Question Ten: The Mind
Is the mind, as containing within itself the image of the Trinity, the essence of the soul or one of its powers?
Is there memory in the mind?
Is memory distinguished from understanding as one power from another?
Does the mind know material things?
Can our mind know material things in their singularity?
Does the human mind receive knowledge from sensible things?
Is the image of the Trinity in the mind as it knows material things or only as it knows eternal things?
Does the mind know itself through its essence or through some species?
Is it through their essence or through some likeness that our mind knows habits which exist in the soul?
Can one know that he has charity?
Can the mind in this life see God through His essence?
Is God's existence self-evident to the human mind, just as first principles of demonstration, which cannot be thought not to exist?
Can the Trinity of persons in God be known by natural reason?
This question treats of the mind, which contains the image of the Trinity,
and in the first article we ask:
Is the mind, as containing within itself the image of the Trinity, the essence of the soul or one of its powers?
[Parallel readings: I Sent., 3, 4, 2; S.T., I, 54, 3; 79, 1; 93, 7; Q.D. de spir. creat., 11; Q.D. de anima, 12.]
It seems that it is the essence of the soul, for
1. Augustine says: “The terms mind and spirit are not taken relatively, but denote the essence, and nothing but the essence of the soul. Therefore, the mind is the essence of the soul.
2. Different classes of powers of the soul are found only in its essence. But the appetitive and intellective are different classes of powers of the soul. For The Soul gives five most general classes of powers of the soul: vegetative, sensitive, appetitive, locomotive, and intellective. But the mind includes within it appetitive and intellective powers, for Augustine puts understanding and will in the mind. It seems, then, that the mind is not a power, but the very essence of the soul.
3. Augustine says: “We are in the image of God by the fact that we exist, that we know that we exist, and that we love this knowledge and this existence.” He also bases the attribution of the likeness of God in us upon knowledge, mind, and love. Since, then, loving is the act of love, and knowing is the act of knowledge, it seems that existence is the act of the mind. But existence is the act of essence. Therefore, the mind is the very essence of the soul.
4. Mind has the same nature in angels and in us. But the very essence of an angel is its mind. For this reason Dionysius frequently calls angels divine or intellectual minds. Therefore, our mind, also, is the very essence of our soul.
5. Augustine says: “Memory, understanding, and will are one mind, one essence, one life.” Therefore, as life belongs to the essence of the soul, so does mind.
6. An accident cannot be the source of a substantial distinction. But, by his possession of mind, man is substantially distinguished from brute animals. So, mind is not an accident. But a power of the soul is a property of the soul, according to Avicenna and so it belongs to the class of accident. Therefore, mind is not a power, but the very essence of the soul.
7. Acts specifically different do not come from one power. But, as is clear from Augustine, acts specifically different—namely: remembering, understanding, and willing—come from the mind. Therefore, mind is not a power of the soul, but its very essence.
8. One power is not the subject of another power. But mind is the subject of the image of the Trinity, which is constituted by the three powers. Therefore, mind is not a power, but the essence of the soul.
9. No power contains in itself other powers. But the mind includes understanding and will. Therefore, it is not a power, but the essence.
To the Contrary
1. Powers of the soul are its only parts. But mind is the higher part of the soul, as Augustine says. Therefore, mind is a power of the soul.
2. The essence of the soul is common to all the powers, because all are rooted in it. But mind is not common to all the powers, because it is distinguished from sense. Therefore, mind is not the essence of the soul.
3. We cannot speak of highest and lowest in the essence of the soul. But there are highest and lowest in mind. For Augustine divides mind into higher and lower reason. Therefore, mind is a power of the soul and not its essence.
4. The essence of the soul is the principle of life. But mind is not the principle of life, but of understanding. Therefore, mind is not the essence of the soul, but one of its powers.
5. A subject is not predicated of an accident. But mind is predicated of memory, understanding, and will, which are in the soul as in a subject. Therefore, mind is not the essence of the soul.
6. According to Augustine, the relation of the soul to the image does not arise from the whole soul, but only from part of it, namely, the mind. Therefore, the mind does not denote the whole soul, but a part of it.
7. The name mind (mens) seems to have been attributed [to the soul] from the fact that it remembers (memini). But memory refers to a power of the soul. Therefore, mind also denotes a power and not the essence.
The term mind (mens) is taken from the verb measure (mensurare). For a thing of any genus is measured by that which is least and first in its genus, as is clear from the Metaphysics. So, the word mind is applied to the soul in the same way as understanding is. For understanding knows about things only by measuring them, as it were, according to its own principles. But, since it signifies reference to act, understanding designates a faculty of the soul. But a power or faculty lies between essence and activity, as Dionysius says.
Since, however, the essences of things are not known to us, and their powers reveal themselves to us through their acts, we often use the names of the faculties and powers to denote the essences. But, since knowledge of a thing comes only from that which is proper to it, when an essence takes its name from one of its powers, it must be named according to a power proper to it. It is commonly true of powers that that which can do more can do less, but not conversely. So, a man who can carry a thousand pounds can carry a hundred, as is said in Heaven and Earth. Hence, if a thing is to be classified by its power, it must be classified according to the utmost of its power.
Now, among souls, the soul in plants has only the lowest level of power, and so is classified according to this when it is called nutritive or vegetative. The soul of a brute animal, however, reaches a higher level, that of sense, and so its soul is called sensitive, or, sometimes, even simply sense. But the human soul reaches the highest level which there is among powers of soul and takes its name from this, being called intellective or, sometimes, also understanding and mind, inasmuch as from the intellective soul such power naturally arises, as is proper to the human soul above other souls.
It is clear, then, that in us mind designates the highest power of our soul. And since the image of God is in us according to that which is highest in us, that image will belong to the essence of the soul only in so far as mind is its highest power. Thus, mind, as containing the image of God, designates a power of the soul and not its essence. Or, if we take mind to mean essence, it means it only inasmuch as such a power flows from the essence.
Answers to Difficulties
1. Mind is not taken to mean essence, as essence is contrasted with power, but as absolute essence is distinguished from that which is relatively so called. Thus, mind is distinguished from knowledge of itself in this, that through knowledge mind is referred to itself, but mind itself is an absolute term. Or we can say that mind is taken by Augustine to mean the essence of the soul along with this power.
2. There are two ways of classifying powers of the soul: first, according to their objects; and second, according to their subjects, or, what comes to the same thing, according to their manner of acting. If we classify them according to their objects, we have the five classes of powers of the soul mentioned above. However, if we classify them according to their subjects or manner of acting, there are three classes of powers of the soul: vegetative, sensitive, and intellective. For the activity of the soul can be related to matter in three ways.
In the first of these, the relation is such that the activity is performed as a natural activity. The source of this kind of activity is the nutritive power, and the exercise of the acts of this power takes place through active and passive qualities, just as other material activity does. In the second way, the relation is such that the activity of the soul does not reach matter itself, but only the conditions of matter, as in the activity of the sensitive power. For, in sense, the species is received without matter, but with the conditions of matter. In the third way, the relation is such that the activity of the soul is beyond both matter and the conditions of matter. The intellective part of the soul acts in this way.
According to these different divisions of powers of the soul, two powers of the soul can belong to the same or different classes when compared with each other. For, if sensible appetite and intellectual appetite, which is will, are considered with reference to their object, both belong to the same class, because the good is the object of both.
But, if we view them with reference to their manner of acting, they belong to different classes, for we classify the lower appetite as sensitive, and the higher as intellective. For, just as the sense grasps its object under the material conditions it has here and now, so, too, the sense appetite tends toward its object in the same way, and thus to a particular good. But the higher appetite is directed to its object after the manner in which the understanding perceives. So, with reference to manner of acting, will belongs to the intellective class.
The manner of acting follows the state of the agent, for, as the agent is more perfect, so its activity is more perfect. Therefore, if we consider powers of this kind as they issue from the essence of the soul, which is, as it were, their subject, we find that will is on an equal footing with understanding, whereas the lower appetite, which is divided into the concupiscible and irascible, is not. Therefore, mind can include both understanding and will without thereby being the essence of the soul. Thus, mind denotes a certain class of powers of the soul, the group in which we include all the powers which withdraw entirely from matter and the conditions of matter in their activity.
3. According to Augustine and other saints, the image of the Trinity is attributed to man under diverse formulae, and there is no need that the members of one formula correspond to those of another. This is clearly the case when Augustine makes the image of the Trinity follow mind, cognition, and love, and also memory, understanding, and will. Now, although will and love are parallel, as are understanding and cognition, it is not necessary that mind parallel memory, for mind includes all three which are given in the other way of attributing this likeness. Similarly, the attribution of Augustine referred to in the objection differs from the two we have Just mentioned. So, there is no need for existence to relate as proper act to mind, in so far as it is mind, although loving so relates to love and knowing so relates to knowledge.
4. Angels are called minds not because the mind or understanding of an angel, in so far as it designates a power, is its essence, but because they have no other powers of the soul except those which are included in the mind, and, so, are completely mind. Our soul, however, since it is the act of the body, has other powers which are not included in the mind, namely, sensitive and nutritive powers. So, soul cannot be called mind as an angel can.
5. Living adds something to existing, and understanding something to living. But, for something to have the image of God in it, it must reach the highest kind of perfection to which a creature can aspire. So, if a thing has existence only, as stones, or existence and life, as plants and beasts, these are not enough to preserve the character of image. To have the complete character of image the creature must exist, live, and understand. For in this it has most perfectly the generic likeness to the essential attributes.
Therefore, since in applying the image mind takes the place of the divine essence, and memory, intellect, and will take the place of the three Persons, Augustine attributes to mind those things which are needed for the image in creatures when he says: “Memory, understanding, and will are one life, one mind, and one essence.” Still, it is not necessary to conclude from this that in the soul mind and life mean the same as essence, for to be, to live, and to understand are not the same thing in us as they are in God. Nevertheless, these three are called one essence since they flow from the one essence of the mind, one life because they belong to one kind of life, and one mind because they are included in one mind as parts in the whole, just as sight and hearing are included in the sensitive part of the soul.
6. Since, according to the Philosopher, we do not know the substantial differences of things, those who make definitions sometimes use accidental differences because they indicate or afford knowledge of the essence as the proper effects afford knowledge of a cause. Therefore, when sensible is given as the constitutive difference of animal, it is not derived from the sense power, but the essence of the soul from which that power comes. The same is true of rational, or of that which has mind.
7. Just as we do not understand that the sensitive part of the soul is a single power over and above the particular powers contained in it, but, rather, a itind of potential whole, including all those powers as parts, so, too, mind is not a single power over and above memory, understanding, and will, but a kind of potential whole including these three. In the same way, we see that the power of house building embraces those of cutting the stones and building the wall. The same holds true for the other powers.
8. Mind, when taken for the power itself, is not related to understanding and will as subject, but as whole to parts. But, if it is taken for the essence of the soul, in so far as such a power naturally flows from it, mind does denote the subject of the powers.
9. A single particular power does not contain many powers, but there is nothing to prevent a general power from embracing many powers as parts, just as one part of the body includes many organic parts, as the hand includes the fingers.
Q. 10: The Mind
Secondly, we ask:
Is there memory in the mind?
[Parallel readings: De ver., 19, 1; I Sent., 3, 4, 1; III Sent., 26, 1, 5, ad 4; IV Sent., 44, 3, 3, sol. 2, ad 4; 50, 1, 2; Quodl., III, 9, 21; XII, 9, 12; C.G., II, 74; 1 Cor., c. 13, lect. 3; S.T., I, 79,6; 1-11, 67, 2; De memor. et remin., 2.]
It seems that there is not, for
1. According to. Augustine, that which we share with brute animals does not belong to the mind. But memory is common to us and to brute animals, as is also clear from Augustine. Therefore, memory is not in the mind.
2. The Philosopher says that memory does not belong to the intellective but to the primary sensitive faculty. Therefore, since mind is the same as understanding, as is clear from what has been said above, memory does not seem to be part of the mind.
3. Understanding and all that belong to understanding abstract from space and time. Memory, however, does not so abstract, for it deals with a definite time, the past. For memory concerns things past, as Cicero says. Therefore, memory does not pertain to mind or understanding.
4. Since in memory we retain things that are not being actually apprehended, it follows that, wherever there is memory, there must be a difference between apprehension and retention. But it is in sense only, and not in understanding, that we find this difference. The two can differ in sense because sense makes use of a bodily organ. But not everything that is retained in the body is apprehended. But understanding does not make use of a bodily organ, and so retains things only according to the mode of understanding. So, these things have to be actually understood. Therefore, memory is not part of understanding or mind.
5. The soul does not remember until it has retained something. But before it receives from the senses, which are the source of all our know ledge, any species which it can retain, it already has the character of image [of the Trinity]. Since memory is part of that image, it does not seem possible for memory to be in the mind.
6. In so far as mind has the character of image of God, it is directed toward God. But memory is not directed toward God, since it deals with things that belong to time. But God is entirely beyond time. Therefore, memory is not in the mind.
7. If memory were part of the mind, the intelligible species would be maintained in the mind as they are in the angelic mind. But the angels can understand by turning their attention to the species which they have within them. Therefore, the human mind should be able to understand by turning its attention to the species it retains, without referring to phantasms. But this is obviously false. For, no matter to what degree one has scientific knowledge as a habit, if the organ of the power of imagination or memory is injured, this knowledge cannot be made actual. This would not result if the mind could actually understand without referring to powers which use organs. So, memory is not part of the mind.
To the Contrary
1. The Philosopher says that the intellective soul, not the whole soul, is the place of the species. But it belongs to place to preserve what is kept in it. Therefore, since the preservation of the species belongs to memory, memory seems to be part of understanding.
2. That which has a uniform relation to all time is not concerned with any particular time. But memory, even in its proper acceptation, has a uniform relation to all time, as Augustine says and proves with the words of Virgil, who used the names memory and forgetfulness in their proper sense. Therefore, memory is not concerned with any particular time, but with all time. So it belongs to understanding.
3. Strictly speaking, memory refers to things past. But understanding deals not only with what is present, but also with what is past. For the understanding judges about any time, understanding man to have existed, to exist in the future, and to exist now, as is clear from The Soul. Therefore, memory, properly speaking, can belong to understanding.
4. As memory concerns what is past, so foresight concerns what is in the future, according to Cicero. But foresight, properly speaking, belongs to the intellectual part. For the same reason memory does, too.
According to the common usage, memory means a knowledge of things past. But to know the past as past belongs to that which has the power of knowing the now as now. Sense is this power. For understanding does not know the singular as singular, but according to some common character, as it is man or white or even particular, but not in so far as it is this man or this particular thing. In a similar way, understanding does not know a present and a past thing as this present and this past thing.
Since memory, taken strictly, looks to what is past with reference to the present, it is clear that memory, properly speaking, does not belong to the intellectual part, but only to the sensitive, as the Philosopher shows. But, since intellect not only understands the intelligible thing, but also understands that it understands such an intelligible thing, the term memory can be broadened to include the knowledge by which one knows the object previously known in so far as he knows heknew it earlier, although he does not know the object as in the past in the manner earlier explained. In this way all knowledge not received for the first time can be called memory.
This can take place in two ways, either when there is continuous study based on acquired knowledge without interruption, or when the study is interrupted. The latter has more of the character of past, and so it more properly participates in the nature of memory. We have an example of this when we say that we remember a thing which previously we knew habitually but not actually. Thus, memory belongs to the intellective part of our soul. It is in this sense that Augustine seems to understand memory, when he makes it part of the image of the Trinity. For he intends to assign to memory everything in the mind which is stored there habitually without passing into act.
There are various explanations of the manner in which this can take place. Avicenna holds that the fact that the soul has habitual knowledge of anything which it does not actually consider does not come from this, that certain species are retained in the intellectual part. Rather, he understands that it is impossible for the species not actually considered to be kept anywhere except in the sensitive part, either in the imagination, which is the storehouse of forms received by the senses, or in the memory, for particular apprehensions not received from the senses. The species stays in the understanding only when it is actually being considered. But, after the consideration, it ceases to be there. Thus, when one wants actually to consider something again, it is necessary for new intelligible species to flow from the agent intelligence into the possible intellect.
