Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas to help us come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of God. For those who do not have a copy of the Summa, one can be found at NewAdvent.org. First, I ask for prayers for my Christlikeness. Today has been a really hard day for me and it’s being a hard night and I just ask that you pray for me in this. There are some nights I think we become exceptionally aware of our fallenness. The second situation to pray for is my financial one. Finally, I ask for prayer in a third related area of my life.
Are the perfections of all things in God? Thomas Aquinas says they are. This means that if something is to attain to its perfection, it must reach for God. Someone can say “Well what about the atheist?” Yes. The atheist must reach for God as well. He will not reach for God directly, but he will reach for the lesser, the things that God has made and for the good, the true, and the beautiful he sees in the world, but all the while, he is perhaps unknowingly searching for God.
Aquinas argues that they do for any perfection in something must exist in its cause in some way. A man can give the nature of a man to a man in the process of being a parent. (And of course, let’s not be pedantic. We all know that it’s the women that give birth, but the men are a part of that. We could simply say human to be sure.)
In another sense argues Aquinas, the sun is the likeness of whatever is produced by the power of the sun. We must remember that for the medievals, fire was hot, but the sun was super-hot. It was not different by degree but by kind. Any heat that existed on Earth received that heat somehow from the sun ultimately.
What would it mean for the sun to be perfect heat? It would mean that all the perfections that exist in heat somehow exist in the sun so that the sun would lack nothing that would be fitting for the perfection of heat. Aquinas argues that the same is true for God.
The difference is that God is being so that all that is perfect of being itself is found in God. He lacks nothing that is fitting to being pure actuality. Aquinas says he can have even the basis of composed things in him just as the sun being one heat can be the perfection of all other things that are generated by its heat.
In conclusion, for us, if we want to find our perfection, we must look to God. Now this doesn’t mean total ontological perfection as we will never be like God in that way, but it does mean that if we are to be perfect human beings, we are looking fruitlessly if we do not look for such in God.
We shall conclude the doctrine of perfection tomorrow.