De Moor VI: Divine Decrees as Internal Acts ad Extra

Johannes a Marck

We proceed with our AUTHOR to the contemplation of God’s Works, which here do not denote the Things produced by God, when the Work is anything really distinct from the God doing the work: and we observe that thus Creatures founded in time are more properly called the Work of God; while they rather call the Immanent Works of God Operations or Actions or Acts.

Now, these Operations of God are, either Transient, which posit an effect outside of God as Agent, whence the Acts are also called External, and only these are ad Extra productively. God is indeed intimately present to all His Works by Omnipresence: nevertheless, at the same time all creatures are outside of God; with respect to Essence and Perfections they are altogether diverse from God, and are thus infinitely distant from Him. Or Immanent, also called Internal, since they posit no Effect in Act outside of God. Which again are either ad Intra: as they are especially called Personal Acts, namely, the Generation of the Son and the Spiration of the Holy Spirit, which were treated in Chapter V, § 7-12. These Acts ad Intra are not to be confounded with those Immanent in General: for the Decree is an Immanent Act, Internal, since it posits nothing outside of God; yet it is not an Internal Act ad Intra, because it tends ad Extra objectively and terminatively, that is, things to be placed outside of God are its object: and hence it is called an Immanent Act ad Extra, which is Essential and common to the three divine Persons. Now, it is easily conceived that, although the Decree tends objectively ad Extra, it is an Act that is immanent in the divine Essence in such a way that it produces no Effect outside of God; since every Act of the Decreeing God is completed in the determination of possible things to the state of futurity or non-futurity: but futurity is applicable only to things not existing, a Non-Entity having no qualities; but the Decreeing Act of God only implies the determination of futurition founded in it. That is, the Decree of God concerns possible things, that is, concerns the divine Perfections themselves, in the divine mind conceptualized as expressible outside of God by His Power. The Decree brings it to pass that certain of these are thus to be expressed at some point, that is, that they are going to be future things.

Now, a consideration of the Internal Divine Acts is set down before the contemplation of the External Divine Acts: since the former are rather Essential to God, and precede on their part both in Nature and in Act.

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