De veritate EN 81



Of themselves angels cannot see the thoughts of the heart directly; for, in order that the mind actually think something, the will must make an intention moving the mind to act will respect to its mental species. This is clear from what Augustine has said. Now, an angel cannot naturally know the motion in the will of another person, be cause he naturally knows by means of forms that have been given him, and these are likenesses of things existing in nature. The motion of the will, however, has no dependence on or connection will any natural cause. It is the divine cause alone that can influence the will. Consequently, the willís motion and the heartís thoughts can be known, not by any likenesses of natural things, but only in the divine essence, which leaves its imprint on the will. Thus, angels cannot know the thoughts of the heart directly, but only if they are revealed to them in the Word.

Sometimes, however, an angel can indirectly come to know the heartís thoughts, and this can happen in two ways. First, it happens inasmuch as a motion in the body results from an actual thought, as when one is affected by joy or sadness from what he thinks, and his heart is moved in some way or other. By this means, even doctors can sometimes know what a heart is experiencing. Second, an angel can know thoughts in so far as a person gains or loses merit from what he is actually thinking; for thus the doerís or thinkerís condition is some how changed for good or for evil, and angels can know this change in his condition. But this gives only a general knowledge of what was thought, because, as a result of many different thoughts, a person can merit or demerit, be joyful or sorrowful, in the same way.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. That cleansing of which Dionysius speaks should be understood as being from ignorance, not from the impurity of sin.

2. From one species which the intellect has within itself, many distinct thoughts arise just as we can think many different things about man from the one species we have of man. Consequently, even if an angel sees our intellect shaped to the species of man, it does not follow that he knows determinately what the heart is thinking about.

3. We do not actually think of all the things whose species we have within us, because sometimes species are in us only in the state of habit. Consequently, from the fact that the species in our intellects are seen by angels it does not follow that they know our thoughts.

4. By means of the same phantasms, our reason can direct its thought to different objects. Consequently, even should one know the phantasms by which the soul thinks, it would not follow that he knew the thoughts themselves. Thus, Augustine says: "If demons could see cleanly a manís internal thought, arising from his virtues, they would not tempt him."

5. As a consequence of an angelís action, we may be made capable of thinking certain things; but in order to think something actually, we must make an act of the will, and this by no means depends upon an angel. Consequently, even though angels can know our intellectís power, that is, the power by which we can speculate about intelligible things, it does not follow that they know our actual thoughts.

6. Bodily motion, found in the passions of the soul, does not follow all knowledge but only practical knowledge. For, as is said in The Soul, when we consider something speculatively, we are related to the things we are considering "as though we were looking at them in pictures." Moreover, even when bodily motion does take place, it indicates thought only in a general way, as we have said.

7. Those marks are nothing other than merits or demerits; and from these, thoughts can be known only in a general way.

8. Even though angels know our mind and our habitual knowledge, it does not follow that they know what we are actually thinking, be cause many actual thoughts can arise from one thing known habitually.


Parallel readings; Summa Theol., I, 1 10; 8, 2; 8 II Sentences 3,, C. (L, II, for.


It seems that they can, for

1. Augustine says: "In heaven we shah behold all our knowledge at the same lime by one glance." But angels see now in the manner in which we will see in heaven. Therefore, angels now actually under stand many things at the same time.

2. An angel understands that a man is not a stone. Now, whoever understands this understands man and stone at the same lime. Angels, therefore, understand many things at the same lime.

3. An angelís intellect is stronger than the common sense. But the common sense apprehends many things at the same time, because its object is number, whose parts are many unities. Consequently, it is even truer to say that an angel can know many things simultaneously.

4. That which belongs to an angel by reason of his natural power belongs to him no matter by what medium he understands. Now, in virtue of his nature it belongs to an angel to understand many things. For this reason, Augustine says: "The spiritual power of an angelic mind can will case intellectually comprehend at the same lime all that it wills." Therefore, no matter whether an angel knows things in the Word or through individual species, he still can know many things at one time.

