De veritate EN 135



If we take virtue in its proper sense, formless faith is not a virtue. The reason for this is that virtue, properly speaking, is a habit capable of eliciting a perfect act. However, when an act depends on two powers, it cannot be said to be perfect unless the perfection is found in both powers. This is evident in the moral as well as the intellectual virtues. For knowledge of conclusions requires two things: an understanding of principles, and reasoning, which draws the conclusions from the principles. Therefore, whether one is mistaken or has doubts about principles, or whether there is some defect in his reasoning, or he does not grasp the force of the reasoning, in all these cases he will not know the conclusions perfectly. Consequently, he will not have scientific knowledge, which is an intellectual virtue. Similarly, the proper act of the concupiscible power depends on reason and the concupiscible power. Hence, if reason is not perfected by prudence, no matter what inclination to the good is in the concupiscible power, it cannot have its perfect act. For this reason there can be neither temperance nor any other moral virtue without prudence, as is said in the Ethics.

Since, therefore, the act of believing depends on the understanding and the will, as is clear from what has been said, such an act cannot be perfect unless the will is made perfect by charity and the understanding by faith. Thus, formless faith cannot be a virtue.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. Something can be accidental to a thing in so far as its natural constitution is concerned and essential to it will reference to its morality, that is, in so far as it is a virtue or a vice. Such a relation exists between eating and its due end or any other proper circumstance. Similarly, that which faith receives from charity is accidental to faith in its natural constitution, but essential to it will reference to its morality. Therefore, through charity it is put in the genus of virtue.

2. Vice is opposed not only to perfect virtue, but also to that which is imperfect among the virtues. Thus, intemperance is contrary to the natural aptitude for good which is in the appetite. And, so, unbelief is opposed to formless faith.

3. We concede the third difficulty.

4. Formless faith does not bring the understanding to a perfection sufficient for virtue, as is clear from what has been said.

5. The philosophers do not consider virtues as the principles of meritorious acts. Therefore, habits not formed by charity can be virtues for them, though not for the theologian.

6. Augustine takes virtue in the broad meaning of all habits which give the perfection needed for praiseworthy acts. W can also say that Augustine did not mean that habits existing without grace should be called virtues, but that, although some habits, which are virtues when grace is present, remain after grace leaves, it does not follow that they are then virtues.


Parallel readings: III Sentences 23, 3, 4, Sol. 1, sol. Ad Rom., C. 1, lectura 6; Summa Theol., 11ó11, 4, 4.


It seems that it is not, for

1. When grace comes, it has as much influence on one who believes as on one who does not believe. But, when the unbeliever is converted, the habit of faith is infused in him together will grace. Therefore, there is a similar infusion in the believer [ is, when he is reinstated in grace]; hence, the habit of formed faith is different from the habit of formless faith.

2. Formless faith is the principle of servile fear. But formed faith is the principle of holy or initial fear. But, when holy or filial fear arrives, servile fear is driven out. Therefore, also, when formed faith comes, formless faith is driven out. So, it is not the same habit for both.

3. As Boethius says, accidents can cease to exist, but they can in no will undergo alteration. But the habit of formless faith is an accident. Therefore, it cannot undergo alteration so that it becomes itself the formed habit.

4. When life comes, what is dead leaves. But formless faith, which is "without works is dead," as is said in James (2:26). Therefore, when charity, which is the principle of life, comes, formless faith is re moved, and, so, does not become formed.

5. One thing does not result from two accidents. But formless faith is an accident. Therefore, it cannot unite will charity to make one thing, as would seem to be necessary if formless faith itself became formed.

6. Any things which differ generically also differ specifically and numerically. But formless faith and formed faith differ generically, since one is a virtue and the other is not. Therefore, they also differ specifically and numerically.

7. Habits are distinguished according to their acts. But formless faith and formed faith have different acts: to tend toward God by faith, to believe on Godís word, or in God. Therefore, they are different habits.