However, it does not follow, according to Avicenna, that the new consideration of what was known previously necessarily entails learning or discovering all over again, for one retains a certain aptitude through which he turns more easily to the agent intellect to receive the species flowing from it than he did before. In us, this aptitude is the habit of scientific knowledge. According to this opinion, memory is not part of the mind because it preserves certain species, but because it has an aptitude for receiving them anew.
But this does not seem to be a reasonable explanation. In the first place, since the possible intellect has a more stable nature than sense, it must receive its species more securely. Thus, the species can be better preserved in it than in the sensitive part. In the second place, the agent intelligence is equally disposed to communicate species suitable for all the sciences. As a consequence, if some species were not conserved in the possible intellect, but there were in it only the aptitude of turning to the agent intellect, man would have an equal aptitude for any intelligible thing. Therefore, from the fact that a man had learned one science he would not know it better than other sciences. Besides, this seems openly opposed to the opinion of the Philosopher, who commends the ancients for holding that the intellective part of the soul is the place of the species.
Therefore, others say that the intelligible species remain in the possible intellect after actual consideration, and that the ordered arrangement of these is the habit of knowledge. In this classification the power by which our minds retain these intelligible species after actual consideration will be called memory. This comes closer to the proper meaning of memory.
Answers to Difficulties
1. The memory which we have in common with brute animals is that in which particular intentions are preserved. This is not in the mind; only the memory in which intelligible species are kept is there.
2. The Philosopher is speaking of the memory which deals with the past as related to a particular present in so far as particular. This is not in the mind.
3. The answer to the third difficulty is clear from what has just been said.
4. Actual apprehension and retention differ in the possible intellect, not because the species are there somehow in a bodily manner, but only in an intelligible way. However, it does not follow that one understands according to that species all the time, but only when the possible intellect becomes that species perfectly in act. Sometimes it has the act of this species incompletely, that is, in some way between pure potency and pure act. This is habitual knowledge. The reduction from this to complete act takes place through the will, which, according to Anselm, is the mover of all the powers.
5. Mind has the character of image [of the Trinity] especially in so far as it is directed to God and to itself. It is present to itself and God is present to it before any species are received from sensible things. Furthermore, mind is not said to have the power of memory because it actually preserves something, but because it has the power to preserve something.
6. The answer to the sixth difficulty is clear from what has been said.
7. No power can know anything without turning to its object, as sight knows nothing unless it turns to color. Now, since phantasms are related to the possible intellect in the way that sensible things are related to sense, as the Philosopher points out, no matter to what extent an intelligible species is present to the understanding, understanding does not actually consider anything according to that species without referring to a phantasm. Therefore, just as our understanding in its present state needs phantasms actually to consider anything before it acquires.a habit, so it needs them, too, after it has acquired a habit. The situation is different with angels, for phantasms are not the object of their understanding.
Answers to Contrary Difficulties
1. The authority cited can prove only that memory is in the mind in the way we have mentioned, not that it is there properly.
2.We must understand Augustine’s statement to mean that memory can deal with present objects. However, it can never be called memory unless something past is considered, at least past with reference to cognition itself. It is in this way that we say someone, who is present to himself, forgets or remembers himself because he retains or does not retain the past knowledge about himself.
3. In so far as understanding knows temporal differences through common characters, it can thus make judgments according to any difference of time.
14. Foresight is in the understanding only according to general considerations about the future. It is applied to particular things through the mediation of particular reason which must act as the medium between general reason, which is the source of movement, and the movenient which follows in particular things, as is clear from what the Philosopher says.
Q. 10: The Mind
In the third article we ask:
Is memory distinguished from understanding as one power from another?
[Parallel readings: I Sent., 3, 4, 1; S.T., II, 74; S.T., I, 79, 7; 93, 7, ad 3.]
It seems that it is not, for
1. Different acts belong to different powers. But the possible intellect and memory, as part of the mind, are said to have the same act, to preserve the species. For Augustine assigns this function to memory and the Philosopher assigns it to the possible intellect. Therefore, memory is not distinguished from understanding as one power from another.
2. To receive something without paying attention to any difference of time belongs properly to understanding, which abstracts from the here and now. But memory pays no attention to difference of time, for, according to Augustine, memory deals indifferently with things present, past, and future. Therefore, memory is not distinguished from understanding.
3. According to Augustine, intelligence can be taken in two ways. According to the first, we are said to understand that which we actually think. According to the second, we are said to understand that which we do not actually consider. But intelligence, in the meaning of understanding,only that which we actually think, is understanding in act. This is not a power, but the activity of a power; hence, it is not distinguished from memory as a power from a power. But, in so far as we understand those things which we do not actually consider, understanding is not in any way distinguished from memory, but belongs to it. This is clear from Augustine: “If we look to the inner memory of the mind by which it remembers itself, to the inner understanding by which it understands itself, and to the inner will by which it loves itself, where these three are always together, whether they are thought about or not, we will see that the image of the Trinity belongs only to the memory.” Therefore, understanding is in no way distinguished from memory as a power from a power.
4. Someone may say that intelligence is a power through which the soul is able actually to think, and so, also, that the intelligence through which we are said to understand only when we are thinking is distinguished from memory as one power from another.—On the contrary, it belongs to the same power to have a habit and to use that habit. But to understand when not thinking is to understand habitually, whereas to understand when thinking is to use the habit. Therefore, to understand when not thinking and to understand when thinking belong to the same power. And so, for this reason, understanding does not differ from memory as one power from another.
5. In the intellective part of the soul there are only the cognoscitive and motive, or affective, powers. But the will is the affective or motive; understanding, the cognoscitive. Therefore, memory is not a different power from understanding.
To the Contrary
1. Augustine says that “the soul partakes of the image of God in this, that it can use reason and understanding to know and see God.” But the soul can see through its powers. Therefore, the image in the soul is considered according to its powers. But the image in the soul is considered according to the presence of memory, understanding, and will in the soul. Therefore, these three are three distinct powers.
2. If these are not three powers, there must be one of them which is act or activity. But act is not always in the soul, for one does not always actually understand or will. Therefore, these three will not always be in the soul, and consequently the soul will not always be in the image of God, contrary to Augustine.
3. There is a certain equality among these three which portrays the equality of the divine Persons. But there is no equality among act, habit, and power, because power embraces more than habit and habit inore than act. For many habits belong to one power, and many acts can come from one habit. Therefore, one of these cannot be habit and another act.
We must say that the image of the Trinity in the soul can be predicated in two ways: one in which there is perfect imitation of the Trinity, the other in which the imitation is imperfect.
For the mind perfectly imitates the Trinity in this, that it actually remembers, actually understands, and actually wills. This is so because in the uncreated Trinity the middle Person is the Word. Now, there can be a word only with actual cognition. Hence, it is according to this kind of perfect imitation that Augustine puts the image in memory, understanding, and will. In it, memory refers to habitual knowledge, understanding to actual cognition which proceeds from the habitual knowledge of memory, and will to the actual movement of the will which proceeds from thought. This appears expressly from what he says in The Trinity: “Since the word cannot be there,” in the mind, “without thought; for everything which we speak we think with that internal word which belongs to the language of no people, the image is found especially in those three: memory, intelligence, and will. Intelligence I now call that by which we understand when thinking; I call that will which joins this offspring [thought] with its parent [intelligence].”
We have the image in which there is imperfect imitation when we designate it according to habits and powers. It is thus that Augustine bases the image of the Trinity in the soul upon mind, knowledge, and love. Here, mind means the power; knowledge and love, the habits existing in it. In place of knowledge he could have said habitual intelligence, for both can be taken in the sense of habit. This is clear from The Trinity, where he says: “Can we correctly say that the musician knows music, but he does not now understand it because he is not now thinking about it, or that he now understands geometry because he is now thinking about it? This opinion is obviously absurd.” So, in this sense, knowledge and love, taken as habitual, belong only to memory, as is clear from the authoritative citation from Augustine in the objections.”
But, since acts have radical existence in powers, as effects in their causes, even perfect imitation according to memory, understanding in act, and will in act can in the first instance be found in the powers through which the soul can remember, actually understand and will, as the citation from Augustine shows. Thus, the image will be based upon the powers, though not in the sense that in the mind memory could be some power besides the understanding. This is clear from what follows.
Diversity of objects is the source of differentiation of powers only when the diversity comes from those things which of themselves belong to the objects, in so far as they are objects of such powers. Thus, hot and cold in something colored do not, as such, differentiate the power of sight. For the same power of sight can see what is colored, whether hot or cold, sweet or bitter. Now, although mind or understanding can in a certain way know what is past, still, since it relates indifferently to knowledge of present, past, and future, the difference of past and present is accidental to what is intelligible, in so far as it is intelligible. For this reason, although memory can be in the mind in a certain way, it cannot be there as a power distinct of itself from other powers in the way in which philosophers speak of the distinction of powers. In this way, memory can be found only in the sensitive part, which is referred to the present as present. For this reason, a higher power than that of sense is needed if it is to relate to the past.
Nevertheless, although memory is not a power distinct from intelligence, taken as a power, the Trinity is still in the soul if we consider those powers in so far as the one power of understanding has an orientation to different things, namely, habitually to keep the knowledge of something, and actually to consider it. It is in this way that Augustine distinguishes lower from higher reason, according to an orientation to different things.
Answers to Difficulties
1. Although memory as belonging to the mind is not a power distinct from the possible intellect, there is a distinction between memory and possible intellect according to orientation to different things, as we have said.
2. The same answer can be given to the four following difficulties.
Answers to Contrary Difficulties
l. In the passage cited, Augustine is not talking about the image which is in the soul according to perfect imitation. This is present when the soul actually imitates the Trinity by understanding It.
2. In the soul there is always an image of the Trinity in some way, but not always according to perfect imitation.
3. Between power, act, and habit there can be equality inasmuch as they are referred to one object. Thus, the image of the Trinity is in the soul inasmuch as it is directed to God. Still, even in the ordinary way of speaking about power, habit, and act, there is an equality aniong them. However, this equality does not follow the distinctive character of the nature, because activity, habit, and power have the act of existence in different ways. But it does follow the relation to act according to which we consider the quantity of these three. It is not necessary to consider only one act numerically, or one habit, but habit and act in general.
Q. 10: The Mind
In the fourth article we ask:
Does the mind know material things?
[Parallel readings: S.T., I, 84, 1.]
It seems that it does not, for
1. The mind knows things only by intellectual cognition. But, according to the Gloss: “Intellectual sight is that which embraces those things which have no likenesses which are not identical with themselves.” Since, then, material things cannot exist in the soul of themselves, but only through representations similar to them, yet really different from them, it seems that the mind does not know material things.
2. Augustine says: “Through the mind we know things which are neither bodies nor likenesses of bodies.” But material things are bodies and have bodily likenesses. Therefore, they are not known by the mind.
3. The mind, or intellect, is capable of knowing the quiddity of things because the object of the intellect is what a thing is, as is said in The Soul. But the quiddity of material things is not corporeity; otherwise, it would be necessary for all things which have quiddities to be corporeal. Therefore, the mind does not know material things.
4. Mental cognition follows upon form which is the principle of knowing. But the intelligible forms in the mind are altogether immaterial. So, through them, the mind is not able to know material things.
5. All cognition takes place through assimilation. But there is no assimilation possible between the mind and material things, because likeness aepends on sameness of quality. However, the qualities of material things are bodily accidents which cannot exist in the mind. Therefore, the mind cannot know material things.
6. The mind knows nothing except by abstracting from matter and the conditions of matter. But material things, as physical beings, cannot be separated from matter even in the mind, because matter is part of their definition. Therefore, the mind cannot know material things.
To the Contrary
1. Objects of natural science are known by the mind. But natural science is concerned with material things. Therefore, the mind knows material things.
2. Each person is a good judge—in fact, as Aristotle says, the best judge—of those things of which he has knowledge. But, as Augustine notes, it is by the mind that these less perfect beings are judged. Therefore, these less perfect beings, which are material, are understood by the mind.
3. Through sense we know only material beings. But mental cognition is derived from sense. Therefore, the mind also knows material things.
All cognition follows some form which is the principle of cognition in the knower. Such a form can be considered under two aspects: either with relation to the being it has in the knower, or in the reference it has to the thing it represents. Under the first aspect, it causes the knower actually to know. Under the second, it limits the cognition to some definite knowable object. Therefore, the manner of knowing a thing conforms to the state of the knower, which receives the form in its own way. It is not necessary that the thing known exist in the manner of the knower or in the manner in which the form which is the principle of knowing exists in the knower. From this it follows that nothing prevents us from knowing material things through forms which exist immaterially in our minds.
There is a difference on this point between the human mind, which derives forms from things, and the divine or angelic minds, which do not draw their cognition from things. In the mind which depends on things for knowledge, the forms exist because of a certain action of things on the soul. But, since all action is through form, the forms in our minds first and mainly refer to things which exist outside our soul according to their forms. These forms are of two kinds. Some forms involve no determined matter, as line, surface, and so forth. Others do involve a special matter, as all natural forms.
Therefore, knowledge of forms implying no matter does not give knowledge of matter, but the knowledge of natural forms gives some knowledge of matter, in so far as it is correlative to form. For this reason, the Philosopher says that first matter is knowable through analogy, and that the material thing itself is known through the likeness of its form, just as, by the very fact of knowing snubness, snub nose is known. But in the divine mind there are forms of things from which the existence of things flows.
And this existence is common to form and matter. So, those forms are directly related to matter and form without the mediation of one to the other. So, too, angelic intellect has forms similar to the forms of the divine mind, although in angels the forms are not the causes of things. Therefore, our mind has immaterial knowledge of material things, whereas the divine and angelic minds have knowledge of the same material things in a way at once more immaterial and yet more perfect.
Answers to Difficulties
1. The text cited in the first objection can be explained in two ways. In the first place, it can be taken to refer to intellectual sight with reference to all that is included in its scope. Taken in this way, intellectual sight is taken to refer only to those things which have no likenesses which are not identical with themselves. This is not to be understood of the likenesses by which we see things in intellectual sight, for these are a kind of means of knowing. What is known by intellectual sight is the things themselves, not their representations. This differs from bodily (sensitive) vision and spiritual (imaginative) vision. For the objects of imagination and sense are certain accidents from which the shape or image of a thing is made up. But the object of the intellect is the very essence of the thing, although the intellect knows the essence of the thing through its likeness, as through a cognoscitive medium, and not through an object which is known first.
A second explanation would be that the text cited refers to intellectual sight in so far as it surpasses the imaginative and sensitive powers. Following this line of thought, Augustine, from whose words the comment in the Gloss is taken, wishes to differentiate three types of sight, designating the higher by that in which it surpasses the lower. Thus it is said that spiritual sight takes place when through certain likenesses we know things which are absent. Spiritual (imaginative) sight can nevertheless relate to things seen as present. But imagination outstrips sense, inasmuch as it can also see things absent. Hence, this is attributed to it as a sort of property. Similarly, intellectual sight surpasses imagination and sense because it can reach things that are essentially intelligible through their essence. So, Augustine makes this a sort of property of intellectual vision, although it can also know material things which are knowable by means of their likenesses. For this reason Augustine says: “Through the mind judgment is passed even upon those lower types of being, and those things which are not bodies and do not have forms of a bodily kind are known.”
2. The answer to the second difficulty is clear from the first response.
3 If corporeity is taken of body in so far as it is in the category of quantity, it is not the quiddity of a physical thing, but an accident of it; namely, triple dimension. But, if it is taken of body in so far as it is in the category of substance, then corporeity designates the essence of a physical thing. Nevertheless, it will not follow from this that every quiddity is corporeity, unless one would say that quiddity, by its very nature as quiddity, has the same meaning as corporeity.
4. Although in the mind there are only immaterial forms, these can be likenesses of material things. For it is not necessary that the likeness and that of which it is the likeness have the same manner of existing, but only that they agree in intelligible character, just as the form of man in a golden statue need not have the same kind of existence as the form of man in bones and flesh.
5. Although bodily qualities cannot exist in the mind, their represcritations can, and through these the mind is made like bodily things.
6. Intellect knows by abstracting from particular matter and its conditions, as from this flesh and these bones. It does not have to abstract from common matter. Hence, it can study the physical form in flesh and bones, although not in this flesh and these bones.
Q. 10: The Mind
In the fifth article we ask:
Can our mind know material things in their singularity?
