Having considered what belongs to the divine substance, we have
now to treat of God's operation. And since one kind of operation
is immanent, and another kind of operation proceeds to the exterior
effect, we treat first of knowledge and of will (for understanding
abides in the intelligent agent, and will is in the one who wills);
and afterwards of the power of God, the principle of the divine
operation as proceeding to the exterior effect. Now because to
understand is a kind of life, after treating of the divine knowledge,
we consider truth and falsehood. Further, as everything known is
in the knower, and the types of things as existing in the knowledge
of God are called ideas, to the consideration of knowledge will
be added the treatment of ideas.
> Concerning knowledge, there are sixteen points for inquiry:
> (1) Whether there is knowledge in God?
> (2) Whether God understands Himself?
> (3) Whether He comprehends Himself?
> (4) Whether His understanding is His substance?
> (5) Whether He understands other things besides Himself?
> (6) Whether He has a proper knowledge of them?
> (7) Whether the knowledge of God is discursive?
> (8) Whether the knowledge of God is the cause of things?
> (9) Whether God has knowledge of non-existing things?
> (10) Whether He has knowledge of evil?
> (11) Whether He has knowledge of individual things?
> (12) Whether He knows the infinite?
> (13) Whether He knows future contingent things?
> (14) Whether He knows enunciable things?
> (15) Whether the knowledge of God is variable?
> (16) Whether God has speculative or practical knowledge of things?
Objection 1: It seems that in God there is not knowledge.
For knowledge is a habit; and habit does not belong to God, since
it is the mean between potentiality and act. Therefore knowledge
is not in God.
> Objection 2: Further,
since science is about conclusions, it is a kind of knowledge caused
by something else which is the knowledge of principles. But nothing
is caused in God; therefore science is not in God.
> On the contrary, The
Apostle says, "O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the
knowledge of God" (Rm.
> I answer that, In God there
exists the most perfect knowledge. To prove this, we must note
that intelligent beings are distinguished from non-intelligent
beings in that the latter possess only their own form; whereas
the intelligent being is naturally adapted to have also the form
of some other thing; for the idea of the thing known is in the
knower. Hence it is manifest that the nature of a non-intelligent
being is more contracted and limited; whereas the nature of intelligent
beings has a greater amplitude and extension; therefore the Philosopher
says (De Anima iii) that "the soul is in a sense all things." Now
the contraction of the form comes from the matter. Hence, as we
have said above (Question , Article ) forms according
as they are the more immaterial, approach more nearly to a kind of
infinity. Therefore it is clear that the immateriality of a thing
is the reason why it is cognitive; and according to the mode of
immateriality is the mode of knowledge. Hence it is said in De
Anima ii that plants do not know, because they are wholly material.
But sense is cognitive because it can receive images free from
matter, and the intellect is still further cognitive, because it
is more separated from matter and unmixed, as said in De Anima
iii. Since therefore God is in the highest degree of immateriality
as stated above (Question , Article ), it follows
that He occupies the highest place in knowledge.
to Objection 1: Because perfections flowing from God to
creatures exist in a higher state in God Himself (Question , Article ), whenever a
name taken from any created perfection is attributed to God, it
must be separated in its signification from anything that belongs
to that imperfect mode proper to creatures. Hence knowledge is
not a quality of God, nor a habit; but substance and pure act.
Reply to Objection 2: Whatever is divided and multiplied
in creatures exists in God simply and unitedly (Question , Article ). Now man has
different kinds of knowledge, according to the different objects
of His knowledge. He has "intelligence" as regards the knowledge
of principles; he has "science" as regards knowledge of conclusions;
he has "wisdom," according as he knows the highest cause; he has
"counsel" or "prudence," according as he knows what is to be done.
But God knows all these by one simple act of knowledge, as will
be shown (Article ).
Hence the simple knowledge of God can be named by all these names;
in such a way, however, that there must be removed from each of
them, so far as they enter into divine predication, everything
that savors of imperfection; and everything that expresses perfection
is to be retained in them. Hence it is said, "With Him is wisdom
and strength, He hath counsel and understanding" (Job
> Reply to Objection 3: Knowledge
is according to the mode of the one who knows; for the thing known
is in the knower according to the mode of the knower. Now since
the mode of the divine essence is higher than that of creatures,
divine knowledge does not exist in God after the mode of created
knowledge, so as to be universal or particular, or habitual, or
potential, or existing according to any such mode.
Objection 1: It seems that God does not understand
Himself. For it is said by the Philosopher (De Causis), "Every
knower who knows his own essence, returns completely to his own
essence." But God does not go out from His own essence, nor is
He moved at all; thus He cannot return to His own essence. Therefore
He does not know His own essence.
> Objection 2: Further,
to understand is a kind of passion and movement, as the Philosopher
says (De Anima iii); and knowledge also is a kind of assimilation
to the object known; and the thing known is the perfection of the
knower. But nothing is moved, or suffers, or is made perfect by
itself, "nor," as Hilary says (De Trin. iii), "is a thing its own
likeness." Therefore God does not understand Himself.
Objection 3: Further, we are like to God chiefly
in our intellect, because we are the image of God in our mind,
as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. vi). But our intellect understands
itself, only as it understands other things, as is said in De Anima
iii. Therefore God understands Himself only so far perchance as
He understands other things.
> On the contrary, It
is written: "The things that are of God no man knoweth, but the
Spirit of God" (1
> I answer that, God understands
Himself through Himself. In proof whereof it must be known that although
in operations which pass to an external effect, the object of the
operation, which is taken as the term, exists outside the operator;
nevertheless in operations that remain in the operator, the object signified
as the term of operation, resides in the operator; and accordingly
as it is in the operator, the operation is actual. Hence the Philosopher
says (De Anima iii) that "the sensible in act is sense in act, and
the intelligible in act is intellect in act." For the reason why
we actually feel or know a thing is because our intellect or sense
is actually informed by the sensible or intelligible species. And
because of this only, it follows that sense or intellect is distinct
from the sensible or intelligible object, since both are in potentiality.
Since therefore God has nothing in Him of potentiality, but is
pure act, His intellect and its object are altogether the same;
so that He neither is without the intelligible species, as is the
case with our intellect when it understands potentially; nor does
the intelligible species differ from the substance of the divine
intellect, as it differs in our intellect when it understands actually;
but the intelligible species itself is the divine intellect itself,
and thus God understands Himself through Himself.
to Objection 1: Return to its own essence means only that
a thing subsists in itself. Inasmuch as the form perfects the matter
by giving it existence, it is in a certain way diffused in it;
and it returns to itself inasmuch as it has existence in itself.
