JMC : The Knowableness of God / by Matthew Schumacher, CSC



The general principles of all knowledge and especially the elements involved in intellectual knowledge find their application in the question of God. This is quite natural, since for Aquinas there is a unity running through all things, so that the highest product of a given genus is practically the lowest being in the genus immediately above it.{1} There is more reason for this intimate connection between knowledge in general and the knowledge of God in particular; for if we admit that we can know God at all, the natural inference is, that the process that leads to a knowledge of Him should follow lines similar to those that lead to a knowledge of anything. In both cases, we have the same human mind, the same data, and with the modifications coincident to a certain class or kind of objects, the same principles should hold. As our knowledge becomes more complex, owing to the nature of the thing known, it admits new factors, though the fundamental elements arc always the same. Likewise the knowledge we have of God rests on the general basis of knowledge, though there are and must be factors peculiar to it, else it would not really be an addition to our cognitions. The actual application of the principles thus far discussed will come in evidence as the question is developed. We may at once, however, briefly state the chief points of contact: 1. All knowledge requires a relation of knower and known, thus God and man must be related in some way. 2. Man knows only according to his own nature, hence our knowledge of God will be in terms of our intellect. 3. A requisite for knowledge is actuality or immateriality, and the degree of knowledge is regulated by the degree of actuality; God is supremely actual, and hence infinitely knowable in Himself. 4. All knowledge takes its rise in the senses -- thus excluding innate ideas and intuitions; but the intellectual idea is due to an abstractive power, the active intellect, operating on the deliverance of the sensitive image. The idea of God arises from the same source as material things -- it is not an intuition nor innate -- but receives final expression only after we have purified it from imperfections, by a process that can be readily likened to the work of the active intellect. 5. The validity of all knowledge, that of God included, depends on the proper relation between the reality of things and the truthfulness of our faculties, as already indicated. The problem of God raises two questions at the outset: Is there a God? and if so, What is the nature of God? The great difference between these two queries in the light of difficulty of solution, and also of importance in the conclusion reached, was fully recognized by St. Thomas, and the Scholastics generally. We have already noted the attitude of Aquinas regarding the existence and the nature of the soul, -- "many know they have a soul who do not know what the soul is"; and again, "each one experiences in himself that he has a soul, and that the acts of the soul take place within him, but to know the nature of the soul is most difficult."{2} He is similarly minded on the points of God's existence and of God's nature. Existence and nature comprise the Scholatic phrases of An Sit and Quid Sit.{3} There is no doubt that if we prove the existence of an object, we must as a consequence know something about it, and in this sense Prof. Royce is right when he says: "A really fruitful philosophical study of the conception of God is inseparable from an attempt to estimate what evidence there is for the existence of God." The further statement -- "the proof that one can offer for God's presence at the heart of the world constitutes also the best exposition that one can suggest regarding what one means by the conception of God,"{4} is not sufficiently complete. In this view, existence and nature are correlative. If we have proven the existence of an object, we know its nature implicitly or fundamentally, but not explicitly; thus the mere existence is not the "best exposition" of the nature. We may prove the existence of God and still have but a vague general idea of what God is, as the proofs St. Thomas offers for God's existence show; it is only after a process of deduction and the analysis of the idea given by the proofs that we can be said to have an exposition worthy to be called a satisfactory or rounded conception. An adequate or proper concept of God can not be arrived at by the human mind in its present condition -- and to this extent the essence of God, His nature in se, remains unknown to us, yet there is a concept of God's nature that we can truly reach by determined methods, and this we hope to establish. Existence and conception can be considered independently. Whether we handle both or only one, we practically travel over the same ground. In a conception we are held to give as much as the human intellect can attain to regarding the idea of God; in proving the existence of God we are only bound to as much as the facts contain that lead to this existence -- we have still the analysis of this idea on hand. The existence alone lacks completeness, the conception by itself is a mere idea. St. Thomas combines both, and only when both are treated is our quest a fruitful one. If God were an intuition, the questions of existence and nature would blend, would be one; if He is known only by demonstration they are distinct, though closely connected. How is the existence of God known? It is not known per se, says Aquinas, and hence it must be known by demonstration. St. Thomas considers the two great aspects under which a thing is knowable, before he advances evidence for God's existence. An object is knowable in itself -- per se nota -- and it is knowable rela tively to us -- quoad nos nota. A proposition is knowable in itself when the predicate is included in the concept of the subject or immediately connected with it. The proposition, man is an animal, is knowable in itself, because the predicate animal is included in the concept man. The same is true of first principles; but first principles are not only knowable in themselves but also immediately knowable to us. A proposition is knowable in itself and knowable to us when we immediately perceive the necessary connection between the subject and the predicate -- as in the first principle, the whole is greater than a part. When we come to the proposition God exists -- Deus est -- we have a proposition per se nota to one who understands the meaning of the words, God and exists. "But as we do not know what God is, this proposition is not per se nota, but needs to be demonstrated through those things that are more known to us, and less known in their nature, namely effects."