the definition of a man. Therefore this flesh, these bones, and the
accidental qualities distinguishing this particular matter, are not
included in humanity; and yet they are included in the thing which is
man. Hence the thing which is a man has something more in it than has
humanity. Consequently humanity and a man are not wholly identical;
but humanity is taken to mean the formal part of a man, because the
principles whereby a thing is defined are regarded as the formal
constituent in regard to the individualizing matter. On the other
hand, in things not composed of matter and form, in which
individualization is not due to individual matter - that is to say, to
_this_ matter - the very forms being individualized of themselves - it
is necessary the forms themselves should be subsisting _supposita._
Therefore _suppositum_ and nature in them are identified. Since God
then is not composed of matter and form, He must be His own Godhead,
His own Life, and whatever else is thus predicated of Him.
Reply Obj. 1: We can speak of simple things only as though
they were like the composite things from which we derive our
knowledge. Therefore in speaking of God, we use concrete nouns to
signify His subsistence, because with us only those things subsist
which are composite; and we use abstract nouns to signify His
simplicity. In saying therefore that Godhead, or life, or the like are
in God, we indicate the composite way in which our intellect
understands, but not that there is any composition in God.
Reply Obj. 2: The effects of God do not imitate Him perfectly,
but only as far as they are able; and the imitation is here defective,
precisely because what is simple and one, can only be represented by
divers things; consequently, composition is accidental to them, and
therefore, in them _suppositum_ is not the same as nature.
FOURTH ARTICLE [I, Q. 3, Art. 4]
Whether Essence and Existence Are the Same in God?
Objection 1: It seems that essence and existence are not the same in
God. For if it be so, then the divine being has nothing added to it.
Now being to which no addition is made is universal being which is
predicated of all things. Therefore it follows that God is being in
general which can be predicated of everything. But this is false: "For
men gave the incommunicable name to stones and wood" (Wis. 14:21).
Therefore God's existence is not His essence.
Obj. 2: Further, we can know _whether_ God exists as said above
(Q. 2, A. 2); but we cannot know _what_ He is. Therefore God's
existence is not the same as His essence - that is, as His quiddity or
_On the contrary,_ Hilary says (Trin. vii): "In God existence is not an
accidental quality, but subsisting truth." Therefore what subsists in
God is His existence.
_I answer that,_ God is not only His own essence, as shown in the
preceding article, but also His own existence. This may be shown in
several ways. First, whatever a thing has besides its essence must be
caused either by the constituent principles of that essence (like a
property that necessarily accompanies the species - as the faculty of
laughing is proper to a man - and is caused by the constituent
principles of the species), or by some exterior agent - as heat is
caused in water by fire. Therefore, if the existence of a thing
differs from its essence, this existence must be caused either by some
exterior agent or by its essential principles. Now it is impossible
for a thing's existence to be caused by its essential constituent
principles, for nothing can be the sufficient cause of its own
existence, if its existence is caused. Therefore that thing, whose
existence differs from its essence, must have its existence caused by
another. But this cannot be true of God; because we call God the first
efficient cause. Therefore it is impossible that in God His existence
should differ from His essence. Secondly, existence is that which
makes every form or nature actual; for goodness and humanity are
spoken of as actual, only because they are spoken of as existing.
Therefore existence must be compared to essence, if the latter is a
distinct reality, as actuality to potentiality. Therefore, since in
God there is no potentiality, as shown above (A. 1), it follows
that in Him essence does not differ from existence. Therefore His
essence is His existence. Thirdly, because, just as that which has
fire, but is not itself fire, is on fire by participation; so that
which has existence but is not existence, is a being by participation.
But God is His own essence, as shown above (A. 3); if, therefore, He
is not His own existence He will be not essential, but participated
being. He will not therefore be the first being - which is absurd.
Therefore God is His own existence, and not merely His own essence.
