“Active and Passive Potency” in Thomistic Angelology by Howard P. Kainz Ph. D. (auth.)

By Howard P. Kainz Ph. D. (auth.)

A. "SEPARATE ingredients" AND lOR" ANGELS"? it really is attention-grabbing to notice that, in an expressly theological treatise reminiscent of the Summa theologiae, St. Thomas usually makes use of the time period "angel", rather than "separate substance"; whereas in works with a much less particular theological reason - e. g. the Summa contra gentiles and the De substantiis separatis 1 - he mostly prefers the time period "separate substance". yet at any cost there's little question that the 2 phrases, "separate sub­ stance" and "angel" have a definite interchangeability and equivalence within the works of St. Thomas. In different phrases, "the separate substance" is corresponding to "the angel, insofar as its life and attributes are knowable via human cause alone". And this has led Karl Barth 2 to cost that St. Thomas' angelology is basically a philosophical presenta­ tion, with little relevance to theology. 1 we would say that those works are "philosophical" insofar as arguments from cause are emphasised in them, instead of arguments from revelation or religion. besides the fact that, as Lescoe issues out (in the creation to his variation of the De substantUs separatis, p. 8), the treatise on separate ingredients leads as much as theological subject-matter in Ch. 's XVII ff- specifically, an exposition of Catholic instructing as present in Sacred Scripture, the Fathers, and particularly Dionysius. And Chenu continues that the Summa contra gentiles is essentially a theological paintings, since it not just leads as much as theological subject-matter in Bk.

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II, § 8. , § 9. , § 12. 11 cr. S. , I, Q. 2, Art. 3, c. 12 cr. De Subst. , Ch. T, §. 4, § 5. 8 9 50 THE POWERS OF SEPARATE SUBSTANCES sary that there should be separate Forms corresponding to all of our universal ideas 14. Although it is safe to say that, in general, inferior realities must be ordered to a higher reality or higher realities 15, it is unwarranted for us to conclude that there must be separate higher realities conforming to all the distinct logical constructs we make of material being 16.

As with every accident, it must be rooted in, and caused by, the substance of a thing 25. And in the case of an intellective creature, we would have to say that the root of all such powers is the incomplete substantiality of the soul as the active principle of the human essence 26 (or, in the case of separate substances, the materially unlimited and uncomposed substantiality of the separated form) 27. The form and substantial perfection of a thing might, therefore, be called its first and fundamental "principle of operations".

It should be noted that in the foregoing arguments St. Thomas uses the words, "nature" and "genus", as if he considered "intellective" and "non-intellective" as the fundamental genera dividing up all of being : so that, in this sense, "rational animal" would not only be a species of material being, but, in a broader sense, a sub-species of the species of "intellective being", which itself could be relegated to the broader genus of potential, or created, being. 36 S. , Q. 35, a. 3 ad 1 (ref. , d.

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