On the Last End

St Thomas Aquinas

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Of Manís Last End http://godsplan.org.uk/futurekingdom.htm

Edited by J E Bradburn


Man is said to be made in Godís image, in so far as the image implies an intelligent being endowed with free will and self-movement: now that we have treated of the exemplar, i.e. God, and of those things which come forth from the power of God in accordance with His will; it remains of us to treat of His image, i.e. man http://www.godsplan.org.uk/ethhaadham.htm, inasmuch as he too is the principle of his actions, as having free-will and control of his actions.


Of Manís Last End

In this matter we shall consider first the last end of human life; and secondly, those things by means of which man may advance towards this end, or stray from the path: for the end is the rule of whatever is ordained to the end. And since the last end of human life is stated to be happiness, we must consider:


1.      The last end in general.

2.      Happiness.

But not only mind but also nature acts for an end. Every agent, of necessity, acts for an end (that is to say, to death on this fallen earth) http://www.godsplan.org.uk/deathswallowedup.htm. For it is a number of causes ordained to one another, the first be removed, the others must, of necessity, be removed also. Now the first of all the causes is the final cause. The reason of which is that matter does not receive form, save in so far as it is moved by an agent; for nothing reduces itself from potentiality to act. But an agent does not move except out of intention for an end. For if the agent were not determinate to some particular effect, it would not do one thing rather than another: consequently in order that it produces a determinate effect, it must, of necessity, be determined to some certain one, which has the nature of an end http://www.godsplan.org.uk/earthlytabernacle.htm. And just as this determination is effected, in the rational nature, by the rational appetite, which is called the will; so, in other things, it is caused by their natural inclination http://www.godsplan.org.uk/ethicalimplications.htm, which is called the natural appetite.

Nevertheless it must be observed that a thing tends towards an end, by an action or movement, in two ways:


1.      As a thing moving itself towards an end, - as a man http://www.godsplan.org.uk/christianrace.htm.

2.      As a thing moved by another to the end, as an arrow tends to a determinate end through being moved by the archer, who directs his action to the end http://www.godsplan.org.uk/ethhaadham.htm.


Therefore those things that are possessed of reason move themselves to an end; because they have dominion over their actions through their free will to choose, http://www.godsplan.org.uk/isgodthetruth%20.htm which is the faculty of will and reason. But those things that lack reason tend to an end, by natural inclination (a feeling that pushes somebody to make a particular choice or take a particular decision), as being moved by another and not by themselves; since they do not know the nature of an end as such, and consequently cannot ordain anything to an end, but can be ordained to an end only by another. For the entire irrational nature is in comparison to God as an instrument to the principal agent, as already stated.

Consequently it is proper to the rational nature to tend to an end, as directing (agent) and leading itself to the end: whereas it is proper to the irrational nature to tend to an end, as directed or led by another, whether it apprehend the the end, as do irrational animals, or do not apprehend it, as is the case of those which are altogether void of knowledge http://godsplan.org.uk/education.htm.††††


Revelation 22 (KJV) http://www.godsplan.org.uk/revelation_%20revealed.htm

01 And He shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. http://godsplan.org.uk/futurekingdom.htm

02 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

03 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him:

04 And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.

05 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

06 And He said unto me, ĎThese sayings are faithful and true:í and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to shew unto His servants the things which must shortly be done.

07 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/Orion.htm

08 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.

09 Then saith he unto me, ĎSee thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.í

10 And he saith unto me, ĎSeal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.í

11 ĎHe that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.í

12 ĎAnd, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.í http://www.godsplan.org.uk/deathswallowedup.htm

13  ĎI am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.í http://www.godsplan.org.uk/firstandsecondadam.htm ††

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/christianrace.htm

15 ĎFor without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.í

16 ĎI Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.í http://www.godsplan.org.uk/charts&tables.htm

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

18 ĎFor I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:í

19 ĎAnd if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.í

20 He which testifieth these things saith, ĎSurely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.í

21 ĎThe grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amení


Whether there is One Last End of Human Life?


