St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province

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PERTAINING TO KNOWLEDGE (Questions [171]-175)


Postquam dictum est de singulis virtutibus et vitiis quae pertinent ad omnium hominum conditiones et status, nunc considerandum est de his quae specialiter ad aliquos homines pertinent. Invenitur autem differentia inter homines, secundum ea quae ad habitus et actus animae rationalis pertinent, tripliciter. Uno quidem modo, secundum diversas gratias gratis datas, quia, ut dicitur I ad Cor. XII, divisiones gratiarum sunt, et alii datur per spiritum sermo sapientiae, alii sermo scientiae, et cetera. Alia vero differentia est secundum diversas vitas, activam scilicet et contemplativam, quae accipitur secundum diversa operationum studia. Unde et ibidem dicitur quod divisiones operationum sunt. Aliud enim est studium operationis in Martha, quae sollicita erat et laborabat circa frequens ministerium, quod pertinet ad vitam activam, aliud autem in Maria, quae, sedens secus pedes domini, audiebat verbum illius, quod pertinet ad contemplativam, ut habetur Luc. X. Tertio modo, secundum diversitatem officiorum et statuum, prout dicitur Ephes. IV, et ipse dedit quosdam quidem apostolos, quosdam autem prophetas, alios vero Evangelistas, alios autem pastores et doctores. Quod pertinet ad diversa ministeria, de quibus dicitur, I ad Cor. XII, divisiones ministrationum sunt. After treating individually of all the virtues and vices that pertain to men of all conditions and estates, we must now consider those things which pertain especially to certain men. Now there is a triple difference between men as regards things connected with the soul's habits and acts. First, in reference to the various gratuitous graces, according to 1 Cor. 12:4,7: "There are diversities of graces... and to one... by the Spirit is given the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge," etc. Another difference arises from the diversities of life, namely the active and the contemplative life, which correspond to diverse purposes of operation, wherefore it is stated (1 Cor. 12:4,7) that "there are diversities of operations." For the purpose of operation in Martha, who "was busy about much serving," which pertains to the active life, differed from the purpose of operation in Mary, "who sitting... at the Lord's feet, heard His word" (Lk. 10:39,40), which pertains to the contemplative life. A third difference corresponds to the various duties and states of life, as expressed in Eph. 4:11, "And He gave some apostles; and some prophets; and other some evangelists; and other some pastors and doctors": and this pertains to diversity of ministries, of which it is written (1 Cor. 12:5): "There are diversities of ministries."
Est autem attendendum circa gratias gratis datas, de quibus occurrit consideratio prima, quod quaedam eorum pertinent ad cognitionem; quaedam vero ad locutionem; quaedam vero ad operationem. Omnia vero quae ad cognitionem pertinent, sub prophetia comprehendi possunt. Nam prophetica revelatio se extendit non solum ad futuros hominum eventus, sed etiam ad res divinas, et quantum ad ea quae proponuntur omnibus credenda, quae pertinent ad fidem, et quantum ad altiora mysteria, quae sunt perfectorum, quae pertinent ad sapientiam; est etiam prophetica revelatio de his quae pertinent ad spirituales substantias, a quibus vel ad bonum vel ad malum inducimur, quod pertinet ad discretionem spirituum; extendit etiam se ad directionem humanorum actuum, quod pertinet ad scientiam; ut infra patebit. Et ideo primo occurrit considerandum de prophetia; et de raptu, qui est quidam prophetiae gradus. With regard to gratuitous graces, which are the first object to be considered, it must be observed that some of them pertain to knowledge, some to speech, and some to operation. Now all things pertaining to knowledge may be comprised under "prophecy," since prophetic revelation extends not only to future events relating to man, but also to things relating to God, both as to those which are to be believed by all and are matters of "faith," and as to yet higher mysteries, which concern the perfect and belong to "wisdom." Again, prophetic revelation is about things pertaining to spiritual substances, by whom we are urged to good or evil; this pertains to the "discernment of spirits." Moreover it extends to the direction of human acts, and this pertains to "knowledge," as we shall explain further on (Question [177]). Accordingly we must first of all consider prophecy, and rapture which is a degree of prophecy.
De prophetia autem quadruplex consideratio occurrit, quarum
  • prima est de essentia eius;
  • secunda, de causa ipsius;
  • tertia, de modo propheticae cognitionis;
  • quarta, de divisione prophetiae.
Prophecy admits of four heads of consideration:
  • (1) its essence;
  • (2) its cause;
  • (3) the mode of prophetic knowledge;
  • (4) the division of prophecy.
Circa primum quaeruntur sex. Under the first head there are six points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum prophetia pertineat ad cognitionem. (1) Whether prophecy pertains to knowledge?
Secundo, utrum sit habitus. (2) Whether it is a habit?
Tertio, utrum sit solum futurorum contingentium. (3) Whether it is only about future contingencies?
Quarto, utrum propheta cognoscat omnia prophetabilia. (4) Whether a prophet knows all possible matters of prophecy?
Quinto, utrum propheta discernat ea quae divinitus percipit, ab his quae proprio spiritu videt. (5) Whether a prophet distinguishes that which he perceives by the gift of God, from that which he perceives by his own spirit?
Sexto, utrum prophetiae possit subesse falsum. (6) Whether anything false can be the matter of prophecy?

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Whether prophecy pertains to knowledge?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod prophetia non pertineat ad cognitionem. Dicitur enim Eccli. XLVIII, quod corpus Elisei mortuum prophetavit, et infra, XLIX, dicitur de Ioseph quod ossa ipsius visitata, sunt, et post mortem prophetavit. Sed in corpore vel ossibus post mortem non remanet aliqua cognitio. Ergo prophetia non pertinet ad cognitionem. Objection 1: It would seem that prophecy does not pertain to knowledge. For it is written (Ecclus. 48:14) that after death the body of Eliseus prophesied, and further on (Ecclus. 49:18) it is said of Joseph that "his bones were visited, and after death they prophesied." Now no knowledge remains in the body or in the bones after death. Therefore prophecy does not pertain to knowledge.
Praeterea, I ad Cor. XIV dicitur, qui prophetat, hominibus loquitur ad aedificationem. Sed locutio est effectus cognitionis, non autem est ipsa cognitio. Ergo videtur quod prophetia non pertinet ad cognitionem. Objection 2: Further, it is written (1 Cor. 14:3): "He that prophesieth, speaketh to men unto edification." Now speech is not knowledge itself, but its effect. Therefore it would seem that prophecy does not pertain to knowledge.
Praeterea, omnis cognoscitiva perfectio excludit stultitiam et insaniam. Sed haec simul possunt esse cum prophetia, dicitur enim Osee IX, scitote, Israel, stultum prophetam, insanum. Ergo prophetia non est cognoscitiva perfectio. Objection 3: Further, every cognitive perfection excludes folly and madness. Yet both of these are consistent with prophecy; for it is written (Osee 9:7): "Know ye, O Israel, that the prophet was foolish and mad [*Vulg.: 'the spiritual man was mad']." Therefore prophecy is not a cognitive perfection.
