PART II-II ("Secunda Secundae")
Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province
BENZIGER BROTHERS NEW YORK
To the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate Seat of Wisdom
NOTE TO THIS ELECTRONIC EDITION
The text of this electronic edition was originally produced by Sandra K. Perry, Perrysburg, Ohio, and made available through the Christian Classics Ethereal Library <http://www.ccel.org>. I have eliminated unnecessary formatting in the text, corrected some errors in transcription, and added the dedication, tables of contents, Prologue, and the numbers of the questions and articles, as they appeared in the printed translation published by Benziger Brothers. Each article is now designated by part, question number, and article number in brackets, like this:
> SECOND ARTICLE [I, Q. 49, Art. 2]
> Whether the Supreme Good, God, Is the Cause of Evil?
In a few places, where obvious errors appeared in the Benziger Brothers edition, I have corrected them by reference to a Latin text of the Summa. These corrections are indicated by English text in brackets. For example, in Part I, Question 45, Article 2, the first sentence in the Benziger Brothers edition begins: "Not only is it impossible that anything should be created by God...." By reference to the Latin, "non solum non est impossibile a Deo aliquid creari" (emphasis added), this has been corrected to "Not only is it [not] impossible that anything should be created by God...."
This electronic edition also differs from the Benziger Brothers edition in the following details (as well as the obvious lack of the original page numbers and headers):
* The repetitive expression "We proceed thus to the [next] Article" does not appear directly below the title of each article.
* Italics are represented by underscores at the beginning and end, like this. Quotations and other "quotable" matter, however, are ordinarily set off by quotation marks with no underscores in this edition, in accordance with common English usage, even where they were set in italics with no quotation marks in the Benziger Brothers edition. Titles of books are set off by underscores when they appear in the text with no parentheses, but not when the books are cited in parentheses.
* Bible chapters and verses are cited with arabic numerals separated by colons, like this: "Dan. 7:10"—not like this: "Dan. vii. 10." Small roman numerals have been retained where they appear in citations to books other than the Bible.
* Any matter that appeared in a footnote in the Benziger Brothers edition is presented in brackets at the point in the text where the footnote mark appeared.
* Greek words are presented in Roman transliteration.
* Paragraphs are not indented and are separated by blank lines.
* Numbered topics, set forth at the beginning of each question and at certain other places, are ordinarily presented on a separate line for each topic.
* Titles of questions are in all caps.
Anything else in this electronic edition that does not correspond to the content of the Benziger Brothers edition may be regarded as a defect in this edition and attributed to me (David McClamrock).
SECOND PART OF THE SECOND PART (QQ. 1-189)
1. Of Faith 2. Of the Act of Faith 3. Of the Outward Act of Faith 4. Of the Virtue Itself of Faith 5. Of Those Who Have Faith 6. Of the Cause of Faith 7. Of the Effects of Faith 8. Of the Gift of Understanding 9. Of the Gift of Knowledge 10. Of Unbelief in General 11. Of Heresy 12. Of Apostasy 13. Of the Sin of Blasphemy, in General 14. Of Blasphemy Against the Holy Ghost 15. Of the Vices Opposed to Knowledge and Understanding 16. Of the Precepts of Faith, Knowledge, and Understanding 17. Of Hope, Considered in Itself 18. Of the Subject of Hope 19. Of the Gift of Fear 20. Of Despair 21. Of Presumption 22. Of the Precepts Relating to Hope and Fear 23. Of Charity, Considered in Itself 24. Of the Subject of Charity 25. Of the Object of Charity 26. Of the Order of Charity 27. Of the Principal Act of Charity, Which Is to Love 28. Of Joy 29. Of Peace 30. Of Mercy 31. Of Beneficence 32. Of Almsdeeds 33. Of Fraternal Correction 34. Of Hatred 35. Of Sloth 36. Of Envy 37. Of Discord, Which Is Contrary to Peace 38. Of Contention 39. Of Schism 40. Of War 41. Of Strife 42. Of Sedition 43. Of Scandal 44. Of the Precepts of Charity 45. Of the Gift of Wisdom 46. Of Folly Which Is Opposed to Wisdom
TREATISE ON PRUDENCE AND JUSTICE
47. Of Prudence Considered in Itself 48. Of the Parts of Prudence 49. Of Each Quasi-integral Part of Prudence 50. Of the Subjective Parts of Prudence 51. Of the Virtues Which Are Connected with Prudence 52. Of the Gift of Counsel 53. Of Imprudence 54. Of Negligence 55. Of Vices Opposed to Prudence by Way of Resemblance 56. Of the Precepts Relating to Prudence 57. Of Right 58. Of Justice 59. Of Injustice 60. Of Judgment 61. Of the Parts of Justice 62. Of Restitution 63. Of Respect of Persons 64. Of Murder 65. Of Injuries Committed on the Person 66. Of Theft and Robbery 67. Of the Injustice of a Judge, in Judging 68. Of Matters Concerning Unjust Accusation 69. Of Sins Committed Against Justice on the Part of the Defendant 70. Of Injustice with Regard to the Person of the Witness 71. Of Injustice in Judgment on the Part of Counsel 72. Of Reviling 73. Of Backbiting 74. Of Tale-Bearing 75. Of Derision 76. Of Cursing 77. Of Cheating, Which Is Committed in Buying and Selling 78. Of the Sin of Usury 79. Of the Quasi-integral Parts of Justice 80. Of the Potential Parts of Justice 81. Of Religion 82. Of Devotion 83. Of Prayer 84. Of Adoration 85. Of Sacrifice 86. Of Oblations and First-fruits 87. Of Tithes 88. Of Vows 89. Of Oaths 90. Of the Taking of God's Name by Way of Adjuration 91. Of Taking the Divine Name for the Purpose of Invoking It by Means of Praise 92. Of Superstition 93. Of Superstition Consisting in Undue Worship of the True God 94. Of Idolatry 95. Of Superstition in Divinations 96. Of Superstition in Observances 97. Of the Temptation of God 98. Of Perjury 99. Of Sacrilege 100. On Simony 101. Of Piety 102. Of Observance, Considered in Itself, and of Its Parts 103. Of Dulia 104. Of Obedience 105. Of Disobedience 106. Of Thankfulness or Gratitude 107. Of Ingratitude 108. Of Vengeance 109. Of Truth 110. Of the Vices Opposed to Truth, and First of Lying 111. Of Dissimulation and Hypocrisy 112. Of Boasting 113. Of Irony 114. Of the Friendliness Which Is Called Affability 115. Of Flattery 116. Of Quarreling 117. Of Liberality 118. Of the Vices Opposed to Liberality, and in the First Place, of Covetousness 119. Of Prodigality 120. Of "Epikeia" or Equity 121. Of Piety 122. Of the Precepts of Justice
TREATISE ON FORTITUDE AND TEMPERANCE
123. Of Fortitude 124. Of Martyrdom 125. Of Fear 126. Of Fearlessness 127. Of Daring 128. Of the Parts of Fortitude 129. Of Magnanimity 130. Of Presumption 131. Of Ambition 132. Of Vainglory 133. Of Pusillanimity 134. Of Magnificence 135. Of Meanness 136. Of Patience 137. Of Perseverance 138. Of the Vices Opposed to Perseverance 139. Of the Gift of Fortitude 140. Of the Precepts of Fortitude 141. Of Temperance 142. Of the Vices Opposed to Temperance 143. Of the Parts of Temperance, in General 144. Of Shamefacedness 145. Of Honesty 146. Of Abstinence 147. Of Fasting 148. Of Gluttony 149. Of Sobriety 150. Of Drunkenness 151. Of Chastity 152. Of Virginity 153. Of Lust 154. Of the Parts of Lust 155. Of Continence 156. Of Incontinence 157. Of Clemency and Meekness 158. Of Anger 159. Of Cruelty 160. Of Modesty 161. Of Humility 162. Of Pride 163. Of the First Man's Sin 164. Of the Punishments of the First Man's Sin 165. Of Our First Parents' Temptation 166. Of Studiousness 167. Of Curiosity 168. Of Modesty as Consisting in the Outward Movements of the Body 169. Of Modesty in the Outward Apparel 170. Of the Precepts of Temperance
TREATISE ON ACTS WHICH PERTAIN ESPECIALLY TO CERTAIN MEN
171. Of Prophecy 172. Of the Cause of Prophecy 173. Of the Manner in Which Prophetic Knowledge Is Conveyed 174. Of the Division of Prophecy 175. Of Rapture 176. Of the Grace of Tongues 177. Of the Gratuitous Grace Consisting in Words 178. Of the Grace of Miracles 179. Of the Division of Life into Active and Contemplative 180. Of the Contemplative Life 181. Of the Active Life 182. Of the Active Life in Comparison with the Contemplative Life 183. Of Man's Various Duties and States in General 184. Of the State of Perfection in General 185. Of Things Pertaining to the Episcopal State 186. Of Those Things in Which the Religious State Properly Consists 187. Of Those Things That Are Competent to Religious 188. Of the Different Kinds of Religious Life 189. Of the Entrance into Religious Life _____
SECOND PART OF THE SECOND PART ["II-II," "Secunda Secundae"] _____
TREATISE ON THE THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES (QQ. 1-46) _____
OF FAITH (In Ten Articles)
Having to treat now of the theological virtues, we shall begin with Faith, secondly we shall speak of Hope, and thirdly, of Charity.
The treatise on Faith will be fourfold: (1) Of faith itself; (2) Of the corresponding gifts, knowledge and understanding; (3) Of the opposite vices; (4) Of the precepts pertaining to this virtue.
About faith itself we shall consider: (1) its object; (2) its act; (3) the habit of faith.
Under the first head there are ten points of inquiry:
(1) Whether the object of faith is the First Truth?
(2) Whether the object of faith is something complex or incomplex, i.e. whether it is a thing or a proposition?
(3) Whether anything false can come under faith?
(4) Whether the object of faith can be anything seen?
(5) Whether it can be anything known?
