God and Creatures: The Quodlibetal Questions

God and Creatures: The Quodlibetal Questions

Felix Alluntis
Allan B. Wolter
Copyright Date: 1975
Pages: 584
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x11f7
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    God and Creatures: The Quodlibetal Questions
    Book Description:

    This is the first major work of the famous mediaeval scholastic theologian John Duns Scotus to be translated into English in its entirety. One of the towering intellectual figures of his age, Scotus has had a lasting influence on Western philosophy comparable only to that of Thomas Aquinas.

    The questions Scotus discusses on the subject "God and Creatures" were originally presented to him in the course of a quodlibetal dispute, a public debate popular in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In revising the questions for publication, Scotus wove in much of his basic philosophy and theology, making this work one of the mainstays on which his reputation as a thinker depends.

    The text of the English translation is based on the most authoritative version of the original Latin text. The extensive annotation and a glossary of technical terms permit each question to be read as an integral treatise in its own right.

    Originally published in 1975.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7223-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xiii)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    F.A. and A.B.W.
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xvii-2)
    F.A. and A.B.W.

    John Duns Scotus, known as the Subtle Doctor, was a scholastic theologian and philosopher who for four centuries or more after his death had a profound influence on Western philosophical thought. The American scientist and philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce considered him the greatest speculative mind of the Middle Ages and one of the “profoundest metaphysicians that ever lived.”¹ Though Scotus’ Latin has neither the simplicity of St. Thomas’ nor the beauty of St. Bonaventure’s, one seventeenth-century theologian writing about his moral philosophy declares the Scotist school to be more numerous than that of all the others combined.² Two international congresses...

  6. Prologue
    (pp. 3-4)

    0.1 “All things are difficult,” says Solomon, and immediately adds the reason why he thinks they are difficult: “Because man’s language is inadequate to explain them.”¹ The distinction of things or beings can serve as the basis for classifying or distinguishing the difficult questions that have been raised. Now a thing* [res] is primarily classified (1) as created or uncreated, (2) as having being of itself or having it from another, (3) as necessary or possible, (4) as finite or infinite. The uncreated, self-existent, infinite, and necessary thing or being we call God. The created, the “from another,” the possible...

  7. Question One IN DIVINE THINGS, IS IT THE ESSENTIAL OR THE NOTIONAL THAT IS MORE IMMEDIATE TO THE DIVINE ESSENCE?
    (pp. 5-30)

    1.1 The question is raised whether it is the essential or the notional* that is more immediate to the divine essence?¹

    Proof that the notional is more immediate: That which constitutes the persons of a nature is more immediate to that nature than its properties are. Now the notional characteristics constitute the persons of the divine nature; they are not constituted by the essentials which are like properties of the nature. Therefore, [the notional is more immediate to the divine nature than are the essentials].

    Proof of the major: A nature is immediate as regards its own person, for it...

  8. Question Two COULD THERE BE SEVERAL PRODUCTIONS OF THE SAME TYPE IN GOD?
    (pp. 31-59)

    2.1 Once we see what, in the divine, is the order of essential and notional* features, the sequence to be followed in the questions about God is clear. If any questions had been raised about the essence or the intrinsic essential characteristics they would have been treated before the questions bearing on the persons or notional. But there was no problem about the essential except that it implies a relation to something external and everything notional is in its own way prior to any essential of this sort. Therefore, questions about the notional should be treated first. Notional features, however,...

  9. Question Three ARE THESE TWO COMPATIBLE: A RELATION RELATED TO ITS OPPOSITE IS A REAL THING; AND, AS RELATED TO THE ESSENCE, IT IS ONLY AN ASPECT?
    (pp. 60-79)

    3.1 Questions about the relations follow the discussion of the productions.* The first concern relations of origin* [viz., QQ. 3-5] the second, common relations* [viz., Q. 6].

    3.2 The first question on the relations of origin concerns their tie in with the essence; the second, how they are bound up with the person; third, their own measure of perfection.

