QUESTION 45: THE MODE OF EMANATION OF THINGS FROM THE FIRST PRINCIPLE
The next question concerns the mode of the emanation of things from the
First Principle, and this is called creation, and includes eight points
(1) What is creation?
(2) Whether God can create anything?
(3) Whether creation is anything in the very nature of things?
(4) To what things it belongs to be created?
(5) Whether it belongs to God alone to create?
(6) Whether creation is common to the whole Trinity, or proper to any
(7) Whether any trace of the Trinity is to be found in created things?
(8) Whether the work of creation is mingled with the works of nature and
of the will?
Article 1: Whether to create is to make something from nothing?
Objection 1: It would seem that to create is not to make anything from
nothing. For Augustine says (Contra Adv. Leg. et Proph. i): "To make
concerns what did not exist at all; but to create is to make something by
bringing forth something from what was already."
Objection 2: Further, the nobility of action and of motion is considered from
their terms. Action is therefore nobler from good to good, and from being
to being, than from nothing to something. But creation appears to be the
most noble action, and first among all actions. Therefore it is not from
nothing to something, but rather from being to being.
Objection 3: Further, the preposition "from" [ex] imports relation of some
cause, and especially of the material cause; as when we say that a statue
is made from brass. But "nothing" cannot be the matter of being, nor in
any way its cause. Therefore to create is not to make something from
On the contrary, On the text of Gn. 1, "In the beginning God created,"
etc., the gloss has, "To create is to make something from nothing."
I answer that, As said above (Question , Article ), we must consider not only
the emanation of a particular being from a particular agent, but also the
emanation of all being from the universal cause, which is God; and this
emanation we designate by the name of creation. Now what proceeds by
particular emanation, is not presupposed to that emanation; as when a man
is generated, he was not before, but man is made from "not-man," and
white from "not-white." Hence if the emanation of the whole universal
being from the first principle be considered, it is impossible that any
being should be presupposed before this emanation. For nothing is the
same as no being. Therefore as the generation of a man is from the
"not-being" which is "not-man," so creation, which is the emanation of
all being, is from the "not-being" which is "nothing."
Reply to Objection 1: Augustine uses the word creation in an equivocal sense,
according as to be created signifies improvement in things; as when we
say that a bishop is created. We do not, however, speak of creation in
that way here, but as it is described above.
Reply to Objection 2: Changes receive species and dignity, not from the term
"wherefrom," but from the term "whereto." Therefore a change is more
perfect and excellent when the term "whereto" of the change is more noble
and excellent, although the term "wherefrom," corresponding to the term
"whereto," may be more imperfect: thus generation is simply nobler and
more excellent than alteration, because the substantial form is nobler
than the accidental form; and yet the privation of the substantial form,
which is the term "wherefrom" in generation, is more imperfect than the
contrary, which is the term "wherefrom" in alteration. Similarly creation
is more perfect and excellent than generation and alteration, because the
term "whereto" is the whole substance of the thing; whereas what is
understood as the term "wherefrom" is simply not-being.
Reply to Objection 3: When anything is said to be made from nothing, this
preposition "from" [ex] does not signify the material cause, but only
order; as when we say, "from morning comes midday"--i.e. after morning is
midday. But we must understand that this preposition "from" [ex] can
comprise the negation implied when I say the word "nothing," or can be
included in it. If taken in the first sense, then we affirm the order by
stating the relation between what is now and its previous non-existence.
But if the negation includes the preposition, then the order is denied,
and the sense is, "It is made from nothing---i.e. it is not made from
anything"---as if we were to say, "He speaks of nothing," because he does
not speak of anything. And this is verified in both ways, when it is
said, that anything is made from nothing. But in the first way this
preposition "from" [ex] implies order, as has been said in this reply. In
the second sense, it imports the material cause, which is denied.
Article 2: Whether God can create anything?
Objection 1: It would seem that God cannot create anything, because, according
to the Philosopher (Phys. i, text 34), the ancient philosophers
considered it as a commonly received axiom that "nothing is made from
nothing." But the power of God does not extend to the contraries of first
principles; as, for instance, that God could make the whole to be less
than its part, or that affirmation and negation are both true at the same
time. Therefore God cannot make anything from nothing, or create.
