Summary Against Modern Thought: God Is Everywhere

Previous post.

There is no escape. This chapter is a primer on the claim. Next week a difficult chapter on the science of it all. But do not miss the comment contra locality in physics in the penultimate paragraph.

THAT GOD IS EVERYWHERE

1 As a consequence, it is clear that God must be everywhere and in all things.

2 For, the mover and the thing moved must be simultaneous, as the Philosopher proves. But God moves all things to their operations, as we have shown. Therefore, He is in all things.

3 Again, everything that is in a place, or in something, is in some way in contact with it. For instance, a bodily thing is in place in something according to the contact of dimensive quantity; while an incorporeal thing is said to be in something according to the contact of power, since it lacks dimensive quantity. And so, an incorporeal thing is related to its presence in something by its power, in the same way that a corporeal thing is related to its presence in something by dimensive quantity. Now, if there were any body possessed of infinite dimensive quantity, it would have to be everywhere. So, if there be an incorporeal being possessed of infinite power, it must be everywhere. But we showed in Book One [43] that God is of infinite power. Therefore, He is everywhere.

Notes Against the idea any material thing is actually infinite: “if there were any body possessed of infinite dimensive quantity, it would have to be everywhere.”

4 Besides, as a Particular cause is to a particular effect, so is a universal cause to a universal effect. Now, a particular cause must be simultaneous with its proper particular effect. Thus, fire heats through its essence, and the soul confers life on the body through its essence. Therefore, since God is the universal cause of the whole of being, as we showed in Book Two [15], it must be that wherever being is found, the divine presence is also there.

5 Moreover, whenever an agent is present only to one of its effects, its action cannot be transferred to another, unless by using the first effect as an intermediary, because the agent and the patient must be simultaneous. For instance, the organic motive power does not have a member of the body except through the heart as an intermediary. So, if God were present to but one of His effects—for instance, to the first moved sphere which would be moved immediately by Him—it would follow that His action could not be transferred to another thing except through the mediation of this sphere.

Now, this is not appropriate. Indeed, if the action of any agent cannot be transferred to other things except through the mediation of a first effect, then this effect must correspond proportionally with the agent according to its entire power; otherwise, the agent could not use his entire power. We see an instance of this in the fact that all the motions that the motive power can cause can be carried out through the heart.

But there is no creature that can serve as a medium for the carrying out of whatever the divine power can do, for divine power infinitely surpasses every created thing, as is evident from the things shown in Book One [43]. Therefore, it is not appropriate to say that divine action does not extend to other effects except through the mediation of a first one. So, He is not merely present in one of His effects, but in all of them. The same reasoning will be used if a person says that He is present in some and not in others, because, no matter how many divine effects are taken, they could not be sufficient to carry out the execution of the divine power.

6 Furthermore, an agent cause must be simultaneous with its proximate and immediate effect. But there is in everything a proximate and immediate effect of God Himself. For we showed in Book Two [21] that God alone can create. Now, there is in everything something caused by creation: prime matter in the case of corporeal things, in incorporeal things their simple essences, as is evident from the things that we determined in Book Two [15ff]. Therefore, God must be simultaneously present in all things, particularly since He continually and always preserves in being those things which He has brought into being from nonbeing, as has been shown.

7 Hence it is said: “I fill heaven and earth” (Jer. 23:24); and in the Psalm (138:8): “If I ascend into heaven, You art there; if I descend into hell, You art present.”

Notes Wait, is this pantheism? No, friend. Read on.

8 Through this conclusion, moreover, the error is set aside of those who say that God is in some definite part of the world (for instance, in the first heaven and in the eastern section) and that He is consequently the principle of heavenly motion.

Of course, this statement of theirs could be supported, if soundly interpreted: not, for instance, that we may understand God as being confined to some determinate part of the world, but that the source of all corporeal motions, according to the order of nature, takes its start from a determinate part, being moved by God.

Because of this He is spoken of in Sacred Scripture also as being in the heavens in a particular way; in the text of Isaiah toward the end (66:1): “Heaven is My throne,” and in the Psalm (113: 16): “The heaven of heaven is the Lord’s,” and so on.