8. Different habits are lost by different vices, since each is lost be cause of its opposite, and each thing has only one opposite. But formed faith is lost through the sin of fornication, but formless faith is not, for it is lost only through the sin of unbelief. Therefore, formed and formless faith are different habits.

To the Contrary:

1'. James (2:20, 26) says: "Faith without works is dead" and the Gloss adds: "by which [works] it lives once more." Therefore, the very formless faith which was dead is formed and comes to life again.

2í. Things are not differentiated except by those things which are outside of their essences. But charity is outside of the essence of faith.

Therefore, the habit of faith is not differentiated because it has or does not have charity.



There are different opinions on this matter, for some say that a habit which was formless never becomes formed, but that a new habit, formed faith, is infused will grace. When it arrives, the habit of form less faith leaves. But this cannot be, for a thing is expelled only by its opposite. If, therefore, the habit of formed faith drove out the habit of formless faith, since it is not contrary to it except by reason of its formlessness, it would be necessary that the very formlessness belong to the essence of formless faith. Thus, it would be essentially an evil habit and could not be a gift of God.

Furthermore, when someone sins mortally, grace and formed faith are taken away. still, we see that faith remains. Nor can it be shown that, as they say, the gift of formless faith is given them again, because then, from the very fact that someone had sinned, he would be made fit to receive a gift from God.

Others therefore say that the habit is not taken away, but just the act of formless faith is removed will the coming of charity. But neither can this stand, for thus the habit would remain idle. Further more, since the act of formless faith has no essential contrariety to the act of formed faith, it cannot be hindered by it. Nor, again, can it be said that both acts and habits are there together, for formed faith can perform every act which formless faith performs. Thus, the same act would come from the two powers, which is not reasonable.

Hence, we must say will the others that formless faith stays when charity comes, and is itself formed. In this way only the formlessness is removed. This can be seen from what follows. For in powers or habits we can see two sources of differentiation: objects and different ways of acting. Diversity of objects differentiates habits essentially, in the manner sight differs from hearing, and chastity from bravery. But, will reference to their manner of acting, powers or habits are not differentiated according to their essence, but according to completeness and incompleteness. For the fact that one sees more or less clearly, or performs chaste actions more or less readily, does not differentiate the power of sight or the habit of chastity, but does show that the power and habit are more perfect and less perfect.

Now, formed faith and formless faith do not have different objects, but only different ways of acting. For formed faith, assents to first truth will a perfect will, whereas formless faith does the same will an imperfect will. So, formed faith and formless faith are not distinguished as two different habits, but as a perfect habit and an imperfect habit. Consequently, since the same habit, which formerly was imperfect, becomes perfect, the very habit of formless faith later becomes formed.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. Grace does not have less effectiveness when infused into one who has faith than when infused into one who has not faith. But the fact that it does not cause another habit of faith in one who already has faith is due to an extrinsic reason, namely, because it finds the habit already there. This is like the case in which one who is ignorant is taught by the instruction of the teacher, while one who knows does not acquire a new habit but is strengthened in the knowledge he had before.

2. The arrival of charity does not expel servile fear in its substance as a gift, but only will reference to its servility. Similarly, it is only will reference to its formlessness that faith is formed when grace arrives.

3. Although an accident cannot undergo alteration, the subject of the accident can be altered will reference to some accident. That accident is said to be altered in this way, as whiteness increases or de creases when the subject is altered will reference to whiteness.

4. When life comes, it is not necessary for that which is dead to leave, but for death to leave. Hence, not formless faith but only the formlessness is removed through charity.

5. Although one thing cannot arise from two accidents, one accident can be perfected through another, as colour through light. In this way faith is perfected through charity.

6. Formless and formed faith are not said to differ according to genus, as though they were things existing in different genera. Rather, they are as the perfect, which attains to the character of the genus, and the imperfect, which has not yet attained to it. Thus, it is not necessary that they differ numerically, just as the embryo and the animal do not have to differ numerically.