Each thing receives its species in respect of an act and not in respect of potentiality; wherefore things composed of matter and form are established in their respective species by their own forms (in this fallen world). And this is also to be observed in proper movements (Man and wife, Woman). For since movements are, in a way, divided into action and passion, each of these receives its species from an act; action indeed from the act which is the principle of acting, and passion from the act which is the terminus of the movement. Wherefore heating, as an action, is nothing more than a certain movement proceeding from heat, while heating as a passion is nothing more than a movement towards heat; and it is the definition that shows the specific nature. And either way, human acts, whether they be considered as actions, or as passions, receive their species from the end. For human acts can be considered in both ways, since man moves himself, and is moved by himself.

Now it has been stated that acts are called human, inasmuch as they proceed from a deliberate will. Now the object of the will is the good and the end. And hence it is clear that the principle of human acts, in so far as they are human, is the end.In like manner it is their terminus: for the human act terminates at that which the will intends as the end; thus in natural agents the form of the thing generated is conformed to the form of the generator. And since as Ambrose says: morality is said properly of man, moral acts properly speaking receive their species from the end, for moral acts are the same as human acts. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/perfection.htm


Whether there is One Last End of Human Life?

ĎThat to suppose a thing to be indefinite is to deny that it is good.í But the good is that which has the nature of an end. Therefore it is contrary to the nature of an end to proceed indefinitely. Therefore it is necessary to fix one last end.

Absolutely speaking, it is not possible to proceed indefinitely in the matter of ends, from any point of view. For in whatsoever things there is an essential order of one to another, if the first be removed, those that are ordained to the first must of necessity be removed also. Wherefore it is proven that we cannot proceed to infinitude in causes of movement, because then there would be no first mover, without which; neither can any of the others move, since they can only move by being moved by the first mover. Now there is to be observed a twofold order in ends,óthe order of intention, and the order of execution: and in either of these two orders there must be something first. For that which is first in the order of intention, is the principle, as it were, moving the appetite; consequently, if you remove this principle, there will be nothing to move the appetite. On the other hand, the principle in execution is that wherein operation has its beginning; and if this principle is taken away, no one would begin to work. Now the principle in the intention is the last end; while the principle in execution is the first of the things which are ordained (consecrated, set apart) to the end Consequently, on niether side is it possible to go on to infinity; since if there were no last end, nothing would be desired, nor would any action have its term, nor would the intention of the agent be at rest; while if there is no first thing among those that are ordained to the end, none would begin to work at anything, and counsel would have no term, but would continue indefinitely.

On the other hand, nothing hinders infinity from being in things that are ordained to one another not essentially but accidentally; for accidental causes are indeterminate. And in this way it happens that there is an accidental infinity of ends, and of things ordained to the end. http://godsplan.org.uk/messianicage.htm


Whether Man Wills All, Whatsoever He Wills, for the Last End?


Man must, of necessity, desire all, whatsoever he desires, for the last end. This is evident for two reasons:


1.      First, because whatever man desires, he desires it under the aspect of good. And if he desires it, not as his perfect good, which is the last end, he must, of necessity, desire it as tending to the perfect good, because the beginning of anything is always ordained to its completion; as is clearly the case in effects both of nature and of art. Wherefore every beginning of perfection is ordained to complete perfection which is achieved through the last end.

2.      Secondly, because the last end stands in the same relation in moving the appetite, as the first mover in other movements. Now it is clear that secondary moving causes do not move save inasmuch as they are moved by the first mover. Therefore secondary objects of the appetite do not move the appetite, except as ordained to the first object of the appetite, which is the last end. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/spiritualmaterial.htm


Whether All Men Have the Same Last End?

We can speak of the last end in two ways:


1.      First, considering only the aspect of last end.

2.      Secondly, considering the thing in which the aspect of last end is realised.


So then, as to the aspect of last end, all agree in desiring the last end: since all desire the fulfillment of their perfection and it is precisely this fulfillment in which the last end consists, as stated above. But as to the thing in which this aspect is realised, all men are not agreed as to their last end: since some desire riches, as their consummate good; some, pleasure; others, something else. Thus to every taste the sweet is pleasant; to others, the sweetness of honey, or of something similar. Yet that sweet is absolutely the best of all pleasant things, in which he who has the best taste takes most pleasure. In like manner that good is most complete which the man with well-disposed affections desires for his last end (One manís meatÖ). http://www.godsplan.org.uk/christianrace.htm



Of Those Things in Which Manís Happiness Consists


John 15:16 (KJV) Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.

