By Howard P. Kainz Ph. D. (auth.)
A. "SEPARATE elements" AND lOR" ANGELS"? it truly is attention-grabbing to notice that, in an expressly theological treatise resembling the Summa theologiae, St. Thomas often makes use of the time period "angel", as opposed to "separate substance"; whereas in works with a much less particular theological motive - e. g. the Summa contra gentiles and the De substantiis separatis 1 - he regularly prefers the time period "separate substance". yet at any fee there's no doubt that the 2 phrases, "separate sub stance" and "angel" have a undeniable interchangeability and equivalence within the works of St. Thomas. In different phrases, "the separate substance" is similar to "the angel, insofar as its life and attributes are knowable via human cause alone". And this has led Karl Barth 2 to cost that St. Thomas' angelology is basically a philosophical presenta tion, with little relevance to theology. 1 we'd say that those works are "philosophical" insofar as arguments from cause are emphasised in them, instead of arguments from revelation or religion. even if, as Lescoe issues out (in the creation to his variation of the De substantUs separatis, p. 8), the treatise on separate components leads as much as theological subject-matter in Ch. 's XVII ff- particularly, an exposition of Catholic educating as present in Sacred Scripture, the Fathers, and particularly Dionysius. And Chenu continues that the Summa contra gentiles is largely 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
Genere invenitur aliquid imperfectum, oportet praeexistere aliquid perfectum in genere ilIo". It should be noted that in the foregoing arguments St. Thomas uses the words, "nature" and "genus", as if he considered "intellective" and "non-intellective" as the fundamental genera dividing up all of being : so that, in this sense, "rational animal" would not only be a species of material being, but, in a broader sense, a sub-species of the species of "intellective being", which itself could be relegated to the broader genus of potential, or created, being.
It is not a self-contained totum of passivity/activity, as is the intellect. III. THE POWERS OF SEPARATE SUBSTANCES A. PROBLEMS ARISING IN THE INVESTIGATION OF THESE POWERS Unless one understood the mechanism of the automatic gearshift which is found in some automobiles, he would find it hard to comprehend the unity of operation which is found in the processes of shifting and clutching such automobiles. In the same way, if one does not first attend to the different way in which the concept, "active potency", is applied to composite substances and to separate substances - he will fail to understand the more advanced type of powers which are attributable to separate substances.
It is very difficult to apply either pole of this antinomy to St. Thomas, since there are many texts where he seems to indicate that we can have an indirect (analogical) knowledge of God through His effects (cf. g. Summa contra gentiles, II, 98; In I Sententiae, d. 8, q. I, a. 2; Quodlibeta II, q. 2, a. g. Summa contra gentiles I, 30, ad. ; De potentia, VII,S, ad 2; De veritate, q. 2, art. I, ad. 9). A resolution of this "antinomy" may be found in simply recognizing that knowing "only what God is not" (the Dionysian position) is a kind of know ledge of God (analogical knowledge).
“Active and Passive Potency” in Thomistic Angelology by Howard P. Kainz Ph. D. (auth.)