Reply Obj. 1: A thing that has nothing added to it can be of
two kinds. Either its essence precludes any addition; thus, for
example, it is of the essence of an irrational animal to be without
reason. Or we may understand a thing to have nothing added to it,
inasmuch as its essence does not require that anything should be added
to it; thus the genus animal is without reason, because it is not of
the essence of animal in general to have reason; but neither is it to
lack reason. And so the divine being has nothing added to it in the
first sense; whereas universal being has nothing added to it in the
Reply Obj. 2: "To be" can mean either of two things. It may
mean the act of essence, or it may mean the composition of a
proposition effected by the mind in joining a predicate to a subject.
Taking "to be" in the first sense, we cannot understand God's
existence nor His essence; but only in the second sense. We know that
this proposition which we form about God when we say "God is," is
true; and this we know from His effects (Q. 2, A. 2).
FIFTH ARTICLE [I, Q. 3, Art. 5]
Whether God Is Contained in a Genus?
Objection 1: It seems that God is contained in a genus. For a
substance is a being that subsists of itself. But this is especially
true of God. Therefore God is in a genus of substance.
Obj. 2: Further, nothing can be measured save by something of its
own genus; as length is measured by length and numbers by number. But
God is the measure of all substances, as the Commentator shows
(Metaph. x). Therefore God is in the genus of substance.
_On the contrary,_ In the mind, genus is prior to what it contains. But
nothing is prior to God either really or mentally. Therefore God is
not in any genus.
_I answer that,_ A thing can be in a genus in two ways; either
absolutely and properly, as a species contained under a genus; or as
being reducible to it, as principles and privations. For example, a
point and unity are reduced to the genus of quantity, as its
principles; while blindness and all other privations are reduced to
the genus of habit. But in neither way is God in a genus. That He
cannot be a species of any genus may be shown in three ways. First,
because a species is constituted of genus and difference. Now that
from which the difference constituting the species is derived, is
always related to that from which the genus is derived, as actuality
is related to potentiality. For animal is derived from sensitive
nature, by concretion as it were, for that is animal, which has a
sensitive nature. Rational being, on the other hand, is derived from
intellectual nature, because that is rational, which has an
intellectual nature, and intelligence is compared to sense, as
actuality is to potentiality. The same argument holds good in other
things. Hence since in God actuality is not added to potentiality, it
is impossible that He should be in any genus as a species. Secondly,
since the existence of God is His essence, if God were in any genus,
He would be the genus _being,_ because, since genus is predicated as
an essential it refers to the essence of a thing. But the Philosopher
has shown (Metaph. iii) that being cannot be a genus, for every genus
has differences distinct from its generic essence. Now no difference
can exist distinct from being; for non-being cannot be a difference.
It follows then that God is not in a genus. Thirdly, because all in
one genus agree in the quiddity or essence of the genus which is
predicated of them as an essential, but they differ in their
existence. For the existence of man and of horse is not the same; as
also of this man and that man: thus in every member of a genus,
existence and quiddity - i.e. essence - must differ. But in God they
do not differ, as shown in the preceding article. Therefore it is
plain that God is not in a genus as if He were a species. From this it
is also plain that He has no genus nor difference, nor can there be
any definition of Him; nor, save through His effects, a demonstration
of Him: for a definition is from genus and difference; and the mean of
a demonstration is a definition. That God is not in a genus, as
reducible to it as its principle, is clear from this, that a principle
reducible to any genus does not extend beyond that genus; as, a point
is the principle of continuous quantity alone; and unity, of
discontinuous quantity. But God is the principle of all being.
Therefore He is not contained in any genus as its principle.
Reply Obj. 1: The word substance signifies not only what
exists of itself - for existence cannot of itself be a genus, as shown
in the body of the article; but, it also signifies an essence that has
the property of existing in this way - namely, of existing of itself;
this existence, however, is not its essence. Thus it is clear that God
is not in the genus of substance.
Reply Obj. 2: This objection turns upon proportionate measure
which must be homogeneous with what is measured. Now, God is not a
measure proportionate to anything. Still, He is called the measure of
all things, in the sense that everything has being only according as
it resembles Him.
