St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province

 

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OF THE ETERNAL LAW (SIX ARTICLES)

Deinde considerandum est de singulis legibus.
  • Et primo, de lege aeterna;
  • secundo, de lege naturali;
  • tertio, de lege humana;
  • quarto, de lege veteri;
  • quinto, de lege nova, quae est lex Evangelii.
  • De sexta autem lege, quae est lex fomitis, sufficiat quod dictum est cum de peccato originali ageretur.
   We must now consider each law by itself; and
  • (1) The eternal law;
  • (2) The natural law;
  • (3) The human law;
  • (4) The old law;
  • (5) The new law, which is the law of the Gospel.
  • Of the sixth law which is the law of the "fomes," suffice what we have said when treating of original sin.
Circa primum quaeruntur sex.    Concerning the first there are six points of inquiry:
Primo, quid sit lex aeterna.     (1) What is the eternal law?
Secundo, utrum sit omnibus nota.     (2) Whether it is known to all?
Tertio, utrum omnis lex ab ea derivetur.     (3) Whether every law is derived from it?
Quarto, utrum necessaria subiiciantur legi aeternae.     (4) Whether necessary things are subject to the eternal law?
Quinto, utrum contingentia naturalia subiiciantur legi aeternae.     (5) Whether natural contingencies are subject to the eternal law?
Sexto, utrum omnes res humanae ei subiiciantur.     (6) Whether all human things are subject to it?

 

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Whether the eternal law is a sovereign type [*Ratio] existing in God?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod lex aeterna non sit ratio summa in Deo existens. Lex enim aeterna est una tantum. Sed rationes rerum in mente divina sunt plures, dicit enim Augustinus, in libro octoginta trium quaest., quod Deus singula fecit propriis rationibus. Ergo lex aeterna non videtur esse idem quod ratio in mente divina existens.   Objection 1: It would seem that the eternal law is not a sovereign type existing in God. For there is only one eternal law. But there are many types of things in the Divine mind; for Augustine says (Qq. lxxxiii, qu. 46) that God "made each thing according to its type." Therefore the eternal law does not seem to be a type existing in the Divine mind.
Praeterea, de ratione legis est quod verbo promulgetur, ut supra dictum est. Sed verbum in divinis dicitur personaliter, ut in primo habitum est, ratio autem dicitur essentialiter. Non igitur idem est lex aeterna quod ratio divina.   Objection 2: Further, it is essential to a law that it be promulgated by word, as stated above (Question [90], Article [4]). But Word is a Personal name in God, as stated in the FP, Question [34], Article [1]: whereas type refers to the Essence. Therefore the eternal law is not the same as a Divine type.
Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in libro de vera Relig., apparet supra mentem nostram legem esse, quae veritas dicitur. Lex autem supra mentem nostram existens est lex aeterna. Ergo veritas est lex aeterna. Sed non est eadem ratio veritatis et rationis. Ergo lex aeterna non est idem quod ratio summa.   Objection 3: Further, Augustine says (De Vera Relig. xxx): "We see a law above our minds, which is called truth." But the law which is above our minds is the eternal law. Therefore truth is the eternal law. But the idea of truth is not the same as the idea of a type. Therefore the eternal law is not the same as the sovereign type.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, in I de Lib. Arb., quod lex aeterna est summa ratio, cui semper obtemperandum est.   On the contrary, Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 6) that "the eternal law is the sovereign type, to which we must always conform."
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut in quolibet artifice praeexistit ratio eorum quae constituuntur per artem, ita etiam in quolibet gubernante oportet quod praeexistat ratio ordinis eorum quae agenda sunt per eos qui gubernationi subduntur. Et sicut ratio rerum fiendarum per artem vocatur ars vel exemplar rerum artificiatarum, ita etiam ratio gubernantis actus subditorum, rationem legis obtinet, servatis aliis quae supra esse diximus de legis ratione. Deus autem per suam sapientiam conditor est universarum rerum, ad quas comparatur sicut artifex ad artificiata, ut in primo habitum est. Est etiam gubernator omnium actuum et motionum quae inveniuntur in singulis creaturis, ut etiam in primo habitum est. Unde sicut ratio divinae sapientiae inquantum per eam cuncta sunt creata, rationem habet artis vel exemplaris vel ideae; ita ratio divinae sapientiae moventis omnia ad debitum finem, obtinet rationem legis. Et secundum hoc, lex aeterna nihil aliud est quam ratio divinae sapientiae, secundum quod est directiva omnium actuum et motionum.   