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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.

"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."
St Philip Neri

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"We must not be behind time in doing good; for death will not be behind his time. "
St Phillip Neri

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"Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise. "
Thomas á Kempis

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