De veritate EN 153
There are different opinions on this matter. For some say that con science can be mistaken both in things which are intrinsically evil and also will regard to indifferent things. Furthermore, a mistaken con science does not bind in things which are intrinsically evil, but does bind will regard to indifferent things. But those who say this do not seem to understand in what sense conscience imposes an obligation. For conscience is said to bind in so far as one sins if he does not follow his conscience, but not in the sense that he acts correctly if he does follow it. Otherwise, a counsel would be called obligatory, for one who fulfils a counsel acts correctly. Still, we do not say that we are bound to counsels, since one who negiects what is of counsel does not sin. But we say that we are bound to precepts because, if we do not keep them, we commit si Therefore, Conscience is not said to bind in the sense that what one does according to such a conscience will be good, but in the sense that in not following it he will sin.
Moreover, it does not seem possible for a man to avoid sin if his conscience, no matter how mistaken, declares that something which is indifferent or intrinsically evil is a command of God, and will such a conscience he decides to do the opposite. For, as far as he can, he has by this very fact decided not to observe the law of God. Consequently, he sins mortally. Accordingly, although such a false conscience can be changed, nevertheless, as long as it remains, it is binding, since one who acts agaiflst it necessarily commits a sin.
However, a correct conscience and a false conscience bind in different ways. The correct conscience binds absolutely and for an in trinsic reason; the false binds in a quaiified way and for an extrinsic reason.
I say that a correct conscience binds absolutely because it binds without qualification.and in every circumstance. For, if oneís con science tells him to avoid adultery, he cannot change that conscience without sin, since he would commit a serious sin in the very error of changing such a conscience. Moreover, as long as it remains, it cannot actually be set aside without sin. Thus, it binds absolutely and in every event. But a false conscience binds only in a qualified way, since it binds conditionally. For one whose conscience tells him he must fornicate is not obliged in such a way that he cannot omit the fornication without sin except on condition that such a conscience remains. But this situation can be changed, and without sin. Hence, such a con science does not oblige in every event. For something can happen, namely, a change of conscience, and, when this takes place, one is no longer bound. That which is only conditional is said to be qualified.
I also say that a correct conscience binds for an intrinsic reason, and a false conscience binds for an extrinsic reason. This is clear from the following. For one who wishes or desires something because of some thing else desires that because of which he desires the others for an intrinsic reason, and the other for an extrinsic reason, as it were. Thus, one who loves will because of its sweetness loves sweetness for an intrinsic reason, and will for an extrinsic reason. But one who has a false conscience and believes that it is correct (otherwise, he would not be mistaken), clings to his false conscience because of the correct ness he believes is there, and, strictly speaking, dings to a correct conscience, but one which is false accidentally, as it were, in so far as this conscience, which he believes to be correct, happens to be false. It is for this reason that, strictly speaking, he is bound by a correct conscience, but accidentally by a false conscience.
We can find this solution from what the Philosopher says when he asks almost the same question, that is, whether one is guilty of excess only if he departs from right reason, or also if he departs from a mistaken reason. His solution is that one who departs from right reason goes to excess essentially, and one who departs from mistaken reason goes to excess accidentally. And a man departs absolutely from the former and will some qualification from the latter, for what is essential is absolute, and what is accidental is qualified.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. Although that which a false conscience dictates is out of harmony will the law of God, the one who is mistaken considers it the law of God. Therefore, taking the thing in itself, if he departs from this, he departs from the law of God, although it would be accidental that he does not depart from the law of God.
2. The argument proceeds correctly when there are distinct commands from higher and lower sources, and both, as essentially distinct, reach the one who is obliged by the command. But this is not the situation here, since the dictate of conscience is nothing other than the delivery of a divine command to him who has the conscience, as is clear from what we have said. In the proposed example the cases would be similar if the command of the emperor could never reach a man except through the proconsul, and the proconsul would not order anything except in so far as he repeated the emperorís commands. Then, it would be the same thing to despise the command of the emperor and the command of the proconsul, whether the latter spoke the truth or lied.
