Utrum Deus possit creaturam in nihilum redigere
Whether God can annihilate a creature
Tertio quaeritur utrum Deus possit creaturam in nihilum redigere.
The third point of inquiry is whether God can annihilate a creature.
Et videtur quod non. Dicit enim Augustinus in Lib. LXXXIII quaestionum, quod Deus non est causa tendendi in non esse. Hoc autem esset, si creaturam annihilaret. Ergo Deus non potest creaturam in nihilum redigere.
Obj. 1: And seemingly he cannot. For, Augustine says that God does not cause things to tend to non-existence. But, this would be the case were he to annihilate a creature. Therefore, God cannot annihilate a creature.
Praeterea, creaturae corruptibiles, quae inter ceteras sunt debilioris esse, non desinunt esse nisi per actionem alicuius causae agentis, sicut ignis corrumpitur aliquo contrario agente in ipsum. Multo minus igitur aliae creaturae possunt desinere nisi per aliquam actionem. Si ergo Deus aliquam creaturam annihilaret, hoc non fieret nisi per aliquam actionem. Per actionem autem hoc fieri est impossibile. Nam omnis actio sicut est ab ente actu, ita in ens actu terminatur, cum oporteat factum esse simile facienti. Actio autem qua aliquid ens actu constituitur, non omnino in nihilum redigit. Ergo Deus non potest aliquid annihilare.
Obj. 2: Corruptible creatures whose existence is more unstable than that of others, do not cease to exist save through the action of some active cause: thus, fire is extinguished by some counteracting agency. Much less, therefore, can other creatures cease to exist otherwise than through some agency. If, then, God were to annihilate a creature, this would not be except through some kind of action. But, this cannot be done through an action, since every action, proceeding as it does from an actual being, must terminate in an actual being, because every maker produces its like. Now, an action by which an actual being is produced in no way annihilates. Therefore, God cannot annihilate a thing.
Praeterea, omne quod est per accidens, reducitur ad id quod est per se. Sed a nulla causa agente est defectus et corruptio nisi per accidens, cum nihil operetur nisi intendens ad bonum, ut Dionysius dicit: unde et ignis corrumpens aquam, non intendit privationem formae aquae, sed formam propriam in materiam introducere. Ergo non potest ab aliquo agente causari aliquis defectus, quin simul aliqua perfectio constituatur. Ubi autem aliqua perfectio constituitur, ibi non est annihilatio. Ergo Deus non potest aliquid annihilare.
Obj. 3: Whatsoever happens accidentally must be traced to something that is intended directly. Now, no active cause produces imperfection and corruption save accidentally, since nothing acts without intending a good, according to Dionysius; thus, the purpose of fire in destroying water is not to deprive the water of its form, but to introduce its own form into the matter. Therefore, imperfection cannot be caused by an agent, without some perfection being caused at the same time. Now, where a perfection is produced, there is not annihilation. Therefore, God cannot annihilate a thing.
Praeterea, nihil agit nisi propter finem. Finis enim est quod movet efficientem. Finis autem divinae actionis est eius bonitas: quod quidem esse potest in rerum productione, per quam res similitudines divinae bonitatis consequuntur: non autem in annihilatione, per quam annihilatum omnino a Dei similitudine recederet. Ergo Deus non potest aliquid annihilare.
Obj. 4: Nothing acts except for an end, since the end moves the effective cause. Now, the end of God’s action is his own goodness, and this is indeed obtained by his producing things, so that they are made in likeness to their producer, but not by his annihilating them, since thereby they would be utterly deprived of that likeness. Therefore, God cannot annihilate a thing.
Praeterea, manente causa, necesse est permanere causatum. Si enim non est necesse, possibile erit causatum esse et non esse posita causa; et sic indigebitur alio quo causatum ad esse determinetur; et ita causa sufficiens non erit ad esse causati. Sed Deus est sufficiens causa rerum. Ergo Deo manente necesse est res in esse manere. Sed Deus non potest facere quin ipse in esse maneat. Ergo non potest creaturas reducere in non esse.
Obj. 5: So long as the cause remains its effect must needs remain also, because if this were not necessary, it would be possible, given a cause, for its effect to be or not to be, and then it would need something else to determine its being, and thus, the cause would not suffice for the existence of its effect. But, God is the sufficient cause of things. Therefore, as long as God exists, things must needs remain in existence. Now, God cannot prevent his own remaining in existence. Therefore, he cannot reduce creatures to non-existence.
