Martinus Becanus Q.1 Whether the divine attributes are to be distinguished from the nature of the thing among themselves and from the divine essence? (Part 3)

Summa Theologiae Scolasticae (Lyon, 1620).

Part 1.

Part 2.

Original Latin.

11.      Secondly we are able to explain this [Cf. the third conclusion in 9] in the following way. Although the divine perfection is one and simple, nevertheless it does not operate according to its own precise ratio. This is apparent, first, in the divine effects, which are outside of God: for none of those effects are equal to the divine virtue. This is why we rightly say that God created man according to the idea of a man, not of a lion; because although in God these two ideas are not actually distinguished, but are one simple idea, which he then depicts as individual creatures, as if each one were individual; nevertheless, he does not contribute to the production of any creature in particular but only insofar as he inadequately depicts it. It is as if by an accident to such a particular effect that he depicts other creatures simultaneously. A similar situation can be seen in the light of the sun, which although being one simple quality, eminently contains in itself heat, dryness, and other effects. Nevertheless, when it warms the ground, it does not work according to its own adequate virtue, but insofar as it inadequately contains in itself heat, as if by other separate qualities. For although the other qualities are no less eminent in the light of the sun than heat, nevertheless, accidentally, they are [less eminent] with respect to heating as it is known as such.

12.      The same is obvious in the divine processions, which are within God: For although will and intellect are one and the same simple thing in God the Father, nevertheless that thing is not a principle of some procession or divine person according to its own precise ratio, but rather it is a principle of the Son, just as he has the power of understanding, and a principle of the Holy Spirit just as he has the power of loving. And this is that which is accustomed to be said, namely, that these virtues or perfections are indeed not actually distinct from the nature of the thing, but instead virtually or eminently distinct. And there is one principle of producing the Son just as it is virtually distinguished from the other principle, which is the principle of producing the Holy Spirit: nor is that which is properly another’s able to be formally attributed to one, as they are virtually distinguished.

13.      From this doctrine all the arguments of the Scotists are resolved (except the first one), that they prove as most important[1] that there is a virtual distinction between the divine essence and the attributes, which we freely admit. In their first argument, either it is assumed that one concept of wisdom is given, which is univocally common of created and uncreated wisdom, which is false; or if this is not assumed, it is a faulty inference in this way: Created wisdom is distinguished from created goodness from the nature of the thing. Therefore, similarly, uncreated wisdom from uncreated goodness. For this does not follow because those things which are distinct in the created order are not distinct in God. But we shall grant that there is one concept of wisdom, univocally common with regard to created and uncreated things; yet, nothing proves this argument. For although it is true that common wisdom, as abstracted from created and uncreated things, is distinguished from common goodness; nevertheless, it is false that it is distinguished from the nature of the thing. For seeing that those concepts are only common through the operation of our intellect, they are not able to be distinguished in any other way than by reason alone. What Walter brings forward is of no significance. For just as the divine essence and attributes are not truly in diverse predicates, so truly they are not distinguished among themselves by way of diverse predications.

[1] This is my attempt to translate the “ut summum.” I’m not sure of its function.