A Manual Of Catholic Theology, Based On Scheeben's Dogmatik
Joseph Wilhelm, D.D., PHD. And Thomas B. Scannell, D.D.
With A Preface By Cardinal Manning
Vol. 1. The Sources Of Theological Knowledge, God, Creation And The Supernatural Order
Third Edition, Revised, London, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Lt.
New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, Benziger Bros.
BOOK II. GOD.
The natural and usual division of the treatise on God is founded upon the Unity of the Divine Substance and the Trinity of the Divine Persons. While, however, opposing the Unity to the Trinity, as is done in the division Of God as One, and Of God as Three (De Deo Uno, De Deo Trino), we shall here connect them organically by first studying the Existence and Nature of God, then the Divine Life, and, lastly, the Divine Internal Activity, whereby the One Substance is communicated to the Three Divine Persons.
GOD CONSIDERED AS ONE IN SUBSTANCE.
The Fathers treat of God as One when they speak of Creation against pagans and Manichaeans. They enter more into detail in their polemical writings on the Trinity and Incarnation, especially against the Arians; e.g. St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nyssa, Contra Eunonium; St. Hilary, De Trinitate; and, above all, St. Augustine, De Trinitate. The completest patristic treatise on God as One is that of Dionysius the Areopagite (so-called), De Divinis Norninibus, with the commentary by St. Maximus the Confessor. The best collections of texts from the Fathers on this question are those of John of Cyprus, Expositio materiaria eorum quae de Deo a theologis dicuntur (Bibl. Patrum, Lugd., tom. xxi.), Petavius, Thomassinus, and Frassen, De Deo; and Theophil. Reynaud, Theol. Naturalis. In the Middle Ages St. Anselm's Monologium was an epoch-making work. Alexander of Hales and St. Thomas (I., qq. 2-26) contain copious materials. Of the countless modern writers we need only name Lessius, De Perfectionibus Moribusque Divinis. Among theologians of the present time the best treatises are by Staudenmaier, Berlage, Kuhn, Schwetz, Kleutgen, Franzelin, Pesch, Billot, and Janssen.
OUR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
A.NATURAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
SECT. 54. Natural Knowledge of God considered generally.
I. The Catholic doctrine on man's natural knowledge of God was defined by the Vatican Council: Holy Mother Church doth hold and teach that God, the beginning and end of all things, can certainly be known from created things by the natural light of reason ; 'for the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made' (Rom. i. 20).
If any one shall say that the One true God, our Creator and Lord, cannot be certainly known by the natural light of human reason from the things that are made, let him be anathema (sess. iii., De Fide Catholica, ch. 2 and the corresponding can. ii. I.).
Holy Scripture, upon which the council's definition is based, teaches the same doctrine in many passages.
For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice (ver. 18); (For professing themselves to be wise they became fools, and they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man,
and they liked not (Greek word omitted) to have God in their knowledge). (Vers. 22-28.)
Because that which is known of God is manifest in them (Greek words omitted). For God hath manifested it unto them (ver. 19).
For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made (Greek word omitted); His eternal power also and divinity (Greek words omitted).
So that they are inexcusable. Because that when they knew God (Greek words omitted), they have not glorified Him as God, or given thanks, but became vain in their own thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened (vers. 20, 21).
But all men are vain (Greek words omitted), in whom there is not the knowledge of God:
and who by these good things that are seen could not understand Him that is (Greek word omitted), neither by attending to the works have acknowledged who was the Workman: but have imagined either the fire, or the wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the great water, or the sun and moon to be the gods that rule the world (vers. 1, 2).
With, whose beauty if they being delighted, took them to be gods: let them know how much the Lord of them is more beautiful than they; for the First Author (Greek word omitted) of beauty made all those things. Or if they admired their power and their effects (Greek words omitted), let them understand by them that He that made them is mightier than they: for by the greatness of the beauty and of the creature, the Creator of them may be seen, so as to be known thereby (Greek words omitted). (Vers. 3-5.)
But then again they are not to he pardoned; for if they were able to know so much as to make a judgment of the world, how did they not more easily find out the Lord thereof? (Vers. 8, 9.)
And again: For when the Gentiles who have not the law do by nature those things that are of the law, these having not the law are a law to themselves; who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness to them, and their thoughts between themselves accusing or also defending one another (Rom. ii. 14-16). Compare also St. Paul's discourses at Lystra and at Athens (Acts xiv., xvii.), in which a natural knowledge of God is presupposed as a foundation of and a point of contact with Faith.
