In part one, we talked about the essence of God Himself. In part two, we examined Thomas Aquinas’ treatise on the trinitarian concept of the Godhead. Now, we’ll follow his progression into God’s creative process – beginning with his supposition:
God is the first and most perfect Being. Therefore, He must be the cause of being in all things that have being.
As we’ve seen, God is existence itself. Therefore, He does not require pre-existing matter to be able to create, because He is the Creator. And because He is infinite and infinitely powerful, only He and He alone, can create something from nothing:
By faith [that is, with an inherent trust and enduring confidence in the power, wisdom and goodness of God] we understand that the worlds (universe, ages) were framed and created [formed, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose] by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made of things which are visible. Heb. 11:3 AMP
Yet what He creates are finite, because only His essence (which includes Christ and the Holy Spirit) is infinite. We are but a finite representation of that infinitude.
God then guides us towards His perfect goodness, in that if we willfully connect with Him, He will perfect us at the end of time to an infinite transcendent transformation:
And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:18 AMP
Aquinas then describes the created characteristics of the human soul – first stating that intellectual beings (humankind) are closer to being like God than any of His other creations. This is demonstrated by the fact that we have ‘free will,’ as opposed to the ‘innate impulses’ that drive the other animal species. He further postulates that human beings alone possess understandings of universal themes and relationships, which he or she first begins to understand, through their five senses.
The intellect then engages in logistics and conclusions, in a process that occurs outside of the body. Therefore it exists on a higher plane than our flesh. This intellect, this ‘soul,’ is unique to each individual, as each exists in a unique environment (i.e. distinct body).
Aquinas explains that the soul is not endowed with the body, yet it may maintain a union with it, as long as the body lives. Moreover, the human soul reaches for loftier planes, independent of its associated flesh, in addition to whatever expressions it may initiate through the body.
Those capabilities of the soul which are expressed in the flesh, are subject to corruption, just as the body degrades through age; but the intellectual portion remains intact.
Since the soul is incorporeal, it cannot be passed on generationally through biological conception; it must be created; and only God creates. It is the highest part of ourselves, made in the image of God:
“The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL (an individual);” 1 Cor. 15:45 AMP
Yes, God has a soul:
“I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject nor separate itself from you.” Lv. 26:11 AMP
And, we are called by God to find Him and love Him with our own souls:
…seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Dt. 4:29 NKJV
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Dt. 6:5 ESV
Indeed, it is imperative that we preserve this God-connection:
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world [wealth, fame, success], but forfeits his soul?” Mt. 16:26 AMP
Returning to God’s creativity in general, Aquinas says this: …everything that is made by God necessarily exists for an end.
What he is saying is that everything will ultimately be perfected at times’ end. God’s promises found in the book of Revelation – for a new body, new earth and new heavens attest to that. What Aquinas didn’t address, which I’ll just bring up as a brain teaser, is that I contend that this wasn’t God’s original intent, because everything was perfect and incorruptible before the fall. Although, we also know that Jehovah is omniscient, so that He knew the fall would come. Food for thought…
Aquinas takes that to the next logical step when he declares: This then, is the reason why all things were made: that they might be assimilated to the divine goodness.
In order to be assimilated by God, we must be perfected by Him through the power of His glory – His divine light…
Is that not the Good News?
Goodnight and God bless.