SIXTH ARTICLE [I, Q. 3, Art. 6]
Whether in God There Are Any Accidents?
Objection 1: It seems that there are accidents in God. For substance
cannot be an accident, as Aristotle says (Phys. i). Therefore that
which is an accident in one, cannot, in another, be a substance. Thus
it is proved that heat cannot be the substantial form of fire, because
it is an accident in other things. But wisdom, virtue, and the like,
which are accidents in us, are attributes of God. Therefore in God
there are accidents.
Obj. 2: Further, in every genus there is a first principle. But
there are many genera of accidents. If, therefore, the primal
members of these genera are not in God, there will be many primal
beings other than God - which is absurd.
_On the contrary,_ Every accident is in a subject. But God cannot be a
subject, for "no simple form can be a subject", as Boethius says (De
Trin.). Therefore in God there cannot be any accident.
_I answer that,_ From all we have said, it is clear there can be no
accident in God. First, because a subject is compared to its accidents
as potentiality to actuality; for a subject is in some sense made
actual by its accidents. But there can be no potentiality in God, as
was shown (Q. 2, A. 3). Secondly, because God is His own
existence; and as Boethius says (Hebdom.), although every essence may
have something superadded to it, this cannot apply to absolute being:
thus a heated substance can have something extraneous to heat added to
it, as whiteness, nevertheless absolute heat can have nothing else
than heat. Thirdly, because what is essential is prior to what is
accidental. Whence as God is absolute primal being, there can be in
Him nothing accidental. Neither can He have any essential accidents
(as the capability of laughing is an essential accident of man),
because such accidents are caused by the constituent principles of the
subject. Now there can be nothing caused in God, since He is the first
cause. Hence it follows that there is no accident in God.
Reply Obj. 1: Virtue and wisdom are not predicated of God and
of us univocally. Hence it does not follow that there are accidents in
God as there are in us.
Reply Obj. 2: Since substance is prior to its accidents, the
principles of accidents are reducible to the principles of the
substance as to that which is prior; although God is not first as if
contained in the genus of substance; yet He is first in respect to all
being, outside of every genus.
SEVENTH ARTICLE [I, Q. 3, Art. 7]
Whether God Is Altogether Simple?
Objection 1: It seems that God is not altogether simple. For whatever
is from God must imitate Him. Thus from the first being are all
beings; and from the first good is all good. But in the things which
God has made, nothing is altogether simple. Therefore neither is God
Obj. 2: Further, whatever is best must be attributed to God. But
with us that which is composite is better than that which is simple;
thus, chemical compounds are better than simple elements, and animals
than the parts that compose them. Therefore it cannot be said that God
is altogether simple.
_On the contrary,_ Augustine says (De Trin. iv, 6,7): "God is truly and
_I answer that,_ The absolute simplicity of God may be shown in many
ways. First, from the previous articles of this question. For there is
neither composition of quantitative parts in God, since He is not a
body; nor composition of matter and form; nor does His nature differ
from His _suppositum_; nor His essence from His existence; neither is
there in Him composition of genus and difference, nor of subject and
accident. Therefore, it is clear that God is nowise composite, but is
altogether simple. Secondly, because every composite is posterior to
its component parts, and is dependent on them; but God is the first
being, as shown above (Q. 2, A. 3). Thirdly, because every
composite has a cause, for things in themselves different cannot unite
unless something causes them to unite. But God is uncaused, as shown
above (Q. 2, A. 3), since He is the first efficient cause.