(6) Whether the things to be believed should be divided into a certain number of articles?
(7) Whether the same articles are of faith for all times?
(8) Of the number of articles;
(9) Of the manner of embodying the articles in a symbol;
(10) Who has the right to propose a symbol of faith? _____
FIRST ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 1, Art. 1]
Whether the Object of Faith Is the First Truth?
Objection 1: It would seem that the object of faith is not the First Truth. For it seems that the object of faith is that which is proposed to us to be believed. Now not only things pertaining to the Godhead, i.e. the First Truth, are proposed to us to be believed, but also things concerning Christ's human nature, and the sacraments of the Church, and the condition of creatures. Therefore the object of faith is not only the First Truth.
Obj. 2: Further, faith and unbelief have the same object since they are opposed to one another. Now unbelief can be about all things contained in Holy Writ, for whichever one of them a man denies, he is considered an unbeliever. Therefore faith also is about all things contained in Holy Writ. But there are many things therein, concerning man and other creatures. Therefore the object of faith is not only the First Truth, but also created truth.
Obj. 3: Further, faith is condivided with charity, as stated above (I-II, Q. 62, A. 3). Now by charity we love not only God, who is the sovereign Good, but also our neighbor. Therefore the object of Faith is not only the First Truth.
On the contrary, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. vii) that "faith is about the simple and everlasting truth." Now this is the First Truth. Therefore the object of faith is the First Truth.
I answer that, The object of every cognitive habit includes two things: first, that which is known materially, and is the material object, so to speak, and, secondly, that whereby it is known, which is the formal aspect of the object. Thus in the science of geometry, the conclusions are what is known materially, while the formal aspect of the science is the mean of demonstration, through which the conclusions are known.
Accordingly if we consider, in faith, the formal aspect of the object, it is nothing else than the First Truth. For the faith of which we are speaking, does not assent to anything, except because it is revealed by God. Hence the mean on which faith is based is the Divine Truth. If, however, we consider materially the things to which faith assents, they include not only God, but also many other things, which, nevertheless, do not come under the assent of faith, except as bearing some relation to God, in as much as, to wit, through certain effects of the Divine operation, man is helped on his journey towards the enjoyment of God. Consequently from this point of view also the object of faith is, in a way, the First Truth, in as much as nothing comes under faith except in relation to God, even as the object of the medical art is health, for it considers nothing save in relation to health.
Reply Obj. 1: Things concerning Christ's human nature, and the sacraments of the Church, or any creatures whatever, come under faith, in so far as by them we are directed to God, and in as much as we assent to them on account of the Divine Truth.
The same answer applies to the Second Objection, as regards all things contained in Holy Writ.
Reply Obj. 3: Charity also loves our neighbor on account of God, so that its object, properly speaking, is God, as we shall show further on (Q. 25, A. 1). _____
SECOND ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 1, Art. 2]
Whether the Object of Faith Is Something Complex, by Way of a Proposition?
Objection 1: It would seem that the object of faith is not something complex by way of a proposition. For the object of faith is the First Truth, as stated above (A. 1). Now the First Truth is something simple. Therefore the object of faith is not something complex.
Obj. 2: Further, the exposition of faith is contained in the symbol. Now the symbol does not contain propositions, but things: for it is not stated therein that God is almighty, but: "I believe in God . . . almighty." Therefore the object of faith is not a proposition but a thing.
Obj. 3: Further, faith is succeeded by vision, according to 1 Cor. 13:12: "We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known." But the object of the heavenly vision is something simple, for it is the Divine Essence. Therefore the faith of the wayfarer is also.
On the contrary, Faith is a mean between science and opinion. Now the mean is in the same genus as the extremes. Since, then, science and opinion are about propositions, it seems that faith is likewise about propositions; so that its object is something complex.
I answer that, The thing known is in the knower according to the mode of the knower. Now the mode proper to the human intellect is to know the truth by synthesis and analysis, as stated in the First Part (Q. 85, A. 5). Hence things that are simple in themselves, are known by the intellect with a certain amount of complexity, just as on the other hand, the Divine intellect knows, without any complexity, things that are complex in themselves.
Accordingly the object of faith may be considered in two ways. First, as regards the thing itself which is believed, and thus the object of faith is something simple, namely the thing itself about which we have faith. Secondly, on the part of the believer, and in this respect the object of faith is something complex by way of a proposition.
Hence in the past both opinions have been held with a certain amount of truth.
Reply Obj. 1: This argument considers the object of faith on the part of the thing believed.
Reply Obj. 2: The symbol mentions the things about which faith is, in so far as the act of the believer is terminated in them, as is evident from the manner of speaking about them. Now the act of the believer does not terminate in a proposition, but in a thing. For as in science we do not form propositions, except in order to have knowledge about things through their means, so is it in faith.
Reply Obj. 3: The object of the heavenly vision will be the First Truth seen in itself, according to 1 John 3:2: "We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like to Him: because we shall see Him as He is": hence that vision will not be by way of a proposition but by way of a simple understanding. On the other hand, by faith, we do not apprehend the First Truth as it is in itself. Hence the comparison fails. _____
THIRD ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 1, Art. 3]
Whether Anything False Can Come Under Faith?
Objection 1: It would seem that something false can come under faith. For faith is condivided with hope and charity. Now something false can come under hope, since many hope to have eternal life, who will not obtain it. The same may be said of charity, for many are loved as being good, who, nevertheless, are not good. Therefore something false can be the object of faith.
Obj. 2: Further, Abraham believed that Christ would be born, according to John 8:56: "Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see My day: he saw it, and was glad." But after the time of Abraham, God might not have taken flesh, for it was merely because He willed that He did, so that what Abraham believed about Christ would have been false. Therefore the object of faith can be something false.
Obj. 3: Further, the ancients believed in the future birth of Christ, and many continued so to believe, until they heard the preaching of the Gospel. Now, when once Christ was born, even before He began to preach, it was false that Christ was yet to be born. Therefore something false can come under faith.
Obj. 4: Further, it is a matter of faith, that one should believe that the true Body of Christ is contained in the Sacrament of the altar. But it might happen that the bread was not rightly consecrated, and that there was not Christ's true Body there, but only bread. Therefore something false can come under faith.
On the contrary, No virtue that perfects the intellect is related to the false, considered as the evil of the intellect, as the Philosopher declares (Ethic. vi, 2). Now faith is a virtue that perfects the intellect, as we shall show further on (Q. 4, AA. 2, 5). Therefore nothing false can come under it.
I answer that, Nothing comes under any power, habit or act, except by means of the formal aspect of the object: thus color cannot be seen except by means of light, and a conclusion cannot be known save through the mean of demonstration. Now it has been stated (A. 1) that the formal aspect of the object of faith is the First Truth; so that nothing can come under faith, save in so far as it stands under the First Truth, under which nothing false can stand, as neither can non-being stand under being, nor evil under goodness. It follows therefore that nothing false can come under faith.
Reply Obj. 1: Since the true is the good of the intellect, but not of the appetitive power, it follows that all virtues which perfect the intellect, exclude the false altogether, because it belongs to the nature of a virtue to bear relation to the good alone. On the other hand those virtues which perfect the appetitive faculty, do not entirely exclude the false, for it is possible to act in accordance with justice or temperance, while having a false opinion about what one is doing. Therefore, as faith perfects the intellect, whereas hope and charity perfect the appetitive part, the comparison between them fails.
Nevertheless neither can anything false come under hope, for a man hopes to obtain eternal life, not by his own power (since this would be an act of presumption), but with the help of grace; and if he perseveres therein he will obtain eternal life surely and infallibly.
In like manner it belongs to charity to love God, wherever He may be; so that it matters not to charity, whether God be in the individual whom we love for God's sake.
Reply Obj. 2: That "God would not take flesh," considered in itself was possible even after Abraham's time, but in so far as it stands in God's foreknowledge, it has a certain necessity of infallibility, as explained in the First Part (Q. 14, AA. 13, 15): and it is thus that it comes under faith. Hence in so far as it comes under faith, it cannot be false.
Reply Obj. 3: After Christ's birth, to believe in Him, was to believe in Christ's birth at some time or other. The fixing of the time, wherein some were deceived was not due to their faith, but to a human conjecture. For it is possible for a believer to have a false opinion through a human conjecture, but it is quite impossible for a false opinion to be the outcome of faith.
Reply Obj. 4: The faith of the believer is not directed to such and such accidents of bread, but to the fact that the true body of Christ is under the appearances of sensible bread, when it is rightly consecrated. Hence if it be not rightly consecrated, it does not follow that anything false comes under faith. _____
FOURTH ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 1, Art. 4]
Whether the Object of Faith Can Be Something Seen?
Objection 1: It would seem that the object of faith is something seen. For Our Lord said to Thomas (John 20:29): "Because thou hast seen Me, Thomas, thou hast believed." Therefore vision and faith regard the same object.
Obj. 2: Further, the Apostle, while speaking of the knowledge of faith, says (1 Cor. 13:12): "We see now through a glass in a dark manner." Therefore what is believed is seen.
Obj. 3: Further, faith is a spiritual light. Now something is seen under every light. Therefore faith is of things seen.
Obj. 4: Further, "Every sense is a kind of sight," as Augustine states (De Verb. Domini, Serm. xxxiii). But faith is of things heard, according to Rom. 10:17: "Faith . . . cometh by hearing." Therefore faith is of things seen.
On the contrary, The Apostle says (Heb. 11:1) that "faith is the evidence of things that appear not."
I answer that, Faith implies assent of the intellect to that which is believed. Now the intellect assents to a thing in two ways. First, through being moved to assent by its very object, which is known either by itself (as in the case of first principles, which are held by the habit of understanding), or through something else already known (as in the case of conclusions which are held by the habit of science). Secondly the intellect assents to something, not through being sufficiently moved to this assent by its proper object, but through an act of choice, whereby it turns voluntarily to one side rather than to the other: and if this be accompanied by doubt or fear of the opposite side, there will be opinion, while, if there be certainty and no fear of the other side, there will be faith.
