Can Any Created Intellect See God By Nature?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Namely, we’re diving into the truth of God. We’re going through the doctrine of God now little by little. Our guide has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. We’re asking the question now of how God is known by us and tonight’s post will actually not be about us explicitly. For those who do not own a copy of the Summa, it can be read online at Before that, my prayer requests. First off, continued Christlikeness. At this point, I’m talking to a friend now related the need to release a critical attitude. Second, for my financial situation. Finally, for a third related area in my life. Let’s get to the question for now.

We know we can’t see God by our natural powers, but what about angels. Can They? Angels are said to know themselves and insofar as they are they are reflections of the divine beauty. If that is the case, then surely we can make a case that the angels can see God by nature.

Once again, we have gone through these in order and Thomas reminds us that no one sees God by a likeness. If the angels are only beholding a reflection however by the natural powers of knowledge that they possess, then they are not seeing God as he is. Thus, an angel does not see God in this way.

But angels are creatures without defect aren’t they? (For the time being, we are not thinking of the fallen angels.) The reason man does not see God is because he is a fallen creature isn’t it? If that is the case, then since angels are creatures without defect, and a defect would be the inability to see God, then it would seem that an angel can see God.

Now it is true that an angel does possess all the perfections that are fitting for its being, and in that sense it is without defect. However, it is defective in that it is a creature and has privations in the sense that it does not possess the full nature of God. It is lacking in that way.

Why is it that an angel cannot see God? We will start this by looking at ourselves. Our eyes can only take in corporeal things. If I see the proposition 2 + 2 = 4, by my eyesight alone, I can only see lines written on a page. It is when I begin using my intellect that I begin reading a message that is in the text.

However, once I get my intellect engaged, and my intellect is not corporeal, then I can begin to see truths that are abstract. I cannot see the truth of 2 + 2 = 4 with my corporeal eyes for the truth is not corporeal. I apprehend it with my mind however. We can only know something by the mode.

Something can only be known by the mode of the knower. The physical eye can only see physical objects. The intellect cannot grasp by its nature that which is superior to it. Since God is the most superior of all, then if man is to see God, or if angel is for that matter, then it will only be by the grace of God.

We shall continue tomorrow.

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