Does God Comprehend Himself?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. I thank you all for your prayers. A job opportunity has opened up again and while it will be a change, I do have hopes that it’s a position I can get. God in his sovereignty will work things out for his good. To get to our topic tonight, we are going through the doctrine of God and our guide is the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas, which can be read at We are asking the question tonight of if God comprehends himself.

Aquinas says a thing is comprehend when it is known insofar as it is knowable. This is part of his doctrine of truth as well. For Aquinas, a thing is true insofar as it is knowable, which means God is the most true of all for he is the one who is the most real of all. There is more to know about God than any other being for God is not limited by anything. While it would be difficult, it is possible to know ourselves perfectly and we can expect that we will do this in Heaven where we will know as we are known, and we are known perfectly.

A thing can only be known however insofar as it is actual. Thus, an argument from demonstration cannot rely on maybes. When we hear of demonstration today, we can be tempted to think of demonstration as if it would be something that would be done in a science lab. That is a type of demonstration, but that is not what Aquinas necessarily has in mind.

Consider the classic syllogism.

All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Socrates is mortal.

This would be considered a valid approach to demonstrating that Socrates is mortal. Some might think there is some induction involved in that. Thus, let’s use another argument.

Bob is taller than Mary.
Steve is taller than Bob.
Steve is taller than Mary.

If you see this argument and you do not agree with the conclusion, there is really nothing I can do for you. It becomes self-evident at this point. In this case, we have an argument that is demonstrated and thus the conclusion can be known with certainty.

Now let’s suppose for the sake of argument that history had no miracles that had ever happened. We could make this argument.

God has never worked any miracles in history.
Therefore, God will never work any miracles.

Now you could say it would be something probable maybe, but you could not make a case that it is actual knowledge. That doesn’t mean that it’s true however. God is not like the laws of the universe in that he must act a certain way. (I would even say that on the grounds of science alone you cannot know that the laws of science will act a certain way tomorrow)

Thus, something must be actual to be truly known. Aquinas has demonstrated earlier that God is a being who is pure actuality and he is his own intellect. Thus, God knows himself entirely as his intellect is not limited by anything and so his knowledge is not limited. God is infinitely knowable but only God can infinitely know himself for only God is infinite.

We shall continue this tomorrow with the fourth question.

Support Deeper Waters on Patreon!