Praeterea, sicut revelatio pertinet ad intellectum, ita inspiratio videtur pertinere ad affectum, eo quod importat motionem quandam. Sed prophetia dicitur esse inspiratio vel revelatio, secundum Cassiodorum. Ergo videtur quod prophetia non magis pertineat ad intellectum quam ad affectum. Objection 4: Further, just as revelation regards the intellect, so inspiration regards, apparently, the affections, since it denotes a kind of motion. Now prophecy is described as "inspiration" or "revelation," according to Cassiodorus [*Prolog. super Psalt. i]. Therefore it would seem that prophecy does not pertain to the intellect more than to the affections.
Sed contra est quod dicitur I Reg. IX, qui enim propheta dicitur hodie, vocabatur olim videns. Sed visio pertinet ad cognitionem. Ergo prophetia ad cognitionem pertinet. On the contrary, It is written (1 Kgs. 9:9): "For he that is now called a prophet, in time past was called a seer." Now sight pertains to knowledge. Therefore prophecy pertains to knowledge.
Respondeo dicendum quod prophetia primo et principaliter consistit in cognitione, quia videlicet cognoscunt quaedam quae sunt procul remota ab hominum cognitione. Unde possunt dici prophetae a phanos, quod est apparitio, quia scilicet eis aliqua quae sunt procul, apparent. Et propter hoc, ut Isidorus dicit, in libro Etymol., in veteri testamento appellabantur videntes, quia videbant ea quae ceteri non videbant, et prospiciebant quae in mysterio abscondita erant. Unde et gentilitas eos appellabat vates, a vi mentis. I answer that, Prophecy first and chiefly consists in knowledge, because, to wit, prophets know things that are far [procul] removed from man's knowledge. Wherefore they may be said to take their name from {phanos}, "apparition," because things appear to them from afar. Wherefore, as Isidore states (Etym. vii, 8), "in the Old Testament, they were called Seers, because they saw what others saw not, and surveyed things hidden in mystery." Hence among heathen nations they were known as "vates, on account of their power of mind [vi mentis]," [*The Latin 'vates' is from the Greek {phates}, and may be rendered 'soothsayer'] (Etym. viii, 7).
Sed quia, ut dicitur I ad Cor. XII, unicuique datur manifestatio spiritus ad utilitatem; et infra, XIV, dicitur, ad aedificationem Ecclesiae quaerite ut abundetis, inde est quod prophetia secundario consistit in locutione, prout prophetae ea quae divinitus edocti cognoscunt, ad aedificationem aliorum annuntiant, secundum illud Isaiae XXI, quae audivi a domino exercituum, Deo Israel, annuntiavi vobis. Et secundum hoc, ut Isidorus dicit, in libro Etymol., possunt dici prophetae quasi praefatores, eo quod porro fantur, idest, a remotis fantur, et de futuris vera praedicunt. Since, however, it is written (1 Cor. 12:7): "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit," and further on (1 Cor. 14:12): "Seek to abound unto the edification of the Church," it follows that prophecy consists secondarily in speech, in so far as the prophets declare for the instruction of others, the things they know through being taught of God, according to the saying of Is. 21:10, "That which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, I have declared unto you." Accordingly, as Isidore says (Etym. viii, 7), "prophets" may be described as "proefatores [foretellers], because they tell from afar [porro fantur]," that is, speak from a distance, "and foretell the truth about things to come."
Ea autem quae supra humanam cognitionem divinitus revelantur, non possunt confirmari ratione humana, quam excedunt, sed operatione virtutis divinae, secundum illud Marci ult., praedicaverunt ubique, domino cooperante et sermonem confirmante sequentibus signis. Unde tertio ad prophetiam pertinet operatio miraculorum, quasi confirmatio quaedam propheticae Annuntiationis. Unde dicitur Deut. ult., non surrexit propheta ultra in Israel sicut Moyses, quem nosset dominus facie ad faciem, in omnibus signis atque portentis. Now those things above human ken which are revealed by God cannot be confirmed by human reason, which they surpass as regards the operation of the Divine power, according to Mk. 16:20, "They... preached everywhere, the Lord working withal and confirming the word with signs that followed." Hence, thirdly, prophecy is concerned with the working of miracles, as a kind of confirmation of the prophetic utterances. Wherefore it is written (Dt. 34:10,11): "There arose no more a prophet in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod auctoritates illae loquuntur de prophetia quantum ad hoc tertium, quod assumitur ut prophetiae argumentum. Reply to Objection 1: These passages speak of prophecy in reference to the third point just mentioned, which regards the proof of prophecy.
Ad secundum dicendum quod apostolus ibi loquitur quantum ad propheticam enuntiationem. Reply to Objection 2: The Apostle is speaking there of the prophetic utterances.
Ad tertium dicendum quod illi qui dicuntur prophetae insani et stulti, non sunt veri prophetae, sed falsi, de quibus dicitur Ierem. XXIII, nolite audire verba prophetarum qui prophetant vobis et decipiunt vos, visionem cordis sui loquuntur, non de ore domini; et Ezech. XIII, haec dicit dominus, vae prophetis insipientibus, qui sequuntur spiritum suum, et nihil vident. Reply to Objection 3: Those prophets who are described as foolish and mad are not true but false prophets, of whom it is said (Jer. 3:16): "Hearken not to the words of the prophets that prophesy to you, and deceive you; they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord," and (Ezech. 13:3): "Woe to the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and see nothing."
Ad quartum dicendum quod in prophetia requiritur quod intentio mentis elevetur ad percipienda divina, unde dicitur Ezech. II, fili hominis, sta super pedes tuos, et loquar tecum. Haec autem elevatio intentionis fit spiritu sancto movente, unde ibi subditur, et ingressus est in me spiritus, et statuit me super pedes meos. Postquam autem intentio mentis elevata est ad superna, percipit divina, unde subditur, et audivi loquentem ad me. Sic igitur ad prophetiam requiritur inspiratio quantum ad mentis elevationem, secundum illud Iob XXXII, inspiratio omnipotentis dat intelligentiam, revelatio autem, quantum ad ipsam perceptionem divinorum, in quo perficitur prophetia; per ipsam removetur obscuritatis et ignorantiae velamen, secundum illud Iob XII, qui revelat profunda de tenebris. Reply to Objection 4: It is requisite to prophecy that the intention of the mind be raised to the perception of Divine things: wherefore it is written (Ezech. 2:1): "Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak to thee." This raising of the intention is brought about by the motion of the Holy Ghost, wherefore the text goes on to say: "And the Spirit entered into me... and He set me upon my feet." After the mind's intention has been raised to heavenly things, it perceives the things of God; hence the text continues: "And I heard Him speaking to me." Accordingly inspiration is requisite for prophecy, as regards the raising of the mind, according to Job 32:8, "The inspiration of the Almighty giveth understanding": while revelation is necessary, as regards the very perception of Divine things, whereby prophecy is completed; by its means the veil of darkness and ignorance is removed, according to Job 12:22, "He discovereth great things out of darkness."

