Thursday, March 6, 2014

Does God have any features beyond his essence?


1. St. Thomas next asks whether there are any accidents in God. This article is important because much of the treatise on the divine essence and operations concerns the attributes of God, and so it is crucial to determine in advance what sort of relation these attributes have to God's essence.

2. In support of the idea that there are accidents in God, he gives two arguments.  First, that what is the accident of one thing cannot be the substance of another. This is because it belongs to accidents to exist in another, and not to subsist independently. But in humans, wisdom, providence, etc. are accidents. Therefore in God they must also be accidents.

3. Second, he appeals to the rule that every genus has a first principle. I.e., every natural kind has a prime exemplar. But if the prime exemplars of various accidental forms are not in God, then they would have to be in other primal beings independent of God, which, he says, is unfitting.

4. For the Sed Contra, he cites Boethius: what is simple in form cannot be a subject. To be a subject is to be host to accidental forms. God is simple, and therefore therefore cannot have accidents.

5. The reader may not be familiar with the language of subject and accident. An accident, or accidental form, is a act or perfection superadded to a thing's substantial form or it's essence.  It is something distinct from the bareness of "what it is to be this sort of thing" which adds to this individual's act of being, or flows from the essence of the thing, without transforming it into a different kind of thing. The subject is the individual that receives these accidental forms.

6. In the corpus, he lays down three arguments against the idea that there are accidents in God.  First, because accidents are present in a subject as added perfections, as actualizations of a potency in the subject.

7. Second, because existence itself (ipsum esse) cannot have anything adjoined to it, just as, though particular hot things can be colored, heat itself is nothing but heat.  God is existence itself, however, and thus cannot have any accidents adjoined to him.

8. Third, because everything essential in a thing (per se) is prior to what is accidental (per accidens).  Since God is the first being, simply speaking, it is impossible for there to be any accidents in him, because nothing is caused in God (since he is first cause), whereas accidents are caused by the subject in which they inhere.

9. To the first objection, he replies that virtue, wisdom, etc. are predicated of God analogically, and not univocally.

10. To the second, he says that while God is not the first in any genus, he is the first principle of all being, which exceeds every genus.  Thus accidental forms have a first principle, but it is outside of their genera, and outside the category of “accident”.

Outline of Article:

– What is accidental in one does not subsist in another.
– There must be a subject in which the first principles of all genera inhere.

Sed Contra
– A simple form cannot be a subject.

– Accidents are to Subjects as Act is to Potency.
– Being itself is simply being, just as heat itself could not also be “red”.
– Essence is prior to accidents, and thus accidents are caused.

– We speak of the divine attributes analogically.
– God is the first principle which exceeds any genus.

Is God a kind of thing?


1. Having established that God is neither a body, nor made of anything, nor an instance of some species, nor something in which existence is accidental, Thomas next inquires whether God falls into any kind or genus.

2. In support of the view that God belongs to a community of kinds with creatures, St. Thomas raises two objections.  First, he observes that God is a self-subsistent being, which is the definition of substance, which is one of the categories of being, i.e. a genus of things.

3. Second, he cites Averroes to the effect that God is the “measure of all substances”, and observes that what is measured can only be measured by something of the same kind.

4. For the Sed Contra, Thomas notes that nothing is prior to God, either in the intellect or in reality. But genera are intellectually prior to what is contained in them, since the contents of a genus are specifications of the generic form according to a difference. Therefore God is not in a genus, because if he were, he would properly be thought of as the specification or actualization of a generic form.

5. In the corpus, he first distinguishes two ways in which a thing can be said to be contained in a genus.  The first way is properly, as species fall under genera.  The second is analogically, as principles or privations ultimately reducible to a genus.

6.  Against the notion that God is a species, he proposes three arguments: first, because a species is related to its genus as act to potency, i.e. the species is the actualization of a generic form according to a specific difference.  But God is not the actualization of any prior form.

7. Second, because the genus of a thing is based on its essence, and God’s essence is “being”, it would follow that he would be in the genus “being”.  But “being” cannot be a genus, because every proper genus is divisible into species by something outside of it.  But no qualities or forms exist outside of “being” that could divide it.  Therefore, since the genus to which he would belong cannot be a genus, it follows that God is not in a genus.

