Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part I/Q7

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Q6 Q8
Latin English
Iª q. 7 pr. Post considerationem divinae perfectionis, considerandum est de eius infinitate, et de existentia eius in rebus, attribuitur enim Deo quod sit ubique et in omnibus rebus, inquantum est incircumscriptibilis et infinitus. Circa primum quaeruntur quatuor. Primo, utrum Deus sit infinitus. Secundo, utrum aliquid praeter ipsum sit infinitum secundum essentiam. Tertio, utrum aliquid possit esse infinitum secundum magnitudinem. Quarto, utrum possit esse infinitum in rebus secundum multitudinem.
Iª q. 7 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod Deus non sit infinitus. Omne enim infinitum est imperfectum, quia habet rationem partis et materiae, ut dicitur in III Physic. Sed Deus est perfectissimus. Ergo non est infinitus.
Objection 1. It seems that God is not infinite. For everything infinite is imperfect, as the Philosopher says; because it has parts and matter, as is said in Phys. iii. But God is most perfect; therefore He is not infinite.
Iª q. 7 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, secundum philosophum in I Physic., finitum et infinitum conveniunt quantitati. Sed in Deo non est quantitas, cum non sit corpus, ut supra ostensum est. Ergo non competit sibi esse infinitum.
Objection 2. Further, according to the Philosopher (Phys. i), finite and infinite belong to quantity. But there is no quantity in God, for He is not a body, as was shown above (3, 1). Therefore it does not belong to Him to be infinite.
Iª q. 7 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, quod ita est hic quod non alibi, est finitum secundum locum, ergo quod ita est hoc quod non est aliud, est finitum secundum substantiam. Sed Deus est hoc, et non est aliud, non enim est lapis nec lignum. Ergo Deus non est infinitus secundum substantiam.
Objection 3. Further, what is here in such a way as not to be elsewhere, is finite according to place. Therefore that which is a thing in such a way as not to be another thing, is finite according to substance. But God is this, and not another; for He is not a stone or wood. Therefore God is not infinite in substance.
Iª q. 7 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicit Damascenus, quod Deus est infinitus et aeternus et incircumscriptibilis.
On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. i, 4) that "God is infinite and eternal, and boundless."
Iª q. 7 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod omnes antiqui philosophi attribuunt infinitum primo principio, ut dicitur in III Physic., et hoc rationabiliter, considerantes res effluere a primo principio in infinitum. Sed quia quidam erraverunt circa naturam primi principii, consequens fuit ut errarent circa infinitatem ipsius. Quia enim ponebant primum principium materiam, consequenter attribuerunt primo principio infinitatem materialem; dicentes aliquod corpus infinitum esse primum principium rerum. Considerandum est igitur quod infinitum dicitur aliquid ex eo quod non est finitum. Finitur autem quodammodo et materia per formam, et forma per materiam. Materia quidem per formam, inquantum materia, antequam recipiat formam, est in potentia ad multas formas, sed cum recipit unam, terminatur per illam. Forma vero finitur per materiam, inquantum forma, in se considerata, communis est ad multa, sed per hoc quod recipitur in materia, fit forma determinate huius rei. Materia autem perficitur per formam per quam finitur, et ideo infinitum secundum quod attribuitur materiae, habet rationem imperfecti; est enim quasi materia non habens formam. Forma autem non perficitur per materiam, sed magis per eam eius amplitudo contrahitur, unde infinitum secundum quod se tenet ex parte formae non determinatae per materiam, habet rationem perfecti. Illud autem quod est maxime formale omnium, est ipsum esse, ut ex superioribus patet. Cum igitur esse divinum non sit esse receptum in aliquo, sed ipse sit suum esse subsistens, ut supra ostensum est; manifestum est quod ipse Deus sit infinitus et perfectus.