II. The doctrine of Holy Scripture and the Council may be expressed in the following paragraphs:-
1. Man is able and is bound to acquire a true knowledge of God by means of his own natural faculties, and is responsible for ignorance or denial of God's existence, and for any consequent neglect of religious or moral duties.
2. Although it is most difficult for unaided reason to attain a perfect knowledge of God, nevertheless some elementary knowledge of Him is natural to the human mind; that is to say, a notion of God is acquired spontaneously at the very dawn of reason; no external help, certainly no profound philosophical instruction, is needed. The notion of God is likewise so much in harmony with the spiritual nature of man, that no adverse influences can altogether destroy it. This doctrine is not formally expressed by the Vatican Council; but it is contained clearly enough in Holy Scripture, and is universally taught by the Fathers and by theologians (cf. § 2).
3. This knowledge of God is also natural as proceeding from the very nature of human reason, and as being in accordance with its laws; that is to say, this knowledge arises, not from some blind instinct, or blind submission to authority, but from a most simple process of reasoning. Created nature is the medium whereby, as in a mirror, God manifests Himself to the eye of our mind. Our knowledge of Him, therefore, is not a direct or immediate intuition of Him as He is in Himself, but an inferential knowledge of Him as the Cause of created things. The Council directly states only that human reason is unable to attain to an immediate apprehension of God, and that the mediate apprehension by means of created things possesses a real, true, and perfect certitude. Hence the definition does not formally exclude the possibility of some other objective and immediate perception of God, not having the character of an intuition of or direct gazing upon His Essence. Revelation, however, does not recognize any such immediate knowledge, and the attempts made by theologians to establish its existence are not only without foundation, but even tend to endanger the dogma of the Divine Invisibility, and the dogma of the independent force of the mediate knowledge.
4. Our natural knowledge of God is based upon the consideration of the external world, that is, of the things apprehended by the senses, and also upon the consideration of the spiritual nature of the human soul. The external world manifests God chiefly in His Omnipotence and Providence; the life of the soul manifests the inner attributes of the Divine Life. The material and the spiritual world are thus, as it were, two mirrors in which we behold the image of the Creator. The material mirror is less perfect than the other, but for that very reason the knowledge acquired by means of it is easier, more natural, and more popular. Holy Scripture and the Fathers lay special stress upon it.
5. Our natural knowledge of God is aided by the supernatural manifestations of the Divine power, which can be perceived by our senses and intellect, the natural means of our knowledge. Physical and moral miracles, special and general instances of Providence, such as the hearing and answering of prayer, the punishment of evil-doers, the reward of the good, and the like, are instances of what we mean. This species of Divine Revelation also serves to authenticate the verbal Revelation the medium of Faith, and is the continuation of natural Revelation. On the other hand, by it alone the existence, and many attributes of God, may be known, and therefore it is particularly adapted to excite, develop, and complete the knowledge founded upon simply natural contemplation. Cf. Franzelin, De Deo Uno, thes. viii.
SECT. 55. The Demonstration of the Existence of God.
The complete treatment of the proof of the Existence of God belongs to Philosophy and Apologetics. (See A Dialogue on the Existence of God, by Rev. R. F. Clarke, S.J.) We shall here confine our attention to some remarks on the nature, force, and organic connection of these proofs.
I. To be or to exist belongs to God's very essence. The proposition, God exists, is therefore immediately evident in itself (per se nota secundum se). Nevertheless, since we have no immediate perception of the Divine Essence, this proposition is not immediately evident to us (per se nota quoad nos). To our mind it is a knowledge acquired by experience. The manifestations of God are immediately perceivable by us, and through these we prove the existence of God.
II. Although the existence of God requires proof, still our certitude of His existence is not necessarily the result of a scientific demonstration. A natural demonstration, sufficient to generate a perfect certitude, offers itself to every human mind, as it were spontaneously. The processes of scientific demonstration, if made use of at all, find already in the mind a conviction of God's existence, and only serve to confirm and deepen this conviction.