Sed dicebatur, quod Deus non erit causa in actu, cum creaturae erunt annihilatae.—Sed contra, divina actio est eius esse; unde et Augustinus, vult quod in quantum Deus est, nos simus. Suum autem esse nunquam ei advenit. Ergo nunquam desinit esse in sua actione; et ita semper erit causa in actu.
Obj. 6: It will be said that God would not be the actual cause if things were to be annihilated. On the contrary, God’s action is his being; therefore, Augustine says that God’s existence is the reason of our existence. Now, his existence was never new to him. Therefore, he never ceases to act, and will always be an actual cause.
Praeterea, Deus non potest facere contra communes animi conceptiones, sicut quod totum non sit maius sua parte. Communis autem animi conceptio est apud sapientes, animas rationales perpetuas esse. Ergo Deus non potest facere quod in nihilum redigantur.
Obj. 7: God cannot act against common sense, e.g., he cannot make the whole larger than its part. Now, all wise men are agreed that the rational soul is immortal. Therefore, God cannot cause it to be annihilated.
Praeterea, Commentator dicit in XI Metaph., quod id quod est in se possibile esse et non esse, non potest necessitatem essendi ab alio acquirere. Quaecumque ergo creaturae habent necessitatem essendi, in eis non est possibilitas ad esse et non esse. Huiusmodi autem sunt omnia incorruptibilia, ut sunt substantiae incorporeae et corpora caelestia. Ergo omnibus his non est possibilitas ad non esse. Si ergo sibi relinquantur, divina actione subtracta, non deficient in non esse; et sic Deus non videtur quod possit ea annihilare.
Obj. 8: The Commentator says that if a thing in itself can either be or not be, nothing else can make it be of necessity. Therefore, whatsoever creatures have being of necessity do not admit of the intrinsic possibility of being or of not being. Now, such are all incorruptible things, e.g., incorporeal substances and heavenly bodies. Therefore, in none of these is there the possibility of not being, so that if they be left to themselves through God withdrawing his action from them, they will not cease to exist, and thus, seemingly, God cannot annihilate them.
Praeterea, quod recipitur in aliquo, non tollit potentiam recipientis; sed potest eam perficere. Si ergo aliquid sit possibilitatem habens ad non esse, nihil in eo receptum hanc possibilitatem ei auferre poterit. Ergo quod est in se possibile non esse, non poterit ab aliquo necessitatem essendi acquirere.
Obj. 9: The thing received does not remove the potentiality of the recipient, but it may perfect it. If, then, there exist a thing which potentially does not exist, it cannot receive anything that will remove this potentiality; and consequently, a thing that in itself contains the possibility of not existing, cannot receive from anything else the necessity of existing.
Praeterea, ea secundum quae aliqua genere diversificantur, sunt de essentia rei; nam genus pars definitionis est. Secundum autem corruptibile et incorruptibile aliqua genere differunt, ut patet in X Metaph. Ergo sempiternitas et incorruptibilitas est de essentia rei. Deus autem non potest alicui rei auferre quod est de essentia eius; non enim potest facere quod homo existens homo, non sit animal. Ergo non potest rebus incorruptibilibus sempiternitatem auferre; et ita non potest ea ad nihilum redigere.
Obj. 10: Whatever causes a generic difference belongs to the essence of things, for the genus is part of a thing’s definition. Now, certain things differ generically in the point of being corruptible or incorruptible. Therefore, everlastingness or incorruptibility is part of such things’ essence. Now, God cannot deprive a thing of what is essential to it; thus, he cannot make a man not to be an animal, and yet remain a man. Therefore, he cannot cause incorruptible things not to last for ever, and thus, he cannot reduce them to nothing.
Praeterea, corruptibile nunquam potest mutari ut fiat incorruptibile secundum suam naturam; nam incorruptibilitas corporum resurgentium non est naturae sed gloriae; et hoc ideo est, quia corruptibile et incorruptibile differunt genere, ut dictum est. Si autem quod est in se possibile non esse, ab aliquo necessitatem essendi posset acquirere, corruptibile posset in incorruptibilitatem mutari. Ergo impossibile est esse aliquid quod in se sit possibile non esse, et acquirat necessitatem ab alio; et sic idem quod prius.