I answer that, All the ancient philosophers attribute infinitude to the first principle, as is said (Phys. iii), and with reason; for they considered that things flow forth infinitely from the first principle. But because some erred concerning the nature of the first principle, as a consequence they erred also concerning its infinity; forasmuch as they asserted that matter was the first principle; consequently they attributed to the first principle a material infinity to the effect that some infinite body was the first principle of things. We must consider therefore that a thing is called infinite because it is not finite. Now matter is in a way made finite by form, and the form by matter. Matter indeed is made finite by form, inasmuch as matter, before it receives its form, is in potentiality to many forms; but on receiving a form, it is terminated by that one. Again, form is made finite by matter, inasmuch as form, considered in itself, is common to many; but when received in matter, the form is determined to this one particular thing. Now matter is perfected by the form by which it is made finite; therefore infinite as attributed to matter, has the nature of something imperfect; for it is as it were formless matter. On the other hand, form is not made perfect by matter, but rather is contracted by matter; and hence the infinite, regarded on the part of the form not determined by matter, has the nature of something perfect. Now being is the most formal of all things, as appears from what is shown above (4, 1, Objection 3). Since therefore the divine being is not a being received in anything, but He is His own subsistent being as was shown above (3, 4), it is clear that God Himself is infinite and perfect.
Iª q. 7 a. 1 ad 1 Et per hoc patet responsio ad primum.
From this appears the Reply to the First Objection.
Iª q. 7 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod terminus quantitatis est sicut forma ipsius, cuius signum est, quod figura, quae consistit in terminatione quantitatis, est quaedam forma circa quantitatem. Unde infinitum quod competit quantitati, est infinitum quod se tenet ex parte materiae, et tale infinitum non attribuitur Deo, ut dictum est.
Reply to Objection 2. Quantity is terminated by its form, which can be seen in the fact that a figure which consists in quantity terminated, is a kind of quantitative form. Hence the infinite of quantity is the infinite of matter; such a kind of infinite cannot be attributed to God; as was said above, in this article.
Iª q. 7 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod, ex hoc ipso quod esse Dei est per se subsistens non receptum in aliquo, prout dicitur infinitum, distinguitur ab omnibus aliis, et alia removentur ab eo, sicut, si esset albedo subsistens, ex hoc ipso quod non esset in alio, differret ab omni albedine existente in subiecto.
Reply to Objection 3. The fact that the being of God is self-subsisting, not received in any other, and is thus called infinite, shows Him to be distinguished from all other beings, and all others to be apart from Him. Even so, were there such a thing as a self-subsisting whiteness, the very fact that it did not exist in anything else, would make it distinct from every other whiteness existing in a subject.
Iª q. 7 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod aliquid aliud quam Deus possit esse infinitum per essentiam. Virtus enim rei proportionatur essentiae eius. Si igitur essentia Dei est infinita, oportet quod eius virtus sit infinita. Ergo potest producere effectum infinitum, cum quantitas virtutis per effectum cognoscatur.
Objection 1. It seems that something else besides God can be essentially infinite. For the power of anything is proportioned to its essence. Now if the essence of God is infinite, His power must also be infinite. Therefore He can produce an infinite effect, since the extent of a power is known by its effect.
Iª q. 7 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, quidquid habet virtutem infinitam, habet essentiam infinitam. Sed intellectus creatus habet virtutem infinitam, apprehendit enim universale, quod se potest extendere ad infinita singularia. Ergo omnis substantia intellectualis creata est infinita.
Objection 2. Further, whatever has infinite power, has an infinite essence. Now the created intellect has an infinite power; for it apprehends the universal, which can extend itself to an infinitude of singular things. Therefore every created intellectual substance is infinite.
Iª q. 7 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, materia prima aliud est a Deo, ut supra ostensum est. Sed materia prima est infinita. Ergo aliquid aliud praeter Deum potest esse infinitum.
Objection 3. Further, primary matter is something other than God, as was shown above (3, 8). But primary matter is infinite. Therefore something besides God can be infinite.
Iª q. 7 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod infinitum non potest esse ex principio aliquo, ut dicitur in III Physic. Omne autem quod est praeter Deum, est ex Deo sicut ex primo principio. Ergo nihil quod est praeter Deum, potest esse infinitum.
On the contrary, The infinite cannot have a beginning, as said in Phys. iii. But everything outside God is from God as from its first principle. Therefore besides God nothing can be infinite.