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Whether prophecy is a habit?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod prophetia sit habitus. Quia ut dicitur in II Ethic., tria sunt in anima, potentia, passio et habitus. Sed prophetia non est potentia, quia sic inesset omnibus hominibus, quibus potentiae animae sunt communes. Similiter etiam non est passio, quia passiones pertinent ad vim appetitivam, ut supra habitum est; prophetia autem pertinet principaliter ad cognitionem, ut dictum est. Ergo prophetia est habitus. Objection 1: It would seem that prophecy is a habit. For according to Ethic. ii, 5, "there are three things in the soul, power, passion, and habit." Now prophecy is not a power, for then it would be in all men, since the powers of the soul are common to them. Again it is not a passion, since the passions belong to the appetitive faculty, as stated above (FS, Question [22], Article [2]); whereas prophecy pertains principally to knowledge, as stated in the foregoing Article. Therefore prophecy is a habit.
Praeterea, omnis perfectio animae quae non semper est in actu, est habitus. Sed prophetia est quaedam animae perfectio, non autem semper est in actu, alioquin non diceretur dormiens propheta. Ergo videtur quod prophetia sit habitus. Objection 2: Further, every perfection of the soul, which is not always in act, is a habit. Now prophecy is a perfection of the soul; and it is not always in act, else a prophet could not be described as asleep. Therefore seemingly prophecy is a habit.
Praeterea, prophetia computatur inter gratias gratis datas. Sed gratia est habituale quiddam in anima, ut supra habitum est. Ergo prophetia est habitus. Objection 3: Further, prophecy is reckoned among the gratuitous graces. Now grace is something in the soul, after the manner of a habit, as stated above (FS, Question [110], Article [2]). Therefore prophecy is a habit.
Sed contra, habitus est quo quis agit cum voluerit, ut dicit Commentator, in III de anima. Sed aliquis non potest uti prophetia cum voluerit, sicut patet IV Reg. III, de Eliseo, quem cum Iosaphat de futuris requireret, et prophetiae spiritus ei deesset, psaltem fecit applicari, ut prophetiae ad hunc spiritus per laudem psalmodiae descenderet, atque eius animum de venturis repleret, ut Gregorius dicit, super Ezech. Ergo prophetia non est habitus. On the contrary, A habit is something "whereby we act when we will," as the Commentator [*Averroes or Ibn Roshd, 1120-1198] says (De Anima iii). But a man cannot make use of prophecy when he will, as appears in the case of Eliseus (4 Kgs. 3:15), "who on Josaphat inquiring of him concerning the future, and the spirit of prophecy failing him, caused a minstrel to be brought to him, that the spirit of prophecy might come down upon him through the praise of psalmody, and fill his mind with things to come," as Gregory observes (Hom. i super Ezech.). Therefore prophecy is not a habit.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut apostolus dicit, ad Ephes. V, omne quod manifestatur, lumen est, quia videlicet, sicut manifestatio corporalis visionis fit per lumen corporale, ita etiam manifestatio visionis intellectualis fit per lumen intellectuale. Oportet ergo ut manifestatio proportionetur lumini per quod fit, sicut effectus proportionatur suae causae. Cum ergo prophetia pertineat ad cognitionem quae supra naturalem rationem existit, ut dictum est; consequens est quod ad prophetiam requiratur quoddam lumen intelligibile excedens lumen naturalis rationis, unde dicitur Mich. VII, cum sedero in tenebris, dominus lux mea est. Lumen autem dupliciter alicui inesse potest, uno modo, per modum formae permanentis, sicut lumen corporale est in sole et in igne; alio modo, per modum cuiusdam passionis sive impressionis transeuntis, sicut lumen est in aere. Lumen autem propheticum non inest intellectui prophetae per modum formae permanentis, alias oporteret quod semper prophetae adesset facultas prophetandi, quod patet esse falsum, dicit enim Gregorius, super Ezech., aliquando prophetiae spiritus deest prophetis, nec semper eorum mentibus praesto est, quatenus, cum hunc non habent, se hunc agnoscant ex dono habere cum habent. Unde Eliseus dixit de muliere Sunamite, IV Reg., anima eius in amaritudine est, et dominus celavit a me et non indicavit mihi. Et huius ratio est quia lumen intellectuale in aliquo existens per modum formae permanentis et perfectae, perficit intellectum principaliter ad cognoscendum principium eorum quae per illud lumen manifestantur, sicut per lumen intellectus agentis praecipue intellectus cognoscit prima principia omnium eorum quae naturaliter cognoscuntur. Principium autem eorum quae ad supernaturalem cognitionem pertinent, quae per prophetiam manifestantur, est ipse Deus, qui per essentiam a prophetis non videtur. Videtur autem a beatis in patria, in quibus huiusmodi lumen inest per modum cuiusdam formae permanentis et perfectae, secundum illud Psalmi, in lumine tuo videbimus lumen. I answer that, As the Apostle says (Eph. 5:13), "all that is made manifest is light," because, to wit, just as the manifestation of the material sight takes place through material light, so too the manifestation of intellectual sight takes place through intellectual light. Accordingly manifestation must be proportionate to the light by means of which it takes place, even as an effect is proportionate to its cause. Since then prophecy pertains to a knowledge that surpasses natural reason, as stated above (Article [1]), it follows that prophecy requires an intellectual light surpassing the light of natural reason. Hence the saying of Micah 7:8: "When I sit in darkness, the Lord is my light." Now light may be in a subject in two ways: first, by way of an abiding form, as material light is in the sun, and in fire; secondly, by way of a passion, or passing impression, as light is in the air. Now the prophetic light is not in the prophet's intellect by way of an abiding form, else a prophet would always be able to prophesy, which is clearly false. For Gregory says (Hom. i super Ezech.): "Sometimes the spirit of prophecy is lacking to the prophet, nor is it always within the call of his mind, yet so that in its absence he knows that its presence is due to a gift." Hence Eliseus said of the Sunamite woman (4 Kgs. 4:27): "Her soul is in anguish, and the Lord hath hid it from me, and hath not told me." The reason for this is that the intellectual light that is in a subject by way of an abiding and complete form, perfects the intellect chiefly to the effect of knowing the principle of the things manifested by that light; thus by the light of the active intellect the intellect knows chiefly the first principles of all things known naturally. Now the principle of things pertaining to supernatural knowledge, which are manifested by prophecy, is God Himself, Whom the prophets do not see in His essence, although He is seen by the blessed in heaven, in whom this light is by way of an abiding and complete form, according to Ps. 35:10, "In Thy light we shall see light."
Relinquitur ergo quod lumen propheticum insit animae prophetae per modum cuiusdam passionis vel impressionis transeuntis. Et hoc significatur Exod. XXXIII, cumque transibit gloria mea, ponam te in foramine petrae, et cetera. Et III Reg. XIX, dicitur ad Eliam, egredere, et sta in monte coram domino, et ecce, dominus transit, et cetera. Et inde est quod, sicut aer semper indiget nova illuminatione, ita etiam mens prophetae semper indiget nova revelatione, sicut discipulus qui nondum est adeptus principia artis, indiget ut de singulis instruatur. Unde et Isaiae l dicitur, mane erigit mihi aurem, et audiam quasi magistrum. Et hoc etiam ipse modus loquendi prophetiam designat, secundum quod dicitur quod locutus est dominus ad talem vel talem prophetam, aut quod factum est verbum domini, sive manus domini super eum. It follows therefore that the prophetic light is in the prophet's soul by way of a passion or transitory impression. This is indicated Ex. 33:22: "When my glory shall pass, I will set thee in a hole of the rock," etc., and 3 Kgs. 19:11: "Go forth and stand upon the mount before the Lord; and behold the Lord passeth," etc. Hence it is that even as the air is ever in need of a fresh enlightening, so too the prophet's mind is always in need of a fresh revelation; thus a disciple who has not yet acquired the principles of an art needs to have every detail explained to him. Wherefore it is written (Is. 1:4): "In the morning He wakeneth my ear, so that I may hear Him as a master." This is also indicated by the very manner in which prophecies are uttered: thus it is stated that "the Lord spake to such and such a prophet," or that "the word of the Lord," or "the hand of the Lord was made upon him."
