Friday, March 31, 2006

Q12 A8: Whether those who see the essence of God see all in God?

No. Whosoever sees the essence of God does not know all things because all things are seen in God as an effect is seen in its cause.

An intellect can know all the effects of a cause and the reasons for those effects in the cause itself, if it comprehends the cause wholly. But no created intellect can comprehend God wholly.

Therefore no created intellect in seeing God can know all that God does or can do, for this would be to comprehend His power wholly. Yet any intellect can know more of what God does or can do if it sees God more perfectly.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Q12 A7: Whether those who see the essence of God comprehend Him?

No. It is impossible for any created intellect to fully comprehend God because everything is knowable according to its actuality.

God, whose being is infinite (Q7 A1), is infinitely knowable. And no created intellect can know God infinitely.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Q12 A6: Whether of those who see the essence of God, one sees more perfectly than another?

Yes. He who possesses the more charity, will see God the more perfectly, and will be the more beatified.

The faculty of seeing God does not belong to the created intellect naturally, but is given to it by the light of glory, which establishes the intellect in a kind of "deiformity" (quod intellectum in quadam deiformitate constituit).

Hence the intellect which has more of the light of glory will see God the more perfectly; and he will have a fuller participation of the light of glory who has more charity; because where there is the greater charity, there is the more desire; and desire in a certain degree makes the one desiring apt and prepared to receive the object desired.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Q12 A5: Whether the created intellect needs any created light in order to see the essence of God?

Yes. The created intellect needs the grace of supernatural illumination of the intellect in order to see the essence of God because when any created intellect sees the essence of God, the essence of God itself becomes the intelligible form of the intellect.

This supernaturally created light is necessary to see the essence of God, not in order to make the essence of God intelligible, which is of itself intelligible, but in order to enable the intellect to understand in the same way as a habit makes a power abler to act.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Q12 A4: Whether any created intellect by its natural powers can see the Divine essence?

No. To see the essence of God is possible to the created intellect by grace, and not by nature, because the knowledge of every knower is ruled according to its own nature.

To know self-subsistent being is natural to the divine intellect alone; and this is beyond the natural power of any created intellect (for no creature is its own existence, since its existence is participated).

Therefore the created intellect cannot see the essence of God, unless God by His grace unites Himself to the created intellect, as an object made intelligible to it.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Q12 A3: Whether the essence of God can be seen with the bodily eye?

No. God cannot be seen by any sensitive power because such power is the act of a corporeal organ and God is incorporeal (Q3 A1).

God cannot be seen by the sense or the imagination, but only by the intellect.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Q12 A2: Whether the essence of God is seen by the created intellect through an image?

No. The essence of God cannot be seen by any created similitude because by the likeness of a body the essence of an incorporeal thing cannot be known.

The divine essence is uncircumscribed, and contains in itself super-eminently whatever can be signified or understood by the created intellect. Now this cannot in any way be represented by any created likeness. Hence to say that God is seen by some similitude, is to say that the divine essence is not seen at all; which is false.

Therefore it must be said that to see the essence of God, there is required some similitude in the visual faculty, namely, the light of glory strengthening the intellect to see God, which is spoken of in the Ps. 35:10, "In Thy light we shall see light." The essence of God, however, cannot be seen by any created similitude representing the divine essence itself as it really is.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Q11 A4: Whether God is supremely one?

Yes. God is supremely one because He is supremely being (i.e., He is being itself, subsistent, absolutely undetermined) and supremely undivided (i.e., He is divided neither actually nor potentially, by any mode of division; He is altogether simple).

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Q11 A3: Whether God is one?

Yes. God is one because of His simplicity (Q3 A3), infinite perfection (Q4 A2), and the ordered unity of the universe, of which universal order He is the first and sustaining cause.

Although in God there is no privation, He is known to us by way only of privation. Thus there is no reason why a certain kind of privation should not be predicated of God; for instance, that He is incorporeal and infinite; and in the same way it is said of God that He is one (i.e., undivided).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Q11 A2: Whether "one" and "many" are opposed to each other?

Yes. The transcendental "one" (which is convertible with "being") is opposed to "multitude" by way of privation, as the undivided is to the thing divided.

The mathematical "one", however, (which is the principle of number) is opposed to "multitude" (which is number) as the measure is to the thing measured.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Q11 A1: Whether "one" adds anything to "being"?

No. "One" does not express any reality added to "being" because it is manifest that the being of anything consists in undivision. For everything guards its unity as it guards its being.