But from the fact that, apart from the order of nature, God performs some operation in even the lowest of bodies which cannot be, caused by the power of a celestial body it is clearly shown that God is immediately present, not only in the celestial body, but also in the lowest things.

9 But we must not think that God is everywhere in such a way that He is divided in various areas of place, as if one part of Him were here and another part there. Rather, His entire being is everywhere. For God, as a completely simple being, has no parts.

10 Nor is His simplicity something like that of a point, which is the terminus of a continuous line and thus has a definite position on this line, with the consequence that one point is impossible unless it is at one, indivisible place. In fact, God is indivisible, in the sense of existing entirely outside the genus of continuous things. And so, He is not determined in regard to place, either large or small, by any necessity of His essence requiring Him to be in a certain place, for He has been from eternity prior to all place. But by the immensity of His power He touches upon all things that are in place, for He is the universal cause of being, as we said. Thus, He is present in His entirety wherever He is, since He touches upon all things by His simple power.

Notes This, I believe, is the locus of arguments against locality. Think EPR, Bell, and all that. Locality cannot be maintained. Nor need it be, as long as we recognize there is always a First Cause.

11 Yet, we must not think that He is present in things, in the sense of being combined with them as one of their parts. For it was shown in Book One [17, 27] that He is neither the matter nor the form of anything. Instead, He is in all things in the fashion of an agent cause.

18 Thoughts

  1. Now we’re getting around to that crucial distinction between temporal (within time, the realm of the succession of events) and eternal (no succession of events, everything just “is” in a permanent “now”).

  2. Exploration of potential implications of God, if real, as a Singular Unity.

    Acts 17:28 “For IN Him we live and move and have our being” (In short, where is God NOT)?

    Acts 2:1-4 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.”

    So this is quite a paradoxical intersection. We are in Him. And He is in us.

    Exploring the position that if God is real (and God hides Himself), then human language is limited to a speculative struggling DESIRE to KNOW and describe the WHY’S of the world. What are the invisible causes of the visible (that which is hidden/not yet discovered/revealed) reasons for actions, behaviors/moods (Desire, Love, Peace, Resentment, Hate, Violence, Killing), forms, functions, beings coming into and going out of existence, past/present/future, strategic goals/objectives, justification for human suffering, and potential for human bliss in an afterlife.

    He (ahem, … Yahweh, Judeo-Christian Patriarch-ally speaking) brings forth the woman, as Zeus sprouts Athena from his head. Male Parthenogenesis.

    God, as the uncreated indestructible infinite All, omnipotent, omniscient singular totality, is the One and Only source of all material, spiritual, psychic, sexual, known and unknown energy.

    God has power over, and IS, time, space and causality, transcendent and immanent.

    No living being and no inanimate object, sacred or profane, comes into existence outside of God WILLING it into existence through the POWER of His spoken WORD (Language) and WILL. In short, we are brought into this world, AGAINST OUR WILL.

    God is invisibly involved in bringing humans into being through His procreative process. God is therefore an invisible 3rd party to every private sexual act.

    God knows the end from the beginning, because it all takes place, … IN Him.

    God foreknows sins, therefore God is an Accessory Before the Fact (A CRIME), … complicit in the crime of creating sin (Yes, even Atheism, takes place, IN Him).

    Isa 45:7 7 “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

    God therefore predestined living beings to Suffering/Hell, because nothing happens outside His Will to Power, or outside Him in Time, Space and Causality.

    Rom 9:22 “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction?”

    Eph 1:5 “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”

    God would therefore be the owner-operator of Hell, and Satan His CEO with employees carrying out the triangular role/responsibility of victim, victimizer and rescuer (in potential).

    All the above renders human beings to literal figments of One God’s imagination. We are akin to being the Solipsism of One God.

    I guess I don’t buy into the One God idea because of these implications. If it were correct, the One God would have to be Demiurge- a forbidden admixture of both good and evil. Which is what we find in this mistaken world that ought not to have been. A world of opposites in conflict with a fait accompli forecasted prophetic violent apocalypse that has already happened (time is not linear). Like the before the rooster crows you will deny me thrice wild correct guess.