Now those things are said to be seen which, of themselves, move the intellect or the senses to knowledge of them. Wherefore it is evident that neither faith nor opinion can be of things seen either by the senses or by the intellect.
Reply Obj. 1: Thomas "saw one thing, and believed another" [*St. Gregory: Hom. xxvi in Evang.]: he saw the Man, and believing Him to be God, he made profession of his faith, saying: "My Lord and my God."
Reply Obj. 2: Those things which come under faith can be considered in two ways. First, in particular; and thus they cannot be seen and believed at the same time, as shown above. Secondly, in general, that is, under the common aspect of credibility; and in this way they are seen by the believer. For he would not believe unless, on the evidence of signs, or of something similar, he saw that they ought to be believed.
Reply Obj. 3: The light of faith makes us see what we believe. For just as, by the habits of the other virtues, man sees what is becoming to him in respect of that habit, so, by the habit of faith, the human mind is directed to assent to such things as are becoming to a right faith, and not to assent to others.
Reply Obj. 4: Hearing is of words signifying what is of faith, but not of the things themselves that are believed; hence it does not follow that these things are seen. _____
FIFTH ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 1, Art. 5]
Whether Those Things That Are of Faith Can Be an Object of Science [*Science is certain knowledge of a demonstrated conclusion through its demonstration]?
Objection 1: It would seem that those things that are of faith can be an object of science. For where science is lacking there is ignorance, since ignorance is the opposite of science. Now we are not in ignorance of those things we have to believe, since ignorance of such things savors of unbelief, according to 1 Tim. 1:13: "I did it ignorantly in unbelief." Therefore things that are of faith can be an object of science.
Obj. 2: Further, science is acquired by reasons. Now sacred writers employ reasons to inculcate things that are of faith. Therefore such things can be an object of science.
Obj. 3: Further, things which are demonstrated are an object of science, since a "demonstration is a syllogism that produces science." Now certain matters of faith have been demonstrated by the philosophers, such as the Existence and Unity of God, and so forth. Therefore things that are of faith can be an object of science.
Obj. 4: Further, opinion is further from science than faith is, since faith is said to stand between opinion and science. Now opinion and science can, in a way, be about the same object, as stated in Poster. i. Therefore faith and science can be about the same object also.
On the contrary, Gregory says (Hom. xxvi in Evang.) that "when a thing is manifest, it is the object, not of faith, but of perception." Therefore things that are of faith are not the object of perception, whereas what is an object of science is the object of perception. Therefore there can be no faith about things which are an object of science.
I answer that, All science is derived from self-evident and therefore "seen" principles; wherefore all objects of science must needs be, in a fashion, seen.
Now as stated above (A. 4), it is impossible that one and the same thing should be believed and seen by the same person. Hence it is equally impossible for one and the same thing to be an object of science and of belief for the same person. It may happen, however, that a thing which is an object of vision or science for one, is believed by another: since we hope to see some day what we now believe about the Trinity, according to 1 Cor. 13:12: "We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face": which vision the angels possess already; so that what we believe, they see. In like manner it may happen that what is an object of vision or scientific knowledge for one man, even in the state of a wayfarer, is, for another man, an object of faith, because he does not know it by demonstration.
Nevertheless that which is proposed to be believed equally by all, is equally unknown by all as an object of science: such are the things which are of faith simply. Consequently faith and science are not about the same things.
Reply Obj. 1: Unbelievers are in ignorance of things that are of faith, for neither do they see or know them in themselves, nor do they know them to be credible. The faithful, on the other hand, know them, not as by demonstration, but by the light of faith which makes them see that they ought to believe them, as stated above (A. 4, ad 2, 3).
Reply Obj. 2: The reasons employed by holy men to prove things that are of faith, are not demonstrations; they are either persuasive arguments showing that what is proposed to our faith is not impossible, or else they are proofs drawn from the principles of faith, i.e. from the authority of Holy Writ, as Dionysius declares (Div. Nom. ii). Whatever is based on these principles is as well proved in the eyes of the faithful, as a conclusion drawn from self-evident principles is in the eyes of all. Hence again, theology is a science, as we stated at the outset of this work (P. I, Q. 1, A. 2).
Reply Obj. 3: Things which can be proved by demonstration are reckoned among the articles of faith, not because they are believed simply by all, but because they are a necessary presupposition to matters of faith, so that those who do not known them by demonstration must know them first of all by faith.
Reply Obj. 4: As the Philosopher says (Poster. i), "science and opinion about the same object can certainly be in different men," as we have stated above about science and faith; yet it is possible for one and the same man to have science and faith about the same thing relatively, i.e. in relation to the object, but not in the same respect. For it is possible for the same person, about one and the same object, to know one thing and to think another: and, in like manner, one may know by demonstration the unity of the Godhead, and, by faith, the Trinity. On the other hand, in one and the same man, about the same object, and in the same respect, science is incompatible with either opinion or faith, yet for different reasons. Because science is incompatible with opinion about the same object simply, for the reason that science demands that its object should be deemed impossible to be otherwise, whereas it is essential to opinion, that its object should be deemed possible to be otherwise. Yet that which is the object of faith, on account of the certainty of faith, is also deemed impossible to be otherwise; and the reason why science and faith cannot be about the same object and in the same respect is because the object of science is something seen whereas the object of faith is the unseen, as stated above. _____
SIXTH ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 1, Art. 6]
Whether Those Things That Are of Faith Should Be Divided into Certain Articles?
Objection 1: It would seem that those things that are of faith should not be divided into certain articles. For all things contained in Holy Writ are matters of faith. But these, by reason of their multitude, cannot be reduced to a certain number. Therefore it seems superfluous to distinguish certain articles of faith.
Obj. 2: Further, material differences can be multiplied indefinitely, and therefore art should take no notice of them. Now the formal aspect of the object of faith is one and indivisible, as stated above (A. 1), viz. the First Truth, so that matters of faith cannot be distinguished in respect of their formal object. Therefore no notice should be taken of a material division of matters of faith into articles.
Obj. 3: Further, it has been said by some [*Cf. William of Auxerre, Summa Aurea] that "an article is an indivisible truth concerning God, exacting [arctans] our belief." Now belief is a voluntary act, since, as Augustine says (Tract. xxvi in Joan.), "no man believes against his will." Therefore it seems that matters of faith should not be divided into articles.
On the contrary, Isidore says: "An article is a glimpse of Divine truth, tending thereto." Now we can only get a glimpse of Divine truth by way of analysis, since things which in God are one, are manifold in our intellect. Therefore matters of faith should be divided into articles.
I answer that, the word "article" is apparently derived from the Greek; for the Greek arthron [*Cf. William of Auxerre, Summa Aurea] which the Latin renders "articulus," signifies a fitting together of distinct parts: wherefore the small parts of the body which fit together are called the articulations of the limbs. Likewise, in the Greek grammar, articles are parts of speech which are affixed to words to show their gender, number or case. Again in rhetoric, articles are parts that fit together in a sentence, for Tully says (Rhet. iv) that an article is composed of words each pronounced singly and separately, thus: "Your passion, your voice, your look, have struck terror into your foes."
Hence matters of Christian faith are said to contain distinct articles, in so far as they are divided into parts, and fit together. Now the object of faith is something unseen in connection with God, as stated above (A. 4). Consequently any matter that, for a special reason, is unseen, is a special article; whereas when several matters are known or not known, under the same aspect, we are not to distinguish various articles. Thus one encounters one difficulty in seeing that God suffered, and another in seeing that He rose again from the dead, wherefore the article of the Resurrection is distinct from the article of the Passion. But that He suffered, died and was buried, present the same difficulty, so that if one be accepted, it is not difficult to accept the others; wherefore all these belong to one article.
Reply Obj. 1: Some things are proposed to our belief are in themselves of faith, while others are of faith, not in themselves but only in relation to others: even as in sciences certain propositions are put forward on their own account, while others are put forward in order to manifest others. Now, since the chief object of faith consists in those things which we hope to see, according to Heb. 11:2: "Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for," it follows that those things are in themselves of faith, which order us directly to eternal life. Such are the Trinity of Persons in Almighty God [*The Leonine Edition reads: The Three Persons, the omnipotence of God, etc.], the mystery of Christ's Incarnation, and the like: and these are distinct articles of faith. On the other hand certain things in Holy Writ are proposed to our belief, not chiefly on their own account, but for the manifestation of those mentioned above: for instance, that Abraham had two sons, that a dead man rose again at the touch of Eliseus' bones, and the like, which are related in Holy Writ for the purpose of manifesting the Divine mystery or the Incarnation of Christ: and such things should not form distinct articles.
Reply Obj. 2: The formal aspect of the object of faith can be taken in two ways: first, on the part of the thing believed, and thus there is one formal aspect of all matters of faith, viz. the First Truth: and from this point of view there is no distinction of articles. Secondly, the formal aspect of matters of faith, can be considered from our point of view; and thus the formal aspect of a matter of faith is that it is something unseen; and from this point of view there are various distinct articles of faith, as we saw above.
Reply Obj. 3: This definition of an article is taken from an etymology of the word as derived from the Latin, rather than in accordance with its real meaning, as derived from the Greek: hence it does not carry much weight. Yet even then it could be said that although faith is exacted of no man by a necessity of coercion, since belief is a voluntary act, yet it is exacted of him by a necessity of end, since "he that cometh to God must believe that He is," and "without faith it is impossible to please God," as the Apostle declares (Heb. 11:6). _____
SEVENTH ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 1, Art. 7]
Whether the Articles of Faith Have Increased in Course of Time?
Objection 1: It would seem that the articles of faith have not increased in course of time. Because, as the Apostle says (Heb. 11:1), "faith is the substance of things to be hoped for." Now the same things are to be hoped for at all times. Therefore, at all times, the same things are to be believed.
