Now, the result of the weakness in power, and the impeding of it, is that a thing in nature does not always work uniformly, but sometimes fails in regard to what is appropriate for it naturally; and so, natural effects do not occur by necessity. Indeed, from the fact that it perceives that it acts it perceives that it is. Chapter 54 It would have nothing to do with moral evil if the external act were defective by virtue of a defect having no reference to the will. For, this act of understanding which the intellect understands pertains to some object. But it could not see all of these unless it saw them at once, for it is impossible to pass through an infinity of things. Chapter 65 [2] For, the mover and the thing moved must be simultaneous, as the Philosopher proves. So, in this strict meaning of privation, there is always the rational character of evil. But what is generated in lower things is not merely the form, but the thing composed of matter and form, since every process of generation is from something, namely from matter, and to something, namely form. [2] For it is in the case of things that happen rarely that fortune and chance are said to be present. Nevertheless, since man does participate somewhat in intellectual light, brute animals are subject to him by the order of divine providence, for they participate in no way in understanding. Therefore, one is not first and then another later. This would be to comprehend divine goodness And wisdom, something no created intellect can do. As a result, since anything is perfect to the extent that it is good, this divine being is His perfect goodness. Chapter 45 So, felicity should not be attributed to them. ARGUMENTS WHICH SEEM TO PROVE THAT EVIL IS A NATURE OR SOME REAL THING THAT FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN WORLDLY POWER [1] Now, from the fact that God rules things by His providence it follows that He preserves them in being. And so, this knowledge of God is not enough for felicity. So, that which results as an effect of the defect of power will be apart from the intention of the agent. Therefore, it is inappropriate to say that things do not have their own actions. Hence, Dionysius, speaking of the highest intellectual substances whom he calls the first hierarchy, that is, the sacred sovereignty, says: “they are not sanctified by other substances but they are immediately ranged about Himself by the Godhead and are conducted to the immaterial and invisible beauty, in so far as it is permitted, and to the knowable reasons for the divine workings.” And thus, through them, handsays, “those placed below in the ranks of the celestial essences are instructed.” In this way, then, the higher understandings receive a perfect knowledge from a higher source of knowledge. How this is possible we must now explain. [19] Nor is the fact that men desire pleasure for its own sake, and not for the sake of something else, enough to indicate that pleasure is the ultimate end, as the third argument concluded. [1] For such a noble vision, the created intellect must be elevated by means of an influx of divine goodness. Indeed, a man’s dullness is chiefly indicated by this: he fails to perceive such evident signs of God, just as a person is judged to be dull who, while observing a man, does not grasp the fact that he has a soul. Therefore, the quiddity of the aforementioned separate substances, which in no way exist in matter, is utterly different. In fact, he says in Book IX of The Trinity: “Just as the mind gathers knowledge of bodily things through the bodily senses, so does it obtain knowledge of incorporeal things through itself. And there is no difference between saying one of these things or the other. For this reason, anything that is voluntary belongs in the class of moral matters. ON THE OPINION OF THOSE WHO TAKE AWAY PROPER ACTIONS FROM NATURAL THINGS [3] Now, this argument must be judged in different ways, depending on the various opinions concerning the possible intellect. Even in this act, the intellect precedes the will, for the will would never desire the act of understanding unless, first of all, the intellect were to apprehend the act of understanding as a good.—And again, the will moves the intellect actually to perform its operation, in the way that an agent is said to move; while the intellect moves the will in the way that an end moves something, since the good that is understood is the end for the will. [2] For that which follows from an action, as a different result from that intended by the agent, clearly happens apart from intention. Therefore, evil cannot be the cause of anything. Now, if felicity consists in perfect operation, in accord with perfect virtue, whether intellectual or moral, it is impossible for it to come to man until a long time has elapsed, And this is especially evident in speculative pursuits, in which man’s ultimate felicity is placed, as is clear from what we have said. [8] Furthermore, divine substance is its own existing being, as we showed in Book One [22]. Nor, indeed, can it be an end, for it is apart from intention, as we have proved. [7] Now, these statements are unreasonable. In one way, being means the essence of a thing, and thus it falls into the ten categories; so taken, no privation can be called a being. Now, this is impossible. So, the intellect seeing the divine substance is not moved from one intelligible object to another. Now, what is evil in itself can not be natural to anything. Now, the proper object of the intellect is that which is, that is, the substance of a thing, as is stated in Book III of On the Soul [4: 429b 10]. [5] Thus, the higher spirits are also called angels, because they direct the lower spirits, as it were, by bringing messages to them; in fact, angels are spoken of as messengers. Therefore, no being, as being, is evil. Chapter 43 Now, we have already shown that felicity does not lie in an act of the will. [9] So, also, in regard to separate substances, the soul by knowing itself knows that they are, but not what they are, for to do the latter is to understand their substances. Chapter 82 Now, if no evils were present in things, much of man’s good would be diminished, both in regard to knowledge and in regard to the desire or love of the good. This is the case with prime matter, and that is why, through its change, it seeks to be actuated successively under different forms which cannot be simultaneously present in it, because of their diversity. Moreover, each thing achieves its ultimate end through its own action which must be directed to the end by Him Who gives things the principles through which they act. [2] Indeed, the governance of every provident ruler is ordered either to the attainment, or the increase, or the preservation of the perfection of the things governed. So, the perfection of divine providence requires that the excess of certain things over others lit reduced to a suitable order. So, the motions of the celestial bodies, as actively moving, are ordered to the generation and corruption which take Place in these lower bodies.-Nor is it unfitting that celestial bodies should move for the sake of the generation and corruption of these lower things, even though lower bodies are of less value than celestial bodies, while, of course, the end should be more important than what is for the sake of the end. Now, seeing God’s substance transcends the limitations of every created nature; indeed, it is proper for each created intellectual nature to understand according to the manner of its own substance. [1] Now, it is clear from this that those who obtain ultimate felicity as a result of the divine vision never depart from it. [6] Other beings, however, are corruptible. 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