Of God and His Creatures
That the Plurality of divine Names is not
inconsistent with the Simplicity of the Divine Being
predicated of God and of other Beings
THE perfections proper to other things in respect of their several
forms must be attributed to God in respect of His productivity
alone, which productivity is no other than His essence. Thus then
God is called 'wise,' not only in respect of His producing wisdom, but
because, in so far as we are wise, we imitate in some measure His
productivity, which makes us wise. But He is not called 'stone,' though He has
made stones, because in the name of 'stone' is understood a determinate
mode of being wherein a stone is distinguished from God. Still a stone is an
imitation of God its cause, in being, in goodness, and other such respects.
Something of the sort may be found in the cognitive and active powers of
man. The intellect by its one power knows all that the sentient part knows
by several powers, and. much more besides. Also, the higher the intellect,
the more it can know by one effort, to which knowledge an inferior
intellect does not attain without many efforts. Again, the royal power extends
to all those particulars to which the divers powers under it are directed.
Thus also God by His one simple being possesses all manner of perfection,
all that other beings compass by divers faculties -- yea, much more. Hereby
the need is clear of many names predicated of God: for as we cannot know
Him naturally otherwise than by arriving at Him from the effects which
He produces, the names whereby we denote His perfections must be several
and diverse, answering to the diverse perfections that are found in things.
But if we could understand His essence as it is in itself, and adapt to it a
name proper to it, we should express it by one name only, as is promised to
those who shall behold Him in essence: In that day there shall be one Lord,
and his name shall be one (Zach. xiv, 9).
1.30 : What Names can be predicated of God
1.32 : That nothing is predicated of God and of other Beings synonymously