8. Third, because among the members of a genus there is a real community of form, which is actualized differently in the different individuals.  Thus in the members of any genus there must be a difference between essence and existence, since the essence is the basis of the community, and the existence the basis of the distinction.  But in God there is no distinction between essence and existence, as was shown in the previous article.  Thus God is not in a genus.

9. Thomas pauses at this point to observe that because he is not a species or member of a genus, God cannot be defined, since the principles of a thing’s definition are its genus and difference.

10. As for being a principle reducible to some genus, St. Thomas points out that no principle which is reducible to a genus (e.g. “unity” to the genus of “discrete quantity”) extends beyond its genus.  It seems that by "principle reducible to a genus", Thomas means the sorts of constitutive parts of a genus that, while not subsistent individuals, are still capable of dividing the genus.  Thus a point has no substance, but it is the principle which determines and divides a line, in a way analogous to, but different from the way species divide and determine proper genera.

11. God, however, is the cause of the genus of being, and therefore can't be contained in it in this way.

12. In response to the first objection Thomas clarifies that substance signifies not only a subsistent essence, I.e. one that exists in its own right, nor existence as such, but an essence which exists, but which is distinct from its own existence.  Thus God is not in the genus of substance.

13. To the second objection, he replies that while God is not proportionate to any creature, as "measures" normally are, still he can be called the measure of all that exists because everything that is exists only insofar as it is like God.

Outline of Article

– God subsists in himself and is therefore in the genus of substance.
– God is the measure of all things, and therefore must be of one kind with them.

Sed Contra
– Genera are logically prior to species, but nothing is prior to God.

– God cannot be in a genus properly speaking, as a species, for three reasons: first because the species is the actualization of a potency in the genus; second, because God would have to be in the genus “being”, which cannot be a genus; third, because there cannot be a community of form between members of a genus without there being a difference between the individual act of being and the common essence.
– God cannot be reducible to a genus, as a principle or privation (“the unit” to discrete quantity, or “the unextended” to a continuous line), because such things do not exceed the genera which they constitute and divide, whereas God is the cause of the genus of being, and therefore cannot be contained in it in this way.

– Properly speaking, a substance is an essence which possesses the act of existing, in itself, but not of itself.
– God is the measure of all things only insofar as to be is to be like God.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Is God's existence accidental to who he is?


1. The fourth article of this question concerns the identity of essence and esse (“to be”, the act of being) in God. This article is magnificent.

2. Against the identity of essence and existence in God, Thomas offers two objections. The first is that if God were merely the act of existing, then in God there would be nothing super-added to the act of being.  But in creatures, the mere act of being without any added characteristics is referred to as “esse commune”, or “the common act of being”, which is predicated of everything that exists.  In this case, God would simply be “existence” in general, and everything could be said to be God, inasmuch as everything exists. But scripture manifestly contradicts such a notion, as for example, when it says that the name of God cannot be rightly applied to stones and wood.

3. The second objection is from the possibility of different kinds of knowledge of God.  If essence and existence were the same in God, then to know the one would be to know the other.  But while we can prove that God exists, we cannot know the divine essence in this life, so the two must be distinct.

4. For the Sed Contra, he cites St. Hilary.

5. In the Corpus, he offers three arguments for the identity of essence and existence in God. Each of these arguments is profoundly illuminating.  The first is from the relationship between a thing’s qualities and its essence.  Whatever qualities are in a thing must either be a part of its essence, must flow from its essence, or must arise accidentally from some other external cause.  He uses the example of laughter in man.  A man incapable of laughter would not be inhuman by that fact, as for example a man without a rational soul would be, but ordinarily the ability to laugh flows from the essential characteristics of humanity.  But if a man goes outside in midwinter and stands still for an hour, you may find that his hands are cold.  This coldness of the hands is neither essential to his humanity, nor an accidental manifestation of his humanity, but an accident brought about by the influence of his cold surroundings.

6. Thomas points out that if the existence of a thing is distinct from its essence, then it must be either in the second or third category.  I.e., existence must either flow from the essence of a thing, or be brought about in it by some exterior agent.  But the former possibility is absurd, since an essence without existence cannot bring about that existence—what does not have the act of being cannot supply it of itself.  Therefore, if a thing’s existence is distinct from its essence, then its existence must be caused by another agent.  But as was shown above (cf. the second way), God is the first efficient cause.  Therefore it is impossible that his existence is caused by another.  So it must be identical with his essence.

