Question Four: The Divine Word
Can there be a word, properly speaking, in God?
Is “Word” predicated of God essentially or only personally?
Is “Word” a proper name of the Holy Spirit?
Does the Father utter all creatures in the Word by which He utters Himself?
Does the Word imply a relation to creatures?
Do things exist more truly in the Word or in themselves?
Is the Word related to those things which do not exist, will not exist, and never have existed?
Are all created things life in the Word?
This question treats the word.
In the first article we ask:
Can there be a word, properly speaking, in God?
[Parallel readings: S.T., I, 34, 1; I-II, 93, 1, ad 2; I Sent., 77, 2, 1; De pot., 9, 91 ad 7-8; Quodl., IV, 4, 6, ad 1; Comp. Theol., I, cc. 37-44.]
It seems that there cannot be, for
1. There are two kinds of words: exterior and interior. An exterior word cannot be predicated properly of God since it is material and passing. Nor can an interior word be predicated of God, for Damascene defines it as follows: “Speech that is internally expressed is a motion of the soul, produced in the process of thinking, and not orally enunciated.” Now, motion or a process of thinking cannot be said to exist in God. Hence, it seems that there cannot be a word, properly speaking, in Him.
2. Augustine proves that some word belongs to the mind, because something is also said to be the mouth of the mind, as is evident in the Gospel according to St. Matthew (15:18): “But the things which proceed out of the mouth... these defile a man.” That this means the mouth of the heart is clear from what follows: “But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart” (15:18). Now, a mouth cannot be predicated of spiritual things except metaphorically. Hence, neither can a word.
3. That the Word is a medium between the creator and creatures is shown from St. John (1:3) where we read: “All things were made by him.” From this passage, Augustine proves that the Word is not a creature. Using the same proof, we can show that the Word is not the creator. Consequently, the Word affirms nothing which is in God. A medium is equidistant from extremes. Now, if the Word is the medium between the Father who utters and the creature which is uttered, the Word should be essentially distinct from the Father, since He is essentially distinct from creatures. But there is nothing in the divine Persons which is distinguished by the divine essence. Hence, a word, properly speaking, cannot be in God.
5. Whatever belongs to the Son in so far as He is incarnate is not properly predicated of God, as, for example, to be man, to walk, or anything of this sort. But being the Word belongs to the Son only in so far as He is incarnate, because it is the nature of a word to manifest the one who is speaking. The Son, however, manifests the Father only in so far as the Son is incarnate, just as our words manifest our understanding only in so far as they are expressed vocally. Hence, a word, properly speaking, does not exist in God.
6. If the Word, properly speaking, existed in God, the Word existing eternally in the Father and that which was made Incarnate in time would be the same—just as we say that it is the same Son. But it seems that we cannot say this, because the Incarnate Word is compared to a word vocally expressed; the Word existing in the Father, however, is compared to a mental word. This is clear from what Augustine has written. Now, the word that is vocally expressed is not the same as that existing in the heart. Therefore, it does not seem that the Word which is said to have existed eternally in the Father properly pertains to the divine nature.
7. The later in a series an effect occurs, the more does it have the nature of a sign. For example, wine is the final cause of a wine jar, and, more remotely, of the circular tag which is attached to the jar as a marker; for this reason, the tag is more truly a sign than the jar is. Now, a word that is vocally expressed is the last effect of the procession from the intellect. Consequently, the nature of a sign belongs to the vocal word more than to the mental concept, and, similarly, the nature of a word belongs more to the external expression from the fact that it manifests something. Now, whatever exists in its primary sense in material things and not in spiritual things is not properly predicated of God. Therefore, a word cannot be properly predicated of God. 8. Every noun especially signifies that from which it has been derived. But verbum (word) is derived either from verberatio aeris (a disturbing of the air) or from boatus (shout), so that verbum means simply verum boans (shouting what is true). Hence, this is what is especially signified by the noun verbum. Now, this cannot be said to be in God except metaphorically. Therefore, a word, properly speaking, is not in God.
9. The word that one says seems to be a likeness of the thing spoken, existing in the speaker. But when the Father knows Himself, He knows Himself not by means of a likeness, but by means of His essence. Consequently, it seems that by intuiting Himself the Father does not generate any word of Himself. “Now, with reference to the Highest Spirit, to speak means simply to intuit in thought,” as Anselm says. Hence, a word, properly speaking, does not exist in God.
10. Whenever anything resembling a creature is predicated of God, it is not predicated of Him properly, but only metaphorically. Now, as Augustine says,6 the Word in God resembles the word which is in us. Hence, it seems that a word can be predicated of God metaphorically, but not properly.
11. Basil says that God is called the Word because all things are uttered by Him, and that He is called the wisdom by which all things are known, and the light by which all things are made manifest. However, to utter is not properly predicated of God, because uttering pertains to the voice. Consequently, word is not predicated of God in its proper sense.
12. The vocal word is related to the Incarnate Word as the mental word is related to the eternal Word. This is clear from Augustine.” The vocal word, however, is predicated only metaphorically of the Word Incarnate. Hence, the interior word is also predicated only metaphorically of the eternal Word.
To the Contrary
1. Augustine says: “The Word which we are trying to make you understand is knowledge with love.” Now, knowledge and love are predicated of God in their proper sense. Hence, so is the Word.
2. Augustine says: “The word which is heard exteriorly is a sign of the word shining within; and to this latter the name word more properly belongs. For the vocalization of the word by a physical mouth is merely the voice of the word; and it also is called a word because of that from which it has been taken in order that the interior word might itself appear externally. It is clear from this that the term word belongs more properly to the spiritual than to the material word. Now, whatever is found more properly in spiritual things than in material things most properly belongs to God. Therefore, word is predicated of God in its most proper sense.
3. Richard of St. Victor says that a word manifests the meaning of one who is wise. But the Son manifests the meaning of the Father in the truest way possible. Hence, word is predicated of God in the most proper sense.
4. According to Augustine, the word is “thought, fully formed.” Now, God’s contemplation is never capable of formation, but is always fully formed, since it is always in act. Consequently, a word, in the most proper sense, is predicated of God.
51. Among the types of oneness, that which is most simple is called one primarily and most properly. The same is true of a word—that which is most simple is called a word in the most proper sense. Now, the Word that is in God is most simple; hence, it is most properly called a word.
6. According to grammarians, the part of speech called the verb receives this general name verbum as its own because it is a perfection of the entire sentence, and is, as it were, the most important part of it. Moreover, other parts of the sentence are expressed by the verb, since the noun is understood in it. Now, the divine Word (Verbum) is the most perfect of all things and expresses all things. Therefore, it is called a word in the most proper sense.
We give names to things according to the manner in which we receive our knowledge from things. Hence, since those things which come after others in the order of nature are usually the ones that we know first, it frequently happens that, in applying names to things, we first use a name of one of two things when the reality it signifies primarily exists in the second. We have a clear example of this in the names that are used of both God and creatures. Being, good, and words of this sort are first applied to creatures, and then transferred from creatures to God, even though the act of existence and the good arc found primarily in God.