[Parallel readings: De ver., 2, 5-6; I Sent., 36, 1, 1; II Sent., 3, 3, 3, ad 1; IV Sent., 50,1, 3; Quodl., VII, 1, 3; XII, 8, 11; S.T., I, 63 & 65; S.T., I, 14, 11, ad 1; 86, 1; Q.D. de anima, 20; III de anima, 8, nn. 705-719; De princ. individ., nn. 3-4.]
It seems that it can, for
1. Since the singular has existence through matter, things are called physical which have matter in their definition. But the mind, even though it is immaterial, can know physical things. For the same reason it can know singular things.
2. No one can correctly decide about things and use them properly unless he knows them. But the wise man through his mind decides correctly about singular things and uses them properly; for example, his family and his possessions. Therefore, we know singular things with our mind.
3. No one knows a composition unless he knows the components. But the mind makes this conjunction: “Socrates is man.” No sense would be able to do so, since it does not perceive man in general. Therefore, the mind knows singular things.
4. No one can command any act without knowing the object of that act. But the mind, or reason, commands acts of the concupiscible power and the irascible power, as is clear in the Ethics. Therefore, since the objects of these are singular things, the mind can know singular things.
5. According to Boethius, a higher power can do anything the lower power can. But the sensitive powers, which are lower than the mind, know singulars. Therefore, the mind can know singulars much more fully.
6. The higher a mind is, the more general is its knowledge, as is clear from Dionysius. But the angelic mind, though higher than the human mind, knows singulars. So, the human mind knows them much more fully.
To the Contrary
We understand the universal, but sense the singular, as Boethius says.
As is clear from what has been said, human and angelic minds know material things in different ways. For the cognition of the human mind is directed, first, to material things according to their form, and, second, to matter in so far as it is correlative to form. However, just as every form is of itself universal, so correlation to form makes us know matter only by universal knowledge. Matter thus considered is not the principle of individuation. Designated matter, existing under definite dimensions and considered as singular, is, rather, that principle because form receives its individuation from such matter. For this reason, the Philosopher says: “The parts of man are matter and form taken generally, whereas the parts of Socrates are this form and this matter.”
From this it is clear that our mind is not able directly to know singulars, for we know singulars directly through our sensitive powers which receive forms from things into a bodily organ. In this way, our senses receive them under determined dimensions and as a source of knowledge of the material singular. For, just as a universal form leads to the knowledge of matter in general, so an individual form leads to the knowledge of designated matter which is the principle of individuation.
Nevertheless, the mind has contact with singulars by reason of something else in so far as it has continuity with the sensitive powers which have particulars for their object. This conjunction comes about in two ways. First, the movement of the sensitive part terminates in the mind, as happens in the movement that goes from things to the soul. Thus, the mind knows singulars through a certain kind of reflection, as when the mind, in knowing its object, which is some universal nature, returns to knowledge of its own act, then to the species which is the principle of its act, and, finally, to the phantasm from which it has abstracted the species. In this way, it attains to some knowledge about singulars.
In the other way, this conjunction is found in the movement from the soul to things, which begins from the mind and moves forward to the sensitive part in the mind’s control over the lower powers. Here, the mind has contact with singulars through the mediation of particular reason, a power of the sensitive part, which joins and divides individual intentional likenesses, which is also known as the cogitative power, and which has a definite bodily organ, a cell in the center of the head. The mind’s universal judgment about things to be done cannot be applied to a particular act except through the mediation of some imermediate power which perceives the singular. In this way, there is framed a kind of syllogism whose major premise is universal, the decision of the mind, and whose minor premise is singular, a perception of the particular reason. The conclusion is the choice of the singular work, as is clear in TheSou1.
The angelic mind, since it knows material things through forms that immediately refer to matter as well as to form, knows by direct vision not only matter in general, but also matter as singular. So, also, does the divine mind.
Answers to Difficulties
1. The operation by which we know matter through the analogy which it has to form is sufficient for knowledge of physical reality, but not for knowledge of the singular thing, as is clear from what has been said.
2. The wise man arranges singulars; by the mind only through the mediation of the cogitative power whose function it is to know particular intentions, as is clear from what has been said.
3. The intellect makes a proposition of a singular and a universal term since it knows the singular through a certain reflection, as was said.
4. The intellect or reason knows universally the end to which it directs the act of the concupiscible power and the act of the irascible power when it commands them. It applies this universal knowledge to singulars through the mediation of the cogitative power, as has been said.
5. The higher power can do what the lower power can, but not always in the same way. Sometimes it acts in a higher way. Thus, intellect can know what sense knows, but in a way that is superior. For sense knows these things according to their material dispositions and external accidents, but intellect penetrates to the intimate nature of the species which is in these individuals.
6. Cognition of the angelic mind is more universal than cognition of the human mind, because, by the use of fewer media, it reaches more things. Nevertheless, it is more effective than the human mind for knowing singulars, as is clear from what has been said.
Q. 10: The Mind
In the sixth article we ask:
Does the human mind receive knowledge from sensible things?
[Parallel readings: De ver., 19, 1; Quodl., VIII, 2, 3; S.T., I, 84, 6; Q.D. de anima, 15; Comp. Theol., cc. 81-82.]
It seems that it does not, for
1. Action and passion cannot take place between things unless both are material, as is clear from Boethius,l and also from the Philosopher. But our mind does not share in matter with sensible things. Therefore, sensible things cannot act on our mind to imprint knowledge on it.
2. What a thing is, is the object of intellect, as is said in The Soul. But the quiddity of a thing is not perceived by any sense. Therefore, mental cognition is not received from sense.
3. When speaking of the way in which we acquire cognition of intelligible things, Augustine says: “They were there” that is, intelligibles in our mind, “before I learned them, but they were not in my memory. Therefore, it seems that intelligible species are not received in the mind from the senses.
4. Augustine proves that the soul can love only what it knows. But one loves a science before he learns it, as is clear from the eagerness with which he seeks this knowledge. Therefore, before he learns such a science, he has some acquaintance with it. So, it seems that the mind does not receive knowledge from sensible things.
5. Augustine says: “The body does not make the image of the body in the spirit. Rather, the spirit itself with a wonderful swiftness which is ineffably far from the slowness of the body makes in itself the image of the body.” Therefore, it seems that the mind does not receive intelligible species from sensible things but constructs them in itself.
6. Augustine says that our mind judges about bodily things through non-bodily and eternal principles. But principles received from the senses are not of this kind. Therefore, it seems that the human mind does not receive knowledge from sensible things.
7. If the mind receives knowledge from sensible things, it must do so because the species received from sensible things set the possible intellect in motion. But such species cannot influence the possible intellect. For, when they are in the imagination, they are not intelligible actually, but only potentially, and so cannot set the possible intellect in motion. The intellect, however, is moved only by something actually intelligible, just as the power of sight is moved only by something actually visible. Similarly, something existing in the agent intellect cannot move the possible intellect, because the agent intellect does not receive species. If it did, it would not differ from the possible intellect. Again, these representations do not actuate the possible intellect by existing in it, for a form already adhering in a subject does not set the subject in motion, but is, as it were, at rest in it. Finally, they do not cause movement in the possible intellect by existing of themselves, for intelligible species are not substances, but belong to the class of accidents, as Avicenna says. Therefore, in no way can our mind receive knowledge from sensible things.
8. The agent is more noble than the patient, as is clear from Augustine and from the Philosopher. But the receiver is related to that which it receives, as a patient is related to the agent. Since, therefore, the mind is much more noble than sensible things and the senses themselves, it cannot receive knowledge from them.
9. The Philosopher says” that the soul comes to acquire knowledge and prudence by coming to rest. But the soul cannot receive knowledge from sensible things unless it be somehow set in motion by them. Therefore, the soul does not receive knowledge from sensible things.
To the Contrary
1. As the Philosopher says, and as experience proves, one who lacks a sense is deprived of one kind of knowledge, as the blind have no knowledge of colors. This would not happen if the soul received knowledge from a source other than the senses. Therefore, the soul receives knowledge from sensible objects through the senses.
2. At first, all our cognition consists in the knowledge of first undeducible principles. But the cognition of these arises in us from sense, as is clear from the Posterior Analytics. Therefore, all our knowledge arises from sense.
3. Nature does nothing to no purpose and does not fail in necessary matters. But senses would have been given to the soul to no purpose unless the soul received cognition from things through them. Therefore, our mind receives knowledge from sensible things.
The views of the ancients on this question are manifold. Some held that our knowledge derived completely from an external cause separated from matter. There are two explanations of this position.
Some, as the Platonists, held that the forms of sensible thing existed apart from matter and so were actually intelligible. According to them, real individuals come about through the participation by sensible matter in these forms, and the human mind has knowledge by sharing in them. Thus, these forms are the principle of generation and knowledge, as the Philosopher says. But the Philosopher has adequately confuted this position by showing that sensible forms must exist in sensible matter, and that sensible matter in general is necessary for the understanding of physical forms, just as there is no snub without nose.
For this reason, others, bypassing separated forms of sensible things, demanded only intelligences, which we call angels, and made separated substances of this sort the sole source of our knowledge. Accordingly, Avicenna holds that just as sensible forms are not received into sensible matter except through the influence of the agent intelligence, so, too, intelligible forms are not imprinted on human minds except by the agent intelligence, which for him is not a part of the soul, but a separated substance. However, the soul needs the senses to prepare the way and stimulate it to knowledge, just as the lower agents prepare matter to receive form from the agent intelligence.
But this opinion does not seem reasonable, because, according to it, there is no necessary interdependence of the human mind and the sensitive powers. The opposite seems quite clear both from the fact that, when a given sense is missing, we have no knowledge of its sensible objects, and from the fact that our mind cannot actually consider even those things which it knows habitually unless it forms some phant;1sms. Thus, an injury to the organ of imagination hinders consideration. Furthermore, the explanation just given does away with the proximate principles of things, inasmuch as all lower things would derive their intelligible and sensible forms immediately from a separated substance.
A second explanation has been given by those who make an inferior cause the complete source of our knowledge. There are also two explanations; of this position. Some held that human souls had within themselves knowledge of all things, but that this cognition was darkened by union with the body. Therefore, they said that we need assiduous use of the senses to remove the hindrance to knowledge. Learning, they said, is nothing but remembering, as is abundantly clear from the way in which those things which we have seen and heard make us remember what we formerly knew. But this position does not seem reasonable. For, if the union of soul and body is natural, it cannot wholly hinder natural knowledge. And if this opinion be true, we would not be subject to the complete ignorance of those objects which demand a sense faculty of which one is deprived. This opinion would fit in with the theory that holds that souls were created before bodies and later united to them. Then, the conjunction d body and soul would not be natural, but only an accidental accretion to the soul. This opinion must be rejected on the score both of faith and philosophic tenets.
Other proponents of this second opinion said that the soul is the cause of its own knowledge. For it does not receive knowledge from sensible things as if likenesses of things somehow reached the soul because of the activity of sensible things, but the soul itself, in the presence of sensible things, constructs in itself the likenesses of sensible things. But this statement does not seem altogether reasonable. For no agent acts except in so far as it is in act. Thus, if the soul formed the likenesses of all things in itself, it would be necessary for the soul to have those likenesses of things actually within itself. This would be a return to the previous opinion which held that the knowledge of all things is naturally present in the human soul.
Therefore, the opinion of the Philosopher is more reasonable than any of the foregoing positions. He attributes the knowledge of our mind partly to intrinsic, partly to extrinsic, influence. Not only things separated from matter, but also sensible things themselves, play their part. For, when our mind is considered in relation to sensible things outside the soul, it is found to be related to them in a twofold manner. In one way,it is related as act to potency, to the extent that things outside the mind are only potentially intelligible. The mind itself, however, is intelligible in act, and it is on this basis that the agent intellect, which makes potentially intelligible things actually intelligible, is held to be included in the soul. In another way, it is related to things as potency to act, inasmuch as determined forms of things are only potentially in our mind, but actually in things outside the soul. In this respect our soul includes the possible intellect, whose function it is to receive forms abstracted from sensible things and made actually intelligible through the light of the agent intellect. This light of the agent intellect comes to the soul from the separated substances and especially from God as from its first source.
Accordingly, it is true that our mind receives knowledge from sensible things; nevertheless, the soul itself forms in itself likenesses of things, inasmuch as through the light of the agent intellect the forms abstracted,from sensible things are made actually intelligible so that they may be received in the possible intellect. And in this way all knowledge is in a certain sense implanted in us from the beginning (since we have the light of the agent intellect) through the medium of universal conceptions which are immediately known by the light of the agent intellect. These serve as universal principles through which we judge about other things, and in which we foreknow these others. In this respect, that opinion is true which holds that we previously had in our knowledge those things which we learn.
Answers to Difficulties
1. Sensible forms, those, namely, which are abstracted from sensible things, cannot act on our mind unless they are rendered immaterial through the light of the agent intellect, and thus in some way are made homogeneous with the possible intellect on which they must act.
2. A higher and lower power do not operate in the same way even in respect to the same thing, but the higher power acts more nobly. Thus, when sense knows a thing through a form received from things, it does not know it so effectively as the intellect. Sense is led through it to a knowledge of the external accidents; the intellect reaches to the bare quiddity of the thing, distinguishing it from all material dispositions. Thus, when the mental knowing is said to take its origin from sense, this does not mean that sense apprehends all that the mind knows, but that, from those things which sense apprehends, the mind is led on to something more, just as the intellectual knowledge of sensible things leads to knowledge of divine things.
3. The statement from Augustine refers to that precognition by which we know particulars in universal principles. In this sense it is true that what we learn is already in our soul.
4. One can love scientific knowledge before he acquires it in so far as he has some general acquaintance with it by sight, or by knowing its usefulness, or in some other way.
5. The soul is to be understood to fashion itself in this sense, that the forms which arise from the activity of the agent intellect determine the possible intellect, as has been said. And in this sense, too, the imaginative power can fashion the forms of different sensible objects, as especially appears when we imagine things which we have never perceived by sense.
6. The first principles of which we have innate cognition are certain likenesses of uncreated truth. When we judge about other things through these likenesses, we are said to judge about things through unchangeable principles or through uncreated truth. Nevertheless, we should refer this statement of Augustine to higher reason, which confines itself to the contemplation of eternal truths. Although this higher reason is first in dignity, its operation is subsequent in time: “For the invisible things of him [God]... are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Romans 1:20).
7. In the reception through which the possible intellect receives species from phantasms, the phantasms act as instrumental and secondary agents. The agent intellect acts as the principal and first agent. Therefore, the effect of the action is received in the possible intellect according to the condition of both, and not according to the condition of either one alone. Therefore, the possible intellect receives forms whose actual intelligibility is due to the power of the agent intellect, but whose determinate likeness to things is due to cognition of the phantasms. These actually intelligible forms do not, of themselves, exist either in the imagination or the agent intellect, but only in the possible intellect.
8. Although the possible intellect is simply more noble than the phantasm, nothing prevents the phantasm from being more noble n a certain respect, namely, that it is actually the likeness of such a thing, whereas this likeness belongs to the possible intellect only potentially. Thus, in a certain sense, we can say that the phantasm acts on the possible intellect in virtue of the light of the agent intellect, just as color can act on sight in virtue of bodily light.
9. The rest in which knowledge is achieved eliminates the movement of material passions. It does not eliminate movement and passion in a general sense, inasmuch as all receiving is called passion and movement. In accord with this, the Philosopher says in The Soul: “Intellection is a kind of passion.”
Q. 10: The Mind
In the seventh article we ask:
Is the image of the trinity in the mind as it knows material things or only as it knows eternal things?
[Parallel readings: I Sent., 3, 4, 4; S.T., I, 93, 8]
It seems that it is not only as the mind knows eternal things, for
1. As Augustine says: “When we look for the Trinity in our soul, we look for It in the whole soul without separating the activity of reason concerning temporal things from the contemplation of things eternal.” But mind has the character of image only as it has the Trinity in it. Therefore, the mind has the character of image not only in so far as it applies itself to the contemplation of eternal things, but also in so far as it engages in activity concerning temporal things.
2. We consider the image of the Trinity in the soul in so far as the equality and origin of the persons are represented there. But the equality of the persons is better represented in the mind as knowing things of time than as knowing eternal things, since the latter are infinitely above the mind, whereas the mind is not infinitely above things of time. The origin of the persons, too, is displayed in cognition of things of time as well as in cognition of things eternal, for in both instances litiowledge proceeds from the mind and love proceeds from knowledge. Therefore, it has the character of image of the Trinity not only in so far as it knows eternal things, but also in so far as it knows temporal things.