    3.3 The first question then is this: Are these two compatible: a relation as related to its opposite is a real thing [res]; and, as related to the essence, it is only an aspect [ratio]?¹

    It is argued they are not:...

  10. Question Four COULD THE FIRST DIVINE PERSON REMAIN CONSTITUTED AS A PERSON, DISTINCT FROM THE OTHER PERSONS, APART FROM THE RELATIONSHIP OF ORIGIN?
    (pp. 80-107)

    4.1 The next question concerns the connection between the relationship of origin* and the persons, especially the first person, namely: Could the first divine person remain constituted as a person, distinct from the other persons, apart or prescinding from the relationship of origin?¹

    Argument for the affirmative:

    What adds to a person already constituted neither constitutes nor distinguishes him primarily. But such is the relationship of origin as regards the first person. Therefore, [the relationship of origin neither constitutes nor distinguishes the first person primarily].

    Proof of the minor: A relation of origin results from acting or being acted upon,...

  11. Question Five IS THE RELATION OF ORIGIN FORMALLY INFINITE?
    (pp. 108-129)

    5.1 The next question raised is about the intrinsic perfection of origin in the divine. It is whether the relation of origin* is formally infinite.¹

    Argument for the negative:

    Everything formally infinite is a pure perfection,* for nothing can be more perfect than what is formally infinite. The relation of origin is not a pure perfection; therefore [it is not formally infinite].

    5.2 Proof of the minor: One person has a relation of origin that another lacks. Therefore, were the relation of origin a pure perfection, one person would possess some pure perfection lacking in another, which is incongruous.

    5.3...

  12. Question Six IS “EQUALITY” IN THE DIVINE A REAL RELATION?
    (pp. 130-158)

    6.1 Once the relation of origin* in the divine was discussed, the issue of the common relations* arose. Here there was but one question: Is equality in the divine a real relation?*¹

    It is argued that it is: Any relation that has a real foundation and extremes that are really distinct is real. The relation in question is such. Therefore [it is real]. Proof of the minor: In the divine there is real magnitude, namely, that of the essence; also the persons, said to be equal to one another, are really distinct.

    6.2 To the contrary: Every real relation is...

  13. Question Seven CAN IT BE DEMONSTRATED BY NATURAL AND NECESSARY REASON THAT GOD IS OMNIPOTENT?
    (pp. 159-197)

    7.1 So far we have investigated what pertains to God internally and in particular the relationships of person to person [QQ. 1-6]. Now it remains to study what pertains to God considered externally, i.e., properties that imply a relationship of God to creatures. Here two sorts of questions could arise, one about the subject of the relation [QQ. 7-8], the other about the term or object to which it relates [QQ. 9-11].

    7.2 Two questions were raised about the subject, one general, the other particular. The first question is this: Can it be demonstrated by natural and necessary reason that...

  14. Question Eight DOES THE DIVINE WORD HAVE SOME CAUSALITY OF HIS OWN AS REGARDS CREATURES?
    (pp. 198-217)

    8.1 The next question concerns omnipotence or active causality insofar as it pertains in particular to the Son in the divine and the question is this: Has the Son or the Divine Word* some causality of his own as regards the creature?¹

    It is argued that he has:

    An art implies a relation of causality to the artefact and of the idea to its ideatum* or concrete realization. But to be art and to contain in himself the ideas of all that can be made is something that pertains properly to the Divine Word. Therefore [he has a relation of...

  15. Question Nine CAN GOD BRING IT ABOUT THAT AN ANGEL INFORM MATTER?
    (pp. 218-235)

    9.1 The next set of questions concern omnipotence in relation to its object. There are three questions, the first of which is about omnipotence in relation to an immaterial substance and it is this: Can God bring it about that an angel inform matter? The second question [10] has to do with omnipotence’s relation to an accidental form to which it gives existence in a supernatural way and it is this: Can God convert the Eucharistic species* into something preexisting? The third question [11] concerns omnipotence in relation to an accidental form existing in a natural fashion and it is...

