Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More'on "A is to B as…"

At Philosophia Perennis, it was asked, "So where do agape and koinonia fit into this scheme?"

Respondeo dicendum quod those forms of love fit into their proper levels of agency, namely, that which exists for humans and their collective relations to God. Those forms of love do not “fit” into the material, physical, or even corporeal levels, but only in the mental, intellectual, and divine levels.

Consider ST Ia, q. 20, a. 2:

God loves all existing things. For all existing things, in so far as they exist, are good, since the existence of a thing is itself a good; and likewise, whatever perfection it possesses. Now it has been shown above (Question 19, Article 4) that God’s will is the cause of all things. It must needs be, therefore, that a thing has existence, or any kind of good, only inasmuch as it is willed by God. To every existing thing, then, God wills some good. Hence, since to love anything is nothing else than to will good to that thing, it is manifest that God loves everything that exists.
[…Deus omnia existentia amat. Nam omnia existentia, inquantum sunt, bona sunt, ipsum enim esse cuiuslibet rei quoddam bonum est, et similiter quaelibet perfectio ipsius. Ostensum est autem supra quod voluntas Dei est causa omnium rerum et sic oportet quod intantum habeat aliquid esse, aut quodcumque bonum, inquantum est volitum a Deo. Cuilibet igitur existenti Deus vult aliquod bonum. Unde, cum amare nil aliud sit quam velle bonum alicui, manifestum est quod Deus omnia quae sunt, amat.]

In tandem, ST Ia, q. 19, a. 4, to which St. Thomas just alluded in the above quotation:

We must hold that the will of God is the cause of things; and that He acts by the will, and not, as some have supposed, by a necessity of His nature.
[Respondeo dicendum quod necesse est dicere voluntatem Dei esse causam rerum, et Deum agere per voluntatem, non per necessitatem naturae, ut quidam existimaverunt.]

God’s will to bring things and people into existence is an act of personal love for them as both sharers in His being (a form of transcendent, analogous koinonia) and as absolute subjects of His grace (total agape). Least, ’tis 'ow I see’t.

I would also like to add another reference (ST Ia, q. 76, a. 1) to this train of thought, and one which beautifully ties in with what I am getting at:

But we must observe that the nobler a form is, the more it rises above corporeal matter, the less it is merged in matter, and the more it excels matter by its power and its operation; hence we find that the form of a mixed body has another operation not caused by its elemental qualities. And the higher we advance in the nobility of forms, the more we find that the power of the form excels the elementary matter; as the vegetative soul excels the form of the metal, and the sensitive soul excels the vegetative soul. Now the human soul is the highest and noblest of forms. Wherefore it excels corporeal matter in its power by the fact that it has an operation and a power in which corporeal matter has no share whatever. This power is called the intellect.
[Sed considerandum est quod, quanto forma est nobilior, tanto magis dominatur materiae corporali, et minus ei immergitur, et magis sua operatione vel virtute excedit eam. Unde videmus quod forma mixti corporis habet aliquam operationem quae non causatur ex qualitatibus elementaribus. Et quanto magis proceditur in nobilitate formarum, tanto magis invenitur virtus formae materiam elementarem excedere, sicut anima vegetabilis plus quam forma metalli, et anima sensibilis plus quam anima vegetabilis. Anima autem humana est ultima in nobilitate formarum. Unde intantum sua virtute excedit materiam corporalem, quod habet aliquam operationem et virtutem in qua nullo modo communicat materia corporalis. Et haec virtus dicitur intellectus.]

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