Consequently, since the exterior word is sensible, it is more known to us than the interior word; hence, according to the application of the term, the vocal word is meant before the interior word, even though the interior word is naturally prior, being the efficient and final cause of the exterior.
It is the final cause, indeed, because we use the exterior word to manifest the interior. Hence, the interior word is that which is expressed by the exterior. Moreover, the exterior word signifies that which is understood, not the act of understanding, nor the habit or faculty, as the objects of understanding, unless the habit and the faculty are themselves the things that are understood. Consequently, the interior word is what is understood interiorly. Again, the interior word is the efficient cause of the word spoken exteriorly, for, since the meaning of a word is arbitrary, its principle is the will—just as the will is the principle of other products. Moreover, just as there preexists in the mind of a craftsman a certain image of his external work, so also does there pre-exist in the mind of one who pronounces an exterior word a certain archetype of it.
Consequently, just as we consider three things in the case of a craftsman, namely, the purpose of his work, its model, and the work now produced, so also do we find a threefold word in one who is speaking. There is the word conceived by the intellect, which, in turn, is signified by an exterior vocal word. The former is called the word of the heart, uttered but not vocalized. Then there is that upon which the exterior word is modeled; and this is called the interior word which has an image of the vocal word. Finally, there is the word expressed exteriorly, and this is called the vocal word. Now, just as a craftsman first intends his end, then thinks out the form of his product, and finally brings it into existence, so also, in one who is speaking, the word of the heart comes first, then the word which has an image of the oral word, and, finally, he utters the vocal word.
Now, because the vocal word is expressed by means of a body, such a word cannot be predicated of God except metaphorically, that is, only in the sense in which creatures or their motions, being produced by God, are said to be His word inasmuch as they are signs of the divine intellect as effects are signs of their cause. For the same reason, the word which has an image of the vocal word cannot be properly predicated of God, but only metaphorically. Consequently, His ideas of things to be made are called the Word of God only metaphorically. But the word of the heart—that which is actually considered by the intellect—is predicated properly of God, because it is entirely free of matter, corporeity, and all defects; and such things are properly predicated of God, for example, knowledge and the known, understanding and the understood.
Answers to Difficulties
1. Since the interior word is that which is understood and is within us only in so far as we actually understand, it always demands that the intellect be in its act, which is to understand. Now, the act of understanding is called a motion, not a motion of what is imperfect, such as is described in the Physics, but a motion of what is perfect-an operation, as is described in The Soul. It is in this sense that Damascene spoke of the interior word as a motion of the mind, because motion is taken for that in which the motion terminates; that is, operation is taken for the term of the operation, just as the act of understanding is taken for the understood.
Moreover, the notion of the mental word does not require that the act of the intellect which terminates in a mental word take place by means of some reasoning process which thinking seems to involve. It is enough that something is actually understood—no matter how this takes place. But because we usually speak interiorly by means of a reasoning process, Damascene and Anselm in defining a word use thinking instead of consideration.
2. Augustine’s argument is not from a parallel but from the lesser to the greater. For, if one can speak of the heart as having a mouth, he can with greater verisimilitude speak of it as containing a word. Hence, the argument proves nothing.
3. A medium can be understood in two ways. First, it can be understood as being a medium between the two terms of a motion, as pale is a medium between white and black in a process of blackening or whitening. Second, it can be understood as existing between what is active and what is passive, as the instrument of the artist is a medium between the artist and his work. In fact, anything by which the artist acts is a medium in this sense. It is in this second sense, too, that the Son is a medium between the creating Father and the creature created through the Word. The Son, however, is not a medium between God creating and the creature created, for the Word is also God creating. Hence, just as the Son is not a creature, so also He is not the Father.
There is still another reason why the conclusion does not follow. We say that God creates by means of His wisdom predicated essentially; hence, His wisdom can be called a medium between God and creature. Yet, this very wisdom is God.
In the argument cited, moreover, Augustine is proving that the Word is not a creature, not because He is a medium, but because He is the universal cause of creatures. Now, every motion is reduced to some first mover which is itself unmoved at least relatively to the motion in question, just as all things which undergo qualitative change must be reduced to some first thing which causes this change but is itself not changed in this way. Similarly, that to which all created beings are reduced must itself be uncreated.
4. A medium understood as existing between the two terms of a motion is sometimes taken as existing equidistant from each term, but at other times it is not taken in this sense. For a medium that exists between what is active and what is passive—if, indeed, it is a medium, as an instrument—is sometimes closer to the first active thing, sometimes closer to the last passive thing, although it may at other times stand equidistant from each. This becomes clear if we consider the action of an agent which finally terminates in what is passive by means of several instruments: the medium which is the form by which the agent acts is always closer to the agent because it is really in the agent, whereas only its likeness is in the patient. Now, it is in this manner that the Word is said to be a medium between the Father and the creature. Consequently, the Word does not necessarily stand equidistant between the Father and the creature.
5. It is true that we manifest something to another only by means of a word that is vocally expressed. Yet one can manifest something to oneself by means of the word of the heart; and, since this manifestation takes place before the other manifestation, the interior word is said to be the Principal word. Similarly, the Father is revealed to all by means of the Word Incarnate, but the eternally generated Word has manifested Him to Himself. Consequently, the name word does not belong to the Son merely in so far as He is incarnate.
6. The Incarnate Word in some respects resembles, and, in other respects, does not resemble the vocal word. They have this in common as a basis for comparison: a vocal word manifests the interior word as flesh manifested the eternal Word. They differ, however, in the following respect: the flesh assumed by the eternal Word is not said to be a word, whereas the vocal word used to manifest an interior word is said to be a word. Consequently, the vocal word is something other than the interior word, but the Incarnate Word is the same as the eternal Word, just as the word signified by the vocal word is the same as the word within the heart.
7. The nature of a sign belongs more properly to in effect than to a cause when the-cause brings about the existence of the effect but not its meaning, as is the case in the example given. But when the effect has derived from its cause, not only its existence, but also its meaning, then this cause is prior to the effect both in existence and in meaning. Hence, signification and manifestation belong more properly to the interior than to the exterior word, for whatever meaning the exterior word has been adopted to convey is due to the interior word.
8. A name is derived from two sources: from the one who uses the word or from the thing to which it has been applied. A word is said to be derived from a thing in so far as it signifies that by which the notion of the thing is completed, that is, the thing’s specific difference; and this is what a word principally signifies. But, since we do not know essential differences, sometimes, as is said in the Metaphysics, we use accidents or effects in their place, and name a thing accordingly. Hence, in so far as something other than the essential difference of a thing is used as the source of a word, the word is said to be derived from the one who uses it. An example of this is the word lapis (stone) which is derived from its effect, laedere pedem (to bruise the foot). Now, this effect should not be taken as that which the word principally signifies, but merely as that which takes the place of what is signified. Similarly, verbum (word) is derived from verberatio (a disturbing) or from boatus (shout) because of those who use it—not because of the thing it signifies.
