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CHAPTER XIVThat Evil is an Accidental Cause

RUNNING through all the species of causes, we find that evil is a cause accidentally. In the species of efficient cause, since through the deficiency of power in the active cause there follows defect in the effect and action. In the species of material cause, since through the indisposition of the matter there follows a defect in the product. In the species of formal cause, since to one form there is always annexed the privation of another form. In the species of final cause, since the evil annexed to an undue end means the hindering of the end that is due.532532This reasoning evinces, not only that evil is an accidental cause, but also that it is caused accidentally, which is the argument of Chap. XIII. We have an illustration of this in ordinary language, where ‘accident,’ ‘mischance,’ ‘misfortune,’ ‘mistake,’ ‘miscarriage,’ etc., all stand for things evil.

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