I answer that, Just as in every artificer there pre-exists a type of the things that are made by his art, so too in every governor there must pre-exist the type of the order of those things that are to be done by those who are subject to his government. And just as the type of the things yet to be made by an art is called the art or exemplar of the products of that art, so too the type in him who governs the acts of his subjects, bears the character of a law, provided the other conditions be present which we have mentioned above (Question [90]). Now God, by His wisdom, is the Creator of all things in relation to which He stands as the artificer to the products of his art, as stated in the FP, Question [14], Article [8]. Moreover He governs all the acts and movements that are to be found in each single creature, as was also stated in the FP, Question [103], Article [5]. Wherefore as the type of the Divine Wisdom, inasmuch as by It all things are created, has the character of art, exemplar or idea; so the type of Divine Wisdom, as moving all things to their due end, bears the character of law. Accordingly the eternal law is nothing else than the type of Divine Wisdom, as directing all actions and movements.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod Augustinus loquitur ibi de rationibus idealibus, quae respiciunt proprias naturas singularum rerum, et ideo in eis invenitur quaedam distinctio et pluralitas, secundum diversos respectus ad res, ut in primo habitum est. Sed lex dicitur directiva actuum in ordine ad bonum commune, ut supra dictum est. Ea autem quae sunt in seipsis diversa, considerantur ut unum, secundum quod ordinantur ad aliquod commune. Et ideo lex aeterna est una, quae est ratio huius ordinis.   Reply to Objection 1: Augustine is speaking in that passage of the ideal types which regard the proper nature of each single thing; and consequently in them there is a certain distinction and plurality, according to their different relations to things, as stated in the FP, Question [15], Article [2]. But law is said to direct human acts by ordaining them to the common good, as stated above (Question [90], Article [2]). And things, which are in themselves different, may be considered as one, according as they are ordained to one common thing. Wherefore the eternal law is one since it is the type of this order.
Ad secundum dicendum quod circa verbum quodcumque duo possunt considerari, scilicet ipsum verbum, et ea quae verbo exprimuntur. Verbum enim vocale est quiddam ab ore hominis prolatum; sed hoc verbo exprimuntur quae verbis humanis significantur. Et eadem ratio est de verbo hominis mentali, quod nihil est aliud quam quiddam mente conceptum, quo homo exprimit mentaliter ea de quibus cogitat. Sic igitur in divinis ipsum verbum, quod est conceptio paterni intellectus, personaliter dicitur, sed omnia quaecumque sunt in scientia patris, sive essentialia sive personalia, sive etiam Dei opera exprimuntur hoc verbo, ut patet per Augustinum, in XV de Trin. Et inter cetera quae hoc verbo exprimuntur, etiam ipsa lex aeterna verbo ipso exprimitur. Nec tamen propter hoc sequitur quod lex aeterna personaliter in divinis dicatur. Appropriatur tamen filio, propter convenientiam quam habet ratio ad verbum.   Reply to Objection 2: With regard to any sort of word, two points may be considered: viz. the word itself, and that which is expressed by the word. For the spoken word is something uttered by the mouth of man, and expresses that which is signified by the human word. The same applies to the human mental word, which is nothing else that something conceived by the mind, by which man expresses his thoughts mentally. So then in God the Word conceived by the intellect of the Father is the name of a Person: but all things that are in the Father's knowledge, whether they refer to the Essence or to the Persons, or to the works of God, are expressed by this Word, as Augustine declares (De Trin. xv, 14). And among other things expressed by this Word, the eternal law itself is expressed thereby. Nor does it follow that the eternal law is a Personal name in God: yet it is appropriated to the Son, on account of the kinship between type and word.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ratio intellectus divini aliter se habet ad res quam ratio intellectus humani. Intellectus enim humanus est mensuratus a rebus, ut scilicet conceptus hominis non sit verus propter seipsum, sed dicitur verus ex hoc quod consonat rebus, ex hoc enim quod res est vel non est, opinio vera vel falsa est. Intellectus vero divinus est mensura rerum, quia unaquaeque res intantum habet de veritate, inquantum imitatur intellectum divinum, ut in primo dictum est. Et ideo intellectus divinus est verus secundum se. Unde ratio eius est ipsa veritas.   Reply to Objection 3: The types of the Divine intellect do not stand in the same relation to things, as the types of the human intellect. For the human intellect is measured by things, so that a human concept is not true by reason of itself, but by reason of its being consonant with things, since "an opinion is true or false according as it answers to the reality." But the Divine intellect is the measure of things: since each thing has so far truth in it, as it represents the Divine intellect, as was stated in the FP, Question [16], Article [1]. Consequently the Divine intellect is true in itself; and its type is truth itself.