Obj. 2: Further, development has taken place, in sciences devised by man, on account of the lack of knowledge in those who discovered them, as the Philosopher observes (Metaph. ii). Now the doctrine of faith was not devised by man, but was delivered to us by God, as stated in Eph. 2:8: "It is the gift of God." Since then there can be no lack of knowledge in God, it seems that knowledge of matters of faith was perfect from the beginning and did not increase as time went on.
Obj. 3: Further, the operation of grace proceeds in orderly fashion no less than the operation of nature. Now nature always makes a beginning with perfect things, as Boethius states (De Consol. iii). Therefore it seems that the operation of grace also began with perfect things, so that those who were the first to deliver the faith, knew it most perfectly.
Obj. 4: Further, just as the faith of Christ was delivered to us through the apostles, so too, in the Old Testament, the knowledge of faith was delivered by the early fathers to those who came later, according to Deut. 32:7: "Ask thy father, and he will declare to thee." Now the apostles were most fully instructed about the mysteries, for "they received them more fully than others, even as they received them earlier," as a gloss says on Rom. 8:23: "Ourselves also who have the first fruits of the Spirit." Therefore it seems that knowledge of matters of faith has not increased as time went on.
On the contrary, Gregory says (Hom. xvi in Ezech.) that "the knowledge of the holy fathers increased as time went on . . . and the nearer they were to Our Savior's coming, the more fully did they receive the mysteries of salvation."
I answer that, The articles of faith stand in the same relation to the doctrine of faith, as self-evident principles to a teaching based on natural reason. Among these principles there is a certain order, so that some are contained implicitly in others; thus all principles are reduced, as to their first principle, to this one: "The same thing cannot be affirmed and denied at the same time," as the Philosopher states (Metaph. iv, text. 9). In like manner all the articles are contained implicitly in certain primary matters of faith, such as God's existence, and His providence over the salvation of man, according to Heb. 11: "He that cometh to God, must believe that He is, and is a rewarder to them that seek Him." For the existence of God includes all that we believe to exist in God eternally, and in these our happiness consists; while belief in His providence includes all those things which God dispenses in time, for man's salvation, and which are the way to that happiness: and in this way, again, some of those articles which follow from these are contained in others: thus faith in the Redemption of mankind includes belief in the Incarnation of Christ, His Passion and so forth.
Accordingly we must conclude that, as regards the substance of the articles of faith, they have not received any increase as time went on: since whatever those who lived later have believed, was contained, albeit implicitly, in the faith of those Fathers who preceded them. But there was an increase in the number of articles believed explicitly, since to those who lived in later times some were known explicitly which were not known explicitly by those who lived before them. Hence the Lord said to Moses (Ex. 6:2, 3): "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob [*Vulg.: 'I am the Lord that appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob'] . . . and My name Adonai I did not show them": David also said (Ps. 118:100): "I have had understanding above ancients": and the Apostle says (Eph. 3:5) that the mystery of Christ, "in other generations was not known, as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets."
Reply Obj. 1: Among men the same things were always to be hoped for from Christ. But as they did not acquire this hope save through Christ, the further they were removed from Christ in point of time, the further they were from obtaining what they hoped for. Hence the Apostle says (Heb. 11:13): "All these died according to faith, not having received the promises, but beholding them afar off." Now the further off a thing is the less distinctly is it seen; wherefore those who were nigh to Christ's advent had a more distinct knowledge of the good things to be hoped for.
Reply Obj. 2: Progress in knowledge occurs in two ways. First, on the part of the teacher, be he one or many, who makes progress in knowledge as time goes on: and this is the kind of progress that takes place in sciences devised by man. Secondly, on the part of the learner; thus the master, who has perfect knowledge of the art, does not deliver it all at once to his disciple from the very outset, for he would not be able to take it all in, but he condescends to the disciple's capacity and instructs him little by little. It is in this way that men made progress in the knowledge of faith as time went on. Hence the Apostle (Gal. 3:24) compares the state of the Old Testament to childhood.
Reply Obj. 3: Two causes are requisite before actual generation can take place, an agent, namely, and matter. In the order of the active cause, the more perfect is naturally first; and in this way nature makes a beginning with perfect things, since the imperfect is not brought to perfection, except by something perfect already in existence. On the other hand, in the order of the material cause, the imperfect comes first, and in this way nature proceeds from the imperfect to the perfect. Now in the manifestation of faith, God is the active cause, having perfect knowledge from all eternity; while man is likened to matter in receiving the influx of God's action. Hence, among men, the knowledge of faith had to proceed from imperfection to perfection; and, although some men have been after the manner of active causes, through being doctors of faith, nevertheless the manifestation of the Spirit is given to such men for the common good, according to 1 Cor. 12:7; so that the knowledge of faith was imparted to the Fathers who were instructors in the faith, so far as was necessary at the time for the instruction of the people, either openly or in figures.
Reply Obj. 4: The ultimate consummation of grace was effected by Christ, wherefore the time of His coming is called the "time of fulness [*Vulg.: 'fulness of time']" (Gal. 4:4). Hence those who were nearest to Christ, whether before, like John the Baptist, or after, like the apostles, had a fuller knowledge of the mysteries of faith; for even with regard to man's state we find that the perfection of manhood comes in youth, and that a man's state is all the more perfect, whether before or after, the nearer it is to the time of his youth. _____
EIGHTH ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 1, Art. 8]
Whether the Articles of Faith Are Suitably Formulated?
Objection 1: It would seem that the articles of faith are unsuitably formulated. For those things, which can be known by demonstration, do not belong to faith as to an object of belief for all, as stated above (A. 5). Now it can be known by demonstration that there is one God; hence the Philosopher proves this (Metaph. xii, text. 52) and many other philosophers demonstrated the same truth. Therefore that "there is one God" should not be set down as an article of faith.
Obj. 2: Further, just as it is necessary to faith that we should believe God to be almighty, so is it too that we should believe Him to be "all-knowing" and "provident for all," about both of which points some have erred. Therefore, among the articles of faith, mention should have been made of God's wisdom and providence, even as of His omnipotence.
Obj. 3: Further, to know the Father is the same things as to know the Son, according to John 14:9: "He that seeth Me, seeth the Father also." Therefore there ought to be but one article about the Father and Son, and, for the same reason, about the Holy Ghost.
Obj. 4: Further, the Person of the Father is no less than the Person of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Now there are several articles about the Person of the Holy Ghost, and likewise about the Person of the Son. Therefore there should be several articles about the Person of the Father.
Obj. 5: Further, just as certain things are said by appropriation, of the Person of the Father and of the Person of the Holy Ghost, so too is something appropriated to the Person of the Son, in respect of His Godhead. Now, among the articles of faith, a place is given to a work appropriated to the Father, viz. the creation, and likewise, a work appropriated to the Holy Ghost, viz. that "He spoke by the prophets." Therefore the articles of faith should contain some work appropriated to the Son in respect of His Godhead.
Obj. 6: Further, the sacrament of the Eucharist presents a special difficulty over and above the other articles. Therefore it should have been mentioned in a special article: and consequently it seems that there is not a sufficient number of articles.
On the contrary stands the authority of the Church who formulates the articles thus.
I answer that, As stated above (AA. 4, 6), to faith those things in themselves belong, the sight of which we shall enjoy in eternal life, and by which we are brought to eternal life. Now two things are proposed to us to be seen in eternal life: viz. the secret of the Godhead, to see which is to possess happiness; and the mystery of Christ's Incarnation, "by Whom we have access" to the glory of the sons of God, according to Rom. 5:2. Hence it is written (John 17:3): "This is eternal life: that they may know Thee, the . . . true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent." Wherefore the first distinction in matters of faith is that some concern the majesty of the Godhead, while others pertain to the mystery of Christ's human nature, which is the "mystery of godliness" (1 Tim. 3:16).
Now with regard to the majesty of the Godhead, three things are proposed to our belief: first, the unity of the Godhead, to which the first article refers; secondly, the trinity of the Persons, to which three articles refer, corresponding to the three Persons; and thirdly, the works proper to the Godhead, the first of which refers to the order of nature, in relation to which the article about the creation is proposed to us; the second refers to the order of grace, in relation to which all matters concerning the sanctification of man are included in one article; while the third refers to the order of glory, and in relation to this another article is proposed to us concerning the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting. Thus there are seven articles referring to the Godhead.
In like manner, with regard to Christ's human nature, there are seven articles, the first of which refers to Christ's incarnation or conception; the second, to His virginal birth; the third, to His Passion, death and burial; the fourth, to His descent into hell; the fifth, to His resurrection; the sixth, to His ascension; the seventh, to His coming for the judgment, so that in all there are fourteen articles.
Some, however, distinguish twelve articles, six pertaining to the Godhead, and six to the humanity. For they include in one article the three about the three Persons; because we have one knowledge of the three Persons: while they divide the article referring to the work of glorification into two, viz. the resurrection of the body, and the glory of the soul. Likewise they unite the conception and nativity into one article.
Reply Obj. 1: By faith we hold many truths about God, which the philosophers were unable to discover by natural reason, for instance His providence and omnipotence, and that He alone is to be worshiped, all of which are contained in the one article of the unity of God.
Reply Obj. 2: The very name of the Godhead implies a kind of watching over things, as stated in the First Part (Q. 13, A. 8). Now in beings having an intellect, power does not work save by the will and knowledge. Hence God's omnipotence includes, in a way, universal knowledge and providence. For He would not be able to do all He wills in things here below, unless He knew them, and exercised His providence over them.
Reply Obj. 3: We have but one knowledge of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as to the unity of the Essence, to which the first article refers: but, as to the distinction of the Persons, which is by the relations of origin, knowledge of the Father does indeed, in a way, include knowledge of the Son, for He would not be Father, had He not a Son; the bond whereof being the Holy Ghost. From this point of view, there was a sufficient motive for those who referred one article to the three Persons. Since, however, with regard to each Person, certain points have to be observed, about which some happen to fall into error, looking at it in this way, we may distinguish three articles about the three Persons. For Arius believed in the omnipotence and eternity of the Father, but did not believe the Son to be co-equal and consubstantial with the Father; hence the need for an article about the Person of the Son in order to settle this point. In like manner it was necessary to appoint a third article about the Person of the Holy Ghost, against Macedonius. In the same way Christ's conception and birth, just as the resurrection and life everlasting, can from one point of view be united together in one article, in so far as they are ordained to one end; while, from another point of view, they can be distinct articles, in as much as each one separately presents a special difficulty.
