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94. The Intellect of the First Man

1. The first man in the state of innocence had a perfecthuman intellect. It was unclouded and unhampered by any disorder inthe lower faculties. Yet this perfect intellect did not enable thefirst man to see God in his essence. Had the first man seen God so,he would have instantly adhered changelessly to the divine will,and could never have sinned. The first man's knowledge of Godwas vastly superior to our own, both because of his unimpairednatural faculties, and because of God's gifts and graces. Yetthis splendid knowledge was not the knowledge of vision.

2. Nor could the first man directly and perfectlyunderstand the essence of angels. For man, even in the perfectionof his sinless nature, was still man; his intellect operated byturning to phantasms (sense-images in imagination). But angelscannot be perceived by means of sense-images. Angels cannot beperfectly known, as they are in themselves, by the human intellecteven in its state of pristine perfection.

3. Man was created in the state of natural perfection; hewas supplied with all knowledge necessary for the proper conduct ofhis life,for the instructing and ruling of offspring. Thefirst man was supplied divinely with knowledge of allthings that man has an aptitude to know. Further, since man is madefor a supernatural end, the first man was endowed with supernaturalfaith, and with knowledge of supernatural truths necessary for thesupernatural direction of his life and his efforts. But the firstman was not given knowledge of things needless to know, which hecould not know naturally, such as the secret thoughts of others, orknowledge of events to occur contingently in future time.

4. The good of the intellect is truth; its evil is falsity. Theperfect human intellect of the first man had no tendency whateverto admit its evil. Hence the first man, so long as he retained thestate of innocence, could not be deceived. He might lack knowledgeof particular truths that he had no need to know, but he could notpossibly accept a false statement as true. When Eve was deceived bythe serpent, she must have already sinned inwardly by pride, and solost the first innocence which is immune to deception.

"Men should often renew their good resolutions, and not lose heart because they are tempted against them."
St Philip Neri

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"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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