 

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Whether the eternal law is known to all?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod lex aeterna non sit omnibus nota. Quia ut dicit apostolus, I ad Cor., quae sunt Dei, nemo novit nisi spiritus Dei. Sed lex aeterna est quaedam ratio in mente divina existens. Ergo omnibus est ignota nisi soli Deo.   Objection 1: It would seem that the eternal law is not known to all. Because, as the Apostle says (1 Cor. 2:11), "the things that are of God no man knoweth, but the Spirit of God." But the eternal law is a type existing in the Divine mind. Therefore it is unknown to all save God alone.
Praeterea, sicut Augustinus dicit, in libro de Lib. Arb., lex aeterna est qua iustum est ut omnia sint ordinatissima. Sed non omnes cognoscunt qualiter omnia sint ordinatissima. Non ergo omnes cognoscunt legem aeternam.   Objection 2: Further, as Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 6) "the eternal law is that by which it is right that all things should be most orderly." But all do not know how all things are most orderly. Therefore all do not know the eternal law.
Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in libro de vera Relig., quod lex aeterna est de qua homines iudicare non possunt. Sed sicut in I Ethic. dicitur, unusquisque bene iudicat quae cognoscit. Ergo lex aeterna non est nobis nota   Objection 3: Further, Augustine says (De Vera Relig. xxxi) that "the eternal law is not subject to the judgment of man." But according to Ethic. i, "any man can judge well of what he knows." Therefore the eternal law is not known to us.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, in libro de Lib. Arb., quod aeternae legis notio nobis impressa est.   On the contrary, Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 6) that "knowledge of the eternal law is imprinted on us."
Respondeo dicendum quod dupliciter aliquid cognosci potest, uno modo, in seipso; alio modo, in suo effectu, in quo aliqua similitudo eius invenitur; sicut aliquis non videns solem in sua substantia, cognoscit ipsum in sua irradiatione. Sic igitur dicendum est quod legem aeternam nullus potest cognoscere secundum quod in seipsa est, nisi solum beati, qui Deum per essentiam vident. Sed omnis creatura rationalis ipsam cognoscit secundum aliquam eius irradiationem, vel maiorem vel minorem. Omnis enim cognitio veritatis est quaedam irradiatio et participatio legis aeternae, quae est veritas incommutabilis, ut Augustinus dicit, in libro de vera Relig. Veritatem autem omnes aliqualiter cognoscunt, ad minus quantum ad principia communia legis naturalis. In aliis vero quidam plus et quidam minus participant de cognitione veritatis; et secundum hoc etiam plus vel minus cognoscunt legem aeternam.   I answer that, A thing may be known in two ways: first, in itself; secondly, in its effect, wherein some likeness of that thing is found: thus someone not seeing the sun in its substance, may know it by its rays. So then no one can know the eternal law, as it is in itself, except the blessed who see God in His Essence. But every rational creature knows it in its reflection, greater or less. For every knowledge of truth is a kind of reflection and participation of the eternal law, which is the unchangeable truth, as Augustine says (De Vera Relig. xxxi). Now all men know the truth to a certain extent, at least as to the common principles of the natural law: and as to the others, they partake of the knowledge of truth, some more, some less; and in this respect are more or less cognizant of the eternal law.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ea quae sunt Dei, in seipsis quidem cognosci a nobis non possunt, sed tamen in effectibus suis nobis manifestantur, secundum illud Rom. I, invisibilia Dei per ea quae facta sunt, intellecta, conspiciuntur.   Reply to Objection 1: We cannot know the things that are of God, as they are in themselves; but they are made known to us in their effects, according to Rm. 1:20: "The invisible things of God . . . are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made."
Ad secundum dicendum quod legem aeternam etsi unusquisque cognoscat pro sua capacitate, secundum modum praedictum, nullus tamen eam comprehendere potest, non enim totaliter manifestari potest per suos effectus. Et ideo non oportet quod quicumque cognoscit legem aeternam secundum modum praedictum, cognoscat totum ordinem rerum, quo omnia sunt ordinatissima.   Reply to Objection 2: Although each one knows the eternal law according to his own capacity, in the way explained above, yet none can comprehend it: for it cannot be made perfectly known by its effects. Therefore it does not follow that anyone who knows the eternal law in the way aforesaid, knows also the whole order of things, whereby they are most orderly.
Ad tertium dicendum quod iudicare de aliquo potest intelligi dupliciter. Uno modo, sicut vis cognitiva diiudicat de proprio obiecto; secundum illud Iob XII, nonne auris verba diiudicat, et fauces comedentis saporem? Et secundum istum modum iudicii, philosophus dicit quod unusquisque bene iudicat quae cognoscit, iudicando scilicet an sit verum quod proponitur. Alio modo, secundum quod superior iudicat de inferiori quodam practico iudicio, an scilicet ita debeat esse vel non ita. Et sic nullus potest iudicare de lege aeterna.   Reply to Objection 3: To judge a thing may be understood in two ways. First, as when a cognitive power judges of its proper object, according to Job 12:11: "Doth not the ear discern words, and the palate of him that eateth, the taste?" It is to this kind of judgment that the Philosopher alludes when he says that "anyone can judge well of what he knows," by judging, namely, whether what is put forward is true. In another way we speak of a superior judging of a subordinate by a kind of practical judgment, as to whether he should be such and such or not. And thus none can judge of the eternal law.

 

