On Beatitude Part X: What

On Beatitude Part X: What is Necessary for Human Beatitude

When we say that the creature has an absolute dependence, “creature” means anything that has being, not simply substances, but any part of a substance, any action of the substance, and anything that relates to substance. We oppose “creature” to both God and non-being. When we call God a creator, we can mean both that he made what was different from himself, and other, and that he made something opposed to non-being, and in this sense like himself.

The creature, then, is opposed in different ways to the creator and to non being. It stands opposed to the creator because it has no source of existence from itself (and in this sense it is in itself non-being); but it stands opposed to non-being because it has existence. The creature can also be said to have a likeness to both the creator and to non-being, for it both is and yet is nothing in itself.

The creature is infinitely removed from both non-being and the creator. No creature can be non-being, nor can it be the creator, and “to become” either would amount to annihilation of itself. In this sense, every creature- every man, angel, mind, thought- is infinitely far from God. Yet in another sense, every man, angel, thought and being has a sort of likeness to God, and one may certainly have more of a likeness than another, though all creatures- again- are infinitely removed from the divinity.

But if every creature is infinitely removed from God, then what of the knowing creature’s desire for friendship with God himself, a desire that cannot be extracted from the knower (part IX)? What are the consequences of creating something with a desire for something that it is infinitely removed from, and therefore has no ability to attain by itself? Friendship can only be proportionate to intimacy, but every creature is of itself infinitely removed from God. This infinite distance cannot be crossed by a creature any more than a creature can cross the infinite distance between non-being and being, for the creature cannot create. And yet that creatures exist at all proves that God in fact does, by his own power, overcome the infinite distance between non-being and being by his act of creation. This leaves open the possibility that God himself could cross the infinite distance between creature and creator. If this crossing as not happened, or will not happen, then human life is futile and frustrated; with neither an attainable purpose, nor the hope of one.


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