Sunday, April 23, 2006

Q14 A6: Whether God knows things other than Himself by proper knowledge?

Yes. God has proper knowledge of things (which is to know them not only in general, but as they are distinct from each other) because the essence of God contains in itself all the perfection contained in the essence of any other being (and far more).

The nature proper to each thing consists in some degree of participation in the divine perfection.

The created essence is compared to the essence of God as the imperfect to the perfect act. Therefore the created essence cannot sufficiently lead us to the knowledge of the divine essence, but rather the converse.

To know a thing in general (and not in particular) is to have an imperfect knowledge. Hence our intellect, when it is reduced from potentiality to act, acquires first a universal and confused knowledge of things, before it knows them in particular (as proceeding from the imperfect to the perfect). If therefore the knowledge of God regarding things other than Himself is only universal and not special, it would follow that His understanding would not be absolutely perfect; therefore neither would His being be perfect. We must say therefore that God not only knows that all things are in Himself; but by the fact that they are in Him, He knows them in their own nature.