3. Likeness is in the power of loving, but the image is in the power of knowing, as is said in the Sentences. But our mind knows material things before it knows things eternal, since it goes from material things to eternal things. It also knows material things more perfectly, since it has a comprehensive grasp of temporal things, but not of things eternal. Therefore, the image is in the mind more according to temporal things than according to eternal things.
4. The image of the Trinity in the soul somehow follows its powers, as has been said above. But the powers are related indifferently to all the objects to which they are directed. Therefore, the image of God is in the mind with reference to any of its objects.
5. Something seen in itself is seen more perfectly than something seen in its likeness. But the soul sees itself in itself; whereas in this life it sees God only in a likeness. Therefore, it knows itself more perfectly than it knows God. So, we should look for the image of the Trinity in the soul rather as it knows itself than as it knows God, since the image of the Trinity is in us according to that which is most perfect in our nature, as Augustine says.
6. The equality of the persons is represented in our mind in this, that memory, understanding, and the whole will each grasp the others, as is clear from Augustine. But this mutual comprehension shows forth the equality only in so far as they grasp themselves with reference to all objects. Therefore, the image of the Trinity is in the powers of the mind by reason of all their objects.
7. As the image is in the power of knowing, so charity is in the power of loving. But charity looks not only to God, but also to the neighbor. Thus, there is a double act of charity: love of God and love of the neighbor. Therefore, the image, also, is in the mind not only as it knows God, but also as it knows creatures.
8. The powers of the mind in which the image resides are made perfect by certain habits, according to which the deformed image is said to be re-formed and made perfect. But the powers of the mind do not need habits inasmuch as they are related to things eternal, but only to things temporal. For we have habits in order that powers may be regulated according to them. But there can be no error in things eternal to need regulation, but only in temporal things. Therefore, the image is more in the mind as it knows temporal things than as it knows eternal things.
9. The uncreated Trinity is represented in the image of the mind especially according to consubstantiality and equality. But these two are also found in the sensitive power, because the sensible thing and sense are made actually one, and the sensible species is received in the senses only according to their capacity. Therefore, the image of the Trinity is in the sensitive power, and so, a fortiori, it is in the mind as it knows temporal things.
10. Metaphorical expressions are accepted according to certain likenesses, for, according to the Philosopher, every term used figuratively is applied according to some likeness. But the application to God through metaphor is taken rather from certain sensible creatures than from the mind itself. This is evidently what Dionysius does when speaking of the rays of the sun. Therefore, some sensible creatures can be said to have the character of image more than the mind. And so, there seems to be nothing to prevent the mind, as knowing temporal things, from having the character of image.
11. Boethius says that forms which exist in matter are images of those things which exist without matter. But forms existing in matter are sensible forms. Therefore, sensible forms are images of God Himself. Thus, the mind, as knowing them, seems to have the character of image of God.
To the Contrary
1. Augustine says: “The trinity which is found in a lower science should not be called or be thought to be the image of God, although it doe’s belong to the inner man.” But a lower science is that according to which the mind considers temporal things, and is thus distinguished from wisdom, which refers to eternal things. Therefore, the image of the Trinity is not to be found in the mind according to its knowledge of temporal things.
2. The parts of the image, considered according to their order, should correspond to the three persons. But the order of the persons does not appear in the mind as it knows temporal things. For, in knowing temporal things, understanding does not proceed from memory, as the Word from the Father, but memory rather proceeds from understanding, for we remember those things which we have previously understood. Therefore, the image is not in the mind as it knows things of time.
3. Augustine, having given that division of the mind (into contemplation of things eternal and activity concerning temporal things), says: “Not only the Trinity, but also the image of God, exists only in that part which is concerned with contemplation of eternal things. Even if we could find a trinity in that which is derived from activity about things of time, we still would not find the image of God there.” Thus, we conclude as before.
4. The image of the Trinity always exists in the soul, but knowledge of temporal things does not, since it is acquired. Therefore, the image of the Trinity is not in the soul as it knows temporal things.
Likeness brings the character of image to completion. However, for the character of image not every likeness is sufficient, but the fullest likeness, through which something is represented according to its specific nature. For this reason, in bodies we look for the image more in their shapes, which are the proper marks of species, than in colors and other accidents. There is a likeness of the uncreated Trinity in our soul according to any knowledge which it has of itself, not only of the mind, but also of sense, as Augustine clearly shows.” But we find the image of God only in that knowledge according to which there arises in the mind the fuller likeness of God.
Therefore, if we distinguish the knowledge of the mind according to objects, we find in our mind a threefold knowledge. There is the knowledge by which the mind knows God, by which it knows itself, and by which it knows temporal things. In the knowledge by which the mind knows temporal things there is no expressed likeness of the uncreated Trinity, either according to adaptation or according to analogy. It is not according to the first, because material things are more unlike God than is the mind itself. Thus, the mind does not become fully conformed to God for being informed by knowledge of these material things. Nor yet is it according to analogy, for a temporal thing, which begets knowledge, or even actual understanding of itself in the soul, is not of the same substance as the mind, but something extraneous to its nature. Thus, the consubstantiality of the uncreated Trinity cannot be represented through it.
But in the knowledge by which our mind knows itself there is a representation of the uncreated Trinity according to analogy. It lies in this, that the mind, knowing itself in this way, begets a word expressing itself, and love proceeds from both of these, just as the Father, uttering Himself, has begotten the Word from eternity, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from both. But in that cognition by which the mind knows God the mind itself becomes conformed to God, just as every knower, as such, is assimilated to that which is known.
But there is a greater likeness through conformity, as of sight to color, than through analogy, as of sight to understanding, which is related to its objects in a way similar to that of sight. Consequently, the likeness of the Trinity is clearer in mind, as knowing God, than as knowing itself. Therefore, properly speaking, the image of the Trinity is in the mind primarily and mainly, in so far as the mind knows God, and it is there in a certain manner and secondarily, in so far as the mind knows itself, especially when it considers itself in so far as it is the image of God. As a result, its consideration does not stop with itself, but goes on to God. There is no image in the consideration of temporal things, but a kind of likeness of the Trinity, which can partake more of the character of vestige. Such is the likeness which Augustine attributes to the sensitive powers.
Answers to Difficulties
1. There is indeed a trinity in the mind, as it applies itself to activity concerned with temporal things. But this trinity is not called the image of the uncreated Trinity, as is clear from what Augustine adds to that passage.
2. The equality of the divine persons is better represented in the knowledge of eternal than of temporal things. For we should not look for equality between object and power, but between one power and another. Moreover, although there is greater inequality between our mind and God than between our mind and a temporal thing, yet between the memory which our mind has of God and actual understanding and love of God there is greater equality than between the memory it has of temporal things and the understanding and love of them. For God is knowable and lovable of Himself and is understood and loved by the mind of each to the degree in which He is present to the mind. His presence in the mind is memory of Him in the mind; thus, intelligence is proportioned to the memory of Him, and will or love is proportioned to this intelligence.
However, physical things as such are not intelligible or lovable and so there is not this equality in the mind with reference to them. Neither is there the same order of origin, since these are present to our memory because we have understood them, and so memory arises from understanding rather than conversely. The opposite of this takes place in the created mind with reference to God from whose presence the mind participates in intellectual light so that it can understand. Although the knowledge which we have of physical things is prior in time to that which we have of God, the latter is prior in dignity. And the fact that we know physical reality better than we know God offers no difficulty, because the least knowledge which can be had about God surpasses all knowledge about creatures. The nobility of knowledge depends on the nobility of the thing known, as is clear from TheSoul. For this reason, the Philosopher puts the little knowledge which we have of heavenly things before all the lmowledge which we have about things here below.
4. Although powers extend to all their objects, their capacity is measured by the highest thing which they can reach, as appears in Heaven and Earth. Therefore, that which belongs to the highest perfection of the powers of the mind, namely, to be in the image of God, is attributed to them with reference to the most noble object, which is God.
5. Although the mind knows itself more perfectly than it knows God, the knowledge which it has of God is more noble, and through it the mind becomes more conformed to God, as has been said. Therefore, it is rather according to this that the mind is in the image of God.
6. Although the equality belongs to the image which is in our mind, it is not necessary to consider the image with respect to everything, with reference to which some equality is found in it, since many other things are needed for an image. Hence, the argument does not follow.
7. Although charity, which brings the image to completion, looks to the neighbor, it does not do so as to its principal object, since only God is its principal object. For charity loves nothing in one’s neighbor except God.
8. The powers of the image, even in so far as they are related to God, are made perfect through certain habits, as faith, hope, charity, wisdom, and others like these. For, although in these eternal things there is no error on their part, there still can be error on the part of our understanding in its knowledge of these. The difficulty in knowing them comes not from them, but from us, as is said in the Metaphysics.”
9. There is no identity of substance between sense and the sensible thing, because the sensible thing is outside the essence of the senses. Nor is there equality, for sometimes the visible thing is not always seen to the full extent of its visibility.
10. With reference to the effectiveness of their causality, certain irrational creatures can in some way become more like God than even rational creatures. This appears in the sun’s rays, by which everything in lower bodies is caused and renewed. In this way, it is like the divine goodness which causes all things, as Dionysius says. Still, according to properties inhering in it, the rational creature is more like God than any irrational creature.
That metaphorical expressions are more frequently taken from irrational creatures and applied to God is due to their dissimilarity. This is done because, as Dionysius says, what belongs to less noble creatures is more frequently transferred to God to remove all occasion for error. For the transfer made from noble creatures could bring about the belief that those things which are applied metaphorically were to be understood properly. No one can think this about less noble things.
11. Boethius makes material forms images, not of God, but of immaterial forms, that is, of the ideal natures existing in the divine mind, from which material forms arise with a perfect likeness.
Q. 10: The Mind
In the eighth article we ask:
Does the mind know itself through its essence or through some species?
[Parallel readings: De ver., 8, 6; S.T., II, 75; III, 46; S.T., I, 14, 2, ad 3; 87, 1; Q.D. de anima, 16, ad 8; II De anima, 6, nn. 304-308; III de anima, 9, nn. 721, 724-726.]
It seems that it knows itself through some species, for
1. As the Philosopher says: “Our intellect understands nothing without a phantasm.” But it cannot receive a phantasm of the very essence of the soul. Therefore, our mind must understand itself through some other species abstracted from phantasms.
2. Those things which are seen through their essence are most certainly apprehended without error. But many err about the human mind, for some say it is air, others fire, and hold many other foolish opinions about it. Therefore, the mind does not see itself through its essence.
3 It was said that through its essence the mind sees that it exists, but can err in the investigation of its nature.—On the contrary, to know something through its essence is to know what it is, for the essence of a thing is the same as its quiddity. Therefore, if the soul saw itself through its essence, everyone would unerringly know the essence of his soul, which is obviously false.
4 Our soul is a form joined to matter. But every form of this kind is known through abstraction of the species from matter and from material conditions. Therefore, the soul is known through an abstracted species.
5. Understanding is not an act of the soul alone, but of the composite, as is said in The Soul. But every such act is common to soul and body. Therefore, there must always be something from the body in understanding. But this would not be if the mind saw itself through its essence without any species abstracted from the bodily senses. Therefore, the mind does not see itself through its essence.
6. The Philosopher says that the intellect understands itself just as it understands other things. But it does not understand other things through its essence, but through species. Therefore, it does not understand itself through its essence.
7. Powers are known through their acts, and acts through their objects. But the essence of the soul can be known only when its powers are known, for what a thing can do manifests the nature of the thing. Therefore, it has to know its essence through its acts and through the species of its objects.
8. As sense is related to what is sensible, so understanding is related to what is intelligible. But there has to be some distance between sense and the sensible. For this reason, the eye cannot see itself. Therefore, there also has to be some distance in intellectual vision, with the result that mind can never understand itself through its essence.
9. According to the Philosopher, in a demonstration we should not proceed in a circle, because it would follow that a thing would become known through itself. Thus, it would follow that it would exist before itself and be better known than itself, which is impossible. But, if the inind sees itself through its essence, that which is known and that through which it is known will be the same. Therefore, the same untenable conclusion would follow, for something would exist before itself and be better known than itself.
10. Dionysius says that the soul knows the truth of existing things in a sort of circle. However, a circular movement is from the same thing to the same thing. Therefore, it seems that the soul goes out from itself in its understanding, and through things outside returns to knowledge of itself. Thus, it does not understand itself through its essence.
11. While the cause remains, the effect remains. Therefore, if the mind saw itself through its essence because its essence is present to it, it would always see it, for it is always present to it. Therefore, since it is impossible to understand many things at once, the mind would never understand anything else.
12. Things that follow have more composition than those which come earlier. But understanding follows existing. Therefore, there is more composition in the understanding of the soul than in its existence. But, in the soul, that which exists is not the same as that by which it exists. Therefore, that in the soul by which it understands will not be the same as that which is understood. Thus, the mind does not see itself through its essence.
13. The same thing under the same aspect cannot be form and that which is informed. But, since the understanding is a power of the soul, it is a kind of form of its essence. Therefore, the essence of the soul cannot be the form of the understanding. Therefore, the mind does not see itself through its essence.
14. The soul is a subsistent substance. However, intelligible forms are not of themselves subsistent. Otherwise, knowledge, which is made up of these intelligible forms, would not be classified as an accident. Therefore, the essence of the soul cannot have the character of intelligible form by which the mind sees itself.
15. Since acts and movements are distinguished in their terms, intelligible things which belong to the same species are understood according to their species in the same way. But the soul of Peter belongs to the same species as that of Paul. Therefore, the soul of Peter understands itself just as it understands Paul’s soul. But it does not understand Paul’s soul through its essence, for it is not present to it. Therefore, it does not understand itself through its essence.
16. Form is simpler than that which is informed through the form. But the mind is not simpler than itself. Therefore, it is not informed by itself. Consequently, since it is informed by that through which it knows, it will not know itself through itself.
To the Contrary
1. Augustine says: “Mind knows itself through itself because it is incorporeal. For, if it does not know itself, it does not love itself.”
2. The Gloss on the second Epistle to the Corinthians (12:2) reads: “By that sight which is called intellectual, those things are known which are not bodies and do not have any forms like bodies, as mind itself and every disposition of the soul.” The same Gloss adds: “Intellectual sight contains those things which have no likenesses not identical with themselves.” Therefore, the mind does not know itself through something not identical with it.
3. In The Soul we read: “In things separated from matter, that which understands and that by which it is understood are the same.” But the mind is an immaterial thing. Therefore, it is understood through its essence.
4. Everything which, as intelligible, is present to the understanding is understood by the understanding. But the essence of the soul is present to understanding in an intelligible manner, for it is present to it through its truth. Truth, however, is the reason for understanding, as goodness is the reason for loving. Therefore, the mind understands itself through its essence.
5. The species through which something is understood is simpler than that which we understand through it. But the soul does not have any species simpler than itself to be abstracted from it. Therefore, the soul does not understand itself through a species, but through its essence.
6. All knowledge takes place through an assimilation of the knower to the thing known. But there is nothing else more like the soul than its essence. Therefore, it understands itself through nothing else but its essence.
7. That which is a cause by which other things are made knowable is not known through anything other than itself. But the soul is a cause which makes other physical things knowable, for they are intelligible inasmuch as we make them intelligible, as the Commentator says. Therefore, the soul is understood only through itself.
8. According to the Philosopher, knowledge about the soul is most certain. But that which is more certain is not known through that which is less certain. Therefore, we do not have knowledge of the soul through something other than itself.
9. Every species through which our soul understands is abstracted from sensible things. But there is no sensible thing from which the soul can abstract its own quiddity. Therefore, the soul does not know itself through any likeness.
10. As physical light makes all things actually visible, so the soul through its light makes all material things actually intelligible, as is clear from The Soul. But physical light is seen through itself and not through any likeness of itself. Therefore, the soul, too, is understood through its essence and not through any likeness.
11. As the Philosopher says, the agent intellect “does not at one time understand and at another not understand, but always understands.” But it is only itself which it understands at all times. This would not be possible if it understood itself through a species abstracted from the senses, for thus it would not understand itself before the abstraction. Therefore, our mind understands itself through its essence.