Obj. 11: A corruptible thing can never be changed so as to become naturally incorruptible (for the incorruptibility of bodies rising from the dead is a gift not of nature but of glory), and the reason for this is that corruptible and incorruptible differ generically, as stated above. Now, if a thing, which has an intrinsic possibility not to exist, could be made by something else to exist of necessity, a corruptible thing might be changed into an incorruptible one. Therefore, a thing which has an intrinsic possibility not to exist cannot possibly acquire necessity of existing from another, and so we come to the same conclusion as above.
Praeterea, si creaturae non habent necessitatem nisi secundum quod dependent a Deo, a Deo autem dependent secundum quod Deus est earum causa; non habebunt necessitatem nisi per modum qui competit causalitati qua Deus eorum causa est. Deus autem est rerum causa non per necessitatem, sed per voluntatem, ut est in alia quaestione, ostensum. Sic ergo erit necessitas in rebus sicut in his quae a voluntate causantur. Ea autem quae sunt a voluntate, non simpliciter et absolute sunt necessaria, sed solum necessitate conditionata, eo quod voluntas non necessario determinatur ad unum effectum. Ergo sequitur quod in rebus nihil est necessarium absolute, sed solum sub conditione; sicut est necesse Socratem moveri, si currit; vel ambulare, si vult, nullo impedimento existente. Ex quo videtur sequi quod nihil sit in creaturis simpliciter incorruptibile, sed omnia sint corruptibilia; quod est inconveniens.
Obj. 12: If creatures have no necessity of existing except in so far as they depend on God, and if they depend on God in so far as he is their cause, their necessity of existing must correspond to the mode of causality, by which God is their cause. Now, God is the cause of things, not of necessity but by his will, as we have proved above. Therefore, necessity in things will be such as it is in things that are produced by the will. Now, things effected by the will are not necessary simply and absolutely: their necessity is only conditional, inasmuch as the will is not determined by necessity, to one particular effect. It follows, then, that in things nothing is absolutely necessary, but only conditionally, even as it is necessary that Socrates move if he runs; or walk if he wishes to walk and is not prevented from so doing. Thus, it would seem to follow that no creature is simply incorruptible, and that all are corruptible, which cannot be admitted.
Praeterea, sicut Deus est summum bonum, ita est perfectissimum ens. Sed in quantum est summum bonum, ei convenit quod non possit esse causa mali culpae. Ergo in quantum est perfectissimum ens, non ei competit quod possit esse causa annihilationis rerum.
Obj. 13: Just as God is the sovereign good, so is he the most perfect being. Now, inasmuch as he is the sovereign good, it is unbecoming to him to be the cause of the evil of sin. Therefore, inasmuch as he is the most perfect being, it is unbecoming to him to cause things to be annihilated.
Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, quod Deus est adeo bonus quod nunquam permitteret aliquid mali fieri, nisi esset adeo potens quod de quolibet malo posset elicere aliquod bonum. Sed si creaturae annihilarentur, nullum bonum inde eliceretur. Ergo Deus non potest hoc permittere quod creaturae in nihilum decidant.
Obj. 14: Augustine says that God is so good that he would never allow evil to be done, were he not so powerful that he can produce a good from any evil whatsoever. But, no good would result if creatures were to be annihilated. Therefore, God cannot allow creatures to return to nothingness.
Praeterea, non minor distantia est in nihilum de ente, quam de nihilo in esse. Sed reducere aliquid de nihilo in esse, est potentiae infinitae, propter distantiam infinitam. Ergo reducere de esse in nihil, non est nisi potentiae infinitae. Nulla autem creatura habet potentiam infinitam. Ergo subtracta actione creatoris, creatura non poterit in nihilum reduci. Quo quidem solo modo dicebatur Deus res posse annihilare, scilicet per suae actionis subtractionem. Nullo ergo modo Deus potest creaturas in nihilum redigere.
Obj. 15: The distance from nothing to being is no less than from being to nothing. Now, it belongs to an infinite power to produce a being from nothing on account of the infinite distance. Therefore, only an infinite power can reduce a being to nothing. But, no creature has infinite power. Hence, if we take away the action of the Creator, a creature cannot be reduced to nothing, and yet, only on the supposition that God’s action be removed was it said that he can annihilate things. Therefore, nowise can God reduce creatures to nothing.
