“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 truly is attention-grabbing to notice that, in an expressly theological treatise comparable to the Summa theologiae, St. Thomas often makes use of the time period "angel", in place of "separate substance"; whereas in works with a much less particular theological rationale - e. g. the Summa contra gentiles and the De substantiis separatis 1 - he often prefers the time period "separate substance". yet at any fee there's no doubt that the 2 phrases, "separate sub­ stance" and "angel" have a undeniable interchangeability and equivalence within the works of St. Thomas. In different phrases, "the separate substance" is similar to "the angel, insofar as its lifestyles 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'd say that those works are "philosophical" insofar as arguments from cause are emphasised in them, instead of arguments from revelation or religion. although, as Lescoe issues out (in the creation to his version of the De substantUs separatis, p. 8), the treatise on separate elements leads as much as theological subject-matter in Ch. 's XVII ff- specifically, an exposition of Catholic educating as present in Sacred Scripture, the Fathers, and particularly Dionysius. And Chenu keeps 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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In whatsoever genus is found an inferior exemplification of some perfection, there must be present, within that same genus, a specific type or instance of the pure and preeminent exemplification of that perfection 35. 2. The variety and relative capacities of passive potency As the bed of an ocean is indisputably the sine qua non for all the fluctuations and alterations effected on its surface - so also passive potency is, in a very real way, the foundation for all the existential modifications which take place in, or through the agency of, a thing.

C. , Ch. 100. 5 De Ente et Essentia, Ch. V. 48 THE POWERS OF SEPARATE SUBSTANCES 1) How can we determine what is purely "accidental" in human intellective operations, unless we first have some knowledge of the operations of higher intellectual creatures, to use as a basis of comparison? 2) If our comparison of human cognitive powers to those of separate substances must, consequently, presuppose some prior knowledge of separate substances on the basis of their effects, what criterion are we to use in ascribing the proper effect to the proper cause?

1. Subdivisions of active potency a. , more eminent, gradation in the hierarchy of potential beings. Thus the angelic intelligence extends to all the objects which inferior intelligences encompass in their scope; and the active potency of God extends to all of creation, continually actuating it and conserving it in being 44. b. Exemplary potency is the power of some ideal prototype to serve as a model after which other things are subsequently or consequently fashioned. For example, an artifact is subsequent to an exemplary idea in the artist's mind; and every created perfection is consequent upon the consummate perfection of the Divine Word, which it mirrors in some finite way 45.

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