III. The proofs of the existence of God are of two kinds direct and indirect.
1. The indirect proofs show that our knowledge of the Divine existence is the necessary result of our rational nature, whence they infer that the existence of God is as certain as the rationality of our nature. Hence we have: (1) the Historical proofs, taken from the universality and constancy of this knowledge; (2) the Moral proof, based upon the moral and religious activity resulting from it; and (3) the proof taken from the logical and psychological character of this knowledge, by showing that it cannot result from internal or external experience, or from artificial combination, and must therefore result from the natural tendencies of reason itself.
2. The direct proofs represent God as the only Sufficient Cause of some effect which we perceive. They tend directly to prove His existence, and are a development of that natural process of human reason which, previous to any scientific demonstration, has already convinced us that He exists. They are classified according to the nature of the effect used as a medium of demonstration. At the same time, they form one organic whole, the several parts of which complete and perfect each other. They may be arranged as follows:
A. Proofs taken from existing things of which God is the Cause:
(a) From attributes common to all things, and pointing to God as the Absolute Being (=Metaphysical Proofs)
(i) From the dependent and conditional existence of things, which requires an independent and absolute Cause (causa efficiens);
(ii) From the imperfection, mutability, and natural limitation of things, which require an immutable and absolutely perfect Cause (causa exemplaris);
(iii) From the motion and development of which things are capable and which they accomplish, supposing thereby an immovable Prime Mover and Final Cause (causa finalis).
(b) From attributes proper to certain classes of things, and pointing to God as the Absolute Spiritual Nature (= Cosmological Proofs):
(i) From the nature and energies of matter, and the design in its arrangements, which can only be accounted for by the existence of an intellectual Being, the Author and Disposer of the material universe;
(ii) From the nature and energies of mind, which suppose a Creator and an Absolute Mind;
(iii) From the twofold nature of man, in whom mind and matter are so intimately blended that a higher creative principle must be admitted, the Author of both mind and matter.
B. Proofs taken from possible or ideal things of which God is the Principle:
The possibility, necessity, and immutability inherent in certain conceptions of the possible, the unlimited domain of things possible all of these suppose the existence of a Being, real, necessary and infinite, the foundation and source of all being and truth.
See St. Thom., I., q. 2, a. 3.
IV. It is an article of Faith that the Existence of God can be known by natural means. From this it follows that the proofs which are the natural means must themselves be convincing. It does not, however, imply that each of the above-mentioned arguments taken apart has the power of convincing. All, or at least some of them, taken together are capable of producing the requisite certitude. But the evidence of the demonstration is not like that of a mathematical proposition. In mathematics, especially in geometry, our imagination aids our reason; no moral considerations oppose the admission of the truths to be proved. The proofs of God's existence appeal to our reason alone, and compel it to rise above the images of our fancy and to accept a truth often most opposed to our natural desires. At the same time, the evidence is far more than a moral evidence. It produces absolute certainty, and imposes itself upon the mind in spite of moral obstacles.
SECT. 56. Our Conception of the Divine Essence and the Divine Attributes.
I. As our natural knowledge of God is mediate and indirect, our knowledge of the Divine Essence cannot be intuitive that is, resulting from direct intuition; nor can it be even equivalent to intuitive cognition that is, reflecting the Divine Essence as It is in Itself purely and simply. The latter could be the case only if creatures were perfect images of the Creator, and also if, in addition, we had a perfect knowledge of their essences. Holy Scripture tells us that the vision of God, as He is, is promised as the reward of the sons of God in Heaven (1 John iii. 2); and describes our present knowledge as a seeing through a glass in a dark manner (Greek words omitted) (1 Cor. xiii. 12).
II. An idea or conception of God as He really is, is impossible. Nevertheless, our idea of God is not simply negative and relative, showing merely what He is not and in what relations He stands to other beings. It is true, indeed, that the first element of our notion of Him is that He has none of the imperfections of finite things, and that He possesses the power to produce the perfections of creatures; yet, as these perfections are a reflection of His perfections, we are enabled to gather from them notions or conceptions of God, imperfect and indirect indeed, but still, at the same time, positive and truly representing the perfections belonging to the Divine Essence.
