By Howard P. Kainz Ph. D. (auth.)
A. "SEPARATE components" AND lOR" ANGELS"? it really is fascinating to notice that, in an expressly theological treatise resembling the Summa theologiae, St. Thomas regularly makes use of the time period "angel", rather than "separate substance"; whereas in works with a much less specific theological motive - e. g. the Summa contra gentiles and the De substantiis separatis 1 - he quite often prefers the time period "separate substance". yet at any cost there's no doubt 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 akin 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 essentially 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. even though, 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 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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Additional resources for “Active and Passive Potency” in Thomistic Angelology
All existing creatures, in so far as they are created and participant, must have some a-temporal ground for receiving 8 cr. , Physics, VIII, 5, 257b, 7-9 : "The potential is in process to actuality, and motion is an incomplete actuality of the movable ... ". 9 De Subst. , Ch. IX, § 48, p. 86 : "Ultra hune modum fiendi necesse est secundum sententiam Platonis et Aristotelis ponere alium altiorem ... Oportet ... supra modum fiendi quo aliquid fit, forma materiae adveniente, praeintelligere aliam rerum originem, secundum quod esse attribuitur toti universitati rerum a primo ente quod est suum esse".
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?
POTENCY AS A PRINCIPLE OF 33 BEING Potency, whether it be found in material or in spiritual beings, is essentially an ordering to act, a special finite mode of participation in the pure actuality of God. And, if we analyze the connotation of the word, "participation", we will see that it is at the same time both an affirmation and a negation : an affirmation, in so far as it designates a certain degree of positive actuality which is possessed; but a negation, in so far as it implies that there is some chasm - be it relatively great or small - between the perfection of the participant and unparticipated act.