Therefore those cognitive faculties which are not subsisting, but
are the acts of organs, do not know themselves, as in the case
of each of the senses; whereas those cognitive faculties which
are subsisting, know themselves; hence it is said in De Causis
that, "whoever knows his essence returns to it." Now it supremely
belongs to God to be self-subsisting. Hence according to this mode
of speaking, He supremely returns to His own essence, and knows
> Reply to Objection 2: Movement
and passion are taken equivocally, according as to understand is described
as a kind of movement or passion, as stated in De Anima iii. For
to understand is not a movement that is an act of something imperfect
passing from one to another, but it is an act, existing in the
agent itself, of something perfect. Likewise that the intellect
is perfected by the intelligible object, i.e. is assimilated to
it, this belongs to an intellect which is sometimes in potentiality;
because the fact of its being in a state of potentiality makes
it differ from the intelligible object and assimilates it thereto through
the intelligible species, which is the likeness of the thing understood,
and makes it to be perfected thereby, as potentiality is perfected
by act. On the other hand, the divine intellect, which is no way
in potentiality, is not perfected by the intelligible object, nor
is it assimilated thereto, but is its own perfection, and its own
> Reply to Objection 3: Existence
in nature does not belong to primary matter, which is a potentiality, unless
it is reduced to act by a form. Now our passive intellect has the
same relation to intelligible objects as primary matter has to
natural things; for it is in potentiality as regards intelligible
objects, just as primary matter is to natural things. Hence our
passive intellect can be exercised concerning intelligible objects
only so far as it is perfected by the intelligible species of something;
and in that way it understands itself by an intelligible species,
as it understands other things: for it is manifest that by knowing
the intelligible object it understands also its own act of understanding,
and by this act knows the intellectual faculty. But God is a pure
act in the order of existence, as also in the order of intelligible objects;
therefore He understands Himself through Himself.
Objection 1: It seems that God does not comprehend
Himself. For Augustine says (Octog. Tri. Quaest. xv), that "whatever
comprehends itself is finite as regards itself." But God is in
all ways infinite. Therefore He does not comprehend Himself.
Objection 2: If it is said that God is infinite to
us, and finite to Himself, it can be urged to the contrary, that
everything in God is truer than it is in us. If therefore God is
finite to Himself, but infinite to us, then God is more truly finite
than infinite; which is against what was laid down above (Question , Article ). Therefore
God does not comprehend Himself.
> On the contrary, Augustine
says (Octog. Tri. Quaest. xv), that "Everything that understands
itself, comprehends itself." But God understands Himself. Therefore
He comprehends Himself.
> I answer that, God
perfectly comprehends Himself, as can be thus proved. A thing is
said to be comprehended when the end of the knowledge of it is
attained, and this is accomplished when it is known as perfectly
as it is knowable; as, for instance, a demonstrable proposition
is comprehended when known by demonstration, not, however, when
it is known by some probable reason. Now it is manifest that God
knows Himself as perfectly as He is perfectly knowable. For everything
is knowable according to the mode of its own actuality; since a
thing is not known according as it is in potentiality, but in so
far as it is in actuality, as said in Metaph. ix. Now the power
of God in knowing is as great as His actuality in existing; because
it is from the fact that He is in act and free from all matter
and potentiality, that God is cognitive, as shown above (Articles ,2). Whence
it is manifest that He knows Himself as much as He is knowable;
and for that reason He perfectly comprehends Himself.
Reply to Objection 1: The strict meaning of "comprehension"
signifies that one thing holds and includes another; and in this
sense everything comprehended is finite, as also is everything
included in another. But God is not said to be comprehended by
Himself in this sense, as if His intellect were a faculty apart
from Himself, and as if it held and included Himself; for these
modes of speaking are to be taken by way of negation. But as God
is said to be in Himself, forasmuch as He is not contained by anything
outside of Himself; so He is said to be comprehended by Himself,
forasmuch as nothing in Himself is hidden from Himself. For Augustine
says (De Vid. Deum. ep. cxii), "The whole is comprehended when
seen, if it is seen in such a way that nothing of it is hidden
from the seer."
> Reply to Objection 2: When
it is said, "God is finite to Himself," this is to be understood
according to a certain similitude of proportion, because He has
the same relation in not exceeding His intellect, as anything finite
has in not exceeding finite intellect. But God is not to be called
finite to Himself in this sense, as if He understood Himself to
be something finite.
Objection 1: It seems that the act of God's intellect
is not His substance. For to understand is an operation. But an
operation signifies something proceeding from the operator. Therefore
the act of God's intellect is not His substance.
2: Further, to understand one's act of understanding, is
to understand something that is neither great nor chiefly understood,
and but secondary and accessory. If therefore God be his own act
of understanding, His act of understanding will be as when we understand
our act of understanding: and thus God's act of understanding will
not be something great.
> Objection 3: Further,
every act of understanding means understanding something. When
therefore God understands Himself, if He Himself is not distinct
from this act of understanding, He understands that He understands
Himself; and so on to infinity. Therefore the act of God's intellect
is not His substance.
> On the contrary, Augustine
says (De Trin. vii), "In God to be is the same as to be wise."
But to be wise is the same thing as to understand. Therefore in
God to be is the same thing as to understand. But God's existence
is His substance, as shown above (Question
, Article ). Therefore
the act of God's intellect is His substance.
answer that, It must be said that the act of God's intellect
is His substance. For if His act of understanding were other than
His substance, then something else, as the Philosopher says (Metaph.
xii), would be the act and perfection of the divine substance,
to which the divine substance would be related, as potentiality
is to act, which is altogether impossible; because the act of understanding
is the perfection and act of the one understanding. Let us now
consider how this is. As was laid down above (Article ), to understand
is not an act passing to anything extrinsic; for it remains in
the operator as his own act and perfection; as existence is the
perfection of the one existing: just as existence follows on the
form, so in like manner to understand follows on the intelligible
species. Now in God there is no form which is something other than
His existence, as shown above (Question
). Hence as His essence itself is also His intelligible
species, it necessarily follows that His act of understanding must be
His essence and His existence.
> Thus it follows from
all the foregoing that in God, intellect, and the object understood,
and the intelligible species, and His act of understanding are
entirely one and the same. Hence when God is said to be understanding,
no kind of multiplicity is attached to His substance.
Reply to Objection 1: To understand is not an operation
proceeding out of the operator, but remaining in him.
Reply to Objection 2: When that act of understanding
which is not subsistent is understood, something not great is understood;
as when we understand our act of understanding; and so this cannot be
likened to the act of the divine understanding which is subsistent.
Thus appears the Reply to the Third Objection. For the act of
divine understanding subsists in itself, and belongs to its very
self and is not another's; hence it need not proceed to infinity.
Objection 1: It seems that God does not know things
besides Himself. For all other things but God are outside of God.
But Augustine says (Octog. Tri. Quaest. qu. xlvi) that "God does
not behold anything out of Himself." Therefore He does not know
things other than Himself.
> Objection 2: Further,
the object understood is the perfection of the one who understands.
If therefore God understands other things besides Himself, something
else will be the perfection of God, and will be nobler than He;
which is impossible.
> Objection 3: Further,
the act of understanding is specified by the intelligible object,
as is every other act from its own object. Hence the intellectual
act is so much the nobler, the nobler the object understood. But
God is His own intellectual act. If therefore God understands anything
other than Himself, then God Himself is specified by something
else than Himself; which cannot be. Therefore He does not understand
things other than Himself.
> On the contrary, It
is written: "All things are naked and open to His eyes" (Heb.
