Quotes by "Thomas Aquinas"
The objection we are dealing with argues from the standpoint of an agent that presupposes time and acts in time, but did not institute time. Hence the question about 'why God's eternal will produces an effect now and and not earlier' presupposes that time exists; for 'now' and 'earlier' are segments of time. With regard to the universal production of things, among which time is also to be counted, we should not ask, 'Why now and not earlier?' Rather we should ask: 'Why did God wish this much time to intervene?' And this depends on the divine will, which is perfectly free to assign this or any other quantity to time. The same may be noted with respect to the dimensional quantity of the world. No one asks why God located the material world in such and such a place rather than higher up or lower down or in some other position; for there is no place outside the world. The fact that God portioned out so much quantity to the world that no part of it would be beyond the place occupied in some other locality, depends on the divine will. However, although there was no time prior to the world and no place outside the world, we speak as if there were. Thus we say that before the world existed there was nothing except God, and that there is no body lying outside the world. But in thus speaking of 'before' and 'outside,' we have in mind nothing but time and place as they exist in our imagination.