We Have Now Seen That Aquinas Thinks Of God As Incomprehensible. We Know Something About God, He Says. We Know That God Exists and Is the Cause Of His Creatures. We Also Know That He Is Simple. and Yet, Aquinas Adds, 'We Cannot Know What God Is'. 1 Only God Can 'Know Subsistent Existence Itself', and 'No Created Mind Can See the Essence Of God Unless He By His Grace Joins Himself To That Mind As Something Intelligible To It'. 2 Or, As Aquinas Writes In the De Potentia: 'Human Intelligence Is Not Equal To the Divine Essence' and 'One Reaches the Highest Point Of One's Knowledge About God When One Knows That One Does Not Know Him.' 3
In that case, however, how can we think or say anything about him? Does our talk of God make sense? Does it convey information? It may be all very well sharply to distinguish between God and his creatures. It may not seem strange to insist that God is mysterious. But are we therefore to conclude that God eludes us entirely? Do we have no positive notion of him at all?
Christian theologians earlier than Aquinas adopted apparently conflicting answers to these questions. Some, for example, said that, though God is indeed transcendent, we still have quite a positive knowledge of him. St Augustine, for instance, spoke of the mind as
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Publication information: Book title: The Thought of Thomas Aquinas. Contributors: Brian Davies - Author. Publisher: Clarendon Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1993. Page number: 58.
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