3. A false conscience which is mistaken in things which are intrinsically evil commands something which is contrary to the law of God. Nevertheless, it says that what it commands is the law of God. Accordingly, one who acts against such a conscience becomes a kind of transgressor of the law of God, although one who follows such a conscience and acts according to it acts against the law of God and sins mortally. For there was sirt in the error itself, since it happened because of ignorance of that which one should have known.
4. When a conscience is not probable, it should be changed. But, as long as such a conscience remains, one sins mortally if he acts against it. Hence, this does not prove that a false conscience does not bind as long as it remains, but that it does not bind absolutely and in every event.
5. We do not conclude from that argument that a false conscience does not bind under pain of sin if it is not followed, but that, if it is followed, it excuses from sin. Consequently, the argument is not to the point. When the error itself is not a sin, the conclusion is true, as when the error is due to ignorance of some fact. But, if it is ignorance of a law, the conclusion is wrong because the ignorance itself is a sin. For before a civil judge, also, one who thus appeals to ignorance of a law which he should know is not excused.
6. Although in natural reason there is a basis for proceeding to the opposite of that which a false conscience dictates, whether the mis take is about indifferent things or things intrinsically evil, natural reason does not actually dictate the opposite. For, if it did dictate the opposite, conscience would not be mistaken.
7. Although an indifferent action, in so far as the act itself is concerned, can be accepted or rejected, still, when one thinks that such an action has been commanded, it loses its indifference because of his judgment.
8. One whose conscience tells him to commit fornication is not completely perplexed, because he can do something by which he can avoid sin, namely, change the false conscience. But he is perplexed to some degree, that is, as long as the false conscience remains. And there is no difficulty in saying that, if some condition is presupposed, it is impossible for a man to avoid sin; just as, if we presuppose the intention of vainglory, one who is required to give alms cannot avoid sin. For, if he gives alms, because of such an intention, he sins; but, if he does not give aims, he violates the law.
9. When a false conscience says that something must be done, it commands this under some aspect of good, either as a work of justice, or temperance, and so forth. Therefore, one who acts against such a conscience falls into the vice opposed to the virtue to which his con science thinks it belongs when commanding it. Or, if such a conscience orders something under the guise of a command of God, or only of some superior, he commits the sin of disobedience by going against it.
Parallel readings: II Sentences 39, 3, 3, ad 3; Ad Rom., c. 14, lectura 2.
It seems to bind less, for
1. A religious subject vows obedience to his superior. But he is required to keep his vow, as is said in Psalms (75:12): "Vow ye, and pay [them] to the Lord your God." Therefore, one seems to be obliged to obey a superior against his own conscience, and, thus, one is more obliged to obey a superior than conscience.
2. A superior must always be obeyed in things which are not against Godís will. But indifferent things are not against Godís will. There fore, one is obliged to obey a superior in these matters. We conclude as before.
3. The higher power should be more obeyed than the lower power, as the Gloss says. But the soul of a prelate is higher than the soul of a subject. Therefore, the subject is bound more by the command of the superior than by his own conscience.
4. A subject should not pass judgment on the command of a superior, but the superior should judge the acts of the subject. But the subject would judge the command of the superior if he refused the command because of his own conscience. Therefore, no matter what conscience dictates in indifferent matters, the command of the superior should prevail.
To the Contrary:
A spiritual bond is stronger than a physical bond, and an intrinsic bond stronger than an extrinsic bond. But conscience is an intrinsic spiritual bond, whereas the office of the superior is physical and extrinsic, as it seems, because all his authority is based on a dispensation which is limited to time. Hence, when we reach eternity, it will cease, as the Gloss indicates. Therefore, it seems that one should obey his conscience rather than a superior.