  3. Ah well, wtquinn, that’s roughly why Gnostics are always wrong; they begin with the assumption that God is like us but with magical powers. And! hoo boy! do they have a plethora of “schools” that seek to “tap into” that magic with all sorts of arcane and esoteric beliefs and practices.

    That we are a very much reduced image of Him with our little parcel of life, intellect and will, it does not follow that He is just an expanded version of ourselves. The “problem of evil” that seems to obsess you is most simply explained that evil is not some “stuff” that is doled out capriciously and malevolently by some sinister being or “force”… it is the lack, or the refusal, of some due good. It is the lack of good just as darkness is the lack of light.

    Hell is not a creation; it is the normal result of rebellion against the ultimate good.

  4. @ Oldavid,

    “It [evil] is the lack of good just as darkness is the lack of light.”

    Redefining evil as a lack of good doesn’t get God off the hook. He’s still just as responsible for the lack of good as he was for the evil. If a murderer kills someone, then apart from the fact that this is clearly an act of evil, not just a lack of not killing people, the victim is just as dead either way.

    “Hell is not a creation; it is the normal result of rebellion against the ultimate good.”

    Matthew 25:41 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”

  5. I don’t know who’s paying you, fishy, but they’re not getting their moneys worth.

    I’m not “redefining” evil any more than I’m “redefining” darkness to suit the analogy.

    You goose! The evil in a murderer isn’t the acquisition of “killing stuff” it’s the lack of virtue, ultimately, the lack of Faith, Hope and Charity.

    You need to be able to make some distinction between “figures of speech” and a reasonable explanation of a phenomenon. To say that “the room was enveloped in darkness when the lights went out” does not mean that darkness came in and enveloped everything. Hell is a place and state where all the lights (everything good) is absent. It doesn’t need to be created any more than darkness does.

  6. @ Oldavid,

    “To say that “the room was enveloped in darkness when the lights went out” does not mean that darkness came in and enveloped everything.”

    Why use an analogy which doesn’t illuminate anything? 😉 Neither good nor evil exist as things, they’re just labels we attach to behaviours. It’s clear to me that a serial killer setting out to kill people is actively doing something evil, not just ‘not being good’, and the law views it that way. Not being good would be a passive thing, like sitting in a chair doing nothing.

    Suppose a rich person gives $1 million to charity. Would it be evil for a poor person to give only $1 ?

    “Hell is a place and state where all the lights (everything good) is absent. It doesn’t need to be created any more than darkness does.”

    hell can’t be absent all good because none of the people sent there are all bad, and the Bible claims that Hell was created by God. Also, I’ve spoken with other Christians who tell me that Hell is a real place with everlasting fire – why should I accept your interpretation over theirs?

  7. For a Materialist good doesn’t exist as a thing because the Materialist narcissistically demands that they are way above such considerations. Well, the notion that evil is a “thing” is attested by some “Yogi” that I recall from my dissolute youth who claimed that “if we worship good why should we not worship the equal and opposite evil?” Total and complete narcissism born of ignorance and Pride.

    For a narcissist, “good” is whatever pleases me and “evil” is whatever doesn’t.

  8. Oldavid doesn’t know what words mean!
    Yogi is a bear.
    As usual, swordfish makes a proper argument regarding introspection.
    Pride is the devil’s sin. ‘Churches’ are full of very proud people.
    I’m so glad God’s in charge.
    There is no place for humans throwing hellfire and brimstone.
    The bible says so. Jesus said so.

  9. Luke Chapter 9, verse 55 starting at verse 51…regarding rejection of the saviour. Note the reason given for why the villagers rejected him.

  10. Quite interesting how we have apparently two atheists here arguing that Christianity or the Bible entails divine determinism or a kind of fatalism where God is thought to control everybody and their choices and how this entails that no one would be responsible for anything since God alone would be responsible for evil. And yet atheistic- materialism logically entails fatalism or the lack of free will.