Habitus autem est forma permanens. Unde manifestum est quod prophetia, proprie loquendo, non est habitus. But a habit is an abiding form. Wherefore it is evident that, properly speaking, prophecy is not a habit.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod illa divisio philosophi non comprehendit absolute omnia quae sunt in anima, sed ea quae possunt esse principia moralium actuum, qui quandoque fiunt ex passione, quandoque autem ex habitu, quandoque autem ex potentia nuda, ut patet in his qui ex iudicio rationis aliquid operantur antequam habeant habitum. Reply to Objection 1: This division of the Philosopher's does not comprise absolutely all that is in the soul, but only such as can be principles of moral actions, which are done sometimes from passion, sometimes from habit, sometimes from mere power, as in the case of those who perform an action from the judgment of their reason before having the habit of that action.
Potest tamen prophetia ad passionem reduci, si tamen nomen passionis pro qualibet receptione accipiatur; prout philosophus dicit, in III de anima, quod intelligere pati quoddam est. Sicut enim in cognitione naturali intellectus possibilis patitur ex lumine intellectus agentis, ita etiam in cognitione prophetica intellectus humanus patitur ex illustratione divini luminis. However, prophecy may be reduced to a passion, provided we understand passion to denote any kind of receiving, in which sense the Philosopher says (De Anima iii, 4) that "to understand is, in a way, to be passive." For just as, in natural knowledge, the possible intellect is passive to the light of the active intellect, so too in prophetic knowledge the human intellect is passive to the enlightening of the Divine light.
Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut in rebus corporalibus, abeunte passione, remanet quaedam habilitas ad hoc quod iterum patiatur, sicut lignum semel inflammatum facilius iterum inflammatur; ita etiam in intellectu prophetae, cessante actuali illustratione, remanet quaedam habilitas ad hoc quod facilius iterato illustretur. Sicut etiam mens semel ad devotionem excitata, facilius postmodum ad devotionem pristinam revocatur, propter quod Augustinus, in libro de orando Deum, dicit esse necessarias crebras orationes, ne concepta devotio totaliter exstinguatur. Reply to Objection 2: Just as in corporeal things, when a passion ceases, there remains a certain aptitude to a repetition of the passion—thus wood once ignited is more easily ignited again, so too in the prophet's intellect, after the actual enlightenment has ceased, there remains an aptitude to be enlightened anew—thus when the mind has once been aroused to devotion, it is more easily recalled to its former devotion. Hence Augustine says (De orando Deum. Ep. cxxx, 9) that our prayers need to be frequent, "lest devotion be extinguished as soon as it is kindled."
Potest tamen dici quod aliquis dicitur propheta etiam cessante actuali prophetica illustratione, ex deputatione divina, secundum illud Ierem. I, et prophetam in gentibus dedi te. We might, however, reply that a person is called a prophet, even while his prophetic enlightenment ceases to be actual, on account of his being deputed by God, according to Jer. 1:5, "And I made thee a prophet unto the nations."
Ad tertium dicendum quod omne donum gratiae hominem elevat ad aliquid quod est supra naturam humanam. Quod quidem potest esse dupliciter. Uno modo, quantum ad substantiam actus, sicut miracula facere, et cognoscere incerta et occulta divinae sapientiae. Et ad hos actus non datur homini donum gratiae habituale. Alio modo est aliquid supra naturam humanam quantum ad modum actus, non autem quantum ad substantiam ipsius, sicut diligere Deum, et cognoscere eum in speculo creaturarum. Et ad hoc datur donum gratiae habituale. Reply to Objection 3: Every gift of grace raises man to something above human nature, and this may happen in two ways. First, as to the substance of the act—for instance, the working of miracles, and the knowledge of the uncertain and hidden things of Divine wisdom—and for such acts man is not granted a habitual gift of grace. Secondly, a thing is above human nature as to the mode but not the substance of the act—for instance to love God and to know Him in the mirror of His creatures—and for this a habitual gift of grace is bestowed.

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Whether prophecy is only about future contingencies?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod prophetia sit solum futurorum contingentium. Dicit enim Cassiodorus quod prophetia est inspiratio vel revelatio divina rerum eventus immobili veritate denuntians. Sed eventus pertinet ad contingentia futura. Ergo de solis contingentibus futuris fit revelatio prophetica. Objection 1: It would seem that prophecy is only about future contingencies. For Cassiodorus says [*Prol. super Psalt. i] that "prophecy is a Divine inspiration or revelation, announcing the issue of things with unchangeable truth." Now issues pertain to future contingencies. Therefore the prophetic revelation is about future contingencies alone.
Praeterea, gratia prophetiae dividitur contra sapientiam et fidem quae sunt de divinis; et discretionem spirituum, quae est de spiritibus creatis; et scientiam, quae est de rebus humanis; ut patet I ad Cor. XII. Habitus autem et actus distinguuntur secundum obiecta, ut patet per ea quae supra dicta sunt. Ergo videtur quod de nullo pertinente ad aliquod horum sit prophetia. Relinquitur ergo quod sit solum de futuris contingentibus. Objection 2: Further, according to 1 Cor. 12, the grace of prophecy is differentiated from wisdom and faith, which are about Divine things; and from the discernment of spirits, which is about created spirits; and from knowledge, which is about human things. Now habits and acts are differentiated by their objects, as stated above (FS, Question [54], Article [2]). Therefore it seems that the object of prophecy is not connected with any of the above. Therefore it follows that it is about future contingencies alone.
Praeterea, diversitas obiecti causat diversitatem speciei, ut ex supra dictis patet. Si ergo prophetia quaedam sit de futuris contingentibus, quaedam autem de quibusdam aliis rebus, videtur sequi quod non sit eadem species prophetiae. Objection 3: Further, difference of object causes difference of species, as stated above (FS, Question [54], Article [2]). Therefore, if one prophecy is about future contingencies, and another about other things, it would seem to follow that these are different species of prophecy.
Sed contra est quod Gregorius dicit, super Ezech., quod prophetia quaedam est de futuro, sicut id quod dicitur Isaiae VII, ecce, virgo concipiet et pariet filium; quaedam de praeterito, sicut id quod dicitur Gen. I, in principio creavit Deus caelum et terram; quaedam de praesenti, sicut id quod dicitur I ad Cor. XIV, si omnes prophetent, intret autem quis infidelis, occulta cordis eius manifesta fiunt. Non ergo est prophetia solum de contingentibus futuris. On the contrary, Gregory says (Hom. i super Ezech.) that some prophecies are "about the future, for instance (Is. 7:14), 'Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son'"; some are "about the past, as (Gn. 1:1), 'In the beginning God created heaven and earth'"; some are "about the present," as (1 Cor. 14:24,25), "If all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not... the secrets of his heart are made manifest." Therefore prophecy is not about future contingencies alone.