Fourthly, because in every composite there must be potentiality and
actuality; but this does not apply to God; for either one of the parts
actuates another, or at least all the parts are potential to the
whole. Fifthly, because nothing composite can be predicated of any
single one of its parts. And this is evident in a whole made up of
dissimilar parts; for no part of a man is a man, nor any of the parts
of the foot, a foot. But in wholes made up of similar parts, although
something which is predicated of the whole may be predicated of a part
(as a part of the air is air, and a part of water, water),
nevertheless certain things are predicable of the whole which cannot
be predicated of any of the parts; for instance, if the whole volume
of water is two cubits, no part of it can be two cubits. Thus in every
composite there is something which is not it itself. But, even if this
could be said of whatever has a form, viz. that it has something which
is not it itself, as in a white object there is something which does
not belong to the essence of white; nevertheless in the form itself,
there is nothing besides itself. And so, since God is absolute form,
or rather absolute being, He can be in no way composite. Hilary
implies this argument, when he says (De Trin. vii): "God, Who is
strength, is not made up of things that are weak; nor is He Who is
light, composed of things that are dim."
Reply Obj. 1: Whatever is from God imitates Him, as caused
things imitate the first cause. But it is of the essence of a thing to
be in some sort composite; because at least its existence differs from
its essence, as will be shown hereafter, (Q. 4, A. 3).
Reply Obj. 2: With us composite things are better than simple
things, because the perfections of created goodness cannot be found in
one simple thing, but in many things. But the perfection of divine
goodness is found in one simple thing (QQ. 4, A. 1, and 6, A. 2).
EIGHTH ARTICLE [I, Q. 3, Art. 8]
Whether God Enters into the Composition of Other Things?
Objection 1: It seems that God enters into the composition of other
things, for Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. iv): "The being of all things
is that which is above being - the Godhead." But the being of all
things enters into the composition of everything. Therefore God enters
into the composition of other things.
Obj. 2: Further, God is a form; for Augustine says (De Verb.
Dom. [Serm. xxxviii]) that, "the word of God, which is God, is an
uncreated form." But a form is part of a compound. Therefore God is
part of some compound.
Obj. 3: Further, whatever things exist, in no way differing from
each other, are the same. But God and primary matter exist, and in no
way differ from each other. Therefore they are absolutely the same.
But primary matter enters into the composition things. Therefore also
does God. Proof of the minor - whatever things differ, they differ by
some differences, and therefore must be composite. But God and primary
matter are altogether simple. Therefore they nowise differ from each
_On the contrary,_ Dionysius says (Div. Nom. ii): "There can be no
touching Him," i.e. God, "nor any other union with Him by mingling
part with part."
Further, the first cause rules all things without commingling with
them, as the Philosopher says (De Causis).
_I answer that,_ On this point there have been three errors. Some have
affirmed that God is the world-soul, as is clear from Augustine (De
Civ. Dei vii, 6). This is practically the same as the opinion of those
who assert that God is the soul of the highest heaven. Again, others
have said that God is the formal principle of all things; and this was
the theory of the Almaricians. The third error is that of David of
Dinant, who most absurdly taught that God was primary matter. Now all
these contain manifest untruth; since it is not possible for God to
enter into the composition of anything, either as a formal or a
material principle. First, because God is the first efficient cause.
Now the efficient cause is not identical numerically with the form of
the thing caused, but only specifically: for man begets man. But
primary matter can be neither numerically nor specifically identical
with an efficient cause; for the former is merely potential, while the
latter is actual. Secondly, because, since God is the first efficient
cause, to act belongs to Him primarily and essentially. But that which
enters into composition with anything does not act primarily and
essentially, but rather the composite so acts; for the hand does not
act, but the man by his hand; and, fire warms by its heat. Hence God
cannot be part of a compound. Thirdly, because no part of a compound
can be absolutely primal among beings - not even matter, nor form,
though they are the primal parts of every compound. For matter is
merely potential; and potentiality is absolutely posterior to
actuality, as is clear from the foregoing (Q. 3, A. 1): while a
form which is part of a compound is a participated form; and as that
which participates is posterior to that which is essential, so
likewise is that which is participated; as fire in ignited objects is
posterior to fire that is essentially such. Now it has been proved
that God is absolutely primal being (Q. 2, A. 3).
Reply Obj. 1: The Godhead is called the being of all things,
as their efficient and exemplar cause, but not as being their essence.
Reply Obj. 2: The Word is an exemplar form; but not a form
that is part of a compound.
