By H. P. Owen (auth.)
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Extra resources for Concepts of Deity
Although we can apprehend God we cannot comprehend him. God's incomprehensibility is affirmed throughout the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Thus in the Second Isaiah we read: 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord' (27). Similarly, Aquinas writes that 'though in himself supremely knowable, God surpasses the power of a limited intelligence by very excess of truth' (28), and that 'to realize that God is far beyond anything we think, that is the mind's achievement' (29).
But God differs in kind from man in so far as only he exists a se, so that only he expresses spirituality in an infinite form. Aquinas maintains that on account of this analogy of being between creatures and the Creator we can speak of him 38 through terms drawn from the created order by an 'analogy of proportionality'. We can validly assert that just as wisdom, goodness and power inhere in men in a form appropriate to their finite being, so they inhere in God in a manner appropriate to his self-existence.
Secondly (and in particular), we do not become the past and the future when we contemplate them in the present. On the contrary, the very act of such contemplation shows a limited transcendence of the time-process. Thirdly, Aquinas insists that God knows things in their actual singularity, although he himself is non-individuated. Similarly, God knows evil although he himself is pure Goodness. Why, then, should we not allow that, although he himself is timeless, he can know temporal events successively?
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