Iª q. 7 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod aliquid praeter Deum potest esse infinitum secundum quid, sed non simpliciter. Si enim loquamur de infinito secundum quod competit materiae, manifestum est quod omne existens in actu, habet aliquam formam, et sic materia eius est terminata per formam. Sed quia materia, secundum quod est sub una forma substantiali, remanet in potentia ad multas formas accidentales; quod est finitum simpliciter, potest esse infinitum secundum quid, utpote lignum est finitum secundum suam formam, sed tamen est infinitum secundum quid, inquantum est in potentia ad figuras infinitas. Si autem loquamur de infinito secundum quod convenit formae, sic manifestum est quod illa quorum formae sunt in materia, sunt simpliciter finita, et nullo modo infinita. Si autem sint aliquae formae creatae non receptae in materia, sed per se subsistentes, ut quidam de Angelis opinantur, erunt quidem infinitae secundum quid, inquantum huiusmodi formae non terminantur neque contrahuntur per aliquam materiam, sed quia forma creata sic subsistens habet esse, et non est suum esse, necesse est quod ipsum eius esse sit receptum et contractum ad determinatam naturam. Unde non potest esse infinitum simpliciter.
I answer that, Things other than God can be relatively infinite, but not absolutely infinite. For with regard to infinite as applied to matter, it is manifest that everything actually existing possesses a form; and thus its matter is determined by form. But because matter, considered as existing under some substantial form, remains in potentiality to many accidental forms, which is absolutely finite can be relatively infinite; as, for example, wood is finite according to its own form, but still it is relatively infinite, inasmuch as it is in potentiality to an infinite number of shapes. But if we speak of the infinite in reference to form, it is manifest that those things, the forms of which are in matter, are absolutely finite, and in no way infinite. If, however, any created forms are not received into matter, but are self-subsisting, as some think is the case with angels, these will be relatively infinite, inasmuch as such kinds of forms are not terminated, nor contracted by any matter. But because a created form thus subsisting has being, and yet is not its own being, it follows that its being is received and contracted to a determinate nature. Hence it cannot be absolutely infinite.
Iª q. 7 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod hoc est contra rationem facti, quod essentia rei sit ipsum esse eius, quia esse subsistens non est esse creatum, unde contra rationem facti est, quod sit simpliciter infinitum. Sicut ergo Deus, licet habeat potentiam infinitam, non tamen potest facere aliquid non factum (hoc enim esset contradictoria esse simul); ita non potest facere aliquid infinitum simpliciter.
Reply to Objection 1. It is against the nature of a made thing for its essence to be its existence; because subsisting being is not a created being; hence it is against the nature of a made thing to be absolutely infinite. Therefore, as God, although He has infinite power, cannot make a thing to be not made (for this would imply that two contradictories are true at the same time), so likewise He cannot make anything to be absolutely infinite.
Iª q. 7 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod hoc ipsum quod virtus intellectus extendit se quodammodo ad infinita, procedit ex hoc quod intellectus est forma non in materia; sed vel totaliter separata, sicut sunt substantiae Angelorum; vel ad minus potentia intellectiva, quae non est actus alicuius organi, in anima intellectiva corpori coniuncta.
Reply to Objection 2. The fact that the power of the intellect extends itself in a way to infinite things, is because the intellect is a form not in matter, but either wholly separated from matter, as is the angelic substance, or at least an intellectual power, which is not the act of any organ, in the intellectual soul joined to a body.
Iª q. 7 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod materia prima non existit in rerum natura per seipsam, cum non sit ens in actu, sed potentia tantum, unde magis est aliquid concreatum, quam creatum. Nihilominus tamen materia prima, etiam secundum potentiam, non est infinita simpliciter, sed secundum quid, quia eius potentia non se extendit nisi ad formas naturales.
Reply to Objection 3. Primary matter does not exist by itself in nature, since it is not actually being, but potentially only; hence it is something concreated rather than created. Nevertheless, primary matter even as a potentiality is not absolutely infinite, but relatively, because its potentiality extends only to natural forms.
Iª q. 7 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod possit esse aliquid infinitum actu secundum magnitudinem. In scientiis enim mathematicis non invenitur falsum, quia abstrahentium non est mendacium, ut dicitur in II Physic. Sed scientiae mathematicae utuntur infinito secundum magnitudinem, dicit enim geometra in suis demonstrationibus, sit linea talis infinita. Ergo non est impossibile aliquid esse infinitum secundum magnitudinem.
