St. Edmund Campion Catechism Group - Series 4 Lesson 3

Theology for Beginners: Chp 3. The Infinite Spirit
Theology for Beginners: All chapters
Catechism: Q1-10
Basics of Catholic Faith by David Rodriguez: 15. Who is God?
What we Catholics believe: 1. About God
Summa Theologica Prima Pars Q1a4ad2, Q1a7ad1
Catholic Encyclopedia: Nature & Attributes of God

The Infinite Spirit

  1. Recap:

    Chapter 1: Why study theology?

    - Theology is wisdom which is the knowledge of all things in relation to their highest cause.

    - Theology is the greatest of all sciences by the sublimity of its object: God; and by the certitude of its conclusions: the certitude of faith.

    - Theology teaches us our finality: the finality of man is the supernatural perfection of all his faculties - the greatest among these are his intellect and will.

    - Theology helps us attain our finality in respect of ourselves by the perfect love of God.

    - Theology helps us attain our finality in respect of our neighbour: if we love God, then we love everything He loves.

    Chapter 2: Spirit

    - A spirit is an immaterial intelligent living being (types: God, the angels and the souls of men)

    - A soul is defined as the first principle of life of those material things which live (plants, animals and men). Plants, animals and men have souls, but only the souls of men are spirits.

    - Properties: a spirit does not change in its being, does not corrupt, does not die (and is therefore eternal), has no mass, no shape, and no place e say that spirits are subsistent, which means that they have all they need to exist - they do not need a body to exist (like a plant or animal soul).

    Acts: to know and love. No material organ is required for these activities.

  2. The Infinity of God

    God is the Infinite Spirit. Infinite means "without limit" (finis is Latin for limit). God is a spirit without limit. He is

    - God is all knowing, all loving, all powerful

  3. Existence of God

    - God is His own existence: uncreated, relying on nothing else for continued existence, and necessarily existing (cannot not exist). He is Ens a se (Being of self). "I Am Who Am". Creatures have their existence from God by participating in the existence of God: God creates them and sustains them in existence. Creatures are ens ab alio (being from another).

    - God was not created, He does not change, He has no past and future, God perpeturally in the present.

  4. Omnipresence of God

    God is naturally everywhere: 

    - by His essence (per essentiam): all creatures share in His existence.

    - by His power (per potentiam): He is where He acts; God acts everywhere all the time.

    - by His knowing (per scientiam)

  5. Eternity of God

    God, as a simple spirit, does not change in His being (nothing is material or corruptible in Him).

    God, the Infinite Spirit, cannot change in His knowledge or will. He possess all knowledge which means that there is no new knowledge that will change His will.

    God, the Infinite Spirit, is actually the same as His being, existence, knowledge and will.

  6. Infinite perfection of God: Actus Purus

    Perfection is in action. The singer is in a state of perfection, as a singer, when he sings. A baker when he bakes, etc.

    With God, however, He cannot ever be in potency to doing anything, otherwise He would not be infinitely perfect (there would always be something more He could do). He is performing every perfect act simultaneously, but not as a being distinct from His action, for God is simple (not composed of parts); He is His action.  St. Thomas says that He is Actus Purus – one , simple, infinite and perfect action which is always in the present.