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To: Salvation
In scholastic philosophy, nature, essence, and substance are closely related terms. Both essence and substance imply a static point of view and refer to constituents or mode of existence, while nature implies a dynamic point of view and refers to innate tendencies. Moreover, substance is opposed to accidents, whereas we may speak of the nature and essence not only of substances but also of accidents like colour, sound, intelligence, and of abstract ideals like virtue or duty. But when applied to the same substantial being, the terms substance, essence, and nature in reality stand only for different aspects of the same thing, and the distinction between them is a mental one. Substance connotes the thing as requiring no support, but as being itself the necessary support of accidents; essence properly denotes the intrinsic constitutive elements by which a thing is what it is and is distinguished from every other; nature denotes the substance or essence considered as the source of activities. "Nature properly speaking is the essence (or substance) of things which have in themselves as such a principle of activity (Aristotle, "Metaphysics", 1015a, 13). By a process of abstraction the mind arises from individual and concrete natures to those of species and genera.

[...]

From the theological point of view the distinctions between nature and person and between the natural and the supernatural orders are of primary importance. The former arose from the dogma of the Trinity, i.e., of one Divine Nature in three persons, and chiefly from that of the Incarnation, i.e., of the two Natures, Divine and human, in the one Divine Person in Christ. The Human Nature in Christ is complete and perfect as nature, yet it lacks that which would make it a person...

[...]

II. Nature is frequently taken for the totality of concrete natures and their laws. But here again a narrower and a broader meaning must be distinguished. Nature refers especially to the world of matter, in time and space, governed by blind and necessary laws and thus excludes the mental world. Works of nature, opposed to works of art, result from physical causes, not from the actual adaptation by human intelligence. This signification is found in such expressions as natural history, natural philosophy, and in general, natural science, which deal only with the constitution, production, properties, and laws of material substances. Sometimes also nature is all-inclusive, embracing mind as well as matter; it is our whole world of experience, internal as well as external. And frequently nature is looked upon as a personified abstraction, as the one cause of whatever takes place in the universe, endowed with qualities, tendencies, efforts, and will, and with aims and purposes which it strives to realize.

[...]

Finally, is nature as a whole self-sufficient, or does it require a transcendent ground as its cause and principle? Is the natura naturans one and the same with the natura naturata? By some these expressions are used in a pantheistic sense, the same substance underlies all phenomena; by others the natura naturans, as first cause, is held to be really distinct from the natura naturata, as effect. This is the question of the existence and nature of God and of his distinction from the world. Here the question of the possibility of miracles is suggested. If nature alone exists, and if all its changes are absolutely necessary, everything takes place according to a strict determinism. If, on the contrary, God exists as a transcendent, intelligent, and free cause of nature and its laws not only nature in all its details depends ultimately on God's will, but its ordinary course may be suspended by a miraculous intervention of the First Cause.

Nature


8 posted on 04/01/2009 10:30:03 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex


Allegory of Nature

Karel van Mander, the Elder

1600
Oil on copper, 44 x 79 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


The reverse side of the copper that Van Mander used as a support for The Continence of Scipio is also decorated. On it he painted an imitation of grey and red-veined marble to produce a marvellous trompe-l'oeil effect that is rarely encountered in the Netherlands at this time. In the centre is an allegorical scene in which Nature in the guise of Cybele with her many breasts is drawing the attention of a muscular, bearded man to a woman with rays around her head holding the two tablets of the law, who probably symbolizes Wisdom.

Source

9 posted on 04/01/2009 10:35:12 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

**Both essence and substance imply a static point of view and refer to constituents or mode of existence, while nature implies a dynamic point of view and refers to innate tendencies. Moreover, substance is opposed to accidents, whereas we may speak of the nature and essence not only of substances but also of accidents like colour, sound, intelligence, and of abstract ideals like virtue or duty. **

Wow, this explains my question, at least for simpleton me.


10 posted on 04/01/2009 10:35:48 AM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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