III. The perfections found in nature are but faint reproductions of the perfections of the Creator. Hence our natural conceptions, before they can be applied to the Divine Substance, must be purified of all imperfections, and must be enlarged and elevated so as to be made worthy of God (Greek word omitted). This eminent sense, as it is called, is expressed in the language of Holy Scripture and the Church in three ways: (1) The simplicity and substantiality of the Divine perfections are indicated by the use of abstract terms, e.g. by calling God not only good and wise, but also Goodness itself and Wisdom (Greek words omitted). (2) The infinite fulness of His perfections is expressed by adjectives with the prefix all, e.g. almighty, all-wise. (3) The intensity and super-eminent excellence of these perfections is pointed out by the prefix (Greek word omitted), super, which may be expressed in English by the adverb supremely, e.g. supremely wise.
IV. The analogical value or the eminent signification is not the same in all conceptions. Some of the perfections of creatures can be conceived as divested of all imperfection, e.g. the transcendental attributes of unity, truth, goodness, force, and the attributes which go to make spiritual creatures the images of God. When these notions are applied to God they remain analogical indeed, but still they are used in a positive and proper sense, as opposed to a metaphorical, improper, or symbolical sense. But some natural perfections cannot be conceived without some imperfection adhering to them; they cannot therefore be predicated of God except in a symbolical and metaphorical sense, e.g. God is a lion, a rock, a fire, God is angry. Such metaphors, however, have a deeper meaning than ordinary metaphors, because they are founded upon the fact that the First Cause is reflected in every perfection of the creature. Perfections of the first kind are called pure, and simple, and unadulterated perfections (perfectiones simplices); the latter are called mixed perfections that is, perfections combined with imperfection. The Greek Fathers designate the two classes and our corresponding knowledge of God by the expressions, (Greek words omitted) or (Greek word omitted), (Greek words omitted) for the first class, and (Greek words omitted), or (Greek word omitted) and (Greek words omitted) for the second. The two classes complete each other; the simple attributes enabling us to understand what is obscure and undetermined in the mixed attributes, and the latter giving a concreteness to the first.
IV. Theologians distinguish three ways of arriving at correct notions of God by means of the analogical conceptions gathered from natural perfections. The first is the Positive method, or the method of Causality (causa exemplaris), by which we consider the created perfection as an image and likeness of the corresponding Divine perfection. The second is the method of Negation, or removal (negationis seu remotionis), whereby we deny that certain perfections exist in God in the same manner as in creatures, viz., mixed with imperfection. The third is the method of Eminence (Greek words omitted), which is a combination of the two preceding methods, and consists in conceiving the Divine perfections as of the most exalted character, and as having in themselves in a supreme degree whatever is perfect in creatures, without any admixture of imperfection. Hence there are three ways of predicating of God the perfections found in creatures. We can say: God is a spirit, God lives, God is rational; meaning that these perfections really exist in God. We can also say: God is not a spirit, is not living, is not rational; meaning that these perfections do not exist in God as they exist in creatures. To reconcile this seeming contradiction, the perfections should be predicated of God in the eminent sense: God is superspiritual, superrational. This doctrine is often expressed by the Fathers by saying that God is at the same time (Greek word omitted), (Greek word omitted), (Greek word omitted) (allnames, nameless, above all names).
These three methods may be aptly compared with the methods of the three principal fine arts. The painter produces a picture by transferring colours to the canvas; the sculptor executes a statue by chipping away portions of a block of marble; while the poet strives to realize his ideal by the aid of metaphor and hyperbole.
The indirect and analogical character of our knowledge of God renders us unable to embrace in one idea all the perfections of the Divine Substance, or even the little that we can naturally know of them. We are obliged to combine several particular conceptions into one relatively complete representation. But the subject will be considered in the chapter on the unity and attributes of God.
V. The names which we give to things are the expression of our conceptions of those things. Hence what has been said concerning our conceptions of God applies to the names by which we designate them. Negative names exclude all idea of imperfection and represent God as a Being sui generis which can alone be properly predicated of Him. All positive names transferred from the creature to the Creator are more or less improper names of Him, because they are not predicated of Creator and creature in exactly the same sense. Still, not being predicated of God in quite a different sense, they are not simply improper but analogical names. The most perfect among them are the names of pure or spiritual perfections, because they express perfections formally contained in Him. Although they are predicated of Him by way of eminence, still they belong to Him more than to creatures, because the perfections they express exist in God with more purity, fulness, reality, and truth than in creatures. For this reason they are sometimes attributed to Him exclusively:
Who alone is, One only is good, God. The names of mixed perfections, especially specific names of material things can only be given to God in a metaphorical or symbolical sense.