Objection 1. It seems that there can be something actually infinite in magnitude. For in mathematics there is no error, since "there is no lie in things abstract," as the Philosopher says (Phys. ii). But mathematics uses the infinite in magnitude; thus, the geometrician in his demonstrations says, "Let this line be infinite." Therefore it is not impossible for a thing to be infinite in magnitude.
Iª q. 7 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, id quod non est contra rationem alicuius, non est impossibile convenire sibi. Sed esse infinitum non est contra rationem magnitudinis, sed magis finitum et infinitum videntur esse passiones quantitatis. Ergo non est impossibile aliquam magnitudinem esse infinitam.
Objection 2. Further, what is not against the nature of anything, can agree with it. Now to be infinite is not against the nature of magnitude; but rather both the finite and the infinite seem to be properties of quantity. Therefore it is not impossible for some magnitude to be infinite.
Iª q. 7 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, magnitudo divisibilis est in infinitum, sic enim definitur continuum, quod est in infinitum divisibile, ut patet in III Physic. Sed contraria nata sunt fieri circa idem. Cum ergo divisioni opponatur additio, et diminutioni augmentum, videtur quod magnitudo possit crescere in infinitum. Ergo possibile est esse magnitudinem infinitam.
Objection 3. Further, magnitude is infinitely divisible, for the continuous is defined that which is infinitely divisible, as is clear from Phys. iii. But contraries are concerned about one and the same thing. Since therefore addition is opposed to division, and increase opposed to diminution, it appears that magnitude can be increased to infinity. Therefore it is possible for magnitude to be infinite.
Iª q. 7 a. 3 arg. 4 Praeterea, motus et tempus habent quantitatem et continuitatem a magnitudine super quam transit motus, ut dicitur in IV Physic. Sed non est contra rationem temporis et motus quod sint infinita, cum unumquodque indivisibile signatum in tempore et motu circulari, sit principium et finis. Ergo nec contra rationem magnitudinis erit quod sit infinita.
Objection 4. Further, movement and time have quantity and continuity derived from the magnitude over which movement passes, as is said in Phys. iv. But it is not against the nature of time and movement to be infinite, since every determinate indivisible in time and circular movement is both a beginning and an end. Therefore neither is it against the nature of magnitude to be infinite.
Iª q. 7 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra, omne corpus superficiem habet. Sed omne corpus superficiem habens est finitum, quia superficies est terminus corporis finiti. Ergo omne corpus est finitum. Et similiter potest dici de superficie et linea. Nihil est ergo infinitum secundum magnitudinem.
On the contrary, Every body has a surface. But every body which has a surface is finite; because surface is the term of a finite body. Therefore all bodies are finite. The same applies both to surface and to a line. Therefore nothing is infinite in magnitude.
Iª q. 7 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod aliud est esse infinitum secundum suam essentiam, et secundum magnitudinem. Dato enim quod esset aliquod corpus infinitum secundum magnitudinem, utpote ignis vel aer, non tamen esset infinitum secundum essentiam, quia essentia sua esset terminata ad aliquam speciem per formam, et ad aliquod individuum per materiam. Et ideo, habito ex praemissis quod nulla creatura est infinita secundum essentiam, adhuc restat inquirere utrum aliquid creatum sit infinitum secundum magnitudinem. Sciendum est igitur quod corpus, quod est magnitudo completa, dupliciter sumitur, scilicet mathematice, secundum quod consideratur in eo sola quantitas; et naturaliter, secundum quod consideratur in eo materia et forma. Et de corpore quidem naturali, quod non possit esse infinitum in actu, manifestum est. Nam omne corpus naturale aliquam formam substantialem habet determinatam, cum igitur ad formam substantialem consequantur accidentia, necesse est quod ad determinatam formam consequantur determinata accidentia; inter quae est quantitas. Unde omne corpus naturale habet determinatam quantitatem et in maius et in minus. Unde impossibile est aliquod corpus naturale infinitum esse. Hoc etiam ex motu patet. Quia omne corpus naturale habet aliquem motum naturalem. Corpus autem infinitum non posset habere aliquem motum naturalem, nec rectum, quia nihil movetur naturaliter motu recto, nisi cum est extra suum locum, quod corpori infinito accidere non posset; occuparet enim omnia loca, et sic indifferenter quilibet locus esset locus eius. Et similiter etiam neque secundum motum circularem. Quia in motu circulari oportet quod una pars corporis transferatur ad locum in quo fuit alia pars; quod in corpore circulari, si ponatur infinitum, esse non posset, quia duae lineae protractae a centro, quanto longius protrahuntur a centro, tanto longius distant ab invicem; si ergo corpus esset infinitum, in infinitum lineae distarent ab invicem, et sic una nunquam posset pervenire ad locum alterius. De corpore etiam mathematico eadem ratio est. Quia si imaginemur corpus mathematicum existens actu, oportet quod imaginemur ipsum sub aliqua forma, quia nihil est actu nisi per suam formam. Unde, cum forma quanti, inquantum huiusmodi, sit figura, oportebit quod habeat aliquam figuram. Et sic erit finitum, est enim figura, quae termino vel terminis comprehenditur.
