I Sentences, Distinction 37, Question 1

ARTICULUS PRIMUS
Utrum Deus sit in rebus
First Article
Whether God is in things.
Ad primum sic proceditur. 1. Videtur quod Deus in rebus non sit. Inter causas enim illae solae rei intrinsecae sunt quae partes ejus sunt, ut materia et forma; non autem agens et finis. Sed Deus non est causa rerum ut veniens in constitutionem ipsarum; quia regit omnes res, praeterquam commisceatur cum eis, ut dicitur lib. De causis, propos. 20. Ergo Deus in rebus creatis non est.We proceed thus to the first issue. 1. It seems that God is not in things. For, among causes, those alone are intrinsic to a thing that are parts of it, as, for example, matter and form but not an efficient and final cause. But God is not the cause of things such that he enters into their constitution, because he rules all things without being mixed together with them, as is said in Proposition 20 of The Book of Causes. God is not, therefore, in created things.
2. Praeterea, nobilius agens est hoc quod potest producere effectum in absentia sua, quam quod non potest hoc facere nisi per suam praesentiam. Deus autem est nobilissimum agens. Cum igitur inveniantur quaedam agentia et secundum voluntatem, et secundum naturam, quae in absentia sui producunt effectus; sicut sol in caelo existens, efficit calorem in terra per emissionem virtutis suae, et rex aliquis per imperium suum multa efficit ubi ipse non est praesens; videtur quod multo fortius Deus in absentia sui possit effectum producere; et ita non oportet quod sit in rebus quas condidit.2. Furthermore, an agent that can produce an effect in its own absence is nobler than one that can cause an effect only by its own presence. God, however, is the most noble agent. Since, therefore, there are found certain agents that act according to will and according to nature that produce effects in their own absence—as, for example, the sun, while existing in the sky, produces warmth on the earth through an emission of its own power, and any king accomplishes through his own command many things where he is not present—it seems, by a much stronger reason, that God can produce an effect in his own absence. Accordingly, it is not necessary that he be in the things that he established.
3. Praeterea, quanto aliquod agens nobilius est, tanto nobiliorem effectum producere potest. Sed perfectius est quod potest per se conservari in esse absente sua causa quam quod non potest, sicut figura perfectius est in cera in qua manet etiam sigillo amoto, quam in aqua ubi non manet in absentia imprimentis. Cum igitur Deus sit perfectissimus agens, videtur quod rebus quas condidit, contulerit hoc ut etiam in absentia suae causae conservari possint in esse; et ita ad conservationem rerum non exigitur quod Deus in rebus sit.3. Moreover, the more noble some agent is, the more noble is the effect it can produce. But an effect that can be conserved in being by itself in the absence of its cause is more perfect than one that cannot. For example, a shape in wax in which the shape remains even after a seal is withdrawn is more perfect than a shape in water where the shape does not remain in the absence of the thing that leaves the impression. Since, therefore, God is the most perfect agent, it seems that he brought together the things that he established so that they likewise can be conserved in being in the absence of their cause. Accordingly, for the conservation of things, it is not required that God be in things.
4. Praeterea, impossibile est quod duo agentia immediate operentur eamdem rem, ita quod utrumque illorum perfecte operetur; quia ad unum operatum terminatur una operatio, quae exit ab uno operante. Sed singulae res habent operationes proprias, ut dicit Damascenus, II De fid. orth., cap. X, quibus suos effectus peragunt. Ergo videtur quod Deus non immediate sit operans quidquid in rebus efficitur; et ita videtur quod non in omnibus rebus sit.4. Furthermore, it is impossible that two agents should immediately produce the same thing so that both of them act perfectly, because one operation is aimed at one effect, which issues from one operating thing. But, as Damascene says in Book 2, Chapter 10 of On Orthodox Faith, particular things have proper operations by which they accomplish their own effects. Therefore, it seems that God is not immediately producing whatever is caused in things. It seems, accordingly, that he is not in all things.