> I answer that, God necessarily
knows things other than Himself. For it is manifest that He perfectly understands
Himself; otherwise His existence would not be perfect, since His
existence is His act of understanding. Now if anything is perfectly
known, it follows of necessity that its power is perfectly known.
But the power of anything can be perfectly known only by knowing
to what its power extends. Since therefore the divine power extends
to other things by the very fact that it is the first effective
cause of all things, as is clear from the aforesaid (Question , Article ), God must necessarily
know things other than Himself. And this appears still more plainly
if we add that the every existence of the first effective cause---viz.
God---is His own act of understanding. Hence whatever effects pre-exist
in God, as in the first cause, must be in His act of understanding,
and all things must be in Him according to an intelligible mode:
for everything which is in another, is in it according to the mode
of that in which it is.
> Now in order to know how God
knows things other than Himself, we must consider that a thing is
known in two ways: in itself, and in another. A thing is known
in itself when it is known by the proper species adequate to the
knowable object; as when the eye sees a man through the image of
a man. A thing is seen in another through the image of that which
contains it; as when a part is seen in the whole by the image of
the whole; or when a man is seen in a mirror by the image in the
mirror, or by any other mode by which one thing is seen in another.
So we say that God sees Himself in Himself, because He sees Himself
through His essence; and He sees other things not in themselves,
but in Himself; inasmuch as His essence contains the similitude of
things other than Himself.
> Reply to Objection
1: The passage of Augustine in which it is said that God
"sees nothing outside Himself" is not to be taken in such a way,
as if God saw nothing outside Himself, but in the sense that what
is outside Himself He does not see except in Himself, as above
> Reply to Objection 2: The
object understood is a perfection of the one understanding not
by its substance, but by its image, according to which it is in
the intellect, as its form and perfection, as is said in De Anima
iii. For "a stone is not in the soul, but its image." Now those
things which are other than God are understood by God, inasmuch
as the essence of God contains their images as above explained;
hence it does not follow that there is any perfection in the divine
intellect other than the divine essence.
to Objection 3: The intellectual act is not specified by
what is understood in another, but by the principal object understood
in which other things are understood. For the intellectual act
is specified by its object, inasmuch as the intelligible form is
the principle of the intellectual operation: since every operation
is specified by the form which is its principle of operation; as
heating by heat. Hence the intellectual operation is specified
by that intelligible form which makes the intellect in act. And this
is the image of the principal thing understood, which in God is
nothing but His own essence in which all images of things are comprehended.
Hence it does not follow that the divine intellectual act, or rather
God Himself, is specified by anything else than the divine essence
> Objection 1: It
seems that God does not know things other than Himself by proper
knowledge. For, as was shown (Article
), God knows things other than Himself, according as they
are in Himself. But other things are in Him as in their common
and universal cause, and are known by God as in their first and
universal cause. This is to know them by general, and not by proper
knowledge. Therefore God knows things besides Himself by general,
and not by proper knowledge.
> Objection 2: Further, the created essence is as distant from the divine essence, as the divine essence is distant from the created essence. But the divine essence cannot be known by the created essence, as said above (Question Article ). Therefore neither can the created essence be known by the divine essence. Thus as God knows only by His essence, it follows that He does not know what the creature is in its essence, so as to know "what it is," which is to have proper knowledge of it.
3: Further, proper knowledge of a thing can come only through
its proper ratio. But as God knows all things by His essence, it
seems that He does not know each thing by its proper ratio; for
one thing cannot be the proper ratio of many and diverse things.
Therefore God has not a proper knowledge of things, but a general
knowledge; for to know things otherwise than by their proper ratio is
to have only a common and general knowledge of them.
On the contrary, To have a proper knowledge of things
is to know them not only in general, but as they are distinct from
each other. Now God knows things in that manner. Hence it is written
that He reaches "even to the division of the soul and the spirit,
of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of thoughts
and intents of the heart; neither is there any creature invisible
in His sight" (Heb. 4:12,13).
I answer that, Some have erred on this point, saying
that God knows things other than Himself only in general, that
is, only as beings. For as fire, if it knew the nature of heat,
and all things else in so far as they are hot; so God, through
knowing Himself as the principle of being, knows the nature of being,
and all other things in so far as they are beings.
But this cannot be. For to know a thing in general and not in
particular, is to have an imperfect knowledge. Hence our intellect,
when it is reduced from potentiality to act, acquires first a universal and
confused knowledge of things, before it knows them in particular;
as proceeding from the imperfect to the perfect, as is clear from
Phys. i. If therefore the knowledge of God regarding things other than
Himself is only universal and not special, it would follow that
His understanding would not be absolutely perfect; therefore neither
would His being be perfect; and this is against what was said above
(Question , Article ). We must therefore
hold that God knows things other than Himself with a proper knowledge;
not only in so far as being is common to them, but in so far as
one is distinguished from the other. In proof thereof we may observe
that some wishing to show that God knows many things by one, bring
forward some examples, as, for instance, that if the centre knew
itself, it would know all lines that proceed from the centre; or
if light knew itself, it would know all colors.
these examples although they are similar in part, namely, as regards
universal causality, nevertheless they fail in this respect, that
multitude and diversity are caused by the one universal principle,
not as regards that which is the principle of distinction, but
only as regards that in which they communicate. For the diversity
of colors is not caused by the light only, but by the different
disposition of the diaphanous medium which receives it; and likewise,
the diversity of the lines is caused by their different position.
Hence it is that this kind of diversity and multitude cannot be
known in its principle by proper knowledge, but only in a general
way. In God, however, it is otherwise. For it was shown above (Question , Article ) that whatever
perfection exists in any creature, wholly pre-exists and is contained
in God in an excelling manner. Now not only what is common to creatures--viz.
being---belongs to their perfection, but also what makes them distinguished
from each other; as living and understanding, and the like, whereby
living beings are distinguished from the non-living, and the intelligent
from the non-intelligent. Likewise every form whereby each thing
is constituted in its own species, is a perfection; and thus all
things pre-exist in God, not only as regards what is common to
all, but also as regards what distinguishes one thing from another.
And therefore as God contains all perfections in Himself, the essence
of God is compared to all other essences of things, not as the
common to the proper, as unity is to numbers, or as the centre
(of a circle) to the (radiating) lines; but as perfect acts to
imperfect; as if I were to compare man to animal; or six, a perfect
number, to the imperfect numbers contained under it. Now it is
manifest that by a perfect act imperfect acts can be known not only
in general, but also by proper knowledge; thus, for example, whoever
knows a man, knows an animal by proper knowledge; and whoever knows
the number six, knows the number three also by proper knowledge.
As therefore the essence of God contains in itself all the perfection
contained in the essence of any other being, and far more, God
can know in Himself all of them with proper knowledge. For the
nature proper to each thing consists in some degree of participation
in the divine perfection. Now God could not be said to know Himself
perfectly unless He knew all the ways in which His own perfection can
be shared by others. Neither could He know the very nature of being
perfectly, unless He knew all modes of being. Hence it is manifest
that God knows all things with proper knowledge, in their distinction
from each other.
