Guthrie: Tractate 38,3 (VI, 7, 3) - INTELLIGENCE DID NOT DELIBERATE BEFORE MAKING SENSE-MAN

INTELLIGENCE DID NOT DELIBERATE BEFORE MAKING SENSE-MAN.

3. But why could Intelligence not have deliberated before producing the sense-man? The (man we know by our senses) was (created) by similitude to the (intelligible Man), nothing can be added to him, nothing subtracted. It is a mere supposition to say that Intelligence deliberates and reasons. The theory that things were created, implies preliminary deliberation and reasoning; but (the latter becomes impossible) in the case of eternal generation, for that which originates eternally, cannot be the object of a deliberation. Intelligence could not deliberate without having forgotten the course it had followed before; it cannot improve later on without implying that its beginnings were not perfectly beautiful; had they been this, they would have remained so. If things be beautiful, it is that they represent their cause well; for even here below an object is beautiful only if it possess all its legitimate possessions; that is, if it possess its proper form. It is the form that contains everything; the form contains the matter, in the sense that it fashions matter, and leaves nothing formless therein. But it would contain something formless if a man lacked some part, as, for instance, an organ such as the eye.

BEING CONTAINS ITS CAUSE.

Thus, a thing is fully explained by the clearing up of its cause. Why should there be eyebrows above the eye? That it may possess all that is implied in its being. Were these parts of the body given to man to protect him from dangers? That would be to establish within being a principle charged to watch over being. The things of which we speak are implied in the being that existed before them. Consequently, being contains within itself the cause which, if distinct from being, is nevertheless inseparable therefrom. All things are implied in each other; taken together, they form the total, perfect and universal Being; their perfection is bound up with, and is inherent in their cause; thus a (creature's) "being," its "characteristic" (to ti en einai), and its "cause" (why-ness) fall together. (Before asking an important question we must premiss that) in the intelligible world the cause that is complementary to a being is ultimately united to it. We must also premiss that, by virtue of its perfection, divine Intelligence contains the causes (as well as the beings), so that it is only "a posteriori" that we observe that things are well regulated. If then the possession of senses, and indeed of particular ones, be implied in the form of man by the eternal necessity and perfection of divine Intelligence, then the intelligible Man was by no means mere intelligence, receiving the senses when descending into generation. (If then having senses be implied in the form of man), does not Intelligence incline towards the things here below? In what do these senses (which are attributed to the intelligible Man) consist? Are these senses the potentiality of perceiving sense-objects? But it would be absurd that, on high, man should from all eternity possess the potentiality of feeling, yet feel only here below, and that this potentiality should pass to actualization only when the soul became less good (by its union to the body).