5. Praeterea, daemones res quaedam sunt. Sed absurdissime dicitur Deus in daemonibus esse. Ergo Deus non est in omnibus rebus.5. Besides, demons are certain things. But it is said most absurdly that God is in demons. God is not, therefore, in all things.
Sed contra, Hierem. XXIII, 24: Numquid non caelum et terram ego impleo? Sed per caelum et terram intelligitur omnis creatura, ut patet ex principio Genesis. Ergo Deus in omnibus creaturis est.But, on the contrary, in Jeremiah 23:24 it is asked, Do I not fill heaven and earth? But "heaven and earth" refers to every creature, as is clear from the beginning of Genesis. Therefore, God is in all creatures.
Hoc etiam videtur per hoc quod habetur ad Hebr. I, 3: Portans omnia verbo virtutis suae. Non autem potest conservare res, nisi sit praesens eis. Ergo videtur quod in omnibus rebus sit.This also seems to be the case from what is asserted in Hebrews 1:3, who upholds all things by the word of his power. He cannot, however, conserve things unless he is present to them. It seems, therefore, that God is in all things.
SOLUTIO. Respondeo dicendum, quod Deus essentialiter in omnibus rebus est, non tamen ita quod rebus commisceatur, quasi pars alicujus rei. Ad cujus evidentiam oportet tria praenotare. Primo, quod movens et motum, et operans et operatum, oportet simul esse, ut in VII Physic. probatur. Sed hoc diversimode contingit in corporalibus et spiritualibus. Quia enim corpus per essentiam suam, quae circumlimitata est terminis quantitatis, determinatum est ad situm aliquem, non potest esse quod corpus movens et motum sint in eodem situ; unde oportet quod simul sint per contactum; et sic virtute sua corpus immutat, quia immediate sibi conjungitur quod etiam immutatum aliud immutare potest, usque ad aliquem terminum. Spiritualis vero substantia, cujus essentia omnino absoluta est a quantitate et situ, ac per hoc loco, non est distincta ab eo quod movet per locum vel situm; sed ubi est quod movetur, ibi est ipsum movens; sicut anima est in corpore, et sicut virtus movens caelum dicitur esse in dextra parte orbis quem movet; unde incipit motus, ut habetur in VIII Physic. Solution: I answer that it should be said that God is essentially in all things, not nonetheless so that he is mixed together with things as if he were a part of any thing. To make this evident, it is necessary to note three points. First, it is necessary that a mover and a thing moved and an operating agent and a thing made exist simultaneously, as is proven in Book 7 of the Physics. But this occurs in a different way in corporeal things and spiritual things. For, because a body by its essence, which is circumscribed by the boundaries of quantity, is determined to some position, it cannot be that a moving body and a moved body are in the same position. Hence, it is necessary that they exist simultaneously by contact, and in this way, a body causes change by its own power, because by all means it can, up to some point, change another thing which is unchanged that is immediately united to it. However, a spiritual substance—the essence of which is wholly independent of quantity or position and, consequently, a place—is not separated from that which it moves by place or position. But where the thing that is moved is, there is the mover itself. The soul, for instance, is in the body, and the power that moves the heavens is said to be on the right side of the sphere that it moves—motion begins from this point, as is established in Book 8 of the Physics.