5. The intellect and the intelligible are mutually related. Now, one intelligible can be grasped simultaneously by distinct intellects. Therefore, one intellect can focus on distinct intelligibles simultaneously.

6. Augustine says: "Our mind always remembers, understands, and wills itself." The same is true of an angelic mind. Now, an angel some times understands things other than himself. Therefore, when this hap pens, he understands many things at the same time.

7. The relation of the intellect to the intelligible is the same as that of knowledge to the knowable. But one who knows can know many things at the same time. Consequently, the intellect can understand many things at the same time.

8. An angelís mind is much more spiritual than air. But because of airís spirituality, many distinct forms, such as black and white, can exist in it simultaneously. For example, a black thing and a white thing can be so situated that lines drawn from the eyes of different people to these things will intellect at one point, through which the species of black and of white will pass simultaneously. Therefore, it is even truer to say that an angelic intellect can be simultaneously actuated by distinct forms. Hence, it can know many things at once.

9. The intellect is reduced to the act of understanding by means of species which it has within itself. Now, many species exist simultaneously in an angelic intellect, for, as is said in The Causes: "an intelligence is filled will forms." Consequently, an angel understands many things at the same time.

10. Many things can be understood at the same lime in so far as they are one. But all intelligibles are one in so far as they are intelligible. Therefore, all intelligibles can be understood at the same lime by an angel.

11. More distance lies between the divine essence and created forms than between one created form and another. Now, angels understand simultaneously through the divine essence and through a created form, because they always see things in the Word, and, unless they knew things at the same time through innate species, they would never understand them by means of these species. Much more possible is it, then, for an angel to understand by means of different created innate forms at the same time and in this way understand many things simultaneously.

12. If an angel did not understand many things at the same time, before and after would be found in the action by which he understands this and the thing. But every action in which before and after are found involves time; and, therefore, the characteristic action of an angel would be circumscribed by lime. This is contrary, however, to The Causes, where we read: "An intelligence is a thing whose sub stance and operation are above time."

13. The reason for our intellectís not being able to know many things simultaneously seems to be this, that it understands things dependently on time and space. Neither of these, however, belongs to an angelic intellect, because it does not receive from the senses. Consequently, it can understand many things at the same lime.

14. Since forms in the intellect are second perfections, they are accidental forms. Now, many accidental forms can exist in the same subject if they are not contraries, as whiteness and blackness are. Therefore, an angelís intellect can also be informed by many different forms at the same time, as long as they are not contraries. Thus, it can know many things at the same time.

15. Music and grammar are forms belonging to one genus; and they can simultaneously inform the soul of a person who has both habits. It is possible, therefore, for an intellect to be informed simultaneously by different forms. Hence, the conclusion is the same as before.

16. By understanding that it understands, an angelic intellect is aware that it understands something other than itself. Therefore, it simultaneously understands itself and something else. Thus, it can understand many things at the same time.

17. An angelic intellect is of itself indifferently related to all the forms existing within it. Therefore, it understands either through all of them at the same lime or through none of them at all. The latter alternative is impossible; hence, it understands through all of them at one lime. Thus, it understands many things simultaneously.

To the Contrary:

1'. The Philosopher says: "It may happen that we have habitual knowledge of many things, but we have actual understanding of only one."

2'. As Augustine says, an intention is required before a thing can be considered actually. But, since intention is a motion, it cannot be directed to different objects, because one motion can have only one end- term. Consequently, an angel cannot know many things at the same time.

3í. As a body receives its shape from figure, so does the intellect receive its shape from the species of that which it actually understands, as Algazel says. Now, one body cannot be shaped by different figures simultaneously. Consequently, an intellect, too, cannot be shaped simultaneously by different species. Therefore, it cannot know many things at the same rime.

4í. Just as [an angel], when understanding things in their own nature, understands them through distinct forms, so also, when under standing them in the Word, he understands them through distinct intelligible representations. Therefore, he cannot understand many things simultaneously either in their own nature or in the Word.