7. Second, he argues that the act of being is what makes any form or essence actual, since if a thing’s essence and its existence are distinct, the essence, without the act of being, is merely a possibility.  Thus, among things in which essence and existence are distinct, the essence is a kind of potency brought into act by the act of being.  But in God there is no potency, as has been mentioned elsewhere, so this cannot be true of him.  Therefore essence and existence must be the same in him.

8. Third, he says that what has being but is not itself being, exists by participation.  But since God does not participate in or receive his form from any higher being, he must not simply “have” existence from another (cf. the fourth way), but be his own existence.

9. In Thomas’s reply to the first objection, he distinguishes two ways in which a thing can have nothing added to it: first, inasmuch as its essence by definition excludes any addition (as “irrational animal” excludes the addition of rationality); second, inasmuch as its essence is left indeterminate (as “animal” is left unspecified as to its rationality).  God’s existence, he says, has nothing added to it in the former way: it is already fully determined.  Common existence has nothing added to it in the latter way: as totally undetermined.

10. To the second objection, he replies that “to be” may be said in either of two ways: in one way it is the determinate act of a particular essence, in another way it reflects the intellectual conjunction of subject and predicate.  We know that God exists only in the second way.

11. This reply is rather odd, because it seems to leave open the question, “What ‘being’ is being predicated of God in the statement ‘God is’?” It cannot be esse commune, because God’s act of being is distinct from universal being, as has already been discussed.  But neither can it be God’s own proper act of being, which we are incapable of knowing.  The solution, it seems, is to add another distinction: between primitive conception of being in the intellect, and the actual being of things. That “God exists” may at first seem to place God in the class of beings that are, i.e. ens commune, is not problem once we realize the distinction between ipsum esse and esse commune.  However, our affirmation of God’s existence can still be held true, even if he is only said to “exist” through analogy. A full discussion of this problem will be reserved to qq.12-13.

Outline of Article

—Mere “being” with nothing added to it is common to all things, so that if God were mere “being”, God would be everything.
—If God’s being and essence were identical, to know one would be to know the other.  But the latter can be known, while the former cannot.

—Features distinct from a thing’s essence are either caused by the essence or caused by some other agent.  God’s existence cannot be caused by another agent.  But existence cannot be supplied by a non-existing essence.  Therefore in God, existence and essence are one.
—Essence is to potency as Esse is to act.  But God is pure act, and therefore is his own Esse.
—Whatever does not have existence in itself exists by participation. God does not participate in any higher forms, so he must exist of himself.

—Esse commune is mere being, without any determinations of quality or form.  But God’s esse is being, determined to the utmost extent.
—In the judgment “God exists”, we do not claim to know God’s act of being, but merely to grasp that there is such an act of being, by its reflection in created things.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Is God is an instance of Divinity?


1. In the third article, Thomas asks whether God is identical with his Essence or Nature, or merely an individual instance of that Essence.  We can perceive at this point a progression in the articles of this question.  Most things we observe are bodies, and so the most natural assumption would be that God is a body.  Failing that, God must at least be the sort of thing that participates materially in a form.  Once that has been excluded, Thomas begins to introduce us to the profound strangeness of the Godhead, by showing that God and his Godhead are identical.

2. Against the identity of God and his Essence (Godhead or Divinity), St. Thomas proposes two objections.  First, that because we say that Divinity is "in" God, and nothing can be "in" itself (since this would seem to confuse the categories of substance and accident), God cannot be identical with his Divinity.

3. The second objection is noteworthy, because it contains the first appeal in the Summa to the principle "omne agens agit sibi simile", Every agent acts to its own likeness.  This means that in acting every agent imposes its form on other things, to the extent that the perfection of its act and the receptivity of the thing receiving the act allow, and therefore that the effects of every act bear some likeness to the agent which caused them.  The objector cites this principle, and the fact that God made man in his image, to conclude that if in man essence and supposit (i.e. the particular individual, "this man") are distinct, they must also be distinct in God.

4. For the Sed Contra, St. Thomas cites Christ's discourse at the last supper in John, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Since Christ identifies himself with life itself, Thomas sees this as warrant for identifying God and his Godhead.  He elaborates beautifully in his comment on this verse (Cf. Commentary on John, paragraph 1868).

5. The argument in the corpus is fascinating, and somewhat difficult.  The key to Thomas’s reasoning is that forms which enter into composition with matter are individuated by that matter, so that in such forms the individual supposit and the essence of the species (of which the supposit is a member) are always distinct.

