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God is an active power to positively bring about actuality
NOT a passive power affected by something else
God is omnipotent - anything that is really possible, and that requires genuine activity, can be done by God
Three things God Cannot Do
- God cannot be acted upon - he is a necessarily perfect and wholly active being
(Problem: we do not act on God either through our poor actions or our good deeds and prayers
- God cannot do things that are not really possible (e.g. 2 +2 = 5, or a triangle with 4 sides)
- God cannot sin
- Bringing something into existence from nothing
- all created beings must derive their existence from the something that exists by its very nature
- God is the only things that exists by his very nature - only thing for whom essence and existence are the same
- what passes for creation in the created world does not pass for creation according to Aquinas
- the world depends upon God's original being not only at creation but at every moment at which it continues to exist
- Everything depends on God's active assistance
- God creates creatures with their own causal powers but they can't do anything without "divine concurrence"
Two Advantages to Divine Concurrence
1. Make God as important as possible without undermining the responsibility of creatures
Allows God to be important for every action but still maintain responsibility of creatures
2. Provides explanation "contra naturum"
God's providential care extends to absolutely every creature in 3 ways:
1. Every creature depends on God for its existence
2. For its continuing to exist at every instant
3. Causal efficaciousness within the order of nature (everything happens in accordance with a divine plan)
Nothing can happen by pure chance from God's perspective
Doctrine of predestination
1. humans may enjoy eternal life but it is not part of their natures human beings
nothing about one's being human entails that one survives into an afterlife
2. assistance by God is necessary for eternal life
3. God foresees every act and thus must know who will be raised by a special act of grace - predestined salvation
A miracle occurs when God is the only cause that brings about an event i.e. when God acts directly and not through another creature
1. God has a a higher degree of properties than us - same goodness, but pure goodness (univocally)
problem: this makes different properties distinct but God's goodness is identical to his intelligence and his very being - he is one.
2. God's goodness etc are applied in a completely dif sense than it is to humans (equivocally)
problem: complete gap between predicates used to describe humans and that we use to describe God. Thus, we cannot apply any predicates to God
3. Aquinas suggests analogically - "good" and "intelligent" used in different but importantly related ways e.g. use of the word healthy
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