VI. From what has been said it follows that the Divine Essence can neither be conceived or expressed by us as it really is in itself, but still that some conception and some expression of it are not beyond the power of our natural faculties an absolute knowledge is impossible, a relative and imperfect knowledge is within our reach.
The doctrine contained in this section is beautifully expressed by St. Gregory of Nazianzum, in his Hymn to God:
In Thee all things do dwell, and tend
To Thee Who art their only End;
Thou art at once One, All, and None,
And yet Thou art not all or one.
All-name! by what name can I call
Thee, Nameless One, alone of all?
(Greek version omitted)
SECT. 57. Contents and Limits of our Natural Knowledge of God.
I. Our natural knowledge of God embraces all those Divine attributes without which God cannot be conceived as the First and Supreme Cause of the visible universe. This doctrine is set forth by the Apostle when he teaches that the invisible things of God are knowable in so far as they are reflected in things visible in nature, the Divine Nature (Greek word omitted) being especially mentioned.
II. The Trinity of the Divine Persons that is, the manner in which the Divine Nature subsists in Itself and communicates Itself to several Persons lies absolutely beyond the sphere of human knowledge; our reason cannot discover it, or even prove it on natural grounds after its existence has been revealed. This is taught by Holy Scripture in the general passages concerning the inscrutableness of the mysteries revealed to us by God. These expressions refer, not merely to His inscrutable counsels, but also to the inscrutable depths of His Being. The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man that is in him? So the things also that are of God no man knoweth, but the Spirit of God (1 Cor. ii. 10, 11). No one knoweth the Son but the Father, neither doth any one know the Father but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him (Matt. xi. 27; cf. John i. 18). The same can be demonstrated from the dogmatic conception of the Trinity compared with the sole medium of our natural knowledge of God. The Divine Persons operate externally as one single principle (unum universorum principium, Fourth Lateran Council). Now, from the effects we can know only so much of the cause as actually concurs in the production of the effects; wherefore from God's works we can infer nothing concerning the Trinity of Persons.
The indemonstrability of the Blessed Trinity largely contributes to the incomprehensibility of the mystery. Whatever cannot be arrived at by reason is difficult of mental representation. Conversely, the incomprehensibility of the Trinity, that is, the impossibility of forming a conception of it in harmony with natural things is a further reason of its indemonstrability. Both the indemonstrability and the incomprehensibility originate from the fact that the Trinity is God as He is and lives within Himself, apart from and above the manifestations of Him in nature. Hence it is that no process of mere reasoning can lead to a knowledge of God as He is. Faith gives us an obscure knowledge of Him: the Beatific Vision will disclose Him to us. See St. Thom. I., q. 32, a. 1.
B. SUPERNATURAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
Our supernatural knowledge of God differs essentially from natural knowledge, although the nature of the conceptions is the same in both, Faith fixes the mind on its object, and enables it to free its conceptions from the disfiguring elements which an unguided imagination might introduce. The light of Faith illuminates the Divine manifestations in nature, and better adapts our conceptions to the dignity of God. The moral and spiritual life, which is one of the fruits of Faith, elevates the mind above mere animal nature, perfects the image and likeness of God, and produces a more faithful mirror of the Divine perfections. Holy Scripture tells us of many Divine operations in nature which would have escaped the eye of our mind, and it also reveals many supernatural works of God which place the Divine perfections in a brighter light. Lastly, the manifestation of God in the Incarnation has given us the most perfect manifestation of the Deity, and the best adapted to our capacities.
SECT. 58.Revealed Names of God.
I. Divine Revelation gives a progressive development of the idea of God, even if we abstract from the final revelation of the mystery of the Trinity. Nothing new was revealed to the Patriarchs concerning the Divine Nature and attributes; their knowledge was the same as natural knowledge and as that handed down by tradition. The object of the Mosaic Revelation was to preserve in its purity the idea of one God against the corruptions of idolatry and polytheism. It proclaimed God's exalted power over all things finite and material, and His absolute dominion over mankind; it revealed the essential characteristic of God in the name Jehovah. The Prophets point out and describe in magnificent language the Divine attributes which can be known by the light of reason; especially unity, eternity, unchangeableness, infinite greatness, creative omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, wisdom, goodness, justice, and holiness. But all these attributes are spoken of simply to bring out the infinite Majesty of God, and not in order to reveal anything further concerning His Essence. This latter aspect is first opened up in the Sapiential books (Prov. viii., Wisd. vii., Ecclus. xxiv.), where, under the name of the Eternal Wisdom, the inner life of the Deity is exhibited in its internal and external communication, and the theology of the New Testament is thereby anticipated. The object and tendency of Christian Revelation is to raise man to a most intimate union with God, his Father, and consequently it manifests the inner perfection of the Divine Life of which man becomes a partaker. It presupposes the Old Testament Revelation without making any further disclosures concerning the Divine Nature; but, as it tells us of the mystery of the Trinity, it enables us to gain some insight into the Divine internal fecundity, and to conceive the Divine Nature as the purest spirituality as the Light, the Life, the Truth, the Love, and so as the principle and ideal of the supernatural perfection to which we should tend.