(Be very careful indeed what you ask for; less it be granted unto you.)


Manís good consists in retaining happiness rather than in spreading it. As Boёthius says, ĎWealth shines in giving rather than hoarding: for the miser is hateful, whereas the generous man is applauded.í Therefore manís happiness does not consist in wealth. It is impossible for manís happiness to consist in wealth. For wealth is twofold, natural and artificial.


1.      Natural wealth is that which serves man as a remedy for his natural wants: such as food, drink, clothing, cars, dwellings, and such like. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/spiritualmaterial.htm

2.      While artificial wealth is that which is not which is not a direct help to nature, as money, but is invented by the art of man (e.g. Quantative easing), for the convenience of exchange, and as a measure of things salable (readily sold).



Now it is evident that manís happiness cannot consist in natural wealth. For wealth of this kind is sought for the sake of something else, viz, as a support of human nature: consequently it cannot be manís last end, rather it is ordained to man as to its end. Wherefore in the order of nature, all such things are below man, and made for him.


Psalm 8:4-8 (KJV)

4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

5 For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet:

7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;

8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.


And as to artificial wealth, it is not sought save for the sake of natural wealth; since man would not seek it except because, by its means, he procures for himself the necessities of life. Consequently much less can it be considered in the light of the last end. Therefore it is impossible for happiness, which is the last end of man, to consist in wealth.


Matthew 19:24 (KJV) And again I say unto you, ďIt is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.Ē http://www.godsplan.org.uk/parables.htm


Whether Manís Happiness Consists in Power?

Boёthius was a minister of the Ostrogoth King Theodoric. He was arrested on a charge of treason (it is thought, unjustly) and executed in 525 CE. Boёthius says: Ďthe power of man cannot relieve the gnawingís of care, nor can it avoid the thorny path of anxiety: and further on: Think you a man is powerful who is surrounded by attendants, whom he inspires with fear indeed, but whom he fears still more?í Therefore happiness does not consist in power.

It is impossible for happiness to consist in power; and this for four reasons.


1.      First, because, since happiness is manís supreme good, it is incompatible with any evil. Now all the foregoing can be found both in good and in evil men.

2.      Secondly, because, since it is the nature of happiness to satisfy of itself, having gained happiness, man cannot lack any needful good. But after acquiring any one of the foregoing, man may still lack many goods that are necessary to him; for instance wisdom, bodily health, and the like.

3.      Because since happiness is the perfect good, no evil can accrue to anyone therefrom. For it is written that riches are sometimes kept to the hurt of the owner; and the same may be said of the other three: Ecclesiastes 5:12 (KJV) The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

4.      Fourthly, because man is ordained to happiness through principles that are in him; since he is ordained thereto naturally.


Now the four goods mentioned above are due rather to external causes, and in most cases to fortune; for which reason they are called goods of fortune. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/lifeofjesus.htmhttp://www.godsplan.org.uk/secondadvent.htm


Whether Some Good of the Soul Constitutes Manís happiness?


The end is twofold: namely, the thing itself, which we desire to attain, and the use, namely, the attainment or possession of that thing http://www.godsplan.org.uk/christianrace.htm. If then, we speak of manís last end, as to the thing itself which we desire as last end, it is impossible for manís last end to be the soul itself or something belonging to it. Because the soul, considered in itself, is as something existing in potentiality: for it becomes knowing actually, from being potentially knowing; and actually virtuous, from being potentially virtuous. That is to say; all humans have a soul, but not all humans are actually virtuous, but a percentage of humans are potentially virtuous; hence:


Matthew 7:23 (KJV) And then will I profess unto them, ďI never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.Ē


Now since potentiality is for the sake of the act as for its fulfillment, that which in itself is in potentiality cannot be the last end. Therefore the soul itself cannot be its own last end.

In like manner neither can anything belonging to it, whether power, habit, or act. For that good which is the last end, is the perfect good fulfilling the desire http://www.godsplan.org.uk/internalspirit.htm. Now manís appetite, otherwise the will. is for the universal good, and any good inherent to the soul is a participated good, and consequently a portioned good. Therefore none of them can be manís last end.

