Hello readers and welcome back to Deeper Waters, the blog that seeks to explore ever deeper the ocean of truth! Our topic recently has been the doctrine of God, the highest thought in Christianity, but then, the highest thought period. How you answer the God question will determine how you answer every other question. Our guide for this journey has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas, which can be read for free at newadvent.org. We’re on the topic of the beatitude of God now and our question tonight is if God is called blessed according to His intellect.
By speaking of blessed, we are referring to happiness. We do not take much time today to think about the happiness of God. Yesterday, I stated that happiness is not necessarily a feeling. God does not have passions in the sense that we do. He does have happiness, but it is not a feeling so much as it is an awareness. He has incredible happiness that is not an emotional state, for an emotion is generally a response to something else and God does not “respond” in time as we do.
However, he is happy. Why? For Aquinas, the highest joys can be found in the intellectual life and in a sense, this is so. After all, we do not believe that we have an advantage over God by our being material in that we can partake of greater joys than He can. God’s greatest joy is Himself. He does not need to be material in order to enjoy Himself.
Now we can say being material allows us to enjoy great joys of the body like food, drink, athletic activity, sex, etc. There is nothing wrong with any of these pleasures, but each of these pleasures are also pointers beyond themselves. Jesus used food to speak of the sustenance that only he provides and Paul described man and woman being one as a mystery and something not fully understood until Christ came along and we saw Christ and the church.
The intellect is that by which we understand something. It is a joy to think about that which makes us happy. Too often, we tend to do the opposite and sadly when we think about God, it often doesn’t make us happy. Our fallenness should be clear to anyone who is a Christian in that we do not think about what we ought and that even great truths we see in Scripture often do not make us happy.
But for God, He does understand and know Himself and so He is happy in Himself. It is when we see Him that we will be happy truly as well. All happiness we have here is meant to be a foretaste to the greater happiness that is awaiting us. The problem we usually have with these happinesses are that we take them to be the final. They are really the mirrors that are reflecting a greater happiness that awaits us.
Which brings us to an interesting truth. God does want us to be happy, but He knows that that happiness we seek ultimately lies only in Himself. We will never be truly happy until we know God as He is. Since that is where our ultimate happiness lies, does it not make sense to seek that happiness now?
We shall continue tomorrow.