To call a being "one" is not to express any extra reality about it. "One" is only a negation of division; for "one" means undivided "being".

By the way, Plato's mistake was to confuse the unity of being with the one of mathematics.

The unity of God

We continue with our study of what we can know of the essence of God.

Q11 has four articles on the unity of God:
  1. Does "one" add anything to "being"?
  2. Are "one" and "many" opposed to each other?
  3. Is God one?
  4. Is He in the highest degree one?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Q10 A5: The difference of aeviternity and time

Aeviternity differs from time, and from eternity, as the mean between them both, because time has "before" and "after"; aeviternity in itself has no "before" and "after" (which can, however, be annexed to it); while eternity has neither "before" nor "after," nor is it compatible with such at all.

Eternity is the measure of a permanent being, God. In so far as anything recedes from permanence of being, it recedes from eternity.

But the being that is measured by eternity (i.e., God) is not changeable, nor is it annexed to change.

Now some things (like us) recede from permanence of being, so that their being is subject to change, or consists in change; and these things are measured by time, as are all movements, and also the being of all things corruptible.

Angels recede less from permanence of being, inasmuch as their being neither consists in change, nor is the subject of change; nevertheless they have change annexed to them either actually or potentially.

That is, angels have an unchangeable being as regards their nature with changeableness as regards choice; moreover they have changeableness of intelligence, of affections and of places in their own degree.

Therefore angels are measured by aeviternity which is a mean between eternity and time.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Q10 A4: Whether eternity differs from time?

Yes. Time and eternity are not the same thing because eternity is simultaneously whole, whereas time (whether it goes on forever or not) has a "before" and an "after".

Eternity is the measure of a permanent being, while time is a measure of movement.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Q10 A3: Whether to be eternal belongs to God alone?

Yes. Eternity (in its proper meaning) is in God alone, because eternity follows on immutability and, properly speaking, God alone is altogether immutable.

Nevertheless, some receive immutability from Him, and they share in His eternity. Some receive immutability from God in the way of never ceasing to exist.

Moreover, the angels and saints are immutable in being and in operation: "no changing thoughts exist in the Saints" (Augustine, De Trin. xv).

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Q10 A2: Whether God is eternal?

Yes. God is eternal because He is supremely immutable (and time only follows on motion).

Moreover, God is His own eternity, because He is His own uniform being (i.e., He exists as His own essence).

No other being can be its own duration, because no other being is its own being (i.e., existence belongs to the essence of no other being).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Q10 A1: What is eternity?

"The simultaneously-whole and perfect possession of interminable life"

aeternitas est interminabilis vitae tota simul et perfecta possessio (Boethius, De Consol. V)

Yes, this is a good definition of eternity, because eternity is known from two sources: first, because what is eternal is interminable--that is, has no beginning nor end (that is, no terminus either way); secondly, because eternity has no succession, being simultaneously whole.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Q9 A2: Whether to be immutable belongs to God alone?

Yes. God alone is altogether immutable because all creatures generally are mutable by the power of the Creator, in Whose power is their existence and non-existence (since He alone is the Pure Act that can be creating and sustaining existence).

Monday, March 13, 2006

Q9 A1: Whether God is altogether immutable?

Yes. God is altogether immutable because He is Pure Act, whereas change presupposes potentiality in some way.

His immutability can also be seen as corollary to His simplicity (because there is no composition in Him) and to His infinity (because He lacks no perfection).

Only composite and imperfect beings can change, by actualization or de-actualization of potency.

The immutability and eternity of God

We continue with our study of what we can know of the essence of God.

Q9 has two articles on His immutability:
  1. Is God altogether immutable?
  2. Does it belong to God alone to be immutable?
Q10 has five articles on His eternity, which follows on His immutability:
  1. What is eternity?
  2. Is God eternal?
  3. Does it belong to God alone to be eternal?
  4. Does eternity differ from time?
  5. What is the difference of aeviternity, as there is one time, and one eternity?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Q8 A4: Whether to be everywhere belongs to God alone?

Yes. To be everywhere primarily and absolutely belongs to God alone (esse ubique primo et per se est proprium Dei).

Being primarily everywhere is proper to God since His whole self is everywhere (secundum se totum est ubique) because nothing can exist except by Him (nihil potest esse nisi per ipsum).

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Q8 A3: Whether God is everywhere by essence, presence and power?

