Summary Against Modern Thought: Limits Of Our Knowledge Of God
Last few weeks we learned there are limits to how well we can know God. This week we learn that having an intellect means knowing a small part of God.
1 Since the created intellect is exalted to the vision of the divine substance by a certain supernatural light, as is evident from what has been said, there is no created intellect so low in its nature that it cannot be elevated to this vision.
2 It has been shown, in fact, that this light cannot be connatural with any creature, but, that it surpasses every created nature in its power. But what is done by supernatural power is not hindered by a diversity of nature, since divine power is infinite. And so, in the case of the healing of an afflicted person, accomplished miraculously, it makes no difference whether the person is much or little afflicted. Therefore, the varying level of the intellectual nature does not hinder the lowest member of such a nature from being able to be brought to this vision by the aforementioned light.
3 Again, the gap between the intellect, at its highest natural level, and God is infinite in perfection and goodness. But the distance from the highest to the lowest intellect is finite, for there cannot be an infinite distance between one finite being and another. So, the distance which lies between the lowest created intellect and the highest one is like nothing in comparison to the gap which lies between the highest created intellect and God.
Now, that which is practically nothing cannot make a noticeable difference; thus, the distance between the center of the earth and our level of vision is like nothing in comparison with the distance that lies between our eye level and the eighth sphere, in regard to which sphere the whole earth takes the place of a point; this is why no noticeable variation results from the fact that astronomers in their demonstrations use our eye level of sight as the center of the earth. Therefore, it makes no difference what level of intellect it is that is elevated to the vision of God by the aforementioned light: it may be the highest, the lowest, or one in the middle.
Notes Again we have a kind of mathematical proof about infinities by our good saint!
4 Besides, it was proved above that every intellect naturally desires the vision of the divine substance, but natural desire cannot be incapable of fulfillment. Therefore, any created intellect whatever can attain to the vision of the divine substance, and the inferiority of its nature is no impediment.
Notes This means atheists, too.
5 Hence it is that the Lord promises men the glory of the angels: “They shall be,” He says, speaking of men, “like the angels of God in heaven” (Matt. 22:30). And also it is said that there is “the same measure for man and for angel” (Apoc. 21:3-7). For this reason, too, almost everywhere in Sacred Scripture angels are described in the shape of men: either wholly, as is evident of the angels who appeared to Abraham in the likeness of men (Gen. 18:2); or partially, as is the case of the animals of whom it is said that “they had the hands of a man under their wings” (Ez. 1:8).
Notes Something to look forward to. Or to be fearful of, if you end up on the wrong side of the empyrean.
6 By this conclusion we refute the error of those who have said that the human soul, no matter how much it be elevated, cannot attain equality with the higher intellects.