God's Love

I know I would like to be as much like God as possible. But if I understand correctly our love comes from our will. With God it’s just the opposite. God’s will is from his love. Love of goodness and hatred of evil. Knowledge also has something to do with materiality. The more immaterial you are the more you know. Is that right according to Thomism?

There is no real distinction in God between his love and his will, as there is in us, because God is wholly simple and there is no distinction of act and potency in him, which there would have to be if one ‘part’ of him was the cause of the other, as love causing will, or vice versa. God’s will is his love, and his love is his will.

As for your desire to be like God as much as possible, this is called ‘theosis’, or what St Thomas calls ‘divinisation’. The process of divinisation, or becoming like God, is a result of friendship with God, which unites us to God. This union with God, or friendship, is brought about through the exercise of love through living a life of virtue and through the reception of the sacraments of the Church. Theosis does not make us equal to God of course, but we are ‘divinised’ says St Thomas on account of God’s grace, which brings about a union of friendship between us.

Agreed. I believe this is called the “convertibility of the transcendentals”. We only perceive differences between God’s divine attributes because of our limited understanding.

[quote=billcu1]The more immaterial you are the more you know. Is that right according to Thomism?

I don’t think it is possible to “know” anything in any meaningful sense of the term unless you have an immaterial aspect to your nature. Only God, pure spirits (i.e. angels and demons), and humans have this ability. I think that you are correct in saying that the more immaterial in nature one is the better the power of knowing is. Obviously humans have a limitation in that our determinate thought processes have to be communicated through indeterminate material processes. Supposedly angels and demons, being bodiless spirits, do not have this limitation. So if Gabriel wants to communicate an idea to Michael he can just give his thought content directly to Michael. There’s no need to reduce the thought content to spoken/written language or imagery, both of which are inherently non-determinate to some extent. I believe that this is what St. Thomas taught, though I could be mistaken.

I don’t think this necessarily means that you cannot know certain things about God, if that’s what you were getting at, but that there is a different method to knowing as far as humans are concerned.

Though, love and will are not in fact transcendentals. The transcendentals are properties common to all being; St Thomas lists just five (thing, one, something, good, true) and they apply only analogically to God.

So justice and goodness and perfection are only analogy when it comes to God? I’ve never heard of the transcendentals.

Yes, that’s right. You can read a brief summary of what St Thomas says about analogical language in his theological compendium, here:


Does that mean that sin is an analogy ? In some ways anyway. Sometimes It’s called a sin to do something until a certain time. Maybe it was never a sin to begin with but we are told that to stay away from it. Sin seems to be something we are subject to until we become spiritually advanced enough to “be above sin”.

No, sin is not an analogical term because it is not used to make a connection between humans and God: there is no sin in God; sin is a purely creaturely experience, and so we can use the term sin univocally. There are different kinds of sin (such as venial, mortal and original), but this does not make sin an anological term. Analogy is not just about kind, but also degree and reference (from finite to infinite). So Pseudo-Dionysius, for example, says that God is not good, but rather God is Super-Good; God is not just; but rather Super-Just.

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