Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part I/Q116

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Q115 Q117



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Iª q. 116 pr. Deinde considerandum est de fato. Et circa hoc quaeruntur quatuor. Primo, an fatum sit. Secundo, in quo sit. Tertio, utrum sit immobile. Quarto, utrum omnia subsint fato. Question 116. FateIs there such a thing as fate? Where is it? Is it unchangeable? Are all things subject to fate?
Iª q. 116 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod fatum nihil sit. Dicit enim Gregorius, in homilia Epiphaniae, absit a fidelium cordibus ut fatum esse aliquid dicant. Objection 1. It would seem that fate is nothing. For Gregory says in a homily for the Epiphany (Hom. x in Evang.): "Far be it from the hearts of the faithful to think that fate is anything real."
Iª q. 116 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, ea quae fato aguntur, non sunt improvisa, quia, ut Augustinus dicit V de Civ. Dei, fatum a fando dictum intelligimus, idest a loquendo; ut ea fato fieri dicantur, quae ab aliquo determinante sunt ante praelocuta. Quae autem sunt provisa, non sunt fortuita neque casualia. Si igitur res fato aguntur, excludetur casus et fortuna a rebus. Objection 2. Further, what happens by fate is not unforeseen, for as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei v, 4), "fate is understood to be derived from the verb 'fari' which means to speak"; as though things were said to happen by fate, which are "fore-spoken" by one who decrees them to happen. Now what is foreseen is neither lucky nor chance-like. If therefore things happen by fate, there will be neither luck nor chance in the world.
Iª q. 116 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra quod non est, non definitur. Sed Boetius, in IV de Consol., definit fatum, dicens quod fatum est inhaerens rebus mobilibus dispositio, per quam providentia suis quaeque nectit ordinibus. Ergo fatum aliquid est. On the contrary, What does not exist cannot be defined. But Boethius (De Consol. iv) defines fate thus: "Fate is a disposition inherent to changeable things, by which Providence connects each one with its proper order."
Iª q. 116 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod in rebus inferioribus videntur quaedam a fortuna vel casu provenire. Contingit autem quandoque quod aliquid, ad inferiores causas relatum, est fortuitum vel casuale, quod tamen, relatum ad causam aliquam superiorem, invenitur esse per se intentum. Sicut si duo servi alicuius domini mittantur ab eo ad eundem locum, uno de altero ignorante; concursus duorum servorum, si ad ipsos servos referatur, casualis est, quia accidit praeter utriusque intentionem; si autem referatur ad dominum, qui hoc praeordinavit, non est casuale, sed per se intentum. Fuerunt igitur aliqui qui huiusmodi casualia et fortuita, quae in his inferioribus accidunt, in nullam superiorem causam reducere voluerunt. Et hi fatum et providentiam negaverunt; ut de Tullio Augustinus recitat in V de Civ. Dei. Quod est contra ea quae superius de providentia dicta sunt. Quidam vero omnia fortuita et casualia quae in istis inferioribus accidunt, sive in rebus naturalibus sive in rebus humanis, reducere voluerunt in superiorem causam, idest in caelestia corpora. Et secundum hos, fatum nihil aliud est quam dispositio siderum in qua quisque conceptus est vel natus. Sed hoc stare non potest, propter duo. Primo quidem, quantum ad res humanas. Quia iam ostensum est quod humani actus non subduntur actioni caelestium corporum, nisi per accidens et indirecte. Causa autem fatalis, cum habeat ordinationem super ea quae fato aguntur, necesse est quod sit directe et per se causa eius quod agitur. Secundo, quantum ad omnia quae per accidens aguntur. Dictum est enim supra quod id quod est per accidens, non est proprie ens neque unum. Omnis autem naturae actio terminatur ad aliquid unum. Unde impossibile est quod id quod est per accidens, sit effectus per se alicuius naturalis principii agentis. Nulla ergo natura per se hoc facere potest, quod intendens fodere sepulcrum, inveniat thesaurum. Manifestum est autem quod corpus caeleste agit per modum naturalis principii, unde et effectus eius in hoc mundo sunt naturales. Impossibile est ergo quod aliqua virtus activa caelestis corporis sit causa eorum quae hic aguntur per accidens, sive a casu sive a fortuna. Et ideo dicendum est quod ea quae hic per accidens aguntur, sive in rebus naturalibus sive in rebus humanis, reducuntur in aliquam causam praeordinantem, quae est providentia divina. Quia nihil prohibet id quod est per accidens, accipi ut unum ab aliquo intellectu, alioquin intellectus formare non posset hanc propositionem, fodiens