Hence it is that, though the first and highest good is altogether simple, and the substances that are nearer to it in goodness are likewise close to it in regard to simplicity, we find some among the lowest substances to be simpler than some of their superiors, as is the case with elements in relation to animals and men; yet these lower simple beings cannot achieve the perfection of knowledge and understanding which animals and men do attain. Now, it is clear from what has been said that man cannot understand separate substances on the basis of the foregoing opinions. An Annotated Translation (With some Abridgement) of the Summa Contra Gentiles of Saint Thos Aquinas by Joseph Rickaby, S.J., M.A. The conclusion stands, then, that God is the end of things, not in the sense of something set up, or produced, by things, nor in the sense that something is added to Him by things, but in this sense only, that He is attained by things. Indeed, in that case, when all its effects are known from itself, a principle is known in its entire capacity. For, if the possible intellect is not a power which depends on matter, and again if it is separate in being from body, as Averroes supposes, then it follows that it has no necessary relation to material things. However, it would be an instance of chance evil if some wrong resulted in a few cases from the object intended: for example, in the case of a person who kills a man while shooting at a bird. Now, the being of any thing is participated being, since no thing is its own act of being, except God, as we proved above. Now, secondary agents, which are like particularizers and determinants of the primary agent’s action, produce as their proper effects other perfections which determine being. Therefore, this act is its end. Cum enim Simonides quidam homini praetermittendam divinam cognitionem persuaderet et humanis rebus ingenium applicandum, oportere inquiens humana sapere hominem et mortalia mortalem; contra eum philosophus dicit quod homo debet se ad immortalia et divina trahere quantum potest.  Furthermore, nothing can be elevated to a higher operation unless because its power is strengthened. Now, that which is practically nothing cannot make a noticeable difference; thus, the distance between the center of the earth and our level of vision is like nothing in comparison with the distance that lies between our eye level and the eighth sphere, in regard to which sphere the whole earth takes the place of a point; this is why no noticeable variation results from the fact that astronomers in their demonstrations use our eye level of sight as the center of the earth. Hence, Dionysius says, quite properly, in the fourth chapter of On the Divine Names, that “evil does not fight against good, except through the power of the good; in itself, indeed, it is powerless and weak,” the principle of no action, as it were. Now, that which is utterly separate from body must be intellectual, as is evident from earlier considerations. Hence it is said: “When He shall appear, we shall be like to Him, because we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). Now, it is as a result of the goodness of God that He confers being on all things, for a being acts by virtue of the fact that it is actually perfect. So, it tends toward some act.  Whatever exists in another thing as in its subject must have some cause, for it is caused either by the principles of the subject or by some extrinsic cause. For, such a thing is not the necessary result of what is intended; rather, it is repugnant to what is intended, since the agent intends a perfect product of generation. Of course, this is not sufficient for the ultimate felicity of man. For instance, the art of navigation, to which the end, that is the use, of a ship pertains, is architectonic and preceptive in relation to the art of shipbuilding.  From these considerations it becomes evident that no essence is evil in itself. Again, this divine being is the substance of the existing God.  Contra Gentiles, lib. 21:3-7). 1 cap. Therefore, man’s highest good does not lie in the senses.  Besides, if something act for the sake of an already existing thing, and should then set up something by its action, then this something must be added by the action of the agent to the thing for the sake of which the action is done: thus, if soldiers fight for the sake of their leader, victory will come to the leader, and this is what the soldiers cause by their actions. So, then, it is necessary that an object of understanding, which is not based on any species of this kind, be identical in me and in you. This could not be, since the divine essence is in itself perfect in its own nature. Therefore, it is just as true of the agent that acts in accord with nature as of the agent who acts in accord with art and as a result of previous planning that action is for the sake of an end.  Furthermore, foolish is the providence of a person who does not take care of the things needed by the things for which he does care. 1 cap. 7 n. 3,  Contra Gentiles, lib. Now, this is the sort of quiddity proper to a separate substance. Therefore, they are capable of ruling the lower intellectual natures.  Contra Gentiles, lib.  Now, it seems difficult for some people to understand how natural effects are attributed to God and to a natural agent.  For it is in the case of things that happen rarely that fortune and chance are said to be present. Therefore, He preserves things in being by His operation.  Moreover, among things utterly devoid of knowledge one thing comes under another, depending on whether the one is more powerful in acting than the other. Therefore, He Himself is the end of all things. Now, it is impossible for celestial motion to result from the form of a celestial body, as from an active principle. For, one could not attain all these objects of knowledge from the things that come under the scope of our senses, and from which the principles of the speculative sciences are drawn.  