Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. It’s been awhile since we’ve got to talk about the doctrine of God seeing as I was away on an important matter and then I had a movie review last time, but now let’s get back into the Summa. Thomas Aquinas is our guide on this journey and a most excellent one he is. Those who do not have a copy of the Summa Theologica are invited to read it online at newadvent.org. We’re going to be covering again an article in the section on the Names of God. I do ask also readers for your continued prayers. I am still unemployed and it’s starting to get tight here. Especially with other major expenses coming up. Anyway, let’s go to the text.
If you were to describe God, how would you do it? What if you had to do it in a short way that would capture his essence. I recall knowing someone who once tried to describe God as “Maker of everything.” Well that can be fine to some extent, but does that mean God cannot be defined unless he creates? Do you consider evil a thing? What about some Christians who don’t believe God made everything. (There are some strong Platonist Christians who hold this kind of view.)
There have been many attempts to describe God in many ways. Jonathan Edwards used beauty for instance. Plato could have said “the Good” possibly. However, Aquinas in pondering this thought that the best way to describe God was to use the name that he gave of himself. We see it as “I AM.” Aquinas sees it as “HE WHO IS.”
So let’s look at this name. When we consider God’s simplicity, this means that God is the only one in existence whose essence is his existence. If you take a being such as an angel, the angel has an essence plus existence as the angel does not necessarily existence. It is simple in that it has no parts in one way, but it is not absolutely simple as God is.
God is the only one who is absolutely simple. This is something that separates him from creation. In fact, I’d say it’s the main thing. All other beings depend on something outside of themselves for their existence. God alone does not depend on anything for his existence. In fact, everything else depends on him for its existence.
In essence, God’s name for himself points to his being. He is being by nature. It is impossible for him not to be. All other beings however exist by his grace. They are contingent and the universe does not depend on them in anyway for their existence. If God were to somehow go away however, then there would be nothing else.
Today, we can be thankful that God is he who is and I find the essence/existence distinction to be a strong argument for theism. In this way, you can see something in existence and say that that is going to be your starting basis for a theistic argument. Let us live today thinking that God is and just how awesome it is that he is.
We shall continue tomorrow.