The answer to this question is clear enough from what has been said. For it has been mentioned above that conscience binds only in virtue of a divine command, either in written law or in the law inherent in our nature. Therefore, to compare the bond of conscience will the bond resulting from the command of a superior is nothing else than to compare the bond of a divine command will the bond of a superiorís command. Consequently, since the bond of a divine command binds against a command of a superior, and is more binding than the command of a superior, the bond of conscience is also greater than that of the command of a superior. And conscience will bind even when there exists a command of a superior to the contrary.
Nevertheless, the situation is not the same in the case of a correct conscience and that of a false conscience. For a correct conscience binds absolutely and perfectly against the command of a superior. It binds absolutely, because one cannot be freed from its obligation, for such a conscience cannot be changed without sin. And it binds perfectly, because a correct conscience binds in the sense not only that one who follows it does not commit sin, but also that he is free from sin, no matter what command of a superior there is to the contrary.
But a false conscience binds against the command of a superior even in indifferent matters will some qualification and imperfectly. It binds will some qualification, because it does not bind in every event, but on condition that it endures. For one can and should change such a conscience. It binds imperfectly, because it binds in the sense that the one who follows it does not commit a sin, but not in the sense that one who follows it avoids sin when there is a command of a superior to the contrary, and the command of the superior still binds to that indifferent thing. For in such a case he sins in not acting, because he acts against his conscience, and in acting, because he disobeys the superior. However, he sins more if he does not do what his conscience dictates, as long as that conscience remains, since it binds more than the precept of the superior.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. One who vows obedience must obey in those things to which the vow of obedience extends. He is not freed from that obligation by a mistake of conscience, nor, on the other hand, is he freed from the bond of conscience by that obligation. Thus, there remain in him two opposite obligations. One of these, conscience, is greater, because more intense, and less, because more easily removed; the other is just the opposite. For the obligation to obey the superior cannot be re moved, whereas a false conscience can be changed.
2. Although of itself the work is indifferent, it loses its indifference because of the dictate of conscience.
3. Although a superior is higher than a subject, God, in virtue of whose command conscience binds, is greater than the superior.
4. The subject does not have to judge about the command of the superior, but only about its fulfilment, which is his concern. For each is bound to examine his actions according to the knowledge he has from God, whether natural, acquired, or infused. For every man should act according to reason.
Parallel readings: Il Sentences 23, 2, 1; Summa Theol., I, 4, 1.
It seems that he did, for
1. The Master says: "Before sin, man saw God independently of any medium." But to see God independently of any medium is to see God through His essence. Therefore in the state of innocence man saw God through His essence.
2. It was said that the Master means that man saw God without a medium as far as obscurity duc to sin is concerned, but not that he saw God without using creatures as a medium.óOn the contrary, in that same place the Master says that, since we see God through a medium, we must reach Him by means of visible creatures. Therefore, he seems to mean the use of creatures as a medium. But to see will out the use of creatures as a medium is to see through the essence. Therefore.
3. In Philippians (4:7) it is said: "And the peace of God, which surpassed all understanding." But this means the peace which God gives the blessed in heaven. The Gloss explains it in this way: "all under standing, that is, our understanding, not the understanding of those who always see the face of the Father." From this we see that the peace or joy of the blessed surpasses the understanding of all those who do not possess that joy. But Adam in his innocence saw the joys of the blessed. Hence, Gregory says: "Man, losing himself by sin, could not then see those joys of heaven which he was accustomed to con template before." Therefore, in that state Adam possessed the joy of heaven.
4. Hugh of St. Victor says: "In that state man knew his Creator will the knowledge will which He was then more clearly seen as present in contemplation." But to see God as present in contemplation would seem to be to see Him through His essence. Therefore, in the state of innocence Adam saw God through His essence.
5. Man was made to see God. For God made rational creatures to participate in His beatitude. This consists in seeing Him, as is shown in the Sentences. Therefore, if Adam in the state of innocence did not see God through His essence, this was only because some medium prevented him from doing so. However, the medium due to sin did not prevent him, for he was then free from sin. Nor did the use of creatures as a medium prevent him, for God is closer to the rational soul than any creature is. Therefore, in the state of innocence Adam saw God through His essence.
