The concrete/abstract duality

-St. Thomas argues that God is the name for a concrete-abstract duality (see response to objection 2).

-Immediately after proving that God exists, STA considers the divine simplicity. But in speaking of the divine existence we consider him as concrete, and when considering him as simple as abstract. So the consideration of God as a concrete reality immediately leads to considering him as an abstract one.

-What are we doing when we say “an Absolutely simple being exists?” What does it mean to speak of the concretion of the abstract?

-The simplicity of God testifies to his communicability, and the obvious need to evangelize. Even atheists want justice to prevail. Atheism just is some way of wanting justice to prevail. But we don’t ultimately think justice is an ideal in the sense of being non-subsistent.

– This response is too quick: “God is love, but love is not God”. If all we want to say is that some creature is not the creator, or that love can be an idol,  the claim is obvious and does not need to be said. But it leaves out the way in which an abstract reality is really prior to our understanding of God. This priority requires us to begin with love and move to God, that is, to discover the way in which love is God. What we first call love is not what, as it turns out, we most meant to say by “love”.

-Modern Physics is not imaginable, but mediated by mathematics. “Don’t consider the world and what you can imagine” says the physicist “just consider the numbers”. Perfection mediates the consideration of God as a concrete/ abstract duality. We take mathematical ideas from the world somehow and the idea of perfection from the world somehow. But neither is limited by what we can know of the sensible world as sensible. It would be helpful for metaphysicians to consider the way in which mathematics goes beyond experience. We have seen for a long time how it exceeds experience by its certitude, but this is barely scratching the surface.

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