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CHAPTER XXXIIThat nothing is predicated of God and other beings synonymously6767‘Synonymously,’ that is, in the same sense. This and the next three chapters suppose the doctrine of Aristotle about synonyma and homonyma to be found in the beginning of his Categories, and in the text-books. The conclusion of this chapter, if accepted, renders pantheism untenable.

AN effect that does not receive a form specifically like the form whereby the agent acts, is incapable of receiving in synonymous predication the name taken from that form.6868e.g., one who has no genius for painting, taking lessons in painting from a Murillo, is incapable of receiving a form, or quality, of painter like that which his master has. Murillo is a painter of another species than his pupil. If both are called painters, they do not bear the designation in the same sense. But, of the things whereof God is cause, the forms do not attain to the species of the divine efficacy, since they receive piecemeal and in particular what is found in God simply and universally.

3. Everything that is predicated of several things synonymously, is either 25genus species, differentia, accidens, or proprium. But nothing is predicated of God as genus, as has been shown (Chap. XXV); and in like manner neither as differentia; nor again as species, which is made up of genus and differentia; nor can any accident attach to Him, as has been shown (Chap. XXIII); and thus nothing is predicated of God either as accident or as proprium, for proprium is of the class of accidents. The result is that nothing is predicated synonymously of God and other beings.

6. Whatever is predicated of things so as to imply that one thing precedes and the other is consequent and dependent on the former, is certainly not predicated synonymously. Now nothing is predicated of God and of other beings as though they stood in the same rank, but it is implied that one precedes, and the other is consequent and dependent. Of God all predicates are predicated essentially. He is called ‘being’ to denote that He is essence itself; and ‘good,’ to denote that He is goodness itself. But of other beings predications are made to denote participation. Thus Socrates is called ‘a man,’ not that he is humanity itself, but one having humanity. It is impossible therefore for any predicate to be applied synonymously and in the same sense to God and other beings.


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