When we ask if something is known through its essence, we can understand the question in two ways. In the first, “through its essence” is taken to refer to the thing known, so that we understand that a thing is known through its essence when its essence is known, and that it is not known through its essence when not its essence but only certain of its accidents are known. In the second way, it is taken to refer to that by which something is known, so that we thus understand that something is known through its essence because the essence itself is that by which it is known. It is in this sense that we ask here if the soul understands itself through its essence.
For a clear understanding of this question we should observe that each person can have a twofold knowledge of the soul, as Augustine says. One of these is the knowledge by which the soul of each man knows itself only with reference to that which is proper to it. The other is that by which the soul is known with reference to that which is common to all souls. This latter, which concerns all souls without distinction, is that by which the nature of the soul is known. However, the knowledge which each has of his soul, in so far as it is proper to himself, is the knowledge of the soul as it exists in this individual. Thus, it is through this knowledge that one knows whether the soul exists, as when someone perceives that he has a soul. Through the other type of knowledge, however, one knows what the soul is and what its proper accidents are.
With reference to the first type of cognition we must make a distinction, because one can know something habitually or actually. Concerning the actual cognition by which one actually considers that he has a soul, I say that the soul is known through its acts. For one perceives that he has a soul, that he lives, and that he exists, because he perceives that he senses, understands, and carries on other vital activities of this sort. For this reason, the Philosopher says: “We sense that we sense, and we understand that we understand, and because we sense this, we understand that we exist.” But one perceives that he understands only from the fact that he understands something. For to understand something is prior to understanding that one understands. Therefore, through that which it understands or senses the soul arrives at actual perception of the fact that it exists.
Concerning habitual knowledge I say this, that the soul sees itself through its essence, that is, the soul has the power to enter upon actual cognition of itself from the very fact that its essence is present to it. This is like the case of one who, because he has the habit of some knowledge, can by reason of the presence of the habit perceive those things which fall under that habit. But no habit is required for the soul’s perception of its existence and its advertence to the activity within it. The essence alone of the soul, which is present to the mind, is enough for this, for the acts in which it is actually perceived proceed from it.
But, if we speak of the knowledge of the soul when the human mind is limited to specific or generic knowledge, we must make another distinction. For the concurrence of two elements, apprehension and judgment about the thing apprehended, is necessary for knowledge. Therefore, the knowledge by which the nature of the soul is known can be considered with reference to apprehension and with reference to judgment.
If, then, we consider this knowledge with reference to apprehension, I say that we know the nature of the soul through species which we abstract from the senses. For our soul holds the last place among intellectual things, just as first matter does among sensible things, as the Commentator shows. For, as first matter is in potency to all sensible forms, so our possible intellect is in potency to all intelligible forms. Thus, it is, in fact, pure potency in the order of intelligible things, as matter is in the order of sensible reality. Therefore, as matter is sensible only through some added form, so the possible intellect is intelligible only through a species which is brought into it.
Hence, our mind cannot so understand itself that it immediately apprehends itself. Rather, it comes to a knowledge of itself through apprehension of other things, just as the nature of first matter is known from its receptivity for forms of a certain kind. This becomes apparent when we look at the manner in which philosophers have investigated the nature of the soul.
For, from the fact that the human soul knows the universal natures of things, they have perceived that the species by which we understand is immaterial. Otherwise, it would be individuated and so would not lead to knowledge of the universal. From the immateriality of the species by which we understand, philosophers have understood that the intellect is a thing independent of matter. And from this they have proceeded to a knowledge of the other properties of the intellective soul. Thus, the Philosopher says: “The intellect is intelligible just as the other intelligible things are.” The Commentator also affirms this in his explanation: “Intellect is understood through an intention in it, just as other intelligible things.” This intention is nothing but the intelligible species. But this intention is in the intellect as actually intelligible. In other things, however, it is not actually but only potentially intelligible.
But, if we consider the knowledge which we have of the nature of the soul in the judgment by which we decide that it exists in such a way, as we had apprehended from the deduction mentioned above, we have knowledge of the soul inasmuch as “we contemplate inviolable truth. This is the truth from which we define to the best of our power not the kind of mind each man has, but the kind of mind it ought to be according to eternal norms,” as Augustine says. We see this inviolable truth in its likeness which is impressed on our mind to the extent that we naturally know some things as self-evident. We examine all other things with reference to these, judging of them according to these.
Thus it is clear that our mind knows itself in some way through its essence, as Augustine says, and in some way through an intention or species, as the Philosopher and the Commentator say; and, moreover, in some way in the contemplation of inviolable truth, as Augustine says. In this way, then, one must answer both sets of reasons.
Answers to Difficulties
1. Our understanding can actually understand nothing before it abstracts from phantasms. Nor can it have habitual knowledge of things other than itself, which are not within it, before the abstraction just mentioned, because species of other intelligible things are not innate in it. However, its essence is innate in it, so that it does not have to obtain it from phantasms, just as it is not the essence of matter which is received from the natural agent, but only its form, which is related to physical matter as intelligible form is related to sensible matter, as the Commentator says. Therefore, before the mind abstracts from phantasms, it has habitual knowledge of itself, by which it can perceive that it exists.
2. No one has ever made the mistake of not perceiving that he was alive, a fact which belongs to the knowledge by which one knows in its singularity what goes on in his soul. It is according to this knowledge that the soul is said to be habitually known through its essence. Many, however, do fall into error regarding knowledge of the specific nature of the soul, and on this point the conclusion of the objection is true.
3. From this the answer to the third difficulty is clear.
4. Although the soul is joined to matter as its form, it is not so dominated by matter that it becomes material, and thus not actually intelligible, but only potentially intelligible by abstraction from matter.
5. The objection holds for actual knowledge, according to which the soul perceives its existence only by perceiving its act and object, as has been said.
6. The citation from the Philosopher should be taken as referring to the intellect’s understanding of what it is and not to the habitual knowledge which it has of the fact that it exists.
7. The seventh difficulty must be answered in like manner.
8. Sensitive activity is brought to completion through the action of the sensible thing on the sense. This is action which is connected with position and therefore needs a definite distance. Intellectual activity is not limited to any position. Therefore, in this way they are not alike.
9. There are two ways in which we can say a thing is known by means of something else. In the first, from knowledge of another thing one arrives at knowledge of the thing in question. In this way conclusions are said to be known from principles. A thing cannot be known bv means of itself in this way. In the second way, a thing is said to b~ known by means of something else in the sense that it is known in that something. In this case, an act of cognition distinct from that in which the thing is known is not required in order that the medium in which the thing is known might itself be known. So, there is nothing to prevent something from being known by means of itself in this way, as God knows Himself by means of Himself. Thus, in some way the soul, too, knows itself through its essence.
10. We do find a circle in the knowledge of the soul, in so far as it seeks the truth of existing things by reasoning. Hence, Dionysius says this in order to show how the knowledge of the soul falls short of the knowledge of an angel. The circularity is observed in this, that reason reaches conclusions from principles by way of discovery, and by way of judgment examines the conclusions which have been found, analyzing them back to the principles. Therefore, this difficulty is not to the point.
11. just as it is not necessary always actually to understand that of which we have habitual knowledge through species existing in the understanding, so, too, it is not necessary always actually to understand the mind, knowledge of which is habitually in us because its essence is present to our understanding.
12. “That by which a thing is understood” and “that which is understood” are not related to each other as “that by which a thing is” and “that which is.” For existence is the act of a being, but understanding is not the act of that which is understood but of that which understands. Hence, “that by which a thing is understood” is related to that which understands as “that which is to that by which it is.” And, therefore, just as in the soul “that which is,” is different from “that by which it is,” so that by which it understands, that is to say, the intellective power, which is the source of the act of understanding, is different from its essence. However, it does not necessarily follow from this that the species by which a thing is understood must be different from that which is understood.
13. The intellective power is a form of the soul with reference to its act of existing, for it has existence in the soul as a property in a subject. But there is nothing to prevent the opposite of this from being true with reference to the act of understanding.
14. The knowledge by which the soul knows itself is not classified as an accident in so far as it is the source of habitual knowledge, but only as an act of cognition which is an accident. Thus, Augustine also says that knowledge is in the mind substantially in so far as the mind knows itself.
15. The objection holds for the knowledge of the soul by which it is known according to the nature of the species in which all souls share.
16. When the mind understands itself, the mind is not itself the form of the mind, because nothing is its own form. But it does follow the manner of form, inasmuch as the action by which it knows itself terminates at itself. Hence, it is not necessary for it to be simpler than itself, unless, perhaps, according to the manner of understanding, in so far as that which is understood is taken as simpler than the intellect itself which understands, and is thus considered as a perfection of the intellect.
Answers to Contrary Difficulties
1. We must understand these words of Augustine to mean that the mind knows itself through itself, since from itself the mind has the power to enter upon the act by which it actually knows itself, by perceiving that it exists. Similarly, from the species habitually retained in the mind, there results in the mind the power actually to consider the thing. But the mind can perceive what its own nature is only from the consideration of its object, as has been said.
2. The words of the Gloss which read: “Intellectual sight contains those things...” are to be referred to the object of knowledge rather than to that by which it is understood. This is clear from a consideration of what is said about other kinds of sight. For the same Gloss reads: “Through bodily sight bodies are seen; through spiritual sight (that is, sight of imagination) likenesses of bodies are seen; through intellectual sight those things which are neither bodies nor likenesses of bodies are seen.” If this were referred to that by which we understand, there would be no difference between bodily sight and spiritual sight (that of imagination), because even bodily sight takes place through the likeness of a body. For the stone is not in the eye, but a likeness of the stone.
But between the kinds of sight mentioned there is this difference, that bodily sight terminates at the body itself, whereas the sight of imagination terminates at the image of the body, as at its object. So, also, when it is said that intellectual sight embraces things which have no likenesses not identical with themselves, this does not mean that spiritual sight does not take place through species which are not the same as the things understood, but that intellectual sight does not terminate at the likeness of a thing but at the very essence of the thing. For, as by bodily sight one sees a body itself without seeing a likeness of the body, although he sees through a likeness of the body, so in intellectual sight one sees the very essence of a thing without seeing the similitude of the thing, although sometimes he sees that essence through some likeness, as is clear from experience. For, when we understand the soul, we do not construct a likeness of the soul and look at it, as happens in imagination. Rather, we study the essence of the soul itself. Nevertheless, this does not deny that this sight takes place through a species.
3. What the Philosopher says should be understood of an intellect which is altogether separated from matter, as the intellects of angels. And this is the way in which the Commentator explains the passage. However, it should not be applied to the human intellect; otherwise, it would follow that speculative science would be the same as the thing known. But this is impossible, as the Commentator also concludes.
4. The soul is present to itself as intelligible, in the sense that it can be understood, but not in the sense that it is understood through itself, but from its object, as has been said.
5. The soul is not known through a species abstracted from it, but through the species of its object, which becomes its form in so far as it actually understands. Hence, the reason does not follow.
6. Although our soul is most like itself, it cannot be the principle of knowing itself in the manner of an intelligible species, just as first matter cannot. The reason for this is that our understanding occupies a position in the order of intelligible things similar to that of first matter in the order of sensible things, as the Commentator says.
7. The soul is the cause why other things are knowable not in so far as it is a means of knowing, but in so far as physical things are made intelligible through the activity of the soul.
8. Knowledge about the soul is most certain in this, that each one experiences within himself that he has a soul and that acts of the soul are within him. But it is very difficult to know what the soul is. Hence, the Philosopher adds: “It is extremely difficult to get any assurance about it.”
9. The soul is not known through a species abstracted from sensible beings, as though that species were understood to be a likeness of the soul. Rather, from a study of the nature of the species abstracted from sensible things we discover the nature of the soul in which such a species is received, just as matter is known from form.
10. Physical light is seen through itself only in so far as it is the reason for the visibility of visible things and a kind of form making them actually visible. Now, we see the light which exists in the sun only through its likeness which exists in our sight. For as the specific nature of stone is not in the eye, but its likeness, so the form of light which is in the sun cannot be the same form that is in the eye. Similarly, we understand the light of the agent intellect, in so far as it is the reason for the intelligible species, making them actually intelligible.
11. What the Philosopher says can be explained in two ways, according to the two opinions about the agent intellect. For some have held that the agent intellect is a separated substance, one of a number of intelligences. According to this it always actually understands, as the other intelligences do.
Others, hold that the agent intellect is a power of the soul. According to this it is said that the agent intellect is not a power which sometimes understands and sometimes does not, because the cause of understanding at some times and not at others does not come from it, but from the possible intellect. For, in every act by which man understands, the action of the agent intellect and that of the possible intellect concur. Moreover, the agent intellect does not receive anything from outside. Only the possible intellect does so. Hence, with reference to the requirements for our thought, there is nothing on the part of the agent intellect to keep us from always understanding, but there is on the part of the possible intellect, for it is brought to completion only through intelligible species abstracted from the senses.
Q. 10: The Mind
In the ninth article we ask:
Is it through their essence or through some likeness that our mind knows habits which exist in the soul?
[Parallel readings: III Sent., 23, 1, 2; Quodl., VIII, 2, 4; S.T., I, 87, 2.]
it seems that it knows them through their essence, for
1. The Gloss on this passage, “I know a man...” in the second Epistle to the Corinthians (12:2) reads: “We do not see love in one way in the species through which it exists when it is present, and in another way in some image similar to it when it is not present. But it is perceived in so far as it can be discerned by the mind, more by one, less by another.” Therefore, love is perceived by the mind through its essence and not through some likeness of it. This is true of every other habit for the same reason.
2. Augustine says: “What is as present to knowledge as that which is present to the mind? But habits of the soul are present to the mind through their essence. Therefore, they are known by the mind through their essence.
3. The cause of the perfection of a thing has that perfection in an even higher degree. But habits of the mind are the cause whereby other things which fall under the habits are known. Therefore, habits are known by the mind especially through their essence.
4. Everything which the mind knows through its likeness arises in sense before it arises in the mind. But a habit of the mind never arises in sense. Therefore, these habits are not known by the mind through a likeness.
5. The closer a thing is to the mind, the more it is known by the mind. But habit is closer to the intellective power of the mind than act, and act is closer than object. Therefore, the mind knows habit more than act or object. So, it knows habit through its essence and not through acts or objects.
6. Augustine says that the mind and art are known by the same kind of sight. But the mind is known through its essence by the mind. Therefore, art, also, is known through its essence, and so are the other habits of the mind.
7. The true is related to understanding as the good is related to affection. But the good is not in affection through some likeness of itself. Therefore, neither is the true known by understanding through some likeness. Therefore, whatever understanding knows it knows through essence and not through a likeness.
8. Augustine says: “Faith is not seen by its possessor in the heart in which it is,” as the soul of another man is seen from movements of the body; “rather, certain knowledge clings to it, and consciousness proclaims it.” Therefore, according to this, knowledge of the mind clings to faith in so far as consciousness proclaims it. But consciousness proclaims faith in so far as it is present in it. Therefore, faith is known by the mind in so far as it is present in the mind through its essence.
9. Form is most exactly proportionate to that of which it is the form. But habits exist in the mind as forms of the mind. Therefore, they are most exactly proportionate to the mind. Consequently, our mind knows them immediately through their essence.
10. Understanding knows the intelligible species which is in it, not through another syecies, but through its essence. Otherwise, there would be an infinite series. But this is so only because these species inform the understanding. Since understanding is informed in a similar way through habits, it seems that the mind knows them through their essence.
11. The mind knows habits only by intellectual vision. But intellectual vision concerns those things which are seen through their essence. Therefore, habits are seen by the mind through their essence.
To the Contrary
l. Augustine says: “Behold in the fields and caves and numberless caverns of my memory, full beyond reckoning, there are innumerable sorts of things, [present] either through images, as those of all bodies, or through actual presence, as that of the arts, or through I know not what notions, as those of affections of the mind which memory retains even when the mind is not acted upon.” From this it seems that affections of the mind are not known through their essence, but through some notions of them; and for the same reason neither are habits of the virtues, which group themselves around affections of this kind.
2. Augustine says: “We have another sense of the interior man which surpasses that sense,” the bodily, “and through which we perceive just and unjust things, the former through an intelligible species, the latter through its privation.” But he calls just and unjust things the habits of virtues and vices. Therefore, habits of virtues are known through a species and not through their essence.