5'. A thingís power cannot be greater than its substance. Now, an angelís substance cannot be in many places at the same rime. Hence, his intellectual power cannot understand many things at the same time.

6í. A thing which extends to many things contains some composition. But an angelís intellect is simple. Therefore, it cannot extend to the simultaneous understanding of many things.



All that an intellect understands it understands by means of some form. Consequently, keeping in mind the kinds of forms by which an angel understands, we must now consider whether or not he can understand many things at one time.

It should be observed, therefore, that some forms belong to one genus, others belong to different genera, and the forms belonging to different genera are related to different potencies. Now, as the Philosopher says, the unity of a genus is determined by the unity of matter or of potency. Consequently, it is possible for the same subject to be perfected simultaneously by forms belonging to different genera, be cause then the one potency would not be terminating in different acts but differently. For example, if a body is both white and sweet at the same time, it has whiteness in it in so far as it shares the nature of the transparent medium, and sweetness in so far as it shares the nature of the moist. But forms belonging to one genus are related to one potency, whether they be contraries (as blackness and whiteness) or not contraries (as triangle and square).

Now, these forms are said to be in a subject in three ways. In the first, they exist only potentially and, consequently, simultaneously, be cause one potency has for its object different forms of one genus and their contraries. In the second, they exist in imperfect act, so that they are coming into being. In this manner, they can also exist simultaneously. This is evident in the case of one who becomes white; for, during the whole period of alteration, whiteness inheres in him as some thing coming into being, and blackness as something going out of being. In the third, they exist in perfect act, as whiteness does when the whitening process is finished. In this manner, it is impossible for two forms belonging to the same genus to be present simultaneously in the same subject, because the same potency would have to terminate in different acts; and this is just as impossible as it is for one lime, beginning from one point, to be terminated at different points.

It should understand, therefore, that all intelligible forms belong to one genus, even if the things, whose forms they are, belong to different genera, because all intelligible forms are related to an intellectual potency. Consequently, in the intellect they can all simultaneously exist in potency, as well as in incomplete actóa mean between potency and perfect act. This latter condition is that had by a species which is present habitually, for habit is a mean between potency and act.

But many species cannot exist simultaneously in perfect act in an intellect, because, in order to understand actually, an intellect must be in perfect act will respect to that species by which it understands. Hence, it is impossible for the intellect to understand actually according to different forms taken together at one time. Therefore, all the different things which it understands by different forms cannot be understood at one rime, but all that is understood by the same form will be understood at one time. Consequently, an angelic intellect can understand simultaneously all that it understands through the one essence of the Word, but the things it understands through innate forms (which are numerous) it cannot understand simultaneously if its understanding is through different forms. Any angel, however, through the same form, can understand many things, at least all the singulars of a species by means of one form of that species. Indeed, the higher angels can understand more through one species than the lower angels can. Hence, they are more able to understand many things at one time.

We should remember, however, that a thing can be one in one respect and many in another. For example, a continuum is actually one but potentially many. Now, if the intellect or sense is directed to a thing of this sort in so far as it is one, it is seen at one time, but if the same powers are directed to it in so far as it is many (and this would be to consider each part by itself), then the whole could not be seen simultaneously. Similarly, when our intellect considers a proposition, it considers many things as one. Hence, in so far as the things are one, many things are understood at one rime when the one proposition made up of them is understood; but, in so far as they are many, they cannot be understood at one rime, because this would mean that the intellect can simultaneously turn itself to understanding the intelligible characters of each one of them taken in itself. Consequently, the Philosopher says: "I mean, however, by understanding things 'together or 'apart in an affirmation or negation that they are not understood in succession but as one thing." For they cannot be understood simultaneously in so far as a relation of distinctness exists between them, but they can be understood simultaneously in so far as they are united in one proposition.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. Augustine is speaking of knowledge had by the blessed. In this they know all things in the Word.