Objection 2: Further, if to create is to make something from nothing, to be
created is to be made. But to be made is to be changed. Therefore
creation is change. But every change occurs in some subject, as appears
by the definition of movement: for movement is the act of what is in
potentiality. Therefore it is impossible for anything to be made out of
nothing by God.
Objection 3: Further, what has been made must have at some time been becoming.
But it cannot be said that what is created, at the same time, is becoming
and has been made, because in permanent things what is becoming, is not,
and what has been made, already is: and so it would follow that something
would be, and not be, at the same time. Therefore when anything is made,
its becoming precedes its having been made. But this is impossible,
unless there is a subject in which the becoming is sustained. Therefore
it is impossible that anything should be made from nothing.
Objection 4: Further, infinite distance cannot be crossed. But infinite
distance exists between being and nothing. Therefore it does not happen
that something is made from nothing.
On the contrary, It is said (Gn. 1:1): "In the beginning God created
heaven and earth."
I answer that, Not only is it impossible that anything should be created
by God, but it is necessary to say that all things were created by God,
as appears from what has been said (Question , Article ). For when anyone makes
one thing from another, this latter thing from which he makes is
presupposed to his action, and is not produced by his action; thus the
craftsman works from natural things, as wood or brass, which are caused
not by the action of art, but by the action of nature. So also nature
itself causes natural things as regards their form, but presupposes
matter. If therefore God did only act from something presupposed, it
would follow that the thing presupposed would not be caused by Him. Now
it has been shown above (Question , Articles ,2), that nothing can be, unless it
is from God, Who is the universal cause of all being. Hence it is
necessary to say that God brings things into being from nothing.
Reply to Objection 1: Ancient philosophers, as is said above (Question , Article ),
considered only the emanation of particular effects from particular
causes, which necessarily presuppose something in their action; whence
came their common opinion that "nothing is made from nothing." But this
has no place in the first emanation from the universal principle of
Reply to Objection 2: Creation is not change, except according to a mode of
understanding. For change means that the same something should be
different now from what it was previously. Sometimes, indeed, the same
actual thing is different now from what it was before, as in motion
according to quantity, quality and place; but sometimes it is the same
being only in potentiality, as in substantial change, the subject of
which is matter. But in creation, by which the whole substance of a thing
is produced, the same thing can be taken as different now and before only
according to our way of understanding, so that a thing is understood as
first not existing at all, and afterwards as existing. But as action and
passion coincide as to the substance of motion, and differ only according
to diverse relations (Phys. iii, text 20,21), it must follow that when
motion is withdrawn, only diverse relations remain in the Creator and in
the creature. But because the mode of signification follows the mode of
understanding as was said above (Question , Article ), creation is signified by
mode of change; and on this account it is said that to create is to make
something from nothing. And yet "to make" and "to be made" are more
suitable expressions here than "to change" and "to be changed," because
"to make" and "to be made" import a relation of cause to the effect, and
of effect to the cause, and imply change only as a consequence.
Reply to Objection 3: In things which are made without movement, to become and to
be already made are simultaneous, whether such making is the term of
movement, as illumination (for a thing is being illuminated and is
illuminated at the same time) or whether it is not the term of movement,
as the word is being made in the mind and is made at the same time. In
these things what is being made, is; but when we speak of its being made,
we mean that it is from another, and was not previously. Hence since
creation is without movement, a thing is being created and is already
created at the same time.
Reply to Objection 4: This objection proceeds from a false imagination, as if
there were an infinite medium between nothing and being; which is plainly
false. This false imagination comes from creation being taken to signify
a change existing between two forms.
Article 3: Whether creation is anything in the creature?
Objection 1: It would seem that creation is not anything in the creature. For
as creation taken in a passive sense is attributed to the creature, so
creation taken in an active sense is attributed to the Creator. But
creation taken actively is not anything in the Creator, because otherwise
it would follow that in God there would be something temporal. Therefore
creation taken passively is not anything in the creature.
Objection 2: Further, there is no medium between the Creator and the creature.
But creation is signified as the medium between them both: since it is
not the Creator, as it is not eternal; nor is it the creature, because in
that case it would be necessary for the same reason to suppose another
creation to create it, and so on to infinity. Therefore creation is not
anything in the creature.