7. To believe on Godís word, to believe in God, and to tend toward God by faith do not indicate different acts, but different circumstances of the same act of virtue. For in faith something derives from knowledge, inasmuch as faith is evidence. In this way the act of faith is said to believe on Godís word when there is question of the principle of this evidence. For one who believes something is moved to assent because it was said by God. But, when there is question of the conclusion to which he assents, he is said to believe in God. For first truth is the proper object of faith. With reference to what derives from the will, the believer in his act of faith is said to tend toward God by faith. Moreover, it is not completely an act of virtue unless it has all three of these circumstances.

8. By fornication and other sins except unbelief formed faith is lost, not will reference to the substance of the habit, but only will reference to its form.


Parallel readings: III Sentences 24, 1, sol. I; Summa Theol., II-II, 1, 1; Q. D. de spe, 1.


It seems that it is not, for

1. Faith is explained in the Creed. But in the creed there are included many things which refer to creatures. Therefore, first truth is not the only object of faith.

2. It was said that those things in the Creed which refer to creatures belong to faith non essentially and secondarily.óOn the contrary, by its nature the consideration of a science extends to everything within the power of the proper means from which it proceeds. But the means of faith is belief in God when He says something. For a believer is moved to assent because he thinks something was said by God. But we should believe Godís word not only about first truth, but about any truth. Therefore, any truth is of itself the subject matter and object of faith.

3. Acts are distinguished through their objects. But the act of faith and the vision of God in Himself are different acts. Therefore, since the object of the aforesaid vision is first truth itself, that will not be the object of the act of faith.

4. First truth is related to faith as light is to sight. But, of itself, light is not an object of sight; rather, colour in act is, as the Philosopher says. Therefore, first truth is not the essential object of faith.

5. Faith deals will propositions, for these alone can be true and an object of someoneís assent. But first truth is not a proposition. There fore, the object of faith is not first truth.

6. If first truth were the essential object of faith, nothing which refers entirely to creatures would pertain to faith. But the resurrection of the body refers entirely to creatures, and still is numbered among the articles of faith. Therefore, first truth is not the only essential object of faith.

7. Just as the visible is the object of sight, so the credible is the object of faith. But many other things besides first truth are credible. There fore, first truth is not the essential object of faith.

8. Things related are known will the same act of knowledge be cause one is included in the understanding of the other. But Creator and creature are thus related. Therefore, any cognitive habit which has the Creator as its object will have the creature as its object. So, first truth cannot alone be the object of faith.

9. In any knowledge the object is that to which the process leads us. That through which the process leads us to the object is the means. But in faith, by reason of first truth we are led to assent to certain truths about God and creatures, in so far as we believe God to be truthful. Therefore, first truth does not have the role of object of knowledge, but of means to knowledge.

10. Faith, like charity, is a theological virtue. But charity has not only God, but also the neighbour, for its object. Hence, there are two commandments of charity concerning love of God and of the neigh bor. Therefore, faith, also, has for its object not only first truth but also created truth.

11. Augustine says that in heaven we shah see things themselves, though here we look at the images of things. But the sight of faith belongs to this life. Therefore, the sight of faith takes place through images. But the images through which our understanding sees are created things. Therefore, the object of faith is created truth.

Faith is a mean between scientific knowledge and opinion, as is clear from the definition of Hugh of St. Victor. But scientific knowledge and opinion deal will a proposition. Therefore, faith does, also. Hence, first truth, which is a concept, cannot be its object.

13. Prophetic revelation, through which things divine are announced to us, seems to be a source of faith. But the object of prophecy is not first truth, but, rather, created things, which are subject to determinate temporal differences. Therefore, first truth is not the object of faith.

14. Contingent truth is not first truth. But at least one truth of faith is a contingent truth. For it was contingent that Christ suffer, since it depended on His free will and that of those who killed Him. Nevertheless, we have faith in the passion of Christ. Therefore, first truth is not the proper object of faith.

