> After treating of the
procession of the divine persons, we must consider the procession
of creatures from God. This consideration will be threefold: (1)
of the production of creatures; (2) of the distinction between
them; (3) of their preservation and government. Concerning the
first point there are three things to be considered: (1) the first
cause of beings; (2) the mode of procession of creatures from the first
cause; (3) the principle of the duration of things.
> Under the first head there are four points of inquiry:
> (1) Whether God is the efficient cause of all beings?
> (2) Whether
primary matter is created by God, or is an independent coordinate
principle with Him?
> (3) Whether
God is the exemplar cause of beings or whether there are other
> (4) Whether He is the final cause of things?
> Objection 1: It would
seem that it is not necessary that every being be created by God.
For there is nothing to prevent a thing from being without that
which does not belong to its essence, as a man can be found without
whiteness. But the relation of the thing caused to its cause does
not appear to be essential to beings, for some beings can be understood
without it; therefore they can exist without it; and therefore
it is possible that some beings should not be created by God.
Objection 2: Further, a thing requires an efficient
cause in order to exist. Therefore whatever cannot but exist does
not require an efficient cause. But no necessary thing can not
exist, because whatever necessarily exists cannot but exist. Therefore
as there are many necessary things in existence, it appears that
not all beings are from God.
> Objection 3: Further,
whatever things have a cause, can be demonstrated by that cause.
But in mathematics demonstration is not made by the efficient cause,
as appears from the Philosopher (Metaph. iii, text 3); therefore
not all beings are from God as from their efficient cause.
On the contrary, It is said (Rm.
11:36): "Of Him, and by Him, and in Him are all things."
I answer that, It must be said that every being in
any way existing is from God. For whatever is found in anything
by participation, must be caused in it by that to which it belongs
essentially, as iron becomes ignited by fire. Now it has been shown
above (Question , Article ) when treating
of the divine simplicity that God is the essentially self-subsisting
Being; and also it was shown (Question , Articles ,4) that subsisting
being must be one; as, if whiteness were self-subsisting, it would
be one, since whiteness is multiplied by its recipients. Therefore
all beings apart from God are not their own being, but are beings
by participation. Therefore it must be that all things which are
diversified by the diverse participation of being, so as to be
more or less perfect, are caused by one First Being, Who possesses
being most perfectly.
> Hence Plato said (Parmen. xxvi)
that unity must come before multitude; and Aristotle said (Metaph. ii,
text 4) that whatever is greatest in being and greatest in truth,
is the cause of every being and of every truth; just as whatever
is the greatest in heat is the cause of all heat.
to Objection 1: Though the relation to its cause is not
part of the definition of a thing caused, still it follows, as
a consequence, on what belongs to its essence; because from the
fact that a thing has being by participation, it follows that it
is caused. Hence such a being cannot be without being caused, just
as man cannot be without having the faculty of laughing. But, since
to be caused does not enter into the essence of being as such,
therefore is it possible for us to find a being uncaused.
Reply to Objection 2: This objection has led some
to say that what is necessary has no cause (Phys. viii, text 46).
But this is manifestly false in the demonstrative sciences, where
necessary principles are the causes of necessary conclusions. And
therefore Aristotle says (Metaph. v, text 6), that there are some
necessary things which have a cause of their necessity. But the
reason why an efficient cause is required is not merely because
the effect is not necessary, but because the effect might not be
if the cause were not. For this conditional proposition is true,
whether the antecedent and consequent be possible or impossible.
Reply to Objection 3: The science of mathematics
treats its object as though it were something abstracted mentally,
whereas it is not abstract in reality. Now, it is becoming that
everything should have an efficient cause in proportion to its
being. And so, although the object of mathematics has an efficient
cause, still, its relation to that cause is not the reason why
it is brought under the consideration of the mathematician, who
therefore does not demonstrate that object from its efficient cause.
Objection 1: It would seem that primary matter is
not created by God. For whatever is made is composed of a subject
and of something else (Phys. i, text 62). But primary matter has
no subject. Therefore primary matter cannot have been made by God.
Objection 2: Further, action and passion are opposite
members of a division. But as the first active principle is God,
so the first passive principle is matter. Therefore God and primary
matter are two principles divided against each other, neither of
which is from the other.
