From below

The Thomist “being as true” as capturing the existence of God has one crucial difference: St. Thomas draws causal links between (some) things absolutely divided. If I want to explain X, I can’t start the account with X’s – you can’t give an account of the creation of hammers by saying that some guy once took a hammer and forged one. Causes as such transcend caused things, and God is a limit case of this, transcending all absolutely with nothing at all non-causal. God’s pure causality requires that there be nothing at all in common between him and creatures.

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3 Comments

  1. February 12, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Two questions:

    1. I take it that your saying that God is “with nothing at all non-causal” is but another way of saying, as you do, that God is pure causality. I assume also that you would not want to say that God must by nature be causing things other than God, that is, that the existence of creatures remains contingent. Shall I take it then that God, as pure causality, is eternally self-causing and so a se?

    2. Do you really mean “nothing at all in common,” when you say that “God’s pure causality requires that there be nothing at all in common between him and creatures”? I.e., do you mean that there is no similarity whatsoever between the being that is God and, say, the being that was (or is) Plato?

    • February 12, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      1.) By “pure causality” I want to speak of God in relation to creatures, which involves a real relation from creatures to God but only a logical one from creatures to God. See here for STA’s account. I see a crucial part of the argument as the impossibility of self-causality, and so I would not describe aseity as self-causality. If we wanted to shift out of English-Latin idioms to Greek ones, then “cause” will become broader and so open up the possibility of self-causality, but that would change the subject.

      2.) “Similarity” is too broad a word for me to answer to the question, since we can call things similar for no more reason than we can compare the one to the other. But there can be nothing intrinsic to God and creatures that is common to both, since it would then have to be neither created nor uncreated. St. Thomas has been accused of wanting esse to be just this sort of thing, but if he said this it was in a moment of weakness. Etiam Homer dormivit.

      • February 12, 2015 at 4:39 pm

        Your first statement in response to my first question was perfectly put. But I wonder about the difference you see between self-causality and a seity. Aristotle and Aquinas were both able to conceive of divine self-knowledge as a knowledge in which knower, known, and knowledge are, if conceptually distinct, really identical. Aquinas at least was able to conceive of divine self-love as a love in which lover, beloved, and love are, if conceptually distinct, really identical. Couldn’t it also be the case that divine self-causation is a causation in which cause, caused, and causation are, if conceptually distinct, really identical?


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