sepulcrum invenit thesaurum. Et sicut hoc potest intellectus apprehendere, ita potest efficere, sicut si aliquis sciens in quo loco sit thesaurus absconditus, instiget aliquem rusticum hoc ignorantem, ut ibi fodiat sepulcrum. Et sic nihil prohibet ea quae hic per accidens aguntur, ut fortuita vel casualia, reduci in aliquam causam ordinantem, quae per intellectum agat; et praecipue intellectum divinum. Nam solus Deus potest voluntatem immutare, ut supra habitum est. Et per consequens ordinatio humanorum actuum, quorum principium est voluntas, soli Deo attribui debet. Sic igitur inquantum omnia quae hic aguntur, divinae providentiae subduntur, tanquam per eam praeordinata et quasi praelocuta, fatum ponere possumus, licet hoc nomine sancti doctores uti recusaverint, propter eos qui ad vim positionis siderum hoc nomen retorquebant. Unde Augustinus dicit, in V de Civ. Dei, si propterea quisquam res humanas fato tribuit, quia ipsam Dei voluntatem vel potestatem fati nomine appellat, sententiam teneat, linguam corrigat. Et sic etiam Gregorius fatum esse negat. I answer that, In this world some things seem to happen by luck or chance. Now it happens sometimes that something is lucky or chance-like as compared to inferior causes, which, if compared to some higher cause, is directly intended. For instance, if two servants are sent by their master to the same place; the meeting of the two servants in regard to themselves is by chance; but as compared to the master, who had ordered it, it is directly intended. So there were some who refused to refer to a higher cause such events which by luck or chance take place here below. These denied the existence of fate and Providence, as Augustine relates of Tully (De Civ. Dei v, 9). And this is contrary to what we have said above about Providence (22, 2). On the other hand, some have considered that everything that takes place here below by luck or by chance, whether in natural things or in human affairs, is to be reduced to a superior cause, namely, the heavenly bodies. According to these fate is nothing else than "a disposition of the stars under which each one is begotten or born" [Cf. St. Augustine De Civ. Dei v, 1,8,9. But this will not hold. First, as to human affairs: because we have proved above (115, 4) that human actions are not subject to the action of heavenly bodies, save accidentally and indirectly. Now the cause of fate, since it has the ordering of things that happen by fate, must of necessity be directly and of itself the cause of what takes place. Secondly, as to all things that happen accidentally: for it has been said (115, 6) that what is accidental, is properly speaking neither a being, nor a unity. But every action of nature terminates in some one thing. Wherefore it is impossible for that which is accidental to be the proper effect of an active natural principle. No natural cause can therefore have for its proper effect that a man intending to dig a grace finds a treasure. Now it is manifest that a heavenly body acts after the manner of a natural principle: wherefore its effects in this world are natural. It is therefore impossible that any active power of a heavenly body be the cause of what happens by accident here below, whether by luck or by chance. We must therefore say that what happens here by accident, both in natural things and in human affairs, is reduced to a preordaining cause, which is Divine Providence. For nothing hinders that which happens by accident being considered as one by an intellect: otherwise the intellect could not form this proposition: "The digger of a grave found a treasure." And just as an intellect can apprehend this so can it effect it; for instance, someone who knows a place where a treasure is hidden, might instigate a rustic, ignorant of this, to dig a grave there. Consequently, nothing hinders what happens here by accident, by luck or by chance, being reduced to some ordering cause which acts by the intellect, especially the Divine intellect. For God alone can change the will, as shown above (105, 4). Consequently the ordering of human actions, the principle of which is the will, must be ascribed to God alone. So therefore inasmuch as all that happens here below is subject to Divine Providence, as being pre-ordained, and as it were "fore-spoken," we can admit the existence of fate: although the holy doctors avoided the use of this word, on account of those who twisted its application to a certain force in the position of the stars. Hence Augustine says (De Civ. Dei v, 1): "If anyone ascribes human affairs to fate, meaning thereby the will or power of God, let him keep to his opinion, but hold his tongue." For this reason Gregory denies the existence of fate.
