Volume 93, Issue 1, Winter 2019
Julie Loveland Swanstrom
Creation as Efficient Causation in Aquinas
In this article, I explore Aquinas’s account of divine creative activities as a type of efficient causation. I propose that Aquinas’s works hold a framework for understanding God as an efficient cause and creating as an act of divine efficient causation that makes explicit what Aquinas views to be implicit in Aristotle’s account of efficient causation. I explore Aristotelian efficient causation in depth, offering a detailed analysis of the components of Aristotelian efficient causation. After this exploration, it is necessary to address what reasons Aquinas has for viewing creation as efficient causation. I explore Aquinas’s understanding of creation and relate it to Aristotle’s analysis of efficient causation, analyzing how, precisely, Aquinas’s conception of efficient causation—which includes change, creation, and conservation—aligns with Aristotle’s. Because Aquinas’s account is derivable directly from elements in Aristotle’s account, Aquinas’s account can be understood to be implied by Aristotle’s account.