> Reply to Objection 1: So
to know a thing as it is in the knower, may be understood in two
ways. In one way this adverb "so" imports the mode of knowledge
on the part of the thing known; and in that sense it is false.
For the knower does not always know the object known according to
the existence it has in the knower; since the eye does not know
a stone according to the existence it has in the eye; but by the
image of the stone which is in the eye, the eye knows the stone
according to its existence outside the eye. And if any knower has
a knowledge of the object known according to the (mode of) existence
it has in the knower, the knower nevertheless knows it according
to its (mode of) existence outside the knower; thus the intellect
knows a stone according to the intelligible existence it has in
the intellect, inasmuch as it knows that it understands; while
nevertheless it knows what a stone is in its own nature. If however
the adverb 'so' be understood to import the mode (of knowledge)
on the part of the knower, in that sense it is true that only the
knower has knowledge of the object known as it is in the knower;
for the more perfectly the thing known is in the knower, the more
perfect is the mode of knowledge.
> We must say therefore
that God not only knows that all things are in Himself; but by
the fact that they are in Him, He knows them in their own nature
and all the more perfectly, the more perfectly each one is in Him.
Reply to Objection 2: The created essence is compared
to the essence of God as the imperfect to the perfect act. Therefore
the created essence cannot sufficiently lead us to the knowledge
of the divine essence, but rather the converse.
to Objection 3: The same thing cannot be taken in an equal
manner as the ratio of different things. But the divine essence
excels all creatures. Hence it can be taken as the proper ration
of each thing according to the diverse ways in which diverse creatures
participate in, and imitate it.
Objection 1: It seems that the knowledge of God is
discursive. For the knowledge of God is not habitual knowledge,
but actual knowledge. Now the Philosopher says (Topic. ii): "The
habit of knowledge may regard many things at once; but actual understanding
regards only one thing at a time." Therefore as God knows many
things, Himself and others, as shown above (Articles 2,5), it seems
that He does not understand all at once, but discourses from one
> Objection 2: Further, discursive
knowledge is to know the effect through its cause. But God knows things
through Himself; as an effect (is known) through its cause. Therefore
His knowledge is discursive.
> Objection 3: Further,
God knows each creature more perfectly than we know it. But we
know the effects in their created causes; and thus we go discursively
from causes to things caused. Therefore it seems that the same
applies to God.
> On the contrary, Augustine
says (De Trin. xv), "God does not see all things in their particularity
or separately, as if He saw alternately here and there; but He
sees all things together at once."
> I answer that, In the divine knowledge there is no discursion; the proof of which is as follows. In our knowledge there is a twofold discursion: one is according to succession only, as when we have actually understood anything, we turn ourselves to understand something else; while the other mode of discursion is according to causality, as when through principles we arrive at the knowledge of conclusions. The first kind of discursion cannot belong to God. For many things, which we understand in succession if each is considered in itself, we understand simultaneously if we see them in some one thing; if, for instance, we understand the parts in the whole, or see different things in a mirror. Now God sees all things in one (thing), which is Himself. Therefore God sees all things together, and not successively. Likewise the second mode of discursion cannot be applied to God. First, because this second mode of discursion presupposes the first mode; for whosoever proceeds from principles to conclusions does not consider both at once; secondly, because to discourse thus is to proceed from the known to the unknown. Hence it is manifest that when the first is known, the second is still unknown; and thus the second is known not in the first, but from the first. Now the term discursive reasoning is attained when the second is seen in the first, by resolving the effects into their causes; and then the discursion ceases. Hence as God sees His effects in Himself as their cause, His knowledge is not discursive.
to Objection 1: Altogether there is only one act of understanding
in itself, nevertheless many things may be understood in one (medium),
as shown above.
> Reply to Objection 2: God
does not know by their cause, known, as it were previously, effects unknown;
but He knows the effects in the cause; and hence His knowledge
is not discursive, as was shown above.
to Objection 3: God sees the effects of created causes in
the causes themselves, much better than we can; but still not in
such a manner that the knowledge of the effects is caused in Him
by the knowledge of the created causes, as is the case with us;
and hence His knowledge is not discursive.
> Objection 1: It seems
that the knowledge of God is not the cause of things. For Origen
says, on Rm. 8:30, "Whom He called, them He also justified," etc.:
"A thing will happen not because God knows it as future; but because
it is future, it is on that account known by God, before it exists."
Objection 2: Further, given the cause, the effect
follows. But the knowledge of God is eternal. Therefore if the
knowledge of God is the cause of things created, it seems that
creatures are eternal.
> Objection 3: Further,
"The thing known is prior to knowledge, and is its measure," as
the Philosopher says (Metaph. x). But what is posterior and measured
cannot be a cause. Therefore the knowledge of God is not the cause
> On the contrary, Augustine
says (De Trin. xv), "Not because they are, does God know all creatures spiritual
and temporal, but because He knows them, therefore they are."
I answer that, The knowledge of God is the cause
of things. For the knowledge of God is to all creatures what the
knowledge of the artificer is to things made by his art. Now the
knowledge of the artificer is the cause of the things made by his
art from the fact that the artificer works by his intellect. Hence
the form of the intellect must be the principle of action; as heat
is the principle of heating. Nevertheless, we must observe that
a natural form, being a form that remains in that to which it gives existence,
denotes a principle of action according only as it has an inclination
to an effect; and likewise, the intelligible form does not denote
a principle of action in so far as it resides in the one who understands
unless there is added to it the inclination to an effect, which
inclination is through the will. For since the intelligible form
has a relation to opposite things (inasmuch as the same knowledge
relates to opposites), it would not produce a determinate effect
unless it were determined to one thing by the appetite, as the
Philosopher says (Metaph. ix). Now it is manifest that God causes
things by His intellect, since His being is His act of understanding;
and hence His knowledge must be the cause of things, in so far
as His will is joined to it. Hence the knowledge of God as the
cause of things is usually called the "knowledge of approbation."
Reply to Objection 1: Origen spoke in reference to
that aspect of knowledge to which the idea of causality does not
belong unless the will is joined to it, as is said above.
But when he says the reason why God foreknows some things is because
they are future, this must be understood according to the cause
of consequence, and not according to the cause of essence. For if
things are in the future, it follows that God knows them; but not
that the futurity of things is the cause why God knows them.
Reply to Objection 2: The knowledge of God is the
cause of things according as things are in His knowledge. Now that
things should be eternal was not in the knowledge of God; hence
although the knowledge of God is eternal, it does not follow that
creatures are eternal.
> Reply to Objection 3: Natural
things are midway between the knowledge of God and our knowledge:
for we receive knowledge from natural things, of which God is the
cause by His knowledge. Hence, as the natural objects of knowledge
are prior to our knowledge, and are its measure, so, the knowledge
of God is prior to natural things, and is the measure of them;
as, for instance, a house is midway between the knowledge of the
builder who made it, and the knowledge of the one who gathers his
knowledge of the house from the house already built.
