Does God Know Things Other Than Himself?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through the doctrine of God and the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas has been our guide. You can read it at for free. We’re going to be looking further at the knowledge of God tonight and the fifth article there. I do ask for your continued prayers for me. Most readers know I did lose my job a few weeks ago and I have some major expenses coming up and sometimes, it’s easy to get depressed in this case. Well, you have to have faith at the times things seem the most hopeless. I’d just appreciate the prayers of my readers. For now, let’s get to the question.

This comes largely from Aristotle in fact. Aquinas and Augustine both highly valued Aristotle and Plato respectively. However, when they came across something that went against what was plainly taught in Scripture and what was philosophically in error, they were quick to abandon their heroes on that point. Because they were an Aristotlean and a Platonist respectively, it does not mean that they were so blindly.

Aristotle believed in a god, but his god was not the God of Scripture, though in many ways it was close. Aristotle’s god did nothing but think for all eternity about himself. Why? Because for Aristotle, for his god to think about anything else would be to think about something that was less than perfection and that was not befitting for the most perfect being of all.

However, Aquinas does say that God does know himself perfectly and we would have no problem saying that the highest thought in the mind of God is himself. However, God knows himself perfectly and in order to know himself perfectly, God must be able to know all it is that he can do perfectly.

Thus, God must have in his mind all the ideas of things that he could bring about. In this way, we are told that all things exist virtually in God. For instance, does the idea of catness exist? It exists in God not in actuality but virtually. It is something in the mind of God that he knows what is essential to the nature of a cat.

God’s knowledge of these things comes about also by knowing himself. In looking at himself, he sees all other things in himself. He sees that cat that he can create and he also sees you and I that exist. God does not know things through another medium for if he did, that would mean that his knowledge would be dependent on something else and God would not be simple then.

In conclusion then, you can rest assured that the God who exists is not that of Aristotle. This God really is thinking about you. Of course, we will look more at this when we get to the section on the love of God. For now, we will leave it at the point that God thinks about us and if his knowledge does not change, he never stops doing so.

We shall continue tomorrow.

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