2. As is clear from what has been said, when an angel, knowing a man, knows that he is not a stone, he knows many things as one.

3. The same answer should be given here as was given to the second difficulty.

4. The nature of an angelic mind is such that it can know many things through one form. Thus, by turning to that species, it can, when it wishes, understand at one time all that it knows through that species.

5. No part of the intellect itself is in the intelligible, but something of what is understood is in the intellect. Consequently, the argument for many things being understood simultaneously by one intellect is not the same as that for one thing being understood by many intellects.

6. Augustine himself later explains" that his statement, "Our mind always remembers, understands, and wills itself," refers to internal memory. Consequently, our soul does not always actually understand itself. An angelic mi, however, always understands itself actually. This is due to the fact that an angelic mind understands itself through its essence, which always informs it. Our act of understanding, how ever, might be said to depend in a certain sense on the intention of our will. Nevertheless, even though an angelís mind in some way under stands itself and some other thing, it does not simultaneously under stand many things except as they are one. This will be clear from the following.

If any two things are so related that one of them is the reason why the other can be understood, one of them will be, as it were, formal, the other, as it were, material. Thus, those two constitute one intelligible, because matter and form constitute one thing. Consequently, when the intellect understands one thing through another, it under stands only one intelligible. This is evidently the case will sight. For light is that by which colour is seen, and so is related to colour, in a manner of speaking, as its formal element. Thus, colour and light constitute only one visible thing and are seen simultaneously by sight. Now, an angelís essence is his means for knowing all that he knows, even though it is not a perfect means and, for this reason, needs forms to be given it. For he knows all things according to the mode of his substance, as The Causes states, and according to his power and nature, as Dionysius says. Consequently, when he understands himself and other things, he cannot understand many things except as they are one.

7. Knowledge is a habit, knowing is an act. Now, many forms can exist in the intellect at the same time habitually, but not in perfect act, as is clear from what has been said. Hence, one can know many things together, but he cannot understand many things at one time.

8. Those forms are not in the air except in the stage of coming-to-be, for they are in it as in a medium of transmission.

9. Many species exist simultaneously in an angelís intellect, but they are not in perfect act.

10. All things are one in so far as they are intelligible, and so they can be understood at the same time in so far as they are intelligibles. This takes place when their intelligibility is understood.

11. The divine essence is the cause of the intelligibility of all the angelís innate forms, because they are, as it were, modeled upon it. One innate form, however, is not the cause of the intelligibility of another. Hence, there is no parallel.

12. Any operation essentially involves time if it needs some future thing to complete its species. This is evidently the case will motion, which does not have a complete species until it is carried through to a term, because the motion which would end at mid-point would be specifically different from that which would terminate at the extreme. On the other hand, operations which have their complete species immediately are not measured by time except for another reason. Examples of such are understanding, sensing, and the like. For this reason, the Philosopher says that delight is not in time. By exception, how ever, these operations can be in time, in so far as they are joined to motion by existing in natures subject to time, namely, physical natures which come into and go out of existence. Our sensitive powers use organs, which are of this nature, and our intellect receives from them. But it is clear that an angelís act of understanding involves time neither intrinsically for extrinsically. Therefore, there is no before and after in an act by which he understands one intelligible. Nevertheless, this does not prevent a number of operations from being ordered according to before and after.

13. The reason given in the objection is not the entire reason for our possible intellectís not being able to understand many things at one time. The entire reason has been given above.

14. Accidental forms, if not contrary, can exist simultaneously in the same subject if they are related to different powers, but not if they belong to one genus and are related to the same power. This is clear if we consider triangles and squares.

15. Since music and grammar are habits, they are not complete acts, but, as it wer forms standing halfway between potency and act.

16. The knower and the actually known are in some way one. Hence, when anyone understands that he understands something, he understands many things as one.

17. The angelic intellect is not similarly related to all the forms it has within itself, because sometimes it is in perfect act will regard to one form but not will regard to the others. This takes place by means of the will, which reduces the intellect from this potency to act. Consequently Augustine says ir the statement quoted earlier that an angel understands when he wills.

