Friday, September 14, 2007

Scotus, Ord. 1.5.2.un. n. 129-138

Here's Scotus, Ordinatio, 1.5.2.un. n. 129-138 (the third of four difficulties he discusses. The first difficulty was translated here, the second difficulty was translated here, and Peter Tartaretus's commentary on the second difficulty was translated here).

[Third difficulty]

[n. 129] The third difficulty concerns how there could be a relation that does not require the proper basis of a foundation. A foundation seems to be prior to a relation, and quasi perfectible by it, not the converse, since a relation does not seem to be perfected by its foundation, because then it would presuppose its foundation. Therefore, since the divine essence is the foundation of these relations, it seems that it is quasi-matter.

[n. 130] I respond: in creatures, the order of generation and the order of perfection are contraries, as is clear from Metaphysics 9: 'those things which are prior in generation are posterior in perfection'. The reason is that creatures proceed from potency to act, and thus from imperfection to perfection. For this reason, the way of generation goes through the imperfect before the perfect. But by attending, simply speaking, to the first, it is necessary that the same thing be first, simply speaking, both in origin and in perfection (even according to the Philosopher, in the same place), since the whole order of generation is reduced to some first perfect thing [Vat. eds. note: first in the order of perfection], just as to the first of the whole [order of] origin.

[n. 131] Therefore, just as in creatures, if these two orders uniformly concur, we do not ask first about the matter which is the substrate of form. Rather, we ask first about the form which naturally gives actuality to matter, and secondly we ask about the matter which naturally receives being from form (or the suppositum which naturally subsists by that form). So also in the divinity. By beginning from the first instant of nature, the divine essence – as it exists per se and ex se – occurs entirely first. This does not pertain to any created nature, since no created nature has existence naturally prior to existence in a suppositum. But the divine essence, according to Augustine in De Trinitate book 7, is that by which the Father exists and that by which the Son exists, although it is not that by which the Father is the Father and that by which the Son is the Son. Therefore, per se existence pertains to the divine essence, considered most abstractly. In this first instant then, it occurs not as something receptive of some perfection, but rather as infinite perfection, able in the second instant of nature to be communicated to something, though not as a form enforming matter, but rather as a quiddity is communicated to a suppositum, as much as it [the suppositum] has existence by it [the quiddity]. And so the relations 'spring forth' – as a certain theologian [Henry] puts it – from it [the divine essence], and the persons 'spring forth' in it [the divine essence]. Not as certain quasi forms, giving existence to it, but as certain quasi supposita, in which it [the divine essence] receives the existence which is, simply speaking, its own, but in which supposita it gives 'existence' as that by which those supposita formally are, and that by which they are God. And so the relation which is springing forth, if it is a per se subsistent, springs forth not as the form of the essence but such that it is naturally God by that deity formally, although not such that it enforms it but such that it exists as the same thing as it by a most perfect identity. However, in no way, and the same is true of the converse, is the relation related to the essence as that by which the essence is formally determined or contracted, or in some actuated by it, because this is entirely repugnant to the infinity of the divine essence as it first occurs under the aspect of an infinite act.

[n. 132] I concede then that the essence is the foundation of those relations, but not a foundation quasi-potentially receiving them. Rather, as a foundation quasi in the manner of form, in which these forms naturally subsist – not, indeed, by enformation, as a similarity relation is in whiteness, but as subsistence is said to to be in a nature, just as Socrates is said to subsist in humanity because 'Socrates is a man by his humanity'. Therefore, you will not have the basis for potentiality or quasi potentiality in the divine essence from the nature of a foundation. Rather, you will have precisely the basis for form such that the relation which is founded in it [the divine essence] is, simply speaking, God.

[n. 133] An example of this can be taken from creatures by positing here a certain 'per impossibile'. Growth occurs because nourishment reaches a corrupted body, and its [the body's] matter receives the form of meat, and in this way it [the matter] is enformed by the soul. Now suppose that the same matter, remaining naturally [under the form of the body], receives another part of the form [of the same meat] (just as it is posited in rarefaction). Here the matter remains one, and it was enformed before but now is enformed by a new form. Nevertheless, this is formally a real change, because there is a change from privation to form. Suppose, as another example, that the same soul perfects first one part of the body (such as the heart), and afterwards it reaches another part of the organic body, a part which is perfectible by the soul. The soul then perfects that part newly reached, but nevertheless the soul itself is not changed, because there is no privation in it first and form afterwards. For privation is a lacking, and in this it is suitably meant to receive. But the soul, first un-enformed and afterwards enformed, is not meant to receive anything but rather to give [form to the parts of the body].

[n. 134] In both of these examples, there is a real production of some product, though in the first there is a change, and in the second there is not.

[n. 135] The [first] example would seem more apt if we suppose that the same matter of the animated heart could be communicated to different forms, such as the hand and the foot, and this in virtue of the activity of the animated heart so as to produce this composites [namely, the hand and foot composites] from its communicated matter and from these forms. Here there would be a real production of the whole, having the same matter, though this would occur with a change of the matter. But if, to take the other example, we suppose that the soul, on account of unlimited nature with respect to act and form, could be communicated to many parts, and so in virtue of the soul in the heart, it could be communicated to the hand and the foot, produced by the animated heart, then there would be here a real production of many things consubstantial in form, without any change in that form.

[n. 136] In both examples, it is supposed that the products are per se subsistences, not parts of the same thing, since to be a part is an imperfect. But by supposing this, the second example, in both of its versions, namely the example of communication the form to the product, perfectly represents production in God (the first example does not, since it is about the communication of matter). But still, by adding this to the position – namely that the soul in the heart and the hand and the foot is not an enforming form, since componibility includes imperfection, but rather is the whole form by which these subsistences are animated – then it is understood that deity is not communicated quasi-materially, but rather deity is communicated in the manner of form to the subsistent relations (if the persons are supposed to be relative), not as an enforming form but as that by which the relation or relative subsistent is God.

[n. 137] Therefore, the essence does not enform a relation, nor is it the converse. Rather, there is perfect identity here. But the essence possesses the manner of form with respect to relation, just as a nature does with respect to a suppositum, in as much as it is that by which the relation subsists and is God. Conversely, the relation is in no way the act of the essence, because just as (Damascus says) the relation 'determines the hypostasis, not the nature', so also is it the act of the hypostasis, not the nature. Similarly, when a relation enforms a foundation, the suppositum is said to be related in the second manner of per se predication according to that foundation, just as Socrates is similar according to [his] whiteness or by [his] whiteness [Vat. eds. note: cf. Henry, SQO 60.2 in corp. (Bad. 2: 162B)]. However, the Father is not the Father by deity, according to Augustine in De Trinitate book 7, chapter 4, so here there is no such manner of relation to the foundation of the sort that there is in other things, because here the foundation is not actuated by a relation. Rather, it is only the act of the suppositum or [it just is] the suppositum.

[n. 138] I say briefly then that relation and essence are both in a person but neither is a form enforming the other. Rather, they are perfectly the same, although not formally. Nevertheless, since they are not formally the same, a relation in no way perfects the essence, nor is it the formal term received in the essence. The essence is in this way the form of the relation, because it is that by which the relation exists and similarly is God. The essence is the formal term of generation, just as in creatures a nature is the formal term of generation, not an individual act [Vat. eds. note: cf. Henry, SQO 56.4 in corp. (Bad. 2: 116F-G)].

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