{5} The existence of God must then be proven. To know a proposition per se, it is needful that its terms and their relation be known; if either is unknown we can not speak of per se nota. It is not surprising that the existence of God is not known per se to us, "for our intellect is related to objects that are most known as the eye of an owl to the sun."{6} Before giving his proofs for God's existence, St. Thomas shows the insufficieny of the Argument of St. Anselm to prove the existence of God, and in general, of all positions that do not start with material things as a basis, and from them rise to a knowledge of God. The Ontological argument was advanced by St. Anselm, modified by Descartes, and supplemented by Leibniz. It has likewise been handled by some other philosophers, either for commendation or rejection, such as, Spinoza, Locke, Kant, Hegel. We shall give briefly the position of the first three named, before we present the reason for its rejection by Aquinas. St. Anselm tells us that he had been seeking a long time for one argument that would suffice to establish the existence of God -- "a single argument that would require no other for its proof than itself alone; and alone would suffice to demonstrate that God truly exists."{7} After a weary struggle in thought he finally reached the following argument: Even the fool, he says, has the idea of the being than which nothing greater can be conceived, though he does not understand it to exist. "And whatever is understood exists in the understanding. And assuredly that than which nothing greater can be conceived, cannot exist in the understanding alone. For suppose it exists in the understanding alone, then it can be conceived to exist in reality, which is greater . . . There is no doubt that there exists a being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, and it exists both in the understanding and in reality."{8} Descartes held that we have an idea of a supremely perfect being. The idea which is clear and distinct, contains in itself the idea of existence, for if we think of a mountain we must recognize that there is a valley, for the two are inseparable; so if we have the idea of the infinite, the idea of existence necessarily accompanies it. This perfect being must contain all perfection, but existence is a perfection and thus cannot be wanting to it.{9} Leibniz gives the form of the argument as set forth by Anselm and Descartes thus: "God is the greatest or (as Descartes says) the most perfect of beings, or rather a being of supreme grandeur and perfection including all degrees thereof. That is the notion of God." He goes on to say, "The Scholastics, not even excepting their Doctor Angelicus have misunderstood this argument and have taken it as a paralogism; in which respect they were altogether wrong. It is not a paralogism, but it is an imperfect demonstration which assumes something that must still be proved in order to render it mathematically evident; that is, it is tacitly assumed that this idea of the All-great or All-perfect being is possible, and implies no contradition. And it is already something that by this remark it is proved that assuming that God is possible He exists, which is the privilege of divinity alone." This element of possibility is what Leibniz added to the argument, and of which he said, "We have the right to presume the possibility of every being, and especially that of God, until someone proves the contrary"{10} We may be easily mislead by the Ontological Argument, and any position in fact, that seeks to rest simply on ideas that are common to mankind as a result of circumstances, and that does not probe into the history and development of these ideas. St. Thomas wisely remarks that "men are accustomed to hear and invoke the name of God from infancy; but custom, and especially that dating from childhood, has the force of nature; whence it is brought about that those things by which one is imbued from boyhood are as firmly held as if they were naturally and per se known. Moreover, this happens because we do not distinguish between a thing known in itself simply and as known by us."{11} Anselm, of course was aware of the difference between an idea and the objective existence of a corresponding thing -he says, "it is one thing for an object to be in the understanding, and another to understand that the object exists."{12} He also admitted the a posteriori argument for God's existence, as did Descartes likewise. Yet in the argument under consideration, he lays great stress on the fact that from the idea of God we can proceed further and come to reality, but he does not speak of the origin of this idea or its basis in anything outside the mind. And this is where it diverges from the view of Aquinas, who first traces the steps that lead to this idea before he seeks to specify it. The word God does not awaken the same idea in all men, "for some believed God to be body"; granting that it did, "it would not follow that what is understood by this name is in rerum natura, but only an intellectual idea."{13} The flaw in the argument is the passage from the ideal tn the real, and St. Thomas pointed this out clearly, though unfortunately he did not go further and tell us how he arrived at this distinction. The fact that he made this distinction is evident, and refutes the unwarranted imputation of naive realism. It was perhaps his undoubted trust in reality that prevented him from going beyond a mere reference to the distinction between the ideal and the real.{14}