Answers to Contrary Difficulties:

1'. It may happen that only one thing can be understood as one at one time and through one form, but this does not prevent many things from being understood as one at one time or through one form.

2í. Virtual quantity is ascertained by comparing the power will its objects. Consequently, just as a body can, by its different parts, touch different things by means of its dimensional quantity, so can a power be applied to different things according to its different relation to them, as long as it has been perfected in act, just as fire can warm different things on all sides at the same time. Similarly, an intellect perfected by a form can be simultaneously directed to the different things to which that formís representative power extends. There may be many intelligible characters in the thing to which the intellect is directed, but there will be only one species in the intellect because of the intellectís unity will the form.

3'. The intellect does not understand many things at one time if, to understand them, it must be shaped by many different forms.

4'. The intelligible characters in the divine ideas differ only in so far as things have different relations to them. Hence, they are one through the divine essence. This is not true of the innate forms possessed by the angels.

5'. When one says that a thingís power cannot be greater than its substance, this statement should not be understood as meaning that nothing belongs to its power that does not belong to its substance, but rather that the strength of a power is determined by the mode of the substance. For example, if a substance is material, its power will act in a material way.

6í. The more simple a thingís virtual quantity, the greater is the number of objects to which it extends; but the more simple its dimensional quantity, the smaller the number of objects to which it extends. Consequently, extension to many things by reason of dimensional quantity is a sign of composition, but extension by reason of virtual quantity is a sign of simplicity.


Parallel readings: De veritate, 15, 1; Summa Theol., I, 58, aa. 3-4; 79, 8; 85, 5; De malo, 16, 6, ad 1 s. c.


It seems that it is, for

1. Whoever knows one thing through another knows it discursively. Now, angels know one thing through another when they see creatures in the Word. Hence, their knowledge of things is discursive.

2. Just as we know some things and not others, so do angels also know some things and not others. This is clear from what has been said. But we are able to learn what we do not know by means of what we do know. Therefore, since angels possess more profound intellects than we, it seems that they, too, can come to a knowledge of what they do not know by means of what they know already. This, however, is discursive knowledge. Therefore, an reason from one thing to another.

3. No motion can be detected in intellection other than that by which the mind passes from one thing to another. Now, angels are moved when they understand, and that is why Dionysius says that the motion of angels will respect to the good and the beautiful is circular, oblique, and horizontal, just as that of our own souls is. Therefore, angels, as well as our own souls, understand discursively.

4. As Augustine says, demons know the heartís thoughts by means of the movements that appear on the body. But this is to know the cause through the effect; it is also to reason from one thing to another. Therefore, demons know things by reasoning from one thing to an other; and, by the same argument, angels also know in this manner, because the same kind of natural cognition is found in both angels and demons.

5. Maximus says that our souls roll many things together, just as angels do. Now, to roil many things together means to compare them. Therefore, angels know things by way of comparison.

6. Angels know natural causes and effects as perfectly as we do. Now, we see effects in causes and causes in effects. Therefore, angels do the same. Consequently, they make comparisons, just as we do.

7. All knowledge had through experience is knowledge had by a process of comparison, because, as said in the Metaphysics, it is based on experience, and the general apprehension results from the memory of many individual events. Now, as Augustine says, through their long experience demons come to know many things about natural effects. Therefore, demons possess knowledge that is the result of comparison.

To the Contrary:

1'. All discursive knowledge is had by reasoning either from the universal to particulars or from particulars to the universal, for all reasoning is reduced to syllogizing and induction. But, as Dionysius says, angels do not acquire divine knowledge from what is divisible or from senses, nor are they led to these particular things from some thing common. Therefore, there is no discursive knowledge in angels.

2'. Man is said to be rational inasmuch as he reasons by inquiring. As is clear from Dionysius, however, angels are not called rational but intellectual. Therefore, angels do not know discursively.