Sed contra est quod Origenes dicit in periarchon: quod datum est, auferri atque recedere potest. Sed esse, datum est creaturae a Deo. Ergo potest auferri; et sic Deus potest creaturas in nihilum redigere.
On the contrary (1) Origen says: that which was given can be taken away and lost. Now, creatures were given existence by God. Therefore, it can be taken from them, so that God can reduce them to nothing.
Praeterea, illud quod dependet ex simplici Dei voluntate, potest, etiam, Deo volente, cessare. Sed totum esse creaturae dependet ex simplici Dei voluntate; cum Deus per suam voluntatem sit causa rerum, et non per naturae necessitatem. Ergo, Deo volente, possunt creaturae in nihilum redigi.
Furthermore (2), that which depends on God’s simple will, can also cease if it be God’s will. Now, the creature’s whole being depends on God’s simple will, since he is the cause of things by his will and not by natural necessity. Therefore, if it be his will, creatures can be annihilated.
Praeterea, Deus non est plus debitor creaturis postquam esse incoeperunt, quam antequam esse inciperent. Sed antequam creaturae inciperent, absque omni praeiudicio suae bonitatis poterat cessare ad hoc quod esse creaturis communicaret, quia sua bonitas in nullo a creaturis dependet. Ergo Deus potest absque praeiudicio suae bonitatis suam actionem a rebus creatis subtrahere; quo posito in nihilum deciderent, ut in praecedenti articulo ostensum est. Potest ergo Deus res annihilare.
Furthermore (3), God is not more indebted to creatures after they begin to exist than he was before they began to exist. Now, before they came into existence, he could, without prejudice to his goodness, abstain from bringing them into being, since his goodness nowise depends on creatures. Therefore, without prejudice to his goodness God can withdraw his action from creatures, with the result as proved above that they would cease to exist. Therefore, God can annihilate creatures.
Praeterea, eadem actione Deus res in esse produxit et eas in esse conservat, ut supra ostensum est. Sed Deus potuit res in esse non producere. Ergo eadem ratione potest eas annihilare.
Furthermore (4), as we have proved, God, by the same action, produces and upholds things. Now, God was able not to produce creatures. Therefore, he can likewise abstain from upholding them; and thus, he can annihilate them.
Respondeo dicendum quod in rebus a Deo factis dicitur aliquid esse possibile dupliciter. Uno modo per potentiam agentis tantum; sicut antequam mundus fieret, possibile fuit mundum fore, non per potentiam creaturae, quae nulla erat, sed solum per potentiam Dei, qui mundum in esse producere poterat. Alio modo per potentiam quae est in rebus factis; sicut possibile est corpus compositum corrumpi. Si ergo loquamur de possibilitate ad non esse ex parte rerum factarum, dupliciter circa hoc aliqui opinati sunt. Avicenna namque posuit, quod quaelibet res praeter Deum habebat in se possibilitatem ad esse et non esse. Cum enim esse sit praeter essentiam cuiuslibet rei creatae, ipsa natura rei creatae per se considerata, possibilis est ad esse; necessitatem vero essendi non habet nisi ab alio, cuius natura est suum esse, et per consequens est per se necesse esse, et hoc Deus est. Commentator vero contrarium ponit, scilicet quod quaedam res creatae sunt in quarum natura non est possibilitas ad non esse, quia quod in sua natura habet possibilitatem ad non esse, non potest ab extrinseco acquirere sempiternitatem, ut scilicet sit per naturam suam sempiternum. Et haec quidem positio videtur rationabilior. Potentia enim ad esse et non esse non convenit alicui nisi ratione materiae, quae est pura potentia. Materia etiam, cum non possit esse sine forma, non potest esse in potentia ad non esse, nisi quatenus existens sub una forma, est in potentia ad aliam formam. Dupliciter ergo potest contingere quod in natura alicuius rei non sit possibilitas ad non esse. Uno modo per hoc quod res illa sit forma tantum subsistens in esse suo, sicut substantiae incorporeae, quae sunt penitus immateriales. Si enim forma ex hoc quod inest materiae, est principium essendi in rebus materialibus, nec res materialis potest non esse nisi per separationem formae; ubi ipsa forma in esse suo subsistit nullo modo poterit non esse; sicut nec esse potest a se ipso separari. Alio modo per hoc quod in materia non sit potentia ad aliam formam, sed tota materiae possibilitas ad unam formam terminetur; sicut est in corporibus caelestibus, in quibus non est formarum contrarietas. Illae ergo solae res in sua natura possibilitatem habent ad non esse, in quibus est materia contrarietati subiecta. Aliis vero rebus secundum suam naturam competit necessitas essendi, possibilitate non essendi ab earum natura sublata. Nec tamen per hoc removetur quin necessitas essendi sit eis a Deo, quia unum necessarium alterius causa esse potest, ut dicitur in V Metaphysic. Ipsius enim naturae creatae cui competit sempiternitas, causa est Deus. In illis etiam rebus in quibus est possibilitas ad non esse, materia permanet; formae vero sicut ex potentia materiae educuntur in actum in rerum generatione, ita in corruptione de actu reducuntur in hoc quod sint in potentia. Unde relinquitur quod in tota natura creata non est aliqua potentia, per quam sit aliquid possibile tendere in nihilum.
