Greetings once again dear readers and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we continue our dive into the ocean of truth. Tonight, we’re going to be continuing our study of the doctrine of God and the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas will be our guide. A copy of that can be found at newadvent.org. Before we get to our topic tonight, I do wish to present my prayer requests. First off, my Christlikeness as I notice my view of my fellow man really needs to change to one of more grace and understanding. Second, my financial situation. Third, I ask for prayer for a third related area in my life. Now, let’s get to the question.
Is God eternal? Last night, we came up with a definition of eternity from Boethius and defended that definition. Aquinas will of course argue that God is eternal and that this follows from his immutability. Once again, we are reminded that Aquinas spent much time thinking about his doctrine and had it worked out systematically.
Why does this follow? It follows because immutability means that there is no movement in God. If there is movement of time however, then God is not immutable. If he is immutable however, that means that he does not move across time. Rather God is the one who transcends time whereas since he is eternal, he is in all times at once and is the cause of their being.
How does this work however with something like prayer? Are we not told that God does things in response to our prayers? Thus, I would like to spend our time looking at God’s actions and thinking about how we are to understand the way he acts. Does it really make a difference that we pray?
In reality, it is not accurate to say God responds to our prayers. It is more like he pro-responds to our prayers. God sees what we are praying even before we ask and then he responds to us even before we ask in a sense. What is the purpose of praying then if God knows what we are doing? It is good to pray because that is the means whereby God chooses to act. He would not do some things if we did not pray about them.
This is also along the lines of the question of “What was God doing before he created the universe?” Augustine’s answer that had some of his Carthaginian humor in it was “He was creating Hell for people who ask questions like that.” The answer is that there was no before and after in that case.
Thus, God is doing all things at once in an eternal now. He is at once creating the world and he is at once judging it. God does not have before and after. All he has is just himself and his eternal existence where to him, all things are present. The reason we pray however is that he has chosen the means or prayer to bring about his work in the universe, that we may trust him more.
What a glorious God!
We shall continue tomorrow.