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Whether every law is derived from the eternal law?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod non omnis lex a lege aeterna derivetur. Est enim quaedam lex fomitis, ut supra dictum est. Ipsa autem non derivatur a lege divina, quae est lex aeterna, ad ipsam enim pertinet prudentia carnis, de qua apostolus dicit, ad Rom. VIII, quod legi Dei non potest esse subiecta. Ergo non omnis lex procedit a lege aeterna.   Objection 1: It would seem that not every law is derived from the eternal law. For there is a law of the "fomes," as stated above (Question [91], Article [6]), which is not derived from that Divine law which is the eternal law, since thereunto pertains the "prudence of the flesh," of which the Apostle says (Rm. 8:7), that "it cannot be subject to the law of God." Therefore not every law is derived from the eternal law.
Praeterea, a lege aeterna nihil iniquum procedere potest, quia sicut dictum est, lex aeterna est secundum quam iustum est ut omnia sint ordinatissima. Sed quaedam leges sunt iniquae; secundum illud Isaiae X, vae qui condunt leges iniquas. Ergo non omnis lex procedit a lege aeterna.   Objection 2: Further, nothing unjust can be derived from the eternal law, because, as stated above (Article [2], Objection [2]), "the eternal law is that, according to which it is right that all things should be most orderly." But some laws are unjust, according to Is. 10:1: "Woe to them that make wicked laws." Therefore not every law is derived from the eternal law.
Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in I de Lib. Arbit., quod lex quae populo regendo scribitur, recte multa permittit quae per divinam providentiam vindicantur. Sed ratio divinae providentiae est lex aeterna, ut dictum est. Ergo nec etiam omnis lex recta procedit a lege aeterna.   Objection 3: Further, Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 5) that "the law which is framed for ruling the people, rightly permits many things which are punished by Divine providence." But the type of Divine providence is the eternal law, as stated above (Article [1]). Therefore not even every good law is derived from the eternal law.
Sed contra est quod, Prov. VIII, divina sapientia dicit, per me reges regnant, et legum conditores iusta decernunt. Ratio autem divinae sapientiae est lex aeterna, ut supra dictum est. Ergo omnes leges a lege aeterna procedunt.   On the contrary, Divine Wisdom says (Prov. 8:15): "By Me kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things." But the type of Divine Wisdom is the eternal law, as stated above (Article [1]). Therefore all laws proceed from the eternal law.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, lex importat rationem quandam directivam actuum ad finem. In omnibus autem moventibus ordinatis oportet quod virtus secundi moventis derivetur a virtute moventis primi, quia movens secundum non movet nisi inquantum movetur a primo. Unde et in omnibus gubernantibus idem videmus, quod ratio gubernationis a primo gubernante ad secundos derivatur, sicut ratio eorum quae sunt agenda in civitate, derivatur a rege per praeceptum in inferiores administratores. Et in artificialibus etiam ratio artificialium actuum derivatur ab architectore ad inferiores artifices, qui manu operantur. Cum ergo lex aeterna sit ratio gubernationis in supremo gubernante, necesse est quod omnes rationes gubernationis quae sunt in inferioribus gubernantibus, a lege aeterna deriventur. Huiusmodi autem rationes inferiorum gubernantium sunt quaecumque aliae leges praeter legem aeternam. Unde omnes leges, inquantum participant de ratione recta, intantum derivantur a lege aeterna. Et propter hoc Augustinus dicit, in I de Lib. Arb., quod in temporali lege nihil est iustum ac legitimum, quod non ex lege aeterna homines sibi derivaverunt.   I answer that, As stated above (Question [90], Articles [1],2), the law denotes a kind of plan directing acts towards an end. Now wherever there are movers ordained to one another, the power of the second mover must needs be derived from the power of the first mover; since the second mover does not move except in so far as it is moved by the first. Wherefore we observe the same in all those who govern, so that the plan of government is derived by secondary governors from the governor in chief; thus the plan of what is to be done in a state flows from the king's command to his inferior administrators: and again in things of art the plan of whatever is to be done by art flows from the chief craftsman to the under-crafts-men, who work with their hands. Since then the eternal law is the plan of government in the Chief Governor, all the plans of government in the inferior governors must be derived from the eternal law. But these plans of inferior governors are all other laws besides the eternal law. Therefore all laws, in so far as they partake of right reason, are derived from the eternal law. Hence Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 6) that "in temporal law there is nothing just and lawful, but what man has drawn from the eternal law."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod fomes habet rationem legis in homine, inquantum est poena consequens divinam iustitiam, et secundum hoc manifestum est quod derivatur a lege aeterna. Inquantum vero inclinat ad peccatum, sic contrariatur legi Dei, et non habet rationem legis, ut ex supradictis patet.   Reply to Objection 1: The "fomes" has the nature of law in man, in so far as it is a punishment resulting from Divine justice; and in this respect it is evident that it is derived from the eternal law. But in so far as it denotes a proneness to sin, it is contrary to the Divine law, and has not the nature of law, as stated above (Question [91], Article [6]).
Ad secundum dicendum quod lex humana intantum habet rationem legis, inquantum est secundum rationem rectam, et secundum hoc manifestum est quod a lege aeterna derivatur. Inquantum vero a ratione recedit, sic dicitur lex iniqua, et sic non habet rationem legis, sed magis violentiae cuiusdam. Et tamen in ipsa lege iniqua inquantum servatur aliquid de similitudine legis propter ordinem potestatis eius qui legem fert, secundum hoc etiam derivatur a lege aeterna, omnis enim potestas a domino Deo est, ut dicitur Rom. XIII.   Reply to Objection 2: Human law has the nature of law in so far as it partakes of right reason; and it is clear that, in this respect, it is derived from the eternal law. But in so far as it deviates from reason, it is called an unjust law, and has the nature, not of law but of violence. Nevertheless even an unjust law, in so far as it retains some appearance of law, though being framed by one who is in power, is derived from the eternal law; since all power is from the Lord God, according to Rm. 13:1.
Ad tertium dicendum quod lex humana dicitur aliqua permittere, non quasi ea approbans, sed quasi ea dirigere non potens. Multa autem diriguntur lege divina quae dirigi non possunt lege humana, plura enim subduntur causae superiori quam inferiori. Unde hoc ipsum quod lex humana non se intromittat de his quae dirigere non potest, ex ordine legis aeternae provenit. Secus autem esset si approbaret ea quae lex aeterna reprobat. Unde ex hoc non habetur quod lex humana non derivetur a lege aeterna, sed quod non perfecte eam assequi possit.   Reply to Objection 3: Human law is said to permit certain things, not as approving them, but as being unable to direct them. And many things are directed by the Divine law, which human law is unable to direct, because more things are subject to a higher than to a lower cause. Hence the very fact that human law does not meddle with matters it cannot direct, comes under the ordination of the eternal law. It would be different, were human law to sanction what the eternal law condemns. Consequently it does not follow that human law is not derived from the eternal law, but that it is not on a perfect equality with it.

 

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Whether necessary and eternal things are subject to the eternal law?

Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod necessaria et aeterna subiiciantur legi aeternae. Omne enim quod rationabile est, rationi subditur. Sed voluntas divina est rationabilis, cum sit iusta. Ergo rationi subditur. Sed lex aeterna est ratio divina. Ergo voluntas Dei subditur legi aeternae. Voluntas autem Dei est aliquod aeternum. Ergo etiam aeterna et necessaria legi aeternae subduntur.   Objection 1: It would seem that necessary and eternal things are subject to the eternal law. For whatever is reasonable is subject to reason. But the Divine will is reasonable, for it is just. Therefore it is subject to (the Divine) reason. But the eternal law is the Divine reason. Therefore God's will is subject to the eternal law. But God's will is eternal. Therefore eternal and necessary things are subject to the eternal law.
Praeterea, quidquid subiicitur regi, subiicitur legi regis. Filius autem, ut dicitur I ad Cor. XV, subiectus erit Deo et patri, cum tradiderit ei regnum. Ergo filius, qui est aeternus, subiicitur legi aeternae.   Objection 2: Further, whatever is subject to the King, is subject to the King's law. Now the Son, according to 1 Cor. 15:28,24, "shall be subject . . . to God and the Father . . . when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to Him." Therefore the Son, Who is eternal, is subject to the eternal law.
Praeterea, lex aeterna est ratio divinae providentiae. Sed multa necessaria subduntur divinae providentiae, sicut permanentia substantiarum incorporalium et corporum caelestium. Ergo legi aeternae subduntur etiam necessaria.   Objection 3: Further, the eternal law is Divine providence as a type. But many necessary things are subject to Divine providence: for instance, the stability of incorporeal substances and of the heavenly bodies. Therefore even necessary things are subject to the eternal law.
Sed contra, ea quae sunt necessaria, impossibile est aliter se habere, unde cohibitione non indigent. Sed imponitur hominibus lex ut cohibeantur a malis, ut ex supradictis patet. Ergo ea quae sunt necessaria, legi non subduntur   On the contrary, Things that are necessary cannot be otherwise, and consequently need no restraining. But laws are imposed on men, in order to restrain them from evil, as explained above (Question [92], Article [2]). Therefore necessary things are not subject to the eternal law.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, lex aeterna est ratio divinae gubernationis. Quaecumque ergo divinae gubernationi subduntur, subiiciuntur etiam legi aeternae, quae vero gubernationi aeternae non subduntur, neque legi aeternae subduntur. Horum autem distinctio attendi potest ex his quae circa nos sunt. Humanae enim gubernationi subduntur ea quae per homines fieri possunt, quae vero ad naturam hominis pertinent, non subduntur gubernationi humanae, scilicet quod homo habeat animam, vel manus aut pedes. Sic igitur legi aeternae subduntur omnia quae sunt in rebus a Deo creatis, sive sint contingentia sive sint necessaria, ea vero quae pertinent ad naturam vel essentiam divinam, legi aeternae non subduntur, sed sunt realiter ipsa lex aeterna.   I answer that, As stated above (Article [1]), the eternal law is the type of the Divine government. Consequently whatever is subject to the Divine government, is subject to the eternal law: while if anything is not subject to the Divine government, neither is it subject to the eternal law. The application of this distinction may be gathered by looking around us. For those things are subject to human government, which can be done by man; but what pertains to the nature of man is not subject to human government; for instance, that he should have a soul, hands, or feet. Accordingly all that is in things created by God, whether it be contingent or necessary, is subject to the eternal law: while things pertaining to the Divine Nature or Essence are not subject to the eternal law, but are the eternal law itself.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod de voluntate Dei dupliciter possumus loqui. Uno modo, quantum ad ipsam voluntatem, et sic, cum voluntas Dei sit ipsa eius essentia, non subditur gubernationi divinae neque legi aeternae, sed est idem quod lex aeterna. Alio modo possumus loqui de voluntate divina quantum ad ipsa quae Deus vult circa creaturas, quae quidem subiecta sunt legi aeternae, inquantum horum ratio est in divina sapientia. Et ratione horum, voluntas Dei dicitur rationabilis. Alioquin, ratione sui ipsius, magis est dicenda ipsa ratio.   Reply to Objection 1: We may speak of God's will in two ways. First, as to the will itself: and thus, since God's will is His very Essence, it is subject neither to the Divine government, nor to the eternal law, but is the same thing as the eternal law. Secondly, we may speak of God's will, as to the things themselves that God wills about creatures; which things are subject to the eternal law, in so far as they are planned by Divine Wisdom. In reference to these things God's will is said to be reasonable [rationalis]: though regarded in itself it should rather be called their type [ratio].
Ad secundum dicendum quod filius Dei non est a Deo factus, sed naturaliter ab ipso genitus. Et ideo non subditur divinae providentiae aut legi aeternae, sed magis ipse est lex aeterna per quandam appropriationem, ut patet per Augustinum, in libro de vera Relig. Dicitur autem esse subiectus patri ratione humanae naturae, secundum quam etiam pater dicitur esse maior eo.   Reply to Objection 2: God the Son was not made by God, but was naturally born of God. Consequently He is not subject to Divine providence or to the eternal law: but rather is Himself the eternal law by a kind of appropriation, as Augustine explains (De Vera Relig. xxxi). But He is said to be subject to the Father by reason of His human nature, in respect of which also the Father is said to be greater than He.
Tertium concedimus, quia procedit de necessariis creatis.    The third objection we grant, because it deals with those necessary things that are created.
Ad quartum dicendum quod, sicut philosophus dicit, in V Metaphys., quaedam necessaria habent causam suae necessitatis, et sic hoc ipsum quod impossibile est ea aliter esse, habent ab alio. Et hoc ipsum est cohibitio quaedam efficacissima, nam quaecumque cohibentur, intantum cohiberi dicuntur, inquantum non possunt aliter facere quam de eis disponatur.   Reply to Objection 4: As the Philosopher says (Metaph. v, text. 6), some necessary things have a cause of their necessity: and thus they derive from something else the fact that they cannot be otherwise. And this is in itself a most effective restraint; for whatever is restrained, is said to be restrained in so far as it cannot do otherwise than it is allowed to.

