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Article One

Whether Angels and Man had Faith in their First State

We proceed to the first article thus:

1. It seems that neither angels nor man had faith in their first state. For Hugo St. Victor says (Sentent. 1; 10 De Sacrament. 2): “it is because the eye of contemplation is not open that man cannot see God, or what is in God.” But the eye of contemplation was open in angels in their first state, before their confirmation or their lapse. As Augustine says, they “saw the realities in the word” (2 Gen. ad Litt. 8). It seems, also, that the eye of contemplation was open in the first man during his state 279of innocence, since Hugo St. Victor says in the same work (6, cap. 14): “in his first state, man knew his Creator not with the knowledge wherein the gate is open to hearing only, but with the knowledge which is of inward inspiration; not with the knowledge of those who by faith seek God while he is absent, but with clear vision of God as present to their contemplation.” Hence neither men nor the angels had faith in their first state.

2. Again, the knowledge of faith is dark and dim, according to I Cor. 13:12: “now we see through a glass, darkly.” But in their first state there was dimness neither in man nor in the angels, since darkness was the penalty of sin. Hence neither man nor the angels can have had faith in their first state.

3. Again, the apostle says in Rom. 10:17: “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” But there was no place for this in the first state of man or the angels, since they did not hear anything from another. Neither then was there faith in this state, whether of man or of angels.

On the other hand: the apostle says (Heb. 11:6): “he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Now in their first state, angels and man were coming to God. It follows that they had need of faith.

I answer: some say that the angels did not have faith before their confirmation or lapse, nor man before his sin, on account of their clear contemplation of divine things. But the only manifestation which excludes the character of faith is that wherein the principal object of faith is made apparent, or seen. For as the apostle says: “faith is the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1), and as Augustine says in Tract. 40 in Joan., and in 2 Quaest. Evang., Q. 39, “by faith we believe what we do not see.” Now the principal object of faith is the first truth, the vision of which makes us blessed, and supersedes faith. But neither the angels before confirmation nor man before sin were in the state of blessedness wherein God is seen in his essence. It is obvious, therefore, that they did not have the clear knowledge which would exclude the character of faith. Hence if they did not have faith, this could only be because they were entirely ignorant of the object of faith. If man and the angels had been created in the purely natural state, as some say they were, one might have maintained that neither angels before confirmation nor man before sin had faith. For the knowledge of faith is beyond the natural knowledge of God, with angels no less than with men. But as we said in Pt. I, Q. 62, Art. 3, 280and Q.. 91, Art. i, the gift of grace was given to man and to angels at the time when they were created.

We must therefore say that the hope of blessedness began in man and in the angels in consequence of the grace which they received, before this grace was consummated. Now as we said in Q. 4, Art. 7, this hope is begun in the intellect through faith, while it is begun in the will through hope and charity. Hence we are bound to say that the angels had faith before they were confirmed, and that man had faith before he sinned. But we must bear in mind that the object of faith has a formal aspect, as the first truth which transcends the natural knowledge of any creature, and also a material aspect, as that to which we assent when we acknowledge the first truth. In its formal aspect, faith is the same for all who know God by way of acknowledging the first truth, while future blessedness is as yet unattained. Of the things which are materially proposed for belief, however, some are believed by one and clearly known by another, even in this present state, as we said in Q. i, Art. 5, and Ch 2, Art. 4, ad 2. We may accordingly say that angels before confirmation and man before sin had to some extent a clear knowledge of the divine mysteries, which we can know only by faith.

On the first point: although these words of Hugo St. Victor are the words of a master, and have the force of authority, it may be said that the contemplation which makes faith unnecessary is the contemplation of heaven, whereby supernatural truth is seen in its essence. Now the angels did not have contemplation of this kind before confirmation. Neither did man before he sinned. Their contemplation was nevertheless of a higher order than our own. For it brought them nearer to God, and thereby gave them a clear knowledge of more things concerning the divine effects and mysteries than is possible for ourselves. Hence they did not have faith such as ours, which seeks God while he is absent, since God was more present to them by the light of wisdom than he is to us. But he was not present to them as he is present to the blessed by the light of glory.

On the second point: in their first state, man and the angels were not affected by any darkness of guilt or punishment. There was nevertheless in them a certain natural dimness of the intellect, since every creature is dim compared with the immensity of the divine light. Such dimness was sufficient to make faith necessary.

On the third point: although man in his first state did not 281hear anything outwardly, God inspired him inwardly. The prophets also heard in this way, according to Ps. 85:8: “I will hear what God the Lord will speak.”

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