I answer that, It is one thing to be infinite in essence, and another to be infinite in magnitude. For granted that a body exists infinite in magnitude, as fire or air, yet this could not be infinite in essence, because its essence would be terminated in a species by its form, and confined to individuality by matter. And so assuming from these premises that no creature is infinite in essence, it still remains to inquire whether any creature can be infinite in magnitude. We must therefore observe that a body, which is a complete magnitude, can be considered in two ways; mathematically, in respect to its quantity only; and naturally, as regards its matter and form. Now it is manifest that a natural body cannot be actually infinite. For every natural body has some determined substantial form. Since therefore the accidents follow upon the substantial form, it is necessary that determinate accidents should follow upon a determinate form; and among these accidents is quantity. So every natural body has a greater or smaller determinate quantity. Hence it is impossible for a natural body to be infinite. The same appears from movement; because every natural body has some natural movement; whereas an infinite body could not have any natural movement; neither direct, because nothing moves naturally by a direct movement unless it is out of its place; and this could not happen to an infinite body, for it would occupy every place, and thus every place would be indifferently its own place. Neither could it move circularly; forasmuch as circular motion requires that one part of the body is necessarily transferred to a place occupied by another part, and this could not happen as regards an infinite circular body: for if two lines be drawn from the centre, the farther they extend from the centre, the farther they are from each other; therefore, if a body were infinite, the lines would be infinitely distant from each other; and thus one could never occupy the place belonging to any other. The same applies to a mathematical body. For if we imagine a mathematical body actually existing, we must imagine it under some form, because nothing is actual except by its form; hence, since the form of quantity as such is figure, such a body must have some figure, and so would be finite; for figure is confined by a term or boundary.
Iª q. 7 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod geometer non indiget sumere aliquam lineam esse infinitam actu, sed indiget accipere aliquam lineam finitam actu, a qua possit subtrahi quantum necesse est, et hanc nominat lineam infinitam.
Reply to Objection 1. A geometrician does not need to assume a line actually infinite, but takes some actually finite line, from which he subtracts whatever he finds necessary; which line he calls infinite.
Iª q. 7 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod, licet infinitum non sit contra rationem magnitudinis in communi, est tamen contra rationem cuiuslibet speciei eius, scilicet contra rationem magnitudinis bicubitae vel tricubitae, sive circularis vel triangularis, et similium. Non autem est possibile in genere esse quod in nulla specie est. Unde non est possibile esse aliquam magnitudinem infinitam, cum nulla species magnitudinis sit infinita.
Reply to Objection 2. Although the infinite is not against the nature of magnitude in general, still it is against the nature of any species of it; thus, for instance, it is against the nature of a bicubical or tricubical magnitude, whether circular or triangular, and so on. Now what is not possible in any species cannot exist in the genus; hence there cannot be any infinite magnitude, since no species of magnitude is infinite.
Iª q. 7 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod infinitum quod convenit quantitati, ut dictum est, se tenet ex parte materiae. Per divisionem autem totius acceditur ad materiam, nam partes se habent in ratione materiae, per additionem autem acceditur ad totum, quod se habet in ratione formae. Et ideo non invenitur infinitum in additione magnitudinis, sed in divisione tantum.