15. Faith, properly speaking, is concerned only will propositions. But first truth is in certain articles of faith without the complexity of a proposition, as when we say: God, who suffered, or God, who died. Therefore, first truth is not there considered as the object of faith.

16. First truth has a double relation to faith: as that which bears witness, and as that will which faith is concerned. In so far as it bears witness, it cannot be called the object of faith, for under this aspect it is outside the essence of faith. Nor is it the object of faith in so far as it is that will which faith is concerned, for, thus, any proposition formed about first truth would be an object of faith. And this is evidently false. Therefore, first truth is not the proper object of faith.

To the Contrary:

1'. Dionysius says that faith is "concerned will the simple and never changing truth." But only first truth is such. Therefore.

2í. A theological virtue has the same thing for its end and its object. But the end of faith is first truth, the plain sight of which faith merits. Therefore, its object, too, is first truth.

3'. Isidore says that an article [of the Creed] is the perception of divine truth. But faith is contained in the articles [of the Creed]. Therefore, divine truth is the object of faith.

4'. As charity is related to the good, so faith is related to the true. But the essential object of charity is the highest good, because charity loves God and the neighbour because of God. Therefore, the object of faith is first truth.



The essential object of faith is first truth. This should be understood from the following. Only that habit has the character of virtue whose act is always good. Otherwise, a virtue would not be the perfection of a power. Accordingly, since the act of our understanding is good be cause it considers the true, it must be impossible for a habit existing in the understanding to be a virtue unless it is such that by it one in fallibly speaks the truth. For this reason opinion is not an intellectual virtue, whereas scientific knowledge and understanding of principles are, as is said in the Ethics.

However, faith cannot thus stand as a virtue, deriving from the evidence of things, since it deals will things which do not appear. Consequently, it must derive this infallibility from its adherence to some testimony in which the truth is infallibly found. But, just as every created being of itself is empty and liable to fail, unless it is supported by uncreated being, so all created truth is liable to fail except in so far as it is regulated by uncreated truth. Hence, to assent to the testimony of a man or an angel would lead infallibly to the truth only in so far as we considered the testimony of God speaking in them. Consequently, faith, which is classified as a virtue, must surpass the truth of manís own understanding and thus make it embrace that truth which is in the divine knowledge. In this way, through the simple and never changing truth the believer is freed from the instability and multiplicity of error, as Dionysius says.

Now, the truth of the divine knowledge is so constituted that it be longs first and foremost to the uncreated thing itself, but to creatures somehow subsequently, in so far as by knowing itself it knows every thing else. Hence, faith, which through assent unites man to divine knowledge, has God as its principal object, and anything else as a consequent addition.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. All those things included in the Creed which refer to creatures are matters of faith only in so far as something of first truth is connected will them. For the passion itself is not an object of faith except in so far as we believe that God suffered, nor is the resurrection an object of faith except in so far as we believe that it took place through divine power.

2. Although we must believe everything because of the divine testimony, the divine testimony, like the divine knowledge, first and fore most refers to itself, and subsequently to other things. As is said in John (8: 18): "I am one that gives testimony of myself, and the Father that sent me giveth testimony of me." Thus, faith is principally- about God, and about other things in consequence of this.

3. First truth, in so far as it appears in its proper form, is the object of the vision of heaven. But, in so far as it does not appear, it is the object of faith. So, although the object of both acts is the same thing in reality, it differs in intelligible aspect. The object thus formally different makes the species of the act different.

4. In some sense light is the object of sight and in another sense not. For, since light is seen by our sight only if through reflection or in some other way it is united to a body having a surface, it is not called the essential object of sight. This is, rather, colour, which is always in a body having a surface. However, in so far as nothing can be seen except by reason of light, light itself is said to be the first visible thing, as the Philosopher says. Similarly, first truth is primarily and essentially the object of faith.

