Do We See All In God At Once?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. I’m going to be busy updating the site as much as I can. Bear with me. I love theology and apologetics and philosophy, but I am not any good at computer stuff. The sidebar however should contain relevant information soon as well as a way that readers who value Deeper Waters can do their part to make sure the work of this blog keeps going. Our topic lately has been the doctrine of God and we’ve been using the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas which can be found at We are studying how God is known by us and we’re about to read the tenth article. The question is if we see all in God at once.

Aristotle is quoted as saying “Many things may be known but only one is understood.” In our way of thinking, we can’t easily focus on two things at once. Some of us, like myself, do tend to multi-task, but as I sit here writing the blog, I’ve turned off everything else, although I can still sometimes have an AIM conversation and check on other web sites.

Will this be the way it is when we get to Heaven and see God however? Will we see him and say “Okay. I understand that. Alright. Now I understand that.” In other words, will we have a succession of understanding or will we understand all things simultaneously?

Augustine has also said that God moves the spiritual creature according to time. Now if the angels don’t see all things in God simultaneously, then surely we can’t expect to see all things in God simultaneously. This is common in Aquinas and something philosophers need to realize. Whatever objections you usually have to a philosophical system, the best philosophers are the ones who have already thought of your objection.

Aquinas answers that in fact we do see all in God at once. When we have a diversity of things that we see, we do not understand all at once. I have two different objects before me let’s suppose. I do not understand them both at once. My mind can go back and forth in understanding.

But how does that change the way we see things in God? Aquinas explains Aristotle by saying that when we see a man, we understand the concept of rational and we understand the concept of animal both in the one man. We can do this because both are contained within the one and we understand the two at once because we understand the one.

Hence, when we see God, we see the ultimate oneness and in that oneness we understand the many. Once again, we find ourselves looking back on the simplicity of God.

But what about angels? Well with regards to how they understand things by their natural knowledge, they do not understand all things at once. When they look at God however, they do understand all things at once.

The conclusion is that when we see God, we will indeed understand all things at once. The way to know everything is to know God.

We shall continue tomorrow.

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