Can The Created Intellect See The Essence of God?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’re studying the doctrine of God now and our guide for this journey is the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. Those who do not own a copy of the Summa are free to go to and read the one online. We’re going to start tonight discussing the topic of how God is known by us. Before that, my prayer requests. First off, my Christlikeness in realizing the many great blessings I have in my life at the moment. Second, I ask for prayers for my financial situation. Finally, I do ask prayers for a third related area in my life to both of those. For now, let’s get to the topic.

As I began to write this blog, I really thought about this question and realized just how important it is. I’d like you to consider it as well. Let’s suppose that we answered this question and the answer to the question was “No.” Would you live your life differently? What would you think of Heaven? Could you even conceive that there could be such a place in Heaven if you could never see God?

St. Augustine asked us to picture a scenario where God makes us an offer. We will have eternal life, youth, and health. We will live in Paradise with no pain. We will never be bored. We will be able to do whatever we want. There will be nothing that will be sin for us. God grants us all this on one condition. We may never see his face.

Such a place does not strike us as Heaven. In fact, it could very well be a Hell instead. Thus, it is very important to us how we answer this question and we are quite fortunate that Aquinas does say that the answer to this question is yes.

The answer to this question is more from the faith tradition. It could be tied into the argument from desire used by apologists like Augustine, C.S. Lewis, and Peter Kreeft. (I am sure Kreeft is quite honored to be tied in with the two former) We have all these natural desires in us and there is something that fulfills them. What about the desire for God? Does that have fulfillment? (For those curious about the argument from desire, I recommend Peter Kreeft’s book “Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing.”)

We were created for God as Augustine said. “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their peace in thee.” We all desire to find the purpose of our lives. Many of us think of “God’s will for our lives” being along the lines of education, career, marriage, etc. Many of us don’t spend enough time instead thinking about the ultimate will for our lives. The ultimate will is that we will see God.

Christian. Whatever you are going through in your life, consider that if it is difficulty, that you should have this sentence going through your head. “I will one day see God.” If it is instead a good thing going on, pause and consider what better joy lies ahead for you can say “I will one day see God and that’s even better than this.”

We shall continue tomorrow.

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