Man cannot possibly be good unless he stands in the right relation to the common good,

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica

By , on September 8, 2011



[1] Created things are made like unto God by the fact that they attain to divine goodness. If then, all things tend toward God as an ultimate end, so that they may attain His goodness, it follows that the ultimate end of things is to become like God.

[2] Again, the agent is said to be the end of the effect because the effect tends to become like the agent; hence, “the form of the generator is the end of the generating action.” But God is the end of things in such a way that He is also their first agent. Therefore, all things tend to become like God as to their ultimate end.

[3] Besides, it is quite evident that things “naturally desire to be,” and if they can be corrupted by anything they naturally resist corrupting agents and tend toward a place where they may be preserved, as fire inclines upward and earth downward. Now, all things get their being from the fact that they are made like unto God, Who is subsisting being itself, for all things exist merely as participants in existing being. Therefore, all things desire as their ultimate end to be made like unto God.

[4] Moreover, all created things are, in a sense, images of the first agent, that is, of God, “for the agent makes a product to his own likeness”. Now, the function of a perfect image is to represent its prototype by likeness to it; this is why an image is made. Therefore, all things exist in order to attain to the divine likeness, as to their ultimate end.

[5] Furthermore, everything tends through its motion or action toward a good, as its end, which we showed above. Now, a thing participates in the good precisely to the same extent that it becomes like the first goodness, which is God. So, all things tend through their movements and actions toward the divine likeness, as toward their ultimate end. (Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Chapter 19)

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