Respondeo dicendum quod manifestatio quae fit per aliquod lumen, ad omnia illa se extendere potest quae illi lumini subiiciuntur, sicut visio corporalis se extendit ad omnes colores, et cognitio naturalis animae se extendit ad omnia illa quae subduntur lumini intellectus agentis. Cognitio autem prophetica est per lumen divinum, quo possunt omnia cognosci, tam divina quam humana, tam spiritualia quam corporalia. Et ideo revelatio prophetica ad omnia huiusmodi se extendit. Sicut de his quae pertinent ad Dei excellentiam et Angelorum, spirituum ministerio revelatio prophetica facta est, ut Isaiae VI, ubi dicitur, vidi dominum sedentem super solium excelsum et elevatum. Eius etiam prophetia continet ea quae pertinent ad corpora naturalia, secundum illud Isaiae XL, quis mensus est pugillo aquas, et cetera? Continet etiam ea quae ad mores hominum pertinent, secundum illud Isaiae LVIII, frange esurienti panem tuum, et cetera. Continet etiam ea quae pertinent ad futuros eventus, secundum illud Isaiae XLVII, venient tibi subito haec duo in die una, sterilitas et viduitas. I answer that, A manifestation made by means of a certain light can extend to all those things that are subject to that light: thus the body's sight extends to all colors, and the soul's natural knowledge extends to whatever is subject to the light of the active intellect. Now prophetic knowledge comes through a Divine light, whereby it is possible to know all things both Divine and human, both spiritual and corporeal; and consequently the prophetic revelation extends to them all. Thus by the ministry of spirits a prophetic revelation concerning the perfections of God and the angels was made to Is. 6:1, where it is written, "I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated." Moreover his prophecy contains matters referring to natural bodies, according to the words of Is. 40:12, "Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand," etc. It also contains matters relating to human conduct, according to Is. 58:1, "Deal thy bread to the hungry," etc.; and besides this it contains things pertaining to future events, according to Is. 47:9, "Two things shall come upon thee suddenly in one day, barrenness and widowhood."
Considerandum tamen quod, quia prophetia est de his quae procul a nostra cognitione sunt, tanto aliqua magis proprie ad prophetiam pertinent, quanto longius a cognitione humana existunt. Horum autem est triplex gradus. Quorum unus est eorum quae sunt procul a cognitione huius hominis, sive secundum sensum sive secundum intellectum, non autem a cognitione omnium hominum. Sicut sensu cognoscit aliquis homo quae sunt sibi praesentia secundum locum, quae tamen alius humano sensu, utpote sibi absentia, non cognoscit, et sic Eliseus prophetice cognovit quae Giezi, discipulus eius, in absentia fecerat, ut habetur IV Reg. V. Et similiter cogitationes cordis unius alteri prophetice manifestantur, ut dicitur I ad Cor. XIV. Et per hunc modum etiam ea quae unus scit demonstrative, alii possunt prophetice revelari. Since, however, prophecy is about things remote from our knowledge, it must be observed that the more remote things are from our knowledge the more pertinent they are to prophecy. Of such things there are three degrees. One degree comprises things remote from the knowledge, either sensitive or intellective, of some particular man, but not from the knowledge of all men; thus a particular man knows by sense things present to him locally, which another man does not know by human sense, since they are removed from him. Thus Eliseus knew prophetically what his disciple Giezi had done in his absence (4 Kgs. 5:26), and in like manner the secret thoughts of one man are manifested prophetically to another, according to 1 Cor. 14:25; and again in this way what one man knows by demonstration may be revealed to another prophetically.
Secundus autem gradus est eorum quae excedunt universaliter cognitionem omnium hominum, non quia secundum se non sint cognoscibilia, sed propter defectum cognitionis humanae, sicut mysterium Trinitatis. Quod revelatum est per Seraphim dicentia, sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, etc., ut habetur Isaiae VI. The second degree comprises those things which surpass the knowledge of all men without exception, not that they are in themselves unknowable, but on account of a defect in human knowledge; such as the mystery of the Trinity, which was revealed by the Seraphim saying: "Holy, Holy, Holy," etc. (Is. 6:3).
Ultimus autem gradus est eorum quae sunt procul ab omnium hominum cognitione quia in seipsis non sunt cognoscibilia, ut contingentia futura, quorum veritas non est determinata. Et quia quod est universaliter et secundum se, potius est eo quod est particulariter et per aliud; ideo ad prophetiam propriissime pertinet revelatio eventuum futurorum, unde et nomen prophetiae sumi videtur. Unde Gregorius dicit, super Ezech., quod, cum ideo prophetia dicta sit quod futura praedicat, quando de praeterito vel praesenti loquitur, rationem sui nominis amittit. The last degree comprises things remote from the knowledge of all men, through being in themselves unknowable; such are future contingencies, the truth of which is indeterminate. And since that which is predicated universally and by its very nature, takes precedence of that which is predicated in a limited and relative sense, it follows that revelation of future events belongs most properly to prophecy, and from this prophecy apparently takes its name. Hence Gregory says (Hom. i super Ezech.): "And since a prophet is so called because he foretells the future, his name loses its significance when he speaks of the past or present."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod prophetia ibi definitur secundum id quod proprie significatur nomine prophetiae. Et per hunc etiam modum prophetia dividitur contra alias gratias gratis datas. Reply to Objection 1: Prophecy is there defined according to its proper signification; and it is in this sense that it is differentiated from the other gratuitous graces.
Unde patet responsio ad secundum. Quamvis possit dici quod omnia quae sub prophetia cadunt, conveniunt in hac ratione quod non sunt ab homine cognoscibilia nisi per revelationem divinam. Ea vero quae pertinent ad sapientiam et scientiam et interpretationem sermonum, possunt naturali ratione ab homine cognosci, sed altiori modo manifestantur per illustrationem divini luminis. Fides autem etsi sit de invisibilibus homini, tamen ad ipsam non pertinet eorum cognitio quae creduntur, sed quod homo per certitudinem assentiat his quae sunt ab aliis cognita. Reply to Objection 2: This is evident from what has just been said. We might also reply that all those things that are the matter of prophecy have the common aspect of being unknowable to man except by Divine revelation; whereas those that are the matter of "wisdom," "knowledge," and the "interpretation of speeches," can be known by man through natural reason, but are manifested in a higher way through the enlightening of the Divine light. As to "faith," although it is about things invisible to man, it is not concerned with the knowledge of the things believed, but with a man's certitude of assent to things known by others.
Ad tertium dicendum quod formale in cognitione prophetica est lumen divinum, a cuius unitate prophetia habet unitatem speciei, licet sint diversa quae per lumen divinum prophetice manifestantur Reply to Objection 3: The formal element in prophetic knowledge is the Divine light, which being one, gives unity of species to prophecy, although the things prophetically manifested by the Divine light are diverse.

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Whether by the Divine revelation a prophet knows all that can be known prophetically?

Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod propheta per divinam inspirationem cognoscat omnia quae possunt prophetice cognosci. Dicitur enim Amos III, non faciet dominus Deus verbum, nisi revelaverit secretum suum ad servos suos prophetas. Sed omnia quae prophetice revelantur, sunt verba divinitus facta. Nihil ergo eorum est quod non reveletur prophetae. Objection 1: It would seem that by the Divine revelation a prophet knows all that can be known prophetically. For it is written (Amos 3:7): "The Lord God doth nothing without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets." Now whatever is revealed prophetically is something done by God. Therefore there is not one of them but what is revealed to the prophet.
Praeterea, Dei perfecta sunt opera, ut dicitur Deut. XXXII. Sed prophetia est divina revelatio, ut dictum est. Ergo est perfecta. Quod non esset nisi omnia prophetabilia prophetae revelarentur, quia perfectum est cui nihil deest, ut dicitur in III Physic. Ergo prophetae omnia prophetabilia revelantur. Objection 2: Further, "God's works are perfect" (Dt. 32:4). Now prophecy is a "Divine revelation," as stated above (Article [3]). Therefore it is perfect; and this would not be so unless all possible matters of prophecy were revealed prophetically, since "the perfect is that which lacks nothing" (Phys. iii, 6). Therefore all possible matters of prophecy are revealed to the prophet.
Praeterea, lumen divinum, quod causat prophetiam, est potentius quam lumen naturalis rationis, ex quo causatur humana scientia. Sed homo qui habet aliquam scientiam, cognoscit omnia quae ad illam scientiam pertinent, sicut grammaticus cognoscit omnia grammaticalia. Ergo videtur quod propheta cognoscat omnia prophetabilia. Objection 3: Further, the Divine light which causes prophecy is more powerful than the right of natural reason which is the cause of human science. Now a man who has acquired a science knows whatever pertains to that science; thus a grammarian knows all matters of grammar. Therefore it would seem that a prophet knows all matters of prophecy.
Sed contra est quod Gregorius dicit, super Ezech., quod aliquando spiritus prophetiae ex praesenti tangit animum prophetantis, et ex futuro nequaquam tangit, aliquando autem ex praesenti non tangit, et ex futuro tangit. Non ergo propheta cognoscit omnia prophetabilia. On the contrary, Gregory says (Hom. i super Ezech.) that "sometimes the spirit of prophecy indicates the present to the prophet's mind and nowise the future; and sometimes it points not to the present but to the future." Therefore the prophet does not know all matters of prophecy.
Respondeo dicendum quod diversa non est necesse esse simul nisi propter aliquid unum in quo connectuntur et a quo dependent, sicut supra habitum est quod virtutes omnes necesse est esse simul propter prudentiam vel caritatem. Omnia autem quae per aliquod principium cognoscuntur, connectuntur in illo principio et ab eo dependent. Et ideo qui cognoscit perfecte principium secundum totam eius virtutem, simul cognoscit omnia quae per illud principium cognoscuntur. Ignorato autem communi principio vel communiter apprehenso, nulla necessitas est simul omnia cognoscendi, sed unumquodque eorum per se oportet manifestari, et per consequens aliqua eorum possunt cognosci, et alia non cognosci. I answer that, Things which differ from one another need not exist simultaneously, save by reason of some one thing in which they are connected and on which they depend: thus it has been stated above (FS, Question [65], Articles [1],2) that all the virtues must needs exist simultaneously on account of prudence and charity. Now all the things that are known through some principle are connected in that principle and depend thereon. Hence he who knows a principle perfectly, as regards all to which its virtue extends, knows at the same time all that can be known through that principle; whereas if the common principle is unknown, or known only in a general way, it does not follow that one knows all those things at the same time, but each of them has to be manifested by itself, so that consequently some of them may be known, and some not.
Principium autem eorum quae divino lumine prophetice manifestantur, est ipsa veritas prima, quam prophetae in seipsa non vident. Et ideo non oportet quod omnia prophetabilia cognoscant, sed quilibet eorum cognoscit ex eis aliqua, secundum specialem revelationem huius vel illius rei. Now the principle of those things that are prophetically manifested by the Divine light is the first truth, which the prophets do not see in itself. Wherefore there is no need for their knowing all possible matters of prophecy; but each one knows some of them according to the special revelation of this or that matter.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod dominus omnia quae sunt necessaria ad instructionem fidelis populi, revelat prophetis, non tamen omnia omnibus, sed quaedam uni, quaedam alii. Reply to Objection 1: The Lord reveals to the prophets all things that are necessary for the instruction of the faithful; yet not all to every one, but some to one, and some to another.
Ad secundum dicendum quod prophetia est sicut quiddam imperfectum in genere divinae revelationis, unde dicitur I ad Cor. XIII, quod prophetiae evacuabuntur, et quod ex parte prophetamus, idest imperfecte. Perfectio autem divinae revelationis erit in patria, unde subditur, cum venerit quod perfectum est, evacuabitur quod ex parte est. Unde non oportet quod propheticae revelationi nihil desit, sed quod nihil desit eorum ad quae prophetia ordinatur. Reply to Objection 2: Prophecy is by way of being something imperfect in the genus of Divine revelation: hence it is written (1 Cor. 13:8) that "prophecies shall be made void," and that "we prophesy in part," i.e. imperfectly. The Divine revelation will be brought to its perfection in heaven; wherefore the same text continues (1 Cor. 113:10): "When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away." Consequently it does not follow that nothing is lacking to prophetic revelation, but that it lacks none of those things to which prophecy is directed.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ille qui habet aliquam scientiam, cognoscit principia illius scientiae, ex quibus omnia quae sunt illius scientiae dependent. Et ideo qui perfecte habet habitum alicuius scientiae, scit omnia quae ad illam scientiam pertinent. Sed per prophetiam non cognoscitur in seipso principium propheticalium cognitionum quod est Deus. Unde non est similis ratio. Reply to Objection 3: He who has a science knows the principles of that science, whence whatever is pertinent to that science depends; wherefore to have the habit of a science perfectly, is to know whatever is pertinent to that science. But God Who is the principle of prophetic knowledge is not known in Himself through prophecy; wherefore the comparison fails.

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Whether the prophet always distinguishes what he says by his own spirit from what he says by the prophetic spirit?

Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod propheta discernat semper quid dicat per spiritum proprium, et quid per spiritum prophetiae. Dicit enim Augustinus, in VI Confess., quod mater sua dicebat discernere se, nescio quo sapore, quem verbis explicare non poterat, quid interesset inter Deum revelantem et inter animam suam somniantem. Sed prophetia est revelatio divina, ut dictum est. Ergo propheta semper discernit id quod dicit per spiritum prophetiae, ab eo quod loquitur spiritu proprio. Objection 1: It would seem that the prophet always distinguishes what he says by his own spirit from what he says by the prophetic spirit. For Augustine states (Confess. vi, 13) that his mother said "she could, through a certain feeling, which in words she could not express, discern betwixt Divine revelations, and the dreams of her own soul." Now prophecy is a Divine revelation, as stated above (Article [3]). Therefore the prophet always distinguishes what he says by the spirit of prophecy, from what he says by his own spirit.