    If materialism is true and we’re merely physical beings then all our choices are determined by matter acting by laws of nature and thus we would lack freedom of choice by this paradigm. Every choice that one would make would be determined or “fated” by how the atoms within our bodies and their surrounding environments act by the laws of nature at that period of time.

    So if divine determinism or the idea that God controls everyone’s choices renders everyone to be NOT responsible for their actions then the same is true for materialism. If matter and the laws of nature control our choices then we’re not responsible either by materialist ideology. After all, it’s either the case that free will is a necessary condition for moral responsibility or it’s not.

  11. Ah ha! The joys of relativism are back to console us in our autonomous pride.
    “Pride is the devil’s sin. ‘Churches’ are full of very proud people.” which seems to imply that the virtue of humility is only found outside of Faith and Reason.

    Good dig, DG.

    Orrite, Fishy. In a sense, Hell is not the absence of all good since life and sentience are goods but in the reprobate they are totally perverted against their nature and purpose.

    I assume that Joy is defending your silly assertion that: “Neither good nor evil exist as things, they’re just labels we attach to behaviours.” which is about as reasonably defensible as saying that neither light nor dark exist because they are just labels we attach to our perceptions.

  12. Oldavid, you’re telling lies again, misrepresenting what is said and what is claimed.

    ‘Churches’ ARE full of very proud people. Have you ever noticed?

    “churches’, are like other places in the sense they are full of people. Good ones and bad ones. Like cinemas and restaurants. Like banks, schools, other institutions.
    What makes you think churches are exempt? Why do you so romantic about them!!!

    As for church in the more sectarian sense, catholics are some of the proudest people I’ve ever had the misfortune to know personally, or about. This is something I’ve noticed more in recent years as I’ve taken account, learned of the catholic church’s continued cover ups and defence of it’s pathetic cheer leaders, like you. All those dodgy politicians, all the statisticians, the police, Dr’s, playground bullies, neighbourhood gossipers, bankers…many many go to church. Some of those churches are Catholic. Not acknowledging the failings of humans is a sign of pride. The church is not a thing to take pride in. Not in it’s current state.

    I speak as I find.

    So many have cut their teeth on sectarianism, which you exude in bucketloads, too.
    God knows who is who.
    God is not cumbersome. God is straightforward.

    …and like I’ve said before. The Truth is warmer and happier than people like you want to contemplate. That’s okay. I have a bible and so do you. Yours is printed on sandpaper, wet and dry. Mine’s just on ordinary paper.

  13. @ Oldavid,

    “I assume that Joy is defending your silly assertion that: “Neither good nor evil exist as things, they’re just labels we attach to behaviours.” which is about as reasonably defensible as saying that neither light nor dark exist because they are just labels we attach to our perceptions.”

    Light does exist as a thing: photons. I don’t see how the existence of good and evil behaviour means that Good and Evil exist as things like photons. In any case, what I’m disputing is the idea that Evil is the lack of Good. How do you respond to my charity example? If it’s Good to give to charity, then it must be Evil to give less to charity.

  14. As for what or who I’m defending, the comment was clear. My point was that Swordfish made a proper statement about introspection, against which there is no disproof. People on the side pretending to defend ‘the faith’ (which puts them in the same camp as Henry VIII, good company), seem to forget they are talking about FAITH.
    Jesus spoke of ‘believing in him and of who sent Him, over and over.
    The evidence was the works that he did and the words that he spoke to those around to witness. He knew that some did not believe him. Today, we don’t all have that privilege and God knows this.

    Faith is based on evidence, not proof. If it were, it would be called fact. The world would also not function as it does, either. Freedom is in God’s purpose.
    If you want to be accurate you have to be honest. That is still true on matters of Faith. All anybody has is what they believe and why they believe it. It is their business and God’s, unless they choose to tell.

  15. No, Fishy, the quality of light (lightness) is not determined by the the amount (quantity). A pompous git that gives a tiny amount of his excess is like a light under a bushel compared to a candle. Charity is not a material thing that can be measured by any empirical standard.

