Thursday, June 7, 2007

On the distinction between processions

As mentioned before, Scotus holds that generation and spiration are distinct from each other insofar as each one is not the formal ratio of the other. Basically, they're formally distinct. However, he still has a problem as he had previously criticized some of his contemporaries who held that the divine attributes are only distinct by reason, or else that there is only one divine attribute, albeit an indisdinct one. According to Scotus, they are explaining a greater distinction by a lesser (indistinct divine attribute as foundation for generation and spiration, resulting in really distinct persons). But Scotus himself thinks that the persons are really distinct, and that the processions are formally distinct, seemingly falling prey to his own critique. The following text is his reply, though this summary is slightly oversimplified. He's not responding to this criticism directly (indeed it never comes up), but to a different one.

Ord. I d.13 q. unica (Vat. ed. 5 113-14):
Et si obicis, saltem primi termini, videlicet termini formales, erunt non univoci, ex quo productiones non sunt univocae, et ita personae-quae sunt primi termini- erunt non univocae inter se, et ita nec erunt univocae in tertio, - respondeo:

Productio non includit formaliter essentiam divinam, persona autem includit eam formaliter, quia persona non tantum est proprietas sive relatio, sed est hypostatis subsistens in natura divina, - sicut Socrates non tantum includit proprietatem individualem, sed etiam naturam humanam. Licet ergo primi termini sint eiusdem rationis cum productionibus quantum ad hoc quod primi termini includunt relationes (quia productiones sunt relationes), non tamen sunt eiusdem rationis quasi-adaequate, quia primi termini non tantum includunt relationes, sed etiam absolutum; et tunc non oportet eas tantum distingui sicut productiones distinguuntur, quia quae includunt aliqua distinctiva, non oportet tantum distingui sicut illa (sicut dictum est supra distinctione 8 quaestione illa 'Utrum Deus sit in genere'), quia differentiae sunt primo diversae, non tamen primo includentia eas sunt primo diversa.

Ad aliud, de potentiis, dico quod ut sunt potentiae operativae, non requirunt distinctum obiectum formale. Immo illud idem quod est primum obiectum intellectus divini, est etiam obiectum primum et formale voluntatis divinae, ita quod utraque potentia beatificatur in eodem obiecto primo, secundum eandem rationem formalem primi obiecti. Nulla enim perfectio quasi-radicata in ipsa essentia divina, est primo beatificativa intellectus vel voluntatis divinae, sed essentia, sub omnimoda prima ratione (ut scilicet est fundamentum omnis perfectionis in divinis), ita quod argumentum est ad oppositum, quia sicut non requiritur etiam distinctio formalis in oiectis ut sunt potentiae operativae, ita nec in productis ut sunt productivae.
At least I think it answers the objection.

1 comment:

Michael Sullivan said...

More excellent thinking. This is also a great passage for answering the Orthodox objection that we Catholics make persons "nothing but" relations, reducing our Trinitarianism to some sort of modal Sabellianism. No, the persons are not merely relations, but supposita!

The whole notion that Catholics have no traditional distinction between persons and natures is absurd in the face of passages like this, which abound everything in our theology.