Friday, December 21, 2012

Thesis intro draft/outline

  • God knows himself perfectly
  • Therefore God knows his power perfectly
  • Therefore he knows all of the effects of his power
  • First matter is one of the effects of his power
    • In a sense, yes
    • In a sense, no
  • Therefore God knows first matter
The argument above is basically the argument that God knows anything other than himself. Since he is the only immediate object of his knowledge, his knowledge of all other things is through his self-knowledge. The only difficult premise is the way in which God is the cause of first matter.

Another argument that God knows first matter is through explaining how God knows singulars.

  • All perfections of creatures exist in God in a higher way.
  • It is a perfection in creatures to know singulars.
  • Therefore God knows singulars.
  • Now material creatures know the universal by the intellect and the particular by the sense
    • When the intellect abstracts, it receives the form without the matter, without the here and now, and therefore cannot perceive the particular
    • The sense, on the other hand, does receive with the here and now, with material conditions, because the sense power belongs to a material organ
  • Now God does not have material organs on account of which he could perceive with material conditions, so he must know singulars by his intellect
  • Unlike our intellect, God does not abstract in his knowing, rather everything he knows must exist within him in a higher way
  • So God contains within himself an immaterial likeness of matter by which he knows singulars.
That argument is a little longer and requires one to consider more carefully how our cognition compares to God's. By presenting both of these arguments, one sees better the more interesting truths related to God's knowledge of first matter:
  • God is the cause of material things, even with regard to their materiality
  • God knows singulars, even in their singularity
The first argument really only has one difficult premise (so long as the rest about God's knowledge is granted), but the latter one has more involved difficulties. To what extent is a consideration of human cognition helpful? One really only needs to see that cognition of singulars is a perfection, and yet we do not have that perfection in the most perfect way. God does. So then there is the last sentence which demands explication: What is "an immaterial likeness of matter"? So I will explain in what way God has an immaterial likeness of matter, rather in what way God is an immaterial likeness of matter. And also how this likeness suffices for God to know singulars in all their singularity.

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