In Duobus Modis: Is Exemplar Causality Instrumental According to Aquinas?



In speaking of the divine ideas or God's creative act in general, Aquinas's favorite analogy is that of the artist. Hence, understanding the finite artisan, especially in the way his idea functions as an exemplar, is key to understanding the mentem Thomae on a whole host of issues most especially exemplar causality. This paper asks a question seeking specificity on the causality of the artist's idea and thereby exemplar causality in general. Is an exemplar cause in its primary instance (the idea) an instrument? Does an exemplar idea always cause in an instrumental mode? This paper, after delineating exemplar and instrumental causality separately, argues the affirmative. All ideas which function as exemplars also necessarily function as instruments, the objections of mediation, temporality, the relation of intellect/will, and efficient causality notwithstanding. In concluding the paper identifies three possible implications for this finding including a slight qualification of Aquinas's mature rejection of instrumental creation.