5. The thing known in so far as it exists in itself outside the knower is said to be the object of knowledge, although knowledge of such a thing takes place only through that which arises from it in the knower. In this way, the colour of a stone, which is the object of sight, is known only through its species in the eye. Accordingly, first truth, which is in itself simple, is the object of faith. But our understanding receives it in its own manner by means of the composition [ judgment]. Thus, our understanding, by giving assent as true to the composition which is made in judgment, tends toward first truth as toward its object. Thus, nothing prevents first truth from being the object of faith, although faith treats of propositions.

6. The resurrection of the body and other things of this sort also pertain to first truth in so far as they are caused by divine power.

7. Everything worthy of belief must belong primarily to first truth and, secondarily, to created things because God bears witness to them, as is evident from what has been said. Other things worthy of belief are not the object of the faith will which we are now dealing.

8. The Creator is not the object of faith under the aspect of Creator, but under the aspect of first truth. Consequently, it is not necessary for creatures to be an essential object of faith. For it does not follow, from the fact that the knowledge of master and slave, as such, is the same, that whoever knows something about the master knows some thing about the slave.

9. Although we are led to creatures by reason of first truth, through it we are led mainly to first truth itself, since it gives witness primarily about itself. So, in faith, first truth acts both as means and object.

10. In the neighbour, charity loves only God. Therefore, it does not follow from this that the object of charity is anything other than the highest good.

11. The representations through which faith looks at something are not the object of faith, but that through which faith tends toward its object.

12. Although faith deals will a proposition in so far as we are concerned, it nevertheless deals will a simple truth in so far as there is question of the object to which we are led through faith.

13. Although prophecy has for its subject matter created and temporal things, it has the uncreated reality for its end. For all the prophetic revelations, even those made about created things, are ordained to make us know God. Therefore, prophecy leads to faith as to its end. Nor is it necessary for faith and prophecy to have the same object or subject matter. And if at times faith and prophecy deal will the same thing, still they do not treat it under the same aspect. Thus, the ancients had prophecy and faith about the passion of Christ. However, the prophecy had reference to that which was temporal in it, and faith to that which was eternal in it.

14. Faith does not concern the passion except in so far as it is connected will eternal truth, as the passion is considered will reference to God. For, although the passion, considered in itself, is contingent, still, as it falls under the divine foreknowledge, and as faith and prophecy concern it, it has changeless truth.

15. The subject of a proposition acts as matter for the whole proposition. So, although in such propositions, when we say that God has suffered, only the subject denotes something uncreated, the whole proposition is said to have something uncreated as its subject matter. Thus, it does not deny that faith has first truth for its object.

i6. First truth is called the object of faith only in so far as faith concerns it. Nevertheless, it is not necessary that every proposition made about God be something to be beloved, but only that to which divine truth bears witness. Similarly, mobile body is the subject of the philosophy of nature, yet not every proposition that can be formed about mobile body is subject to scientific knowledge, but only those which are proved from the principles of the philosophy of nature. Moreover, in faith the witness of first truth acts as a principle does in scientific demonstrations


Parallel readings: III Sentences 24, 2, sol. Ad Hebr., c. 11, Lect. 1; Summa Theol., I-II, 67, II-II, 1,.


It seems that it can, for

1. Anything which can be proved by a necessary argument can be known as a scientific conclusion. But, according to Richard of St. Victor, everything which must be believed has not only a probable argument, but also a necessary argument. Therefore, we can have scientific knowledge about things believed.

2. The divinely infused light of grace is more powerful than the light of nature. But we do not only believe, but know and understand, those things which are shown to us through the natural light of reason. Therefore, we also know and do not only believe those things which are made known to us through the divinely infused light of faith.

3. The testimony of God is more certain and effective than that of a man, no matter how much he knows. But one who proceeds [to conclusions] on the basis of the statement of someone who has scientific knowledge, himself achieves scientific knowledge, as is clear in the subalternate sciences, which borrow their principles from the sub alternating sciences. Therefore, will much greater reason we have scientific knowledge of matters of faith, since they are based on divine testimony.

