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Whether What is Said of God and of Creatures is Univocally Predicated of Them?

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cf., Sent.I.Q1.A2.Rep2; Sent.I.D19.Q5.A2.Rep1; Sent.I.D35.Q1.A4; SCG1.C32-34; QDeVer.Q2.A11; QDePot.Q7.A7; CT.BookI.C27


Here, St. Thomas goes on to determine the relationship between the term which is predicated of creatures and that same term predicated of God.


Simply speaking, two terms may either, 1. Represent the same nature, or 2. Represent a different nature. In the first case they are univocal and the second they are equivocal.


As Aristotle states in Categories 1, "Things are said to be named 'equivocally' when, though they have a common name, the definition corresponding with the name differs for each. Thus, a real man and a figure in a picture can both lay claim to the name 'animal'; yet these are equivocally so named, for, though they have a common name, the definition corresponding with the name (i.e., ratio) differs for each. For should any one define in what sense each is an animal, his definition in the one case will be appropriate to that case only.

On the other hand, things are said to be named 'univocally' which have both the name and the definition answering to the name in common. A man and an ox are both 'animal', and these are univocally so named, inasmuch as not only the name, but also the definition, is the same in both cases: for if a man should state in what sense each is an animal, the statement in the one case would be identical with that in the other."

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