Reply Obj. 4: It belongs to the Son and Holy Ghost to be sent to sanctify the creature; and about this several things have to be believed. Hence it is that there are more articles about the Persons of the Son and Holy Ghost than about the Person of the Father, Who is never sent, as we stated in the First Part (Q. 43, A. 4).
Reply Obj. 5: The sanctification of a creature by grace, and its consummation by glory, is also effected by the gift of charity, which is appropriated to the Holy Ghost, and by the gift of wisdom, which is appropriated to the Son: so that each work belongs by appropriation, but under different aspects, both to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.
Reply Obj. 6: Two things may be considered in the sacrament of the Eucharist. One is the fact that it is a sacrament, and in this respect it is like the other effects of sanctifying grace. The other is that Christ's body is miraculously contained therein and thus it is included under God's omnipotence, like all other miracles which are ascribed to God's almighty power. _____
NINTH ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 1, Art. 9]
Whether It Is Suitable for the Articles of Faith to Be Embodied in a Symbol?
Objection 1: It would seem that it is unsuitable for the articles of faith to be embodied in a symbol. Because Holy Writ is the rule of faith, to which no addition or subtraction can lawfully be made, since it is written (Deut. 4:2): "You shall not add to the word that I speak to you, neither shall you take away from it." Therefore it was unlawful to make a symbol as a rule of faith, after the Holy Writ had once been published.
Obj. 2: Further, according to the Apostle (Eph. 4:5) there is but "one faith." Now the symbol is a profession of faith. Therefore it is not fitting that there should be more than one symbol.
Obj. 3: Further, the confession of faith, which is contained in the symbol, concerns all the faithful. Now the faithful are not all competent to believe in God, but only those who have living faith. Therefore it is unfitting for the symbol of faith to be expressed in the words: "I believe in one God."
Obj. 4: Further, the descent into hell is one of the articles of faith, as stated above (A. 8). But the descent into hell is not mentioned in the symbol of the Fathers. Therefore the latter is expressed inadequately.
Obj. 5: Further, Augustine (Tract. xxix in Joan.) expounding the passage, "You believe in God, believe also in Me" (John 14:1) says: "We believe Peter or Paul, but we speak only of believing 'in' God." Since then the Catholic Church is merely a created being, it seems unfitting to say: "In the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."
Obj. 6: Further, a symbol is drawn up that it may be a rule of faith. Now a rule of faith ought to be proposed to all, and that publicly. Therefore every symbol, besides the symbol of the Fathers, should be sung at Mass. Therefore it seems unfitting to publish the articles of faith in a symbol.
On the contrary, The universal Church cannot err, since she is governed by the Holy Ghost, Who is the Spirit of truth: for such was Our Lord's promise to His disciples (John 16:13): "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth." Now the symbol is published by the authority of the universal Church. Therefore it contains nothing defective.
I answer that, As the Apostle says (Heb. 11:6), "he that cometh to God, must believe that He is." Now a man cannot believe, unless the truth be proposed to him that he may believe it. Hence the need for the truth of faith to be collected together, so that it might the more easily be proposed to all, lest anyone might stray from the truth through ignorance of the faith. It is from its being a collection of maxims of faith that the symbol [*The Greek symballein] takes its name.
Reply Obj. 1: The truth of faith is contained in Holy Writ, diffusely, under various modes of expression, and sometimes obscurely, so that, in order to gather the truth of faith from Holy Writ, one needs long study and practice, which are unattainable by all those who require to know the truth of faith, many of whom have no time for study, being busy with other affairs. And so it was necessary to gather together a clear summary from the sayings of Holy Writ, to be proposed to the belief of all. This indeed was no addition to Holy Writ, but something taken from it.
Reply Obj. 2: The same doctrine of faith is taught in all the symbols. Nevertheless, the people need more careful instruction about the truth of faith, when errors arise, lest the faith of simple-minded persons be corrupted by heretics. It was this that gave rise to the necessity of formulating several symbols, which nowise differ from one another, save that on account of the obstinacy of heretics, one contains more explicitly what another contains implicitly.
Reply Obj. 3: The confession of faith is drawn up in a symbol in the person, as it were, of the whole Church, which is united together by faith. Now the faith of the Church is living faith; since such is the faith to be found in all those who are of the Church not only outwardly but also by merit. Hence the confession of faith is expressed in a symbol, in a manner that is in keeping with living faith, so that even if some of the faithful lack living faith, they should endeavor to acquire it.
Reply Obj. 4: No error about the descent into hell had arisen among heretics, so that there was no need to be more explicit on that point. For this reason it is not repeated in the symbol of the Fathers, but is supposed as already settled in the symbol of the Apostles. For a subsequent symbol does not cancel a preceding one; rather does it expound it, as stated above (ad 2).
Reply Obj. 5: If we say: "'In' the holy Catholic Church," this must be taken as verified in so far as our faith is directed to the Holy Ghost, Who sanctifies the Church; so that the sense is: "I believe in the Holy Ghost sanctifying the Church." But it is better and more in keeping with the common use, to omit the 'in,' and say simply, "the holy Catholic Church," as Pope Leo [*Rufinus, Comm. in Sym. Apost.] observes.
Reply Obj. 6: Since the symbol of the Fathers is an explanation of the symbol of the Apostles, and was drawn up after the faith was already spread abroad, and when the Church was already at peace, it is sung publicly in the Mass. On the other hand the symbol of the Apostles, which was drawn up at the time of persecution, before the faith was made public, is said secretly at Prime and Compline, as though it were against the darkness of past and future errors. _____
TENTH ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 1, Art. 10]
Whether It Belongs to the Sovereign Pontiff to Draw Up a Symbol of Faith?
Objection 1: It would seem that it does not belong to the Sovereign Pontiff to draw up a symbol of faith. For a new edition of the symbol becomes necessary in order to explain the articles of faith, as stated above (A. 9). Now, in the Old Testament, the articles of faith were more and more explained as time went on, by reason of the truth of faith becoming clearer through greater nearness to Christ, as stated above (A. 7). Since then this reason ceased with the advent of the New Law, there is no need for the articles of faith to be more and more explicit. Therefore it does not seem to belong to the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff to draw up a new edition of the symbol.
Obj. 2: Further, no man has the power to do what is forbidden under pain of anathema by the universal Church. Now it was forbidden under pain of anathema by the universal Church, to make a new edition of the symbol. For it is stated in the acts of the first* council of Ephesus (P. ii, Act. 6) that "after the symbol of the Nicene council had been read through, the holy synod decreed that it was unlawful to utter, write or draw up any other creed, than that which was defined by the Fathers assembled at Nicaea together with the Holy Ghost," and this under pain of anathema. [*St. Thomas wrote 'first' (expunged by Nicolai) to distinguish it from the other council, A.D. 451, known as the "Latrocinium" and condemned by the Pope.] The same was repeated in the acts of the council of Chalcedon (P. ii, Act. 5). Therefore it seems that the Sovereign Pontiff has no authority to publish a new edition of the symbol.
Obj. 3: Further, Athanasius was not the Sovereign Pontiff, but patriarch of Alexandria, and yet he published a symbol which is sung in the Church. Therefore it does not seem to belong to the Sovereign Pontiff any more than to other bishops, to publish a new edition of the symbol.
On the contrary, The symbol was drawn up by a general council. Now such a council cannot be convoked otherwise than by the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff, as stated in the Decretals [*Dist. xvii, Can. 4, 5]. Therefore it belongs to the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff to draw up a symbol.
I answer that, As stated above (Obj. 1), a new edition of the symbol becomes necessary in order to set aside the errors that may arise. Consequently to publish a new edition of the symbol belongs to that authority which is empowered to decide matters of faith finally, so that they may be held by all with unshaken faith. Now this belongs to the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff, "to whom the more important and more difficult questions that arise in the Church are referred," as stated in the Decretals [*Dist. xvii, Can. 5]. Hence our Lord said to Peter whom he made Sovereign Pontiff (Luke 22:32): "I have prayed for thee," Peter, "that thy faith fail not, and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren." The reason of this is that there should be but one faith of the whole Church, according to 1 Cor. 1:10: "That you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you": and this could not be secured unless any question of faith that may arise be decided by him who presides over the whole Church, so that the whole Church may hold firmly to his decision. Consequently it belongs to the sole authority of the Sovereign Pontiff to publish a new edition of the symbol, as do all other matters which concern the whole Church, such as to convoke a general council and so forth.
Reply Obj. 1: The truth of faith is sufficiently explicit in the teaching of Christ and the apostles. But since, according to 2 Pet. 3:16, some men are so evil-minded as to pervert the apostolic teaching and other doctrines and Scriptures to their own destruction, it was necessary as time went on to express the faith more explicitly against the errors which arose.
Reply Obj. 2: This prohibition and sentence of the council was intended for private individuals, who have no business to decide matters of faith: for this decision of the general council did not take away from a subsequent council the power of drawing up a new edition of the symbol, containing not indeed a new faith, but the same faith with greater explicitness. For every council has taken into account that a subsequent council would expound matters more fully than the preceding council, if this became necessary through some heresy arising. Consequently this belongs to the Sovereign Pontiff, by whose authority the council is convoked, and its decision confirmed.
Reply Obj. 3: Athanasius drew up a declaration of faith, not under the form of a symbol, but rather by way of an exposition of doctrine, as appears from his way of speaking. But since it contained briefly the whole truth of faith, it was accepted by the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff, so as to be considered as a rule of faith. Since it contained briefly the whole truth of faith, it was accepted by the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff, so as to be considered as a rule of faith. _____
OF THE ACT OF FAITH (In Ten Articles)
We must now consider the act of faith, and (1) the internal act; (2) the external act.
