Consequently, he says that some people have erred on this point because they have not distinguished the soul from those things which are different from it. But this order would not exist if there were no God. [6] However, they differ on a third point, because, according to the first opinion, our actual understanding of the agent intellect is the cause of its being united with us. Now, of all the parts of man, the intellect is found to be the superior mover, for the intellect moves the appetite, by presenting it with its object; then the intellectual appetite. So, they act on the lower bodies; thus, the lower ones are disposed by them. Now, this is not a function of moral acts, since such acts cannot be attributed to God, except metaphorically. [6] Again, man naturally shrinks from death, and is sorrowful at its prospect, not only at the instant when he feels its threat and tries to avoid it, but even when he thinks back upon it. Therefore, no body is the cause of the being of anything, in so far as it is being, but it is the cause of its being moved toward being, that is, of the thing’s becoming. Such are the celestial bodies whose motions occur in ever the same way. But we showed in Book One [43] that God is of infinite power. [5] Moreover, that which is naturally moved toward something, as to the end of its motion, may not be removed from it without violence, as in the case of a weight when it is thrown upward. But then it seems to follow that, since we understand from the start by means of the possible intellect, we therefore understand separate substances from the start: which is clearly false. [1] It is also clear from the foregoing that the highest good for man, that is felicity, does not lie in honors. THAT GOD IS EVERYWHERE Now, this appears false to the senses, for cooling does not result from putting something near a hot object, but only beating; nor does the generation of anything except a man result from the semen of man. So, also, we oppose the view of those who said: “The Lord has forsaken the earth, and the Lord does not see” (Ez. Chapter 16 For this is the kind of knowledge whereby a thing is known only in potency, since proper attributes are potentially included within common ones. Indeed, it has been stated in Book Two [96ff] that a separate substance, in knowing its own essence, knows both what is above and what is below itself, in a manner proper to its substance. Much more, then, do the separate substances desire this naturally. That the Divine Truth Is the First and Highest Truth, Chapter 63. For the situation is not like that of a man who has built a house and has then gone away, and, while he is not working and is absent, his work stands. Besides, though anything is good in so far as it is a being, it is not, however, necessary for matter which is merely potential being to be good only in potency. [11] just as we know, through itself, that the soul is, in so far as we perceive its act, and we seek to discover what it is, from a knowledge of its acts and objects, by means of the principles of the speculative sciences, so also do we ‘know concerning the things that are within our soul, such as powers and habits, that they indeed are, by virtue of our perception of their acts; but we discover what they are, from the qualitative character of their acts. Chapter 29 Now, this can be none other than the most noble object of knowledge, which is God. So, among beings that is most distant from God which is merely potential; namely, prime matter. [6] Moreover, if the foregoing statements are carefully considered, it becomes clear that, in a way, those who see the divine substance do see all things; whereas, in another way, they do not. Now, all things are governed by divine wisdom. So, to make these subsequent things actually understood is the work both of the habitual intellect, as regards first principles, and of the agent intellect. Therefore, to know God by an act of understanding is the ultimate end of every intellectual substance. Chapter 27 So, every evil is in a good thing. Therefore, all things desire as their ultimate end to be made like unto God. [3] And thus, the higher intellectual substances obtain immediately from God a perfect knowledge of the aforementioned order; and then, other lower substances must obtain this perfect knowledge through them, just as we said above that the student’s universal knowledge is brought to perfection by the knowledge of the teacher who knows in detail. Therefore, in this way, also, do things tend toward the divine likeness, in that they are the causes of other things. And by means of them other things are made to be actually understood: these are the things that we know from study. [1] Now, from these conclusions it becomes evident that divine providence, whereby He governs things, does not prevent corruption, deficiency, and evil from being found in things. So, things are not ordered to God as to an end for which something may be obtained, but rather so that they may attain Himself from Himself, according to their measure, since He is their end. Thus, fire is the cause of all things that are afire. Now, God is the productive cause of all things, of some immediately, of others by means of other causes, as is shown in the foregoing. But, if we consider a kind of action which a form existing in matter may have, then quantity helps to increase rather than to diminish the action. [5] Besides, the intelligible likeness through which a thing is understood in its substance must be of the same species or, rather, of an identical species; as the form of the house which exists in the mind of the artisan is of the same species as the form of the house which exists in matter, or, rather, the species are identical; for one is not going to understand what a donkey or a horse is through the species of a man. Therefore, the human intellect reaches God as its end, through an act of understanding. Now, Alexander did not grant that the possible intellect or the habitual intellect understands separate substances; hence, it is not possible for us to understand separate substances through the agent intellect in the same way that we understand other things through an intelligible species. Hence Dionysius says, in the third chapter of On the Celestial Hierarchy, that “of all things, it is more divine to become a co-worker with God”; in accord with the statement of the Apostle: “we are God’s coadjutors” (1 Cor, 3:9) So, every cause must be a definite thing. The Names That Can Be Predicted of God, Chapter 31. [5] Again, providence tends to multiply goods among the things that are governed.


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