9. As far as the nature of a word is concerned, it makes no difference whether a thing is understood by means of a likeness or by means of its essence; for it is evident that the exterior word signifies whatever can be understood—whether it be understood by means of its essence or by means of a likeness. Hence, whatever is understood, whether it has been caused by a likeness or by its essence, can be called an interior word.
10. Some of the things predicated both of God and creatures exist in God before they exist in creatures, even though their names were applied to creatures first. These predicates, such as goodness, wisdom, and the like, are used of God in their proper sense. Other names signifying other things cannot be used of God in their proper sense, but things similar to these things can be found in God. These things, therefore, are predicated metaphorically of Him, as when we say that God is a lion or that God walks. Hence, when the term word is applied to the divine Word from our word, this indicates merely the order in the use of the name, not the order between the two realities. Consequently, Word is not used metaphorically of God.
1. Vocal expression pertains to the nature of a word only with respect to that from which the word was taken by the one who employed this noun, not with respect to the thing itself. Consequently, even though vocal expression is predicated metaphorically of God, it does not follow that a word is in Him only metaphorically. For example, Damascene says that the word Θεος (God) comes from αθιεν, which means to burn; but, although burning is predicated metaphorically of God, God is not.
12. The Incarnate Word is compared with the vocal word merely because of a certain resemblance, as is clear from what has been said. Hence, the Incarnate Word can be said to be a vocal word only metaphorically. But the eternal Word is compared with the word of the heart, according to the true nature of the interior word. Hence, each is called a word in the proper sense.
In the second article we ask:
Is word predicated of god essentially or only personally?
[Parallel readings: S.T., I, 34, 2; I Sent., 27, 2, 2; In Evang. Johannis, c. 1, lect. 1 (P. 10:284b). See also readings given for preceding article]
It seems that word can also be predicated essentially, for
1. Word signifies making manifest, as we said in the preceding article. Now, of itself the divine essence can manifest itself. Consequently, a word of itself belongs to the divine essence, and can be predicated of it essentially.
2. As we read in the Metaphysics, a word signifies a definition. But, according to Augustine, the word is “knowledge with love;” and according to Anselm: “When the highest spirit is said to speak, this means that He is intuiting by thinking. Now, nothing but essential attributes are placed in these definitions. Hence, word is predicated essentially.
3. Whatever is said is a word. But, as Anselm writes, the Father utters not only Himself but also the Son and the Holy Spirit. Hence, word is common to all three Persons, and, therefore, is predicated essentially.
4. As Augustine says, whoever speaks possesses the word he speaks. But, as Anselm points out: “Just as the Father knows, and the Son knows, and the Holy Spirit knows, and yet there are not three knowers but one, so also the Father speaks, and the Son speaks, and the Holy Spirit speaks, and yet there are not three speakers but one.” Hence, word can be used of any one of them. Now, nothing is common to the three persons but the essence. Hence, word is predicated essentially of God.
5. With respect to our intellect, there is no difference between speaking and understanding. Now, the divine Word is understood as resembling the word in the intellect. Hence, when we say that God speaks, we mean simply that He understands. Consequently, His Word is simply that which He understands. Now, what God understands is predicated of Him essentially. Hence, His Word should be similarly predicated.
6. As Augustine says,8 the divine Word is the operative power of the Father. Now, operative power is predicated essentially of God. Therefore, word is also predicated essentially.
7. just as love implies an outpouring of affection, so does the word imply an outpouring of understanding. But love is predicated essentially of God. Hence, so also is the word.
8. That which can be understood of God without understanding the distinction of Persons is not predicated personally. Now, the word belongs to this type, for even those who deny the distinction of persons admit that God utters Himself. Hence, the word is not predicated of God personally.
To the Contrary
1. Augustine says: “Only the Son is called the Word, not the Father and the Son taken together.” Now, whatever is predicated essentially belongs equally to both. Therefore, the Word is not predicated essentially.
2. In the Gospel according to St. John (1:11) we read: “The Word was with God.” Since with is a transitive preposition, it implies a distinction. Consequently, the Word is distinct from God. But nothing that is predicated essentially is distinct in God. Therefore, the Word is not predicated essentially.
3. In God whatever implies a relation of person to person is predicated personally, not essentially. But the Word is of this type. Therefore.
4. In support of this position, the authority of Richard of St. Victor can be cited, since he shows that only the Son is called the Word.
The word that is predicated metaphorically of God, namely, a creature, which is called His word because it manifests Him, undoubtedly pertains to the entire Trinity. The object of our present inquiry, however, is the word in so far as it is predicated properly of God. Viewed superficially, the question seems to be very simple to solve, because the Word implies a certain origin according to which the divine Persons can be distinguished. Considered more profoundly, however, the question is more difficult, since we find in God certain things that imply origin, not in reality, but only according to our manner of thinking. For example, operation undoubtedly implies something proceeding from the one who operates, yet that procession is only according to our manner of thinking. Consequently, operation is predicated essentially of God, not personally, because God’s power and operations do not differ from His essence. Hence, it is not immediately evident whether the Word implies a real procession—as son does—or whether it implies merely a procession according to our way of thinking—as operation does, and so whether the Word is an essential or a personal predicate.
For the clarification of this matter, it should be noted that our intellectual word, which enables us to speak about the divine Word by a kind of resemblance, is that at which our intellectual operation terminates. This is the object of understanding, which is called the conception of the’intellect—whether the conception can be signified by a simple expression, as is true when the intellect forms the quiddities of things, or whether it can be signified only by a complex expression, as is true when the intellect composes and divides. Now, for us every object of understanding really proceeds from something else. For example, conceptions of conclusions proceed from principles, conceptions of the quiddities of later things proceed from quiddities of things prior, or at least an actual conception proceeds from habitual knowledge. Now, this is universally true of whatever we understand, whether it be understood by its essence or by its likeness; for conception itself is an effect of the act of understanding. Consequently, when the mind understands itself, its conception is not the mind but something expressed by the mind’s act of knowledge. Hence, two things pertain to the nature of our intellectual word: it is understood, and it is expressed by an agent distinct from itself.
Therefore, if word is predicated of God because of its resemblance to both of these characteristics, then the name of word implies a real procession—and not merely because of our manner of thinking. On the other hand, if it is predicated of God merely because of its resemblance to one of these characteristics, namely, that it is understood, then word as applied to God does not imply a real procession but one only according to our manner of thinking, such as the understood implies. This, however, would not be taking word in its proper meaning, because it is not taken in its proper meaning if something belonging to its nature is entirely left out. Consequently, if word is taken in its proper meaning when used of God, it can be predicated of Him only personally. However, if it is taken in a broad sense, it can also be predicated essentially. Since, however, we should use words as most people use them, as the Philosopher says,” usage should be followed very carefully when it comes to the meanings of words. Moreover, since all the saints commonly use word as a personal predication, this is even a stronger reason for saying that it is predicated personally.
Answers to Difficulties
1. The nature of a word includes not only the property of making something manifest but also a real procession of one thing from another. Now, although the divine essence manifests itself, the essence does not come from itself in a real procession. Hence, it cannot be called a word unless it is called this because it is identical with that Person, as, for the same reason, the essence is called the Father or the Son.
