Originally Posted by Jim Baur
I know that it is almost impossible in such a limited format, but I would like to hear a comparison of teaching on the attributes of God by these two individuals, that is, the Rabam and Thomas Aquinas.
I am hoping to see how they agree or disagree. Or, to what extent they agree or disagree.
I do not want to get involved in an agrument.
I just want to hear clear and concise explanations.
I just want to watch and learn.
I cannot quote anything regarding Rabam and Aquinas i.e. a comparison. It seems to me to be a complicated matter, and not one that I personally have studied.
As the text is too long for one reply - I have had to split into two contributions.
Nevertheless you wanted something clear and concise - this is all I have on file - perhaps it may help:-
In order to form a more systematic idea of God, and as far as possible, to unfold the implications of the truth, God is All-Perfect, this infinite Perfection is viewed, successively, under various aspects, each of which is treated as a separate perfection and characteristic inherent to the Divine Substance, or Essence. A certain group of these, of paramount import, is called the Divine Attributes.
Our natural knowledge of God is acquired by discursive reasoning upon the data of sense by introspection, "For the invisible things of Him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; His eternal power also, and Divinity" (St. Paul, Romans 1:20 The profound disparity between the Divine perfection and the intimations of it presented in the world-copy may be broadly laid down under two heads:
The supernatural knowledge of God given in revelation is apprehended through the medium of conceptions that belong to natural knowledge. Therefore the same principles of attribution that govern the one hold good also for the other.
The perfections of creatures are innumerable, the Divine Perfection is one.
Created perfections differ endlessly in kind and degree; the Divine perfection is uniform, simple. It is not a totality of various perfections; absolutely simple, the Divine perfection answers to every idea of actual or conceivable perfection, without being determined to the particular mode of any.
The elaboration of the idea of God is carried out along three converging lines.
(1) The positive way of causality
In virtue of the principle that whatever excellence is contained in an effect is represented in the efficiency of the cause, reason affirms that every positive perfection of created being has its transcendental analogue in the first cause. Hence, from the existence of an intelligent being, man, in the cosmos, we rightly infer that God is intelligent, that is to say, His infinite perfection is superabundantly adequate to all the operations of intellect.
(2) The negative way
If we fix our attention precisely on the Infinity of God, then, focusing the negation not upon the positive content of any created perfection but upon the fact that, because it is finite it is determined in kind and limited in degree, we may affirm that it is not found in God.
We may say, e.g., that He is not intelligent. The meaning of the statement is not that God lacks intelligence but that in Him there is no intelligence exactly as we know it.
Again, since there is no imperfection in God, every concept of defect, privation, and limitation must be negated of God. Many negative names, it is true, are applied to God; as when, for instance, He is said to be immutable, uncaused, infinite. It should, however, be carefully observed that some attributes, which, from the etymological point of view are negative, convey, nevertheless, a positive meaning.