St. Thomas regards the argument as a petitio principii. "His (Anselm's) argument proceeds from this supposition that he posits some being than which no greater can be thought."{15} "Unless we concede there is something in rerum natura than which no greater can be thought,"{16} we can think something greater. The fact that we can think God not to exist "does not arise from the imperfection or uncertainty of His existence, but from the weakness of our intellect which can not see Him through himself, but through His effects. And thus we are lead to know His existence by demonstration."{17} The existence of God is then a matter of demonstration. There are two kinds of demonstration -- one from cause to effect, the other from effect to cause. The former is called propter quid or a priori, the latter quia or a posteriori. "When some effect is more manifest to us than its cause, we proceed through the effect to a knowledge of the cause. From every effect the existence of its specific cause can be demonstrated, provided its effects are more known to us, for since effects depend on a cause, the effect given, the cause must necessarily exist. Whence the existence of God, as it is not per se known to us, is demonstrated through effects known to us."{18} The existence of God is proven from effects. The fundamental statement and fact in this question from man's standpoint is this: God, as all other objects, is known from material things. "Though God exceeds all sensible things and sense itself, yet His effects, from which we prove His existence, are sensible. As the origin of knowledge is in sense, so of those things which surpass sense."{19} "The human intellect by its natural power cannot grasp the substance of God, since our intellectual knowledge in this life takes its rise in the senses. Yet from material things our intellect rises to a divine knowledge, a knowledge of God's existence and the qualities it is proper to attribute to Him as the First Cause."{20} Material things are diverse, and a rational consideration of any class of them will lead us to a conclusion above and beyond the members of the class, singly or collectively taken. We seek to know as much of them as can be known and while thus engaged we are brought to a something that agrees with them in a way, and yet surpasses them to a much greater extent. We suspect this something has more to do with the material things before us than a simple view of them seems to warrant.

In this spirit, a spirit that allows the reasoning faculty to pursue what appears its legitimate course in dealing with phenomena, St. Thomas considers five lines of facts and follows them back to what is for him an inevitable logical conclusion. These proofs are so many evidences of his basic principle of knowledge -- that all our knowledge comes from material things, takes its rise in the senses.

In the formation of the concept of God, then, there are two factors -- material things and the reasoning faculty. We perceive objects about us the reason of whose existence is not self-evident nor self-explanatory, and there is in man a natural desire to get at the bottom of things, to seek an explanation of what he sees. What is this natural desire in the system of Aquinas?

St. Thomas admits that each man has as a natural endowment, a tendency to God, which affects his whole being. There is the desire for unlimited happiness, and perfection in its fulness, and the desire for a completely satisfied inquisitiveness. "Man naturally desires happiness," and thus God, "in so far as God is the beatitude of man."{21} There a certain general and confused knowledge of God, which is, as it were, present to all men." And this is true "because man by natural reason can readily arrive at some knowledge of God, for men seeing that the things of nature move according to order, understand that there is some ordainer of these things, for there is no ordering without an orderer." Yet this general view does not reveal, "who or of what nature, or if there be but one orderer of nature."{22} Those, therefore, who contend that God is immediately known because He is the adequate explanation of things, must remember that our concept of this adequate principle of all is at first very vague. It exists however, and resting on it St. Thomas builds up a position that we might call the Nature-God Tendency, "the intellectual substance tends to divine knowledge as a last end."{23}