6. For example, an apple is such a thing as could not exist immaterially, since it belongs to the form to be united with matter: the removal of matter from the form would be the destruction of the form as well.  Thus every apple is distinct from “apple-ness”, because each apple supplies the material principle lacking in the form, and thus exceeds the mere form in its determinacy and reality.  As Thomas puts it, “the essence or nature includes in itself only those things which fall into the definition of the species.”  This is to say that in particular species of things, the essence of the species is limited to the form which constitutes the species.  The particular qualities of the matter to which this essence is added, and the particular accidents which might be added to the essence once it is received in an individual, are not part of the essence.  Thus in individual material things there is always more than the essence of the species to which they belong.

7. Among those forms that are not received in matter, the case is rather different.  In this case the matter is not needed to receive the form, since the form has actuality in itself apart from being individualized in a particular recipient.  Furthermore, such a form does not need to be individualized, because it is distinct by being itself, and not by being instantiated in this or that quantity of matter.  God, however, is clearly one of these sorts of forms, and therefore in him essence and supposit are not distinct.  Thus God is the same as his Godhead, his Life, and whatever other forms can be truly predicated of him.

8. In response to the first objection, Thomas clarifies that although God’s “divinity” is spoken of as though distinct from himself, this is merely to ease the way for the human mind.

9. To the second objection, Thomas answers that the likeness of the creator in the creature is imperfect and diverse.  This suffices to explain the difference.

Outline of Article:

—Godhead is said to be "in" God.
—Humanity, the image of God, differs from individual humans.

Sed Contra
—I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

—Among material things form is received or super-added to the thing.  The matter receives additional actuality from the form, but the form requires the matter in which to be actualized.  But in God, the form or essence subsists, and therefore is individualized not by its reception in matter, but simply by being itself.

—This language is based on an analogy to human nature.
—The likeness between creator and creature is imperfect.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Matter and Form in God


1. In the second article, Thomas asks whether God is composed of matter and form. We will pause here to lay out some basic considerations on matter and form for the reader.

2. Aristotle famously distinguishes four "causes" (Greek: aitiai) or ways of explaining things.  One can think of these four causes as different ways of answering the question "why is it?"  The efficient cause answers the question "What brought this thing into being?" The final cause answers the question "what perfects this thing? what is it for?" The formal cause answers the question "what is it that makes this thing itself? what makes it different in kind from other things?" The material cause answers the question "what is this thing made of? What are its parts?"

3. Of these four causes, the final and efficient causes are easiest to understand to the contemporary mind, perhaps because we are so immersed in techne that the notions of purpose and making are obvious to us.  Formal and material are more difficult.  The danger in a society the predominant metaphysics of which is materialist reductivism, is to assume that "material cause" means simply "atoms and subatomic particles", and that form refers either to the simple arrangement of these atomic particles, or to some mystical essence that these particles are imbued with to give them different qualities.

4. In reality, matter and form are always defined relative to each other.  Matter is simply "that which receives a particular form", and form is simply "the act of a thing which makes it what it is".  Imagine you are building a multi-tiered wedding cake. You begin with eggs, flour, sugar, etc.  These are the matter for your batter.  They become the batter by being mixed together.  Here the combination and proportion of the ingredients is the form added to them to make them what they are.  The batter in turn is matter for each cake layer, and it receives a certain form by being baked, to become cake layers.  After the layers have baked, and the frosting and filling have been prepared, the layers, frosting, and filling become the matter for the cake as a whole, and the form is their arrangement relative to each other.  When the whole cake is finished, we can ask "what is its matter?" and this question will have multiple possible answers.  The proximate matter is the cake sheets, frosting and filling.  More remotely, the matter is cake batter.  More remotely still, the matter is eggs, flour, and sugar.  But even more remotely we might say that the matter is protein and carbohydrates, atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks, mass-energy.  Notice that as we choose to answer "what is it made of" with more and more remote material causes, the answer tells us less and less about the cake.  If you ask what wedding cakes are made of, and I say "mass-energy", I have told you almost nothing at all about them.