Under the first head there are ten points of inquiry:
(1) What is "to believe," which is the internal act of faith?
(2) In how many ways is it expressed?
(3) Whether it is necessary for salvation to believe in anything above natural reason?
(4) Whether it is necessary to believe those things that are attainable by natural reason?
(5) Whether it is necessary for salvation to believe certain things explicitly?
(6) Whether all are equally bound to explicit faith?
(7) Whether explicit faith in Christ is always necessary for salvation?
(8) Whether it is necessary for salvation to believe in the Trinity explicitly?
(9) Whether the act of faith is meritorious?
(10) Whether human reason diminishes the merit of faith? _____
FIRST ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 2, Art. 1]
Whether to Believe Is to Think with Assent?
Objection 1: It would seem that to believe is not to think with assent. Because the Latin word "cogitatio" [thought] implies a research, for "cogitare" [to think] seems to be equivalent to "coagitare," i.e. "to discuss together." Now Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv) that faith is "an assent without research." Therefore thinking has no place in the act of faith.
Obj. 2: Further, faith resides in the reason, as we shall show further on (Q. 4, A. 2). Now to think is an act of the cogitative power, which belongs to the sensitive faculty, as stated in the First Part (Q. 78, A. 4). Therefore thought has nothing to do with faith.
Obj. 3: Further, to believe is an act of the intellect, since its object is truth. But assent seems to be an act not of the intellect, but of the will, even as consent is, as stated above (I-II, Q. 15, A. 1, ad 3). Therefore to believe is not to think with assent.
On the contrary, This is how "to believe" is defined by Augustine (De Praedest. Sanct. ii).
I answer that, "To think" can be taken in three ways. First, in a general way for any kind of actual consideration of the intellect, as Augustine observes (De Trin. xiv, 7): "By understanding I mean now the faculty whereby we understand when thinking." Secondly, "to think" is more strictly taken for that consideration of the intellect, which is accompanied by some kind of inquiry, and which precedes the intellect's arrival at the stage of perfection that comes with the certitude of sight. In this sense Augustine says (De Trin. xv, 16) that "the Son of God is not called the Thought, but the Word of God. When our thought realizes what we know and takes form therefrom, it becomes our word. Hence the Word of God must be understood without any thinking on the part of God, for there is nothing there that can take form, or be unformed." In this way thought is, properly speaking, the movement of the mind while yet deliberating, and not yet perfected by the clear sight of truth. Since, however, such a movement of the mind may be one of deliberation either about universal notions, which belongs to the intellectual faculty, or about particular matters, which belongs to the sensitive part, hence it is that "to think" is taken secondly for an act of the deliberating intellect, and thirdly for an act of the cogitative power.
Accordingly, if "to think" be understood broadly according to the first sense, then "to think with assent," does not express completely what is meant by "to believe": since, in this way, a man thinks with assent even when he considers what he knows by science [*Science is certain knowledge of a demonstrated conclusion through its demonstration.], or understands. If, on the other hand, "to think" be understood in the second way, then this expresses completely the nature of the act of believing. For among the acts belonging to the intellect, some have a firm assent without any such kind of thinking, as when a man considers the things that he knows by science, or understands, for this consideration is already formed. But some acts of the intellect have unformed thought devoid of a firm assent, whether they incline to neither side, as in one who "doubts"; or incline to one side rather than the other, but on account of some slight motive, as in one who "suspects"; or incline to one side yet with fear of the other, as in one who "opines." But this act "to believe," cleaves firmly to one side, in which respect belief has something in common with science and understanding; yet its knowledge does not attain the perfection of clear sight, wherein it agrees with doubt, suspicion and opinion. Hence it is proper to the believer to think with assent: so that the act of believing is distinguished from all the other acts of the intellect, which are about the true or the false.
Reply Obj. 1: Faith has not that research of natural reason which demonstrates what is believed, but a research into those things whereby a man is induced to believe, for instance that such things have been uttered by God and confirmed by miracles.
Reply Obj. 2: "To think" is not taken here for the act of the cogitative power, but for an act of the intellect, as explained above.
Reply Obj. 3: The intellect of the believer is determined to one object, not by the reason, but by the will, wherefore assent is taken here for an act of the intellect as determined to one object by the will. _____
SECOND ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 2, Art. 2]
Whether the Act of Faith Is Suitably Distinguished As Believing God, Believing in a God and Believing in God?
Objection 1: It would seem that the act of faith is unsuitably distinguished as believing God, believing in a God, and believing in God. For one habit has but one act. Now faith is one habit since it is one virtue. Therefore it is unreasonable to say that there are three acts of faith.
Obj. 2: Further, that which is common to all acts of faith should not be reckoned as a particular kind of act of faith. Now "to believe God" is common to all acts of faith, since faith is founded on the First Truth. Therefore it seems unreasonable to distinguish it from certain other acts of faith.
Obj. 3: Further, that which can be said of unbelievers, cannot be called an act of faith. Now unbelievers can be said to believe in a God. Therefore it should not be reckoned an act of faith.
Obj. 4: Further, movement towards the end belongs to the will, whose object is the good and the end. Now to believe is an act, not of the will, but of the intellect. Therefore "to believe in God," which implies movement towards an end, should not be reckoned as a species of that act.
On the contrary is the authority of Augustine who makes this distinction (De Verb. Dom., Serm. lxi—Tract. xxix in Joan.).
I answer that, The act of any power or habit depends on the relation of that power or habit to its object. Now the object of faith can be considered in three ways. For, since "to believe" is an act of the intellect, in so far as the will moves it to assent, as stated above (A. 1, ad 3), the object of faith can be considered either on the part of the intellect, or on the part of the will that moves the intellect.
If it be considered on the part of the intellect, then two things can be observed in the object of faith, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 1). One of these is the material object of faith, and in this way an act of faith is "to believe in a God"; because, as stated above (ibid.) nothing is proposed to our belief, except in as much as it is referred to God. The other is the formal aspect of the object, for it is the medium on account of which we assent to such and such a point of faith; and thus an act of faith is "to believe God," since, as stated above (ibid.) the formal object of faith is the First Truth, to Which man gives his adhesion, so as to assent for Its sake to whatever he believes.
Thirdly, if the object of faith be considered in so far as the intellect is moved by the will, an act of faith is "to believe in God." For the First Truth is referred to the will, through having the aspect of an end.
Reply Obj. 1: These three do not denote different acts of faith, but one and the same act having different relations to the object of faith.
This suffices for the Reply to the Second Objection.
Reply Obj. 3: Unbelievers cannot be said "to believe in a God" as we understand it in relation to the act of faith. For they do not believe that God exists under the conditions that faith determines; hence they do not truly imply believe in a God, since, as the Philosopher observes (Metaph. ix, text. 22) "to know simple things defectively is not to know them at all."
Reply Obj. 4: As stated above (I-II, Q. 9, A. 1) the will moves the intellect and the other powers of the soul to the end: and in this respect an act of faith is "to believe in God." _____
THIRD ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 2, Art. 3]
Whether It Is Necessary for Salvation to Believe Anything Above the Natural Reason?
Objection 1: It would seem unnecessary for salvation to believe anything above the natural reason. For the salvation and perfection of a thing seem to be sufficiently insured by its natural endowments. Now matters of faith, surpass man's natural reason, since they are things unseen as stated above (Q. 1, A. 4). Therefore to believe seems unnecessary for salvation.
Obj. 2: Further, it is dangerous for man to assent to matters, wherein he cannot judge whether that which is proposed to him be true or false, according to Job 12:11: "Doth not the ear discern words?" Now a man cannot form a judgment of this kind in matters of faith, since he cannot trace them back to first principles, by which all our judgments are guided. Therefore it is dangerous to believe in such matters. Therefore to believe is not necessary for salvation.
Obj. 3: Further, man's salvation rests on God, according to Ps. 36:39: "But the salvation of the just is from the Lord." Now "the invisible things" of God "are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; His eternal power also and Divinity," according to Rom. 1:20: and those things which are clearly seen by the understanding are not an object of belief. Therefore it is not necessary for man's salvation, that he should believe certain things.
On the contrary, It is written (Heb. 11:6): "Without faith it is impossible to please God."
I answer that, Wherever one nature is subordinate to another, we find that two things concur towards the perfection of the lower nature, one of which is in respect of that nature's proper movement, while the other is in respect of the movement of the higher nature. Thus water by its proper movement moves towards the centre (of the earth), while according to the movement of the moon, it moves round the centre by ebb and flow. In like manner the planets have their proper movements from west to east, while in accordance with the movement of the first heaven, they have a movement from east to west. Now the created rational nature alone is immediately subordinate to God, since other creatures do not attain to the universal, but only to something particular, while they partake of the Divine goodness either in being only, as inanimate things, or also in living, and in knowing singulars, as plants and animals; whereas the rational nature, in as much as it apprehends the universal notion of good and being, is immediately related to the universal principle of being.
Consequently the perfection of the rational creature consists not only in what belongs to it in respect of its nature, but also in that which it acquires through a supernatural participation of Divine goodness. Hence it was said above (I-II, Q. 3, A. 8) that man's ultimate happiness consists in a supernatural vision of God: to which vision man cannot attain unless he be taught by God, according to John 6:45: "Every one that hath heard of the Father and hath learned cometh to Me." Now man acquires a share of this learning, not indeed all at once, but by little and little, according to the mode of his nature: and every one who learns thus must needs believe, in order that he may acquire science in a perfect degree; thus also the Philosopher remarks (De Soph. Elench. i, 2) that "it behooves a learner to believe."
Hence in order that a man arrive at the perfect vision of heavenly happiness, he must first of all believe God, as a disciple believes the master who is teaching him.