2. The knowledge that is included in the definition of a word should be understood as knowledge uttered by another. In us, this is actual knowledge. Now, although knowledge or wisdom is predicated essentially of God, generated wisdom is predicated only personally. Similarly, Anselm’s statement, “Speak signifies intuiting by thinking,” can be understood if speak be taken, in its proper sense, in its relation to intellectual intuition. In this sense, we can say that something proceeds through speech, namely, the understood.
3. The intellectual conception is a medium between the intellect and the thing known, because through its mediation the intellectual operation attains the thing. Hence, the intellectual conception is not only that which is understood but also that by which the thing is understood. Consequently, that which is understood can be said to be both the thing itself as well as an intellectual conception. Similarly, that which is spoken interiorly can be said to be both the thing expressed by the word and the word itself, as is also true of the exterior word, because both the word and the thing the word signifies are expressed when the word is spoken. I assert, therefore, that the Father is spoken, not as a word, but as a thing spoken by the Word. The same is true of the Holy Spirit, because the Son manifests the entire Trinity. Consequently, by uttering His own one Word, the Father utters all three Persons.
4. Here Anselm seems to contradict himself, for he says that Word is predicated only personally and belongs only to the Son, while to speak belongs to all three Persons. To speak, however, means nothing else but to send forth a word from oneself. Augustine’s statement also seems to contradict Anselm’s, for he saysl3that not each of the Persons in the Trinity speaks, but only the Father speaks by means of His Word. Consequently, just as the Word, properly speaking, is predicated only personally of God and belongs only to the Son, so also speech belongs only to the Father. Anselm, however, is taking to speak in its general meaning of to understand, and word in its proper sense. If he wished, he could have taken these words the other way around.
5. As used of us, speaking signifies not merely understanding but understanding plus the expression from within oneself of some conception; and we cannot understand in any way other than by forming a conception of this sort. Therefore, properly speaking, every act of understanding is, in our case, an act of uttering. God, however, can understand without something really proceeding from Him, because in Him the one understanding, the understood, and intellection itself are all identical. This is not true of us, however. Consequently, properly speaking, no~ all understanding in God is said to be uttering.
6. just as the Word is said to be the Father’s knowledge only in the sense that it is knowledge generated by the Father, so also it is called the operative power of the Father because it is a power proceeding from Him. Now, a power that proceeds is predicated personally, and an operative power proceeding from the Father is predicated in this manner.
7. One thing may proceed from another thing in two ways; First, it may proceed from it as action proceeds from an agent or as an operation proceeds from one operating. Second, it may proceed as a term of an operation from one operating. Now, the procession of an operation from the one operating does not distinguish a thing that is substantially existing from another substantially existing thing; it merely distinguishes a perfection from what is perfected, because an operation is a perfection of the one operating. On the other hand, the procession of the term of an operation distinguishes one thing from another. Now, in God the distinction between a perfection and what is perfected cannot be a real distinction. There are, however, distinct things in God, namely, the three Persons. Hence, a procession signified as existing in God as an operation from the one operating is a procession merely according to our manner of thinking. But a procession signified as that of a thing proceeding from a principle can really be found in God.
Moreover, there is this difference between the intellect and the will: an operation of the will terminates in things, in which good and evil are found; but an operation of the intellect terminates in the mind, in which the true and the false are found, as is said in the Metaphysics. Consequently, the will does not have anything proceeding from it except in the manner of an operation. The intellect, however, has something in itself that proceeds from it, not only in the manner of an operation, but also in the manner of a thing that is the term of an operation. Consequently, the word is signified as a thing that proceeds, but love, as an operation that proceeds. Hence, love is not such as to be predicated personally in the same way in which word is.
8. If one does not consider the distinction of Persons, he will not say that God utters Himself, properly speaking; and those who do not admit that there are distinct Persons in God do not understand this uttering in its proper sense.
Answers to Contrary Difficulties
One could easily answer the objections proposed here if he wished to support the opposite opinion.
1. To the difficulty drawn from the words of Augustine one could say that Augustine understands word in so far as it implies a real origin.
2.One could reply to this by pointing out that, even if the preposition with implies a distinction, this distinction is not implied in word. Hence, from the fact that the Word is said to be with the Father, one cannot conclude that it is predicated personally, because the Word is also said to be “God of God” and “God with God.”
3. One could answer by saying that this relation is merely conceptual.
4. This may be answered as the first difficulty is answered.
In the third article we ask:
Is word a proper name of the Holy Spirit?
[Parallel readings: S.T., I 34, 2; I Sent., 27, 2, 2, sol. 2; Contra errores graec., c. 12; In Hebr., c. 1, lect. 2 (P. 13:672b).]
It seems that it is, for
1. Basil says: “The Holy Spirit is related to the Son in the same way in which the Son is related to the Father; and, for this reason, the Son is the word of God, and the Spirit is the word of the Son.”’ Therefore, the Holy Spirit can be called a word.
2. In the Epistle to the Hebrews (1:3) the following is said of the Son: “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the figure of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power...” Hence, the Son has a word proceeding from Himself by which He upholds all things. But in God no one proceeds from the Son except the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Holy Spirit can be called the Word.
3. As Augustine says: “The Word is loving knowledge.” But, just as knowledge is appropriated to the Son, so love is appropriated to the Holy Spirit. Consequently, the Word is a proper name for the Holy Spirit as well as for the Son.
4. The Gloss on “upholding all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3) says that word should be taken as meaning a command. But a command is classified as a sign of the will. Therefore, since the Holy Spirit proceeds from the will, it seems that He can be called Word.
5. The notion of word implies a making manifest. Now, the Holy Spirit manifests the Father and the Son, just as the Son manifests the Father; for, as we read in the Gospel of St. John (16:13): “the Holy Spirit teaches all truth.” Therefore, the Holy Spirit should be called Word.
To the Contrary
Augustine says: “The Son is called Word for the same reason that He is called Son.” Now, the Son is called Son because He is generated. Therefore, He is called Word, also, because He is generated. The Holy Spirit, however, is not generated; hence, He is not a word.
Word and image are used differently by us and our holy men than they were used by the ancient Greek doctors, who used these names to signify everything that proceeds from the Godhead, and indifferently called the Son and the Holy Spirit Word and Image. Our saints” and ourselves, however, have followed the custom of canonical Scripture in the use of these words; and Scripture seldom if ever uses Word or Image for any one except the Son. We are not now concerned with image, but that our use of word is reasonable enough will appear from. the following.
Word implies a making manifest, and manifestation is found essentially only in the intellect. If something outside the intellect is said to “manifest” this is true only to the extent that something of it remains in the intellect. Hence, what proximately manifests is within the intellect, even though what remotely manifests can be outside of it. Consequently, word is used properly of that which proceeds from the intellect. Of that which does not proceed from the intellect it can be used only metaphorically; that is, it can be used of such a thing only in so far as it manifests in some way or other. I say, therefore, that in God only the Son proceeds from the intellect, because He proceeds from one Person; the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from two Persons, proceeds from the will. Consequently, the Holy Spirit can be called Word only metaphorically, that is, only in so far as whatever manifests can be called a word. The quotation from Basil should be understood in this sense.
