God's Knowledge and Will

James Brent

in The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195326093
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 God's Knowledge and Will

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  • History of Western Philosophy
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Aquinas presented God's knowledge as a divine perfection and as divine ideas. He also considered God's knowledge of future contingent events such as creaturely free choices. Aquinas believed that no one in this life could see what God's knowledge is either by the light of reason or by the light of grace. Aquinas talks about God's knowledge in a significant order. First, Aquinas speaks of God's knowing himself. Subsequently, Aquinas speaks about God's knowing creatures and lastly it is God's knowledge of himself that illuminates for us God's knowledge of creatures. Aquinas's argued that perfection terms such as ‘life’, ‘good’, and ‘power’ refer to distinct perfections when predicated of creatures, but co-refer to one and the same simple esse when predicated of God. Aquinas's also argued that the divine ideas are a special sort of cause that has no causality apart from God's willing. The divine ideas are exemplar causes. Aquinas's mentioned that when God sees in himself the whole of creation, he comprehends it. He knows everything that could be known about it. He sees all the parts and so all the properties of all the parts. God sees the actuality, modality, causality, and morality of any and every entity or event within the whole when he comprehends the whole of creation.

Keywords: causality; morality; divine perfection; God's knowledge; Summa theologiae; divine ideas

Article.  7703 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion

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