The Trinity and Islamic & Jewish Questions (Part 7)

Part the Last

What we have been witnessing is an ascending series of ever more noble emanations. In the lowest, a thing is not self-moving. Rather, what emanates from it, force, is what was worked on it by another: Billiard ball hits billiard ball, etc. Living vegetables (plants) move themselves and thus produce a product of themselves. However, this product (seed) separates off. Animals produce a product that remains within, the “picture” or trace of the thing that is sensed. However, the picture is always of something other than the sense power itself. The lion retains an image of the sheep, or the lamb, an image of the wolf. Thus, the image that is internally pictured, as it were, is not of the animal itself but of something else. The emanation begins from without. Rational creatures on the other hand can think of their own thinking. Thus, the concept that emanates from mind can be of mind itself. Hence, the emanation here is more interior. Now, the concept produced by the act of thinking has the same kind of ‘being’ that the act of thinking has. If the act of thinking is an “accident” and not identical in being with the thinker, then the concept will have an “accidental” existence and not the very being of the thinker. I have thoughts but am not my thinking; thus, my concepts are not the same in being with me.

Now, rational creatures are of various kinds. Human beings require many different “image pictures” of things in order ever to get to an understanding of the essence or concept: I need to see many balls before I can have any faltering grasp of what “ball” is. And I need to understand many external things for a long time before I begin to be reflective about myself: Who am I, who do these things? Thus, even our concepts of ourselves begin from without. Angels, unlike us, have innate or better intuitive knowledge of themselves. They see themselves directly. Thus, their concepts of themselves begin from within and, since they are concepts, remain within. They are more interior. However, an angel has many concepts, not just one. An angel is not identical with his thinking. An angel has thoughts but is not his thinking. Thus, the angel’s concepts are not identical in being with the angel. Unlike the angels, God is his thinking. He does not have thoughts but is his one, simple thought.

Thus, the theological suggestion is this: IF God produces a word / concept when he thinks, this Word will have the following characteristics: (a) it will always exist, as God always thinks; (b) it will be one and not many, because God is not divided into many but is simple, and his act of understanding is perfect and simple, so that the concept that expresses this act would be one, not many; (c) it would remain within God, just as our concepts remain within us; (d) it would be identical with the divine being, just as God’s act of understanding is his very existence; (e) yet, just as our concepts are from our thinking, so too God’s one simple divine Word would be from God and therefore distinct from God-speaking-the-Word. In short, the Word would be identical with God in divinity and distinct from God-speaking.

This is none other than the Christian faith, for Christians hold that God indeed does produce a word.