> Objection 1: It seems that
God has not knowledge of things that are not. For the knowledge
of God is of true things. But "truth" and "being" are convertible
terms. Therefore the knowledge of God is not of things that are
> Objection 2: Further, knowledge
requires likeness between the knower and the thing known. But those
things that are not cannot have any likeness to God, Who is very
being. Therefore what is not, cannot be known by God.
Objection 3: Further, the knowledge of God is the
cause of what is known by Him. But it is not the cause of things
that are not, because a thing that is not, has no cause. Therefore
God has no knowledge of things that are not.
> On the contrary, The Apostle says: "Who . . . calleth those things that are not as those that are" (Rm. 4:17).
I answer that, God knows all things whatsoever that
in any way are. Now it is possible that things that are not absolutely,
should be in a certain sense. For things absolutely are which are
actual; whereas things which are not actual, are in the power either
of God Himself or of a creature, whether in active power, or passive;
whether in power of thought or of imagination, or of any other
manner of meaning whatsoever. Whatever therefore can be made, or
thought, or said by the creature, as also whatever He Himself can
do, all are known to God, although they are not actual. And in
so far it can be said that He has knowledge even of things that
> Now a certain difference is to be noted in
the consideration of those things that are not actual. For though
some of them may not be in act now, still they were, or they will
be; and God is said to know all these with the knowledge of vision:
for since God's act of understanding, which is His being, is measured
by eternity; and since eternity is without succession, comprehending
all time, the present glance of God extends over all time, and
to all things which exist in any time, as to objects present to Him.
But there are other things in God's power, or the creature's, which
nevertheless are not, nor will be, nor were; and as regards these
He is said to have knowledge, not of vision, but of simple intelligence.
This is so called because the things we see around us have distinct
being outside the seer.
> Reply to Objection 1: Those
things that are not actual are true in so far as they are in potentiality; for
it is true that they are in potentiality; and as such they are
known by God.
> Reply to Objection 2: Since
God is very being everything is, in so far as it participates in
the likeness of God; as everything is hot in so far as it participates
in heat. So, things in potentiality are known by God, although
they are not in act.
> Reply to Objection 3: The
knowledge of God, joined to His will is the cause of things. Hence
it is not necessary that what ever God knows, is, or was, or will
be; but only is this necessary as regards what He wills to be, or
permits to be. Further, it is in the knowledge of God not that
they be, but that they be possible.
> Objection 1: It seems that God does not know evil things. For the Philosopher (De Anima iii) says that the intellect which is not in potentiality does not know privation. But "evil is the privation of good," as Augustine says (Confess. iii, 7). Therefore, as the intellect of God is never in potentiality, but is always in act, as is clear from the foregoing (Article ), it seems that God does not know evil things.
> Objection 2: Further,
all knowledge is either the cause of the thing known, or is caused
by it. But the knowledge of God is not the cause of evil, nor is
it caused by evil. Therefore God does not know evil things.
Objection 3: Further, everything known is known either
by its likeness, or by its opposite. But whatever God knows, He
knows through His essence, as is clear from the foregoing (Article ). Now the divine
essence neither is the likeness of evil, nor is evil contrary to
it; for to the divine essence there is no contrary, as Augustine
says (De Civ. Dei xii). Therefore God does not know evil things.
Objection 4: Further, what is known through another
and not through itself, is imperfectly known. But evil is not known
by God; for the thing known must be in the knower. Therefore if
evil is known through another, namely, through good, it would be
known by Him imperfectly; which cannot be, for the knowledge of
God is not imperfect. Therefore God does not know evil things.
On the contrary, It is written (Prov.
15:11), "Hell and destruction are before God [Vulg: 'the Lord']."
I answer that, Whoever knows a thing perfectly, must
know all that can be accidental to it. Now there are some good
things to which corruption by evil may be accidental. Hence God
would not know good things perfectly, unless He also knew evil
things. Now a thing is knowable in the degree in which it is; hence
since this is the essence of evil that it is the privation of good,
by the fact that God knows good things, He knows evil things also;
as by light is known darkness. Hence Dionysius says (Div. Nom.
vii): "God through Himself receives the vision of darkness, not
otherwise seeing darkness except through light."
to Objection 1: The saying of the Philosopher must be understood
as meaning that the intellect which is not in potentiality, does
not know privation by privation existing in it; and this agrees with
what he said previously, that a point and every indivisible thing
are known by privation of division. This is because simple and
indivisible forms are in our intellect not actually, but only potentially;
for were they actually in our intellect, they would not be known
by privation. It is thus that simple things are known by separate
substances. God therefore knows evil, not by privation existing in
Himself, but by the opposite good.
> Reply to
Objection 2: The knowledge of God is not the cause of evil;
but is the cause of the good whereby evil is known.
Reply to Objection 3: Although evil is not opposed
to the divine essence, which is not corruptible by evil; it is
opposed to the effects of God, which He knows by His essence; and
knowing them, He knows the opposite evils.
to Objection 4: To know a thing by something else only,
belongs to imperfect knowledge, if that thing is of itself knowable;
but evil is not of itself knowable, forasmuch as the very nature
of evil means the privation of good; therefore evil can neither
be defined nor known except by good.
Objection 1: It seems that God does not know singular
things. For the divine intellect is more immaterial than the human
intellect. Now the human intellect by reason of its immateriality
does not know singular things; but as the Philosopher says (De
Anima ii), "reason has to do with universals, sense with singular
things." Therefore God does not know singular things.
Objection 2: Further, in us those faculties alone
know the singular, which receive the species not abstracted from
material conditions. But in God things are in the highest degree
abstracted from all materiality. Therefore God does not know singular
> Objection 3: Further, all knowledge
comes about through the medium of some likeness. But the likeness
of singular things in so far as they are singular, does not seem
to be in God; for the principle of singularity is matter, which,
since it is in potentiality only, is altogether unlike God, Who
is pure act. Therefore God cannot know singular things.
On the contrary, It is written (Prov.
16:2), "All the ways of a man are open to His eyes."
I answer that, God knows singular things. For all
perfections found in creatures pre-exist in God in a higher way,
as is clear from the foregoing (Question
, Article ). Now
to know singular things is part of our perfection. Hence God must
know singular things. Even the Philosopher considers it incongruous
that anything known by us should be unknown to God; and thus against
Empedocles he argues (De Anima i and Metaph. iii) that God would
be most ignorant if He did not know discord. Now the perfections
which are divided among inferior beings, exist simply and unitedly
in God; hence, although by one faculty we know the universal and
immaterial, and by another we know singular and material things,
nevertheless God knows both by His simple intellect.
> Now some, wishing to show how this can be, said that God knows singular things by universal causes. For nothing exists in any singular thing, that does not arise from some universal cause. They give the example of an astrologer who knows all the universal movements of the heavens, and can thence foretell all eclipses that are to come. This, however, is not enough; for singular things from universal causes attain to certain forms and powers which, however they may be joined together, are not individualized except by individual matter. Hence he who knows Socrates because he is white, or because he is the son of Sophroniscus, or because of something of that kind, would not know him in so far as he is this particular man. Hence according to the aforesaid mode, God would not know
> singular things in their singularity.