  16. Question Ten CAN GOD CONVERT THE EUCHARISTIC SPECIES INTO SOMETHING PREVIOUSLY EXISTING?
    (pp. 236-256)

    10.1 As regards the second question [in 9.1], namely: Can God convert the Eucharistic species* into something previously existing,¹ it is argued he cannot:

    Nothing can be converted into something else unless the two have something in common. These species, however, have nothing in common with what already exists. Therefore [they cannot be converted into something already existing].

    Proof of the major: If nothing common would remain, then the species would be annihilated and not transformed.

    Proof of the minor: These species do not inhere in a substance nor do they modify matter, which serves as the primary subject in...

  17. Question Eleven IF BOTH BODY AND PLACE REMAIN, CAN GOD CAUSE THE BODY NOT TO HAVE UBIETY?
    (pp. 257-270)

    11.1 As for the third question [in 9.1], we proceed in this way.¹ It is argued that God cannot cause a body to lack ubiety,* so long as a body and a place* exist, for the extremes of a relation cannot continue to exist without the relation between them also existing. Two white objects, for instance, cannot exist without their being similar. Body and place seem to be terms for the intervening relationship of ubiety, as it were, according to the description in theSix Principles²: “Ubiety is the circumscription by the place.”

    11.2 Against the preceding opinion it is...

  18. Question Twelve IS THE RELATION OF A CREATURE TO GOD AS CREATOR THE SAME AS THE RELATION TO GOD AS CONSERVER?
    (pp. 271-283)

    12.1 Once the questions raised about God have been answered, some questions about creatures follow; first about all creatures in general, then about certain creatures in particular.

    12.2 One question about creatures in general was asked and it was this: Is the created thing’s relation to God as creator the same as its relation to him as conserver?¹

    Argument for the negative:

    Something can be created and not conserved. Consequently, it can have a relation to God as its creator only and not as its conserver. Therefore the two relations are not identical. Proof of the first antecedent: A thing...

  19. Question Thirteen ARE THE ACTS OF KNOWING AND APPETITION ESSENTIALLY ABSOLUTE OR ESSENTIALLY RELATIVE?
    (pp. 284-314)

    13.1 As for creatures in particular the only questions raised con cerned those endowed either with sensation or intellective life.

    13.2 One question common to either form of life was this: Are the acts of knowing and appetition essentially absolute or essentially relative?¹

    It was argued that they are relative because such acts cannot be thought of apart from their terms. But the absolute can be thought of apart from the thought of any term. Therefore [they are not absolute], Proof of the major: Vision cannot be thought of apart from an object or something visible. The minor is evident....

  20. Question Fourteen CAN THE SOUL LEFT TO ITS NATURAL PERFECTION KNOW THE TRINITY OF PERSONS IN GOD?
    (pp. 315-343)

    14.1 The next questions have to do with what pertains particularly to creatures possessing intellectual life. The first of these concern things common to men and angels; the next have to do with what is proper to man. Common to men and angels are intellect and will. Concerning the intellect two questions were raised: one, about the object of the intellect; the other, about the active cause of intellection.

    14.2 The first question was whether the soul, left to its natural perfection, can know the Trinity of Persons in God.¹ The same question can be asked as regards the angel....

  21. Question Fifteen IS THE POSSIBLE INTELLECT ACTIVE OR PASSIVE AS REGARDS THE CONCEPT OF A CREATURE?
    (pp. 344-368)

    15.1 The next question concerns the cause of intellection, or how the intellect passes from [potency] to act.

    15.2 The question is this: Granted that the blessed in heaven have some concept or “word”* of the creature as seen in the divine essence, is the possible intellect* purely passive as regards such knowledge?¹

    It is argued that it is:

    The possible intellect is the recipient of its intellection. But the same subject is not both active and receptive as regards the same thing, for that which receives is in potency whereas that which acts is in act, and the same...

  22. Question Sixteen ARE FREEDOM OF WILL AND NATURAL NECESSITY COMPATIBLE AS REGARDS THE SAME ACT AND OBJECT?
    (pp. 369-387)

    16.1 The next questions deal with the will; first, with its action in general, second, in particular with the distinction between two intrinsic acts of the will, and third, with the distinction between an intrinsic and extrinsic act.