> Objection 3: Further,
every agent produces its like, and thus, since every agent acts
in proportion to its actuality, it follows that everything made
is in some degree actual. But primary matter is only in potentiality,
formally considered in itself. Therefore it is against the nature
of primary matter to be a thing made.
> On the
contrary, Augustine says (Confess. xii, 7), Two "things
hast Thou made, O Lord; one nigh unto Thyself"---viz. angels---"the
other nigh unto nothing"---viz. primary matter.
answer that, The ancient philosophers gradually, and as
it were step by step, advanced to the knowledge of truth. At first
being of grosser mind, they failed to realize that any beings existed
except sensible bodies. And those among them who admitted movement,
did not consider it except as regards certain accidents, for instance,
in relation to rarefaction and condensation, by union and separation.
And supposing as they did that corporeal substance itself was uncreated,
they assigned certain causes for these accidental changes, as for
instance, affinity, discord, intellect, or something of that kind.
An advance was made when they understood that there was a distinction
between the substantial form and matter, which latter they imagined
to be uncreated, and when they perceived transmutation to take
place in bodies in regard to essential forms. Such transmutations
they attributed to certain universal causes, such as the oblique
circle [*The zodiac], according to Aristotle (De Gener. ii), or
ideas, according to Plato. But we must take into consideration
that matter is contracted by its form to a determinate species,
as a substance, belonging to a certain species, is contracted by
a supervening accident to a determinate mode of being; for instance,
man by whiteness. Each of these opinions, therefore, considered
"being" under some particular aspect, either as "this" or as "such";
and so they assigned particular efficient causes to things. Then
others there were who arose to the consideration of "being," as
being, and who assigned a cause to things, not as "these," or as
"such," but as "beings."
> Therefore whatever is the
cause of things considered as beings, must be the cause of things,
not only according as they are "such" by accidental forms, nor
according as they are "these" by substantial forms, but also according
to all that belongs to their being at all in any way. And thus
it is necessary to say that also primary matter is created by the
universal cause of things.
> Reply to Objection
1: The Philosopher (Phys. i, text 62), is speaking of "becoming"
in particular---that is, from form to form, either accidental or
substantial. But here we are speaking of things according to their
emanation from the universal principle of being; from which emanation
matter itself is not excluded, although it is excluded from the
former mode of being made.
> Reply to Objection
2: Passion is an effect of action. Hence it is reasonable
that the first passive principle should be the effect of the first
active principle, since every imperfect thing is caused by one
perfect. For the first principle must be most perfect, as Aristotle
says (Metaph. xii, text 40).
> Reply to Objection
3: The reason adduced does not show that matter is not
created, but that it is not created without form; for though everything
created is actual, still it is not pure act. Hence it is necessary
that even what is potential in it should be created, if all that
belongs to its being is created.
> Objection 1: It would seem
that the exemplar cause is something besides God. For the effect
is like its exemplar cause. But creatures are far from being like
God. Therefore God is not their exemplar cause.
2: Further, whatever is by participation is reduced to something
self-existing, as a thing ignited is reduced to fire, as stated
above (Article ). But
whatever exists in sensible things exists only by participation
of some species. This appears from the fact that in all sensible
species is found not only what belongs to the species, but also
individuating principles added to the principles of the species.
Therefore it is necessary to admit self-existing species, as for
instance, a "per se" man, and a "per se" horse, and the like, which
are called the exemplars. Therefore exemplar causes exist besides
> Objection 3: Further, sciences and
definitions are concerned with species themselves, but not as these
are in particular things, because there is no science or definition
of particular things. Therefore there are some beings, which are
beings or species not existing in singular things, and these are
called exemplars. Therefore the same conclusion follows as above.
Objection 4: Further, this likewise appears from
Dionysius, who says (Div. Nom. v) that self-subsisting being is
before self-subsisting life, and before self-subsisting wisdom.
On the contrary, The exemplar is the same as the
idea. But ideas, according to Augustine (Questions. 83, qu. 46),
are "the master forms, which are contained in the divine intelligence."
Therefore the exemplars of things are not outside God.
