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Whether one angel knows another?

Objection 1: It would seem that one angel does not know another. For the Philosopher says (De Anima iii, text. 4), that if the human intellect were to have in itself any one of the sensible things, then such a nature existing within it would prevent it from apprehending external things; as likewise, if the pupil of the eye were colored with some particular color, it could not see every color. But as the human intellect is disposed for understanding corporeal things, so is the angelic mind for understanding immaterial things. Therefore, since the angelic intellect has within itself some one determinate nature from the number of such natures, it would seem that it cannot understand other natures.

Objection 2: Further, it is stated in De Causis that "every intelligence knows what is above it, in so far as it is caused by it; and what is beneath it, in so far as it is its cause." But one angel is not the cause of another. Therefore one angel does not know another.

Objection 3: Further, one angel cannot be known to another angel by the essence of the one knowing; because all knowledge is effected by way of a likeness. But the essence of the angel knowing is not like the essence of the angel known, except generically; as is clear from what has been said before (Q[50], A[4]; Q[55], A[1], ad 3). Hence, it follows that one angel would not have a particular knowledge of another, but only a general knowledge. In like manner it cannot be said that one angel knows another by the essence of the angel known; because that whereby the intellect understands is something within the intellect; whereas the Trinity alone can penetrate the mind. Again, it cannot be said that one angel knows the other by a species; because that species would not differ from the angel understood, since each is immaterial. Therefore in no way does it appear that one angel can understand another.

Objection 4: Further, if one angel did understand another, this would be either by an innate species; and so it would follow that, if God were now to create another angel, such an angel could not be known by the existing angels; or else he would have to be known by a species drawn from things; and so it would follow that the higher angels could not know the lower, from whom they receive nothing. Therefore in no way does it seem that one angel knows another.

On the contrary, We read in De Causis that "every intelligence knows the things which are not corrupted."

I answer that, As Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. lit. ii), such things as pre-existed from eternity in the Word of God, came forth from Him in two ways: first, into the angelic mind; and secondly, so as to subsist in their own natures. They proceeded into the angelic mind in such a way, that God impressed upon the angelic mind the images of the things which He produced in their own natural being. Now in the Word of God from eternity there existed not only the forms of corporeal things, but likewise the forms of all spiritual creatures. So in every one of these spiritual creatures, the forms of all things, both corporeal and spiritual, were impressed by the Word of God; yet so that in every angel there was impressed the form of his own species according to both its natural and its intelligible condition, so that he should subsist in the nature of his species, and understand himself by it; while the forms of other spiritual and corporeal natures were impressed in him only according to their intelligible natures, so that by such impressed species he might know corporeal and spiritual creatures.

Reply to Objection 1: The spiritual natures of the angels are distinguished from one another in a certain order, as was already observed (Q[50], A[4], ad 1,2). So the nature of an angel does not hinder him from knowing the other angelic natures, since both the higher and lower bear affinity to his nature, the only difference being according to their various degrees of perfection.

Reply to Objection 2: The nature of cause and effect does not lead one angel to know another, except on account of likeness, so far as cause and effect are alike. Therefore if likeness without causality be admitted in the angels, this will suffice for one to know another.

Reply to Objection 3: One angel knows another by the species of such angel existing in his intellect, which differs from the angel whose image it is, not according to material and immaterial nature, but according to natural and intentional existence. The angel is himself a subsisting form in his natural being; but his species in the intellect of another angel is not so, for there it possesses only an intelligible existence. As the form of color on the wall has a natural existence; but, in the deferent medium, it has only intentional existence.

Reply to Objection 4: God made every creature proportionate to the universe which He determined to make. Therefore had God resolved to make more angels or more natures of things, He would have impressed more intelligible species in the angelic minds; as a builder who, if he had intended to build a larger house, would have made larger foundations. Hence, for God to add a new creature to the universe, means that He would add a new intelligible species to an angel.

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