Objection 3: Further, if creation is anything besides the created substance,
it must be an accident belonging to it. But every accident is in a
subject. Therefore a thing created would be the subject of creation, and
so the same thing would be the subject and also the term of creation.
This is impossible, because the subject is before the accident, and
preserves the accident; while the term is after the action and passion
whose term it is, and as soon as it exists, action and passion cease.
Therefore creation itself is not any thing.
On the contrary, It is greater for a thing to be made according to its
entire substance, than to be made according to its substantial or
accidental form. But generation taken simply, or relatively, whereby
anything is made according to the substantial or the accidental form, is
something in the thing generated. Therefore much more is creation,
whereby a thing is made according to its whole substance, something in
the thing created.
I answer that, Creation places something in the thing created according
to relation only; because what is created, is not made by movement, or by
change. For what is made by movement or by change is made from something
pre-existing. And this happens, indeed, in the particular productions of
some beings, but cannot happen in the production of all being by the
universal cause of all beings, which is God. Hence God by creation
produces things without movement. Now when movement is removed from
action and passion, only relation remains, as was said above (Article , ad 2). Hence creation in the creature is only a certain relation to the
Creator as to the principle of its being; even as in passion, which
implies movement, is implied a relation to the principle of motion.
Reply to Objection 1: Creation signified actively means the divine action, which
is God's essence, with a relation to the creature. But in God relation to
the creature is not a real relation, but only a relation of reason;
whereas the relation of the creature to God is a real relation, as was
said above (Question , Article ) in treating of the divine names.
Reply to Objection 2: Because creation is signified as a change, as was said
above (Article , ad 2), and change is a kind of medium between the mover and
the moved, therefore also creation is signified as a medium between the
Creator and the creature. Nevertheless passive creation is in the
creature, and is a creature. Nor is there need of a further creation in
its creation; because relations, or their entire nature being referred to
something, are not referred by any other relations, but by themselves;
as was also shown above (Question , Article , ad 4), in treating of the equality
of the Persons.
Reply to Objection 3: The creature is the term of creation as signifying a
change, but is the subject of creation, taken as a real relation, and is
prior to it in being, as the subject is to the accident. Nevertheless
creation has a certain aspect of priority on the part of the object to
which it is directed, which is the beginning of the creature. Nor is it
necessary that as long as the creature is it should be created; because
creation imports a relation of the creature to the Creator, with a
certain newness or beginning.
Article 4: Whether to be created belongs to composite and subsisting things?
Objection 1: It would seem that to be created does not belong to composite and
subsisting things. For in the book, De Causis (prop. iv) it is said, "The
first of creatures is being." But the being of a thing created is not
subsisting. Therefore creation properly speaking does not belong to
subsisting and composite things.
Objection 2: Further, whatever is created is from nothing. But composite
things are not from nothing, but are the result of their own component
parts. Therefore composite things are not created.
Objection 3: Further, what is presupposed in the second emanation is properly
produced by the first: as natural generation produces the natural thing,
which is presupposed in the operation of art. But the thing supposed in
natural generation is matter. Therefore matter, and not the composite,
is, properly speaking, that which is created.
On the contrary, It is said (Gn. 1:1): "In the beginning God created
heaven and earth." But heaven and earth are subsisting composite things.
Therefore creation belongs to them.
I answer that, To be created is, in a manner, to be made, as was shown above (Question , Article , ad 2,3). Now, to be made is directed to the being of a thing. Hence to be made and to be created properly belong to whatever being belongs; which, indeed, belongs properly to subsisting things, whether they are simple things, as in the case of separate substances, or composite, as in the case of material substances. For being belongs to that which has being---that is, to what subsists in its own being. But forms and accidents and the like are called beings, not as if they themselves were, but because something is by them; as whiteness is called a being, inasmuch as its subject is white by it. Hence, according to the Philosopher (Metaph. vii, text 2) accident is more properly said to be "of a being" than "a being." Therefore, as accidents and forms and the like non-subsisting things are to be said to co-exist rather than to exist, so they ought to be called rather "concreated" than "created" things; whereas, properly speaking, created things are subsisting beings.