3. Understanding knows through its essence only that which is present in the understanding. But habits of virtues are not present in the understanding, but in the affective part. Therefore, they are not known through their essence by the understanding.
4. Intellectual vision is superior to bodily sight. Therefore, it entails greater distinction. But in bodily sight the species through which something is seen is always different from the thing seen through it. Therefore, habits, which are seen through intellectual vision, are not seen by the mind through their essence, but through some other species.
5. We desire only what we know, as Augustine proves..But some people who do not have habits of the soul desire them. Therefore, they know those habits, but not through their essence since they do not have them. Therefore, they know them through a species of them.
6. Hugh of St. Victor says that eye can have three meanings in man. There can be the eye of reason, the eye of intelligence, and the eye of flesh. We see God with the eye of intelligence which, Hugh says, was plucked out after the fall. We see physical things with the eye of flesh, which has remained intact after the fall. We know intelligible created things with the eye of reason, which has become blear since the fall, for we know intelligible things only partially and not entirely. But everything that is seen only partially is not known through its essence. Therefore, since habits of the mind are intelligible, it seems that the mind does not see them through their essence.
7. God is much more present to the mind through His essence than habits are, for He is innermost in everything. But God’s presence in the mind does not make our mind see God through His essence. Therefore, habits, too, are not seen by the mind through their essence, although they are present in it.
8. Intellect, which potentially understands, needs something to reduce it to act, if it is actually to understand. And it is by reason of this that intellect does actually understand. But the essence of a habit, in so far as it is present to the mind, does not reduce intellect from potency to act, for, if it did, things would necessarily be understood as long as they were present in the soul. Therefore, that by which habits are understood is not their essence.
Knowledge of habits, as that of the soul, is twofold. One knowledge is that by which one knows whether he has a habit. The other is that by which one knows what a habit is. Nevertheless, these two types of knowledge relate to habits in a way different from that in which they relate to the soul. For the knowledge by which one knows he has a habit presupposes the knowledge by which he knows what that habit is. For I cannot know that I have chastity unless I know what chastity is. This is not the case with the soul. For many know that they have a soul without knowing what the soul is.
The reason for such diversity is this, that we perceive that habits as well as the soul exist in us only by perceiving acts of which the soul and habits are the principles. And by its essence a habit is the principle of a certain kind of act. Thus, if we know a habit as the principle of such an act, we know what it is. Accordingly, I know what chastity is if I know it is that through which one refrains from illicit thoughts in matters of sex. But the soul is a principle of acts not through its essence, but through its powers. Thus, from a perception of the acts of the soul we perceive that the principle of such acts, for example, of movement and of sense, is in the soul. Nevertheless, we do not know the nature of the soul from this.
Accordingly, in so far as we know that habits exist, there are, then, two things which we have to keep in mind when we speak of them: the apprehension of the habit and the judgment we form about it. For apprehension we must get knowledge of the habits from objects and acts. The habits themselves cannot be grasped through their essence, because the power of any faculty of the soul is limited to its object. For this reason its activity is directed first of all and principally to its object. It extends only through a kind of return to those things by which it is directed to its object. Thus, we see that sight is first directed to color, but is directed to the act of seeing only through a kind of return, when, in seeing color, it sees that it sees. But this return is incomplete in sense and complete in understanding which goes back to know its essence by a complete return.
As is said in The Soul, “in this life our understanding is related to phantasnis as sight is related to colors, not, however, so that it knows phantasms as sight knows colors, but that it knows the things which the phantasms represent. Thus, the activity of our understanding is directed, first, to the things which are grasped through phantasms, then returns to know its act, and then goes further to the species, habits, powers, and the essence of the mind itself. For these are not related to understanding as primary objects, but as those things by which understanding attains its object.
Moreover, we have judgment about each one of these according to that which is its measure. And the measure of any habit is that to which the habit is ordained. This object has a triple relation to our knowledge. For, sometimes, it is obtained from sense, either from sight or hearing, as when we see the usefulness of grammar or medicine, or we hear it from others, and from this usefulness we know what grammar or medicine is. Sometimes it is inherent in natural knowledge, as is abundantly clear in the habits of virtues, whose ends natural reason proposes. Sometimes it is divinely infused, as appears in faith, hope, and other infused habits of this kind. In both of these latter, uncreated truth is taken into account, because even natural knowledge arises in us from divine enlightenment. Hence, the judgment in which knowledge about the nature of a habit is brought to completion takes place either according to that which we receive by sense or according to a comparison with uncreated truth.
There are two things to be considered in the knowledge by which we know whether habits are present in us: habitual knowledge and actual knowledge. From the acts of the habits which we experience within us we actually perceive that we have the habits. For this reason, the Philosopher says” that we should take pleasure attendant on a work as a sign of habits.
But, with reference to habitual knowledge, habits of the mind are said to be known through themselves. For the cause of habitual knowledge is that by which someone is rendered capable of entering into the act of knowing the thing which is said to be known habitually. From the very fact that habits are in the mind through their essence, the mind can enter upon actual perception of the existence of the habits within it, in so far as through the habits which it has it can enter upon acts in which the habits are actually perceived.
But, in this, habits of the cognitive and affective parts differ. For a habit of the cognitive part is the source both of the very act by which the habit is received and also of the knowledge by which it is perceived. For the actual knowledge proceeds from the cognitive habit, whereas a habit of the affective part is the source of that act from which the habit can be perceived but not of the knowledge by which it is perceived.
Thus, it is clear that a habit of the cognitive part is the proximate source of knowledge of it because it is present in the mind through its essence. However, a habit of the affective part is, as it were, a remote source, for such a habit does not have within it the cause of knowledge but of that from which knowledge is received. Therefore, Augustine says that arts are known through their presence, but affections of the soul are known through certain conceptions.
Answers to Difficulties
1. What is said in the Gloss should be taken as referring to the object of knowledge and not to the means of knowing. For, when we know love, we consider the very essence of love and not some likeness of it, as happens in imagination.
2. The mind knows nothing better than that which is within it, for this reason, that it does not have within itself something of the things outside of it in order to proceed from this to knowledge of those things. But the mind can issue into actual cognition of those things which are within it from the things which are present to it internally, even though these are known through some other things.
3. Habit is not the cause of knowing other things as something which is the source of knowledge of other things, once it is known itself, as principles are the cause of knowing conclusions. Rather, from a habit the soul acquires a perfection ordered to knowledge of something. Thus, it is not a uaivocal cause of the things known, as when one thing which is known is the cause of the knowledge of something else which is known, but an equivocal cause, which does not receive the same name. For example, it is like whiteness which makes a thing white although it itself is not white, but that by which something is white. In like manner, a habit, as such, is not the cause of knowledge, as that which is known, but as that by which something is known. Therefore, it is not necessary that it be better known than those things which are known through the habit.
4. A habit is not known by the soul through a species of it abstracted from sense, but through the species of those things which are known through the habit. And habits are known as the source of knowledge in the cognition of these other things.
5. Although habit is closer to power than act is, act is closer to the object which constitutes that which is known. Power, however, constitutes the source of knowing. Therefore, act is known before habit, but habit is more a source of knowing.
6.Art is a habit of the intellective part and, as far as habitual knowledge goes, it is perceived by one who has it just as the mind is perceived, that is, through its presence.
7.Movement or activity of the cognitive part realizes its perfection within the mind itself, and, therefore, for a thing to be known, there must be some likeness in the mind. This is especially true if, as an object of knowledge, it is not joined to the mind through its essence. But movement or activity of the affective part begins from the soul and terminates at things. Therefore, a likeness of the thing by which it is informed is not required in the affection as it is in the understanding.
8. Faith is a habit of the intellective part; hence, from the very fact that it is in the mind, it bends the mind to an act of understanding, in which faith itself is seen. However, this is not the case with other habits, which are in the affective part.
9. Habits of the mind have the greatest proportion to it, as form has a proportion to subject, and perfection to perfectible. However, the proportion is not that of object to power.
10. Understanding does not know the intelligible species through its essence or through any species of the species, but, in knowing the object of which it is the species, it knows the species through a kind of reflection, as has been said.
11. The answer to this can be found above.
Answers to Contrary Difficulties
1. In the passage cited, Augustine distinguishes three ways of knowing. One of these concerns things which are outside the soul, and about which we cannot have knowledge from the things which are within us. To know these things outside, images or likenesses of them must be formed within us.
A second way deals with those things which are in the intellective part. He says that these are known by reason of their presence, because it is from them that we enter upon the act of knowing. And in this act those things which are the principles of understanding are known. Therefore, he says that arts are known by reason of their presence.
The third way refers to those things which belong to the affective part, and the reason for knowing these is not in the understanding, but in the affections. Therefore, they are known as through an immediate principle, not by their presence, which is in the affections, but through the knowledge or definition of it which is in the understanding. Yet, by their presence, habits of the affective part are also a remote principle of knowledge in so far as they elicit acts in which understanding knows them. As a result, we can in a sense also say that they are known by reason of their presence.
2. That species through which justice is known is not something other than the very notion of justice through the privation of which injustice is known. Moreover, this species or notion is not something abstracted from justice, but it is that which, as a specific difference, is the ultimate perfection of its being.
3. Understanding, properly speaking, is not an activity of the intellect, but of the soul through the intellect, just as to make warm is not an activity of heat, but of fire through heat. Nor again are those two parts, understanding and affection, to be thought of as distinguished according to position, as sight and hearing, which are acts of organs. Therefore, that which is in affection is also present to the understanding soul. For this reason, through understanding, the soul returns to know not only the act of the understanding but also the act of the affections. In a similar way, through the affections it returns to seek and desire not only the act of the affections but also the act of the understanding.
4. The distinctness (discretio) which has a bearing on the perfection of knowledge is not the state of being distinct (discretio) by which that which is understood is distinct from that by which it is understood, for, thus, the divine cognition by which God knows Himself would be mostimperfect. Rather, it is the discernment (discretio) by which that which is known is [seen as] distinct from everything else.
5. Those who do not have habits of the mind do not know these habits by that knowledge in which one perceives that they exist in himself, but by that in which one knows what they are, or perceives that they exist in others. This is not through presence, but in another way, as has been said.
6. The eye of reason is said to be blear in relation to created intelligible things in so far as it actually understands nothing without getting something from sensible things, to which intelligible things are superior. Therefore, it does not have all that is needed to know intelligible things. Nevertheless, nothing prevents those things which are in reason from immediately tending through their essence toward acts in which they are understood, as has been said.
7. Although God is more present to our mind than habits are, still, from objects which we naturally know, we cannot see the divine essence as perfectly as we see the essence of habits, for habits have a proportion to the objects and acts and are their proximate principles. We cannot say this about God.
8. Although the presence of a habit in the mind does not make the mind actually know that habit, it does cause the mind to be actually perfected through the habit by which the act is elicited. And the habit is known from this.
Q. 10: The Mind
In the tenth article we ask:
Can one know that he has charity?
[Parallel readings: I Sent., I7,2,4; III Sent., 23, 1, 2, ad i; IV Sent., 9, 1, 3, sol. 2; 21, 2, 2, ad 2; 2 Cor., c. 12, lect. 2; c. 13, lect. 2; S.T., I-II, 112, 5.]
It seems that he can, for
1. What is seen through its essence is perceived with greatest certainty. But, as Augustine says, charity is seen through its essence by him who has it. Therefore, charity is perceived by him who possesses it.
2. Charity causes pleasure principally in its acts. But habits of the moral virtues are perceived through the pleasures which they cause in acts of the virtues, as is clear from what the Philosopher says. Therefore, charity is perceived by one who has it.
3. Augustine says: “One knows the love by which he loves better than the brother whom he loves.” But he knows with greatest certainty that the brother whom he loves exists. Therefore, he also knows with greatest certainty that the love with which he loves exists within him.
4. The attraction of charity is stronger than that of any other virtue. But one is certain that he has other virtues in himself because he has an inclination to their acts. For it is hard for one who has the habit of justice to do what is unjust, but easy to do what is just, as is said in the Ethics. And anyone can perceive this facility within him. Therefore, he can also perceive that he has charity.
5. The Philosopher says that it is impossible for us to have the most noble habits and for them to be hidden from us. But charity is the most noble habit. Therefore, it would be inconsistent to say that one who has charity does not know that he has it.
6. Grace is spiritual light. But this light is perceived with greatest certainty by those who are bathed in it. Therefore, those who have grace perceive with greatest certainty that they have it. The same should be said for charity, without which one does not have grace.
7. According to Augustine,” no one can love something which he does not know. But one loves the charity within him. Therefore, he knows that charity exists in him.
8. The unction [of God] teaches all that is necessary for salvation. But to have charity is necessary for salvation. Therefore, one who has charity knows that he has it.
9. The Philosopher says: “Virtue is more certain than any art.” But one who has an art knows that he has it. So, also, when one has a virtue, and, thus, when one has charity, which is the greatest of the virtues, he knows that he has it.
To the Contrary
1. Ecclesiastes (9:1) reads: “Yet man knoweth not whether he be worthy of love or hatred.” But he who has charity is worthy of divine love according to Proverbs (8:17): “I love them that love me.” Therefore, no one knows that he has charity.
21. No one can know with certainty when God comes to dwell in him. Job (9:11) says: “If he come to me, I shall not see him.” But God dwells in man through charity, for the first Epistle of St. John (4:16) says: “He that abideth in charity, abideth in God and God in him.” Therefore, nor one can know with certainty that he has charity.
One who has charity can surmise that he has charity from probable signs, as when he sees that he is ready to undertake spiritual works, and that he effectively hates evil, as also through other things of this sort which charity effects in a man. But one cannot know with certainty that he has charity unless it be revealed to him by God.
The reason for this, as is clear from what has been said earlier, is that the knowledge by which one knows that he has a habit presupposes the knowledge by which he knows what the habit is. What a habit is, however, cannot be known unless one bases his judgment about it upon that to which that habit is ordained, which is the measure of that habit.
But that to which charity is ordained cannot be comprehended, because its immediate object and end is God, the highest good, to whom charity unites us. Hence, one cannot know from the act of love which he perceives within him whether he has reached the stage where he is united to God in the way which is needed for the nature of charity.
Answers to Difficulties
1. Charity is seen through its essence, in so far as through its essence it is the source of the act of love, in which both are known. Thus, through its essence, also, it is a source of its knowledge, although a remote source. Nevertheless, it is not necessary that it be perceived with certainty, for the act of love which we perceive in ourselves, in so far as it is perceptible, is not an adequate indication of charity because of the similarity between natural love and infused love.
2. The pleasure which remains in an act by reason of charity can also be caused by some acquired habit. Therefore, it is not a sufficient indication to show that charity is present because we do not perceive a thing with certainty from common marks.
3. Although the mind knows most certainly the love with which it loves a brother, in so far as it is love, it does not know as certainly that it is charity.
4. Although the inclination with which charity tends to action is a source of perceiving charity, it is not enough for perfect perception of charity. For no one can perceive that he has a given habit unless he knows perfectly that to which the habit is ordained, for it is through this that he judges about the habit. In charity this cannot be known.
5. The Philosopher is speaking of habits of the intellective part, which, if they are perfect, cannot be concealed from those who have them, because certainty belongs to their perfection. Hence, anyone who knows, knows that he knows, since to know is to perceive the cause of a thing, that it is the cause of it, and that it cannot be otherwise. Similarly, one who has the habit of the understanding of principles knows that he has that habit. But the perfection of charity does not consist in certitude of knowledge but in strength of affection. Therefore, the case is not the same.
6. When we are speaking metaphorically, we should not apply the likeness to every detail. Thus, grace is not compared to light in so far as it plainly pours itself out on spiritual vision as physical light does on bodily vision. Rather, the comparison lies in this, that grace is the source of spiritual life as light of the heavenly bodies is a source of bodily life in things here below, as Dionysius says. This holds also for other likenesses.
7. “To have charity” can be understood in two ways. In one it has the forcc of a statement; in the other, the force of a term. It has the force of a statement, for instance, when one says: “It is true that someone has charity.” It is used with the force of a term when we predicate something about the phrase “to have charity” or about its meaning.