However, certain words of Augustine do present a difficulty; for it appears from them that we can understand God Himself in this life. That is why it is said in the Psalms ( 13:1, 52:1): “The fool hath said in his heart: There is no God.” So, this is not the knowledge of God which suffices for felicity. Et 36-26: ecce, Deus magnus, vincens scientiam nostram. But things participate in the divine goodness to the extent that they are good, by way of likeness.  Contra Gentiles, lib. So, we have to say that every agent acts by the divine power. But, what is appropriate to something is good for it.  Besides, if any two factors are to be mutually united, so that one of them is formal and the other material, their union must be completed through action coming from the side of the formal factor, and not through the action of the one that is material. Now, if the intellect knows the substance of a thing through its accidents, in accordance with what is said in Book I of On the Soul [1: 402b 21], that “the accidents contribute a good deal to the knowing of that which is,” this is accidental, inasmuch as the intellect must attain to substance through the knowledge of sensible accidents. So, it is manifest that the divine essence may be related to the created intellect as an intelligible species by which it understands, but this does not apply to the essence of any other separate substance. Considered in itself, it is merely in potency in regard to intelligible being; nothing is known according to what it is potentially, but only as it is actually. But in the second way there is one vision of both, since at the same time that the effect is seen the cause is also seen in it. So, these actions do tend to some end, though quite apart from the order of the intellect. 4 n. 2 Hoc autem de illa primo ostendendum est quae inquisitioni rationis pervia esse potest: ne forte alicui videatur, ex quo ratione haberi potest, frustra id supernaturali inspiratione credendum traditum esse. Hence, this must be the end of the intellectual creature, namely, to understand God. Now, motion, by definition, is of this type, for whatever is moved, by virtue of that fact, is in a different condition before and after.” So, it is impossible for a nature to tend toward motion for the sake of motion. Quaedam namque vera sunt de Deo quae omnem facultatem humanae rationis excedunt, ut Deum esse trinum et unum.  Contra Gentiles, lib. 4 n. 3 Unum est quod paucis hominibus Dei cognitio inesset. Moreover, art objects are preserved in being by the power of natural things; a home, for instance, by the solidity of its stories. But God is the most perfect agent. Even these corruptible bodies are perfectly subject to His power, just as they are created by God Himself.  Contra Gentiles, lib. So, the privation of such forms in relation to matter is not an evil for the matter, but in relation to the thing whose form it is, it is an evil for it; just as the privation of the form of fire is an evil for fire.  Nor does the fact that God is called infinite hinder the vision of the divine substance, as the fifth argument suggested. This is especially necessary if what is above it is its cause, since the likeness of the cause must be found in the effects. To the extent that it possesses being, it has something good; for, if good is that which all desire, then being itself must be called a good, because all desire to be. For, the more perfect an ordering is, the more does it descend to small details; but the execution of small details is appropriate to a lower power, proportionate to such an effect. But this is unreasonable. Therefore, the principle of celestial motion is not simply the nature of the body. But the vision of the divine substance is the ultimate end of every intellectual substance, as is clear from what we have said. 7 n. 4 Adhuc. According as it acts, so does it intend the end. And then, that which is the perfection of the thing, in so far as it already possesses its species, is its end: as habitation is the end of the house. So, evil is an accidental cause. But still, according to Plato, the second and third types of providence depend on the first, for the highest God has established the ones on the second and third levels as provident agents. Now, this pertains to the order of Powers. But what is done by supernatural power is not hindered by a diversity of nature, since divine power is infinite. My mouth shall discuss truth, and my lips shall detest the ungodly (Prov. 1 cap. The thunder of his power who can understand? Chapter 57 But the contrary of this is apparent, for celestial motion is continuous.  Moreover, that object in whose attainment man’s highest good lies must be better than man.  Thus, it is ,car, both in the natural order and in the moral order, that evil is only caused by good accidentally.  Now, by this conclusion the error of the ancient philosophers of nature is refuted, for they said that all things come about as a result of material necessity, the consequence of which would be that all things happen by chance and not from the order of providence. Therefore, it does not pertain to divine providence to prohibit evil entirely from things. But, no matter how fully we know that God exists, and the other things mentioned above, we do not cease our desire, but still desire to know Him through His essence. For, this act of understanding which the intellect understands pertains to some object. Now, the human intellect has a greater desire, and love, and pleasure, in knowing divine matters than it has in the perfect knowledge of the lowest things, even though it can grasp but little concerning divine things.  