Is God In A Genus?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. We are going through the Summa Theologica and discussing the doctrine of God. For those who do not have a copy of the Summa, you can find one at Before we continue our look at God’s simplicity, I ask you to remember my prayer requests. First, I ask for prayers in my continued Christlikeness as I am finding my own weakness growing many times. Second, I ask for prayers for my finances. Finally, I ask for prayers in a third related area of my life.

Is God in a genus? A genus is a class of things that share the same character but divide into different species. We could speak of angels for instance, but each angel is its own species. Man can be included in the genus of animal, but he is in the species of a rational animal.

God cannot be in a genus because a genus is that which is prior and nothing can be prior to God. God does not belong in categories because he is entirely unique to everything else. God is not just one type of being that is out there as it is. He is instead a being who is unique and is his own existence.

Why can’t being be a genus? Because there would have to be differences outside the essence. What differences can there be outside of being itself? Either something exists or it doesn’t. There are not two separate classes of existence although other things do participate in existence whereas for God he is his existence.

We do not have the case that we have existence here and this is God’s nature and then he creates a bunch of stuff that also exists and then over here, we have other things that exist as well but they do not derive their existence from God. If that were the case, they would both get their existence from something else beyond themselves.

Also, for everything else, their being differs from other beings. The being of the horse is not the same as the being of the man. There is a differentiation between them. This is not the case for God as his thisness is his thatness.

What does that mean? It means that I as I write this am this man. I am not another man, or that man. Thus, I can be this, that is a human male, without being human maleness. For God, there is no distinction between what he is and that he is so we cannot say that he is in a genus.

Why does this matter? It means God is above the categories that have been created. He is not one of a member of a group. He is altogether unique in who he is and this is something we have to realize about God. Whatever we think about God, it is a pale comparison to who he really is. We cannot begin to comprehend the awesomeness of his nature.

We shall continue tomorrow.

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