Angelic activity and the eduction of nature from matter

Existing within everything of a certain sort we find something which was not always, and yet cannot be the result of a parent. This “one thing”, however, is pretty important: it is that which exists within the thing that makes it to be of a certain sort. We can posit other individuals of a certain sort to explain it, but the regress is obvious. We would not explain anything. What we must posit is a being which, being individual, is the same as the sort of thing it is, an individual which is its own species. Metaphysics shows that this being is not properly God, but a separated substance (or angel, as Scripture would refer to it).

The bringing forth of individuals of a certain kind is most fittingly and properly referred to angelic activity- not in such a way as to diminish physical causality, but in co-operation with the form that is educed from the potency of matter. The angel does not need to chase around matter to do this, for his knowledge is prior to the existence of the form brought forth from matter and so he can bring it forth without having to “seek out” matter to act upon. The angel no doubt takes great pleasure in this, like any artist. Such a work is entirely beyond our power- for it brings forth a nature from the potency of matter. The infinitude that we can only barely discover after thousands of years of effort- the understanding of a nature- an angel understands as clearly as we understand our own works of art.

5 Comments

  1. Gagdad Bob said,

    November 18, 2008 at 9:18 am

    If that is, I AM.

  2. a thomist said,

    November 18, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Yes! along with a whole universe of causes. An insect cannot be born without a whole conspiracy of intelligences “you buy two sparrows for a penny, etc.” Things we hold at no worth, or even beneath dignity are brough forth with a universe watching.

  3. Amice said,

    November 20, 2008 at 10:11 am

    “The infinitude that we can only barely discover after thousands of years of effort- the understanding of a nature- an angel understands as clearly as we understand our own works of art.”

    What does this tell us about Lucifer (and, perhaps, about God?) especially given that he is said to have been a Seraphim?

    This strikes me as such the puzzle.

  4. a thomist said,

    November 20, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    St. Francis said that there was no problem with his friars studying theology, so long as they remembered that the lowest demon understood far more theology.

    There is something to be said for this, but it should be balanced against Christians being worshippers of the Logos (Jn. 1).

  5. Amice said,

    November 20, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    a thomist,

    thanks for the response and this blog — lotsa good stuff here.


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