On the other hand, others have said that God knows singular things
by the application of universal causes to particular effects. But
this will not hold; forasmuch as no one can apply a thing to another unless
he first knows that thing; hence the said application cannot be
the reason of knowing the particular, for it presupposes the knowledge
of singular things.
> Therefore it must be said otherwise,
that, since God is the cause of things by His knowledge, as stated
above (Article ), His
knowledge extends as far as His causality extends. Hence as the
active power of God extends not only to forms, which are the source
of universality, but also to matter, as we shall prove further
on (Question , Article ), the knowledge
of God must extend to singular things, which are individualized
by matter. For since He knows things other than Himself by His
essence, as being the likeness of things, or as their active principle,
His essence must be the sufficing principle of knowing all things
made by Him, not only in the universal, but also in the singular.
The same would apply to the knowledge of the artificer, if it were
productive of the whole thing, and not only of the form.
Reply to Objection 1: Our intellect abstracts the
intelligible species from the individualizing principles; hence
the intelligible species in our intellect cannot be the likeness
of the individual principles; and on that account our intellect
does not know the singular. But the intelligible species in the
divine intellect, which is the essence of God, is immaterial not
by abstraction, but of itself, being the principle of all the principles
which enter into the composition of things, whether principles
of the species or principles of the individual; hence by it God
knows not only universal, but also singular things.
Reply to Objection 2: Although as regards the species
in the divine intellect its being has no material conditions like
the images received in the imagination and sense, yet its power
extends to both immaterial and material things.
to Objection 3: Although matter as regards its potentiality
recedes from likeness to God, yet, even in so far as it has being
in this wise, it retains a certain likeness to the divine being.
> Objection 1: It seems that God cannot know infinite things. For the infinite, as such, is unknown; since the infinite is that which, "to those who measure it, leaves always something more to be measured," as the Philosopher says (Phys. iii). Moreover, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xii) that "whatever is comprehended by knowledge, is bounded by the comprehension of the knower." Now infinite things have no boundary. Therefore they cannot be comprehended by the knowledge of God.
> Objection 2: Further,
if we say that things infinite in themselves are finite in God's
knowledge, against this it may be urged that the essence of the
infinite is that it is untraversable, and the finite that it is
traversable, as said in Phys. iii. But the infinite is not traversable
either by the finite or by the infinite, as is proved in Phys.
vi. Therefore the infinite cannot be bounded by the finite, nor
even by the infinite; and so the infinite cannot be finite in God's
knowledge, which is infinite.
> Objection 3: Further,
the knowledge of God is the measure of what is known. But it is
contrary to the essence of the infinite that it be measured. Therefore
infinite things cannot be known by God.
> On the
contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xii), "Although we
cannot number the infinite, nevertheless it can be comprehended
by Him whose knowledge has no bounds."
> I answer
that, Since God knows not only things actual but also things
possible to Himself or to created things, as shown above (Article ), and as these
must be infinite, it must be held that He knows infinite things.
Although the knowledge of vision which has relation only to things
that are, or will be, or were, is not of infinite things, as some
say, for we do not say that the world is eternal, nor that generation
and movement will go on for ever, so that individuals be infinitely
multiplied; yet, if we consider more attentively, we must hold
that God knows infinite things even by the knowledge of vision.
For God knows even the thoughts and affections of hearts, which
will be multiplied to infinity as rational creatures go on for
> The reason of this is to be found in the fact
that the knowledge of every knower is measured by the mode of the
form which is the principle of knowledge. For the sensible image
in sense is the likeness of only one individual thing, and can
give the knowledge of only one individual. But the intelligible species
of our intellect is the likeness of the thing as regards its specific
nature, which is participable by infinite particulars; hence our
intellect by the intelligible species of man in a certain way knows infinite
men; not however as distinguished from each other, but as communicating
in the nature of the species; and the reason is because the intelligible
species of our intellect is the likeness of man not as to the individual
principles, but as to the principles of the species. On the other
hand, the divine essence, whereby the divine intellect understands,
is a sufficing likeness of all things that are, or can be, not
only as regards the universal principles, but also as regards the
principles proper to each one, as shown above. Hence it follows
that the knowledge of God extends to infinite things, even as distinct from
> Reply to Objection 1: The
idea of the infinite pertains to quantity, as the Philosopher says
(Phys. i). But the idea of quantity implies the order of parts.
Therefore to know the infinite according to the mode of the infinite
is to know part after part; and in this way the infinite cannot
be known; for whatever quantity of parts be taken, there will always
remain something else outside. But God does not know the infinite
or infinite things, as if He enumerated part after part; since
He knows all things simultaneously, and not successively, as said
above (Article ). Hence
there is nothing to prevent Him from knowing infinite things.
Reply to Objection 2: Transition imports a certain
succession of parts; and hence it is that the infinite cannot be
traversed by the finite, nor by the infinite. But equality suffices
for comprehension, because that is said to be comprehended which
has nothing outside the comprehender. Hence it is not against the
idea of the infinite to be comprehended by the infinite. And so,
what is infinite in itself can be called finite to the knowledge
of God as comprehended; but not as if it were traversable.
Reply to Objection 3: The knowledge of God is the
measure of things, not quantitatively, for the infinite is not
subject to this kind of measure; but it is the measure of the essence
and truth of things. For everything has truth of nature according
to the degree in which it imitates the knowledge of God, as the
thing made by art agrees with the art. Granted, however, an actually
infinite number of things, for instance, an infinitude of men,
or an infinitude in continuous quantity, as an infinitude of air,
as some of the ancients held; yet it is manifest that these would
have a determinate and finite being, because their being would
be limited to some determinate nature. Hence they would be measurable
as regards the knowledge of God.
> Objection 1: It seems
that the knowledge of God is not of future contingent things. For
from a necessary cause proceeds a necessary effect. But the knowledge
of God is the cause of things known, as said above (Article ). Since therefore
that knowledge is necessary, what He knows must also be necessary.
Therefore the knowledge of God is not of contingent things.
Objection 2: Further, every conditional proposition
of which the antecedent is absolutely necessary must have an absolutely
necessary consequent. For the antecedent is to the consequent as
principles are to the conclusion: and from necessary principles
only a necessary conclusion can follow, as is proved in Poster.
i. But this is a true conditional proposition, "If God knew that
this thing will be, it will be," for the knowledge of God is only
of true things. Now the antecedent conditional of this is absolutely
necessary, because it is eternal, and because it is signified as
past. Therefore the consequent is also absolutely necessary. Therefore
whatever God knows, is necessary; and so the knowledge of God is
not of contingent things.
> Objection 3: Further,
everything known by God must necessarily be, because even what
we ourselves know, must necessarily be; and, of course, the knowledge
of God is much more certain than ours. But no future contingent
things must necessarily be. Therefore no contingent future thing
is known by God.
> On the contrary, It
is written (Ps.
32:15), "He Who hath made the hearts of every one of them;
Who understandeth all their works," i.e. of men. Now the works
of men are contingent, being subject to free will. Therefore God
knows future contingent things.
