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Whether any Created Intellect by its Natural Powers Can See the Divine Essence?

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In this article, St. Thomas begins to reflect on the nature of our capacity to receive the vision he has been discoursing on for the last three articles. He asks whether the intellects of angels or men COULD have this vision without being elevated above their natures. St. Thomas not only answers yes, but, from what he lays out here, we can rightly conclude that the beatific vision is supernatural in such an absolute sense that God COULD NOT create a creature to which the beatific vision would be natural.


In order to understand the argument he lays forth, we must understand the principle he bases the entire discourse on. This principle is that *the known is in the knower after the mode of the knower,* which is taken from the work *De Causis* and forms a fundamental principle throughout St. Thomas' corpus.


Another example we have already seen of this principle in effect is in Q. 3 on issues surrounding Divine simplicity. Even while God is eminently simple, we know Him after a composite manner due to the weakness of our intellects, wherein we know perfections not under a single concept, but under multiple concepts.

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