 

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Whether natural contingents are subject to the eternal law?

Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod naturalia contingentia non subsint legi aeternae. Promulgatio enim est de ratione legis, ut supra dictum est. Sed promulgatio non potest fieri nisi ad creaturas rationales, quibus potest aliquid denuntiari. Ergo solae creaturae rationales subsunt legi aeternae. Non ergo naturalia contingentia.   Objection 1: It would seem that natural contingents are not subject to the eternal law. Because promulgation is essential to law, as stated above (Question [90], Article [4]). But a law cannot be promulgated except to rational creatures, to whom it is possible to make an announcement. Therefore none but rational creatures are subject to the eternal law; and consequently natural contingents are not.
Praeterea, ea quae obediunt rationi, participant aliqualiter ratione, ut dicitur in I Ethic. Lex autem aeterna est ratio summa, ut supra dictum est. Cum igitur naturalia contingentia non participent aliqualiter ratione, sed penitus sint irrationabilia, videtur quod non subsint legi aeternae.   Objection 2: Further, "Whatever obeys reason partakes somewhat of reason," as stated in Ethic. i. But the eternal law, is the supreme type, as stated above (Article [1]). Since then natural contingents do not partake of reason in any way, but are altogether void of reason, it seems that they are not subject to the eternal law.
Praeterea, lex aeterna est efficacissima. Sed in naturalibus contingentibus accidit defectus. Non ergo subsunt legi aeternae.   Objection 3: Further, the eternal law is most efficient. But in natural contingents defects occur. Therefore they are not subject to the eternal law.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Prov. VIII, quando circumdabat mari terminum suum, et legem ponebat aquis ne transirent fines suos.   On the contrary, It is written (Prov. 8:29): "When He compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters, that they should not pass their limits."
Respondeo dicendum quod aliter dicendum est de lege hominis, et aliter de lege aeterna, quae est lex Dei. Lex enim hominis non se extendit nisi ad creaturas rationales quae homini subiiciuntur. Cuius ratio est quia lex est directiva actuum qui conveniunt subiectis gubernationi alicuius, unde nullus, proprie loquendo, suis actibus legem imponit. Quaecumque autem aguntur circa usum rerum irrationalium homini subditarum, aguntur per actum ipsius hominis moventis huiusmodi res, nam huiusmodi irrationales creaturae non agunt seipsas, sed ab aliis aguntur, ut supra habitum est. Et ideo rebus irrationalibus homo legem imponere non potest, quantumcumque ei subiiciantur. Rebus autem rationalibus sibi subiectis potest imponere legem, inquantum suo praecepto, vel denuntiatione quacumque, imprimit menti earum quandam regulam quae est principium agendi.   I answer that, We must speak otherwise of the law of man, than of the eternal law which is the law of God. For the law of man extends only to rational creatures subject to man. The reason of this is because law directs the actions of those that are subject to the government of someone: wherefore, properly speaking, none imposes a law on his own actions. Now whatever is done regarding the use of irrational things subject to man, is done by the act of man himself moving those things, for these irrational creatures do not move themselves, but are moved by others, as stated above (Question [1], Article [2]). Consequently man cannot impose laws on irrational beings, however much they may be subject to him. But he can impose laws on rational beings subject to him, in so far as by his command or pronouncement of any kind, he imprints on their minds a rule which is a principle of action.
Sicut autem homo imprimit, denuntiando, quoddam interius principium actuum homini sibi subiecto, ita etiam Deus imprimit toti naturae principia propriorum actuum. Et ideo per hunc modum dicitur Deus praecipere toti naturae; secundum illud Psalmi CXLVIII, praeceptum posuit, et non praeteribit. Et per hanc etiam rationem omnes motus et actiones totius naturae legi aeternae subduntur. Unde alio modo creaturae irrationales subduntur legi aeternae, inquantum moventur a divina providentia, non autem per intellectum divini praecepti, sicut creaturae rationales.    Now just as man, by such pronouncement, impresses a kind of inward principle of action on the man that is subject to him, so God imprints on the whole of nature the principles of its proper actions. And so, in this way, God is said to command the whole of nature, according to Ps. 148:6: "He hath made a decree, and it shall not pass away." And thus all actions and movements of the whole of nature are subject to the eternal law. Consequently irrational creatures are subject to the eternal law, through being moved by Divine providence; but not, as rational creatures are, through understanding the Divine commandment.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod hoc modo se habet impressio activi principii intrinseci, quantum ad res naturales, sicut se habet promulgatio legis quantum ad homines, quia per legis promulgationem imprimitur hominibus quoddam directivum principium humanorum actuum, ut dictum est.   Reply to Objection 1: The impression of an inward active principle is to natural things, what the promulgation of law is to men: because law, by being promulgated, imprints on man a directive principle of human actions, as stated above.
Ad secundum dicendum quod creaturae irrationales non participant ratione humana, nec ei obediunt, participant tamen, per modum obedientiae, ratione divina. Ad plura enim se extendit virtus rationis divinae quam virtus rationis humanae. Et sicut membra corporis humani moventur ad imperium rationis, non tamen participant ratione, quia non habent aliquam apprehensionem ordinatam ad rationem; ita etiam creaturae irrationales moventur a Deo, nec tamen propter hoc sunt rationales.   Reply to Objection 2: Irrational creatures neither partake of nor are obedient to human reason: whereas they do partake of the Divine Reason by obeying it; because the power of Divine Reason extends over more things than human reason does. And as the members of the human body are moved at the command of reason, and yet do not partake of reason, since they have no apprehension subordinate to reason; so too irrational creatures are moved by God, without, on that account, being rational.
Ad tertium dicendum quod defectus qui accidunt in rebus naturalibus, quamvis sint praeter ordinem causarum particularium, non tamen sunt praeter ordinem causarum universalium; et praecipue causae primae, quae Deus est, cuius providentiam nihil subterfugere potest, ut in primo dictum est. Et quia lex aeterna est ratio divinae providentiae, ut dictum est, ideo defectus rerum naturalium legi aeternae subduntur.   Reply to Objection 3: Although the defects which occur in natural things are outside the order of particular causes, they are not outside the order of universal causes, especially of the First Cause, i.e. God, from Whose providence nothing can escape, as stated in the FP, Question [22], Article [2]. And since the eternal law is the type of Divine providence, as stated above (Article [1]), hence the defects of natural things are subject to the eternal law.