Answers to Difficulties
1. The reply is clear from our discussion.
2. According to Basil’s the “word” referred to in this passage is the Holy Spirit. If this is true, our reply is the same as we gave to the first difficulty. Or, if we follow the Gloss, the “word” referred to is the command of the Son. This is called the word metaphorically, since we ordinarily command by means of a word.
3. Knowledge belongs to the notion of word since it implies, as it were, the very essence of word; but love belongs to the notion of word, not as something pertaining to its essence, but as something that accompanies a word. The passage cited shows this. Hence, one cannot conclude that the Holy Spirit is a word, but, rather, that He proceeds from the Word.
4. A word manifests not only what is in the intellect but also what is in the will, in so far as the will itself is also understood. Hence, even though a command is a sign of the will, it can be called a word and it pertains to the intellect.
5. The reply is clear from our discussion.
In the fourth article we ask:
Does the Father utter all creatures in the word by which he utters himself?
[Parallel readings: S.T., I, 34, 3; 37, 2, ad 3; III, 3, 8; I Sent., 27, 2, 3; Quodl., IV, 4, 6.]
It seems not, for
1. When we say that the Father utters Himself, all that is signified is one uttering and something uttered, and the Father alone is signified by both. Now, since the Father does not produce the Word from Himself except as He utters Himself, it seems that creatures are not uttered by the Word which proceeds from the Father.
2. The word by which each thing is expressed is its likeness. “The Word cannot be called a likeness of creatures,” as Anselm proves,’ because either it would resemble creatures perfectly—and then it would be changeable and without its sublime immutability—or it would not resemble them perfectly—and then it would lose its sublime truth, because the truth of a likeness is in direct proportion to its conformity with that whose likeness it is. Hence, the Son is not the Word by which creatures are uttered.
3. The word of creatures is said to be in God as the word of his products is in a craftsman. Now, the word of his products in a craftsman is merely the plan he has with respect to them. Therefore, the word of creatures in God is merely the plan He has made with respect to creatures. But God’s plans for His creatures are predicated of the essence, not of a person. Hence, the word by which creatures are uttered is not the Word that is a personal predicate.
4. Every word is related as an archetype or image to that which is uttered by it. When a word causes a thing, as happens in the practical intellect, then that word is an archetype. When, however, a thing causes a word, as happens in our speculative intellect, then that word is an image. Now, in God there cannot be the word of a creature that is the image of a creature. Hence, the word of creatures that is in God must be an archetype of creatures. But the divine archetype of creatures is an idea. Therefore, the divine word of creatures is simply an idea. An idea, however, is predicated of God, not personally, but essentially. Consequently, the Word which is predicated personally of God, and by which the Father utters Himself, is not the word by which creatures are uttered.-
5. The distance separating creatures from God is greater than that which separates them from other creatures. Now, in God there are many ideas of different creatures; hence, the Father does not utter Himself and creatures in the same word.
6. According to Augustine: “The Son is called the Word for the same reason that He is called an image. Now, the Son is not an image of creatures but only of the Father. Hence, He is not the word of creatures.
7. Every word proceeds from that whose word it is. But the Son does not proceed from creatures. Hence, He is not the word by which creatures are uttered.
To the Contrary
1. Anselm says that by uttering Himself the Father uttered all creatures. But the Word by which He uttered Himself is the Son. Therefore, by the Word, which is the Son, the Father utters all creatures.
2. Augustine explains the expression, “He spoke and it was made,” as meaning: “He begot the Word in which all things were in order to come into existence.” Therefore, by the Word which is the Son the Father uttered all creatures.
3. By the same act, the artist is turned toward his art and his work. But God Himself is the eternal art from which creatures are produced like works of art. Therefore, in the same act, the Father is turned toward Himself and to all creatures. Hence, by uttering Himself, He utters all creatures.
4'- Whatever is subsequent is reduced to what is first in that class as to its cause. Now, creatures are uttered by God. Therefore, they are reduced to the first which God utters. But God first utters Himself. Hence, by the fact that He utters Himself, He utters all creatures.
The Son proceeds from the Father in the manner of nature inasmuch as He proceeds as a Son, and in the manner of intellect inasmuch as He proceeds as the Word. We find both types of processions in ourselves, although not in the same respect. For in our case nothing proceeds from something else both in the manner of nature and in the manner of intellect, because with us the act of understanding and the act of existing are not the same—which they are in God.
Moreover, in both types of procession the difference between procession from God and procession from us is similar. For a human son, proceeding in the manner of nature from a human father, receives only a part of his father’s substance, not all of it; but the Son of God, proceeding in the manner of nature from the Father, receives all of His Father’s nature in such a way that both the Father and the Son have absolutely one and the same numerical nature.
This difference is also found with respect to the intellectual processions. The word expressed in us by actual consideration and arising, as it were, from a consideration of a thing known previously, or at least from habitual knowledge, does not receive into itself the whole of that from which it had its origin. For, in the conception of one word, the intellect expresses not all but only part of what it possesses in its habitual knowledge. Similarly, what is contained in one conclusion does not express all that was contained virtually in its principle. However, for the divine Word to be perfect, it must express whatever is contained in that from which it had its origin, especially since God sees all things, not in many intuitions, but in one. Consequently, whatever is contained in the Father’s knowledge is necessarily and entirely expressed by His only Word and in the very same manner in which all things are contained in His knowledge. In this way it is a true word, whose intellectual content corresponds to that of its principle. Through His knowledge, moreover, the Father knows Himself, and, by knowing Himself, He knows all other things. Hence, His Word chiefly expresses the Father and, as a result, all other things which the Father knows by knowing Himself. Therefore, because the Son is a word that perfectly expresses the Father, the Son expresses all creatures. This sequence is outlined by the words of Anselm, who said’ that by uttering Himself the Father uttered all creatures.
Answers to Difficulties
1. When we say that the Father utters Himself we signify that in this utterance every creature is included, since the Father’s knowledge contains all creatures, being, as it were, their archetype.
2. Anselm is taking likeness in its strict sense, as Dionysius does when he says that, when things are ordered equally to each other, we receive a mutual likeness; that is, one thing can be said to be similar to the other and the other similar to it. But, properly speaking, no such mutual likeness is found between a cause and its effect. We say that a picture of Hercules resembles Hercules, but not that Hercules resembles the picture. Hence, since the divine Word is not, like our word, made in the likeness of a creature, but rather the opposite is true, Anselm means to say simply that the Word is not a likeness of creatures but creatures are a likeness of the Word.
However, if likeness is taken in its broader meaning, then we can say that the Word is a likeness of creatures, not, however, in the sense that it is an image of creatures, but in the sense that it is their archetype. Taking the term in this meaning, Augustine calls ideas likenesses of things.
Finally, it does not follow that the highest truth is not in the Word merely from the fact that the Word remains unchanged while existing creatures change; for the truth of a word does not demand that it be a likeness with the same nature as that of the thing declared by the word; it is enough if it is a true representation of the thing, as we have pointed out previously.