This tendency or disposition is principally an internal affair, a spontaneous expression of our nature, yet even here the starting point, the basis of its operation, lies in things without, in sensible objects. The mind cannot rest in these objects, but advances, "for nothing finite can quiet the desire of the intellect." Thus as there is a "natural desire to know in all intellectual natures, so there is a natural desire to dispel ignorance or nescience."{24} We are therefore led to as thorough a knowledge and as complete an explanation of things as our powers admit. The imperfect desires to attain perfection in a given sphere, "for he who has an opinion about a certain thing, which is an imperfect knowledge of that thing, from this very fact is incited to desire a scientific knowledge of it . . . We do not think we know an object if we are ignorant of its substance, whence our principal aim in knowing a thing is to get at its nature or quiddity."{25} We perceive that men act, and we attribute their action to a certain cause to which we give the name soul, though we know not as yet the nature of the soul, if it be body, or how it affects the operations we witness."{26} Philosophy was born in the "natural desire all men have of knowing the causes of what they see", and not until they "have the cause, are they at rest. The quest however does not cease until they have reached the first cause, for then only do we consider our knowledge perfect when we know the first cause. Man naturally desires to know the first cause as if an ultimate end."{27} It is easy to see whither this thought leads; this desire "tends toward something definite. We find as a fact in this desire of knowing the more one knows, the greater is one s desire to know; hence this natural desire of man for knowing tends toward some determined end. But this end can be no other than the most excellent that is knowable which is God."{28} Again, in accordance with the general principles of knowledge we come to the same conclusion. "Man naturally desires to know the cause of every known effect, but the human intellect knows ens universale, therefore it naturally desires to know its cause, which is God only."{29} We can then state, that there is innate in man a faculty or power which abstracts particular, general, transcendental concepts from the data of the senses, and which from these concepts, by a process of negation and combination, forms other concepts, even the concept of God; and finally, a natural tendency which seeks the cause of things known, and is not at rest until it finds the first cause, and knows its nature in some way.{30} To this extent the idea of God is innate in us. Hontheim and others think it better to refrain from speaking of this innate idea of God at the present time, on account of the danger of abuse, yet it exists in the sense explained and is so admitted by St. Thomas, and it is but just to those who hold we have an immediate or innate idea of God -- as this word innate is usually understood -- to admit the amount of truth their view contains.{31} This concession however, does not do away with the necessity of demonstration and analysis for attaining the idea of God in so far as the human mind can attain it. Aquinas does not lose sight of his main thesis -- that all knowledge rises from the senses. "There is a certain confused estimation by which God is commonly known by all or most men . . . and there is also a knowledge of God by way of demonstration."{32} -- the former is the knowledge common to all, a vague knowledge; the latter is a proper knowledge of God resting on argument and proof. Moreover, he does not allow a greater certainty to conclusions based on the data of consciousness as consciousness, "for although the human mind has greater likeness to God than inferior creatures, yet the knowledge of God which is derived from the human mind does not exceed the kind of knowledge which arises from sensible things, since the soul only knows its nature because it understands the natures of sensible objects. Whence God is not known through this source in a higher way than the cause is known through the effect."{33} This statement bars innate ideas from the system of Aquinas, as well as what is now called Personal Idealism, which cuts away from the sensible world and tries to find in consciousness alone its view of God. St. Thomas says we gain nothing by this procedure, for whence comes our knowledge of consciousness? From sensible things. Hence it is, that after the admissions already noted, he sets out to prove the existence of God from five points of view, each, however, starting from material things.

The first argument is taken from the fact of motion. This St. Thomas calls "the more manifest way" or fact to start with. "It is certain and evident to sense that there is movement in the world, but what is moved is moved by another, for nothing is moved except it is in potency to the movement it undergoes. Naught passes from the potential to the actual save through the actual . . . for the same thing cannot be potential and actual at the same time under the same aspect, but only under diverse aspects . . . It is thus impossible that from the same point of view, and in the same manner, something be mover and moved, or something move itself . . . Therefore whatever is moved must be moved by another." Everything in motion is moved by another, but we cannot admit this "process in infinitum, otherwise there would be no first mover, and consequently no motion . . . Therefore we must come to some prime mover that is moved by no other, and all understand this to be God."

The second argument rests on the "concept of efficient cause. We find in these sensible things an order of efficient causes; yet we do not discover, nor can we, that anything is its own efficient cause, for thus it would be prior to itself which is impossible." These causes are related -- first, intermediate, and ultimate; the last depends on the intermediate, and these, whether one or many, depend on a first, or else they themselves should not exist, which is contrary to fact, and we should be obliged to admit an infinite regress. "We must therefore posit some efficient first cause, which we call God."

We have then the argument from contingent or possible being to necessary being. We find certain things that are indifferent to existence. They may or may not exist; but things of this nature were not always. If all things were thus indifferent, there would have been a time when there was no existence. If this is true then there would be no existence now, which is false, for "nothing begins to be except through what is." There must then be some necessary existence in things. This necessary being or existence has the cause of its necessity in itself or from without. If from without we are again on the path, of efficient causes, and thus can not proceed in infinitum. "Therefore, we must posit something necessary per se, whose necessity is not caused, but which is the cause of necessity to others. And this we call God."