 

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Whether all human affairs are subject to the eternal law?

Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non omnes res humanae subiiciantur legi aeternae. Dicit enim apostolus, ad Gal. V, si spiritu ducimini, non estis sub lege. Sed viri iusti, qui sunt filii Dei per adoptionem, spiritu Dei aguntur; secundum illud Rom. VIII, qui spiritu Dei aguntur, hi filii Dei sunt. Ergo non omnes homines sunt sub lege aeterna.   Objection 1: It would seem that not all human affairs are subject to the eternal law. For the Apostle says (Gal. 5:18): "If you are led by the spirit you are not under the law." But the righteous who are the sons of God by adoption, are led by the spirit of God, according to Rm. 8:14: "Whosoever are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Therefore not all men are under the eternal law.
Praeterea, apostolus dicit, ad Rom. VIII, prudentia carnis inimica est Deo, legi enim Dei subiecta non est. Sed multi homines sunt in quibus prudentia carnis dominatur. Ergo legi aeternae, quae est lex Dei, non subiiciuntur omnes homines.   Objection 2: Further, the Apostle says (Rm. 8:7): "The prudence [Vulg.: 'wisdom'] of the flesh is an enemy to God: for it is not subject to the law of God." But many are those in whom the prudence of the flesh dominates. Therefore all men are not subject to the eternal law which is the law of God.
Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in I de Lib. Arb., quod lex aeterna est qua mali miseriam, boni vitam beatam merentur. Sed homines iam beati, vel iam damnati, non sunt in statu merendi. Ergo non subsunt legi aeternae.   Objection 3: Further, Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 6) that "the eternal law is that by which the wicked deserve misery, the good, a life of blessedness." But those who are already blessed, and those who are already lost, are not in the state of merit. Therefore they are not under the eternal law.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, XIX de Civ. Dei, nullo modo aliquid legibus summi creatoris ordinatorisque subtrahitur, a quo pax universitatis administratur.   On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xix, 12): "Nothing evades the laws of the most high Creator and Governor, for by Him the peace of the universe is administered."
Respondeo dicendum quod duplex est modus quo aliquid subditur legi aeternae, ut ex supradictis patet, uno modo, inquantum participatur lex aeterna per modum cognitionis; alio modo, per modum actionis et passionis, inquantum participatur per modum principii motivi. Et hoc secundo modo subduntur legi aeternae irrationales creaturae, ut dictum est. Sed quia rationalis natura, cum eo quod est commune omnibus creaturis, habet aliquid sibi proprium inquantum est rationalis, ideo secundum utrumque modum legi aeternae subditur, quia et notionem legis aeternae aliquo modo habet, ut supra dictum est; et iterum unicuique rationali creaturae inest naturalis inclinatio ad id quod est consonum legi aeternae; sumus enim innati ad habendum virtutes, ut dicitur in II Ethic.   I answer that, There are two ways in which a thing is subject to the eternal law, as explained above (Article [5]): first, by partaking of the eternal law by way of knowledge; secondly, by way of action and passion, i.e. by partaking of the eternal law by way of an inward motive principle: and in this second way, irrational creatures are subject to the eternal law, as stated above (Article [5]). But since the rational nature, together with that which it has in common with all creatures, has something proper to itself inasmuch as it is rational, consequently it is subject to the eternal law in both ways; because while each rational creature has some knowledge of the eternal law, as stated above (Article [2]), it also has a natural inclination to that which is in harmony with the eternal law; for "we are naturally adapted to the recipients of virtue" (Ethic. ii, 1).
Uterque tamen modus imperfectus quidem est, et quodammodo corruptus, in malis; in quibus et inclinatio naturalis ad virtutem depravatur per habitum vitiosum; et iterum ipsa naturalis cognitio boni in eis obtenebratur per passiones et habitus peccatorum. In bonis autem uterque modus invenitur perfectior, quia et supra cognitionem naturalem boni, superadditur eis cognitio fidei et sapientiae; et supra naturalem inclinationem ad bonum, superadditur eis interius motivum gratiae et virtutis.    Both ways, however, are imperfect, and to a certain extent destroyed, in the wicked; because in them the natural inclination to virtue is corrupted by vicious habits, and, moreover, the natural knowledge of good is darkened by passions and habits of sin. But in the good both ways are found more perfect: because in them, besides the natural knowledge of good, there is the added knowledge of faith and wisdom; and again, besides the natural inclination to good, there is the added motive of grace and virtue.