Reply to Objection 1: In the proposition "the first of created things is being,"
the word "being" does not refer to the subject of creation, but to the
proper concept of the object of creation. For a created thing is called
created because it is a being, not because it is "this" being, since
creation is the emanation of all being from the Universal Being, as was
said above (Article ). We use a similar way of speaking when we say that "the
first visible thing is color," although, strictly speaking, the thing
colored is what is seen.
Reply to Objection 2: Creation does not mean the building up of a composite thing
from pre-existing principles; but it means that the "composite" is
created so that it is brought into being at the same time with all its
Reply to Objection 3: This reason does not prove that matter alone is created,
but that matter does not exist except by creation; for creation is the
production of the whole being, and not only matter.
Article 5: Whether it belongs to God alone to create?
Objection 1: It would seem that it does not belong to God alone to create,
because, according to the Philosopher (De Anima ii, text 34), what is
perfect can make its own likeness. But immaterial creatures are more
perfect than material creatures, which nevertheless can make their own
likeness, for fire generates fire, and man begets man. Therefore an
immaterial substance can make a substance like to itself. But immaterial
substance can be made only by creation, since it has no matter from which
to be made. Therefore a creature can create.
Objection 2: Further, the greater the resistance is on the part of the thing
made, so much the greater power is required in the maker. But a
"contrary" resists more than "nothing." Therefore it requires more power
to make (something) from its contrary, which nevertheless a creature can
do, than to make a thing from nothing. Much more therefore can a creature
Objection 3: Further, the power of the maker is considered according to the
measure of what is made. But created being is finite, as we proved above
when treating of the infinity of God (Question , Articles ,3,4). Therefore only a
finite power is needed to produce a creature by creation. But to have a
finite power is not contrary to the nature of a creature. Therefore it is
not impossible for a creature to create.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. iii, 8) that neither good nor
bad angels can create anything. Much less therefore can any other
I answer that, It sufficiently appears at the first glance, according to
what precedes (Article ), that to create can be the action of God alone. For
the more universal effects must be reduced to the more universal and
prior causes. Now among all effects the most universal is being itself:
and hence it must be the proper effect of the first and most universal
cause, and that is God. Hence also it is said (De Causis prop., iii) that
"neither intelligence nor the soul gives us being, except inasmuch as it
works by divine operation." Now to produce being absolutely, not as this
or that being, belongs to creation. Hence it is manifest that creation is
the proper act of God alone.
It happens, however, that something participates the proper action of
another, not by its own power, but instrumentally, inasmuch as it acts by
the power of another; as air can heat and ignite by the power of fire.
And so some have supposed that although creation is the proper act of the
universal cause, still some inferior cause acting by the power of the
first cause, can create. And thus Avicenna asserted that the first
separate substance created by God created another after itself, and the
substance of the world and its soul; and that the substance of the world
creates the matter of inferior bodies. And in the same manner the Master
says (Sent. iv, D, 5) that God can communicate to a creature the power of
creating, so that the latter can create ministerially, not by its own
But such a thing cannot be, because the secondary instrumental cause
does not participate the action of the superior cause, except inasmuch as
by something proper to itself it acts dispositively to the effect of the
principal agent. If therefore it effects nothing, according to what is
proper to itself, it is used to no purpose; nor would there be any need
of certain instruments for certain actions. Thus we see that a saw, in
cutting wood, which it does by the property of its own form, produces the
form of a bench, which is the proper effect of the principal agent. Now
the proper effect of God creating is what is presupposed to all other
effects, and that is absolute being. Hence nothing else can act
dispositively and instrumentally to this effect, since creation is not
from anything presupposed, which can be disposed by the action of the
instrumental agent. So therefore it is impossible for any creature to
create, either by its own power or instrumentally---that is,
And above all it is absurd to suppose that a body can create, for no
body acts except by touching or moving; and thus it requires in its
action some pre-existing thing, which can be touched or moved, which is
contrary to the very idea of creation.