4. Whenever the understanding is forced of necessity to assent to something, it has scientific knowledge of those things to which it assents. For inference from what is necessary produces scientific knowledge. But one who believes necessarily assents to matters of faith, for St. James says (2: 19): "The devils also believe and tremble." This cannot be due to their will, since their will cannot do anything praise worthy. So, they must necessarily give assent to matters of faith. Therefore, there can be scientific knowledge about matters of faith.

5. Those things which are known naturally are objects of scientific knowledge or are known will greater certainty than such objects. But "the knowledge of God is naturally implanted in us," as Damascene says. Faith, however, is ordained to knowledge of God. There fore, matters of faith can be objects of scientific knowledge.

6. Opinion is farther from scientific knowledge than faith is. But we can have scientific knowledge and opinion about the same thing, as happens when one knows one and the same conclusion through a demonstrative and a dialectical syllogism. Therefore, there can be scientific knowledge and faith about the same thing.

7. That Christ was conceived is an article of faith. But the Blessed Virgin know this from experience. Therefore, the same thing can be known and believed.

8. That God is one is included among objects of faith. But philosophers give demonstrative proof of this. Therefore, it can be known scientifically. So, we can have faith and scientific knowledge about the same thing.

9. That God exists is an object of faith. However, we do not believe this because it is acceptable to God, for no one can think that some thing is pleasing to God unless he first thinks that there is a God to whom it is pleasing. Hence, the judgment by which one thinks that God exists precedes the judgment by which he thinks something is pleasing to God. Nor can the former cause the latter. But we are led to believe something which we do not know through that which we believe is pleasing to God. Therefore, that God exists is believed and known.

To the Contrary:

1'. First truth is the principal subject matter or object of faith. But man cannot have scientific knowledge about first truth, that is, about God, as we see from Dionysius. Therefore, we cannot have faith and scientific knowledge about the same thing.

2'. It is by reason that scientific knowledge is made perfect. But reason destroys faith, "for faith deserves no merit when human reason offers it proof." Therefore, faith and scientific knowledge do not en gage the same object.

3'. The first Epistle to the Corinthians (13: 10) says: "But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shah be put away." The knowledge of faith is in part, that is, is imperfect; but the knowledge of science is perfect. Therefore, science destroys faith.



According to Augustine: "We believe those things which are not present to our senses, if the witness which is offered for them seems suitable. However, we see those things which are present either to the senses of the mind or of the body."

This difference is quite clear will reference to the things which are present to the senses of the body, for among these it is evident what is present to them and what is not. But it is more obscure when we say something is present to the senses of the mind. Yet those things are said to be present to the understanding which do not exceed its capacity, so that the gaze of understanding may be fixed on them. For a person gives assent to such things because of the witness of his own understanding and not because of someone elseís testimony. Those things, however, which are beyond the power of our understanding are said to be absent from the senses of the mind. Hence, our understanding cannot be fixed on them. As a result, we cannot assent to them on our own witness, but on that of someone else. These things are properly called the objects of faith.

Consequently, the object of faith is that which is absent from our understanding. (We believe that which is absent, but we see that which is present, as Augustine says. For "not present" we can say "the thing which does not appear," that is, the thing not seen, for, as Hebrews (11:1) says: "faith is the evidence of things that appear not." Now, whenever the determinate principle of the proper object is lacking, the act also must necessarily cease. Hence, as soon as some thing begins to be present or to appear, it cannot be an object of an act of faith. Whatever things we know will scientific knowledge properly so called we know by reducing them to first principles which are naturally present to the understanding. In this way, all scientific knowledge terminates in the sight of a thing which is present. Hence, it is impossible to have faith and scientific knowledge about the same thing.

We must note, however, that a thing can be the object of belief in two ways. In one it is such absolutely, that is, it exceeds the intellectual capacity of all men who exist in this life, for instance, that there is trinity and unity in God, and so on. Now, it is impossible for any man to have scientific knowledge of these. Rather, every believer assents to such doctrines because of the testimony of God to whom these things are present and by whom they are known.

