Of God and His Creatures

Arguments against the aforesaid statements, and their Solutions

ARG. 1. No access of light to the eye can elevate the sight to see things that transcend the natural faculty of bodily vision. But the divine substance transcends the entire capacity of created intelligence, even more than intellect transcends the capacity of sense. Therefore no light can supervene upon any created intelligence, to elevate it to the capacity of seeing the divine substance.

Reply. The divine substance is not beyond the capacity of created intelligence as though it were something altogether alien from it, as sound is alien from sight, or an immaterial substance from sense, -- for the divine substance is the prime object of intelligence, and the beginning of all intellectual knowledge, -- but it is beyond the capacity of created intelligence as exceeding its power, as the more excellent sensible objects are beyond the capacity of sense.*

Arg. 2. That light which is received in the created intelligence is itself created, and therefore falling infinitely short of God. Therefore no such light can raise the creature to the vision of the divine substance.

Reply. This light raises the creature to the vision of God, not that there is no interval between it and the divine substance, but it does so in virtue of the power which it receives from God to such effect, although in its own being it falls infinitely short of God. For this created light does not conjoin the intelligence with God in point of being, but only in point of understanding.*

Arg. 4. What is created, may very well be connatural with some created thing. If then that light is created, there may be some created intelligence, which by its own connatural light will see the divine substance, contrary to what has been shown (Chap. XLII).

Reply. The vision of the divine substance exceeds all natural faculty: hence the light whereby a created intelligence is perfected to the vision of the divine substance must be supernatural.

Arg. 6. There must be proportion between the intelligence and the thing understood. But there is no proportion between a created intelligence, perfected in the aforesaid light, and the divine substance, since the distance between them still remains infinite.

Reply. So there is a proportion between a created intelligence and God as an object of understanding, not a proportion implying any commensurateness of being, but a proportion implying a reference of one to the other, as matter is referred to form, or cause to effect. Thus there may well be a proportion between the creature and God, as the understanding is referred to the understood, or the effect to the cause.*

Some have been moved by these and the like arguments to lay down the statement that God is never to be seen by any created intelligence. But this position, besides taking away the true happiness of the rational creature, which cannot be except in the vision of the divine substance, as has been shown (Chap. LI), is also in contradiction with the authority of Holy Scripture, and is to be rejected as false and heretical.*

3.53 : That a Created Intelligence needs some influx of Divine Light to see God in His Essence
3.55 : That the Created Intelligence does not comprehend the Divine Substance