But if we speak of manís last end, as to the attainment or possession thereof, or as to any use whatever of the thing itself desired as an end, thus does something of man, in respect of his soul, belong to his last end: since man attains happiness through his soul. Therefore the thing itself which is desired as end, is that which constitutes happiness, and makes man happy; but the attainment of this thing is called happiness. Consequently we must say that happiness is something belonging to the soul; but that which constitutes happiness is something outside the soul, like the ardent study of the Bible http://www.godsplan.org.uk/dispensationalplan.htm.


Whether Any Created Good Constitutes Manís Happiness?


It is not possible for any created (material) good to constitute manís happiness. For happiness is the perfect good, which lulls the appetite altogether; else it would not be the last end, if something yet remained to be desired.


Genesis 19:26(KJV) But his (Lotís) wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lot's_wife


Now the object of the will, i.e. of manís appetite, is the universal good; just as the object of the intellect is the universal true. Hence it is evident that naught can lull manís will, save the universal good. This is to be found, not in any creature, but in God alone; because every creature has goodness by participation. Wherefore God alone can satisfy the will of man, according to the words of the Psalm:


Psalm 102:5 (KJV) By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.


We have now to consider what happiness is, and what things are required for it.



What is Happiness?

Our end is twofold.


1.      First, there is the thing itself which we desire to attain http://www.godsplan.org.uk/christianrace.htm: however, for the miser, the end is money.

2.      Secondly there is the attainment or possession, the use or enjoyment of the thing desired; thus we may say that the end of the miser is the possession of money; and the end of the intemperate man is to enjoy something pleasurable.


In the first sense, then, manís last end is the uncreated good, namely, God, Who alone by His infinite goodness can perfectly satisfy manís will. But in the second way, manís last end is something created, existing in him, and this is nothing else than the attainment or enjoyment of the last end. Now the last end is called happiness. If, therefore, we consider manís happiness in its cause or object, then it is something uncreated; but if we consider it as to the very essence of happiness, then it is something created. Happiness is an operation according to perfect virtue.


Whether Manís Happiness Consists in the Vision of the Divine Essence (God) http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thetransfiguration.htm


1 John 3:2 (KJV) ĎBeloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.í http://www.godsplan.org.uk/earthlytabernacle.htmhttp://www.godsplan.org.uk/secondadvent.htm


Final and perfect happiness can consist in nothing else than the vision of the Divine Essence (God). To make this clear, two points must be observed.


1.      First, that man is not perfectly happy, so long as something remains for him to desire and to seek:

2.      Secondly, that the perfection of any power is determined by the nature of its object.


Now the object of the intellect is what a thing is, i.e., the essence of a thing, wherefore the intellect attains perfection, in so far as it knows the essence of a thing (the quality or qualities that make a thing what it is). If therefore an intellect knows the essence of some effect, whereby it is not possible to know the essence of the cause, i.e., to know of the cause what it is; that intellect cannot be said to reach that cause simply, although it may be able to gather from the effect the knowledge of what the cause is. Consequently, when man knows an effect, and knows that it has a cause, there naturally remains in man the desire to know about that cause, what it is. And this desire is one of wonder, and causes inquiry.

For instance, if a man, knowing the eclipse of the sun, or the precession of the sun, considers it must be due to some cause, and knows not what that cause is, he wonders about it, and from wondering proceeds to inquire. Nor does this inquiry cease until he arrives at knowledge of the essence of the cause: God.

If therefore the human intellect, knowing the essence created effect, knows no more of God than that He is; the perfection of that intellect does not yet reach simply the First Cause, but there remains in it the natural desire to seek the cause. Wherefore it is not yet perfectly happy. Consequently, for perfect happiness the intellect needs to reach the very Essence of the First Cause. And thus it will have its perfection through union with God as with that object, in which alone manís happiness consists, as stated above.http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thetruth.htm


When over a number of years of studying every day, the Holy Spirit leads one into all TRUTH, and the TRUTH will surely set you free, free from a multitude of problems and anxieties. So you, like me; have everything to gain, even if we lose out in the material world we are now on, we gain the elusive happiness that I know the majority of people seek while here on this fallen earth, and the riches there are enumerable. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/earthlytabernacle.htm