3'. As said in Spirit and Soul: "Reasoning is a search made by the reason." But in angels there is no reason, because, as is clear from the same work, reason is put into the definition of the human soul as being one of its properties. Therefore, angels neither reason nor have discursive knowledge.

4í. We read the following in Spirit and Soul: "It belongs to the same person to know the natures of visible things and to investigate invisible things." Now, the first type of knowledge belongs to man because of his senses, and the second type, too, for the same reason. Therefore, it seems that the second type of knowledge does not belong to angels, because they do not have senses.

5'. Maximus the Commentator writes that angels do not circle about a number of existing things as our souls do. Now, souls are said to circle about a number of existing things in so far as they reason from one thing to another. Therefore, angels do not know discursively.



Properly speaking, to discourse is to come to the knowledge of one thing through another. There is a difference, however, between knowing something in another and knowing it from another. For when one thing is known in another, the knower is, by one motion, directed to both. This is clearly the case when a thing is known in another as in an intelligible form. This kind of knowledge is not discursive. More over, in this regard, it makes no difference whether the thing be seen in its own species or in a different one; for sight is not said to know discursively when it sees a stone either by means of a species received from the stone itself or by seeing the stoneís species reflected in a mirror.

A thing is said to be known from another, however, when the motion to both is not the same, but the intellect is first moved to one and from this is moved to the other. Consequently, discourse takes place here, as it evidently takes place in demonstrations. For the intellect is first directed only to principles, then it is directed through the principles to conclusions. From the moment of their creation, however, the intellects of angels are perfected by innate forms giving them all the natural knowledge to which their intellectual powers extend, just as the matter of celestial bodies is completely terminated by its form, will the result that it no longer remains in potency to another form. For this reason, The Causes states: "An intelligence is filled will forms. Now, it would not be filled will forms unless its entire potentialities were actuated by forms. Therefore, an intelligence is ignorant of none of the things that it can know naturally.

But because our intellect shares in a defective intellectual light, it is not actuated will regard to all the intelligibles which it can know naturally. It remains perfectible, for could it reduce itself from potency to act had not its knowledge will respect to some things been actuated by nature. Consequently, there necessarily are some things in our intellect which it knows naturally, namely, first principlesóeven though in us this knowledge is not caused unless we receive something through our senses. Therefore, the relation of our intellect to those principles is similar to that which an angel has to all that he knows naturally. And since the knowledge we have of principles is the highest form of our knowledge, it is evident that on this summit of our nature we reach to some extent the lowest point of an angelís. For, as Dionysius says "The divine wisdom has linked the boundaries of the first creatures to the place where the second begin." Consequently, just as we know principles by simple intuition without discourse, so do the angels know all they know in the same fashion. This is why they are called "intellectual," and why our habit of principles has the same name

Answers to Difficulties:

1. Angels know creatures in the Word without any discourse, as things are known in their likenesses.

2. Angels are not ignorant of any of the things whose knowledge they can arrive at naturally; but they are ignorant of some things that surpass their natural knowledge. By themselves, they cannot arrive at a knowledge of these through discourse, but they need divine revelation. Our intellect, however, does not know all that it can know naturally. Hence, from the things it knows it can arrive at what it does not know. But, it cannot arrive at unknown things, such as matters of faith, that surpass our natural powers of knowing.

3. The motion of which Dionysius speaks is not taken to mean the passage from one thing to another. It is motion merely in that sense in which all operations are called motions, just as understanding and sensing are called motions. Consequently, Dionysius distinguishes three kinds of motions in souls and in angels as regards their knowledge of God: circular, oblique, and straightóusing these as metaphors. Now, circular motion is perfectly uniform, because all the parts of a circle are equidistant from its center, and because it cannot be said that one part of a circular motion is its beginning or end more than any other. Straight motion, however, is not uniform, because as a line its parts are not equidistant from a designated point, and as motion it has a designated beginning and end. Oblique motion possesses uniformity in so far as it agrees will circular motion, but lacks uniformity in so far as it agrees will straight motion.

