Does The Intellect Know God Through Likenesses?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through a study of the doctrine of God now and we’re looking at the topic of how we can know God. Our guide for this has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. If anyone wants to read the work and they do not have it, a copy can be found at Before we begin, I wish to make my prayer requests. First off, my Christlikeness which I notice is coming about more and more in thinking the way that I ought to, though I seek to get my thought life under control. Second, for financial concerns. Finally, I ask your prayers in a third related area in my life. For now, let’s get to the question.

Last night, we asked if it would be possible to ever see God and considered what a huge question this is for us as Christians. Tonight, we’re going to be asking if we will see God as he is or if we will just see some likeness of him. This is an important question for us as well. When we see God, will we see him as he is or will we just see something that gives us some sort of idea of him?

Note I am not saying that we will see God with full comprehension. I do not think that is possible for finite intellects. However, God will appear to us as he is. We will be beholding the real deal and the amount that each of us gets will be however much we can take and I do believe that could be proportional to how much we’ve sought God in this life.

Aquinas says we know God as he is. To begin with, he states that with material things, we do not behold the essence of the thing with our sight. For instance, if I see a rock, the likeness of the rock is in my vision, but the substance of the rock is not within me. That remains within the rock.

Note also that the nature of God could not be known through something inferior. We do see through a glass darkly. Right now, all we see is meant to give us ideas of what God is like. Consider it in a way as if God is flirting with us now. It will not be until we get to experience the consummation of his love as it were that we shall fully see him as he is.

How does he do this? God enables our intellect to be able to grasp him. We are not told how, but we are just told that this will happen. There is something in us however that can correspond to understand the nature of God insofar as we can. We have something in us that can take in the nature of the material and understand it. So we also have something within us that can take in the nature of the immaterial and understand it.

What does this mean for us? It means we really will see God. The Bible isn’t joking on this! It’s a reality! Christian! Grasp that for a moment even and I mean this for myself as well. You will see God. It is a shame we do not get excited about that as we should and I am including myself in that. We worry so much about future events that may never happen instead of rejoicing over the one certainty. We will see God.


We shall continue tomorrow.

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