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Summa Theologica
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Whether the effect of government is one or many?

Objection 1: It would seem that there is but one effect of the government of the world and not many. For the effect of government is that which is caused in the things governed. This is one, namely, the good which consists in order; as may be seen in the example of an army. Therefore the government of the world has but one effect.

Objection 2: Further, from one there naturally proceeds but one. But the world is governed by one as we have proved (A[3]). Therefore also the effect of this government is but one.

Objection 3: Further, if the effect of government is not one by reason of the unity of the Governor, it must be many by reason of the many things governed. But these are too numerous to be counted. Therefore we cannot assign any definite number to the effects of government.

On the contrary, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. xii): "God contains all and fills all by His providence and perfect goodness." But government belongs to providence. Therefore there are certain definite effects of the Divine government.

I answer that, The effect of any action may be judged from its end; because it is by action that the attainment of the end is effected. Now the end of the government of the world is the essential good, to the participation and similarity of which all things tend. Consequently the effect of the government of the world may be taken in three ways. First, on the part of the end itself; and in this way there is but one effect, that is, assimilation to the supreme good. Secondly, the effect of the government of the world may be considered on the part of those things by means of which the creature is made like to God. Thus there are, in general, two effects of the government. For the creature is assimilated to God in two things; first, with regard to this, that God is good; and so the creature becomes like Him by being good; and secondly, with regard to this, that God is the cause of goodness in others; and so the creature becomes like God by moving others to be good. Wherefore there are two effects of government, the preservation of things in their goodness, and the moving of things to good. Thirdly, we may consider in the individual the effects of the government of the world; and in this way they are without number.

Reply to Objection 1: The order of the universe includes both the preservation of things created by God and their movement. As regards these two things we find order among them, inasmuch as one is better than another; and one is moved by another.

From what has been said above, we can gather the replies to the other two objections.

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