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The various degrees of perfection found in things, is the basis of the fourth argument. In objects we find that we can apply the particles "more" or to their qualities of goodness, truth, and the like. This companson rests on agreement with a standard which is fully what they are in part. In a given line of perfection we have degrees in various proportions, there must then be an absolute perfection in this line which is the basis and standard of these degrees. "Therefore there is something which is the cause of the being, goodness, and every perfection of all beings, and this we call God." The last argument leads to an intelligent being from the idea of order in things. We see objects that are irrational act for an end, and this not occasionally but always, or at least most frequently they act to attain what is best; thus this action is not due to chance. But irrational objects can not act thus unless they are directed by some rational or intellectual being. "Therefore there is something intelligent by which all natural things are ordained to an end. And this we call God."{34}

{1} C.G., l. 3, C. 97.

{2} De Veri., q. 10, a. 8 ad 8.

{3} C.G, l. 1, c. 12.

{4} The Conception of God, pp. 6, 7.

{5} Sed quia nos non scimus de Deo quid est, non est nobis per se nota, sed indiget demonstrari per ea quae stint magis nota quoad nos, et minus nota quoad naturam, scilicet per effectus. Sum. Theol. I, q. 2, a. 1.

{6} Ad ea quae sunt notissima rerum, noster intellectus se habeat, ut oculus noctuae ad solem C. G., 1, c. 11.

{7} Preface to Proslogium.

{8} Ibid., c. 2.

{9} Principia Philosophiae, part 1, 14; Med. 3.

{10} Nouveaux Essais, c. 10.

{11} A principio homines assueti sunt nomen Dei audire et invocare. Consuetudo autem, et praecipue quae est a principio, vim naturae obtinet; ex quo contingit ut ea quibus a pueritia animus imbuitur, ita firmiter teneantur ac si essent naturaliter et per se nota. C.C., l. 1, c. 11.

{12} Pros., c. 2.

{13} Dato enim quod quilibet intelligat hoc nomine, Deus, significari hoc quod dicitur (scilicet illud quo magis cogitari non potest); non tamen propter hoc sequitur quod intelligat id quod significatur per nomen, esse in rerum natura, sed in apprehensione intellectus tantum. Sum. Theol., I, q. 2, a. 1 ad 2.

{14} Modern philosophers, as a rule, when they refer to this argument, give Kant the credit for picking the flaw in it, though he simply repeats the criticism given by St. Thomas.

{15} Ratio sua procedit ex hac suppositione, quod supponatur aliquid esse quo majus cogitari non potest. Com, on Lomb., I, Dis. 3, q 1, a. 2 ad 4.

{16} Non enim, inconveniens est, quolibet dato vel in re, vel in intellectu, aliquid majus cogitari posse, nisi ei qui concedit esse aliquid, quo majus cogitari non pussit in rerum natura.

{17} Nam quod (Deus) possit cogitari non esse, non ex imperfectione sui esse est, vel incertitudine, quum suum, esse, sit secundum se manifestissimum, sed ex debilitate intellectus nostri, qui eum intueri non potest per ipsum, sed ex effectibus ejus. Et sic, ad cognoscendum ipsum esse, ratiocinando perducitur. C.G., l. 1, c. 11.

{18} "Cum enim effectus aliquis nobis est manifestior quam sua causa, per effectum procedimus ad cognitionem causae. Ex quolibet autem effectu putest demonstrari propriam causam ejus esse, si tamen ejus effectus sint magis noti quoad nos; quia cum effectus dependeant a causa, posito effectu, necesse est causam praeexistere. Unde Deum esse, secundum quod non est per se notum quoad nos, demonstrabile est per effectus nobis notos. Sum. Theol., I, q. 2, a. 2.

{19} "Etsi Deus sensibilia omnia et sensum excedat, ejus tamen effectus, ex quibus demonstratio sumitur ad probandum Deum esse, sensibiles sunt; et sic nostrae cognitionis origo in sensu est, etiam de his quae sensum excedunt. C. G., l. 1, c. 12.

{20} Ad substantiam ipsius capiendam, intellectus humanus non potest naturali virtute pertingere, quum intellectus nostri, secundum modum praesentis vitae, cognitio a sensu incipiat . . . Ducitur tamen ex sensibilibus intellectus noster in divinam cognitionem, ut cognoscat de Deo quia est, et alia hujusmodi, quae oportet attribui primo principio. C.G., l. 1, c. 3.