Reply to Objection 3. The infinite in quantity, as was shown above, belongs to matter. Now by division of the whole we approach to matter, forasmuch as parts have the aspect of matter; but by addition we approach to the whole which has the aspect of a form. Therefore the infinite is not in the addition of magnitude, but only in division.
Iª q. 7 a. 3 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod motus et tempus non sunt secundum totum in actu, sed successive, unde habent potentiam permixtam actui. Sed magnitudo est tota in actu. Et ideo infinitum quod convenit quantitati, et se tenet ex parte materiae, repugnat totalitati magnitudinis, non autem totalitati temporis vel motus, esse enim in potentia convenit materiae.
Reply to Objection 4. Movement and time are whole, not actually but successively; hence they have potentiality mixed with actuality. But magnitude is an actual whole; therefore the infinite in quantity refers to matter, and does not agree with the totality of magnitude; yet it agrees with the totality of time and movement: for it is proper to matter to be in potentiality.
Iª q. 7 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod possibile sit esse multitudinem infinitam secundum actum. Non enim est impossibile id quod est in potentia reduci ad actum. Sed numerus est in infinitum multiplicabilis. Ergo non est impossibile esse multitudinem infinitam in actu.
Objection 1. It seems that an actually infinite multitude is possible. For it is not impossible for a potentiality to be made actual. But number can be multiplied to infinity. Therefore it is possible for an infinite multitude actually to exist.
Iª q. 7 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, cuiuslibet speciei possibile est esse aliquod individuum in actu. Sed species figurae sunt infinitae. Ergo possibile est esse infinitas figuras in actu.
Objection 2. Further, it is possible for any individual of any species to be made actual. But the species of figures are infinite. Therefore an infinite number of actual figures is possible.
Iª q. 7 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, ea quae non opponuntur ad invicem, non impediunt se invicem. Sed, posita aliqua multitudine rerum, adhuc possunt fieri alia multa quae eis non opponuntur, ergo non est impossibile aliqua iterum simul esse cum eis, et sic in infinitum. Ergo possibile est esse infinita in actu.
Objection 3. Further, things not opposed to each other do not obstruct each other. But supposing a multitude of things to exist, there can still be many others not opposed to them. Therefore it is not impossible for others also to coexist with them, and so on to infinitude; therefore an actual infinite number of things is possible.
Iª q. 7 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur Sap. XI, omnia in pondere, numero et mensura disposuisti.
On the contrary, It is written, "Thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight" (Wisdom 11:21).
Iª q. 7 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod circa hoc fuit duplex opinio. Quidam enim, sicut Avicenna et Algazel, dixerunt quod impossibile est esse multitudinem actu infinitam per se, sed infinitam per accidens multitudinem esse, non est impossibile. Dicitur enim multitudo esse infinita per se, quando requiritur ad aliquid ut multitudo infinita sit. Et hoc est impossibile esse, quia sic oporteret quod aliquid dependeret ex infinitis; unde eius generatio nunquam compleretur, cum non sit infinita pertransire. Per accidens autem dicitur multitudo infinita, quando non requiritur ad aliquid infinitas multitudinis, sed accidit ita esse. Et hoc sic manifestari potest in operatione fabri, ad quam quaedam multitudo requiritur per se, scilicet quod sit ars in anima, et manus movens, et martellus. Et si haec in infinitum multiplicarentur, nunquam opus fabrile compleretur, quia dependeret ex infinitis causis. Sed multitudo martellorum quae accidit ex hoc quod unum frangitur et accipitur aliud, est multitudo per accidens, accidit enim quod multis martellis operetur; et nihil differt utrum uno vel duobus vel pluribus operetur, vel infinitis, si infinito tempore operaretur. Per hunc igitur modum, posuerunt quod possibile est esse actu multitudinem infinitam per accidens. Sed hoc est impossibile. Quia omnem multitudinem oportet esse in aliqua specie multitudinis. Species autem multitudinis sunt secundum species numerorum. Nulla autem species numeri est infinita, quia quilibet numerus est multitudo mensurata per unum. Unde impossibile est esse multitudinem infinitam actu, sive per se, sive per accidens. Item, multitudo in rerum natura existens est creata, et omne creatum sub aliqua certa intentione creantis comprehenditur, non enim in vanum agens aliquod operatur. Unde necesse est quod sub certo numero omnia creata comprehendantur. Impossibile est ergo esse multitudinem infinitam in actu, etiam per accidens. Sed esse multitudinem infinitam in potentia, possibile est. Quia augmentum multitudinis consequitur divisionem magnitudinis, quanto enim aliquid plus dividitur, tanto plura secundum numerum resultant. Unde, sicut infinitum invenitur in potentia in divisione continui, quia proceditur ad materiam, ut supra ostensum est; eadem ratione etiam infinitum invenitur in potentia in additione multitudinis.