I answer that things made by God may be said to be possible to him in two ways. First, with regard to the power of the agent alone; thus, before the world was made, it was possible for the world to exist, not by a possibility inherent to the creature, which did not exist, but only by the power of God, who was able to bring the world into being. Second, in respect of a possibility inherent to the thing made; thus, it is possible for a composite body to be corrupted. Accordingly, if we consider the possibility of non-existence in reference to things made, there have been two opinions on this point. Avicenna held that all things except God have in themselves a possibility of being and of non-being. Because, seeing that being is something besides the essence of a created thing, the very nature of a creature considered in itself has a possibility of being, while it only has necessity of being from another whose nature is its being, and which, therefore, by its nature exists of necessity; and this is God. On the other hand, the Commentator holds a contrary opinion, to wit that certain things were created in whose nature, there is no possibility of non-being, inasmuch as a thing that has in its nature a possibility of non-being, cannot acquire everlastingness from without, so as to become by its very nature everlasting. The latter opinion would seem more reasonable. Because possibility of being and non-being does not belong to a thing, save by reason of its matter, which is pure potentiality. And, matter since it cannot exist without a form cannot have a potentiality in respect of non-being, save as, while existing under some form, it retains the possibility of receiving another form. Accordingly, it may happen in two ways, that a thing’s nature does not include the possibility of non-being. First, because that thing is a pure form subsistent in its own being, such as incorporeal substances which are entirely immaterial. For, if a form through being in matter is the principle of existence in material things, and a material thing cannot cease to exist save by losing its form, it follows that, when a form subsists by itself, it can nowise cease to exist, even as neither can existence be separated from itself. Second, because the matter has no potentiality in respect of another form, and the whole of its potentiality is determined by one form, such are the heavenly bodies in which there is no contrariety of forms. Accordingly, a possibility of non-being is in the nature of those things alone whose matter is subject to contrariety of forms, whereas it belongs to other things by their nature to exist of necessity, all possibility of nonexistence being removed from their nature. And yet, this does not imply that their necessity of existence is not from God, since one necessity may cause another. For, the created nature to which everlastingness belongs is produced by God. Moreover, in those things which contain a possibility of non-being the matter remains, while the forms change; thus, when things are generated, they are educed from potentiality into actuality by generation even as, when they are corrupted, they are reduced from actuality, so as to return to a state of potentiality. It follows, then, that in all created natures, there is no such potentiality by which a thing is made to have the possibility of tending to nonexistence.
