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CHAPTER XVII: THAT ALL THINGS ARE DIRECTED TO ONE END, WHICH IS GOD
FROM the foregoing it is clear that all things are directed to one good as their last end.
For if nothing tends to something as its end, except in so far as this is good, it follows that good, as such, is an end. Consequently that which is the supreme good is supremely the end of all. Now there is but one Supreme good, namely God, as we have shown in the First Book. Therefore all things are directed to the Supreme good, namely God, as their end.
Again. That which is supreme in any genus, is the cause of everything in that genus: thus fire which is supremely hot is the cause of heat in other bodies. Therefore the supreme good, namely God, is the cause of goodness in all things good. Therefore He is the cause of every end being an end: since whatever is an end, is such, in so far as it is good. Now the cause of a thing being such, is yet more so. Therefore God is supremely the end of all things.
Further. In every series of causes, the first cause is more a cause than the second causes: since the second cause is not a cause save through the first. Therefore that which is the first cause in the series of final causes, must needs be more the final cause of each thing, than the proximate final cause. Now God is the first cause in the series of final causes: for He is supreme in the order of good things. Therefore He is the end of each thing more even than any proximate end.
Moreover. In all mutually subordinate ends the last must needs be the end of each preceding end: thus if a potion be mixed to be given to a sick man; and is given to him that he may be purged; and he be purged that he may be lowered, and lowered that he may be healed, it follows that health is the end of the lowering, and of the purging, and of those that precede. Now all things are subordinate in various degrees of goodness to the one supreme good, that is the cause of all goodness: and so, since good has the aspect of an end, all things are subordinate to God as preceding ends under the last end. Therefore God must be the end of all.
Furthermore. The particular good is directed to the common good as its end: for the being of the part is on account of the whole: wherefore the good of the nation is more godlike than the good of one man. Now the supreme good, namely God, is the common good, since the good of all things depends on him: and the good whereby each thing is good, is the particular good of that thing, and of those that depend thereon. Therefore all things are directed to one good, God to wit, as their end.
Again. Order among ends is consequent to the order among agents: for just as the supreme agent moves all second agents, so must all the ends of second agents be directed to the end of the supreme agent: since whatever the supreme agent does, it does for its own end. Now the supreme agent is the active principle of the actions of all inferior agents, by moving all to their actions, and consequently to their ends. Hence it follows that all the ends of second agents are directed by the first agent to its proper end. Now the first agent in all things is God, as we proved in the Second Book. And His will has no other end but His own goodness, which is Himself, as we showed in the First Book. Therefore all things whether they were made by Him immediately, or by means of secondary causes, are directed to God as their end. But this applies to all things: for as we proved in the Second Book, there can be nothing that has not its being from Him. Therefore all things are directed to God as their end.
Moreover. The last end of every maker, as such, is himself: for what we make we use for our own sake: and if at any time a man make a thing for the sake of something else, it is referred to his own good, whether his use, his pleasure, or his virtue. Now God is the cause of all things being made; of some immediately, of others by means of other causes, as we have explained above. Therefore He is the end of all things.
And again. The end holds the highest place among causes, and it is from it that all other causes derive their actual causality: since the agent acts not except for the end, as was proved. And it is due to the agent that the matter is brought to the actuality of the form: wherefore the matter is made actually the matter, and the form is made the form, of this particular thing, through the agent's action, and consequently through the end. The later end also, is the cause of the preceding end being intended as an end: for a thing is not moved towards a proximate end, except for the sake of the last end. Therefore the last end is the first cause of all. Now it must needs befit the First Being, namely God, to be the first cause of all, as we proved above. Therefore God is the last end of all.
Hence it is written (Prov. xvi. 13): The Lord hath made all things for himself: and (Apoc. xxii. 13), I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.
- ↑ Ch. xvi.
- ↑ Ch. xlii.
- ↑ 1 Metaph. i. 5.
- ↑ 1 Poster.
- ↑ 1 Polit. ii.
- ↑ 1 Ethic. ii.
- ↑ Ch. xv.
- ↑ Ch. lxxiv.
- ↑ Loc. cit.
- ↑ Bk. II., ch. xv.
- ↑ Ch. ii.
- ↑ Bk. II., ch. xv.
|Source: St. Thomas Aquinas, The Summa Contra Gentiles, trans. by The English Dominican Fathers from the latest Leonine Edition, Benzinger Brothers: New York, 1924.|