I answer that, A twofold opinion exists on this subject. Some, as Avicenna and Algazel, said that it was impossible for an actually infinite multitude to exist absolutely; but that an accidentally infinite multitude was not impossible. A multitude is said to be infinite absolutely, when an infinite multitude is necessary that something may exist. Now this is impossible; because it would entail something dependent on an infinity for its existence; and hence its generation could never come to be, because it is impossible to pass through an infinite medium. A multitude is said to be accidentally infinite when its existence as such is not necessary, but accidental. This can be shown, for example, in the work of a carpenter requiring a certain absolute multitude; namely, art in the soul, the movement of the hand, and a hammer; and supposing that such things were infinitely multiplied, the carpentering work would never be finished, forasmuch as it would depend on an infinite number of causes. But the multitude of hammers, inasmuch as one may be broken and another used, is an accidental multitude; for it happens by accident that many hammers are used, and it matters little whether one or two, or many are used, or an infinite number, if the work is carried on for an infinite time. In this way they said that there can be an accidentally infinite multitude. This, however, is impossible; since every kind of multitude must belong to a species of multitude. Now the species of multitude are to be reckoned by the species of numbers. But no species of number is infinite; for every number is multitude measured by one. Hence it is impossible for there to be an actually infinite multitude, either absolute or accidental. Likewise multitude in nature is created; and everything created is comprehended under some clear intention of the Creator; for no agent acts aimlessly. Hence everything created must be comprehended in a certain number. Therefore it is impossible for an actually infinite multitude to exist, even accidentally. But a potentially infinite multitude is possible; because the increase of multitude follows upon the division of magnitude; since the more a thing is divided, the greater number of things result. Hence, as the infinite is to be found potentially in the division of the continuous, because we thus approach matter, as was shown in the preceding article, by the same rule, the infinite can be also found potentially in the addition of multitude.
Iª q. 7 a. 4 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod unumquodque quod est in potentia, reducitur in actum secundum modum sui esse, dies enim non reducitur in actum ut sit tota simul, sed successive. Et similiter infinitum multitudinis non reducitur in actum ut sit totum simul, sed successive, quia post quamlibet multitudinem, potest sumi alia multitudo in infinitum.
Reply to Objection 1. Every potentiality is made actual according to its mode of being; for instance, a day is reduced to act successively, and not all at once. Likewise the infinite in multitude is reduced to act successively, and not all at once; because every multitude can be succeeded by another multitude to infinity.
Iª q. 7 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod species figurarum habent infinitatem ex infinitate numeri, sunt enim species figurarum, trilaterum, quadrilaterum, et sic inde. Unde, sicut multitudo infinita numerabilis non reducitur in actum quod sit tota simul, ita nec multitudo figurarum.
Reply to Objection 2. Species of figures are infinite by infinitude of number. Now there are various species of figures, such as trilateral, quadrilateral and so on; and as an infinitely numerable multitude is not all at once reduced to act, so neither is the multitude of figures.
Iª q. 7 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod, licet, quibusdam positis, alia poni non sit eis oppositum; tamen infinita poni opponitur cuilibet speciei multitudinis. Unde non est possibile esse aliquam multitudinem actu infinitam.
Reply to Objection 3. Although the supposition of some things does not preclude the supposition of others, still the supposition of an infinite number is opposed to any single species of multitude. Hence it is not possible for an actually infinite multitude to exist.
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