Si autem recurramus ad potentiam Dei facientis, sic considerandum est, quod dupliciter dicitur aliquid Deo esse impossibile: uno modo quod est secundum se impossibile, quod quia non natum est alicui potentiae subiici; sicut sunt illa quae contradictionem implicant. Alio modo ex eo quod est necessitas ad oppositum; quod quidem dupliciter contingit in aliquo agente. Uno modo ex parte potentiae activae naturalis, quae terminatur ad unum tantum sicut potentia calidi ad calefaciendum; et hoc modo Deus Pater necessario generat Filium, et non potest non generare. Alio modo ex parte finis ultimi in quem quaelibet res de necessitate tendit; sicut et homo de necessitate vult beatitudinem, et impossibile est eum velle miseriam; et similiter Deus vult de necessitate suam bonitatem, et impossibile est eum velle illa cum quibus sua bonitas esse non potest; sicut dicimus quod impossibile est Deum mentiri aut velle mentiri. Creaturas autem simpliciter non esse, non est in se impossibile quasi contradictionem implicans, alias ab aeterno fuissent. Et hoc ideo est, quia non sunt suum esse, ut sic cum dicitur, creatura non est omnino, oppositum praedicati includatur in definitione, ut si dicatur, homo non est animal rationale: huiusmodi enim contradictionem implicant, et sunt secundum se impossibilia. Similiter Deus non producit creaturas ex necessitate naturae ut sic potentia Dei determinetur ad esse creaturae, ut in alia quaestione, est probatum. Similiter etiam nec bonitas Dei a creaturis dependet, ut sine creaturis esse non possit: quia per creaturas nihil bonitati divinae adiungitur. Relinquitur ergo quod non est impossibile Deum res ad non esse reducere; cum non sit necessarium eum rebus esse praebere, nisi ex suppositione suae ordinationis et praescientiae, quia sic ordinavit et praescivit, ut res in perpetuum in esse teneret.
If, on the other hand, we consider the power of God the Maker of things, we must observe that a thing is said to be impossible to God in two ways. First, because it is impossible in itself, in that by its very nature it is outside the scope of any power whatsoever: such are things that involve a contradiction. Second, because the opposite of that thing is necessary, and this occurs in two ways with respect to an agent. First, on the part of a natural active power that is confined to one effect; thus, the power of a hot thing is confined to heating; in this way, God the Father begot the Son necessarily and cannot but beget him. Second, on the part of the ultimate end to which everything tends of necessity; thus, man necessarily desires happiness and cannot possibly desire to be unhappy; and likewise, God necessarily wills his goodness, and cannot possibly will things that are incompatible with it: for example, we say that God cannot lie or wish to he. Now, the simple non-existence of creatures is not in itself impossible as involving a contradiction (else they had existed from eternity, and the reason of this is that they are not their own being); thus, in the statement, "the creature does not exist at all," the predicate is not in conflict with the definition of the subject, whereas it is in the sentence, "man is not a rational animal," for sentences of the latter kind imply a contradiction and are impossible in themselves. Likewise, God did not produce creatures by natural necessity, as though his power were determined to the existence of creatures, as we have proved above. Likewise, God’s goodness does not depend on creatures, as though it could not be without them, seeing that it gains nothing by them. It remains, then, that it is not impossible for God to reduce things to nothing, since he is not under the necessity of giving them being, except on the presupposition of his decree and fore-knowledge, in that he decreed, and foresaw that he would keep things in existence for ever.
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod si creaturas Deus in nihilum redigeret, non esset causa tendendi in non esse; hoc enim non contingeret per hoc quod ipse causaret non esse in rebus, sed per hoc quod desineret rebus dare esse.
Reply Obj. 1: If God were to reduce creatures to nothing, he would not be the cause of their tendency to non-existence, because it would result not from his causing non-existence in them, but from his ceasing to give them existence.
Ad secundum dicendum, quod res corruptibiles desinunt esse per hoc quod earum materia aliam formam recipit, cum qua forma prior stare non potest; et ideo ad earum corruptionem requiritur actio alicuius agentis, per quam forma nova educatur de potentia in actum. Sed si Deus res in nihilum redigeret, non esset ibi necessaria aliqua actio, sed solum hoc quod desisteret ab actione qua rebus tribuit esse; sicut absentia actionis solis illuminantis causat lucis privationem in aere.
Reply Obj. 2: Corruptible things cease to exist, in so far as their matter receives another form, with which its previous form was incompatible; therefore, their corruption requires the action of a certain agent, by which the new form is educed from its potential state into actual existence. But, if God were to annihilate a thing, there would be no need for any action, and it would suffice if God were to withdraw the action, by which he gives things existence; thus, the absence of the sun’s action in enlightening the air causes the absence of light in the air.
Ad tertium dicendum, quod ratio illa procederet, si Deus agendo, res annihilare posset; quod quidem non est; sed magis ab actione desistendo, ut dictum est.
