Is God Perfect?


#1

How do you respond to someone who argues, “The universe is not perfect. And since God made the universe, He is therefore not perfect. A perfect tree could only bear perfect fruits. If a fruit is not perfect, therefore the tree that bore it is not perfect”?

Shalom, amen.


#2

God is infinite in all perfection. I would say that the whole of creation fell at the Fall, this seems to be what Genesis says and what the Blessed Apostle Paul wrote when he spoke of the whole of creation groaning in expectation (of the Christ). All that God made was ‘good’. Evil and death didn’t enter on to the scene until after the sin of our first parents.


#3

The main problem here would be our understanding of the concept of “perfection”. God’s perfection is not the same as the perfection of a contingent/created being, hence the analogy of a perfect tree does not extend to the idea of a perfect God.

Another thing is that the perfection of a tree is in a sense limited to the nature given to it. Thus, an apple tree may bear perfectly sweet and delicious apples, but it cannot bear oranges or pears. Or any tree in general can bear fruits but cannot be made to produce milk like cows do. God’s perfection is not limited because His nature is not limited to a particular this or that.

Third, what is our idea of a perfect universe? The very order and symmetry which the universe manifests is in itself reason to believe in a perfect God. However, as in the case of a perfect tree, a perfect universe would still be** limited to** a particular sense, limited to the nature and laws given to it by its creator. Water would still freeze at 0 degrees C, not at 10 degrees C. Nuclear fusion at the core of a star would still extract energy and not the reverse. etc…

If we then assume that such a universe is not limited in any sense, that is, it is perfect in every sense, then it would become identical with God Himself, a notion called Pantheism.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#4

**Whether God is perfect?

Objection 1. It seems that perfection does not belong to God. For we say a thing is perfect if it is completely made. But it does not befit God to be made. Therefore He is not perfect.

Objection 2. Further, God is the first beginning of things. But the beginnings of things seem to be imperfect, as seed is the beginning of animal and vegetable life. Therefore God is imperfect.

Objection 3. Further, as shown above (3, 4), God’s essence is existence. But existence seems most imperfect, since it is most universal and receptive of all modification. Therefore God is imperfect.

On the contrary, It is written: “Be you perfect as also your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48).

I answer that, As the Philosopher relates (Metaph. xii), some ancient philosophers, namely, the Pythagoreans and Leucippus, did not predicate “best” and “most perfect” of the first principle. The reason was that the ancient philosophers considered only a material principle; and a material principle is most imperfect. For since matter as such is merely potential, the first material principle must be simply potential, and thus most imperfect. Now God is the first principle, not material, but in the order of efficient cause, which must be most perfect. For just as matter, as such, is merely potential, an agent, as such, is in the state of actuality. Hence, the first active principle must needs be most actual, and therefore most perfect; for a thing is perfect in proportion to its state of actuality, because we call that perfect which lacks nothing of the mode of its perfection.

Reply to Objection 1. As Gregory says (Moral. v, 26,29): “Though our lips can only stammer, we yet chant the high things of God.” For that which is not made is improperly called perfect. Nevertheless because created things are then called perfect, when from potentiality they are brought into actuality, this word “perfect” signifies whatever is not wanting in actuality, whether this be by way of perfection or not.

Reply to Objection 2. The material principle which with us is found to be imperfect, cannot be absolutely primal; but must be preceded by something perfect. For seed, though it be the principle of animal life reproduced through seed, has previous to it, the animal or plant from which is came. Because, previous to that which is potential, must be that which is actual; since a potential being can only be reduced into act by some being already actual. Reply to Objection 3. Existence is the most perfect of all things, for it is compared to all things as that by which they are made actual; for nothing has actuality except so far as it exists. Hence existence is that which actuates all things, even their forms. Therefore it is not compared to other things as the receiver is to the received; but rather as the received to the receiver. When therefore I speak of the existence of man, or horse, or anything else, existence is considered a formal principle, and as something received; and not as that which exists. :blessyou:

**


#5

One final point.

God is all-perfect because if He isn’t, He is not God, but a lesser being, as the very **definition of God, **absolutely requires that **all **attributes required of Godhood must be present in Him in an unlimited degree.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#6

[quote=Jim ov Cov]God is infinite in all perfection. I would say that the whole of creation fell at the Fall, this seems to be what Genesis says and what the Blessed Apostle Paul wrote when he spoke of the whole of creation groaning in expectation (of the Christ). All that God made was ‘good’. Evil and death didn’t enter on to the scene until after the sin of our first parents.
[/quote]

If evil and death did not enter creation until Adam and Eve sinned, how do you explain the pain, suffering and death of animals and early hominids that existed before Adam and Eve? This seems rather imperfect.


#7

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