Praeterea, Deus non praecipit aliquid impossibile, sicut Hieronymus dicit. Praecipitur autem prophetis, Ierem. XXIII, propheta qui habet somnium, narret somnium, et qui habet sermonem meum, loquatur sermonem meum vere. Ergo propheta potest discernere quid habeat per spiritum prophetiae, ab eo quod aliter videt. Objection 2: Further, God commands nothing impossible, as Jerome [*Pelagius. Ep. xvi, among the supposititious works of St. Jerome] says. Now the prophets were commanded (Jer. 23:28): "The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath My word, let him speak My word with truth." Therefore the prophet can distinguish what he has through the spirit of prophecy from what he sees otherwise.
Praeterea, maior est certitudo quae est per divinum lumen quam quae est per lumen rationis naturalis. Sed per lumen rationis naturalis ille qui habet scientiam, pro certo scit se habere. Ergo ille qui habet prophetiam per lumen divinum, multo magis certus est se habere. Objection 3: Further, the certitude resulting from a Divine light is greater than that which results from the light of natural reason. Now he that has science, by the light of natural reason knows for certain that he has it. Therefore he that has prophecy by a Divine light is much more certain that he has it.
Sed contra est quod Gregorius dicit, super Ezech., sciendum est quod aliquando prophetae sancti, dum consuluntur, ex magno usu prophetandi quaedam ex suo spiritu proferunt, et se haec ex prophetiae spiritu dicere suspicantur. On the contrary, Gregory says (Hom. i super Ezech.): "It must be observed that sometimes the holy prophets, when consulted, utter certain things by their own spirit, through being much accustomed to prophesying, and think they are speaking by the prophetic spirit."
Respondeo dicendum quod mens prophetae dupliciter a Deo instruitur, uno modo, per expressam revelationem; alio modo, per quendam instinctum, quem interdum etiam nescientes humanae mentes patiuntur, ut Augustinus dicit, II super Gen. ad Litt. De his ergo quae expresse per spiritum prophetiae propheta, cognoscit, maximam certitudinem habet, et pro certo habet quod haec sibi sunt divinitus revelata. Unde dicitur Ierem. XXVI, in veritate misit me dominus ad vos, ut loquerer in aures vestras omnia verba haec. Alioquin, si de hoc ipse certitudinem non haberet, fides, quae dictis prophetarum innititur, certa non esset. Et signum propheticae certitudinis accipere possumus ex hoc quod Abraham, admonitus in prophetica visione, se praeparavit ad filium unigenitum immolandum, quod nullatenus fecisset nisi de divina revelatione fuisset certissimus. I answer that, The prophet's mind is instructed by God in two ways: in one way by an express revelation, in another way by a most mysterious instinct to "which the human mind is subjected without knowing it," as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. ii, 17). Accordingly the prophet has the greatest certitude about those things which he knows by an express revelation, and he has it for certain that they are revealed to him by God; wherefore it is written (Jer. 26:15): "In truth the Lord sent me to you, to speak all these words in your hearing." Else, were he not certain about this, the faith which relies on the utterances of the prophet would not be certain. A sign of the prophet's certitude may be gathered from the fact that Abraham being admonished in a prophetic vision, prepared to sacrifice his only-begotten son, which he nowise would have done had he not been most certain of the Divine revelation.
Sed ad ea quae cognoscit per instinctum, aliquando sic se habet ut non plene discernere possit utrum hoc cogitaverit aliquo divino instinctu, vel per spiritum proprium. Non autem omnia quae cognoscimus divino instinctu, sub certitudine prophetica nobis manifestantur, talis enim instinctus est quiddam imperfectum in genere prophetiae. Et hoc modo intelligendum est verbum Gregorii. Ne tamen ex hoc error possit accidere per spiritum sanctum citius correcti, ab eo quae vera sunt audiunt, et semetipsos, quia falsa dixerint, reprehendunt, ut ibidem Gregorius subdit. On the other hand, his position with regard to the things he knows by instinct is sometimes such that he is unable to distinguish fully whether his thoughts are conceived of Divine instinct or of his own spirit. And those things which we know by Divine instinct are not all manifested with prophetic certitude, for this instinct is something imperfect in the genus of prophecy. It is thus that we are to understand the saying of Gregory. Lest, however, this should lead to error, "they are very soon set aright by the Holy Ghost [*For instance, cf. 2 Kgs. 7:3 seqq.], and from Him they hear the truth, so that they reproach themselves for having said what was untrue," as Gregory adds (Hom. i super Ezech.).
Primae autem rationes procedunt quantum ad ea quae prophetico spiritu revelantur. Unde patet responsio ad omnia obiecta. The arguments set down in the first place consider the revelation that is made by the prophetic spirit; wherefore the answer to all the objections is clear.

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Whether things known or declared prophetically can be false?

Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ea quae prophetice cognoscuntur vel annuntiantur, possint esse falsa. Prophetia enim est de futuris contingentibus, ut dictum est, sed futura contingentia possunt non evenire, alioquin ex necessitate contingerent. Ergo prophetiae potest subesse falsum. Objection 1: It would seem that things known or declared prophetically can be false. For prophecy is about future contingencies, as stated above (Article [3]). Now future contingencies may possibly not happen; else they would happen of necessity. Therefore the matter of prophecy can be false.
Praeterea, Isaias prophetice praenuntiavit Ezechiae dicens, dispone domui tuae, quia morieris tu, et non vives, et tamen additi sunt vitae eius postea quindecim anni, ut habetur IV Reg. XX, et Isaiae XXXVIII. Similiter etiam Ierem. XVIII, dominus dicit, repente loquar adversum gentem et adversum regnum, ut eradicem et destruam et disperdam illud. Si poenitentiam egerit gens illa a malo suo quod locutus sum adversus eam, agam et ego poenitentiam super malo quod cogitavi ut facerem ei. Et hoc apparet per exemplum Ninivitarum, secundum illud Ionae III, misertus est dominus super malitiam quam dixit ut faceret eis, et non fecit. Ergo prophetiae potest subesse falsum. Objection 2: Further, Isaias prophesied to Ezechias saying (Is. 38:1): "Take order with thy house, for thou shalt surely die, and shalt not live," and yet fifteen years were added to his life (4 Kgs. 20:6). Again the Lord said (Jer. 18:7,8): "I will suddenly speak against a nation and against a kingdom, to root out and to pull down and to destroy it. If that nation against which I have spoken shall repent of their evil, I also will repent of the evil that I have thought to do them." This is instanced in the example of the Ninevites, according to Jn. 3:10: "The Lord [Vulg.: 'God'] had mercy with regard to the evil which He had said that He would do to them, and He did it not." Therefore the matter of prophecy can be false.
Praeterea, omnis conditionalis cuius antecedens est necessarium absolute, consequens est necessarium absolute, quia ita se habet consequens in conditionali ad antecedens, sicut conclusio ad praemissas in syllogismo; ex necessariis autem nunquam contingit syllogizare nisi necessarium, ut probatur in I posteriorum. Sed si prophetiae non potest subesse falsum, oportet hanc conditionalem esse veram, si aliquid est prophetatum, erit. Huius autem conditionalis antecedens est necessarium absolute, cum sit de praeterito. Ergo et consequens erit necessarium absolute. Quod est inconveniens, quia sic prophetia non esset contingentium. Falsum est ergo quod prophetiae non possit subesse falsum. Objection 3: Further, in a conditional proposition, whenever the antecedent is absolutely necessary, the consequent is absolutely necessary, because the consequent of a conditional proposition stands in the same relation to the antecedent, as the conclusion to the premises in a syllogism, and a syllogism whose premises are necessary always leads to a necessary conclusion, as we find proved in I Poster. 6. But if the matter of a prophecy cannot be false, the following conditional proposition must needs be true: "If a thing has been prophesied, it will be." Now the antecedent of this conditional proposition is absolutely necessary, since it is about the past. Therefore the consequent is also necessary absolutely; yet this is unfitting, for then prophecy would not be about contingencies. Therefore it is untrue that the matter of prophecy cannot be false.