6. Just as the affective part of man is perfected only by the highest good, so the cognitive part is perfected only by the highest truth, as is clear from Spirit and Soul. But everyone has within him the desire of his perfection. Therefore, in his original state Adam desired to see God through His essence. But whoever is deprived of that which he desires suffers. Therefore, if Adam did not then see God through His essence, lie suffered. However, this is false, because suffering, since it is a punishment, cannot precede sin. Therefore, he saw God through His essence.
7. The soul of man "is so made to Godís image that it is formed by the first truth itself without the interposition of any creature," as is said in Spirit and Soul. But the image remained pure and whole in man in the state of innocence. Therefore, he was brought to the highest truth itself without any medium. Consequently, he saw God through His essence.
8. For us actually to understand something, all that is needed is the formation of actually intelligible species through abstraction from matter and the conditions of matter, which is the work of the agent intellect, and reception in our understanding, which is the work of the possible intellect. But the divine essence is of itself intelligible, inasmuch as it is completely separated from matter. It was also at the very center of manís soul, since God is said to be in all things through His essence. Therefore, since in the state of innocence there would be no obstacle in the soul of man, it seems that he saw God through His essence.
9. Since in the state of innocence Adamís soul was properly ordered, higher reason was not less perfectly disposed toward its object than lower reason toward its proper object. But lower reason, whose task it is to give its attention to temporal things, could see those temporal things immediately. Therefore, higher reason, whose task it is to con template eternal things, could see immediately the eternal essence of God.
10. That by which something is made actually sensible, namely, light, is known immediately by the sense of sight. Therefore, that by which something becomes actually intelligible is known immediately by manís understanding. But a thing is made actually intelligible by another only in so far as that other is in act. So, since God alone is pure act, He Himself is that by which all things become intelligible. Therefore, manís understanding in the first state saw God immediately, since then it had no obstacle.
11. Damascene says that in the state of innocence man "had a life which was blessed and rich in all things." But lifeís beatitude consists in seeing God through His essence. Therefore, he then saw God through His essence.
12. Damascene says: "Man was then refreshed by the enjoyment of the sweetest contemplation, like another angel." But the angels see God through His essence. Therefore, in that state Adam saw God through His essence.
13. Manís nature was more perfect in the state of innocence than after the fall. But after the fail some were allowed to see God through His essence while they still lived in this mortal life, as Augustine says of Paul and Moses. Therefore, will much greater reason Adam in the state of innocence saw God through His essence.
14. The Gloss on Genesis (2:21), "Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam," says: "The correct interpretation is that Adam was made to fail into the ecstasy so that his mind, becoming a part of the angelic court and entering the sanctuary of God, might under stand the last things." 11 From this it seems that that sleep was a kind of rapture. But those who are enraptured see God through His essence. Therefore, Adam, also, saw Him through His essence.
15. According to Damascene, Adam was placed not only in a corporeal but also in a spiritual paradise. But spiritual paradise is nothing other than beatitude, which consists in the sight of God through His essence. Therefore, he saw God through His essence.
16. Augustine says: "In the state of innocence nothing was missing which a good will could acquire." But a good will could acquire the sight of God through His essence. Therefore, this was not missing in the first parents. Therefore, they saw God through His essence.
To the Contrary:
1'. Augustine says that the sight of God through His essence is "the whole reward" of the saints. But in the state of innocence Adam was not one of the blessed. Therefore, he did not see God through His essence.
2í. Bernard says that in this life God can be loved entirely-, but not seen entirely. But He would be seen entirely if He were seen through His essence, since His essence is simple. Therefore, while he was in this life Adam could not see God through His essence.
