Is God Everywhere By Essence, Presence, and Power?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I hope the rest of you had a weekend as enjoyable as mine was. As we wind down this Sunday afternoon, we’re going to be continuing our look at the doctrine of God. Our textbook, as it were, for this study is the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, which can be read at We are studying God’s existence in things, or as it is known at, his omnipresence. First, I have some prayer requests. I ask that you all pray for my Christlikeness, which can be constantly hampered by my incessant introspection. Second, I ask for prayers for my financial situation. Finally, I ask that you pray for a third related are in my life.

The question tonight is if God is everywhere by essence, presence, and power. Let’s go through these one at a time? For an interesting exercise, if you’re not reading the Summa along with me, when the objections come, spend a few minutes thinking about the objection and see if you answer like Thomas does.

Is God in things by essence? For something to belong to a thing, it must belong essentially to that thing. If there is something essential to being a human, then as long as I am a human, then I must have that thing. However, God is not in anything essentially, therefore he cannot be in things by essence.

The answer? The fallacy is in how you think about essence. God is not in things by the essence of the things themselves, but by his own essence. It is his essence that says that he is in all things. It is not based on what the things themselves are, but if he is not in all things, then he cannot be God. Therefore, God is essentially in all things.

What about presence? Isn’t that the same. After all, if he is in all things by his essence, then there is nothing that he is absent from. However, if he is not in all things by essence (Assuming the prior objection had not been answered), then he is not in all things by presence. In fact, to say he is is superfluous.

Thomas answers that this is not superfluous. A thing can be present to another when it is present by sight. I see outside of where I sit a river and a building. These things are present to me in my line of sight, even if I am not walking through the river or am at or in the building that I see in my sight.

God is the cause of all things by his power, however, he is also the cause by his knowledge and his will. However, it is not said that he is in things by knowledge and will. Therefore, it cannot be said that he is in them by power.

Aquinas says that knowledge and will requires that the thing known and the thing willed be in the thing that knows and wills. The idea of the painting must be in the mind of the artist first and the will must be in the artist in order to bring about that thing. Thus, by knowledge and will, it is better to say that things are in God.

However, power is an acting principle. By power, the agent acts on that which is external to itself, although the agent can also act on itself. In this case in philosophy, what the agent acts on can be called the patient. The conclusion however is that God is indeed in all things by his power.

Tomorrow, we shall continue our study.

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