Now, there is not the same manner of uniformity and non-uniform ity in an angel and in a soul. Consequently, Dionysius distinguishes between these motions as found in each. In the act of knowing God, an angel does not direct his cognition to many different things but fixes it on God alone. In this regard, he is said to be moved about God, as it were, in a circular motion, because he does not arrive at God as at the end of cognition that had its beginning from some principle of cognition, but [his knowledge is] like a circle, without a be or end. Hence Dionysius says that angels are moved "in a circular motion which is simple, without beginnings, and rich will everlasting illuminations of the good and the beautiful."

These divine illuminations coming into the minds of the angels are to be understood as though they were lines coming from the center of a circle to its circumference and in some way constituting the sub stance of the circumference. Then, the knowledge which G has of Himself is compared to the center of the circle, and the knowledge which the angel has of God is compared to the circle itself, which imitates the unity of its center but fails short of achieving it.

Non-uniformity in an angelís knowledge of God is not to be found in the knowledge itself but only in its communication, that is, in so far as lie passes on his knowledge of God to others. This action Dionysius assigns to the angels straight movement, saying: "Their motion is straight when, passing directly over all things, they go forth to provide for all who are entrusted to them." Moreover, he calls that motion of theirs oblique which is, as It were, made up of both of the afore-mentioned motionsóthe motion which occurs when, remaining united to God in knowledge, they go forth in action to lead others back to Him. Hence, lie says: "They are moved obliquely when, while caring for those who have less, they nevertheless remain unmoved in uninterruptible union will the cause of union."

However, uniformity and non-uniformity are also found in the soulís knowledge of God, because a soul is moved towards God in three ways. In the first, by looking upon the visible things that have been made, the soul sees the invisible things of God. This motion is straight. Consequently, Dionysius says: "The motion of the soul is straight when the soul goes forth to the things which lie around it, and from external things, as from varied and multiple signs, is lifted up to simple and unified contemplation. The soul is moved toward God in a second way by the illuminations it receives from Him. These, however, it receives in accordance will its own n of existence, that is, they are veiled in sensible figures. For example, Isaias saw "the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated" (Is 6,1). This motion is oblique, having something of uniformity from Godís illumination and something of non-uniformity from the sensible figures. Hence, Dionysius says: "The soul is moved obliquely in sc far s it is illumined by divine thoughts according to it nature-not, indeed, intellectually and intuitively, but rationally and discursively." More over, the soul is moved in a third way when it turns away from all sense objects by thinking of God as being above all things, even above itself. In this way, it is separated from any non-uniformity, and there fore it is circular motion. Hence, Dionysius says: "The circular motion of the soul takes place when, withdrawing from external things, the soul enters into itself and reflects by its intellectual powers. Finally, it is made uniform and enters into union will its united powers. In this way, it is led to that which is above all things."

4. Angels see thoughts hidden in hearts by means of bodily movements, just as causes are seen without discourse by means of their like ness in their effects. However, this does not mean that angels need to reason discursively when they know these motions for the first time, because, as soon as sensible things come into being, they become similar to forms in the angels and so are known by the angels. Hence, without discourse, angels know new sensible things.

5. That roiling together does not mean comparison, but rather a kind of circular union of the soul will itself, and of the angel will itself.

6. [Angels] see causes in their effects and effects in their causes, not by reasoning discursively, as it were, from one thing to another, but in the manner in which a thing is seen in its image, without any discourse being needed.

7. Demons experiential knowledge is not had by making comparisons but by seeing effects in their causes or causes in their effects in the manner described. The longer they have existed, the greater the number of effects they know of a given cause. Thus, they come to know, in some way, more about a cause, not intensively but extensively, the more they see its power manifested in effects.


Parallel readings: Summa Theol., I, 8, aa. 6-7; 62, 1, ad 64, 1, ad II Sentences 12, I, 3; In Ephes., C. 3, lectura 3; De potentia 4,, ad 2, 8, 10, 12-21, 24-25.