I answer that, God is the first exemplar cause of
all things. In proof whereof we must consider that if for the production
of anything an exemplar is necessary, it is in order that the effect
may receive a determinate form. For an artificer produces a determinate
form in matter by reason of the exemplar before him, whether it
is the exemplar beheld externally, or the exemplar interiorily
conceived in the mind. Now it is manifest that things made by nature
receive determinate forms. This determination of forms must be
reduced to the divine wisdom as its first principle, for divine
wisdom devised the order of the universe, which order consists
in the variety of things. And therefore we must say that in the
divine wisdom are the types of all things, which types we have
called ideas---i.e. exemplar forms existing in the divine mind (Question , Article ). And these
ideas, though multiplied by their relations to things, in reality
are not apart from the divine essence, according as the likeness
to that essence can be shared diversely by different things. In
this manner therefore God Himself is the first exemplar of all
things. Moreover, in things created one may be called the exemplar
of another by the reason of its likeness thereto, either in species,
or by the analogy of some kind of imitation.
to Objection 1: Although creatures do not attain to a natural
likeness to God according to similitude of species, as a man begotten
is like to the man begetting, still they do attain to likeness
to Him, forasmuch as they represent the divine idea, as a material
house is like to the house in the architect's mind.
Reply to Objection 2: It is of a man's nature to
be in matter, and so a man without matter is impossible. Therefore
although this particular man is a man by participation of the species,
he cannot be reduced to anything self-existing in the same species,
but to a superior species, such as separate substances. The same
applies to other sensible things.
> Reply to Objection 3: Although every science and definition is concerned only with beings, still it is not necessary that a thing should have the same mode in reality as the thought of it has in our understanding. For we abstract universal ideas by force of the active intellect from the particular conditions; but it is not necessary that the universals should exist outside the particulars in order to be their exemplars.
> Reply to Objection 4: As
Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv), by "self-existing life and self-existing
wisdom" he sometimes denotes God Himself, sometimes the powers
given to things themselves; but not any self-subsisting things,
as the ancients asserted.
Objection 1: It would seem that God is not the final
cause of all things. For to act for an end seems to imply need
of the end. But God needs nothing. Therefore it does not become
Him to act for an end.
> Objection 2: Further,
the end of generation, and the form of the thing generated, and
the agent cannot be identical (Phys. ii, text 70), because the
end of generation is the form of the thing generated. But God is
the first agent producing all things. Therefore He is not the final
cause of all things.
> Objection 3: Further,
all things desire their end. But all things do not desire God,
for all do not even know Him. Therefore God is not the end of all
> Objection 4: Further, the final
cause is the first of causes. If, therefore, God is the efficient
cause and the final cause, it follows that before and after exist
in Him; which is impossible.
> On the contrary, It
is said (Prov.
16:4): "The Lord has made all things for Himself."
I answer that, Every agent acts for an end: otherwise
one thing would not follow more than another from the action of
the agent, unless it were by chance. Now the end of the agent and
of the patient considered as such is the same, but in a different
way respectively. For the impression which the agent intends to
produce, and which the patient intends to receive, are one and
the same. Some things, however, are both agent and patient at the
same time: these are imperfect agents, and to these it belongs
to intend, even while acting, the acquisition of something. But
it does not belong to the First Agent, Who is agent only, to act
for the acquisition of some end; He intends only to communicate
His perfection, which is His goodness; while every creature intends
to acquire its own perfection, which is the likeness of the divine
perfection and goodness. Therefore the divine goodness is the end
of all things.
> Reply to Objection 1: To
act from need belongs only to an imperfect agent, which by its
nature is both agent and patient. But this does not belong to God,
and therefore He alone is the most perfectly liberal giver, because
He does not act for His own profit, but only for His own goodness.
Reply to Objection 2: The form of the thing generated
is not the end of generation, except inasmuch as it is the likeness
of the form of the generator, which intends to communicate its
own likeness; otherwise the form of the thing generated would be
more noble than the generator, since the end is more noble than
the means to the end.
> Reply to Objection 3: All
things desire God as their end, when they desire some good thing,
whether this desire be intellectual or sensible, or natural, i.e.
without knowledge; because nothing is good and desirable except
forasmuch as it participates in the likeness to God.
Reply to Objection 4: Since God is the efficient,
the exemplar and the final cause of all things, and since primary
matter is from Him, it follows that the first principle of all
things is one in reality. But this does not prevent us from mentally
considering many things in Him, some of which come into our mind