understanding by the fact that the object of his intellect is infinite, for the divine essence itself is distant from him as something infinite from what is finite. Consequently, it seems that when an angel sees God he can see all things.

7. The knowledge one has in heaven is greater than that had by one on earth, no matter how much the knowledge of the latter is elevated. Now, all things can be revealed to one still on earth. That all things present can be revealed is clear from the case of Benedict, who, as Gregory says, was shown the whole world at once. That all future things can be revealed is also clear, since God reveals some future events to prophets; and, in the same way, He could reveal all of them to a prophet—and all past things, too. For an even better reason, there fore, an angel seeing God in the heavenly vision knows all things.

8. Gregory writes as follows: "What is there that they do not see when they see the one that sees all things?" Now, angels see God, who knows all things, through His essence. Consequently, angels know all things.

9. As regards knowledge, the power of an angel is not less than that of a soul. But Gregory says: "Every creature is small for a soul who sees the Creator." Therefore, every creature is small to an angel; thus, our conclusion is the same as before.

10. Spiritual light pours itself into the mind will greater force than physical light does into the eye. But, if physical light were the adequate cause of all colors, then in pouring itself into the eye it would manifest all colors. Consequently, since God Himself, who is spiritual

light and the perfect principle of all things, pours Himself into the mind of an angel who sees Him, by knowing God the angel will know all things.

11. Cognition is, as it were, a kind of contact between the knower and the knowable. Now, if a simple thing is touched, whatever there is in it is touched. But God is simple. Therefore, if He is known, all things are known, because all their intelligible characters exist within Him.

12. Knowledge of creatures does not belong to the substance of beatitude. Therefore, creatures seem to be related equally to the knowledge had in that state: one who is beatified knows either all creatures or none at all. But, since he knows some creatures, he must know them all.

13. Any potency that is not reduced to act is imperfect. But the intellect of an angel is in potency to the knowledge of all things; other will, it would be inferior to the human intellect, which has the power to become all things. Consequently, if an angel did not know all things in his state of beatitude, his knowledge would remain imperfect; but this seems repugnant to the perfection of beatitude, which takes away all imperfections.

14. If a beatified angel did not know all things, he would, since he is in potency to knowing all things, at one time know something which he did not know previously. Now, this is impossible; for, as Augustine says, "beatified angels thoughts do not change"; and they would change if angels came to know something of which they were previously ignorant. Consequently, beatified angels see all things when they see God.

15. The beatific vision is measured by eternity-, and for this reason is called eternal life. Now, since there is no "before" or "after" in eternity, these sequences are not in the beatific vision either. Hence, [in the vision] something cannot be known which was not known previously. Therefore, our conclusion is the same as before.

16. In the Gospel according to John (10:9), we read the following: "He shah go in, and go out, and shah find pastures." This is explained as follows in Spirit and Soul: "He shall go in to contemplate the divinity of the Saviour, and go out to gaze upon His humanity. In both he will find glorious refreshment." Now, our external sight will nourish itself perfectly upon the humanity of our Saviour, because nothing in His body will be hidden from it. Consequently, the eye of the mind will nourish itself similarly on His divinity, because it will be ignorant of nothing in His divinity, and so will know all things.

17. As is said in The Soul, an intellect that understands what is most intelligible does not understand what is less intelligible to a lesser degree but to a greater degree. Now, God is most intelligible. Hence, when an intellect sees God it sees all things.

i8. One knows an effect especially by knowing its cause. Now, God is the cause of all things. Consequently, when an intellect sees God it knows all things.

19. Colors painted on a tablet, to become known by sight, would need only a light to shine upon them and make them actually visible. Now, through the illumination of the divine light, the representations of all things are actually intelligible in the divine essence. Consequently, when an intellect sees the divine essence, it sees all things by means of these representations of all things.

To the Contrary:

1'. We read the following in the Epistle to the Ephesians (3:10): "That the manifold wisdom of God may be made known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places through the church." Commenting on this passage, Jerome says that the angels learned the mystery of the Incarnation through the preaching of the Church. Consequently, they were ignorant of it before the preaching of the Church, even though they saw God through His essence. Therefore, when they saw God in His essence they did not know all things.

2’. Dionysius writes: "Many aspects of the mysteries are hidden from the celestial essences."

3’. Nothing is equal to another’s extension according to dimensional quantity unless it has the same amount of dimensional quafitity. There fore, nothing is equal to another’s extension in virtual quantity unless it has the same amount of efficacy. Now, an angelic intellect is not equal to the divine intellect in perfection. Consequently, it is impossible for an angelic intellect to embrace all things which the divine intellect embraces.

4’. Since angels have been made to praise God, they praise Him in so far as they know Him. But, as is clear from what Chrysostom has written, all angels do not praise Him equally. Therefore, some know more things in God than others. Nevertheless, even those who know less see God through His essence. Consequently, when they see God through His essence they do not see all things.

5’. Knowledge and joy belong to the substance of angelic beatitude. Now, the beatified angels can rejoice over something which they did not rejoice over previously, as, for example, the conversion of a sinner: "There shall be joy before the angels of God upon one..."(Lc 15,10). Consequently, they can also know something which they did not know previously. Thus, even though they see God through His essence, there are some things which they do not know.

6’. No created thing can be all-good or all-powerful. Therefore, no created thing can be all-knowing.

7’. God’s knowledge infinitely surpasses that of a creature. Consequently, it is impossible for a creature to know all that God knows.

8’. In Jeremias (17:9- o) we read the following: "The heart is per verse... and unsearchable. Who can know it? I...the Lord." From this it seems that even though the angels see God through His essence, they nevertheless do not know the heart’s secrets and, therefore, do not know all things.

De veritate EN 70