Thursday, July 2, 2009

Scotus on generation without matter

From the Reportatio

‘Insofor as it implies production, generation as such does not require matter or quasi-matter, and where it happens without matter, generation is said to be perfect and without any imperfection. Therefore, this is how it has to be ascribed to God, for in no way can generation be conceived without imperfection if it is understood to presuppose matter’.

[Scotus, Rep. 1.5.2.un., n. 74 (Wolter, 279): ‘generatio ut importat productionem, quae ut sic non requirit materiam nec quasi materiam et ut sic dicit perfectionem sine imperfectione; ergo ut sic habet attribui Deo. Sed nullo modo concipitur sine imperfectione ut intelligitur praesupponere materiam’.]

From the Ordinatio

‘The reason that a “generated creature” is not [produced] from nothing is that something in it (such as matter) pre-exists. Therefore, . . . if the form of something were to pre-exist and the matter were newly added to it so that it were informed by the pre-existent form, that very product would not be [produced] from nothing, for something in it pre-existed [the production] . . . . Therefore, if someone [like Henry] were to say that the Son is not [produced] from nothing “because his essence existed in the Father prior in the order of origin”, and if [they said that] the essence is the matter, so to speak, in the Son’s generation, then how much more would it be the case that the Son is not [produced] from nothing if the [divine] essence that “exists in the Father prior in origin” is a quasi-form shared with the Son?’

[Scotus, Ord. 1.5.2.un., n. 103 (Vat. 4: 64.3-13): ‘quia “creatura genita” non est de nihilo, quia aliquid eius praeexsistit, ut materia. Ergo . . . si forma alicuius praeexsisteret et materia de novo adveniret et informaretur illa forma iam praeexsistente, ipsum productum non esset de nihilo, quia aliquid eius praeexstitisset . . . . Ergo si Filius non diceretur esse de nihilo “quia essentia eius secundum ordinem originis praefuit in Patre”, et hoc si illa essentia esset quasi-materia generationis Fili, multo magis nec Filius erit de nihilo si illa essentia “prius origine exsistens in Patre” sit quasi-forma communicata Filio’.]

From the Reportatio

‘It is impossible for the numerically same [lump of] matter to remain under the form of the generator and the generated [at the same time], whatever sort of thing the generator or the generated is, for the same [lump of] matter cannot be simultaneously perfected by two ultimate forms which give complete being to the matter. Nevertheless, the same form can give being to many [lumps of] matter simultaneously, or to one [lump of] matter to which it did not give being before. This is clear in growth, for where the form of food has corrupted into flesh, the [already existing] form of the flesh newly perfects the matter of the food, because the [body’s] flesh converts the food into flesh and perfects the matter of the food insofar as it is flesh pre-existing in the food’.

[Scotus, Rep. 1.5.2.un., n. 80 (Wolter, 282): ‘impossibile est eandem materiam numero manere sub forma generantis et geniti, quodcumque sit generans vel genitum, quia non potest eadem materia simul perfici duabus formis ultimis quae dant esse completum materiae; potest tamen eadem forma dare esse pluribus materiis simul, sive uni materiae cui non dabat prius. Patet in augmentatione ubi, corrupta forma alimenti in carnem, forma carnis de novo perficit materiam alimenti, quia caro convertit alimentum in carnem et perficit materiam alimenti ut carnem praeexsistentem in alimento’.]

From the Lectura

‘This can also be shown with an example. If something were to grow in itself without anything being added to it (as it happens in rarefaction), here the form of the growable thing would be changed and it would receive some new perfection. But suppose that there is some growth that occurs by something more being added to it, and that the soul (which havs the capacity and power to perfect the whole organic body) only perfects one part (like the heart) [first], and afterwards when other parts of the body are added to it, the soul — without any change to itself — perfects those other organic parts without being perfected in some other way. Similarly, the divine essence is supremely perfect in the first instant of nature, and afterwards the relations spring forth and come onto it, as it were, and then the essence makes itself intimate to them, giving them every perfection that they have and making them God by deity. For this reason, in no way does the essence have a passive capacity to be perfected by them’.

[Scotus, Lect. 1.5.2.un., n. 105 (Vat. 16: 451.10-21): ‘Hoc etiam declaratur in exemplo: si alquid augmentetur in se sine alio adveniente, ut est in rarefactione, ibi forma rei augmentabilis mutatur et recipit novam perfectionem. Sed ponamus quod augmentatio fiat aliquo extra adveniente, isto modo, quod anima habens potentiam et virtutem perficiendi totum corpus organicum tantum perficiat unam partem, ut cor, et quod postea aliae partes corporis addantur, tunc anima — sine ulla mutatione sui — absque hoc quod aliunde perficitur perficit alias partes organicas. — Sic essentia divina, in primo signo naturae est perfectissima; postea, quasi superveniant relationes pullulantes, essentia intimat se eis, dans eis quidquid perfectionis habent et quod sint Deus deitate, — et ideo nullo modo habet potentiam passivam ut perficiatur eis’.]