Sed contra est quod Cassiodorus dicit, quod prophetia est inspiratio vel revelatio divina, rerum eventus immobili veritate denuntians. Non autem esset immobilis veritas prophetiae si posset ei falsum subesse. Ergo non potest ei subesse falsum. On the contrary, Cassiodorus says [*Prol. in Psalt. i] that "prophecy is a Divine inspiration or revelation, announcing the issue of things with invariable truth." Now the truth of prophecy would not be invariable, if its matter could be false. Therefore nothing false can come under prophecy.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut ex dictis patet, prophetia est quaedam cognitio intellectui prophetae impressa ex revelatione divina per modum cuiusdam doctrinae. Veritas autem eadem est cognitionis in discipulo et in docente, quia cognitio addiscentis est similitudo cognitionis docentis; sicut et in rebus naturalibus forma generati est similitudo quaedam formae generantis. Et per hunc etiam modum Hieronymus dicit quod prophetia est quoddam signum divinae praescientiae. Oportet igitur eandem esse veritatem propheticae cognitionis et enuntiationis quae est cognitionis divinae, cui impossibile est subesse falsum, ut in primo habitum est. Unde prophetiae non potest subesse falsum. I answer that, As may be gathered from what has been said (Articles [1],3,5), prophecy is a kind of knowledge impressed under the form of teaching on the prophet's intellect, by Divine revelation. Now the truth of knowledge is the same in disciple and teacher since the knowledge of the disciple is a likeness of the knowledge of the teacher, even as in natural things the form of the thing generated is a likeness of the form of the generator. Jerome speaks in this sense when he says [*Comment. in Daniel ii, 10] that "prophecy is the seal of the Divine foreknowledge." Consequently the same truth must needs be in prophetic knowledge and utterances, as in the Divine knowledge, under which nothing false can possibly come, as stated in the FP, Question [16], Article [8]. Therefore nothing false can come under prophecy.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut in primo dictum est, certitudo divinae praescientiae non excludit contingentiam singularium futurorum, quia fertur in ea secundum quod sunt praesentia et iam determinata ad unum. Et ideo etiam prophetia, quae est divinae praescientiae similitudo impressa vel signum, sua immobili veritate futurorum contingentiam non excludit. Reply to Objection 1: As stated in the FP, Question [14], Article [13] the certitude of the Divine foreknowledge does not exclude the contingency of future singular events, because that knowledge regards the future as present and already determinate to one thing. Wherefore prophecy also, which is an "impressed likeness" or "seal of the Divine foreknowledge," does not by its unchangeable truth exclude the contingency of future things.
Ad secundum dicendum quod divina praescientia respicit futura secundum duo, scilicet secundum quod sunt in seipsis, inquantum scilicet ipsa praesentialiter intuetur; et secundum quod sunt in suis causis, inquantum scilicet videt ordinem causarum ad effectus. Et quamvis contingentia futura, prout sunt in seipsis, sint determinata ad unum; tamen prout sunt in suis causis, non sunt determinata, quin possint aliter evenire. Et quamvis ista duplex cognitio semper in intellectu divino coniungatur, non tamen semper coniungitur in revelatione prophetica, quia impressio agentis non semper adaequat eius virtutem. Unde quandoque revelatio prophetica est impressa quaedam similitudo divinae praescientiae prout inspicit ipsa futura contingentia in seipsis. Et talia sic eveniunt sicut prophetantur, sicut illud Isaiae VII, ecce, virgo concipiet. Quandoque vero prophetica revelatio est impressa similitudo divinae praescientiae prout cognoscit ordinem causarum ad effectus. Et tunc quandoque aliter evenit quam prophetetur. Nec tamen prophetiae subest falsum, nam sensus prophetiae est quod inferiorum causarum dispositio, sive naturalium sive humanorum actuum, hoc habet ut talis effectus eveniat. Et secundum hoc intelligitur verbum Isaiae dicentis, morieris, et non vives, idest, dispositio corporis tui ad mortem ordinatur; et quod dicitur Ionae III, adhuc quadraginta dies, et Ninive subvertetur, idest, hoc merita eius exigunt, ut subvertatur. Dicitur autem Deus poenitere metaphorice, inquantum ad modum poenitentis se habet, prout scilicet mutat sententiam, etsi non mutet consilium. Reply to Objection 2: The Divine foreknowledge regards future things in two ways. First, as they are in themselves, in so far, to wit, as it sees them in their presentiality: secondly, as in their causes, inasmuch as it sees the order of causes in relation to their effects. And though future contingencies, considered as in themselves, are determinate to one thing, yet, considered as in their causes, they are not so determined but that they can happen otherwise. Again, though this twofold knowledge is always united in the Divine intellect, it is not always united in the prophetic revelation, because an imprint made by an active cause is not always on a par with the virtue of that cause. Hence sometimes the prophetic revelation is an imprinted likeness of the Divine foreknowledge, in so far as the latter regards future contingencies in themselves: and such things happen in the same way as foretold, for example this saying of Is. 7:14: "Behold a virgin shall conceive." Sometimes, however, the prophetic revelation is an imprinted likeness of the Divine foreknowledge as knowing the order of causes to effects; and then at times the event is otherwise than foretold. Yet the prophecy does not cover a falsehood, for the meaning of the prophecy is that inferior causes, whether they be natural causes or human acts, are so disposed as to lead to such a result. In this way we are to understand the saying of Is. 38:1: "Thou shalt die, and not live"; in other words, "The disposition of thy body has a tendency to death": and the saying of Jonas 3:4, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be destroyed," that is to say, "Its merits demand that it should be destroyed." God is said "to repent," metaphorically, inasmuch as He bears Himself after the manner of one who repents, by "changing His sentence, although He changes not His counsel" [*Cf. FP, Question [19], Article [7], ad 2].
Ad tertium dicendum quod, quia eadem est veritas prophetiae et divinae praescientiae, ut dictum est, hoc modo ista conditionalis est vera, si aliquid est prophetatum, erit, sicut ista, si aliquid est praescitum, erit. In utraque enim antecedens est impossibile non esse. Unde et consequens est necessarium, non secundum quod est futurum respectu nostri, sed ut consideratur in suo praesenti, prout subiicitur praescientiae divinae, ut in primo dictum est. Reply to Objection 3: Since the same truth of prophecy is the same as the truth of Divine foreknowledge, as stated above, the conditional proposition: "If this was prophesied, it will be," is true in the same way as the proposition: "If this was foreknown, it will be": for in both cases it is impossible for the antecedent not to be. Hence the consequent is necessary, considered, not as something future in our regard, but as being present to the Divine foreknowledge, as stated in the FP, Question [14], Article [13], ad 2.

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