II. The names applied to God are either substantives or adjectives. In the present section we shall confine ourselves to the former. There are seven substantives applied to God in the Old Testament. These Holy Names may be divided into three classes.
1. The first class comprises the names which designate the supreme excellence of God rather than His Essence: (Hebrew omitted), (Hebrew omitted) , (Hebrew omitted).
(Hebrew omitted), El, the Mighty, is often used with appositions, such as (Hebrew omitted), (Hebrew omitted), omnipotens, almighty; (Hebrew omitted), (Hebrew omitted), God of Gods. The name El, even without apposition, is seldom used of false gods.
(Hebrew omitted) Elohim, plural of Eloah, the Arabic Allah, the Powerful, with the correlative significations of Awe-inspiring, Worthy of adoration. This name is given ironically to false gods, and in a true but weak, inferior sense to beings inferior to God as reflections of His Majesty, e.g. angels, kings, judges. When applied to the one, true God, Elohim must be taken as the majestic plural rather than as an indication of the Trinity. Appositions are sometimes used to define the sense, e.g. Elohim Zebaoth:, the God of hosts, that is, the hosts or armies of angels, of the stars, or of men; sometimes it means the God of all creatures.
(Hebrew omitted), Adonai, (Greek omitted), (Greek omitted), Dominus, Judge, Commander, Lord pre-eminently. This name combines the meanings of El and Elohim, because God, the Supreme Lord, not only inspires fear on account of His physical might, but also exacts reverence and submission as a moral power. Adonai is used without apposition as a proper name of God. Other beings can indeed be judges and commanders, but they are so only inasmuch as they represent God, and not in the eminent sense indicated by the plural of majesty. It is never used of the false divinities of the heathen, because the idea of supreme moral power and sovereignty was not associated with them.
2. The second class contains only one name, essentially a proper name, because it describes the Divine Essence. It is (Hebrew omitted), Jehovah (Exod. iii. 14-16), I am Who am. The correct pronunciation is probably Yahweli, whence the abbreviation (Hebrew omitted), Yah. Its meaning is that God is the One Who is, purely and simply; Whose Being is dependent on no external cause, Who therefore can neither be limited nor changed by anything, and Who, by reason of this mode of existence, is distinguished from all other beings, real or possible, especially from all pretended divinities, and also from powerful, ruling, or unearthly beings, which might possibly be designated by the other Divine names. Hence it is, in the strictest sense of the word, a proper name, such as Moses asked for in order to make known to the people the characteristic name of the God, Elohim, of their fathers. It is moreover a name of alliance, as being intimately connected with the covenant between God and Israel; the knowledge of the true God as revealed in the name Jehovah was the pledge, the medium, and the proof of the alliance. As the name Jehovah was in use before the time of Moses, the question arises as to the sense in which God said to Moses (Exod. vi. 3) that he appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by the name of God Almighty, El Schadai, and did not reveal to them His name Jehovah. The best solution of the difficulty is, perhaps, that Jehovah was His most appropriate name, and that it was, as a matter of fact, adopted by Him to serve as a symbol and watchword of the public worship of the one God, whereas El Schadai expresses more accurately the relation of God to the families of the Patriarchs as their powerful protector.
3. The third class embraces those names akin to the first class, but expressing with more force the sublime excellence of the true God. In their substantive form they are, however, applied to false divinities.
(Hebrew omitted), Haschadai from schadad, to overpower (?) the Strong, Mighty, akin in meaning to El, but designating with more energy the independence, self-sufficiency, and inviolability of the Power, and therefore it is equivalent to the Almighty.