Yes. God is everywhere by essence, presence and power because God is in all things by His power, inasmuch as all things are subject to His power; He is by His presence in all things, as all things are bare and open to His eyes; He is in all things by His essence, inasmuch as He is present to all as the cause of their being.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Q8 A2: Whether God is everywhere?

Yes. God is in every place because He gives it existence and locative power since He gives being, power and operation to the things that fill every place.

Place is only understandable by reference to actual beings; it has no existence on its own.

Note that "empty space" is a theoretical abstraction and does not describe reality. In reality, the actuality of beings is what determines the actual relations of place.

Actual being, not "empty space", must be our ultimate reference point for any model of what the universe in totality is.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Q8 A1: Whether God is in all things?

Yes. God is in all things innermostly (i.e., not as essence or accident, but as agent of present existence) because He has caused all things to be and sustains them in their being.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Q7 A4: Whether an infinite multitude can exist?

No. Neither an absolutely necessary infinite multitude nor an accidentally infinite multitude can exist actually because everything actualized in nature must be comprehended in a certain actual number.

So much for theories of infinite parallel universes! (i.e., those allegedly absolutely necessary infinite multitudes being actualized in parallel)

So much for theories of eternal randomness in this one universe! (i.e., allegedly an accidentally infinite multitude being serially actualized)

Such theorists need to remember the metaphysical principle (which uncovers the contradictions in their "scientific" theories): "multitude in nature is created; and everything created is comprehended under some clear intention of the Creator; for no agent acts aimlessly."

A favorite maxim of the Middle Ages, which summed up the confidence in order that gave birth to modern science, was: omnia mensura et numero et pondere disposuisti.

"Thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight" (Wisdom 11:21).

There is, of course, great utility in mathematical models of potentiality; but theorists, however, should not conflate their imagings of natural potency with the ordered actuality of the created universe.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Q7 A3: Whether an actually infinite magnitude can exist?

No. A natural body cannot be actually infinite because its determinate actuality of form correlatively limits the potentiality of matter.

Mathematical bodies, although abstracted from matter, are imagined under the determinate form of quantity.

A magnitude cannot be actually infinite; only considered as potentiality can it be infinite (e.g., further and further subdivision of a line).

Monday, March 06, 2006

Q7 A2: Whether anything but God can be essentially infinite?

No. God alone is absolutely infinite because, while things other than God can be relatively infinite (e.g., angels who are self-subsisting forms), only God is self-subsistent being.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Q7 A1: Whether God is infinite?

Yes. God is an immaterial infinity because He exists in the most perfect form of being pure actuality.

That is, He is not a material composite of a correlative finitude of matter and form, in which the potency of matter receives the actuality of form.

As pure actuality, He exists as His own subsistent being (ipse sit suum esse subsistens); the being of God is self-subsisting (esse Dei est per se subsistens) and is thus called infinite (prout dicitur infinitum).

The infinity and omnipresence of God

We continue with our study of what we can know of the essence of God.

Q7 has four articles on the infinity of God:
  1. Is God infinite?
  2. Is anything besides Him infinite in essence?
  3. Can anything be infinite in magnitude?
  4. Can an infinite multitude exist?
Q8 has four articles on His omnipresence:
  1. Is God in all things?
  2. Is God everywhere?
  3. Is God everywhere by essence, power, and presence?
  4. Does it belong to God alone to be everywhere?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Q6 A4: Whether all things are good by the divine goodness?

No. Every thing is called good because of its own formal goodness which it possesses inasmuch as it has its own being.

That is, things are not called beings on account of the divine being, but on account of their own being; therefore, they are called good on account of their own existing goodness.

Of course, everything is also called good by reason of the similitude of the divine goodness belonging to it.

That is, the divine goodness is the first exemplary effective and final principle of all goodness.

Note that Aquinas treats this difficult topic in greater detail in his Exposition of the "On the Hebdomads" of Boethius.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Q6 A3: Whether to be essentially good belongs to God alone?

Yes. God alone is good essentially because God alone (in Whom alone essence is existence) has every kind of perfection by His own essence.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Q6 A2: Whether God is the supreme good?

Yes. God is the supreme good simply because He is the first, but not the univocal, cause of all things.

Note RO1: The supreme good does not add to good any absolute thing, but only a relation. A relation of God to creatures is not a reality in God, but in the creature. Thus it is not necessary that there should be composition in the supreme good, but only that other things are deficient in comparison with that simply supreme good.