Reply Obj. 3: This argument would avail, if God could by some action annihilate things, but this is not so; rather would it be by ceasing from action.
Ad quartum dicendum, quod ubi non est actio, non est necessarium finem requirere. Sed quia ipsum desistere ab actione non potest esse in Deo, nisi per suam voluntatem, quae non est nisi finis, posset in ipsa annihilatione rerum finis aliquis inveniri; ut sicut in productione rerum, finis est manifestatio copiae divinae bonitatis, ita in rerum annihilatione finis esse potest sufficientia suae bonitatis, quae in tantum est sibi sufficiens, ut nullo exteriori indigeat.
Reply Obj. 4: Where there is no action we need not require an end. But, seeing that even cessation from action cannot be in God save by his will, and that the will’s object is the end, it might be possible to ascribe an end, even in the annihilation of things, so that, as in the production of things, the end was the manifestation of God’s abundant goodness, so in the annihilation of things the end could be the sufficiency of his goodness, seeing that it is so self-sufficing as to need nothing from without.
Ad quintum dicendum, quod effectus a causa sequitur, et est secundum modum causae; unde effectus voluntatem consequentes, tunc a voluntate procedunt quando voluntas statuit esse procedendum; non autem de necessitate quando voluntas est. Et ideo, quia creaturae procedunt a Deo per voluntatem, tunc esse habent cum Deus vult eas esse; non de necessitate, quandocumque Dei voluntas est; alias ab aeterno fuissent.
Reply Obj. 5: The effect both follows its cause and derives its mode from the cause; therefore, effects consequent upon an act of the will, proceed from the will at the time appointed by the will, and not necessarily as soon as the will has decreed their existence. And, thus, since creatures proceed from God by his will, they come into being when it is God’s will that they should be, not of necessity or simultaneously with God’s will; otherwise, they would have existed from eternity.
Ad sextum dicendum, quod in actione Dei qua res producit, duo est considerare: scilicet ipsam substantiam operationis, et ordinem ad effectum. Substantia quidem operationis, cum sit divina essentia, aeterna est, nec potest non esse; ordo autem ad effectum, dependet ex voluntate divina: ex qualibet enim actione facientis non sequitur effectus nisi secundum exigentiam principii actionis; secundum enim modum caloris ignis calefacit. Unde cum principium factorum a Deo sit voluntas, secundum hoc in actione divina est ordo ad effectum, prout voluntas determinat. Et ideo quamvis actio Dei cessare non possit secundum suam substantiam, ordo tamen ad effectum cessare posset, si Deus vellet.
Reply Obj. 6: The action by which God made things may be considered from a twofold point of view; it may be considered in its substance and in its relation to its effect. The substance of that action, since it is the divine essence, is eternal and cannot but be, while the relation to its effect depends on the divine will, because every action of a maker produces its effect according to the exigency of the principle of that action; thus, fire imparts heat, according to the measure of its own heat. Therefore, seeing that God’s will is the principle of the things made by him, his action bears a relation to his effects, according as his will determines. Hence, though God’s action cannot cease in its substance, its relation to his effects might cease, if he so willed.
Ad septimum dicendum, quod communis animi conceptio dicitur illa cuius oppositum contradictionem includit; sicut, omne totum est maius sua parte; quia non esse maius sua parte est contra rationem totius. Sic autem animam rationalem non esse, non est communis animi conceptio, ut ex dictis patet; sed naturam animae rationalis non esse corruptibilem, haec est communis animi conceptio. Si autem Deus animam rationalem in nihilum redigeret, hoc non esset per aliquam potentiam ad non esse quae sit in natura animae rationalis, ut dictum est.
Reply Obj. 7: A principle of common sense is one whose opposite involves a contradiction, for instance, "a whole is greater than its part," because it is contrary to the definition of a whole that it be not greater than its part. Now, it is not contrary to common sense that a rational soul cease to exist, as we have already made clear, but it is in common sense that the nature of the rational soul be incorruptible. Therefore, if God were to reduce a human soul to nothing this would not be through the soul’s having some inherent possibility of non-existence, as stated above.