5. Consider the same series of questions, except applied to the formal cause.  If I bring you a wedding cake, and you ask "What is it?", I can answer this in various ways.  I could say that it is a wedding cake, or that it's three sheet cakes with raspberry filling and vanilla frosting, or that it's a gallon of cake batter, some berries, butter and sugar.  I could say "it's eggs, sugar, and flour", or "it's a collection of organic compounds" or "it's mass-energy".  Notice, though, that saying "it's mass-energy" tells me nothing about what the cake is.  The table it's resting on is also mass-energy.  What distinguishes the cake from other things?  What makes it different from other blobs of mass-energy, other sets of organic compounds, other sets of eggs flour and sugar, other gallons of cake batter?  What makes the cake whatever it is?  That's its form.

6. One further word.  The Thomistic maxim is "forma dat esse".  Form gives being to a thing.  What does this mean?  It means that every particular form which is added to a thing, every new act or new characteristic to which its matter is determined, makes that thing itself, and gives it its particular act of existence.  If we remove from an object its various forms, one by one, we will eventually be left with nothing at all.  This is why "prime matter", i.e. matter totally undetermined, form-less matter, does not exist on its own.  Existence is, in a manner of speaking, the form of all forms. One of the greatest difficulties for the average person in understanding formal causation is the belief that being belongs exclusively to the atomic parts of things.  If forms are separable from these atomic parts, the forms do not exist. On,y matter exists.  What we miss in this thought is the fact that the matter receiving a particular form already has its own form, and that the form added is dependent on the form of the matter in order to be realized. Normal agents are not capable of communicating forms ex nihilo, but only giving additional act to ore existing substances.  This doesn't make form purely accidental, but shows us that the communication of form is dependent on the power if the agent and the receptivity of the recipient.

7. Turning, then, to the second article of this question, we find that St. Thomas proposes three objections against the immateriality of God.  First, that God is described as having a soul, but the soul is the animating principle or form of a body. (The soul or act of life is what differentiates a living body from a corpse.)  Therefore God must be composed of matter and form.  Second, that God is described as having emotions (wrath, etc.), and emotions are acts of the soul under the influence of the passions of the body.  Third, that matter is the principle by which things with a given form are individuated from each other (this penny differs from that penny by its matter, not by its form).

8. For the Sed Contra, Thomas points out that to be composed of matter and form is to be a body, which, it has already been established, God is not.

9. In the Corpus, Thomas advances three arguments against the material composition of God.  First, he points out that God is pure act, without any potency, as shown in the First Way.  Since matter is by definition in potency to receive a particular form, If God were composed of matter and form he would be in potency.  Second, he points out that the perfection of material things is participated, through their reception of various forms.  To the extent that the matter receives the form, the composite has the perfection of the form.  But as shown in the Fourth Way, God does not receive his perfection from anything, and hence cannot contain matter for the reception of some higher form.  Rather, he is his own form.  Third, he points out that because form is act, and matter is potency to receive act, whatever is pure and perfect act will be pure form without matter, and such is God, since he is the first agent and the ultimate efficient cause.

10. The replies to the first and second objections are, as in the previous articles, guidelines for the interpretation of scripture.  God's soul is spoken of simply by way of analogy, to direct our minds to the acts of God which we associate with our souls (knowing, for example).  Emotions attributed to God represent the effects of his acts: thus wrath is a symbol of the divine punishment for sin, not a description of an emotional state in God.

11. In reply to the third objection, Thomas concedes that among things that share common forms matter is the principle of individuation.  Thus two identical coins are distinguished by the particular bits of metal of which they're made.  Further, among forms that are shared in this way, it is matter which actualizes the form by receiving it. "A coin in general" does not exist, because coin-ness only subsists in particular individuals.  But if a form is self-subsisting, then it does not need to be received in matter in order to be actualized or individuated, because it has both of these from itself.  Such is God.

Outline of Article

—God's soul is referenced in scripture.
—God's emotions are described in scripture.
—Matter is the principle of individuation in things.

Sed Contra: God is not a body.

—Matter is in potency, but God has no potency.
—Matter participates in form, but God does not participate in a higher perfection.
—Form is proportionate to act, and matter to potency, but God is pure act.

–God's soul refers to his operations.
—God's emotions refer to his effects.
—Matter is the principle of individuation for material forms, but self-subsisting forms are their own principles of individuation.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Interpreting References to God's Body in Scripture


1. Having demonstrated that God exists, St. Thomas proceeds to discuss the divine essence. Recall that the order of investigation is: Existence (q.2), Essence (qq.3-14), Operations (qq.15-26), Inward Processions (qq.27-43), Outward Processions (qq.44-119).