(Hebrew omitted), Haelion, Altissimus, the High, Sublime, the Most High, akin to Elohirn.
(Hebrew omitted), Hakadosch, the Holy, found chiefly in the Prophets and among these especially in Isaias: the Holy One of Israel, the Holy Lord, Judge and Lawgiver of the chosen people. Akin to Adonai.
In the New Testament these names are replaced by their Greek or Latin equivalents, e.g. (Greek omitted), (Greek omitted), (Greek omitted), etc. The most frequent name applied to God is the classical word (Greek omitted), Deus.
SECT. 59. The Doctrine concerning God as defined by the Church, especially in the Vatican Council.
Just as the New Testament takes over from the Old Testament the doctrine concerning the Divine Essence and Nature, and only occasionally insists upon this doctrine, so has the Church from her very infancy looked upon it as sufficiently proposed and as universally admitted. Hence it is that, notwithstanding the importance and the fecundity of the dogma of the Divine Essence and Nature, it is the subject of so few definitions. It was only in our own day, when the most grievous errors concerning God had spread even among Christians, that the Church at length issued a formal definition in the Vatican Council (sess. iii., chap. i). The Holy Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church believeth and confesseth that there is one true and living God, the Creator and Lord of Heaven and earth, Almighty, Eternal, Immense, Incomprehensible, Infinite in intellect and will and in all perfection; Who, being one, individual, altogether simple and unchangeable Substance, must be asserted to be really and essentially distinct from the world, most happy in Himself and of Himself and ineffably exalted above everything that exists or can be conceived.
This one true God, of His own goodness and of His almighty power, not to increase His happiness, nor to acquire but rather to manifest His perfection by means of the good things which He bestoweth upon creatures, most freely in the very beginning of time made out of nothing both kinds of creatures, to wit, angelic and mundane, and afterwards human nature, participating of both because composed of spirit and body.
But God, Who reacheth from end to end mightily and ordereth all things sweetly (Wisd. viii. I), protecteth and ruleth by His providence all the things that He hath made. For all things are naked and open to His eyes (Heb. iv. 13), even those things which will come to pass by the free agency of creatures.
The corresponding canons are the following:-
1. If any one shall deny the one true God, the Creator and Lord of things visible and invisible, let him be anathema.
2. If any one shall not be ashamed to say that besides matter nothing doth exist, let him be anathema.
3. If any one shall say that the substance or essence of God and of all things is one and the same, let him be anathema.
4. If any one shall say that finite things, whether spiritual or corporeal, or at least spiritual things, have emanated from the Divine Substance;
Or that the Divine Essence by the manifestation or evolution of Itself becometh all things;
Or, finally, that God is the universal or indefinite being which by self-determination doth constitute the universe of things distinguished into genera, species, and individuals, let him be anathema.
5. If any one shall not confess that the world and all things contained therein, both spiritual and material, have been as to their entire substance produced out of nothing by God;
Or shall say that God created not by will free from all necessity, but necessarily, just as He necessarily loveth Himself;
Or shall deny that the world was made for the glory of God, let him be anathema. (1)
The definition of the Council is directed (1) against Atheism, and especially against Materialism; (2) against Pantheism; (3) against certain modern opinions mentioned detail in can. 5. The Council develops the idea of God positively through the attributes which manifest His absolute greatness as Supreme Being, and then defines His absolute independence of and entire distinction from all other beings. Lastly, the Council firmly establishes His absolute dominion over the universe.
(1) Compare with this decree the magnificent description of God given by Cardinal Newman (Idea of a University, p. 36) God is an individual, self-dependent, aIl-perfect, unchangeable Being; intelligent, living, personal and present; almighty, all-seeing, all-remembering; between Whom and His creatures there is an infinite gulf; Who had no origin; Who passed an eternity by himself; Who created and upholds the universe; Who will judge every one of us at the end of time, according to that law of right and wrong which He has written on our hearts. He is One Who is sovereign over, operative amidst, and independent of, the appointments which He has made; One in Whose hands are all things, Who has a purpose in every event, and a standard for every deed, and thus has relations of His own towards the subject-matter of each particular science which the book of knowledge unfolds; Who has, with an adorable, never-ceasing energy mixed Himself up with all the history of Creation, the constitution of nature, the course of the world, the origin of society, the fortunes of nations, the action of the human mind.