From the Ordinatio

‘An example of this can be taken from creatures, by postulating a certain counterpossible situation. [We know that] growth happens when food [that’s been eaten] comes to be corrupted in the body, and its matter receives the form of flesh, and [thereby being new flesh added to the body], in this way it becomes informed by the soul. Here we are supposing that the same matter which remains throughout is apt to receive another part of the [soul’s] form (just as it is thought to happen in rarefaction), so the matter remains one, though it was first informed [by the form of food], but is now informed by a new form. This is formally a real change, because the matter goes from being deprived of to having a form. Now let’s look at this from the side of the soul. Suppose that the same soul perfects first one part of the body (such as the heart), and then later, when another part of the organic body which is perfectible by the soul is added to it [such as some food that is converted into flesh], the soul perfects that newly added part. In this case, the soul is not changed by this because it is not first deprived of and then comes to have a form. Deprivation is a lack in something that is naturally apt to receive, but [in our example here], the soul is first not-informing [the acquired part] and afterwards it is informing [it], and the soul is not apt to receive something, but rather to give’.

[Scotus, Ord. 1.5.2.un., n. 133 (Vat. 4: 76.1-15): ‘Exemplum istius potest accipi in creaturis, ponendo ibi quaedam “per impossibile”. Augmentatio modo fit per hoc quod alimentum adveniens corpori corrumpitur, et materia eius recipit formam carnis, et sic informatur ab anima. Ponatur quod eadem materia manens nata sit recipere aliam partem formae (sicut ponitur in rarefactione), materia manet una, quae prius fuit formata et nunc nova forma formatur, — ipsa tamen formaliter est vere mutata, quia de privatione transit ad formam. — Ponamus, ex alia parte, quod anima eadem perficeret primo unam partem corporis (ut cor), postea adveniret alia pars corporis organici, perfectibilis ab anima, anima perficeret illam partem advenientem de novo, — et ipsa tamen non mutaretur, quia non esset in ea primo privatio et postmodum forma. Privatio enim est carentia, in apto nato recipere; anima autem primo non-informans et postea informans non est nata aliquid recipere sed dare’.]

‘In each of these cases, there is a real production of some product, but in the first case, there is a change, and in the second case, there is not’.

[Scotus, Ord. 1.5.2.un., n. 134 (Vat. 4: 76.16-17): ‘In utroqe extremorum istorum vere esset productio alicuius producti, sed in primo mutatio, in secundo non’.]
‘A more apt example can be seen if we suppose that the matter of the animated heart could remain the same and be shared with diverse forms — say, that of a hand and a foot — so that by the [hypothetical] active power of the animated heart, it would produce those composites [namely, the hand and the foot] from its matter that it shares with them and their forms. Here there would be a true production of the composite wholes, and they would have the same matter, though this would happen through a change in the matter. Now let’s look at this from the side of the soul. Let’s suppose that the soul [which first exists in and so animates the heart] is unlimited with respect to its actuality as a form, such that it could be shared with many things, so that by the power of that soul in the heart, it could share itself with a hand and a foot which the animated heart produces. If that happened, there would here be a true production of many things that are consubstantial in their form, without any change in that form’.

[Scotus, Ord. 1.5.2.un., n. 135 (Vat. 4: 76.18-77.4): ‘Aptius videtur exemplum, si ponamus materiam cordis animati posse eandem communicari diversis formis — puta manus et pedis — et hoc virtute activa cordis animati, producentis composita ista ex materia sua communicata et ex formis istis, hic vere esset productio totorum habentium eandem materiam, et esset cum mutatione illius materiae; sed si, ex alia parte, ponamus animam — propter sui illimitationem in ratione actus et formae — posse communicari multis et virtute animae in corde ipsam communicari manui et pedi, productis a corde animato, hic vere esset productio multorum consbustantialium in forma, absque mutatione illius formae’.]

‘In each example, it is proposed that some being is produced which is subsistent by itself (rather than proposing that some parts are produced that belong to the same thing, because to be a part is an imperfection). These cases being posed, the second case in each example (which is about a form being shared with the product) perfectly represents production in God, while the first case in each example (which is about matter being shared) does not. Let’s modify this example even further, namely by supposing that although the soul is in the heart and the hand and the foot, it is not an informing form (for being a component of a composite is an imperfection), but is rather a whole form which is those subsistent things [viz., the heart, the hand, and the foot] and which animates them. Similarly, deity is understood to be shared with the relational subsistences (assuming that the persons are relative subsistences) not like quasi matter, but rather as a form, and not by informing them but rather as that by which each relation or the relative subsistent is God’.

[Scotus, Ord. 1.5.2.un., n. 136 (Vat. 4: 77.5-16): ‘In utroque exemplo ponantur producta esse per se subsistentia, non partes eisdem, quia esse partem est imperfectionis. Hoc posito, secundus modus in utroque exemplo, qui est de communicatione formae ipsi producto, perfecte repraesentat productionem in Deo, non primus, qui est de communicatione materiae, — et hoc, adhuc addendo in positione, quod anima in corde et manu et pede non sit forma informans, quia componibilitas includit imperfectionem, sed sit forma totalis qua illa subsistentia sint et animata sint: ita quod intelligitur deitas non communicari quasi-materia, sed relationibus subsistentibus — si personae ponantur relativae — communicatur deitas per modum formae, non informantis sed qua relatio vel relativum subsistens est Deus’.] [See also, Rep. 1.5.2.un., nn. 77-79 (Wolter, 280-281).]

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