CT 35: The Foregoing Truths Embraced in One Article of Faith

In Chapter 35, Thomas relates the things he’s proven so far to the words of the Creed:

From all the details of doctrines thus far discussed, we can gather that God is one, simple, perfect, and infinite, and that He understands and wills. All these truths are assembled in a brief article of our Creed, wherein we profess to believe “in one God, almighty.” For, since this name “God” (Deus), is apparently derived from the Greek name Theos, which comes from theasthai, meaning to see or to consider, the very name of God makes it clear that He is intelligent and consequently that He wills. In proclaiming that He is one, we exclude a plurality of gods, and also all composition; for a thing is not simply one unless it is simple. The assertion that He is almighty is evidence of our belief that He possesses infinite power, from which nothing can be taken away. And this includes the further truth that He is infinite and perfect; for the power of a thing follows the perfection of its essence.

I don’t have much to say, here. I do wonder about the emphasized phrase. What does “the perfection of its essence” mean? A being can possess various perfections; this seems to be saying that a being that possesses a perfection as part of its essence is more powerful than one that doesn’t. But it does it really matter whether the perfection is essential or accidental? Or is Thomas referring to the extent to which a being’s essence is perfected, the extent to which it possesses perfections on top of its essence, and the more so the more powerful?


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