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CHAPTER LXXIX: THAT GOD WILLS EVEN THE THINGS THAT ARE NOT YET
Now if the act of willing is by comparison of the willer to the thing willed, someone might think that God wills only the things that are: since relatives must needs be simultaneous, and if one cease the other ceases, as the Philosopher teaches. Wherefore if the act of willing is by comparison of the willer to the thing willed, no one can will other things than those which are.
Moreover. Will relates to things willed, even as cause and creator. Now not even God can be called Creator, or Lord, or Father, except of the things that are. Neither therefore can He be said to will other things than those which are.
One might conclude further, if God’s willing is unchangeable, just as the divine being, and if He wills nothing but what actually is, that He wills nothing but what always is.
To these arguments some answer that things which are not in themselves are in God and in His intellect. Wherefore nothing prevents God willing things even which are not in themselves, in so far as they are in Him.
This reply, however, is seemingly insufficient. For every willer is said to will a thing in so far as his will is referred to the thing willed. Wherefore, if the divine will is not referred to a thing willed that is not except in so far as it is in God or in His intellect, it would follow that God wills it merely because He wills it to be in Himself or in His intellect. Yet those who make the above statements do not mean this, but that God wills things which as yet are not to be also in themselves.
Again, if the will be referred to the thing willed through its object which is a good understood; the intellect understands that the good is not only in (the intellect) itself, but also in its own nature: and the will must be referred to the thing willed not only as it is in the knower, but also as it is in itself.
Accordingly we must say that, since the apprehended good moves the will, the act of willing must needs follow the condition of the apprehender, even as the movements of other movables follow the condition of the mover which is the cause of the movement. Now the relation of the apprehender to the thing apprehended is consequent upon the apprehension, because the apprehender is referred to the thing apprehended through its apprehension thereof. Now the apprehender apprehends the thing not only as it is in the apprehender, but also as it is in its proper nature: for we not only know that a thing is understood by us, which is the same as the thing being in our intellect, but also that it is, or has been, or will be in its proper nature. Wherefore although the thing is then only in the knower, yet the relation consequent upon the apprehension is referred thereto not as it is in the knower, but as it is in its proper nature which the apprehender apprehends.
Accordingly the relation of the divine will is to a nonexistent thing, as it is in its proper nature in reference to a certain time, and not only as in God knowing it. Therefore God wills the thing that is not now to be in reference to a certain time, and He does not will merely to understand it. Nor does the comparison hold with the relation of willer to thing willed, nor of creator to creature, nor of maker to thing made, nor of Lord to the creature subject to Him. For to will is an act abiding in the willer, wherefore it does not necessarily imply anything existing outside. But to make, to create, and to govern denote an action terminating in an external effect, without the existence of which such an action is inconceivable.
- ↑ Categ. v. 16.
|Source: St. Thomas Aquinas, The Summa Contra Gentiles, trans. by The English Dominican Fathers from the latest Leonine Edition, Benzinger Brothers: New York, 1924.|