Reply to Objection 1: A perfect thing participating any nature, makes a likeness
to itself, not by absolutely producing that nature, but by applying it to
something else. For an individual man cannot be the cause of human nature
absolutely, because he would then be the cause of himself; but he is the
cause of human nature being in the man begotten; and thus he presupposes
in his action a determinate matter whereby he is an individual man. But
as an individual man participates human nature, so every created being
participates, so to speak, the nature of being; for God alone is His own
being, as we have said above (Question , Articles ,2). Therefore no created being
can produce a being absolutely, except forasmuch as it causes "being" in
"this": and so it is necessary to presuppose that whereby a thing is this
thing, before the action whereby it makes its own likeness. But in an
immaterial substance it is not possible to presuppose anything whereby it
is this thing; because it is what it is by its form, whereby it has
being, since it is a subsisting form. Therefore an immaterial substance
cannot produce another immaterial substance like to itself as regards its
being, but only as regards some added perfection; as we may say that a
superior angel illuminates an inferior, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier.
iv, x). In this way even in heaven there is paternity, as the Apostle
says (Eph. 3:15): "From whom all paternity in heaven and on earth is
named." From which evidently appears that no created being can cause
anything, unless something is presupposed; which is against the very idea
Reply to Objection 2: A thing is made from its contrary indirectly (Phys. i, text
43), but directly from the subject which is in potentiality. And so the
contrary resists the agent, inasmuch as it impedes the potentiality from
the act which the agent intends to induce, as fire intends to reduce the
matter of water to an act like to itself, but is impeded by the form and
contrary dispositions, whereby the potentiality (of the water) is
restrained from being reduced to act; and the more the potentiality is
restrained, the more power is required in the agent to reduce the matter
to act. Hence a much greater power is required in the agent when no
potentiality pre-exists. Thus therefore it appears that it is an act of
much greater power to make a thing from nothing, than from its contrary.
Reply to Objection 3: The power of the maker is reckoned not only from the
substance of the thing made, but also from the mode of its being made;
for a greater heat heats not only more, but quicker. Therefore although
to create a finite effect does not show an infinite power, yet to create
it from nothing does show an infinite power: which appears from what has
been said (ad 2). For if a greater power is required in the agent in
proportion to the distance of the potentiality from the act, it follows
that the power of that which produces something from no presupposed
potentiality is infinite, because there is no proportion between "no
potentiality" and the potentiality presupposed by the power of a natural
agent, as there is no proportion between "not being" and "being." And
because no creature has simply an infinite power, any more than it has an
infinite being, as was proved above (Question , Article ), it follows that no
creature can create.
Article 6: Whether to create is proper to any person?
Objection 1: It would seem that to create is proper to some Person. For what
comes first is the cause of what is after; and what is perfect is the
cause of what is imperfect. But the procession of the divine Person is
prior to the procession of the creature: and is more perfect, because the
divine Person proceeds in perfect similitude of its principle; whereas
the creature proceeds in imperfect similitude. Therefore the processions
of the divine Persons are the cause of the processions of things, and so
to create belongs to a Person.
Objection 2: Further, the divine Persons are distinguished from each other
only by their processions and relations. Therefore whatever difference is
attributed to the divine Persons belongs to them according to the
processions and relations of the Persons. But the causation of creatures
is diversely attributed to the divine Persons; for in the Creed, to the
Father is attributed that "He is the Creator of all things visible and
invisible"; to the Son is attributed that by Him "all things were made";
and to the Holy Ghost is attributed that He is "Lord and Life-giver."
Therefore the causation of creatures belongs to the Persons according to
processions and relations.
Objection 3: Further, if it be said that the causation of the creature flows
from some essential attribute appropriated to some one Person, this does
not appear to be sufficient; because every divine effect is caused by
every essential attribute---viz. by power, goodness and wisdom---and thus
does not belong to one more than to another. Therefore any determinate
mode of causation ought not to be attributed to one Person more than to
another, unless they are distinguished in creating according to relations
On the contrary, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. ii) that all things caused
are the common work of the whole Godhead.
I answer that, To create is, properly speaking, to cause or produce the
being of things. And as every agent produces its like, the principle of
action can be considered from the effect of the action; for it must be
fire that generates fire. And therefore to create belongs to God
according to His being, that is, His essence, which is common to the
three Persons. Hence to create is not proper to any one Person, but is
common to the whole Trinity.
