A continuation of last week’s lesson. Two Chapter this week.
1 Now, it appears that the preceding view may be opposed by certain arguments.
2 The ultimate end of all is such that He is, nonetheless, prior to all things in existing being. Now, there is a sort of end which, though it holds first place causally in the order of intention, is posterior in existing. This is the situation with an end which the agent sets up by his own action, as a physician sets up health in a sick man by his own action; this is, of course, the physician’s end. And then there is an end which takes precedence in existing being, just as it precedes in the causal order. For instance, we call that an end which one intends to obtain by his action or motion, as fire inclines upward by its motion, and a king intends to establish a city by fighting. Therefore, God is not the end of things in the sense of being something set up as an ideal, but as a pre-existing being Who is to be attained.
Notes You can see how much has changed from the dreaded medieval era, when a physician’s end was the health of his patient, not his death or maiming.
3 Again, God is at once the ultimate end of things and the first agent, as we have shown. But the end that is produced by the action of the agent cannot be the first agent; it is, rather, the effect of the agent. Therefore, God cannot be the end of things in this way, as something produced, but only as something pre-existing that is to be attained.
4 Besides, if something act for the sake of an already existing thing, and should then set up something by its action, then this something must be added by the action of the agent to the thing for the sake of which the action is done: thus, if soldiers fight for the sake of their leader, victory will come to the leader, and this is what the soldiers cause by their actions. Now, something cannot be added to God by the action of a thing, for His goodness is completely perfect, as we showed in Book One [37ff]. The conclusion stands, then, that God is the end of things, not in the sense of something set up, or produced, by things, nor in the sense that something is added to Him by things, but in this sense only, that He is attained by things.
5 Moreover, the effect must tend toward the end in the same way that the agent works for the end. Now, God, Who is the first agent of all things, does not act in such a way that something is attained by His action, but in such a way that something is enriched by His action. For He is not in potency to the possibility of obtaining something; rather, He is in perfect act simply, and as a result He is a source of enrichment. So, things are not ordered to God as to an end for which something may be obtained, but rather so that they may attain Himself from Himself, according to their measure, since He is their end.
1 Created things are made like unto God by the fact that they attain to divine goodness. If then, all things tend toward God as an ultimate end, so that they may attain His goodness, it follows that the ultimate end of things is to become like God.
Notes I beg you will not mentally remove that last “like”. You will not become God. Even if you add perfection to yourself, God is infinitely far away, and it would take you forever, which is to say never, to get there.
2 Again, the agent is said to be the end of the effect because the effect tends to become like the agent; hence, “the form of the generator is the end of the generating action.” But God is the end of things in such a way that He is also their first agent. Therefore, all things tend to become like God as to their ultimate end.
3 Besides, it is quite evident that things “naturally desire to be,” and if they can be corrupted by anything they naturally resist corrupting agents and tend toward a place where they may be preserved, as fire inclines upward and earth downward. Now, all things get their being from the fact that they are made like unto God, Who is subsisting being itself, for all things exist merely as participants in existing being. Therefore, all things desire as their ultimate end to be made like unto God.
4 Moreover, all created things are, in a sense, images of the first agent, that is, of God, for the agent makes a product to his own likeness. Now, the function of a perfect image is to represent its prototype by likeness to it; this is why an image is made. Therefore, all things exist in order to attain to the divine likeness, as to their ultimate end.
5 Furthermore, everything tends through its motion or action toward a good, as its end, which we showed above. Now, a thing participates in the good precisely to the same extent that it becomes like the first goodness, which is God. So, all things tend through their movements and actions toward the divine likeness, as toward their ultimate end.