A thing is, however, an object of belief not absolutely, but in some respect, when it does not exceed the capacity of all men, but only of some men. In this class are those things which we can know about God by means of a demonstration, as that God exists, or is one, or has no body, and so forth. There is nothing to prevent those who have scientific proofs of these things from knowing them scientifically, and others who do not understand the proofs from believing them. But it is impossible for the same person to know and believe them.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. For everything which must be believed, if it is not self -evident, there is an argument which is not only probable but necessary, "yet our diligence may not uncover that argument," as Richard adds. So, for us, the arguments for matters of faith are unknown, although they are known to God and to the blessed who have vision and not faith about these things.

2. Although the divinely infused light is more powerful than natural light, in our present state we do not share it perfectly, but imperfectly. Therefore, because of this defective participation, through that in fused light itself we are not brought to the vision of those things for the knowledge of which it was given us. But we will have it in heaven when we will share that light perfectly and in the light of God we will see light.

3. One who has a subalternate science does not perfectly possess the character of knowing unless his knowledge is united in some way will the knowledge of one who has the subalternating science. Nonetheless, the one who knows on the lower level is not said to have scientific knowledge about those things which he presupposes, but about the necessary conclusions which are drawn from the presupposed principles. In this sense, also, one who believes can be said to have scientific knowledge about those things which he concludes from the articles of faith.

4. It is not their wills which bring demons to assent to what they are said to believe. Rather, they are forced by the evidence of signs which convince them that what the faithful believe is true. However, these signs do not cause the appearance of what is believed so that the demons could on this account be said to see those things which are believed. Therefore, belief is predicated equivocally of men who believe and of the demons. And faith does not result in them from any infused light of grace as it does in the faithful.

5. God is an object of faith, not will reference to what is naturally known about God, but will reference to that which surpasses natural knowledge.

6. It does not seem possible for a person simultaneously to have scientific knowledge and opinion about the same thing, for opinion includes a fear that the other part [ the contradiction] is true, and scientific knowledge excludes such fear. Similarly, it is impossible to have faith and scientific knowledge about the same thing.

7. The Blessed Virgin could know that her Son was not conceived as a result of sexual intercourse. She could not, however, know what power caused that conception, but believed the angel who said: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee,.." (Lc 1,35).

8. We do not say that the proposition, God is one, in so far as it is proved by demonstration, is an article of faith, but something pre supposed before the articles. For the knowledge of faith presupposes natural knowledge, just as grace presupposes nature. But the unity of the divine essence such as is conceived by the faithful, that is to say, together will omnipotence, providence over all things, and the other attributes of this sort, which cannot be proved, makes up the article of faith.

8. Someone can begin to believe what he did not believe before but which he held will some hesitation. Thus, it is possible that, before believing in God, someone might think that God exists, and that it would be pleasing to God to have him believe that He exists. In this way a man can believe that God exists because such a belief pleases God, although this is not an article of faith, but preliminary to the article, since it can be proved by a demonstration.


Parallel readings: III Sentences 24, 3, sol. 1; In Boet. De Trinit., 3, 1; Contra Gentiles I, III, ix8, 152; Summa Theol., II-II, 2, 3; Expos. symb.


It seems that it is not, for

1. As is said in Deuteronomy (32:4): "The works of God are perfect." But nothing is perfect unless it is provided will those things which it must have to attain its proper end. Therefore, sufficient means to attain its final end are given to each thing when God creates its nature. But matters of faith are beyond the knowledge which belongs to men by reason of the constitution of their nature. Therefore, to reach his end man does not need faith, through which these things are perceived or known.

2. It was said that by reason of the constitution of his nature man receives those things which are necessary to reach his natural end, such as the happiness of life of which the philosophers speak, but does not receive the things needed to reach the supernatural end, which is everlasting happiness.óOn the contrary, man, because of his essential constitution, is made to be a sharer of eternal happiness. It was for this that God created a rational nature which could know Him, as we see in the Sentences. Therefore, the principles through which he can reach that end should be innate in manís very nature.