3. The divine plan for creatures is called a word, properly speaking, only if this plan proceeds from another—and is therefore a begotten plan. This, however, like begotten wisdom, is a personal predication. Taken simply, the divine plan is an essential predication.
4. A word differs from an idea, for the latter means an exemplary cause and nothing else, but the word in God of a creature means an exemplary form that is drawn from something else. Hence, a divine idea pertains to the essence, but a word, to a person.
5. Even though the greatest possible distance separates God from a creature because of what is proper to each, God is the model in whose likeness creatures are created. There is no creature that is a model for another creature. Hence, in that Word by which God is expressed every creature is expressed; but the idea by which one creature is expressed does not express another. Thus, this is another difference between the Word and an idea. The reason for this is that an idea is directly related to a creature; hence, for many creatures there are many ideas. On the other hand, the Word is directly related to God, whom the Word expresses first, and then, as a consequence, expresses creatures. Because all creatures are one as they exist in God there is only one Word for all of them.
6. When Augustine says that the Son “is called a Word for the same reason that He is called an Image,” he is referring to the distinguishing personal characteristic of the Son, which remains the same whether He is called, because of it, the Son, the Word, or the Image of the Father. But in the manner of signifying, these three predicates are not of the same type, for word implies not only the notion of origin and imitation but also that of manifestation. Consequently, the Word is, in a fashion, the word of creatures, because creatures are manifested by means of the Word.
7. A word can belong to something in different ways. First, it can belong to one who is speaking. Taken in this sense, it proceeds from him whose word it is. Second, it can belong to that which is made manifest by the word. In this sense, the word does not necessarily proceed from that whose word it is, unless the knowledge from which the word proceeds has been caused by things. However, this is not true of God’s knowledge. Hence, the conclusion does not follow.
In the fifth article we ask:
Does the Word imply a relation to creatures?
[Parallel readings: See readings given for preceding article.]
It seems not, for
1. Every name that implies a relation to creatures is predicated of God only from the beginning of time, for example, Creator and Lord. But Word is predicated of God from all eternity. Therefore, it does not imply a relation to creatures.
7. All relatives are relative in being or in predication. Now, the Word is not related to creatures in being, because then it would depend on creatures. Nor is it related to them merely in predication, because then it would have to be related to creatures in one of the grammatical cases. And since in this type of relation one thing is usually referred to another by means of the genitive case, we would have to say: “The Word is of creatures.” This statement, however, Anselm denies.’ Therefore, the Word does not imply any relation to creatures.
3. Any name implying a relation to creatures cannot be understood unless the actual or potential existence of creatures is also understood, because, if one understands one of two relatives, he also understands the other. But, even if some creature is not understood as existing now or in the future, the divine Word, by which the Father utters Himself, is understood. Therefore, the Word does not imply any relation to creatures.
4. The relation of God to creatures can be only that of a cause to an effect. But, as Dionysius says, any name that implies an effect in creatures is common to the entire Trinity. However, Word is not this kind of a name. Hence, it does not imply any relation to creatures.
5. God is not understood as having a relation to creatures unless it be by His wisdom, goodness, and power. But these attributes are predicated of the Word merely by appropriation; and since Word is not merely an appropriated but a proper name, it seems that Word does not imply a relation to creatures.
6. Even though man arranges things, the word man does not imply a relation to the things he has arranged. Therefore, even though all things are arranged by the Word, Word does not imply a relation to them.
7. Like son, word is a relative predication. Now, the entire relation of the son terminates in the father, for he is not the son of any one but the father. Therefore, the entire relation of the Word terminates similarly. Hence, Word does not imply a relation to creatures.
8. According to the Philosopher, every relative is said to be such only with relation to one other thing. Otherwise, the relative would have two essences, since the essence of a relative lies simply in its being related to another. Now, the Word is predicated as relative to the Father; therefore, it is not predicated as relative to creatures.
9. If the same word is applied to specifically different things, it is used of them equivocally, as dog is used of hounds and fish. Now, superiority and inferiority are specifically different types of relations. If, therefore, one word implies both relations, then that word is used equivocally. But the relation of the Word to creatures is simply one of superiority, and the relation of the Word to the Father is, in a way, one of inferiority—not because of any unequal dignity, but because of the authority which a principle has. Hence, the Word which implies a relation to the Father does not imply a relation to creatures, unless it is taken equivocally.
To the Contrary
1. Augustine says: “In the beginning was the Word.” (John 1:1)
The Word is called Logos in Greek, and in Latin it means an intelligible character and word. In this passage, however, word is better interpreted as meaning a relation, not only to the Father, but also to those things which are made by His power, acting through the Word. This statement clearly supports our position.
2. Explaining the words of the Psalmist, “God hath spoken once” (Psalms 61:12), the Gloss says: “‘Once, that is, God has eternally begotten the Word in which He disposes all things.” Now, disposition implies a relation to the things disposed. Therefore, Word is predicated relatively.
3. Every word implies a relation to what is signified by it. But, as Anselm says, by uttering Himself God utters all creatures. Therefore, the Word implies a relation, not only to the Father, but also to creatures.
4. From the very fact of His being the Son, the Son perfectly represents the Father in that which is intrinsic to the Father. Now, the Word, by its very name, adds the notion of making manifest. But there can be no manifestation other than that in which the Father is manifested through creatures—a manifestation, as it were, to the exterior. Therefore, the Word implies a relation to creatures.
5. Dionysius says that God is praised as being a word or principle of intelligibility because “He is the giver of wisdom and reason.” From this it is clear that the Word as predicated of God implies the notion of cause. Now, a cause is predicated relatively to its effect. Therefore, the Word implies a relation to creatures.
6. The practical intellect is related to the things carried out through its instrumentality. Now, the divine Word is the word of an intellect that is practical, because, as Damascene says, the Word is an operative word. Therefore, it implies a relation to creatures.
Whenever two things are related to each other in such a way that one depends upon the other but the other does not depend upon it, there is a real relation in the dependent member, but in the independent member the relation is merely one of reason—simply because one thing cannot be understood as being related to another without that other being understood as being related to it. The notion of such a relation becomes clear if we consider knowledge, which depends on what is known, although the latter does not depend on it.
Consequently, since all creatures depend on God but He does not depend on them, there are real relations in creatures, referring them to God. The opposite relations in God to creatures, however, are merely conceptual relations; but, because names are signs of concepts, certain names we use for God imply a relation to creatures, even though, as we have said, this relation is merely conceptual. The only real relations in God are those by which the divine persons are distinguished from each other.
Among relative terms, we find that some are used to signify the relations themselves, for example, the word likeness. Others are used to signify something upon which a relation follows. For example, knowledge is used to signify a certain quality upon which a particular relation follows. We find this difference also in the relative names used of God, both in the names used of Him as from all eternity, as well as in those used of Him as from the beginning of time. For Father is used of Him as from all eternity, and Lord as from the beginning of time; and each of these words is used to signify the relations themselves. But Creator, used of God as from the beginning of time, is employed to signify a divine action upon which a certain relation follows. The same is true of Word; it is used to signify something absolute to which something relative is joined; for, as Augustine says, the Word is simply “begotten Wisdom.”