Iª q. 116 a. 1 ad 1 Unde patet solutio ad primum. Wherefore the first objection's solution is manifest.
Iª q. 116 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod nihil prohibet aliqua esse fortuita vel casualia per comparationem ad causas proximas, non tamen per comparationem ad divinam providentiam, sic enim nihil temere fit in mundo, ut Augustinus dicit in libro octoginta trium quaest. Reply to Objection 2. Nothing hinders certain things happening by luck or by chance, if compared to their proximate causes: but not if compared to Divine Providence, whereby "nothing happens at random in the world," as Augustine says (QQ. 83, qu. 24).
Iª q. 116 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod fatum non sit in rebus creatis. Dicit enim Augustinus, V de Civ. Dei, quod ipsa Dei voluntas vel potestas fati nomine appellatur. Sed voluntas et potestas Dei non est in creaturis, sed in Deo. Ergo fatum non est in rebus creatis, sed in Deo. Objection 1. It would seem that fate is not in created things. For Augustine says (De Civ. Dei v, 1) that the "Divine will or power is called fate." But the Divine will or power is not in creatures, but in God. Therefore fate is not in creatures but in God.
Iª q. 116 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, fatum comparatur ad ea quae ex fato aguntur, ut causa; ut ipse modus loquendi ostendit. Sed causa universalis per se eorum quae hic per accidens aguntur, est solus Deus, ut supra dictum est. Ergo fatum est in Deo, et non in rebus creatis. Objection 2. Further, fate is compared to things that happen by fate, as their cause; as the very use of the word proves. But the universal cause that of itself effects what takes place by accident here below, is God alone, as stated above (1). Therefore fate is in God, and not in creatures.
Iª q. 116 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, si fatum est in creaturis, aut est substantia, aut accidens, et quodcumque horum detur, oportet quod multiplicetur secundum creaturarum multitudinem. Cum ergo fatum videatur esse unum tantum, videtur quod fatum non sit in creaturis, sed in Deo. Objection 3. Further, if fate is in creatures, it is either a substance or an accident: and whichever it is it must be multiplied according to the number of creatures. Since, therefore, fate seems to be one thing only, it seems that fate is not in creatures, but in God.
Iª q. 116 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod Boetius dicit, in IV de Consol. quod fatum est dispositio rebus mobilibus inhaerens. On the contrary, Boethius says (De Consol. iv): "Fate is a disposition inherent to changeable things."