{21} Sum. Theol., I, q. 2, a. 1 ad 1.

{22} Est enim quaedam communis et confusa Dei cognitio, quae quasi omnibus hominibus adest . . . Quia naturali ratione statim homo in aliqualem Dei cognitionem pervenire potest; videntes enim homines res naturales secundum ordinem creatum currere; quum ordinatio absque ordinatore non sit . . . Quis, autem qualis, vel si unus tantum est ordinator naturae nondum stat in ex hac communi consideratione habetur. C.G., l. 3, c. 38.

{23} Substantia igitur intellectualis tendit in divinam cognitionem sicut in ultimum finem. C.G., l. 3, c. 25. Driscoll aptly calls this tendency by the name of 'spontaneous knowledge of God.' It is distinguished by two important characteristics, he says. "a) It arises from rational nature by the use of faculties connatural to all. Hence it is not an intuition, nor is it the result of a special faculty. b) It is universal with human nature. God. Pref. to 2nd ed., p. VIII.

{24} Nihil finitum desiderium intellectus quietare potest . . . Sicut naturale desiderium inest omnibus intellectualibus naturis ad sciendum, ita inest naturale desiderium ignorantiam seu nescientiam pellendi. C.G., l. 3, c. 50.

{25} Omne enim quod est imperfectum in aliqua specie desiderat consequi perfectionem speciei illius; qui enim habet opinionem de re aliqua, quae est imperfecta illius rei notitia, ex hoc ipso incitatur ad desiderandum illius rei scientiam. . Non enim arbitramur nos aliquid cognoscere si substantiam ejus non cognoscimus. Unde et praecipuum in cognitione alicujus rei est scire de ea quid est. C.G., l. 3, c. 50.

{26} Quam videmus hominem moveri et alia opera agere, percipimus in eo quandam causam harum operationum quae aliis rebus non inest, et hanc causam animam nominamus, nondum tamen scientes quid sit anima, si est corpus, vel qualiter operationes praedictas efficiat. C.G., l. 3, c. 38.

{27} Naturaliter inest omnibus hominibus desiderium cognoscendi causa earum quae videntur; unde, propter admirationem eorum quae videbantur quorum causae latebant, homines primo philosophari coeperunt; invenientes autem causam quiescebant. Nec sistit inquisitio quousque perveniatur ad primam causam: et tunc perfecte nos scire arbitramur quando primam causam cognoscimus. Desiderat igitur homo naturaliter cognoscere primam causam quasi ultimum finem. C.G., l. 3, c. 25.

{28} Quod igitur vehementius in aliquid tendit postea quam prius, non movetur ad infinitum, sed ad aliquid determinatum tendit. Hoc autem invenimus in desiderio sciendi; quanto enim aliquis plura scit, tanto majori desiderio affectat scire. Tendit igitur desiderium naturale hominis in sciendo ad aliquem determinatum finem. Hoc autem non potest esse aliud quam nobilissimum scibile, quod Deus est. C.G., l. 3, c. 25.

{29} Cujuslibet effectus cogniti naturaliter homo causam scire desiderat. Intellectus autem humanus cognoscit ens universale. Desiderat igitur naturaliter cognoscere causam ejus, quae solum Deus est. C. G., l. 3, c. 25.

{30} This statement is taken from Hontheim's Theodicea, p.19.

{31} Moreover, this shows that the view St. Thomas took of the problem of God was broad and flexible, and offsets the impression that the idea of God for him was a rigid, formal conception -- Being and nothing else, and this even in Pantheistic sense, as we find stated by J. W. Hanne in Die Idee der Absoluten Persönlichkeit, pp. 486-494. There is much material in Aquinas to lengthen out the point we have just touched on in the text.

{32} Communiter ab omnibus vel pluribus (Deus) cognoscitur secundum quamdam aestimationem confusam . . . cognoscitur (Deus) per viam demonstrationis. C.G., l. 3, c. 48.

{33} Quamvis autem mens humana propinquiori Dei similitudinem repraesentat quam inferiores creaturae, tamen cognitio Dei, quae ex mente humana accipi potest, non excedit illud genus cognitionis quod ex sensibilibus sumitur, cum et ipsa anima de seipsa cognoscat quid est, per hoc quod naturas intelligit sensibilium. Unde nec per hanc viam cognosci Deus altiori modo potest quam sicut causa cognoscitur per effectum. C.G., l. 3, c. 47.

{34} These arguments are taken from the Sum. Theol., I, q. 2, a. 3.

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