3'. When the soul is weighed down by the burden of the llesh, it loses distinct knowledge of things. Hence, Boethius says: "Retaining the sum total, it loses the individuals." lC But in the state of innocence manís soul was weighed down to some extent by the body, although not as much as after sin. Therefore, he was withheld from sight of the divine essence, which the mind must be most perfectly disposed.
4í. It is proper to Christ alone to be wayfarer and possessor at the same time. But in the state of innocence Adam was a wayfarer, as is clear from the fact that he could sin. Hence, he was not a possessor, and so did not see God through His essence.
Some have said that there is sight of God through His essence not only in heaven but also in this life, although not as perfectly in this life as in heaven. According to this opinion, man in the state of innocence had a sight midway between the sight of the blessed and the sight of man after the fall. For he saw less perfectly than the blessed, but more perfectly than man can see after the fall.
But this position is contrary to the testimony of Scripture, which consistently makes the sight of God manís final beatitude. Hence, from the very fact that a man sees God through His essence he is blessed. Thus, as the common opinion maintains, no one still on the way to beatitude can see God through His essence, not even Adam in the state of innocence. And reason can show the truth of this.
For every nature has something ultimate in which its final perfection consists. Now, the perfection of man, in so far as he is man, consists only in the act of understanding, by which he is constinuted man. However, in the activity of understanding different levels can be distinguished in two ways. In one they derive from the diversity of intelligible objects. For, as the intelligible object which a person under stands is more noble, so the more noble is his intelligence. For this reason, the Ethics says that the most perfect activity of understanding is the activity of that understanding which is well ordered to the best intelligible thing, just as the most beautiful physical sight is that of the sight "which is well ordered to the most beautiful object of sight." In the other way, levels in the activity of understanding de- rive from the manner of understanding. For it is possible for one and the same intelligible object to be understood differently by different minds, more perfectly by one, and less perfectly by another.
However, it is not possible for the final limit of human perfection to be taken according to some manner of understanding, for among these modes of understanding one can perceive an infinite number of levels, one of which understands more perfectly than another. Nor is there any one who understands so perfectly that it is impossible to devise another who understands more perfectly, except God, who under stands everything will infinite clarity. Hence, the final term of human perfection must lie in the understanding of some most perfect intelligible object, which is the divine essence.
Accordingly, every rational creature finds its beatitude in this, that it sees the essence of God, and not in this, that it sees it will such a degree of clarity, or more or less. Consequently, the sight of the blessed is not distinguished from the sight of those in this life because the former see more perfectly and the latter less perfectly, but because the former see and the latter do not see. Therefore, since Adam was still on the way to beatitude, he did not see God through His essence.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. In a given sight a threefold medium can be discerned. One is the medium under which it is seen; the second that by which, it is seen, and this is the intentional likeness of the thing seen; the third is that from which one obtains knowledge of the thing seen. Thus, for in stance, in bodily sight the medium under which a thing is seen is light, by which the thing becomes actually visible and the power of sight is given the perfection of seeing. The medium by which a thing is seen is the sensible species itself of the thing existing in the eye, which, as the form of the one seeing in so far as he is seeing, is the principle of the activity of sight. And the medium from which one receives knowledge of a thing seen is like a mirror, from which the eye at times receives the species of some visible thing, for example, a stone, and not from the stone itself.
We find these three in intellectual sight, too. Thus, the light of the agent intellect corresponds to physical light as the medium under which our understanding sees. The intelligible species, by which the possible intellect is made actually to understand, corresponds to the visible species. And, finally, the effects from which we come to a knowledge of a cause correspond to the medium from which knowledge of the thing seen is obtained, as from a mirror. For the likeness of the cause is not imprinted on our understanding directly by the cause, but by the effect, in which a likeness of the cause shines forth. Consequently this type of knowledge is called "mirrored" knowledge because of the likeness which it has to sight which takes place through a mirror.