However, it does not belong to the affections to join or divide, but only to be drawn to things themselves, for good and evil are its conditions. Therefore, when one says: “I love,” or “I want to have charity,” the phrase “to have charity” is taken in the sense of a term, as though I said: “This is what I want, to have charity.” Now, nothing prevents us from knowing this. For I know what it is to have charity, even if I do not have it. Thus, even one who does not have charity desires to have charity. Nevertheless, it does not follow that one knows that he has charity, taking this with the force of a statement, affirming that he does have charity.
8. Although it is necessary to have charity to be saved, it is not necessary to know that one has charity. In fact, it is generally more advantageous not to know, because thus solicitude and humility are preserved. The saying, “The unction of God teaches all that is needed for salvation,” should be understood as referring to all that has to be known for salvation.
9. Virtue is more certain than any art with the certainty of tendency to one thing, but not with the certainty of knowledge. For virtue, as Cicero says,” tends to one thing in the manner of a nature. But nature reaches a single end more surely and more directly than art does. It is in this sense, too, that virtue is said to be more certain than art, and not in the sense that one perceives virtue in himself more surely than art.
Q. 10: The Mind
In the eleventh article we ask:
Can the mind in this life see God through his essence?
[Parallel readings: III Sent., 27, 3, 1; 35, 2, 2., sol. 2; IV Sent., 49, 2, 7; Quodl., I, 1; C.G., III, 47; 2 Cor., c. 12, lect. I; S.T., I, 12, 11; II-II, 180, 5; 175, 4-5; In loan., c. 1, lect. 11.]
It seems that it can, for
1. In Numbers (12:8) it is said of Moses: “For I speak to him mouth to mouth: and plainly and not by riddles doth he see the Lord.”, But to see God without riddles is to see Him through His essence. Therefore, since Moses was still a wayfarer, it seems that someone in this life can see God through His essence.
2. Gregory’s gloss on Exodus (33:20), “For man shall not see me and live,” says: “The glory of God everlasting can be seen with the keenness of contemplation by some living in this flesh but growing in priceless virtue.” But the glory of God is His essence, as is said in the same gloss. Therefore, one living in this mortal flesh can see God through His essence.
3. Christ’s understanding was of the same nature as ours. But the conditions of this life did not prevent His understanding from seeing God through His essence. Therefore, we, too, can see God in this life through His essence.
4. In this life God is known by means of intellectual sight. Hence, Romans (1:20) says: “For the invisible things of him... are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” But the sight of understanding is that through which things are seen in themselves, as Augustine says. Therefore, our mind can see God in this life through His essence.
5. The Philosopher says: “Our soul in a certain sense is all things,” because sense is all sensible things and understanding is all intelligible things. But the divine essence is most intelligible. Therefore, our understanding even according to the conditions of this life, about which the Philosopher is speaking, can see God through His essence, just as our sense can perceive all sensible things.
6. As there is boundless goodness in God, so, too, there is boundless truth. But the divine goodness, even though it is boundless, can be loved in itself by us in this life. Therefore, the truth of His essence can be seen in itself in this life.
7. Our understanding has been made to see God. If it cannot see God in this life, this is only because of some veil. This is twofold, a veil of guilt and of creaturehood. The veil of guilt did not exist in the state of innocence, and even now is taken away from the saints. The second Epistle to the Corinthians (3:18) says: “But we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face...” Now, the veil of creaturehood, as it seems, cannot keep us from seeing the divine essence, because God is deeper within our mind than any creature. Therefore, in this life our mind sees God through His essence.
8. Everything that is in another is there according to the mode of the one receiving. But God is in our mind through His essence. Since, therefore, intelligibility itself is the mode of our mind, it seems that the divine essence is in our mind as intelligible. So, our mind understands God through His essence in this life.
9. Cassiodorus says: “The soundness of the human mind understands that unapproachable glory.” But our mind is made sound through grace. Therefore, the divine essence, which is unapproachable glory, can be seen in this life by one who has grace.
10. As the being which is predicated of all things stands first in universality, so the being by which all things are caused, that is to say, God, stands first in causality. But the being which is first in universality is the first concept of our understanding even in this life. Therefore, in this life we can immediately know through His essence the being which is first in causality.
11. For sight there must be one who sees, something seen, and an intention. But we have these three in our mind with reference to the divine essence. For our mind itself is naturally capable of seeing the divine essence, since it was made for this. And the divine essence is present in our mind. Nor is an intention lacking, for, whenever our mind turns to a creature, it also turns to God, since in the creature there is a likeness of God. Therefore, our mind can see God through His essence in this life.
12. Augustine says: “If we both see that what you say is true, and if we both see that what I say is true, where, I ask, do we see this? Surely, I do not see it in you, nor you in me, but we both see it in the unchangeable truth which is above our minds.”, But the unchangeable truth is the divine essence, in which nothing can be seen unless it itself is seen. Therefore,we see the divine essence in this life, and we see all truth in it.
13. Truth, as such, is knowable, Therefore, the highest truth is most knowable. But this is the divine essence. Therefore, even in the conditions of this life we can know the divine essence as most knowable.
14. Genesis (32:30) says: “I have seen the Lord face to face.”“ And, as the Gloss comments: “The face of God is the form in which the Son did not consider it robbery to be equal to God.” But the form is the divine essence. Therefore, Jacob saw God through His essence in this life.
To the Contrary
1. In the first Epistle to Timothy (6:16) we read: “Who inhabiteth light inaccessible, whom no man hath seen nor can see.”
2. Exodus (33:20), “For a man will not see me and live,” the gloss of Gregory says: “God could be seen by those living in this flesh through limited images; He could not be seen through the unlimited light of eternity.” But this light is the divine essence. Therefore, no one living in this life can see God through His essence.
3. Bernard says that, although God can be entirely loved in this life, He cannot be entirely understood. But, if He were seen through His essence, He would be entirely understood. Therefore, He is not seen through His essence in this life.
4. As the Philosopher says, our intellect understands in space and time. But the divine essence transcends all space and time. Therefore, our intellect cannot see God through His essence in this life.
5. The divine essence is farther away from the gift of it than first act from second act. But, sometimes, when one sees God in contemplation through the gift of understanding or wisdom, the soul is separated from the body with reference to sense activities, which are second acts. Therefore, if the soul would see God through His essence, it must be separated from the body, even in so far as it is the first act of the body. But this does not happen as long as man is in this life. Therefore, in this life no one can see God through His essence.
An action can belong to someone in two ways. In one way it is such that the principle of that action is in the doer, as we see in all natural actions. In the other way it is such that the principle of that activity or movement is from an extrinsic principle, as happens in forcibly imposed movements, and also in miraculous works, such as giving sight to the blind, resuscitation of the dead, and things of this sort which take place only through divine power.
In this life, the vision of God through His essence cannot belong to our mind in the first way. For, in natural knowledge, our mind looks to phantasms as objects from which it receivis intelligible species, as is said in The Soul. Hence, everything it understands in the present life, it understands through species of this sort abstracted from phantasms. But no species of this sort is sufficient to represent the divine essence or that of any other separated essence. For the quiddities of sensible things, of which intelligible species abstracted from phantasms are likenesses, are essentially different from the essences of even created immaterial substances, and much more from the divine essence.
Hence, by means of the natural knowledge, which we experience in this life, our mind cannot see either God or angels through their essence. Nevertheless, angels can be seen through their essence by means of intelligible species different from their essence, but the divine essence cannot, for it transcends every genus and is outside every genus. As a result, it is impossible to find any created species which is adequate to represent it.
Thus, if God is to be seen through His essence, He must be seen through no created species, but His very essence must become the intelligible form of the understanding which sees Him. This cannot take place unless the created intellect is disposed for it through the light of glory. And in thus seeing God through His essence by reason of the disposition of infused light, the mind reaches the end of its course, which is glory, and so is not in this life.
Moreover, just as bodies are subject to the divine omnipotence, so, too, are minds. Hence, just as it can cause some bodies to produce effects, the dispositions for which they do not have within themselves, as it made Peter walk on water without giving him the gift of agility, so it can bring it about that the mind be united to the divine essence in the present life in the way in which it is united to it in heaven without being bathed in the light of glory.
When, however, this takes place, the mind must leave off that mode of knowing in which it abstracts from phantasms in the same way that a corruptible body is not actually heavy at the same time that it is miraculously given that act of agility. Therefore, those to whom it is given to see God through His essence in this way are withdrawn completely from activity of the senses, so that the whole soul is concentrated on seeing the divine essence. Hence, they are said to be in a state of rapture, as if by virtue of a higher power they were separated from that which naturally belongs to them.
Therefore, in the ordinary course of events, no one sees God through His essence in this life. And if it is miraculously granted to some to see God through His essence before the soul is completely separated from mortal flesh, such are, nevertheless, not altogether in this life, for they are without the activity of the senses, which we use in the state of mortal existence.
Answers to Difficulties
1. According to Augustine,” from those words Moses is shown to have seen God through His essence in a rapture, as we are told of Paul in the second Epistle to the Corinthians (12:2), in order that the lawgiver of the Jews and the teacher of the Gentiles might be equal in this respect.
2. Gregory is speaking about men who grow in keenness of contemplation to the point that they see the divine essence in rapture. Hence, he adds: “He who sees the wisdom which is God entirely dies to this life.”
3. It was unique in Christ that at the same time He was a wayfarer and a possessor [of the beatific vision]. This belonged to Him because He was God and man. As a result, everything which related to human nature was under His control, so that each power of soul and body was affected in the way in which He determined. Hence, bodily pain did not hinder contemplation of the mind, nor did delight of the mind lessen bodily pain. Thus, His understanding, which was illumined by the light of glory, saw God through His essence in such a way that the glory did not affect the lower parts. In this way He was at once a wayfarer and a possessor of the beatific vision. This cannot be said of others, in whom there is some necessary diffusion from the higher powers to the lower, and in whom the higher powers are drawn down by the strong passions of the lower powers.
4. In this life God is known by means of intellectual sight, yet not with the result that we know what He is, but only what He is not. To this extent we know His essence, understanding that it stands above everything. Such cognition, however, takes place through certain likenesses. The statement from Augustine should be taken as referring to that which is known and not to that by which it is known, as is clear from what has been said.
5. Even in this life our understanding can in a certain manner know the divine essence, not that it knows what it is, but only what it is not.
6. We can love God directly without having loved anything else first, although sometimes we are drawn to invisible things through love of other things which can be seen. In this life, however, we cannot know God directly without first knowing something else. The reason for this is that the activity of affection begins where the activity of understanding ends, since affection follows understanding. But the understanding, going from effects to causes, finally arrives at some sort of knowledge of God, by knowing what He is not. Hence, affection is directed to that which is presented to it through the understanding, without having to go back through all the intermediate things through which the understanding passed.
7. Although our understanding has been made to see God, it cannot see God by its own natural power, but through the light of glory infused into it. Therefore, even though every veil is taken away, it is still not necessary to see God through His essence if the soul is not enlightened with the light of glory. For this lack of glory will be an obstacle to seeing God.
8. Along with intelligibility, which it has as a property, our mind also has existence in common with other things. Hence, although God is in it, it is not necessary that He be there always as an intelligible form, but as giving existence, just as He is in other creatures. Moreover, although He gives existence to all creatures alike, He gives each creature its own mode of existence. Furthermore, in the sense that He is in all of them through essence, presence, and power, He is seen to exist differently in different things, and in each one according to its own mode.
9. Soundness of mind is twofold. There is one by which the mind is healed from sin through the grace of faith. This soundness makes the mind see that unapproachable glory in a mirror and obscurely. The other, which will come through glory, is a remedy for all sin, punishment, and distress. This soundness makes the mind see God face to face. These two kinds of sight are distinguished in the first Epistle to the Corinthians (13:12): “We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face.”
10. The being which is most extensive in universality does not exceed the proportion of anything, since it is essentially identified with everything. Therefore, it is perceived in the knowledge of anything whatsoever. But the being which is first in causality exceeds all other things and has no proportion to them. Hence, it cannot be known adequately through knowledge of any other thing. Therefore, in this life, in which we understand through species abstracted from things, we have adequate knowledge of being in general, but not of uncreated being.
11. Although the divine essence is present to our understanding, still, as long as our understanding is not made perfect by the light of glory, it is not joined to it as an intelligible form which it can understand. For the mind itself does not have the faculty of seeing God through His essence before it is illumined with the aforesaid light. Thus, the faculty of seeing and the presence of what is seen are lacking. Again, the intention is not always present, for, although some likeness of the Creator is found in creatures, still, whenever we look at a creature, we do not consider it as a likeness of the Creator. Hence, it is not necessary that our intention always reach God.
12. As the Gloss on Psalms (11:2)says: “Truths are decayed.... Many truths are imprinted on human minds,” by the one uncreated truth, “just as from one face many faces appear in different mirrors,” or in one broken mirror. According to this, we are said to see something in uncreated truth when we judge about something through the likeness of uncreated truth reflected in our mind, as when we judge of conclusions through self-evident principles. Hence, it is not necessary that we see uncreated truth through its essence.
13. The highest truth, in so far as it exists in itself, is most knowable. But in our regard it happens to be less knowable to us, as is clear from the Philosopher.”
14. This citation is explained in two ways in the Gloss. In one way it is taken to refer to the sight of imagination. Thus, the interlinear Gloss says: “I have seen the Lord face to face. This does not mean that God can be seen, but that he saw the form in which God spoke to him.” It is explained differently in Gregory’s gloss, as referring to intellectual sight, by which saints have seen divine truth in contemplation, not, indeed, knowing what it is, but what it is not. Hence, Gregory says: “He saw by perceiving the truth, for he does not see how great the truth itself is, since the closer he approaches to it, the farther he thinks he is from it. For, unless he saw the truth in some way, he would not perceive that he was not able to see it.” And he adds: “This sight, which comes through contemplation, is not firm and permanent, but, as a kind of imitation of sight, is called the face of God. For, since we recognize a person by his face, we call knowledge of God the face of God.
Q. 10: The Mind
In the twelfth article we ask:
Is God’s existence self-evident to the human mind, just as first principles of demonstration, which cannot be thought not to exist?
[Parallel readings: I Sent., 3, 1, 2; In Boet. de Trinit., I, 3, ad 6; S.T., I, 10-11; III, 38; Q.D. de pot., 7, 2, ad 11; S.T., I, 1, 1; In Psalm., 8.]
It seems that it is, for
1. Those things which it is given us to know naturally are self-evident. But “knowledge of God’s existence is naturally given to everybody,” as Damascene says. Therefore, it is self-evident that God exists.
2. “God is that than which nothing greater can be thought,” as Anselm says.But that which cannot be thought not to exist is greater than that which can be thought not to exist. Therefore, God cannot be thought not to exist.
3. God is truth itself. But no one can think that truth does not exist, because, if it is declared not to exist, it follows that it exists. For, if truth does not exist, it is true that truth does not exist. Therefore, no one can think that God does not exist.
4. God is His own existence. But it is impossible to think that a thing is not predicated of itself, for example, that man is not man. Therefore, it is impossible to think that God does not exist.
5. All things desire the highest good, as Boethius says. But only God is the highest good. Therefore, all things desire God. But what is not known cannot be desired. Therefore, that God exists is a notion common to all. Therefore, He cannot be thought not to exist.
6. First truth surpasses all created truth. But some created truth is so evident that it is impossible to think that it does not exist, as for instance, the truth of the proposition that affirmation and denial cannot both be true at the same time. Therefore, much less can it be thought that uncreated truth, which is God, does not exist.
7. God has existence more truly than the human soul has. But the soul cannot think that it does not exist. Therefore, much less can it think that God does not exist.
8. Before anything existed it was true that it would exist. But truth exists. Therefore, before it existed it was true that it would exist. But this is true only because of truth. Therefore, it is impossible to think that truth did not always exist. But God is truth. Therefore, it cannot be thought that God does not exist or has not always existed.
9. It was said that there is a fallacy in this argument, with an equivocation on “simply” and “in some respect.” For that truth would exist before it did exist does not state a truth simply, but only in some respect. Thus, we cannot conclude that truth exists simply.—On the contrary, there is the fact that everything which is true in some respect is reduced to something which is true simply, just as every imperfect thing is reduced to something perfect. Therefore, if the fact that truth would exist was true in some respect, something had to be true simply. Thus, it was simply true to say that truth existed.
10. God’s proper name is He Who Is, as is clear from Exodus (3:14). But it is impossible to think that being is not. Therefore, it is also impossible to think that God is not.