Iª q. 116 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut ex praedictis patet, divina providentia per causas medias suos effectus exequitur. Potest ergo ipsa ordinatio effectuum dupliciter considerari. Uno modo, secundum quod est in ipso Deo, et sic ipsa ordinatio effectuum vocatur providentia. Secundum vero quod praedicta ordinatio consideratur in mediis causis a Deo ordinatis ad aliquos effectus producendos, sic habet rationem fati. Et hoc est quod Boetius dicit, IV de Consol., sive famulantibus quibusdam providentiae divinae spiritibus fatum exercetur; seu anima, seu tota inserviente natura, sive caelestibus siderum motibus, seu angelica virtute, seu Daemonum varia solertia, seu aliquibus eorum, seu omnibus, fatalis series texitur, de quibus omnibus per singula in praecedentibus dictum est. Sic ergo est manifestum quod fatum est in ipsis causis creatis, inquantum sunt ordinatae a Deo ad effectus producendos. I answer that, As is clear from what has been stated above (22, 3; 103, 6), Divine Providence produces effects through mediate causes. We can therefore consider the ordering of the effects in two ways. Firstly, as being in God Himself: and thus the ordering of the effects is called Providence. But if we consider this ordering as being in the mediate causes ordered by God to the production of certain effects, thus it has the nature of fate. This is what Boethius says (De Consol. iv): "Fate is worked out when Divine Providence is served by certain spirits; whether by the soul, or by all nature itself which obeys Him, whether by the heavenly movements of the stars, whether by the angelic power, or by the ingenuity of the demons, whether by some of these, or by all, the chain of fate is forged." Of each of these things we have spoken above (1; 104, 2; 110, 1; 113; 114). It is therefore manifest that fate is in the created causes themselves, as ordered by God to the production of their effects.
Iª q. 116 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ipsa ordinatio causarum secundarum, quam Augustinus seriem causarum nominat, non habet rationem fati, nisi secundum quod dependet a Deo. Et ideo causaliter Dei potestas vel voluntas dici potest fatum. Essentialiter vero fatum est ipsa dispositio seu series, idest ordo, causarum secundarum. Reply to Objection 1. The ordering itself of second causes, which Augustine (De Civ. Dei v, 8) calls the "series of causes," has not the nature of fate, except as dependent on God. Wherefore the Divine power or will can be called fate, as being the cause of fate. But essentially fate is the very disposition or "series," i.e. order, of second causes.
Iª q. 116 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod intantum fatum habet rationem causae, inquantum et ipsae causae secundae, quarum ordinatio fatum vocatur. Reply to Objection 2. Fate has the nature of a cause, just as much as the second causes themselves, the ordering of which is called fate.
Iª q. 116 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod fatum dicitur dispositio, non quae est in genere qualitatis; sed secundum quod dispositio designat ordinem, qui non est substantia, sed relatio. Qui quidem ordo, si consideretur per comparationem ad suum principium, est unus, et sic dicitur unum fatum. Si autem consideretur per comparationem ad effectus, vel ad ipsas causas medias, sic multiplicatur, per quem modum poeta dixit, te tua fata trahunt. Reply to Objection 3. Fate is called a disposition, not that disposition which is a species of quality, but in the sense in which it signifies order, which is not a substance, but a relation. And if this order be considered in relation to its principle, it is one; and thus fate is one. But if it be considered in relation to its effects, or to the mediate causes, this fate is multiple. In this sense the poet wrote: "Thy fate draws thee."
Iª q. 116 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod fatum non sit immobile. Dicit enim Boetius, in IV de Consol., uti est ad intellectum ratiocinatio, ad id quod est id quod gignitur, ad aeternitatem tempus, ad punctum medium circulus; ita est fati series mobilis ad providentiae stabilem simplicitatem. Objection 1. It seems that fate is not unchangeable. For Boethius says (De Consol. iv): "As reasoning is to the intellect, as the begotten is to that which is, as time to eternity, as the circle to its centre; so is the fickle chain of fate to the unwavering simplicity of Providence."
Iª q. 116 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, sicut philosophus dicit in II Topic., motis nobis, moventur ea quae in nobis sunt. Sed fatum est dispositio inhaerens rebus mobilibus, ut Boetius dicit. Ergo fatum est mobile. Objection 2. Further, the Philosopher says (Topic. ii, 7): "If we be moved, what is in us is moved." But fate is a "disposition inherent to changeable things," as Boethius says (De Consol. iv). Therefore fate is changeable.