    16.2 The first question is this: Are freedom of will and natural necessity compatible in the same subject as regards the same act and object?¹

    It is argued they are not:

    Necessity and freedom, it seems, are mutually repugnant. Augustine writes²: “It was shown to our satisfaction that a mind becomes a slave of sinful desire only by its own will.” And...

  23. Question Seventeen ARE ACTS OF NATURAL LOVE AND MERITORIOUS LOVE SPECIFICALLY THE SAME?
    (pp. 388-398)

    17.1 The next question raised is this: Are acts of natural love and meritorious love specifically the same?¹

    It is claimed they are not:

    Acts elicited by specifically different principles are themselves specifically different. Such are these acts of natural and meritorious love. Therefore [they differ specifically].

    Proof of the major: In what issues from a principle, the difference is not less but greater than that of their principles.

    Proof of the minor: The will elicits natural love by its own natural action whereas meritorious love is elicited by means of the supernatural habit of charity. Now natural and supernatural...

  24. Question Eighteen DOES THE EXTERIOR ACT ADD SOME GOODNESS OR BADNESS TO THE INTERIOR ACT?
    (pp. 399-417)

    18.1 The next question concerns the interrelation of the extrinsic and intrinsic acts and asks whether the extrinsic adds some goodness or badness to the intrinsic.¹

    Argument for the negative:²

    That which is not voluntary is neither good nor bad. Now the external act insofar as it is distinct from the internal is not voluntary. It derives what “voluntary” character it has from the internal act. Therefore, the external act has no goodness or badness of its own and, having none, it cannot add any to the internal act.

    18.2 Against this it is argued that what is forbidden by...

  25. Question Nineteen IS THE UNITY IN CHRIST OF THE HUMAN NATURE WITH THE WORD MERELY THE ASSUMED NATURE’S DEPENDENCE UPON THE WORD?
    (pp. 418-442)

    19.1 The next question has to do with the dependence of the assumed nature upon the Word.* Is the unity of human nature with the Word in Christ merely the human nature’s dependence upon the Word?¹

    It is argued it is not:

    Here there is such unity as suffices for the nature to be truthfully predicated of the Person according to that dictum: “Such is that union that it made God man and man God” (The Trinity).² Now dependence alone seems insufficient for this. What is dependent is not always predicated of that on which it depends. This seems to...

  26. Question Twenty DOES A PRIEST WHO IS OBLIGED TO SAY A MASS FOR EACH OF TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE SATISFY HIS OBLIGATION BY SAYING ONE MASS FOR BOTH?
    (pp. 443-468)

    20. 1 Does a priest, obliged to say a mass for one person and also obliged to say a mass for another person, adequately satisfy his obligation by saying one mass for both?

    It is argued that he does not:

    One obliged to a greater good does not satisfy his obligation by performing a lesser good. But that is what happens here, for two masses represent a greater good than one does. Besides, one mass benefits a person more if said for him alone than if said simultaneously for himself and another.

    20.2 Against this opinion it is argued: He...

  27. Question Twenty-one CAN ONE WHO ADMITS THAT THE WORLD IS ETERNAL DEFEND THE POSITION THAT ANYONE COULD ALWAYS BE FORTUNATE?
    (pp. 469-484)

    21.1 The last question asked is this: Can one who admits the world is eternal maintain that anyone could always be fortunate?

    It is argued affirmatively:

    One who admits the eternity of the world does not deny, but admits, the existence of movement. Consequently, he does not deny the existence of nature as the principle of movement. Now the Philosopher, in the bookGood Fortune,¹ declares that good fortune is nature without reason, etc.

    21. 2 For the negative view:

    He who admits the eternity of the world denies that God can immediately influence our souls. As thePhysics² explains,...

  28. Appendix
    (pp. 485-492)
  29. Glossary
    (pp. 493-540)
  30. Index of Authors
    (pp. 541-543)
  31. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 544-548)
  32. Back Matter
    (pp. 549-549)