Goodness from truth, and an objection

Truth and knowledge have a lot of meanings, but start with an idea of knowledge that is broader than truth, i.e. the mosquito flying around the room knows about a large warm object (me) but being aware of large, warm, tasty objects is not the same thing as being aware of truth. Being aware of the tasty is a source of feeding behaviors but being aware of truth is a source of science-acquiring behaviors, and bugs show one behavior all the time without ever showing the other.

So truth in this second sense would be actualized in science-acquiring behavior, and this seems to limit truth to humans and whatever arrives on the next spaceship.

In this sense truth extends to all things, and since anything true is some sort of perfection of mind it is also desirable. In this sense being as being is both true since it is the case and also good.

The truth of being is therefore relative to intellect, and its goodness consists in its being perfective thereof. Since nothing is perfective relative to the divine intellect or will, both truth and goodness as here understood are entirely relative to the created intellect and will, even though God is true and good in this sense. This explains why Thomas appeals to God’s efficient causality when he proves the divine goodness, sc. because it is in God being a source of things other than himself that he is perfective in reality and therefore good.

Objection: The status of being-perfective-in-reality is a perfection. But God becomes a being with this status only by creating. Therefore, God acquires some perfection by creating and so creation stands to God as perfective.

Response: It’s integral to the notion of creation itself that any account of it as becoming is only in the mode of understanding and not to the act of creation. Creation is from nothing both in the sense that it is not from some undeveloped potency in creation and not from an undeveloped  potency in the creator.

Undeveloped potencies are peculiar to time: I act now and not then or later and so actualize something now that was not actualized then or later. If I stop cutting it effects neither what I have cut nor will cut. However the past or the future in reality (and outside of the divine mind) exist, they will continue to exist if I stop. If God ceases creating, however, then all temporality outside of divine thought, no matter what being it has, would entirely disappear.

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