Sic igitur boni perfecte subsunt legi aeternae, tanquam semper secundum eam agentes. Mali autem subsunt quidem legi aeternae, imperfecte quidem quantum ad actiones ipsorum, prout imperfecte cognoscunt et imperfecte inclinantur ad bonum, sed quantum deficit ex parte actionis, suppletur ex parte passionis, prout scilicet intantum patiuntur quod lex aeterna dictat de eis, inquantum deficiunt facere quod legi aeternae convenit. Unde Augustinus dicit, in I de Lib. Arb., iustos sub aeterna lege agere existimo. Et in libro de catechizandis rudibus, dicit quod Deus ex iusta miseria animarum se deserentium, convenientissimis legibus inferiores partes creaturae suae novit ornare.    Accordingly, the good are perfectly subject to the eternal law, as always acting according to it: whereas the wicked are subject to the eternal law, imperfectly as to their actions, indeed, since both their knowledge of good, and their inclination thereto, are imperfect; but this imperfection on the part of action is supplied on the part of passion, in so far as they suffer what the eternal law decrees concerning them, according as they fail to act in harmony with that law. Hence Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 15): "I esteem that the righteous act according to the eternal law; and (De Catech. Rud. xviii): Out of the just misery of the souls which deserted Him, God knew how to furnish the inferior parts of His creation with most suitable laws."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod illud verbum apostoli potest intelligi dupliciter. Uno modo, ut esse sub lege intelligatur ille qui nolens obligationi legis subditur, quasi cuidam ponderi. Unde Glossa ibidem dicit quod sub lege est qui timore supplicii quod lex minatur, non amore iustitiae, a malo opere abstinet. Et hoc modo spirituales viri non sunt sub lege, quia per caritatem, quam spiritus sanctus cordibus eorum infundit, voluntarie id quod legis est, implent. Alio modo potest etiam intelligi inquantum hominis opera qui spiritu sancto agitur, magis dicuntur esse opera spiritus sancti quam ipsius hominis. Unde cum spiritus sanctus non sit sub lege, sicut nec filius, ut supra dictum est; sequitur quod huiusmodi opera, inquantum sunt spiritus sancti, non sint sub lege. Et huic attestatur quod apostolus dicit, II ad Cor. III, ubi spiritus domini, ibi libertas.   Reply to Objection 1: This saying of the Apostle may be understood in two ways. First, so that a man is said to be under the law, through being pinned down thereby, against his will, as by a load. Hence, on the same passage a gloss says that "he is under the law, who refrains from evil deeds, through fear of punishment threatened by the law, and not from love of virtue." In this way the spiritual man is not under the law, because he fulfils the law willingly, through charity which is poured into his heart by the Holy Ghost. Secondly, it can be understood as meaning that the works of a man, who is led by the Holy Ghost, are the works of the Holy Ghost rather than his own. Therefore, since the Holy Ghost is not under the law, as neither is the Son, as stated above (Article [4], ad 2); it follows that such works, in so far as they are of the Holy Ghost, are not under the law. The Apostle witnesses to this when he says (2 Cor. 3:17): "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
Ad secundum dicendum quod prudentia carnis non potest subiici legi Dei ex parte actionis, quia inclinat ad actiones contrarias legi Dei. Subiicitur tamen legi Dei ex parte passionis, quia meretur pati poenam secundum legem divinae iustitiae. Nihilominus tamen in nullo homine ita prudentia carnis dominatur, quod totum bonum naturae corrumpatur. Et ideo remanet in homine inclinatio ad agendum ea quae sunt legis aeternae. Habitum est enim supra quod peccatum non tollit totum bonum naturae.   Reply to Objection 2: The prudence of the flesh cannot be subject to the law of God as regards action; since it inclines to actions contrary to the Divine law: yet it is subject to the law of God, as regards passion; since it deserves to suffer punishment according to the law of Divine justice. Nevertheless in no man does the prudence of the flesh dominate so far as to destroy the whole good of his nature: and consequently there remains in man the inclination to act in accordance with the eternal law. For we have seen above (Question [85], Article [2]) that sin does not destroy entirely the good of nature.
Ad tertium dicendum quod idem est per quod aliquid conservatur in fine, et per quod movetur ad finem, sicut corpus grave gravitate quiescit in loco inferiori, per quam etiam ad locum ipsum movetur. Et sic dicendum est quod, sicut secundum legem aeternam aliqui merentur beatitudinem vel miseriam, ita per eandem legem in beatitudine vel miseria conservantur. Et secundum hoc, et beati et damnati subsunt legi aeternae.   Reply to Objection 3: A thing is maintained in the end and moved towards the end by one and the same cause: thus gravity which makes a heavy body rest in the lower place is also the cause of its being moved thither. We therefore reply that as it is according to the eternal law that some deserve happiness, others unhappiness, so is it by the eternal law that some are maintained in a happy state, others in an unhappy state. Accordingly both the blessed and the damned are under the eternal law.

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