> I answer that, Since
as was shown above (Article
), God knows all things; not only things actual but also
things possible to Him and creature; and since some of these are
future contingent to us, it follows that God knows future contingent
> In evidence of this, we must consider that
a contingent thing can be considered in two ways; first, in itself,
in so far as it is now in act: and in this sense it is not considered
as future, but as present; neither is it considered as contingent
(as having reference) to one of two terms, but as determined to
one; and on account of this it can be infallibly the object of
certain knowledge, for instance to the sense of sight, as when
I see that Socrates is sitting down. In another way a contingent
thing can be considered as it is in its cause; and in this way
it is considered as future, and as a contingent thing not yet determined
to one; forasmuch as a contingent cause has relation to opposite
things: and in this sense a contingent thing is not subject to
any certain knowledge. Hence, whoever knows a contingent effect
in its cause only, has merely a conjectural knowledge of it. Now
God knows all contingent things not only as they are in their causes,
but also as each one of them is actually in itself. And although
contingent things become actual successively, nevertheless God
knows contingent things not successively, as they are in their
own being, as we do but simultaneously. The reason is because His
knowledge is measured by eternity, as is also His being; and eternity
being simultaneously whole comprises all time, as said above (Question , Article ). Hence all
things that are in time are present to God from eternity, not only
because He has the types of things present within Him, as some
say; but because His glance is carried from eternity over all things
as they are in their presentiality. Hence it is manifest that contingent
things are infallibly known by God, inasmuch as they are subject
to the divine sight in their presentiality; yet they are future
contingent things in relation to their own causes.
Reply to Objection 1: Although the supreme cause
is necessary, the effect may be contingent by reason of the proximate
contingent cause; just as the germination of a plant is contingent
by reason of the proximate contingent cause, although the movement
of the sun which is the first cause, is necessary. So likewise
things known by God are contingent on account of their proximate
causes, while the knowledge of God, which is the first cause, is
> Reply to Objection 2: Some
say that this antecedent, "God knew this contingent to be future,"
is not necessary, but contingent; because, although it is past,
still it imports relation to the future. This however does not
remove necessity from it; for whatever has had relation to the
future, must have had it, although the future sometimes does not
follow. On the other hand some say that this antecedent is contingent,
because it is a compound of necessary and contingent; as this saying
is contingent, "Socrates is a white man." But this also is to no
purpose; for when we say, "God knew this contingent to be future,"
contingent is used here only as the matter of the word, and not
as the chief part of the proposition. Hence its contingency or
necessity has no reference to the necessity or contingency of the proposition,
or to its being true or false. For it may be just as true that
I said a man is an ass, as that I said Socrates runs, or God is:
and the same applies to necessary and contingent. Hence it must
be said that this antecedent is absolutely necessary. Nor does
it follow, as some say, that the consequent is absolutely necessary,
because the antecedent is the remote cause of the consequent, which
is contingent by reason of the proximate cause. But this is to
no purpose. For the conditional would be false were its antecedent
the remote necessary cause, and the consequent a contingent effect;
as, for example, if I said, "if the sun moves, the grass will grow."
Therefore we must reply otherwise; that when the antecedent contains
anything belonging to an act of the soul, the consequent must be
taken not as it is in itself, but as it is in the soul: for the
existence of a thing in itself is different from the existence
of a thing in the soul. For example, when I say, "What the soul
understands is immaterial," this is to be understood that it is
immaterial as it is in the intellect, not as it is in itself. Likewise
if I say, "If God knew anything, it will be," the consequent must
be understood as it is subject to the divine knowledge, i.e. as
it is in its presentiality. And thus it is necessary, as also is
the antecedent: "For everything that is, while it is, must be necessarily
be," as the Philosopher says in Peri Herm. i.
> Reply to Objection 3: Things reduced to act in time, as known by us successively in time, but by God (are known) in eternity, which is above time. Whence to us they cannot be certain, forasmuch as we know future contingent things as such; but (they are certain) to God alone, whose understanding is in eternity above time. Just as he who goes along the road, does not see those who come after him; whereas he who sees the whole road from a height, sees at once all travelling by the way. Hence what is known by us must be necessary, even as it is in itself; for what is future contingent in itself, cannot be known by us. Whereas what is known by God must be necessary according to the mode in which they are subject to the divine knowledge, as already stated, but not absolutely as considered in their own causes. Hence also this proposition, "Everything known by God must necessarily be," is usually distinguished; for this may refer to the thing, or to the saying. If it refers to the thing, it is divided and false; for the sense is, "Everything which God knows is necessary." If understood of the saying, it is composite and true; for the sense is, "This proposition, 'that which is known by God is' is necessary."
> Now some urge
an objection and say that this distinction holds good with regard
to forms that are separable from the subject; thus if I said, "It
is possible for a white thing to be black," it is false as applied
to the saying, and true as applied to the thing: for a thing which
is white, can become black; whereas this saying, " a white thing
is black" can never be true. But in forms that are inseparable
from the subject, this distinction does not hold, for instance,
if I said, "A black crow can be white"; for in both senses it is
false. Now to be known by God is inseparable from the thing; for
what is known by God cannot be known. This objection, however,
would hold if these words "that which is known" implied any disposition
inherent to the subject; but since they import an act of the knower,
something can be attributed to the thing known, in itself (even
if it always be known), which is not attributed to it in so far
as it stands under actual knowledge; thus material existence is
attributed to a stone in itself, which is not attributed to it
inasmuch as it is known.
Objection 1: It seems that God does not know enunciable
things. For to know enunciable things belongs to our intellect
as it composes and divides. But in the divine intellect, there
is no composition. Therefore God does not know enunciable things.
Objection 2: Further, every kind of knowledge is
made through some likeness. But in God there is no likeness of
enunciable things, since He is altogether simple. Therefore God
does not know enunciable things.
> On the contrary, It
is written: "The Lord knoweth the thoughts of men" (Ps.
93:11). But enunciable things are contained in the thoughts
of men. Therefore God knows enunciable things.
answer that, Since it is in the power of our intellect to
form enunciations, and since God knows whatever is in His own power
or in that of creatures, as said above (Article ), it follows
of necessity that God knows all enunciations that can be formed.
Now just as He knows material things immaterially, and composite
things simply, so likewise He knows enunciable things not after
the manner of enunciable things, as if in His intellect there were composition
or division of enunciations; for He knows each thing by simple
intelligence, by understanding the essence of each thing; as if
we by the very fact that we understand what man is, were to understand
all that can be predicated of man. This, however, does not happen
in our intellect, which discourses from one thing to another, forasmuch
as the intelligible species represents one thing in such a way
as not to represent another. Hence when we understand what man
is, we do not forthwith understand other things which belong to
him, but we understand them one by one, according to a certain
succession. On this account the things we understand as separated,
we must reduce to one by way of composition or division, by forming
an enunciation. Now the species of the divine intellect, which
is God's essence, suffices to represent all things. Hence by understanding
His essence, God knows the essences of all things, and also whatever
can be accidental to them.
> Reply to Objection
1: This objection would avail if God knew enunciable things
after the manner of enunciable things.
to Objection 2: Enunciatory composition signifies some existence
of a thing; and thus God by His existence, which is His essence,
is the similitude of all those things which are signified by enunciation.
