Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We are studying the doctrine of God with the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas being our guide, which can be found at newadvent.org. Right now, we’re studying the doctrine of God’s Simplicity and tonight, we’re going to wrap that up. Before that, I do have some prayer requests. First, I ask that you pray for me in my Christlikeness that needs to develop. Second, I ask for your prayers in my financial situation. Finally, I ask for prayers for a third related area of my life. For now, let’s get to the doctrine.
Does God enter into things in that his being is mixed into the being of all other things? It would seem that we could easily arrive at this conclusion if we agree that God’s existence is his essence. If that is so, does that mean that all that exists is participating in God?
No. Because God’s nature is existence, it does not follow that all that exists is participating in that nature. Once again, we return to the causes that Aristotle gave us with the two that were added by the medieval thinkers. The main one we want to see tonight is the exemplar cause. The exemplar cause is that after which something is made. The example would be blueprints being the exemplar cause of a building.
This is where the doctrine of analogy is so important. All that is here is based on that which is in God. For instance, we are told that he is the Father from whom all Fatherhood comes. Fatherhood that we see here is based on him. If you look in the mirror, that which you see in the mirror is like you. You are not like it. You are the primary object. It is the secondary and depends on you. If you go away, that which is in the mirror is no longer there. If the mirror was shattered however, it would not effect your existence.
In saying this, Aquinas avoids the error of pantheism. God is not entered into the world in that he takes part in its existence. He does not enter the composition of things for he cannot have any potential in his nature. This doesn’t present a problem for the incarnation however. The church was very clear to say tht the divine nature in Christ was never mixed with the human nature.
Thus, as we conclude the doctrine of the simplicity of God, we have seen that God is indeed altogether simple. However, what does this tell us? It tells us a way that he is unique in comparison to creatures in that he does not depend on anything else for his being but rather is his own being. Not even the angels can claim that. However, to say that God is simple is to only tell us one thing about God. While it is a big part, it is not the whole story. When we continue tomorrow, we shall start looking at the doctrine of his perfection.