Therefore, to know God, man, as he is after the fall, needs a medium which is like a mirror, in which there arises a likeness of God himself. For we must reach "the invisible things of him... by the things that are made," according to Romans (1:20). Man in the state of innocence, however, did not need this medium, but he did need a medium which is somewhat like the species of the thing seen, because he saw God through a spiritual light which was given to the human mind by God, and which was a kind of expressed likeness of the uncreated light.
But he will not need this medium in heaven, because he will see the essence of God in itself and not through any intelligible or sensible likeness of it, since no created likeness can so perfectly represent God that one who sees through it can know the essence of God. Yet, he will need the light of glory, which will be a kind of medium under which God is seen, according to Psalms (35: 10): "In thy light we shah see light." The reason for this is that this sight is not natural to any creature, but only to God. As a result, no creature can reach it by his own natural power, but to acquire it one must be enlightened by a divinely given light.
The second sight, through a medium which is an intentional like ness, is natural to the angels, but above human nature. Accordingly, for it man needs the light of grace.
The third sight is proper to human nature; hence, it alone remains in man after the fail. Therefore, it is clear that the sight by which man in the state of innocence saw God was midway between the sight which we now have and the sight of the blessed.
Accordingly, it is clear that after the fail man needs a triple medium to see God: creatures themselves, from which he rises to knowledge of God; a likeness of God, which he gets from creatures; and a light from which he receives the perfection of being directed toward God. This light may be the light of nature, such as the light of the agent intellect, or the light of grace, such as that of faith and wisdom. In the state before the fail, however, he needed a double medium: one which is a likeness of God, and one which is a light elevating and directing his mind. The blessed, however, need only one medium, the light of glory which elevates the mind. And God sees Himself without any medium, for He Himself is the light by which He sees Himself.
2. The Master does not reject the possibility of seeing God in the state of innocence through some likeness of a creature as a medium, but only the necessity of the medium of visible creation.
3. In the state of innocence Adam did not perceive the joys of the heavenly court so that he understood what and how great they were, for this belongs only to the blessed. However, he did know that they existed, because he had some participation of them.
4. In contemplation, God is seen through a medium which is the light of wisdom. This elevates the mind to the sight of things divine, not, however, to immediate vision of the divine essence itself. And it is in this way that God is seen through grace by the contemplatives after the fall, although He is seen more perfectly in the state of innocence.
5. Man was made to see God, not in the beginning but in the last stage of his perfection. Therefore, that he did not see God through His essence at the beginning of his existence was not the result of being hindered by some obstacle, but only the result of his own imperfection, because he did not then have that perfection which is needed to see the divine essence.
6. In the state of innocence Adam desired to see God through His essence, but that desire of his was well ordered. For he strove to see God when it would be time for him to do so. Hence, he did not suffer at all at not seeing God before the proper time.
7. Our mind is said to be formed immediately by the first truth itself, not because [ is question whether] it knows the first truth at times through the mediation of some habit, species, or creature, but because it is formed by it as a copy is formed to the likeness of its immediate exemplar. For some have held, as Dionysius points out, that among beings the higher are the models for the lower, and thus the soul of man proceeds from God through the mediation of angels, and is formed to the divine model through the mediation of an angelic model. The passage cited denies this, for the human mind is created immediately by God and formed immediately by Himself as its exemplar. For this reason, also, it achieves beatitude immediately in Him as its end.
8. Although, intrinsically, God is completely intelligible, and was present to the mind of man in the state of innocence, He was not there as an intelligible form. For manís understanding did not yet have the perfection needed for this.
9. The object of higher reason according to its natural state is not the divine essence itself, but certain intelligible characters which flow into the mind from God and are received from creatures. By these we are brought to the perfection of sight of eternal things.
10. The agent intellect is the immediate and proximate principle by which things which are potentially intelligible become actually intelligible. But the first principle by which all things become intelligible is uncreated light itself. Thus, the divine essence is compared to intelligible things as the substance of the sun is to visible bodies. However, it is not necessary for one who sees some colour to see the substance of the sun, but only the light of the sun, in so far as it illumines colour. Similarly, it is not necessary for one who knows some intelligible thing to see the divine essence, but only to perceive intelligible light, which originally derives from God, in so far as by it something is made actually intelligible.
