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Whether God can move a body immediately?

Objection 1: It would seem that God cannot move a body immediately. For as the mover and the moved must exist simultaneously, as the Philosopher says (Phys. vii, 2), it follows that there must be some contact between the mover and moved. But there can be no contact between God and a body; for Dionysius says (Div. Nom. 1): "There is no contact with God." Therefore God cannot move a body immediately.

Objection 2: Further, God is the mover unmoved. But such also is the desirable object when apprehended. Therefore God moves as the object of desire and apprehension. But He cannot be apprehended except by the intellect, which is neither a body nor a corporeal power. Therefore God cannot move a body immediately.

Objection 3: Further, the Philosopher proves (Phys. viii, 10) that an infinite power moves instantaneously. But it is impossible for a body to be moved in one instant; for since every movement is between opposites, it follows that two opposites would exist at once in the same subject, which is impossible. Therefore a body cannot be moved immediately by an infinite power. But God's power is infinite, as we have explained (Q[25], A[2]). Therefore God cannot move a body immediately.

On the contrary, God produced the works of the six days immediately among which is included the movements of bodies, as is clear from Gn. 1:9 "Let the waters be gathered together into one place." Therefore God alone can move a body immediately.

I answer that, It is erroneous to say that God cannot Himself produce all the determinate effects which are produced by any created cause. Wherefore, since bodies are moved immediately by created causes, we cannot possibly doubt that God can move immediately any bodies whatever. This indeed follows from what is above stated (A[1]). For every movement of any body whatever, either results from a form, as the movements of things heavy and light result from the form which they have from their generating cause, for which reason the generator is called the mover; or else tends to a form, as heating tends to the form of heat. Now it belongs to the same cause, to imprint a form, to dispose to that form, and to give the movement which results from that form; for fire not only generates fire, but it also heats and moves things upwards. Therefore, as God can imprint form immediately in matter, it follows that He can move any body whatever in respect of any movement whatever.

Reply to Objection 1: There are two kinds of contact; corporeal contact, when two bodies touch each other; and virtual contact, as the cause of sadness is said to touch the one made sad. According to the first kind of contact, God, as being incorporeal, neither touches, nor is touched; but according to virtual contact He touches creatures by moving them; but He is not touched, because the natural power of no creature can reach up to Him. Thus did Dionysius understand the words, "There is no contact with God"; that is, so that God Himself be touched.

Reply to Objection 2: God moves as the object of desire and apprehension; but it does not follow that He always moves as being desired and apprehended by that which is moved; but as being desired and known by Himself; for He does all things for His own goodness.

Reply to Objection 3: The Philosopher (Phys. viii, 10) intends to prove that the power of the first mover is not a power of the first mover "of bulk," by the following argument. The power of the first mover is infinite (which he proves from the fact that the first mover can move in infinite time). Now an infinite power, if it were a power "of bulk," would move without time, which is impossible; therefore the infinite power of the first mover must be in something which is not measured by its bulk. Whence it is clear that for a body to be moved without time can only be the result of an infinite power. The reason is that every power of bulk moves in its entirety; since it moves by the necessity of its nature. But an infinite power surpasses out of all proportion any finite power. Now the greater the power of the mover, the greater is the velocity of the movement. Therefore, since a finite power moves in a determinate time, it follows that an infinite power does not move in any time; for between one time and any other time there is some proportion. On the other hand, a power which is not in bulk is the power of an intelligent being, which operates in its effects according to what is fitting to them; and therefore, since it cannot be fitting for a body to be moved without time, it does not follow that it moves without time.

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