Ad octavum dicendum, quod illud in cuius natura est possibilitas ad non esse, non recipit necessitatem essendi ab alio, ita quod ei competat secundum naturam, quia hoc implicaret contradictionem, scilicet quod natura posset non esse et quod haberet necessitatem essendi; sed quod habeat incorruptibilitatem ex gratia vel gloria, hoc non prohibetur. Sicut corpus Adae fuit quodammodo incorruptibile per gratiam innocentiae, et corpora resurgentium erunt incorruptibilia per gloriam, per virtutem animae suo principio adhaerentis. Non tamen removetur quin ipsa natura in qua non est possibilitas ad non esse habeat necessitatem essendi ab alio; cum quidquid perfectionis habet, sit ei ab alio; unde cessante actione suae causae, deficeret, non propter potentiam ad non esse quae in ipso sit, sed propter potestatem quae est in Deo ad non dandum esse.
Reply Obj. 8: A thing whose nature contains the possibility of non-existence does not acquire from an external source the necessity of being, so that this necessity be contained in its nature, since this would involve a contradiction, to wit the possibility of a nature’s nonexistence together with the necessity of its existence, but there is nothing to prevent its acquiring incorruptibility by grace or glory. Thus, by virtue of the union of the soul with its principle Adam’s body was in a way incorruptible through the grace attached to the state of innocence, and the bodies of the risen dead will be incorruptible by the grace belonging to the state of glory. On the other hand, a nature which does not include the possibility of non-existence is not prevented from acquiring from another source the necessity of existence, since whatsoever perfection it has, it has received it from another; therefore, if its cause withdraw its action, it would cease to exist, not on account of its inherent potentiality to non-existence, but on account of God’s power to cease giving existence.
Ad nonum dicendum, quod in illis quae sunt per naturam incorruptibilia, non praeintelligitur potentia ad non esse quae tollatur per aliquid a Deo receptum, secundum quod obiectio procedebat; et hoc ex dictis patet. Sed in illis quae sunt incorruptibilia per gratiam, subest possibilitas ad non esse in ipsa natura; quae tamen totaliter reprimitur per gratiam ex virtute Dei.
Reply Obj. 9: It has been sufficiently shown that things which are incorruptible by nature are not to be supposed, as the objection supposes, to have at first a potentiality to non-existence, which potentiality is removed by something received from God, while in things which are incorruptible by grace, there underlies in their nature a possibility of non-existence, which however is entirely voided by grace through the power of God.
Ad decimum dicendum, quod si Deus creaturas incorruptibiles in nihilum redigeret, ab earum conservatione cessando, non propter hoc sempiternitatem a natura separaret, quasi remaneret natura non sempiterna; sed tota natura deficeret influxu causae cessante.
Reply Obj. 10: If by ceasing to uphold them God were to reduce incorruptible creatures to nothing, he would not by so doing deprive their nature of its everlastingness, so that it would remain without being everlasting, but their whole nature would cease to exist through their cause ceasing to exercise its influence over them.
Ad decimumprimum dicendum, quod corruptibile per naturam non potest mutari ut fiat per naturam incorruptibile, nec e converso, quamvis illud quod est per naturam corruptibile, possit per gloriam supervenientem perpetuum fieri. Non tamen ex hoc oportet ponere aliqua corruptibilia fieri per naturam incorruptibilia, quia esse desinerent causa non cessante.
Reply Obj. 11: That which is by nature corruptible cannot be changed so as to become naturally incorruptible, and vice versa, although that which is corruptible by nature can be made to last for ever by the superaddition of glory. Yet, it does not follow that certain corruptible things become naturally incorruptible, since were their cause to withdraw they would cease to exist.
Ad decimumsecundum dicendum, quod licet creaturae incorruptibiles ex Dei voluntate dependeant, quae potest eis esse praebere et non praebere; consequuntur tamen ex divina voluntate absolutam necessitatem essendi, in quantum in tali natura causantur, in qua non sit possibilitas ad non esse; talia enim sunt cuncta creata, qualia Deus esse ea voluit, ut Hilarius dicit in libro de synodis.
Reply Obj. 12: Although incorruptible creatures depend on God’s will, which can either give or not give them existence, nevertheless, by that same will, they are gifted with the absolute necessity of existence, in so far as they are created in a nature wherein there is no potentiality to non-existence, because every creature is such as God willed it to be, as Hilary says.