Nevertheless the divine Persons, according to the nature of their
procession, have a causality respecting the creation of things. For as
was said above (Question , Article ; Question , Article ), when treating of the knowledge
and will of God, God is the cause of things by His intellect and will,
just as the craftsman is cause of the things made by his craft. Now the
craftsman works through the word conceived in his mind, and through the
love of his will regarding some object. Hence also God the Father made
the creature through His Word, which is His Son; and through His Love,
which is the Holy Ghost. And so the processions of the Persons are the
type of the productions of creatures inasmuch as they include the
essential attributes, knowledge and will.
Reply to Objection 1: The processions of the divine Persons are the cause of
creation, as above explained.
Reply to Objection 2: As the divine nature, although common to the three Persons,
still belongs to them in a kind of order, inasmuch as the Son receives
the divine nature from the Father, and the Holy Ghost from both: so also
likewise the power of creation, whilst common to the three Persons,
belongs to them in a kind of order. For the Son receives it from the
Father, and the Holy Ghost from both. Hence to be the Creator is
attributed to the Father as to Him Who does not receive the power of
creation from another. And of the Son it is said (Jn. 1:3), "Through Him
all things were made," inasmuch as He has the same power, but from
another; for this preposition "through" usually denotes a mediate cause,
or "a principle from a principle." But to the Holy Ghost, Who has the
same power from both, is attributed that by His sway He governs, and
quickens what is created by the Father through the Son. Again, the reason
for this particular appropriation may be taken from the common notion of
the appropriation of the essential attributes. For, as above stated
(Question , Article , ad 3), to the Father is appropriated power which is chiefly
shown in creation, and therefore it is attributed to Him to be the
Creator. To the Son is appropriated wisdom, through which the
intellectual agent acts; and therefore it is said: "Through Whom all
things were made." And to the Holy Ghost is appropriated goodness, to
which belong both government, which brings things to their proper end,
and the giving of life---for life consists in a certain interior
movement; and the first mover is the end, and goodness.
Reply to Objection 3: Although every effect of God proceeds from each attribute,
each effect is reduced to that attribute with which it is naturally
connected; thus the order of things is reduced to "wisdom," and the
justification of the sinner to "mercy" and "goodness" poured out
super-abundantly. But creation, which is the production of the very
substance of a thing, is reduced to "power."
Article 7: Whether in creatures is necessarily found a trace of the Trinity?
Objection 1: It would seem that in creatures there is not necessarily found a
trace of the Trinity. For anything can be traced through its traces. But
the trinity of persons cannot be traced from the creatures, as was above
stated (Question , Article ). Therefore there is no trace of the Trinity in
Objection 2: Further, whatever is in creatures is created. Therefore if the
trace of the Trinity is found in creatures according to some of their
properties, and if everything created has a trace of the Trinity, it
follows that we can find a trace of the Trinity in each of these
(properties): and so on to infinitude.
Objection 3: Further, the effect represents only its own cause. But the
causality of creatures belongs to the common nature, and not to the
relations whereby the Persons are distinguished and numbered. Therefore
in the creature is to be found a trace not of the Trinity but of the
unity of essence.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. vi, 10), that "the trace of
the Trinity appears in creatures."
I answer that, Every effect in some degree represents its cause, but
diversely. For some effects represent only the causality of the cause,
but not its form; as smoke represents fire. Such a representation is
called a "trace": for a trace shows that someone has passed by but not
who it is. Other effects represent the cause as regards the similitude of
its form, as fire generated represents fire generating; and a statue of
Mercury represents Mercury; and this is called the representation of
"image." Now the processions of the divine Persons are referred to the
acts of intellect and will, as was said above (Question ). For the Son
proceeds as the word of the intellect; and the Holy Ghost proceeds as
love of the will. Therefore in rational creatures, possessing intellect
and will, there is found the representation of the Trinity by way of
image, inasmuch as there is found in them the word conceived, and the
But in all creatures there is found the trace of the Trinity, inasmuch
as in every creature are found some things which are necessarily reduced
to the divine Persons as to their cause. For every creature subsists in
its own being, and has a form, whereby it is determined to a species, and
has relation to something else. Therefore as it is a created substance,
it represents the cause and principle; and so in that manner it shows the
Person of the Father, Who is the "principle from no principle." According
as it has a form and species, it represents the Word as the form of the
thing made by art is from the conception of the craftsman. According as
it has relation of order, it represents the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as He is
love, because the order of the effect to something else is from the will
of the Creator. And therefore Augustine says (De Trin. vi 10) that the
trace of the Trinity is found in every creature, according "as it is one
individual," and according "as it is formed by a species," and according
as it "has a certain relation of order." And to these also are reduced
those three, "number," "weight," and "measure," mentioned in the Book of
Wisdom (9:21). For "measure" refers to the substance of the thing limited
by its principles, "number" refers to the species, "weight" refers to the
order. And to these three are reduced the other three mentioned by
Augustine (De Nat. Boni iii), "mode," "species," and "order," and also
those he mentions (Questions. 83, qu. 18): "that which exists; whereby it is
distinguished; whereby it agrees." For a thing exists by its substance,
is distinct by its form, and agrees by its order. Other similar
expressions may be easily reduced to the above.