    Orrite, Joy. Perhaps you’re accusing St Paul of the kind of “pride” that you like to ascribe to “churches” when he clearly implied that there is an objective Christianity when he admonished that if even an “angel of light” contradicted (or compromised) what they had taught then it was false.

    Perhaps you should have been on hand to set him straight… FAITH is whatever you find convenient and justified by plucking a few quotes out of context from a version of Scripture that has no Apostolic authority.

  16. @ oldavid,

    “No, Fishy, the quality of light (lightness) is not determined by the the amount (quantity). A pompous git that gives a tiny amount of his excess is like a light under a bushel compared to a candle. Charity is not a material thing that can be measured by any empirical standard.”

    Charity can be measured, you even imply a way of doing it: the percentage of a person’s wealth given to charity. In any case, whether *we* can measure it or not is irrelevant: your God can judge a person’s charitableness along with every other aspect of their Goodness, otherwise how is he going to make a judgement? My point that Evil isn’t a lack of Good stands: being charitable is Good; not being charitable isn’t Evil.

    Having said that, and as far as I can tell (bearing in mind that there are no Christian beliefs which aren’t disputed), God judges solely on whether people believe in him, NOT according to their ‘works’.

  17. “Perhaps you’re accusing St Paul of the kind of “pride” that you like to ascribe to “churches” 

    Two lies preceded by a perhaps.= a lie squared.

    I ascribed to the contents of the buildings. You know that though and are conveniently misunderstanding.

    This is really making my point about your sectarianism. Christians are not all sectarian.

    Except it’s worse, because you get to tell me what I think, feel, believe, FIRST! and then you get to argue with ‘me’ and dole out the points. Very familiar tactic.

    My turn!! Credit where it’s due;

    If you think Paul needed my help? I could have recommended a good eye surgeon at Moorfields. However God is not to be tested like that. God’s Grace was enough for him.

    If Paul were here today he’d not be against me. If I were there then I’d not be allowed to comment. It all would depend on whether time travel means winding back, exactly. What’s the point in that?
    I imagine he’s a grump until he’s had his first cup of tea. He’d be upset when he saw what they did On The Road To Damascus.

    Don’t have any real argument with Paul. A “clear implication” is not a fact. I recall him being very humble about who is saved.
    He IS grumpy quite a bit. That might be the screen reader. He could never get the staff. He had some funny view on women which some old grumps find ‘convenient’. Different times…still haven’t altered my personal view on women clergy but nobody asked me! If it’s women should ‘shut up’. To that I say ‘shut up’X100! It’s not an argument. It’s the stick.

    Not sure what Nuns are about either. As long as they are real nuns! True Nuns! One True Nuns! Like in Ghost or Sister act or the one that’s always on a plane with red cheeks and a shocked look on her face.

    As long as they aren’t punishing or torturing young women in the name of God, selling babies, burying unborn children in cesspits, throwing them downstairs, scolding their hands, whipping them, cutting off pretty girls’ hair, (what’s with the hair envy?), blaming them when male priests do the thing with the thing to them, removing their name for an ugly name, lying to families and mothers about their children, telling visitors the crochet and lace work were a sign that the rehab worked…stashing the money from local businesses who bought their “laundry” services…unknowingly, probably. Many for the crime of being a teenager. One stole an apple. Some were pregnant at fifteen. Maybe even younger. Their children were told their mothers were evil and didn’t want them. I know that for a fact.

    Apart from that I’m quite tolerant to nuns and their needless needs.
    Heaven forfend that the nuns feelings should be hurt.

    They’re not proud of their habits, they’re following orders.

    What do you make of the introspection comment from Swordfish? (Not that he meant it except rhetorically.). Your hands are tied to talk properly about this so you resort to the stick, which is traditional. On the internet, it takes other forms.
    Like I said. I’m not a catholic except in the proper use of the term. Which is a complex argument and agreement between the Protestant Church of England and the Vatican.
    The Pope wouldn’t argue either he’d say,
    “I’ll pray for you my child.” Which is what everybody is supposed to do for him. The Pope can only do his best, like everybody else.

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