Reply Obj. 1: Since man's nature is dependent on a higher nature, natural knowledge does not suffice for its perfection, and some supernatural knowledge is necessary, as stated above.
Reply Obj. 2: Just as man assents to first principles, by the natural light of his intellect, so does a virtuous man, by the habit of virtue, judge aright of things concerning that virtue; and in this way, by the light of faith which God bestows on him, a man assents to matters of faith and not to those which are against faith. Consequently "there is no" danger or "condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus," and whom He has enlightened by faith.
Reply Obj. 3: In many respects faith perceives the invisible things of God in a higher way than natural reason does in proceeding to God from His creatures. Hence it is written (Ecclus. 3:25): "Many things are shown to thee above the understandings of man." _____
FOURTH ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 2, Art. 4]
Whether It Is Necessary to Believe Those Things Which Can Be Proved by Natural Reason?
Objection 1: It would seem unnecessary to believe those things which can be proved by natural reason. For nothing is superfluous in God's works, much less even than in the works of nature. Now it is superfluous to employ other means, where one already suffices. Therefore it would be superfluous to receive by faith, things that can be known by natural reason.
Obj. 2: Further, those things must be believed, which are the object of faith. Now science and faith are not about the same object, as stated above (Q. 1, AA. 4, 5). Since therefore all things that can be known by natural reason are an object of science, it seems that there is no need to believe what can be proved by natural reason.
Obj. 3: Further, all things knowable scientifically [*Science is certain knowledge of a demonstrated conclusion through its demonstration] would seem to come under one head: so that if some of them are proposed to man as objects of faith, in like manner the others should also be believed. But this is not true. Therefore it is not necessary to believe those things which can be proved by natural reason.
On the contrary, It is necessary to believe that God is one and incorporeal: which things philosophers prove by natural reason.
I answer that, It is necessary for man to accept by faith not only things which are above reason, but also those which can be known by reason: and this for three motives. First, in order that man may arrive more quickly at the knowledge of Divine truth. Because the science to whose province it belongs to prove the existence of God, is the last of all to offer itself to human research, since it presupposes many other sciences: so that it would not by until late in life that man would arrive at the knowledge of God. The second reason is, in order that the knowledge of God may be more general. For many are unable to make progress in the study of science, either through dullness of mind, or through having a number of occupations, and temporal needs, or even through laziness in learning, all of whom would be altogether deprived of the knowledge of God, unless Divine things were brought to their knowledge under the guise of faith. The third reason is for the sake of certitude. For human reason is very deficient in things concerning God. A sign of this is that philosophers in their researches, by natural investigation, into human affairs, have fallen into many errors, and have disagreed among themselves. And consequently, in order that men might have knowledge of God, free of doubt and uncertainty, it was necessary for Divine matters to be delivered to them by way of faith, being told to them, as it were, by God Himself Who cannot lie.
Reply Obj. 1: The researches of natural reason do not suffice mankind for the knowledge of Divine matters, even of those that can be proved by reason: and so it is not superfluous if these others be believed.
Reply Obj. 2: Science and faith cannot be in the same subject and about the same object: but what is an object of science for one, can be an object of faith for another, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 5).
Reply Obj. 3: Although all things that can be known by science are of one common scientific aspect, they do not all alike lead man to beatitude: hence they are not all equally proposed to our belief. _____
FIFTH ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 2, Art. 5]
Whether Man Is Bound to Believe Anything Explicitly?
Objection 1: It would seem that man is not bound to believe anything explicitly. For no man is bound to do what is not in his power. Now it is not in man's power to believe a thing explicitly, for it is written (Rom. 10:14, 15): "How shall they believe Him, of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they be sent?" Therefore man is not bound to believe anything explicitly.
Obj. 2: Further, just as we are directed to God by faith, so are we by charity. Now man is not bound to keep the precepts of charity, and it is enough if he be ready to fulfil them: as is evidenced by the precept of Our Lord (Matt. 5:39): "If one strike thee on one [Vulg.: 'thy right'] cheek, turn to him also the other"; and by others of the same kind, according to Augustine's exposition (De Serm. Dom. in Monte xix). Therefore neither is man bound to believe anything explicitly, and it is enough if he be ready to believe whatever God proposes to be believed.
Obj. 3: Further, the good of faith consists in obedience, according to Rom. 1:5: "For obedience to the faith in all nations." Now the virtue of obedience does not require man to keep certain fixed precepts, but it is enough that his mind be ready to obey, according to Ps. 118:60: "I am ready and am not troubled; that I may keep Thy commandments." Therefore it seems enough for faith, too, that man should be ready to believe whatever God may propose, without his believing anything explicitly.
On the contrary, It is written (Heb. 11:6): "He that cometh to God, must believe that He is, and is a rewarder to them that seek Him."
I answer that, The precepts of the Law, which man is bound to fulfil, concern acts of virtue which are the means of attaining salvation. Now an act of virtue, as stated above (I-II, Q. 60, A. 5) depends on the relation of the habit to its object. Again two things may be considered in the object of any virtue; namely, that which is the proper and direct object of that virtue, and that which is accidental and consequent to the object properly so called. Thus it belongs properly and directly to the object of fortitude, to face the dangers of death, and to charge at the foe with danger to oneself, for the sake of the common good: yet that, in a just war, a man be armed, or strike another with his sword, and so forth, is reduced to the object of fortitude, but indirectly.
Accordingly, just as a virtuous act is required for the fulfilment of a precept, so is it necessary that the virtuous act should terminate in its proper and direct object: but, on the other hand, the fulfilment of the precept does not require that a virtuous act should terminate in those things which have an accidental or secondary relation to the proper and direct object of that virtue, except in certain places and at certain times. We must, therefore, say that the direct object of faith is that whereby man is made one of the Blessed, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 8): while the indirect and secondary object comprises all things delivered by God to us in Holy Writ, for instance that Abraham had two sons, that David was the son of Jesse, and so forth.
Therefore, as regards the primary points or articles of faith, man is bound to believe them, just as he is bound to have faith; but as to other points of faith, man is not bound to believe them explicitly, but only implicitly, or to be ready to believe them, in so far as he is prepared to believe whatever is contained in the Divine Scriptures. Then alone is he bound to believe such things explicitly, when it is clear to him that they are contained in the doctrine of faith.
Reply Obj. 1: If we understand those things alone to be in a man's power, which we can do without the help of grace, then we are bound to do many things which we cannot do without the aid of healing grace, such as to love God and our neighbor, and likewise to believe the articles of faith. But with the help of grace we can do this, for this help "to whomsoever it is given from above it is mercifully given; and from whom it is withheld it is justly withheld, as a punishment of a previous, or at least of original, sin," as Augustine states (De Corr. et Grat. v, vi [*Cf. Ep. cxc; De Praed. Sanct. viii.]).
Reply Obj. 2: Man is bound to love definitely those lovable things which are properly and directly the objects of charity, namely, God and our neighbor. The objection refers to those precepts of charity which belong, as a consequence, to the objects of charity.
Reply Obj. 3: The virtue of obedience is seated, properly speaking, in the will; hence promptness of the will subject to authority, suffices for the act of obedience, because it is the proper and direct object of obedience. But this or that precept is accidental or consequent to that proper and direct object. _____
SIXTH ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 2, Art. 6]
Whether All Are Equally Bound to Have Explicit Faith?
Objection 1: It would seem that all are equally bound to have explicit faith. For all are bound to those things which are necessary for salvation, as is evidenced by the precepts of charity. Now it is necessary for salvation that certain things should be believed explicitly. Therefore all are equally bound to have explicit faith.
Obj. 2: Further, no one should be put to test in matters that he is not bound to believe. But simple persons are sometimes tested in reference to the slightest articles of faith. Therefore all are bound to believe everything explicitly.
Obj. 3: Further, if the simple are bound to have, not explicit but only implicit faith, their faith must needs be implied in the faith of the learned. But this seems unsafe, since it is possible for the learned to err. Therefore it seems that the simple should also have explicit faith; so that all are, therefore, equally bound to have explicit faith.
On the contrary, It is written (Job 1:14): "The oxen were ploughing, and the asses feeding beside them," because, as Gregory expounds this passage (Moral. ii, 17), the simple, who are signified by the asses, ought, in matters of faith, to stay by the learned, who are denoted by the oxen.
I answer that, The unfolding of matters of faith is the result of Divine revelation: for matters of faith surpass natural reason. Now Divine revelation reaches those of lower degree through those who are over them, in a certain order; to men, for instance, through the angels, and to the lower angels through the higher, as Dionysius explains (Coel. Hier. iv, vii). In like manner therefore the unfolding of faith must needs reach men of lower degree through those of higher degree. Consequently, just as the higher angels, who enlighten those who are below them, have a fuller knowledge of Divine things than the lower angels, as Dionysius states (Coel. Hier. xii), so too, men of higher degree, whose business it is to teach others, are under obligation to have fuller knowledge of matters of faith, and to believe them more explicitly.
Reply Obj. 1: The unfolding of the articles of faith is not equally necessary for the salvation of all, since those of higher degree, whose duty it is to teach others, are bound to believe explicitly more things than others are.
Reply Obj. 2: Simple persons should not be put to the test about subtle questions of faith, unless they be suspected of having been corrupted by heretics, who are wont to corrupt the faith of simple people in such questions. If, however, it is found that they are free from obstinacy in their heterodox sentiments, and that it is due to their simplicity, it is no fault of theirs.
Reply Obj. 3: The simple have no faith implied in that of the learned, except in so far as the latter adhere to the Divine teaching. Hence the Apostle says (1 Cor. 4:16): "Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ." Hence it is not human knowledge, but the Divine truth that is the rule of faith: and if any of the learned stray from this rule, he does not harm the faith of the simple ones, who think that the learned believe aright; unless the simple hold obstinately to their individual errors, against the faith of the universal Church, which cannot err, since Our Lord said (Luke 22:32): "I have prayed for thee," Peter, "that thy faith fail not." _____
SEVENTH ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 2, Art. 7]
Whether It Is Necessary for the Salvation of All, That They Should Believe Explicitly in the Mystery of Christ?
