Entry 0197: Beauty and Being
(1)↑ David Bentley Hart, "The Mirror of the Infinite: Gregory of Nyssa on the Vestigia Trinitatis," in Re-Thinking Gregory of Nyssa, edited by Sarah Coakley, (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), p.118.
It is not at all clear that ‘existence’ can be regarded as a universal perfection in which things can be said to participate.
It is true that, for Thomas [Aquinas], esse is connected with actual existence. But this does not mean that the notion of actus essendi can be harmlessly rendered by ‘act of existence.’
‘Existence’ may be more familiar and better known than the abstract esse, but it is also more restricted in its use, it seems to me.
One can say that a particular man, for instance Socrates, exists, but does it make sense to say that existence is received in human nature, by which it is contracted?
Existence is not something in which a thing can participate. It presupposes the distinct nature or quiddity to which it belongs, in such a way that the nature itself is of a different order than its actual existence.