Reply to Objection 1: The representation of the trace is to be referred to the appropriations: in which manner we are able to arrive at a knowledge of the trinity of the divine persons from creatures, as we have said (Question , Article ).
Reply to Objection 2: A creature properly speaking is a thing self-subsisting;
and in such are the three above-mentioned things to be found. Nor is it
necessary that these three things should be found in all that exists in
the creature; but only to a subsisting being is the trace ascribed in
regard to those three things.
Reply to Objection 3: The processions of the persons are also in some way the
cause and type of creation; as appears from the above (Article ).
Article 8: Whether creation is mingled with works of nature and art?
Objection 1: It would seem that creation is mingled in works of nature and
art. For in every operation of nature and art some form is produced. But
it is not produced from anything, since matter has no part in it.
Therefore it is produced from nothing; and thus in every operation of
nature and art there is creation.
Objection 2: Further, the effect is not more powerful than its cause. But in
natural things the only agent is the accidental form, which is an active
or a passive form. Therefore the substantial form is not produced by the
operation of nature; and therefore it must be produced by creation.
Objection 3: Further, in nature like begets like. But some things are found
generated in nature by a thing unlike to them; as is evident in animals
generated through putrefaction. Therefore the form of these is not from
nature, but by creation; and the same reason applies to other things.
Objection 4: Further, what is not created, is not a creature. If therefore in
nature's productions there were not creation, it would follow that
nature's productions are not creatures; which is heretical.
On the contrary, Augustine (Super Gen. v, 6,14,15) distinguishes the
work of propagation, which is a work of nature, from the work of creation.
I answer that, The doubt on this subject arises from the forms which,
some said, do not come into existence by the action of nature, but
previously exist in matter; for they asserted that forms are latent. This
arose from ignorance concerning matter, and from not knowing how to
distinguish between potentiality and act. For because forms pre-exist in
matter, "in potentiality," they asserted that they pre-exist "simply."
Others, however, said that the forms were given or caused by a separate
agent by way of creation; and accordingly, that to each operation of
nature is joined creation. But this opinion arose from ignorance
concerning form. For they failed to consider that the form of the natural
body is not subsisting, but is that by which a thing is. And therefore,
since to be made and to be created belong properly to a subsisting thing
alone, as shown above (Article ), it does not belong to forms to be made or
to be created, but to be "concreated." What, indeed, is properly made by
the natural agent is the "composite," which is made from matter.
Hence in the works of nature creation does not enter, but is presupposed
to the work of nature.
Reply to Objection 1: Forms begin to be actual when the composite things are
made, not as though they were made "directly," but only "indirectly."
Reply to Objection 2: The active qualities in nature act by virtue of substantial
forms: and therefore the natural agent not only produces its like
according to quality, but according to species.
Reply to Objection 3: For the generation of imperfect animals, a universal agent
suffices, and this is to be found in the celestial power to which they
are assimilated, not in species, but according to a kind of analogy. Nor
is it necessary to say that their forms are created by a separate agent.
However, for the generation of perfect animals the universal agent does
not suffice, but a proper agent is required, in the shape of a univocal
Reply to Objection 4: The operation of nature takes place only on the
presupposition of created principles; and thus the products of nature are