For the knowledge that pertains to art is also practical knowledge.  Besides, the form which in actual being cannot be separated from a subject is not of the same rational character as the form which is separated in its being from such a subject, even though both of them can be taken, in an act of consideration, without such a subject. But evil is not a cause, except in the accidental sense, as we have shown.” So, evil cannot be a first principle. Of course, we are in ignorance, except in regard to the lowest types of beings. The lower they are, the fewer details of the divine order do they receive through the first illumination which they get from the divine source. So, the more this intended good (which apart from the agent’s intention results in evil) is multiplied, the more is the potency to the contrary good diminished. Therefore, the end of the intellect is the end of all human actions. But if it does not terminate in a product, then the inclination of the agent tends toward the action itself. But it is beyond the capacity of the created intellect, in the sense that it exceeds its power; just as sensible objects of extreme character are beyond the capacity of sense power. So, if the soul knows itself through itself, in the sense of what it is, it will always actually understand what it is. Praecepta etiam tradidit promissis conformia, voluptati carnali habenas relaxans, in quibus in promptu est a carnalibus hominibus obediri. So, if divine providence does not prevent motion from going on in things, neither will the weakening of their power be prevented, nor the blocking of their power by the resistance of another thing. 9 n. 1 Ex praemissis igitur evidenter apparet sapientis intentionem circa duplicem veritatem divinorum debere versari, et circa errores contrarios destruendos: ad quarum unam investigatio rationis pertingere potest, alia vero omnem rationis excedit industriam. But the speculative sciences are lovable for their own sake, since their end is knowledge itself. Quicquid igitur principiis huiusmodi contrarium est, divinae sapientiae contrariatur. Oxon., Author of "Aquinas Ethicus" etc. So, also, irrational is an animal difference, not because of the privation of reason but by virtue of a certain kind of nature, to which the absence of reason follows as a consequence. For he says in Book X of The Trinity that “the soul, when seeking knowledge of itself, does not endeavor to see itself as something absent, but takes care to observe itself as present; not to learn about itself as if it were ignorant, but to distinguish itself from what it knows as another thing.” Thus, he makes us understand that the soul, through itself, does know itself as present, but not as distinct from other things. Therefore, it is present in a special way in the soul, inasmuch as it knows truth. This is the situation with an end which the agent sets up by his own action, as a physician sets up health in a sick man by his own action; this is, of course, the physician’s end.  Furthermore, wherever the distinction of more or less is found, there must be certain things arranged in hierarchic order, since neither negations nor privations admit of more or less. So, felicity is not to be located in pleasures of this sort. Thus, a man who is destitute of virtue and host to vices is indeed called good, relatively speaking; that is, to the extent that be is a being, and a man. Chapter 1 / FOREWORD / Lo, these things are only outlines of His ways: and how small a whisper we hear of Him. For the end of the activity of every virtuous man is the good appropriate to his virtue, just as, for the brave man, it is to act bravely. The agent tends to make the patient like the agent, not only in regard to its act of being, but also in regard to causality. And again, in regard to time: because it alone can be perpetual, as is proved in the Physics [VIII, 8: 261b 27]. One of these is the executive power, the moving force, whereby the parts of the body are moved to carry out the command of the will.  Now, the good that is proper to a thing may be received in many ways. For, primarily Ad directly, the intellect moves the will; indeed, the will, as such, is moved by its object which is the known good. There is no other end for His will than His goodness, which is Himself, as we proved in Book One .  For, if a thing is the direct cause of something, then that which is an accidental concomitant of this direct cause is the accidental cause of the resultant.  First of all, we showed above that the possible intellect is not some substance separated from us in its being. Now, it is possible for a defect to happen in an effect, because of a defect in the secondary agent cause, without there being a defect in the primary agent. We have pointed out in Book Two  that no created substance is its own act of being.  Now, if we are not able to understand other separate substances in this life, because of the natural affinity of our intellect for phantasms, still less are we able in this life to see the divine essence which transcends all separate substances. But celestial bodies are more like intellectual substances than are other bodies because the former are incorruptible. And so, it knows itself through itself, since it is incorporeal.” Indeed, it does appear from these words that our mind understands itself, through itself, and by understanding itself it understands separate substances. 1 cap. 8 n. 1 Considerandum etiam videtur quod res quidem sensibiles, ex quibus humana ratio cognitionis principium sumit, aliquale vestigium in se divinae imitationis retinent, ita tamen imperfectum quod ad declarandam ipsius Dei substantiam omnino insufficiens invenitur. 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