It seems not, for

1. There are shadows in the morning and evening. In an angelic intellect, however, there are no shadows; for, as Dionysius says, angels are very bright mirrors. Therefore, in angels morning knowledge should not be distinguished from evening knowledge.

2. According to Augustine, that knowledge is called morning knowledge by which an angel knows in the Word the things that are to be created; and that is called evening knowledge by which he knows things in their own natures. Now, angels do not know things differently before they exist than after they exist, since their intellects are like Godís intellect and do not receive their knowledge from things. Therefore, their morning knowledge should not be distinguished from their evening knowledge.

3. Evening knowledge is that by which things are known in their own nature. But things are known in their own nature in the Word, because the Word represents things in their individuality even more expressly than the forms within the angels do. Therefore, since morning knowledge is knowledge in the Word, it seems that angelís evening knowledge should not be distinguished from their morning knowledge.

4. We read in Genesis (1:5): "And there was evening and morning one day." Now, as Augustine says, day is taken there as meaning angels knowledge. Consequently, angels morning and evening knowledge are one and the same.

5. The light of morning grows until noon. However, knowledge of things had in the Word cannot grow into another, fuller knowledge. Therefore, knowledge of things in the Word cannot properly be called morning knowledge. Hence, angels morning and evening knowledge cannot be distinguished by the fact that one is knowledge of things in the Word, the other, knowledge of them in their own nature.

6. Knowledge of things that are to be created comes before that of things that are already created. Now, evening knowledge comes be fore morning knowledge, as is clear from the words of Genesis (1:5): "There was evening and morning one day." Consequently, it is not proper to distinguish evening knowledge from morning knowledge so that the former means knowledge of things already made, and the latter, of things to be made.

7. Augustine compares the knowledge of things in the Word to the knowledge had from an artistic concept, and that of them in their own nature to the knowledge had from the work of art itself. He also com pares these two types of knowledge to the knowledge had of a line which is mentally conceived and to that which is had of a line written in dust. But these distinctions do not involve different genera of knowledge. Consequently, knowledge of things in the Word and in their proper nature are not two types of knowledge. Hence, morning and evening knowledge are not distinct.

8. As soon as he was created, an angel knew will morning knowledge. However, he did not know the Word, because he was not created in the state of beatitude, and the sight of the Word is the act of beatitude. Consequently, knowledge of things in the Word is not morning knowledge. Hence, we conclude as before.

9. But it has been said that, even though an angel did not know the Word through its essence, he knew it through sortie created likeness and, therefore, did know things in the Word.óOn the contrary, all knowledge through created forms is obscure, because all creatures, taken in themselves, are shadowy. But evening knowledge is obscure knowledge. Therefore, to know things in the Word, or to know the Word in the manner just described, would not be morning but evening knowledge.

10. Augustine says: "When a mind, strong and vigorous, sees that first truth, it forgets all other things." Therefore, when it sees the Word, it sees nothing else in it. Consequently, the morning knowledge of angels cannot be called the knowledge of things in the Word.

11. Morning knowledge is clearer than evening knowledge. But knowledge of things had in the Word is less clear than that of things in their own nature, because things are in the Word only in a certain respect, but in their own nature without any qualification. It is better, however, to know a thing where it exists simply than to know it where it exists only in a certain respect. Consequently, a distinction cannot be made whereby knowledge of things had in the Word will be called morning knowledge, and that of things in their own nature, evening knowledge.

12. Knowledge had from a thingís individual immediate causes is more perfect than that had from a general cause. But God is the general cause of all things. Consequently that knowledge by which things are known in the Word is more imperfect than that by which they are known in their own nature.

13. Things are known in the Word as in a mirror. But things are known more perfectly in themselves than in a mirror. Consequently, they are known more perfectly in their own nature than in the Word. Hence, the same must be said as before.

To the Contrary:

Augustine distinguishes these types of knowledge in the manner described.

De veritate EN 81