Reply Obj. 3: Simple things do not differ by added
differences - for this is the property of compounds. Thus man and
horse differ by their differences, rational and irrational; which
differences, however, do not differ from each other by other
differences. Hence, to be quite accurate, it is better to say that
they are, not different, but diverse. Hence, according to the
Philosopher (Metaph. x), "things which are diverse are absolutely
distinct, but things which are different differ by something."
Therefore, strictly speaking, primary matter and God do not differ,
but are by their very being, diverse. Hence it does not follow they
are the same.
THE PERFECTION OF GOD
(In Three Articles)
Having considered the divine simplicity, we treat next of God's
perfection. Now because everything in so far as it is perfect is
called good, we shall speak first of the divine perfection; secondly
of the divine goodness.
Concerning the first there are three points of inquiry:
(1) Whether God is perfect?
(2) Whether God is perfect universally, as having in Himself the
perfections of all things?
(3) Whether creatures can be said to be like God?
FIRST ARTICLE [I, Q. 4, Art. 1]
Whether God is Perfect?
Objection 1: It seems that perfection does not belong to God. For we
say a thing is perfect if it is completely made. But it does not befit
God to be made. Therefore He is not perfect.
Obj. 2: Further, God is the first beginning of things. But the
beginnings of things seem to be imperfect, as seed is the beginning of
animal and vegetable life. Therefore God is imperfect.
Obj. 3: Further, as shown above (Q. 3, A. 4), God's essence
is existence. But existence seems most imperfect, since it is most
universal and receptive of all modification. Therefore God is
_On the contrary,_ It is written: "Be you perfect as also your heavenly
Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:48).
_I answer that,_ As the Philosopher relates (Metaph. xii), some ancient
philosophers, namely, the Pythagoreans and Leucippus, did not
predicate "best" and "most perfect" of the first principle. The reason
was that the ancient philosophers considered only a material
principle; and a material principle is most imperfect. For since
matter as such is merely potential, the first material principle must
be simply potential, and thus most imperfect. Now God is the first
principle, not material, but in the order of efficient cause, which
must be most perfect. For just as matter, as such, is merely
potential, an agent, as such, is in the state of actuality. Hence, the
first active principle must needs be most actual, and therefore most
perfect; for a thing is perfect in proportion to its state of
actuality, because we call that perfect which lacks nothing of the
mode of its perfection.
Reply Obj. 1: As Gregory says (Moral. v, 26,29): "Though our
lips can only stammer, we yet chant the high things of God." For that
which is not made is improperly called perfect. Nevertheless because
created things are then called perfect, when from potentiality they
are brought into actuality, this word "perfect" signifies whatever is
not wanting in actuality, whether this be by way of perfection or not.
Reply Obj. 2: The material principle which with us is found to
be imperfect, cannot be absolutely primal; but must be preceded by
something perfect. For seed, though it be the principle of animal life
reproduced through seed, has previous to it, the animal or plant from
which is came. Because, previous to that which is potential, must be
that which is actual; since a potential being can only be reduced into
act by some being already actual.
Reply Obj. 3: Existence is the most perfect of all things, for
it is compared to all things as that by which they are made actual;
for nothing has actuality except so far as it exists. Hence existence
is that which actuates all things, even their forms. Therefore it is
not compared to other things as the receiver is to the received; but
rather as the received to the receiver. When therefore I speak of the
existence of man, or horse, or anything else, existence is considered
a formal principle, and as something received; and not as that which
SECOND ARTICLE [I, Q. 4, Art. 2]
Whether the Perfections of All Things Are in God?
Objection 1: It seems that the perfections of all things are not in
God. For God is simple, as shown above (Q. 3, A. 7); whereas the
perfections of things are many and diverse. Therefore the perfections
of all things are not in God.
Obj. 2: Further, opposites cannot coexist. Now the perfections of
things are opposed to each other, for each thing is perfected by its
specific difference. But the differences by which genera are
divided, and species constituted, are opposed to each other.
Therefore because opposites cannot coexist in the same subject, it