3. We have to have activity as well as knowledge to reach our end. But the habits of virtue given us to attain our supernatural end do not give us an ordination to works other than those toward which we are ordered by natural reason, but, rather, to a more perfect performance of those same works. For acquired and infused chastity seem to have the same act, namely, to control venereal pleasure. Therefore, to reach a supernatural end we do not need the infusion of n cognitive habit ordained to knowledge of something besides what we naturally know, but only to a more perfect knowledge of these same natural objects. Hence, it seems that to have faith in things which are not evident to reason would not be necessary for salvation.

4. A power has no need of a habit for that to which it has a natural determination, as is evident in irrational powers, as the nutritive and the generative, which carry on their activity without the mediation of a habit. Now, the human understanding is naturally directed to knowledge of God. Therefore, it does not need a habit to lead it to this knowledge.

5. That which can reach its final end by itself is more perfect than that which cannot do so. But brute animals can attain their ends by means of natural principles. Therefore, since man is more perfect than they, it seems that natural knowledge should be enough for him to reach his end. Thus, he does not need faith.

6. What is considered to be a vice does not seem necessary for salvation. But credulity is considered to be a vice. Thus, in Ecclesiasticus (19:4) we read: "He that is hasty to give credit is light of heart." Therefore, belief is not necessary for salvation.

7. Since God must be believed above all else, our belief should be greater in one through whom it is clearer that God is speaking. But it is clearer that God has spoken through the natural instinct of reason than through any prophet or apostle, since by this it is most certain that God is the author of all nature. Therefore, we should hold more firmly the things which reason proposes than those which the prophets and apostles preach, and which are the objects of faith. Therefore, since these latter sometimes seem to conflict will what natural reason dictates, as when they say that God is three and one, or that a virgin conceived, and so on, it does not seem reasonable to put faith in such things.

8. That which is rendered useless by the arrival of another thing does not seem to be needed for that thing. For it would not become useless unless there were some opposition between it and the other. Now, a thing does not incline toward its opposite; rather, it withdraws from it. But faith becomes useless when glory arrives. Therefore, faith is not necessary to obtain glory.

9. Nothing in order to reach its end needs that which destroys it. But faith destroys reason, for, as Gregory says: "Faith deserves no merit when human reason offers it proof." Therefore, reason does not need faith to reach its end.

10. A heretic does not have the habit of faith. But, sometimes, a heretic believes in certain truths which are beyond the reach of reason. Thus, he may believe that the Son of God was made flesh, al though he does not believe that He suffered. Therefore, the habit of faith is not needed to know things which are above reason.

11. When something is proved by means of many middle terms, the whole proof is ineffective if one of the middle terms is weak. This is evident in syllogistic deductions, where the existence of one false or doubtful proposition makes the whole proof ineffectual. But the truths of faith reach us through many intermediaries. For God told them to the apostles or prophets, who related them to their followers. These men in turn told others, and in this way they finally reached us through various intermediaries. Now, it is not certain that there was infallible truth in all of these intermediaries. For, since they were men, they could deceive and be deceived. Therefore, we can have no certainty about matters of faith, and so it seems foolish to assent to them.

12. That in a work which lessens the merit for eternal life does not seem necessary to obtain eternal life. But, since difficulty makes for merit, habit, which brings facility, lessens merit. Therefore, the habit of faith is not necessary for salvation.

13. The powers of reason are more noble than the powers of physical nature. But physical powers do not need habits for their acts. There fore, understanding does not need the habit of faith for its acts.

To the Contrary:

1'. In Hebrews (11:6) we read: "But without faith it is impossible to please God."

2'. That without which man is damned is necessary for salvation. But faith is so needed, as appears in Mark (16: i6): "He that believeth not shah be condemned." Therefore, faith is necessary for salvation.

3'. A higher life needs a higher knowledge. But the life of grace is higher than the life of nature. Therefore, it needs some supernatural knowledge, which is the knowledge of faith.

De veritate EN 135