This, however, does not prevent Word from being a personal predication, because God begetting or God begotten is, like Father, predicated personally. It may happen, however, that an absolute thing is able to have a relation to many other things. This is why a name that is used to signify something absolute upon which a relation follows can be spoken of as being relative to many things, and it is in this manner that knowledge is used. Inasmuch as it is knowledge, it is relative to what is known, but inasmuch as it is a particular accident or form, it is related to the knower. In the same way, word is related to the one who utters it and to that which is uttered by the word. In the latter relation, it can be taken in two ways: first, according as the two are interchangeable, and in this sense we speak of a word as being related to what is spoken; second, according as the word is related to a thing to which the character of being uttered belongs. And since the Father principally utters Himself by begetting His Word, and, as a consequence of this, utters creatures, the Word is principally, and, as it were, essentially referred to the Father, but consequently, and, as it were, accidentally, to creatures; for it is only accidental to the Word that creatures are uttered through it.
Answers to Difficulties
1. That argument is true of those names which imply an actual relation to creatures, but not of those which imply a habitual relation. A habitual relation is one that does not require the actual existence of a creature. All the relations that follow upon an act of the soul are of this kind, because the will and the intellect can be related to a thing that does not actually exist. Now, the Word implies an intellectual procession. Hence, the argument proves nothing.
2. The Word is spoken of as being related to creatures, but this is not a real relation in the sense that this relation to creatures really exists in God. It is rather a relation merely according to predication. Moreover, there is no reason why this relation should not be expressed by some grammatical case; for I can say that He is the Word of creatures in the sense that the Word is about creatures, although not from them. It is this last sense that Anselm denies. Besides, even if the Word were not referred to creatures by means of some grammatical case, it would be enough if it is referred to them in any manner whatsoever; for example, if it were referred to them by a preposition joined with some case. Then one would say that the Word “is for creatures,” that is, for constituting them.
3. That argument holds for those names whose notions imply a relation to creatures. But this name is not that type, as is evident from our discussion in the body of the article. Hence, the conclusion does not follow.
4. Inasmuch as Word implies something absolute, it expresses a relation of causality over creatures; but inasmuch as it implies a relation of real origin, it is a personal name; and under this aspect it expresses no relation to creatures.
5. From our last answer, the answer to the fifth difficulty is evident.
6. The Word is not merely that by which the arrangement of all creatures takes place; it is the arrangement itself which the Father makes of things to be created. Hence, in some way, the Word is related to creatures.
7. The name son implies a relation only to that principle from which He comes, but word implies a relation both to the principle by which the Word was uttered and to that which is, as it were, its term, namely, that which is manifested through the word. What is manifested, of course, is principally the Father; but also, and, as a consequence, creatures are manifested, which, however, can in no way be a principle of a divine Person. Hence, Son implies no relation at all to creatures, such as Word does.
8. That argument is based on those names used to signify relations themselves, for it is impossible for one relation to terminate in many things, unless these are in some way one.
9. The same reply may be given to the ninth difficulty.
Answers to Contrary Difficulties
The arguments supporting the opposite opinion conclude that the Word is in some way related to creatures, but not that it implies this relation essentially or, as it were, principally. In this limited sense, they must be granted.
In the sixth article we ask:
Do things exist more truly in the word or in themselves?
[Parallel readings: S.T., I, 18, 4, ad 3; C.G., IV, 13; In Evang. Johannis, c. 1, lect. 2 (P. 10:293a); De diff. verbi div. et hum. (Perr. 1:n. 5).]
It seems that things do not exist more truly in the Word, for
1. A thing exists more truly where it exists through its essence than where it exists only through its likeness. But things exist in the Word only through their likeness, and in themselves through their essence. Therefore, they exist more truly in themselves than in the Word.
2. But it was said that they exist more nobly in the Word because in the Word they have a more noble act of existence.—On the contrary, as Augustine says,’ a material thing has a more noble act of existence in our soul than it has in itself, yet it exists more truly in itself than it does in our soul. For the same reason, a thing exists more truly in itself than it does in the Word.
3. What exists actually exists more truly than what exists potentially. But a thing existing in itself is in act; in the Word, however, it exists only potentially, like a product existing in a craftsman. Therefore, a thing exists more truly in itself than it does in the Word.
4. The ultimate perfection of a thing is its operation. Now, things existing in themselves have their own operations—which they do not have as they exist in the Word. Therefore, they exist more truly in themselves than in the Word.
5. Only things of one character can be compared. Now, the act of existence which a thing in itself has is not of the same character as that which it has in the Word. Therefore, at least one cannot say that a thing exists more truly in the Word than in itself.
To the Contrary
1. As Anselm. says, a creature as it exists in the Creator is a creative essence. But an uncreated act of existence exists more truly than the created act. Therefore, a thing has existence in the Word more truly than it has in itself.
2. We assert that there are ideas in the divine mind, just as Plato asserted that the ideas of things exist outside of it. Now, according to Plato, the “separated man” was more truly man than the material man; hence, he called the separated man “man in himself.” For this reason, and, indeed, because of the position of the Faith, things exist more truly in the Word than in themselves.
3. That which is truest in any class is the measure for the entire class. But the likenesses of things existing in the Word are the measures of the truth of all things, because a thing is said to be true in so far as it imitates that upon which it was modeled, and this archetype exists in the Word. Therefore, things exist more truly in the Word than in themselves.
As Dionysius says effects fall short of perfectly imitating their causes which are above them, and, because of this distance between the cause and the effect, something is truly predicated of the effect that is not predicated of the cause. For example, amusements are not properly said to be amused, although they are causes of our being amused. Now, this certainly could not happen unless the manner of the causes’ existence were more sublime than the things predicated of their effects. And we find this to be true of all equivocal efficient causes. For example, the sun cannot be said to be hot, even though other things an heated by it; and this is because of the superiority of the sun over those things that are called hot.
When, therefore, we ask if things exist more truly in themselves than in the Word we must make a distinction, because more truly can refer to the truth of the thing or to the truth of the predication. If it refers to the truth of the thing, then undoubtedly the truth of things as they exist in the Word is greater than that which they possess in themselves. But, if it refers to the truth of predication, then the opposite is true. For man is more truly predicated of a thing which is in its own nature than it is of a thing as it is in the Word. But this is not due to any defect in the Word, but, rather, to its great superiority, as was pointed out.
Answers to Difficulties
1. If one is thinking of truth of predication, then, simply speaking, it is true that a thing exists more truly where it exists through its essence than where it exists through a likeness. But if one considers the truth of the thing, then a thing exists more truly where it exists through a likeness which is its cause than where it exists through a likeness which it has caused.
2. The likeness of a thing in our soul is not the cause of that thing, as is the likeness existing in the Word. Hence, there is no parallel.