Secundum est, quod esse cujuslibet rei et cujuslibet partis ejus est immediate a Deo, eo quod non ponimus, secundum fidem, aliquem creare nisi Deum. Creare autem est dare esse. Tertium est, quod illud quod est causa esse, non potest cessare ab operatione qua esse datur, quin ipsa res etiam esse cesset. Sicut enim dicit Avicenna, lib. I Sufficientiae, cap. XI, haec est differentia inter agens divinum et agens naturale, quod agens naturale est tantum causa motus, et agens divinum est causa esse. Unde, juxta ipsum, qualibet causa efficiente remota, removetur effectus suus; et ideo, remoto aedificatore, non tollitur esse domus, cujus causa est gravitas lapidum quae manet; sed fieri domus cujus causa erat; et similiter, remota causa essendi, tollitur esse. Unde dicit Gregorius, lib. XVI Moral., c. XXXVII, quod omnia in nihilum deciderent, nisi ea manus omnipotentis contineret. Unde oportet quod operatio ipsius, qua dat esse, non sit intercisa, sed continua; unde dicitur Joan. V, 17: Pater meus usque modo operatur, et ego operor. Ex quibus omnibus aperte colligitur quod Deus est unicuique intimus, sicut esse proprium rei est intimum ipsi rei, quae nec incipere nec durare posset, nisi per operationem Dei, per quam suo operi conjungitur ut in eo sit.The second point is that the being of any thing and of any part of it comes immediately from God, because, according to faith, we maintain that only God creates. To create, however, is to give being. The third point is that that which is the cause of being cannot desist from the operation by which being is given without the thing itself also ceasing to be. For, as Avicenna says in Book 1, Chapter 11 of the Physics, the difference between the divine agent and a natural agent is that a natural agent is only a cause of motion, and the divine agent is the cause of being. Hence, according to him, when any efficient cause is withdrawn, its effect is removed, and therefore, when a builder is withdrawn, a house's being is not destroyed—the being whose cause is the weight of the stones that remains—but the house's becoming is destroyed—the becoming whose cause was the builder. And similarly, when the cause of being is withdrawn, being is destroyed. For this reason, Gregory says in Book 16, Chapter 37 of Morals that all things would fall into nothingness if the hand of the omnipotent one were not preserving them. Hence, it is necessary that his operation by which he gives being be not intermittent but continuous, and for this reason, it is said in John 5:17, My father is at work until now, and I am at work. From all these points, it is plainly inferred that God is most intimate to every thing just as the being that is proper to a thing is most intimate to the thing itself, which can neither begin nor last except by God's operation through which he is united to his work so that he is in it.
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod quamvis essentia divina non sit intrinseca rei quasi pars veniens in constitutionem ejus; tamen est intra rem quasi operans et agens esse uniuscujusque rei; et hoc oportet in omni agente incorporeo, ut ex praedictis patet.To the first, therefore, it should be said that, although the divine essence is not intrinsic to a thing as if it is a part entering into its constitution, it is nonetheless within a thing as if it is something that operates on and causes the being of each thing. In this way, it must be in every thing as an incorporeal agent, as is clear from what was said before.
Ad secundum dicendum, quod illud quod agit per suam absentiam, non est causa proxima ejus quod fit, sed remota; virtus enim solis primo et principaliter est in corpore sibi conjuncto, et sic deinceps usque ad ultimum; et haec virtus est lumen ejus per quod agit in his inferioribus, ut Avicenna, lib. cit., cap. II, dicit. Similiter patet quod rex praecipiens est causa prima: sed exequens praeceptum est causa proxima et conjuncta. Deus autem immediate in omnibus operatur; unde oportet quod in omnibus sit.To the second, it should be said that that which acts through its own absence is not the proximate cause of an effect, but the remote. For instance, the sun's power exists at first and principally in the body united to it, and it exists in another way successively at every point until the farthest thing. This power is its light by which it acts on these lower things, as Avicenna says in Book 1, Chapter 2 of the Physics. Similarly, it is clear that a king giving an order is the primary cause of an effect, but the one executing the order is the cause that is proximate and united to the effect. God, however, operates immediately in all things. Hence, it is necessary that he be in all things.
Ad tertium dicendum, quod, sicut ex praedictis patet, esse rei non potest conservari sine causa essendi, sicut nec motus sine causa movente. Unde si sine aliquo agente esse rei conservetur, illud agens non erit causa essendi, sed fiendi tantum, sicut sigillum est causa figurae in cera; unde remoto sigillo, remanet figura, sicut etiam de aedificatore dictum est; et hoc est agens imperfectum; unde ratio procedit ex falsis.To the third, it should be said that, as is clear from what was said before, a thing's being cannot be conserved without a cause of being, just as motion cannot be conserved without a cause that moves. Hence, if a thing's being is conserved without some agent, that agent will not be a cause of being, but only a cause of becoming, as a seal is the cause of a shape in wax. For this reason, when the seal is withdrawn, the shape remains, as was also said about a builder. This is an imperfect agent. Hence, the argument proceeds from false premises.