Objection 1: It seems that the knowledge of God is
variable. For knowledge is related to what is knowable. But whatever
imports relation to the creature is applied to God from time, and
varies according to the variation of creatures. Therefore the knowledge
of God is variable according to the variation of creatures.
Objection 2: Further, whatever God can make, He can
know. But God can make more than He does. Therefore He can know
more than He knows. Thus His knowledge can vary according to increase
> Objection 3: Further,
God knew that Christ would be born. But He does not know now that
Christ will be born; because Christ is not to be born in the future.
Therefore God does not know everything He once knew; and thus the
knowledge of God is variable.
> On the contrary, It
is said, that in God "there is no change nor shadow of alteration"
> I answer that, Since the knowledge
of God is His substance, as is clear from the foregoing (Article ), just as His
substance is altogether immutable, as shown above (Question , Article ), so His knowledge
likewise must be altogether invariable.
to Objection 1: "Lord", "Creator" and the like, import relations
to creatures in so far as they are in themselves. But the knowledge
of God imports relation to creatures in so far as they are in God; because
everything is actually understood according as it is in the one
who understands. Now created things are in God in an invariable
manner; while they exist variably in themselves. We may also say that
"Lord", "Creator" and the like, import the relations consequent
upon the acts which are understood as terminating in the creatures
themselves, as they are in themselves; and thus these relations are
attributed to God variously, according to the variation of creatures.
But "knowledge" and "love," and the like, import relations consequent
upon the acts which are understood to be in God; and therefore
these are predicated of God in an invariable manner.
Reply to Objection 2: God knows also what He can
make, and does not make. Hence from the fact that He can make more
than He makes, it does not follow that He can know more than He
knows, unless this be referred to the knowledge of vision, according
to which He is said to know those things which are in act in some
period of time. But from the fact that He knows some things might
be which are not, or that some things might not be which are, it
does not follow that His knowledge is variable, but rather that
He knows the variability of things. If, however, anything existed
which God did not previously know, and afterwards knew, then His
knowledge would be variable. But this could not be; for whatever
is, or can be in any period of time, is known by God in His eternity.
Therefore from the fact that a thing exists in some period of time,
it follows that it is known by God from eternity. Therefore it
cannot be granted that God can know more than He knows; because
such a proposition implies that first of all He did not know, and
then afterwards knew.
> Reply to Objection 3: The
ancient Nominalists said that it was the same thing to say "Christ
is born" and "will be born" and "was born"; because the same thing
is signified by these three---viz. the nativity of Christ. Therefore
it follows, they said, that whatever God knew, He knows; because
now He knows that Christ is born, which means the same thing as
that Christ will be born. This opinion, however, is false; both
because the diversity in the parts of a sentence causes a diversity
of enunciations; and because it would follow that a proposition
which is true once would be always true; which is contrary to what
the Philosopher lays down (Categor. iii) when he says that this
sentence, "Socrates sits," is true when he is sitting, and false
when he rises up. Therefore, it must be conceded that this proposition is
not true, "Whatever God knew He knows," if referred to enunciable
propositions. But because of this, it does not follow that the
knowledge of God is variable. For as it is without variation in
the divine knowledge that God knows one and the same thing sometime
to be, and sometime not to be, so it is without variation in the
divine knowledge that God knows an enunciable proposition is sometime
true, and sometime false. The knowledge of God, however, would
be variable if He knew enunciable things by way of enunciation,
by composition and division, as occurs in our intellect. Hence
our knowledge varies either as regards truth and falsity, for example,
if when either as regards truth and falsity, for example, if when
a thing suffers change we retained the same opinion about it; or
as regards diverse opinions, as if we first thought that anyone
was sitting, and afterwards thought that he was not sitting; neither
of which can be in God.
Objection 1: It seems that God has not a speculative
knowledge of things. For the knowledge of God is the cause of things,
as shown above (Article ).
But speculative knowledge is not the cause of the things known.
Therefore the knowledge of God is not speculative.
Objection 2: Further, speculative knowledge comes
by abstraction from things; which does not belong to the divine
knowledge. Therefore the knowledge of God is not speculative.
On the contrary, Whatever is the more excellent must
be attributed to God. But speculative knowledge is more excellent
than practical knowledge, as the Philosopher says in the beginning
of Metaphysics. Therefore God has a speculative knowledge of things.
I answer that, Some knowledge is speculative only;
some is practical only; and some is partly speculative and partly
practical. In proof whereof it must be observed that knowledge
can be called speculative in three ways: first, on the part of
the things known, which are not operable by the knower; such is
the knowledge of man about natural or divine thing. Secondly, as
regards the manner of knowing---as, for instance, if a builder
consider a house by defining and dividing, and considering what belongs
to it in general: for this is to consider operable things in a
speculative manner, and not as practically operable; for operable
means the application of form to matter, and not the resolution
of the composite into its universal formal principles. Thirdly,
as regards the end; "for the practical intellect differs in its
end from the speculative," as the Philosopher says (De Anima iii).
For the practical intellect is ordered to the end of the operation;
whereas the end of the speculative intellect is the consideration
of truth. Hence if a builder should consider how a house can be
made, not ordering this to the end of operation, but only to know
(how to do it), this would be only a speculative considerations
as regards the end, although it concerns an operable thing. Therefore
knowledge which is speculative by reason of the thing itself known,
is merely speculative. But that which is speculative either in
its mode or as to its end is partly speculative and partly practical:
and when it is ordained to an operative end it is simply practical.
In accordance with this, therefore, it must be said that God has
of Himself a speculative knowledge only; for He Himself is not
operable. But of all other things He has both speculative and practical knowledge.
He has speculative knowledge as regards the mode; for whatever
we know speculatively in things by defining and dividing, God knows
all this much more perfectly.
> Now of things which
He can make, but does not make at any time, He has not a practical
knowledge, according as knowledge is called practical from the
end. But He has a practical knowledge of what He makes in some
period of time. And, as regards evil things, although they are not
operable by Him, yet they fall under His practical knowledge, like
good things, inasmuch as He permits, or impedes, or directs them;
as also sicknesses fall under the practical knowledge of the physician,
inasmuch as he cures them by his art.
to Objection 1: The knowledge of God is the cause, not indeed
of Himself, but of other things. He is actually the cause of some,
that is, of things that come to be in some period of time; and
He is virtually the cause of others, that is, of things which He
can make, and which nevertheless are never made.
to Objection 2: The fact that knowledge is derived from
things known does not essentially belong to speculative knowledge,
but only accidentally in so far as it is human.
answer to what is objected on the contrary, we must say that perfect
knowledge of operable things is obtainable only if they are known
in so far as they are operable. Therefore, since the knowledge
of God is in every way perfect, He must know what is operable by
Him, formally as such, and not only in so far as they are speculative.
Nevertheless this does not impair the nobility of His speculative
knowledge, forasmuch as He sees all things other than Himself in
Himself, and He knows Himself speculatively; and so in the speculative
knowledge of Himself, he possesses both speculative and practical
knowledge of all other things.