Objection 1: It would seem that it is not necessary for the salvation of all that they should believe explicitly in the mystery of Christ. For man is not bound to believe explicitly what the angels are ignorant about: since the unfolding of faith is the result of Divine revelation, which reaches man by means of the angels, as stated above (A. 6; I, Q. 111, A. 1). Now even the angels were in ignorance of the mystery of the Incarnation: hence, according to the commentary of Dionysius (Coel. Hier. vii), it is they who ask (Ps. 23:8): "Who is this king of glory?" and (Isa. 63:1): "Who is this that cometh from Edom?" Therefore men were not bound to believe explicitly in the mystery of Christ's Incarnation.
Obj. 2: Further, it is evident that John the Baptist was one of the teachers, and most nigh to Christ, Who said of him (Matt. 11:11) that "there hath not risen among them that are born of women, a greater than" he. Now John the Baptist does not appear to have known the mystery of Christ explicitly, since he asked Christ (Matt. 11:3): "Art Thou He that art to come, or look we for another?" Therefore even the teachers were not bound to explicit faith in Christ.
Obj. 3: Further, many gentiles obtained salvation through the ministry of the angels, as Dionysius states (Coel. Hier. ix). Now it would seem that the gentiles had neither explicit nor implicit faith in Christ, since they received no revelation. Therefore it seems that it was not necessary for the salvation of all to believe explicitly in the mystery of Christ.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Corr. et Gratia vii; Ep. cxc): "Our faith is sound if we believe that no man, old or young is delivered from the contagion of death and the bonds of sin, except by the one Mediator of God and men, Jesus Christ."
I answer that, As stated above (A. 5; Q. 1, A. 8), the object of faith includes, properly and directly, that thing through which man obtains beatitude. Now the mystery of Christ's Incarnation and Passion is the way by which men obtain beatitude; for it is written (Acts 4:12): "There is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved." Therefore belief of some kind in the mystery of Christ's Incarnation was necessary at all times and for all persons, but this belief differed according to differences of times and persons. The reason of this is that before the state of sin, man believed, explicitly in Christ's Incarnation, in so far as it was intended for the consummation of glory, but not as it was intended to deliver man from sin by the Passion and Resurrection, since man had no foreknowledge of his future sin. He does, however, seem to have had foreknowledge of the Incarnation of Christ, from the fact that he said (Gen. 2:24): "Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife," of which the Apostle says (Eph. 5:32) that "this is a great sacrament . . . in Christ and the Church," and it is incredible that the first man was ignorant about this sacrament.
But after sin, man believed explicitly in Christ, not only as to the Incarnation, but also as to the Passion and Resurrection, whereby the human race is delivered from sin and death: for they would not, else, have foreshadowed Christ's Passion by certain sacrifices both before and after the Law, the meaning of which sacrifices was known by the learned explicitly, while the simple folk, under the veil of those sacrifices, believed them to be ordained by God in reference to Christ's coming, and thus their knowledge was covered with a veil, so to speak. And, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 7), the nearer they were to Christ, the more distinct was their knowledge of Christ's mysteries.
After grace had been revealed, both learned and simple folk are bound to explicit faith in the mysteries of Christ, chiefly as regards those which are observed throughout the Church, and publicly proclaimed, such as the articles which refer to the Incarnation, of which we have spoken above (Q. 1, A. 8). As to other minute points in reference to the articles of the Incarnation, men have been bound to believe them more or less explicitly according to each one's state and office.
Reply Obj. 1: The mystery of the Kingdom of God was not entirely hidden from the angels, as Augustine observes (Gen. ad lit. v, 19), yet certain aspects thereof were better known to them when Christ revealed them to them.
Reply Obj. 2: It was not through ignorance that John the Baptist inquired of Christ's advent in the flesh, since he had clearly professed his belief therein, saying: "I saw, and I gave testimony, that this is the Son of God" (John 1:34). Hence he did not say: "Art Thou He that hast come?" but "Art Thou He that art to come?" thus saying about the future, not about the past. Likewise it is not to be believed that he was ignorant of Christ's future Passion, for he had already said (John 1:39): "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sins [Vulg.: 'sin'] of the world," thus foretelling His future immolation; and since other prophets had foretold it, as may be seen especially in Isaias 53. We may therefore say with Gregory (Hom. xxvi in Evang.) that he asked this question, being in ignorance as to whether Christ would descend into hell in His own Person. But he did not ignore the fact that the power of Christ's Passion would be extended to those who were detained in Limbo, according to Zech. 9:11: "Thou also, by the blood of Thy testament hast sent forth Thy prisoners out of the pit, wherein there is no water"; nor was he bound to believe explicitly, before its fulfilment, that Christ was to descend thither Himself.
It may also be replied that, as Ambrose observes in his commentary on Luke 7:19, he made this inquiry, not from doubt or ignorance but from devotion: or again, with Chrysostom (Hom. xxxvi in Matth.), that he inquired, not as though ignorant himself, but because he wished his disciples to be satisfied on that point, through Christ: hence the latter framed His answer so as to instruct the disciples, by pointing to the signs of His works.
Reply Obj. 3: Many of the gentiles received revelations of Christ, as is clear from their predictions. Thus we read (Job 19:25): "I know that my Redeemer liveth." The Sibyl too foretold certain things about Christ, as Augustine states (Contra Faust. xiii, 15). Moreover, we read in the history of the Romans, that at the time of Constantine Augustus and his mother Irene a tomb was discovered, wherein lay a man on whose breast was a golden plate with the inscription: "Christ shall be born of a virgin, and in Him, I believe. O sun, during the lifetime of Irene and Constantine, thou shalt see me again" [*Cf. Baron, Annal., A.D. 780]. If, however, some were saved without receiving any revelation, they were not saved without faith in a Mediator, for, though they did not believe in Him explicitly, they did, nevertheless, have implicit faith through believing in Divine providence, since they believed that God would deliver mankind in whatever way was pleasing to Him, and according to the revelation of the Spirit to those who knew the truth, as stated in Job 35:11: "Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth." _____
EIGHTH ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 2, Art. 8]
Whether It Is Necessary for Salvation to Believe Explicitly in the Trinity?
Objection 1: It would seem that it was not necessary for salvation to believe explicitly in the Trinity. For the Apostle says (Heb. 11:6): "He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and is a rewarder to them that seek Him." Now one can believe this without believing in the Trinity. Therefore it was not necessary to believe explicitly in the Trinity.
Obj. 2: Further our Lord said (John 17:5, 6): "Father, I have manifested Thy name to men," which words Augustine expounds (Tract. cvi) as follows: "Not the name by which Thou art called God, but the name whereby Thou art called My Father," and further on he adds: "In that He made this world, God is known to all nations; in that He is not to be worshipped together with false gods, 'God is known in Judea'; but, in that He is the Father of this Christ, through Whom He takes away the sin of the world, He now makes known to men this name of His, which hitherto they knew not." Therefore before the coming of Christ it was not known that Paternity and Filiation were in the Godhead: and so the Trinity was not believed explicitly.
Obj. 3: Further, that which we are bound to believe explicitly of God is the object of heavenly happiness. Now the object of heavenly happiness is the sovereign good, which can be understood to be in God, without any distinction of Persons. Therefore it was not necessary to believe explicitly in the Trinity.
On the contrary, In the Old Testament the Trinity of Persons is expressed in many ways; thus at the very outset of Genesis it is written in manifestation of the Trinity: "Let us make man to Our image and likeness" (Gen. 1:26). Therefore from the very beginning it was necessary for salvation to believe in the Trinity.
I answer that, It is impossible to believe explicitly in the mystery of Christ, without faith in the Trinity, since the mystery of Christ includes that the Son of God took flesh; that He renewed the world through the grace of the Holy Ghost; and again, that He was conceived by the Holy Ghost. Wherefore just as, before Christ, the mystery of Christ was believed explicitly by the learned, but implicitly and under a veil, so to speak, by the simple, so too was it with the mystery of the Trinity. And consequently, when once grace had been revealed, all were bound to explicit faith in the mystery of the Trinity: and all who are born again in Christ, have this bestowed on them by the invocation of the Trinity, according to Matt. 28:19: "Going therefore teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost."
Reply Obj. 1: Explicit faith in those two things was necessary at all times and for all people: but it was not sufficient at all times and for all people.
Reply Obj. 2: Before Christ's coming, faith in the Trinity lay hidden in the faith of the learned, but through Christ and the apostles it was shown to the world.
Reply Obj. 3: God's sovereign goodness as we understand it now through its effects, can be understood without the Trinity of Persons: but as understood in itself, and as seen by the Blessed, it cannot be understood without the Trinity of Persons. Moreover the mission of the Divine Persons brings us to heavenly happiness. _____
NINTH ARTICLE [II-II, Q. 2, Art. 9]
Whether to Believe Is Meritorious?
Objection 1: It would seem that to believe is not meritorious. For the principle of all merit is charity, as stated above (I-II, Q. 114, A. 4). Now faith, like nature, is a preamble to charity. Therefore, just as an act of nature is not meritorious, since we do not merit by our natural gifts, so neither is an act of faith.
Obj. 2: Further, belief is a mean between opinion and scientific knowledge or the consideration of things scientifically known [*Science is a certain knowledge of a demonstrated conclusion through its demonstration.]. Now the considerations of science are not meritorious, nor on the other hand is opinion. Therefore belief is not meritorious.
Obj. 3: Further, he who assents to a point of faith, either has a sufficient motive for believing, or he has not. If he has a sufficient motive for his belief, this does not seem to imply any merit on his part, since he is no longer free to believe or not to believe: whereas if he has not a sufficient motive for believing, this is a mark of levity, according to Ecclus. 19:4: "He that is hasty to give credit, is light of heart," so that, seemingly, he gains no merit thereby. Therefore to believe is by no means meritorious.