2. Within his discussion of the divine essence, he divides the topic into three parts: what God is not (qq.3-11), how he is known to us (q.12), and how we name him (q.13).

3. In discussing what God is not, Thomas systematically excludes characteristic features of creatures from God: composition (q.3), imperfection (qq.4-6), finitude (qq.7-8), mutability (qq.9-10), plurality (q.11).

4. The of these questions concerns the simplicity of God, whether God is composed of different parts.  Thomas uses the divine simplicity as the middle term in a variety of other more significant deductions, so while readers might be inclined to skim past this question, it is in fact one of the most important in the Summa.

5. In the first article, Thomas asks whether God is a body.  Against God’s incorporeality he puts forward five objections.  All of the objections are from metaphorical references to God in scripture.  The first is from the references to his three-dimensionality (height, breadth, depth).  The second is from references to his visible likeness (“let us make man in our image”).  The third is from references to God’s body parts (arms, eyes, hands).  The fourth is from references to his posture (sitting, standing).  The fifth is from references to his location (wherefrom and whereto).

6. In the Sed Contra, he cites Jesus in John’s Gospel, telling the woman at the well that God is a spirit, and therefore must be worshipped spiritually, and not just in one place.

7. In the Corpus, he offers three arguments:  First, that no body causes motion without being moved, as is obvious from experience, but God is an unmoved mover, as already shown. (Note that the standard translation of this first argument is incorrect.) Second, that act is prior to potency, because potency can only be realized by the introduction of some prior act.  Since God is the first being, if he had potency, it would require a prior agent to be actualized.  Therefore he is without potency.  And since all bodies are in potency to locomotion, God cannot be a body.

8. Thomas’s third argument is from God’s nobility.  Bodies are nobler on account of their union with souls, but this shows that souls are in themselves nobler than bodies.  God is the most noble being, so he could not be a body.  This argument makes modern readers uncomfortable, but Thomas takes for granted the obviousness of degrees of nobility in things, and that the living is higher than the nonliving.  These are not difficult assumptions to accept, in themselves, but the argument would not be readily accepted by contemporary skeptics, for example.

9. In the replies to the objections, Thomas gives the spiritual sense of each category of scriptural sense.  Briefly: The dimensions of God signify his knowledge, eternity, knowledge, love, incomprehensibility, power, omnipresence, etc. The image of God in man signifies his superiority over all other animals by virtue of intelligence.  The body parts of God signify various actions (the eye for knowledge, the hand for power or judgment, etc.), likewise with his posture.  Finally, descriptions of God’s place are used to symbolize the disposition of the soul or the adversion of the mind, which can be closer or further from God spiritually by its actions.

Outline of Article

—God is described in scripture as having various corporeal qualities: dimension, image, body parts, posture, location.

Sed Contra:
—John 4:24, "God is a Spirit"

—Bodies do not cause motion without being moved.
—Bodies are in potency to motion, but God as prime mover is not in potency in any way.
—Bodies are less noble than spirits, and God is the noblest being.

—The references in scripture to God's corporeality symbolize various acts, qualities, and dispositions of God, or of creatures to God.

The Insufficiency of Nature to Explain Nature

60. The second objection is from the sufficiency of nature to explain everything we observe.
     A. What is able to be completed by fewer principles is not done by many.
     B. Supposing God does not exist, natural things can be reduced to natural principles, and intentional things are reduced to principles that are human or voluntary.
     C. Thus it is not necessary to suppose that God exists.

61. His response to the second objection appeals primarily to the fifth way: the determinacy of natural ends depends on the direction of something supernatural, i.e. God.

62. However, the second half of his reply is in a way a summary of all five ways put together: all things mobile and defectible must be reduced to some immobile and necessary first principle.

Outline of Article

—There is evil in the world.
—Nature is adequate to explain natural things.

Sed Contra:
—I am that am.

—All motion must be reduced to some immobile first principle.
—In any chain of efficient causes, the efficacy of the intermediate depends on the efficacy of the first.
—If there were nothing utterly permanent, nothing would exist; but if there is one necessary, there must be a first necessary.
—The degrees of being and perfection must be traced to a first principle which is supremely perfect and subsistent being.
—The directedness of natural things is explicable only on account of a designer who gives direction to all natures.

—Creatures are distinct from God.  God wills the good, but allows evil.
—Answered in Corpus