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CHAPTER IXThat God’s Power is His Action

GOD’S power is His substance, as has been shown in the previous chapter: also His action is His substance, as has been shown of His intellectual activity (B. I, Chap. XLV), and the same argument holds of His other activities. Therefore in God power and action are not two different things.203203But hence a difficulty. God necessarily has the power of creating: if His power be His action, it appears that the action of creating in Him is also necessary, and He cannot but create, contrary to what has been already argued (B. I, Chap. LXXXI). This difficulty is met in Chapp. XXXII, XXXV, arg. 2.

2. The action of any being is a complement of its power; for it stands to power as the second actuality to the first.204204In Aristotelian philosophy, an agent, quite ready to act but not yet acting, is said to be in the ‘first actuality,’ e.g. a soldier with his rifle levelled and sighted; in acting, an agent is said to be in the ‘second actuality,’ e.g. the soldier firing. But the divine power, being God’s very essence, has no other complement than itself. And therefore in God action and power are not distinct.

4. Any action that is not the agent’s very substance is in the agent as an accident in its subject. But in God there can be nothing accidental. Therefore in God His action is none other than His substance and His power.


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