Iª q. 116 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, si fatum est immobile, ea quae subduntur fato, immobiliter et ex necessitate eveniunt. Sed talia maxime videntur esse contingentia, quae fato attribuuntur. Ergo nihil erit contingens in rebus, sed omnia ex necessitate evenient. Objection 3. Further, if fate is unchangeable, what is subject to fate happens unchangeably and of necessity. But things ascribed to fate seem principally to be contingencies. Therefore there would be no contingencies in the world, but all things would happen of necessity.
Iª q. 116 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod Boetius dicit, quod fatum est immobilis dispositio. On the contrary, Boethius says (De Consol. iv) that fate is an unchangeable disposition.
Iª q. 116 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod dispositio secundarum causarum, quam fatum dicimus, potest dupliciter considerari, uno modo, secundum ipsas causas secundas, quae sic disponuntur seu ordinantur; alio modo, per relationem ad primum principium a quo ordinantur, scilicet Deum. Quidam ergo posuerunt ipsam seriem seu dispositionem causarum esse secundum se necessariam, ita quod omnia ex necessitate contingerent; propter hoc, quod quilibet effectus habet causam, et causa posita necesse est effectum poni. Sed hoc patet esse falsum, per ea quae supra dicta sunt. Alii vero e contrario posuerunt fatum esse mobile, etiam secundum quod a divina providentia dependet. Unde Aegyptii dicebant quibusdam sacrificiis fatum posse mutari, ut Gregorius Nyssenus dicit. Sed hoc supra exclusum est, quia immobilitati divinae providentiae repugnat. Et ideo dicendum est quod fatum, secundum considerationem secundarum causarum, mobile est, sed secundum quod subest divinae providentiae, immobilitatem sortitur, non quidem absolutae necessitatis, sed conditionatae; secundum quod dicimus hanc conditionalem esse veram vel necessariam, si Deus praescivit hoc futurum, erit. Unde cum Boetius dixisset fati seriem esse mobilem, post pauca subdit, quae cum ab immobilis providentiae proficiscatur exordiis, ipsam quoque immutabilem esse necesse est. I answer that, The disposition of second causes which we call fate, can be considered in two ways: firstly, in regard to the second causes, which are thus disposed or ordered; secondly, in regard to the first principle, namely, God, by Whom they are ordered. Some, therefore, have held that the series itself or dispositions of causes is in itself necessary, so that all things would happen of necessity; for this reason that each effect has a cause, and given a cause the effect must follow of necessity. But this is false, as proved above (115, 6). Others, on the other hand, held that fate is changeable, even as dependent on Divine Providence. Wherefore the Egyptians said that fate could be changed by certain sacrifices, as Gregory of Nyssa says (Nemesius, De Homine). This too has been disproved above for the reason that it is repugnant to Divine Providence. We must therefore say that fate, considered in regard to second causes, is changeable; but as subject to Divine Providence, it derives a certain unchangeableness, not of absolute but of conditional necessity. In this sense we say that this conditional is true and necessary: "If God foreknew that this would happen, it will happen." Wherefore Boethius, having said that the chain of fate is fickle, shortly afterwards adds--"which, since it is derived from an unchangeable Providence must also itself be unchangeable."
Iª q. 116 a. 3 ad arg. Et per hoc patet responsio ad obiecta. From this the answers to the objections are clear.
Iª q. 116 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod omnia fato subdantur. Dicit enim Boetius, in IV de Consol., series fati caelum et sidera movet, elementa in se invicem temperat, et alterna format transmutatione; eadem nascentia occidentiaque omnia per similes foetuum seminumque renovat progressus; haec actus fortunasque hominum indissolubili causarum connexione constringit. Nihil ergo excipi videtur, quod sub fati serie non contineatur. Objection 1. It seems that all things are subject to fate. For Boethius says (De Consol. iv): "The chain of fate moves the heaven and the stars, tempers the elements to one another, and models them by a reciprocal transformation. By fate all things that are born into the world and perish are renewed in a uniform progression of offspring and seed." Nothing therefore seems to be excluded from the domain of fate.
