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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 130 – Thomas Aquinas and the Divine Attributes

Thomas Aquinas is friar and philosopher who lived during the 13th century in Italy.  He is considered to be a saint by the people and the Church because of his works showing the divine attributes of God.  In this essay, I am going to talk about two of the five divine attributes he presented in his works.

God is a purely actual being, meaning that He is all-powerful and has no unrealized potentiality.  For those who do not understand, unrealized potentiality is like a human never learning to swim even though they have the capability.  Unrealized potentiality is a mortal concept, which cannot apply to a higher being like God.

Aquinas presents the example of what would happen if there are other gods.  If that is the case, there has to be a way to differentiate the two from each other.  If you use the reasoning that God is more powerful than “god two”, then that must mean that the second god has not unlocked its full potential.  This cannot be the case for a purely actual being, proving that the second god is not a real god.

This brings me to the second, and considerably shorter attribute: God is perfect.

God is a purely actual being, meaning He cannot have any negative features because they are lacks.  He is perfect in every way and has no unactualized potential.

As you can see, Aquinas’ has good points, however they can be hard to understand and even harder to explain.  Personally, the only divine attribute that fully makes sense to me are the two I included in this essay.  If you are curious about the other three attributes, I highly recommend researching about it.  They are intriguing topics to learn about, even if they are hard to understand.

Thanks for reading!


Author: sophiaelahirpc

10th Grade student in the Ron Paul Curriculum. Full-time teen writer living in Singapore.

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