Do We Need Created Light To See God?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters as we continue our dive into the ocean of truth hoping to find some pearls of wisdom. We’ve been going through the doctrine of God and our guide has been Thomas Aquinas and his work, the Summa Theologica. Readers who do not own a copy of this great work are invited to go to newadvent.org and read along as we study the question of how God is known by man. Before we begin our question tonight, I wish to present my prayer requests. First off, I ask for your prayers for my Christlikeness as I learn to appreciate better the joys around me. Second, I ask for your prayers for my finances. Finally, I ask for prayers for a third related area in my life. For now, let’s get to the blog.

We’ve been discussing just how it is that man will behold God one day and we have determined that man will indeed see God and he will see him as he is. ¬†However, we have also determined that no man or even an angel for that point will be able to see God by his natural powers alone. ¬†Tonight, we’re going to ask if any created light is needed in order for man to see God.

Aquinas says however that our natures as they are are too weak in order to see God. We must be raised up in order to just be capable of this exalted experience. In order for this to take place, the power of understanding must be in some way illuminated by the grace of God so that man will behold God in his nature.

However, isn’t God understandable as he is? If that is the case, why do we need light to understand that which is understandable? In fact, if we’re using Aquinas’s thought, God is the one who we can know the most about as truth is his very nature and something is knowable insofar as it is actual. God is the most actual, therefore he is the most knowable.

The problem with this objection is that the error does not lie in the being of God but in the being of man. It does not matter how bright the room you are in is if you are blind. We approach God the same way as we are blinded, not by darkness but rather by the finitude of our being.

But didn’t we say earlier that God is not seen through a likeness but is rather seen as he is. If this light is needed to see God, then it would seem that he is seen through a likeness. However, the light is not that through which God is seen but by which he is seen. The light enables our intellect to see God. We do not see through it but rather with it.

The conclusion then is that we will need the assistance of divine grace to see God and that will come in the broadening of our intellect in such a way that we will finally be able to see him as he is. Once again, we are reminded, or should be at least, of how awesome our God is and that we should look forward with joy to the day we will see him.

We shall continue tomorrow.