To the Contrary
1. The Psalmist says (Ps. 13:1) “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”
2. It was said that the fact that God exists is self-evident habitually to the mind, but it is possible actually to think that He does not exist. On the contrary, in our inner reason we cannot hold the opposite about those things which we know by a natural habit, such as first principles of demonstration. If, therefore, the contrary of the proposition, God exists, could actually be held, that God does exist would not be habitually self-evident.
3. Those things which are self-evident are known without passing from things which are caused to their causes. For they are known as soon as the terms are known, as is said in the Posterior Analytics. But we know God only by looking at what He has made, according to Romans (1:20): “For the invisible things of him.... by the things that are made...” Therefore, that God exists is not self-evident.
4. We cannot know the existence of a thing without knowing what it is. But in this life we cannot know what God is. Therefore, that He exists is not evident to us, much less self-evident.
5. That God exists is an article of faith. But an article of faith is something that faith supplies and reason contradicts. But things which reason contradicts are not self-evident. Therefore, that God exists is not self-evident.
6. There is nothing more certain for a man than his faith, as Augustine says. But doubt can arise in us about matters of faith and, so, about anything else. Thus, it can be thought that God does not exist.
7. Knowledge of God belongs to wisdom. But not everybody has wisdom. Therefore, it is not evident to everybody that God exists. Therefore, it is not self-evident.
8. Augustine says: “The highest good is discerned only by the most purified minds.”But not everybody has a most purified mind. Therefore, all do not know the highest good, namely, that God exists.
9. It is possible to think of one of the things between which reason distinguishes without the other. Thus, we can think that God exists without thinking that He is good, as is clear from Boethius. But, in God, existence and essence differ in reason. Therefore, we can think of His essence without thinking of His existence. We conclude as before.
10. It is the same thing for God to be God and to be just. But some are of the opinion that God is not just and say that evil pleases God. Therefore, some can think that God does not exist. Thus, that God exists is not self-evident.
There are three opinions on this question. Some have said, as Rabbi Moses relates, that the fact that God exists is not self-evident, nor reached through demonstration, but only accepted on faith. The weakness of the reasons which many advance to prove that God exists prompted them to assert this.
Others, as Avicenna,” say that the fact that God exists is not self-evident, but is known through demonstration. Still others, as Anselm,” are of the opinion that the fact that God exists is self-evident to this extent, that no one in his inner thoughts can think that God does not exist, although exteriorly he can express it and interiorly think the words with which he expresses it.
The first opinion is obviously false. For we find that the existence of God has been proved by the philosophers with unimpeachable proofs, although trivial reasons have also been brought forth by some to show this.
Each of the two following opinions has some truth. For something is immediately evident in two ways: in itself and to us. That God exists, therefore, is immediately evident in itself, but not to us. Therefore, to know this it is necessary in our case to have demonstrations proceeding from effects. This is clear from what follows.
For a thing to be Immediately evident in itself, all that is needed is that the predicate pertain to the nature of the subject., For then the subject cannot be considered without it appearing that the predicate is contained in it. But for something to be immediately evident with reference to us, we have to know the meaning of the subject in which the predicate is included. Hence it is that some things are immediately evident to everybody, as, for instance, when propositions of this sort have subjects which are such that their meaning is evident to everybody, as every whole is greater than its part. For anyone knows what a whole is and what a part is. Some things, however, are immediately evident only to those with trained minds, who know the meaning of the terms, whereas ordinary people do not know them.
It is in this sense that Boethius says: “There are two types of common notions. One is common to everybody, for example, if you take equal parts from things that are equal... The other is foiind only in the more educated, for example, that non-bodily things are not in a place. Ordinary people cannot see the truth of this, but the educated can.” For the thought of ordinary people is unable to go beyond imagination to reach the nature of incorporeal things.
Now, existence is not included perfectly in the essential nature of any creature, for the act of existence of every creature is something other than its quiddity. Hence, it cannot be said of any creature that its existence is immediately evident even in itself. But, in God, His existence is included in the nature of His quiddity, for in God essence and existence are the same, as Boethius says. And that He is and what He is are the same, as Avicenna says. Therefore, it is immediately evident in itself.
But, since the essence of God is not evident to us, the fact of God’s existence is not evident to us, but has to be demonstrated. In heaven, however, where we shall see His essence, the fact of God’s existence will be immediately evident to us much more fully than the fact that affirmation and denial cannot both be true at the same time is immediately evident to us now. Since, therefore, each part of the question is true to some extent, we must answer both sides.
Answers to Difficulties
1. Knowledge of God’s existence is said naturally to be implanted in everybody, because in everyone there is naturally implanted something from which he can arrive at knowledge of the fact of God’s existence.
2. The reasoning would follow if God were not self-evident because of something connected with Himself. The possibility, however, of thinking that He does not exist is now due to something in us, who are incapable of knowing those things which are most evident in themselves. Hence, the fact that God can be thought of as not existing does not prevent Him from being that than which nothing greater can be thought.
3. Truth is based on being. Hence, as it is self-evident that being exists in general, so it is also self-evident that truth exists. However, that there is a first being which is the cause of every being is not immediately evident to us until it is accepted on faith or proved by a demonstration. Consequently, neither is it self-evident that the truth of all things derives from some first truth. Hence, it does not follow that God’s existence is self-evident.
4. If it were immediately evident to us that the divine nature is God’s existence, the argument would follow. However, at present it is not immediately evident to us, since we do not see God through His essence, but need a demonstration or faith to hold this truth.
5. The highest good is desired in two ways. In one, it is desired in its essence, a way in which not everything desires highest good. In the other way, it is desired in its likeness, in which manner all things desire the highest good, for nothing is desirable except in so far as some likeness of the highest good is seen in it. Hence, we cannot conclude from this that God’s existence, which is essentially the highest good, is self-evident.
6. Although uncreated truth surpasses every created truth, nothing prevents created truth from being more evident to us than uncreated truth. For those things which are less evident in themselves are more evident to us, according to the Philosopher.
7. To think that something does not exist can be taken in two ways. In one, it is taken to mean that these two things are grasped at the same time. In this sense, there is nothing to prevent one from thinking that he does not exist, just as he thinks that at one time he did not exist. However, in this sense, we cannot at the same time conceive that something is a whole and that it is less than a part of itself, for one of these excludes the other.
In the other way, it is taken to mean that assent is given to what is thus conceived. In this sense, no one can assent to the thought that he does not exist. For, in thinking something, he perceives that he exists.
8. Before present things existed, it had to be true that they would exist only on the supposition that something existed at the time when it was said that this would exist. But, if we lay down the impossible condition that at one time nothing existed, then, on the basis of such an hypothesis, nothing is true except only materially. For not only existence but also nonexistence is the subject matter of truth, for we can speak truth about being or non-being. Thus it follows that there will be truth at that time only materially and so in some respect.
9. It is necessary to reduce that which is true in some respect to that which is true or truth simply if it is presupposed that truth exists, but not otherwise.
10. Although the name of God is He Who Is, this is not immediately evident to us. Hence, the argument does not follow.
Answers to Contrary Difficulties
11. According to Anselm, that the fool said in his heart: “There is no God,” means that he thought these words, and not that lie could think this in his inner reason.
2. That God exists is self-evident and not self-evident in the same way with reference to habit and to act.
3. That we can know God only from what He has made is due to the inadequacy of our knowledge. Hence, this does not keep Him from being immediately evident in Himself.
4. To know that a thing exists, it is not necessary to know what it is by definition, but only what is meant by the name.
5. That God exists is not an article of faith but the preamble to an article of faith, unless we understand something else along with God’s existence, for example, that He has unity of essence with trinity of Persons, and other things such as this.
6. Matters of faith are known with greatest certainty in so far as certainty means firmness of adherence. For the believer clings to nothing more firmly than those things which he holds by faith. But they are not known with greatest certainty in so far as certainty implies repose of understanding in the thing known. For the believer’s assent to what he believes does not come from the fact that his understanding concludes to the things believed by virtue of any principles, but from the will, which influences the understanding to assent to what is believed. Hence it is that in matters of faith, movements of doubt can arise in one who believes.
7. Wisdom consists not only in knowing that God exists, but in attaining to a knowledge of what He is. But in this life we can know this only in so far as we know what He is not. For one who knows something in so far as it differs from all other things approaches the knowledge by which one knows what it is. It is to this knowledge, too, that the citation from Augustine.which follows is taken to refer.
8. The answer to the eighth difficulty is clear from the seventh response.
9. Those things which have been distinguished by reason cannot always be thought of as separated from each other, although they can be considered separately. For, although it is possible to think of God without considering His goodness, it is impossible to think that God exists and is not good. Hence, although in God that which exists and existence are distinguished in reason, it does not follow that it is possible to think that He does not exist.
10. God is known not only in the works which proceed from His justice, but also in His other works. Hence, granted that someone does not know Him as just, it does not follow that he does not know Him at all. Nor is it possible for anyone to know none of His works, since being in general, which cannot be unknown, is His work.
Q. 10: The Mind
In the thirteenth article we ask:
Can the trinity of persons in God be known by natural reason?
[Parallel readings: I Sent., 3, 1, 4; In Boet. De Trinit., I, 4; S.T., I, 32, 1; Ad Rom., c. 1, lect. 6.]
It seems that it can, for
1. The Gloss explains the passage, “The invisible things of God... by the things that are made...” (Romans 1:13), in this way: “Invisible things refer to the person of the Father; eternal power to the person of the Son; divinity to the person of the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, by natural reason we can arrive at a knowledge of the Trinity from creatures.
2. We know with natural knowledge that the most perfect power and the source of all power are in God. Therefore, we must attribute the first power to Him. But the first power is generative power. Therefore, according to natural reason we can know that there is generative power in God. But, once generative power is postulated in God, the distinction of persons necessarily follows. Therefore, by natural knowledge we can know the distinction of persons.
That generative power is the first power was proved in this way: The order of powers follows the order of operations. But the first operation of all is to understand, for there is proof that an intellectual agent exists first, and in such an agent there is understanding, according to the manner of understanding, before willing or doing. Therefore, intellective power is the first of the powers. But intellective power is generative power, since every understanding begets its likeness in itself. Therefore, generative power is the first of the powers.
3. Every equivocal is reduced to the univocal as every multitude is reduced to unity. But the procession of creatures from God is an equivocal procession, since creatures do not have the same name and definition as God. Therefore, according to natural reason we must assert that there pre-exists in God a univocal procession according to which God proceeds from God. Given this, there follows the distinction of the persons in God.
4. One of the glosses says that there has been no sect which has erred about the person of the Father. But it would be a very serious error about the person of the Father to say that he did not have a Son. Therefore, even the schools of philosophers who came to know God by natural reason have held Father and Son in God.
5. As Boethius says, equality precedes every inequality. But there is inequality between Creator and creature. Therefore, we must say that there was some equality in God before this inequality. But there cannot be equality in Him unless there is distinction, for nothing is equal to itself, just as nothing is like itself, as Hilary says. Therefore, according to natural reason, we must assign distinction of persons to God.
6. Natural reason comes to the conclusion that there is the greatest joy in God. But “there is not the greatest enjoyment of any good without a companion,” as Boethius says., Therefore, by natural reason we can know that there are distinct persons in God, and that by reason of their companionship there is joyful possession of goodness.
7. Natural reason reaches the Creator from the likeness in the creature. But the likeness of the Creator is seen in the creature with reference not only to the essential attributes but also to the properties of the persons. Therefore, by natural reason we can arrive at the properties of the persons.
8. Philosophers have had knowledge of God only from natural reason. But some philosophers have attained to knowledge of the Trinity. Thus, it is said in Heaven and Earth: “Through this number,” three, “we have applied ourselves to admiration of the grandeur of the creator.” Therefore.
9. Augustine relates that the philosopher Porphyry taught that there was God the Father and the Son begotten by Him. Augustine also says that he found in certain books of Plato the prologue of St. John’s Gospel, from “In the beginning was the Word” down to, but not including, “The Word was made flesh.” The distinction of the persons is clearly shown in these words. Therefore, by natural reason one can reach knowledge of the Trinity.
10. From natural reason, philosophers would have also conceded that God can say something. But to say something in God implies the utterance of the Word and the distinction of persons. Therefore, the trinity of persons can be known by natural reason.
To the Contrary
1. Hebrews (11:1) says: “Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.” But those things which are known by natural reason are things that appear. Therefore, since the Trinity belongs to the articles of faith, it seems that it cannot be known by natural reason.
2. Furthermore, Gregory says: “Belief does not have merit when human reason offers evidence for it.” But it is in belief especially in the Trinity in which the merit of our faith consists. Therefore, it cannot be known by natural reason.
The trinity of persons is known in two ways. In the first, it is known according to the properties by which the persons are distinguished. When these are known, the Trinity in God is really known. The second way is through essential notes which are appropriated to the persons, as power to the Father, wisdom to the Son, and goodness to the Holy Spirit. But it is impossible to know the Trinity perfectly through notes like these, for, even if in our minds we prescinded from the Trinity, those things would remain in God. But, once the Trinity is presupposed, attributes of this type are appropriated to the persons because of a certain likeness to properties of the persons. With natural knowledge it is possible to know the things which are thus appropriated to the persons, but it is not at all possible to know the properties of the persons.
The reason for this is that it is impossible for an action outside the range of the instruments of an agent to proceed from that agent. Thus, it is impossible to build with the art of the blacksmith, for this effect is outside the range of the instruments of the smith. Moreover, as the the Commentator says,” in us first principles are, as it were, instruments of the agent intellect, and in virtue of its light, natural reason thrives in us.. Hence, our natural reason cannot attain to knowledge of any of those things which are outside the range of first principles.
But knowledge of first principles arises from sensible objects, as is clear from the Philosopher. But we cannot proceed from sensible things to knowledge of the properties of the persons in the way one reaches causes from effects. For everything that has the nature of cause in God pertains to His essence, since through His essence He is the cause of things. However, the properties of the persons are relations, through which the persons arc related not to creatures, but to each other. Hence, we cannot attain to the properties of the persons by natural knowledge.
Answers to Difficulties
1. That explanation of the Gloss is taken as refcrring to the things which are appropriated to the persons, not to the properties.
2. It can be made sufficiently clear from natural reason that intellective power is the first of the powers, but it cannot be shown that this intellective power is generative power. For, since in God the one who understands, the act of understanding, and what is understood is the same thing, natural reason does not force us to say that God, in understanding, begets something distinct from Himself.
3. Every multiplicity supposes some unity and every equivocation supposes univocity, but every equivocal generation does not presuppose univocal generation. Rather, if we follow natural reason, the opposite is true, for equivocal causes are essential causes of a species. Hence, they exert causality on the whole species. But univocal causes are not essential causes of a species, but only in this or that individual.
Consequently, a univocal cause does not exert causality with reference to the whole species. Otherwise, it would be its own cause, which is impossible. Therefore, the argument does not follow.
4. That Gloss should be taken of heretical sects which have sprung up in the Church. Accordingly, the sects of the gentiles are not included among them.
5. Even without supposing the distinction of persons, we can affirm equality in God, in so far as we say that His goodness is equal to His wisdom. Another answer can be based on a consideration of the two elements of equality, the cause of the equality and its terms. Unity is the cause of equality, but some number is the cause of other proportions. Hence, according to this consideration, equality precedes inequality, as unity precedes number. But the terms of equality are many. And these are not assumed to be prior to the terms of inequality. Otherwise, duality would have to precede every unity, for equality is first found in duality, but between unity and duality there is inequality.
6. What Boethius says should be understood of those things which do not have within them perfect goodness, but one needs the support of the other. For this reason, enjoyment is not complete without a companion. But God has within Himself the fullness of joy. Hence, there is no need to posit companionship for the fullness of His enjoyment.
7. Although some aspects of creatures are like the properties of the persons, we cannot conclude from these likenesses that they are found in God in the same way. For the things which are distinguished in creatures are in the Creator without distinction.
8. Aristotle did not intend to put the number three in God, but he wanted to show the perfection of the number three from the fact that the ancients made use of it in sacrifices and prayers.
9. We should take the words of those philosophers as referring to things appropriated to the persons, not to properties.
10. From natural reason, philosophers have never thought that God speaks in so far as speaking implies distinction of persons, but only in so far as it is applied essentially to God.