3. An active potency is more perfect than an act which is its effect. It is According to this kind of potency that creatures are said to exist potentially in the Word.
4. Although creatures as they are in the Word do not have their own operations, nevertheless, they have more noble operations inasmuch as they cause things as well as the operations of things.
5. Although the act of existence of creatures in the Word and their act of existing in themselves are not of the same character univocally, they are of the same character analogously.
Answers to Contrary Difficulties
1. This argument proceeds from the truth of the thing, not from the truth of predication.
2. Plato was criticized for asserting that natural forms exist in their own natures, without matter—as though matter were merely accidentally related to natural species. If this were true, “natural things” could be truly predicated of things without matter. Our position, however, is not the same as Plato’s. Hence, there is no parallel.
3. The reply to the third argument is the same as our reply to the first.
In the seventh article we ask:
Is the Word related to those things which do not exist, will not exist, and never have existed?
[Parallel readings: S.T., I, 34, 3, ad 5; III, 3,8; I Sent., 27, 2, 3; Quodl., IV, 4, a. 6.]
It seems that it is, for
1. A word implies something proceeding from an intellect. Now, the divine intellect knows also those things which are not, will not be, and never have been. This we showed when we treated God’s knowledge.’ Hence, the Word can be related to these things.
2. According to Augustine: “The Son is the Father’s art, filled with the ideas of living things.” But, as Augustine says elsewhere: “Even if nothing comes into being because of an idea, it is rightly called an idea.” Hence, the Word is also related to those things which will not be or have not been made.
3. The Word would not be perfect unless it contained in itself all that is contained in the knowledge of Him who utters it. But the knowledge of the Father, who utters the Word, includes those things which never will be and never were. Therefore, these things also are contained in the Word.
To the Contrary
1. Anselm says: “There can be no word of that which does not exist, will not exist, and never has existed.”
2. That whatever a person says takes place is a sign of his power. Now, God is most powerful. Hence, His Word does not pertain to anything which will not, at some time, take place.
A thing can be in the Word in two ways. First, it can be in the Word as what the Word knows, or what can be known in the Word. It is in this latter way that those things exist in the Word that do not exist, have not existed, and will not exist; for the Word knows these things just as the Father does, and they can be known in the Word just as they can be known in the Father. Second, a thing is said to be in the Word as something spoken through the Word. Now, whatever is spoken by a word is in some way directed to be carried out, because it is by means of words that we incite others to action and arrange for them to carry out our ideas. This is why God’s utterance is called His arrangement, as the Gloss says, commenting on the words of the Psalmist (Psalms 61:12): “God hath spoken once...” Hence, just as God does not dispose things unless they are, will be, or have been, so also He does not utter such things. Consequently, the Word is related to these things only, namely, the things that are actually uttered. But knowledge, art, and idea (in other words, intelligible representation) do not imply a relation to execution. Hence, no parallel exists between them and the Word.
From this, our replies to the Difficulties are clear.
In the eighth article we ask:
Are all created things life in the Word?
[Parallel readings: S.T., I, 18, 4. See also readings given for q. 4, a. 6.]
It seems not, for
1. The Word causes things in so far as they exist in it. Therefore, if the things within the Word are life, the Word causes them through its life. Now, from the fact that the Word causes things through its goodness, all things are good. Hence, if it causes things through its life, all things would be living. This is false, and, consequently, the initial proposition is false.
2. Things exist in the Word as works exist in an artist. But as they are in an artist works are not life. They are not the life of the artist, who lived even before they existed in him, nor do they have any life themselves, for they are lifeless. Therefore, creatures in the Word are not life, either.
3. In Scripture, the causing of life is appropriated to the Holy Spirit rather than to the Word. This is clear from John (6:64): “It is the spirit that quickeneth,” as well as from other passages. Now, as is clear from what we said previously, only the Son, and not the Holy Spirit, is called the Word. Consequently, it is not consistent to say that things existing in the Word are life.
4- Intellectual light is not the principle of life. But things in the Word are light. Hence, it seems that in the Word they are not life.
To the Contrary
1. We read the following in John (1:3): “What is made in Him was life.”
2. According to the Philosopher, the motion of the heavens is said to be “a kind of life for all naturally existing things.” But the Word has a greater influence on creatures than the motion of the heavens has on nature. Therefore, as they exist in the Word, things should be called life.
As they exist in the Word, things can be considered in two ways: in their relation to the Word and in their relation to things exist in their own natures. In both ways, the likeness of a creature in the Word is life.
Now, we say that something lives in the proper sense if it has a principle of motion or of any activity whatsoever within it, for the primary reason why things are said to be alive is that they seem to have something within them moving them in some kind of motion. For this reason the word life is used of all things which have in them the principle of their own activity. Consequently, because certain things understand, feel, or will, they are said to be living—not merely because they move from place to place or because they increase in quantity. Hence, that act of existence which a thing has in so far as it moves itself to perform a certain action is properly called the life of the thing, because “the life of a living being is its act of existence,” as is said in The Soul. In our case, however, no action that we move ourselves to perform is our act of existence. Hence, properly speaking, to understand is not our life, unless to live is taken to mean the end-term of an operation; but this is merely a sign of life. Similarly, a likeness as conceived within us is not our life. On the other hand, he intellection of the Word is His act of existence, and so is the likeness of things He possesses. Therefore, a likeness of a creature existing in the Word is also His life.
Similarly, this likeness of the creature is, in a way, the creature itself—that is, in the same way that the soul is said to be, in some fashion, all things. Consequently, because the likeness of a creature existing within the Word in some way produces the creature and moves it as it exists in its own nature, the creature, in a sense, moves itself, and brings itself into being; that is, in view of the fact that it is brought into being, and is moved by its likeness existing in the Word. Thus the likeness of a creature in the Word is, in a certain sense, the very life of the creature itself.
Answers to Difficulties
1. That a creature existing in the Word is called life does not pertain to the creature’s own nature, but to its manner of existence in the Word. Since it does not exist in this manner in itself, it does not follow that it fives in itself, even though it is life in the Word—any more than it follows that the thing is immaterial in itself because it is immaterial in the Word. On the other hand, goodness, being, and other things of this sort belong to the creature’s own nature. Hence, just as creatures good when existing in the Word, so also are they good when existing in their own nature.
2. The likeness of things in an artist cannot be called life in the strict sense, because they are neither the very act of existence of the living artist nor the artist’s operation, as is true of God. It is true, however, as Augustine says, that “a cabinet existing in the mind of a cabinetmaker is living;” but this is because as it exists in his mind it possesses an intelligible act of existence, which belongs to the category of life.
3. Life is attributed to the Holy Spirit according as God is said to be the life of things, namely, as He is in all things and moves all things, with the result that all things seem to be moved, in some way, by an intrinsic principle. But life is appropriated to the Word according as things are in God. This is clear from what has been said.
4. just as the likenesses of things in the Word cause existence in things, so also they cause knowledge in things—that is, in so far as they are received into intelligences, thus causing them to be able to know things. Hence, just as these likenesses are called life because they are principles of existing, so are they also called light because they are principles of knowing.