Summary Against Modern Thought: God Uses Angels & Demons

Summary Against Modern Thought: God Uses Angels & Demons

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The world, Reality, is a much richer place than most of us know. Our good saint proves that angels and demons carrying out God’s will is possible.


1 Since it is the function of divine providence to maintain order in things, and since a suitable order is such that there is a proportional descent from the highest things to the lowest it must be that divine providence reaches the farthest things by some sort of proportion. Now, the proportion is like this: as the highest creatures are under God and are governed by Him, so the lower creatures are under the higher ones and are ruled by them. But of all creatures the highest are the intellectual ones, as is evident from what we said earlier. Therefore, the rational plan of divine providence demands that the other creatures be ruled by rational creatures.

2 Again, whatever type of creature carries out the order of divine providence, it is able to do so because it participates in something of the power of the first providential being; just as an instrument does not move unless, through being moved, it participates somewhat in the power of the principal agent. So, the beings that participate more fully in the power of the divine providence are executive agents of divine providence in regard to those that participate less.

But intellectual creatures participate more than others in it, because an ability to establish order which is done by cognitive power, and an ability to execute it which is clone by operative power, are both required for providence, and rational creatures share in both types of power, while the rest of creatures have operative powers only. Therefore, all other creatures are ruled by means of rational creatures under divine providence.

Notes Angels and demons are, of course, purely intellectual creatures.

3 Besides, to whomever any power is given by God, the recipient is given the power together with an ordination toward the effect of that power. For in that way all things are arranged for the best, inasmuch as each thing is ordered to all the goods that can naturally come from it. Now, the intellectual power by itself is capable of ordering and ruling; hence, we see that the operative power follows the direction of the intellective power, when they are combined in the same subject.

In man, for instance, we observe that the bodily members are moved at the command of the will. The same is evident even if they are in different subjects; for instance, those men who excel in operative power must be directed by those who excel in intellectual power. Therefore, the rational plan of divine providence demands that other creatures be ruled by intellectual creatures.

4 Moreover, particular powers are naturally adapted to be moved by universal powers; this is evident quite as much in the artistic as in the natural sphere. Now, it is obvious that intellectual power is more universal than any operative power, for the intellectual power contains universal forms, while each power is operative only because of some form proper to the agent. Therefore, all other creatures must be moved and regulated by means of intellectual powers.

5 Furthermore, in all powers arranged in an order, one is directive in relation to the next, and it knows the rational plan best. Thus, we see in the case of the arts that one art, which is concerned with the end from which the plan for the entire artistic production is derived, directs and commands another art which makes the product, as the art of navigation does in regard to shipbuilding. So, the one that introduces the form commands the one that prepares the matter.

Instruments, on the other hand, which do not know the plan at all, are simply ruled. Since only intellectual creatures can know the rational plans for the ordering of creatures, it will therefore be their function to rule and govern all other creatures.

6 Again, that which is of itself is the cause of that which is through another. But only intellectual creatures operate by themselves, in the sense that they are masters of their operations through free choice of their will. On the other hand, other creatures are involved in operation resulting from the necessity of nature, since they are moved by something else. Therefore, intellectual creatures by their operation are motivating and regulative of other creatures.

Notes Free choice of their will; meaning, as is clear, free will.

1 Comment

  1. Joy

    “Notes Free choice of their will; meaning, as is clear, free will.”
    Are you joking?
    As in, last will and testament?
    “A will of their free choosing”.
    because humans perceive things, whether they want to or not, they receive new information which then allows them to know more and more. They can decide how they order their thoughts?
    I think that instincts are more important than is given credit. For example, the idea not to do evil is born of something that arises before the thought “no” even comes into it.
    The greater the evil, the more this is obvious. Maybe when the notions become more complex, the truth or right/wrong are harder to know. More deliberation.
    So it’s the truth that matters, to humans.

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