Of God and His Creatures

How Human Things are reduced to Higher Causes*

FROM what has been shown above we are able to gather how human things are reducible to higher causes, and do not proceed by chance. For choices and motives of wills are arranged immediately by God: human intellectual knowledge is directed by God through the intermediate agency of angels: corporeal events, whether interior (to the human body) or exterior, that serve the need of man, are adjusted by God through the intermediate agency of angels and of the heavenly bodies.

All this arrangement proceeds upon one general axiom, which is this: 'Everything manifold and mutable and liable to fail may be reduced to some principle uniform and immutable and unfailing.'* But everything about our selves proves to be manifold, variable, and defectible. Our choices are evidently manifold, since different things are chosen by different persons in different circumstances. They are likewise mutable, as well on account of the fickleness of our mind, which is not confirmed in its last end, as also on account of changes of circumstance and environment. That they are defectible, the sins of men clearly witness. On the other hand, the will of God is uniform, because in willing one thing He wills all other things: it is also immutable and indefectible (B. I, Chapp. XXIII, LXXV). Therefore all motions of volition and choice must be reduced to the divine will, and not to any other cause, because God alone is the cause of our volitions and elections.

In like manner our intelligence is liable to multiplicity, inasmuch as we gather intelligible truth from many sensible objects. It is also mutable, inasmuch as it proceeds by reasoning from one point to another, passing from known to unknown. It is also defectible from the admixture of phantasy and sense, as the errors of mankind show. But the cognitions of the angels are uniform, as they receive the knowledge of truth from the one fountain of truth, God (B. II, Chapp. XCVIII, C, with notes). It is also immutable, because not by any argument from effects to causes, nor from causes to effects, but by simple intuition do they gaze upon the pure truth of things. It is also indefectible, since they discern the very natures of things, or their quiddities in themselves, about which quiddities intelligence cannot err, as neither can sense err about the primary objects of the several senses. But we learn the quiddities (essences) of things from their accidents and effects. Our intellectual knowledge then must be regulated by the knowledge of the angels.*

Again, about human bodies and the exterior things which men use, it is manifest that there is in them the multiplicity of mixture and contrariety; and that they do not always move in the same way, because their motions cannot be continuous; and that they are defectible by alteration and corruption. But the heavenly bodies are uniform, as being simple and made up without any contrariety of elements. Their motions also are uniform, continuous, and always executed in the same way: nor can there be in them corruption or alteration. Hence our bodies, and other things that come under our use, must necessarily be regulated by the motion of the heavenly bodies.*

3.90 : That Human Choices and Volitions are subject to Divine Providence
3.92 : In what sense one is said to be Fortunate, and how Man is aided by Higher Causes