Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Singular difficulty

Having shown above how the senses and the intellect differ in their objects of knowledge, a difficulty arises concerning God's knowledge. The intellect receives its object by abstracting it from the material conditions of the senses, thereby making it universal. Among these material conditions are the particular wheres and whens that accompany the object of sense, without which it is impossible for men to know things in their singularity. Aristotle even says, "reason [or intellect] has to do with universals, sense with singular things." So then it would seem to follow that God, who is his own intellect and does not know by means of a sensitive organ, is wholly ignorant of these singular realities and only knows them as they fall under some universal concept. Since God excels his effects in every way, it is not possible that man should know something that God does not. In order to answer this difficulty, St. Thomas argues that God contains within himself "an immaterial likeness of prime matter" by which he is able to know singulars. In order to resolve more satisfactorily the difficulty of whether God knows singulars, it is worth inquiring further into whether and how God knows prime matter and, finally, why this solves the difficulty involved in God knowing singulars.

[Next write about God's power over prime matter. Then inquire further into the likeness. A lot further. Then return to the relation between prime matter and singulars.]

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