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CHAPTER LXIVThat God governs things by His Providence

THE foregoing conclusions sufficiently show that God is the end of all things. Hence it may be further gathered that by His providence He governs and rules all things. For whatever things are referred to an end, are all subject to His management to whom principally that end belongs, as appears in an army: for all the components of the army and all their works are referred to one last end, the good of the general, which is victory, and therefore it belongs to the general to govern the whole army. In like manner the art which is concerned with the end gives commands and laws to the art which is concerned with the means, as politics to the art of war, the art of war to the management of cavalry, navigation to shipbuilding. Since therefore all things are referred to an end, which is the divine goodness (Chapp. XVII, XVIII), God, to whom that goodness principally belongs, — as being His own substance, possessed, understood, and loved, — must have the chief control of all things.

5. Things that are distinct in their natures do not combine into one system, unless they be bound up in one by one directing control (ab uno ordinante). But in the universe there are things, having distinct and contrary natures, which nevertheless all combine in one system, some things taking up the activities of other things, some things being aided or even wrought by others. There must then be one ordainer and governor of the universe.

8. Every agent that intends an end cares more for that which is nearer to the last end. But the last end of the divine will is the divine goodness, and the nearest thing to that in creation is the goodness of the order of the entire universe, that being the end to which every particular good of this or that thing is referred, as the less perfect is referred to the more perfect, and every part is for its whole. What therefore God most cares for in creation is the order of the universe:630630This is St Thomas’s way of saying that God governs according to general laws of nature and thought. — The following argument may be added from Sum. Theol., 1a, q. 22, art. 2: “Since every agent acts for an end, the direction of effects to an end on the part of the prime agent extends wide as His causality extends. Whenever in the workings of an active cause anything occurs that is not directed to an end, it is because that effect ensues upon the working of some other cause beside the intention of the original agent. But the causality of God, the prime agent, extends to all beings: . . . hence all things, whatsoever in any way have being, are ordained by God to an end.” He is therefore its controller.

Hence Holy Scripture ascribes the course of events to the divine command: 236Who giveth command to the sun, and it riseth not, and encloseth the stars as under a seal (Job ix, 7): He hath given a command, and it shall not pass away (Ps. cxlviii, 6).


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