Ad quartum dicendum, quod respectu ejusdem operationis non potest esse duplex causa proxima eodem modo, sed diversimode potest; quod sic patet. Operatio reducitur sicut in principium in duo; in ipsum agentem, et in virtutem agentis, qua mediante exit operatio ab agente. Quanto autem agens est magis proximum et immediatum, tanto virtus ejus est mediata, et primi agentis virtus est immediatissima; quod sic patet in terminis. Sint A, B, C tres causae ordinatae, ita quod C sit ultima, quae exercet operationem; constat tunc quod C exercet operationem per virtutem suam; et quod per virtutem suam hoc possit, hoc est per virtutem B et ulterius per virtutem A. Unde si quaeritur quare C operatur, respondetur per virtutem suam; et quare per virtutem suam; propter virtutem B; et sic quousque reducatur in virtutem causae primae in quam docet Philosophus quaestiones resolvere in Posterior. Analyt., lib. II, et in II Physic. Et ita patet quod cum Deus sit prima causa omnium, sua virtus est immediatissima omnibus. Sed quia ipsemet est sua virtus, ideo non tantum est immediatum principium operationis in omnibus, sed immediate in omnibus operans; quod in aliis causis non contingit, quamvis singulae res proprias operationes habeant quibus producunt suos effectus.To the fourth, it should be said that, with respect to the same operation, there cannot be a twofold proximate cause in the same way, but there can be in a different way. This is clear from the following considerations. An operation is reduced as to its principle into two things: the agent itself and the agent's power by which an operation goes forth, in a mediated way, from an agent. However, the more an agent is proximate and immediate, the more is its power mediated, and the power of the first agent is the most immediate. This is clear in the outer-most members of a series. A, B, and C are three ordered causes so that C is the last, which exercises an operation. It is then an established fact that C exercises an operation by its own power, and it is by the power of B and, more than that, by the power of A that C can do this by its own power. Hence, if it is asked why C operates, the answer is by its own power. And if it asked why by its own power, it is on account of the power of B. And it will be asked in this way until it is lead back to the power of the first cause into which the Philosopher teaches, in Book 2 of the Posterior Analytics and in Book 2 of the Physics, to resolve questions. Accordingly, it is clear that, since God is the first cause of all things, his power is the most immediate in all things. But because he himself is his own power, not only is he, for this reason, the immediate principle of operation in all things, but he also operates immediately in all things. This does not happen in other causes, however much particular things may have proper operations by which they produce their own effects.
Ad quintum dicendum, quod non est concedendum simpliciter quod Deus sit in daemone, duabus de causis. Primo, quia daemon non nominat naturam tantum, sed naturam deformatam; cujus deformitatis Deus non est operator. Secundo, quia daemon nominat naturam intellectualem; unde cum dicitur, Deus est in daemone, intelligitur per modum quo natura intellectualis ejus est capax, scilicet per gratiam. Unde nec de homine peccatore simpliciter dicimus, Deus est in isto homine; nisi addatur, inquantum est creatura, vel per essentiam, et praesentiam, et potentiam; quo addito, dicitur etiam Deus in daemone esse.To the fifth, it should be said that it should not be conceded, in an absolute way, that God is in a demon for two reasons. First, because "demon" does not name a nature only, but a deformed nature, the deformity of which God is not the cause. Second, because "demon" names an intellectual nature. Hence, when it is said, "God is in a demon," this is understood with respect to the way by which its intellectual nature is fit for this, namely, by grace. For this reason, we do not say in an absolute way about a human sinner, "God is in that human being," unless there is added, "insofar as he is a creature," or "by essence, presence, and power." When such things are added, it is likewise said that God is in a demon.

© John Laumakis
(jlamakis@hilltop.ic.edu)



The Aquinas Translation Project
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