11. We should not take what Damascene says to mean that Adam was one of the blessed simply, but that he had the kind of beatitude which fitted his state. Similarly, in the state of affliction some are said to be blessed in some respect by reason of some perfection which exists in them, as in Matthew (5:3): "Blessed are the poor in spirit...
12. Even the angels in the state of their original nature did not see God through His essence; this belonged to them only through glory.
But in the state of innocence Adam had through grace the kind of sight which the angels had naturally, as has been said. Therefore, he is said to have seen as another angel.
13. By a certain privilege of grace Moses and Paul saw God through His essence. Still, although simply they were in the state of wayfarers, in some respect, that is, in so far as they saw God through His essence, they were not in that state. Therefore in the state of innocence, in which he was still a wayfarer, Adam had no claim to vision of God through His essence. Yet, if by a rapture he was raised above the ordinary knowledge which belonged to him, and so saw God through His essence, it is not strange, for such a grace can be given just as well in the state of innocence as after the fall.
14. If we maintain that Adamís ecstasy was of the same nature as Paulís rapture, then we will say that that vision surpassed the ordinary manner of sight which then belonged to him. But, since it does not explicitly say that in that sleep he saw God through His essence, we can say that in that ecstasy he was not elevated to a vision of the essence of God, but to a knowledge of certain more profound truths about the divine mysteries than was fitting for him to know at that time according to the common manner of human cognition.
5. Spiritual paradise, in so far as it means perfect delight, which makes one blessed, consists in the sight of God. But, in so far as it means delight about God without qualification, it consists in any kind of contemplation which has God as its object.
16. His will would not have been good and well ordered if he had desired to have at that time what did not then belong to him. For this reason, the conclusion does not follow.
Parallel readings: II Sentences 23, 2, I; Summa Theol., I, 1.
It seems that he did not, for
1. To know God through creatures is to know a cause through an effect. But this is knowledge which involves comparison and investigation, and, since this is feeble and imperfect, it did not befit man in the state of innocence. Therefore, in the state of innocence Adam did not see God through creatures.
2. When the cause is removed, the effect is removed. But Isidore says that the cause why man sees God through creatures is that he turned from the Creator and toward creatures. This was not yet so at that time in the state of innocence. Therefore, at that time man did not see God through creatures.
3. According to Hugh of St. Victor, man in that state knew God, "contemplating Him as present." But He is seen in contemplation without the medium of creatures. Therefore, he did not see God through creatures.
4. Isidore says that the angels, created before the rest of creation, did not know God through creatures. But, according to Damascene,4 man in the state of innocence saw God as another angel. Therefore, he did not know God from creatures.
5. Darkness is not the reason for knowing light. But, compared to the Creator, every creature is darkness. Therefore, the Creator cannot be known through creatures.
6. Augustine says: "I say that perhaps He spoke will them four first parents] in this way, although not will the same degree of participation in the divine wisdom as the angels possess, yet, will what ever greater limitations imposed by human nature, within the same general category of vision and conversation." From this it seems that we can conclude that man in the state of innocence knew God will the same mode of knowledge will which the angels know him. But angels do not know God through creatures, as is clear in Augustine and Dionysius. Therefore, man in the state of innocence did not see God through creatures.
7. The soul of man is more like God than is any sensible creature. Therefore, when the soul of man was in its purity, it did not seek knowledge of God through visible creation.
8. Less perfect knowledge is superfluous when more perfect is given. But, as Hugh of St. Victor says, man in the state of innocence knew God "as present in contemplation." Therefore, he did not know God through creatures.
To the Contrary:
Damascene says that Adam was established in a bodily paradise that there he might view his Creator through creatures.
De veritate EN 153