Iª q. 116 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in V de Civ. Dei, quod fatum aliquid est, secundum quod ad voluntatem et potestatem Dei refertur. Sed voluntas Dei est causa omnium quae fiunt, ut Augustinus dicit in III de Trin. Ergo omnia subduntur fato. Objection 2. Further, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei v, 1) that fate is something real, as referred to the Divine will and power. But the Divine will is cause of all things that happen, as Augustine says (De Trin. iii, 1 seqq.). Therefore all things are subject to fate.
Iª q. 116 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, fatum, secundum Boetium, est dispositio rebus mobilibus inhaerens. Sed omnes creaturae sunt mutabiles, et solus Deus vere immutabilis, ut supra habitum est. Ergo in omnibus creaturis est fatum. Objection 3. Further, Boethius says (De Consol. iv) that fate "is a disposition inherent to changeable things." But all creatures are changeable, and God alone is truly unchangeable, as stated above (9, 2). Therefore fate is in all things.
Iª q. 116 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra est quod Boetius dicit, in IV de Consol., quod quaedam quae sub providentia locata sunt, fati seriem superant. On the contrary, Boethius says (De Consol. iv) that "some things subject to Providence are above the ordering of fate."
Iª q. 116 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, fatum est ordinatio secundarum causarum ad effectus divinitus provisos. Quaecumque igitur causis secundis subduntur, ea subduntur et fato. Si qua vero sunt quae immediate a Deo fiunt, cum non subdantur secundis causis, non subduntur fato; sicut creatio rerum, glorificatio spiritualium substantiarum, et alia huiusmodi. Et hoc est quod Boetius dicit, quod ea quae sunt primae divinitati propinqua, stabiliter fixa, fatalis ordinem mobilitatis excedunt. Ex quo etiam patet quod quanto aliquid longius a prima mente discedit, nexibus fati maioribus implicatur; quia magis subiicitur necessitati secundarum causarum. I answer that, As stated above (2), fate is the ordering of second causes to effects foreseen by God. Whatever, therefore, is subject to second causes, is subject also to fate. But whatever is done immediately by God, since it is not subject to second causes, neither is it subject to fate; such are creation, the glorification of spiritual substances, and the like. And this is what Boethius says (De Consol. iv): viz. that "those things which are nigh to God have a state of immobility, and exceed the changeable order of fate." Hence it is clear that "the further a thing is from the First Mind, the more it is involved in the chain of fate"; since so much the more it is bound up with second causes.
Iª q. 116 a. 4 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod omnia illa quae ibi tanguntur, fiunt a Deo mediantibus causis secundis; et ideo sub fati serie continentur. Sed non est eadem ratio de omnibus aliis, ut supra dictum est. Reply to Objection 1. All the things mentioned in this passage are done by God by means of second causes; for this reason they are contained in the order of fate. But it is not the same with everything else, as stated above.
Iª q. 116 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod fatum refertur ad voluntatem et potestatem Dei, sicut ad primum principium. Unde non oportet quod quidquid subiicitur voluntati divinae vel potestati, subiiciatur fato, ut dictum est. Reply to Objection 2. Fate is to be referred to the Divine will and power, as to its first principle. Consequently it does not follow that whatever is subject to the Divine will or power, is subject also to fate, as already stated.
Iª q. 116 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod, quamvis omnes creaturae sint aliquo modo mutabiles, tamen aliquae earum non procedunt a causis creatis mutabilibus. Et ideo non subiiciuntur fato, ut dictum est. Reply to Objection 3. Although all creatures are in some way changeable, yet some of them do not proceed from changeable created causes. And these, therefore, are not subject to fate, as stated above.

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