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4. The Perfections of God

1. The first being must be self-existent, for it is first; there is nothing prior to it from which existence could be received. Now, self-existent being, or pure actuality, exists by its unbounded excellence or perfection. Pure actuality means absolute perfection. Therefore, God is absolute perfection. Consider the point in another way. There are perfections in creatures - being, life, knowledge, etc. All these perfections have been conferred on creatures and, in the first instance, these perfections were conferred by one who had them to confer; that is, the First Cause. These perfections must be in the First Cause in a manner suited to its pure actuality; that is, the perfections must exist in God absolutely, as identified with his divine essence. Therefore, God is pure or absolute perfection.

2. For the perfections of creatures cannot be in God as accidentals; as we have seen, God has no accidentals. They cannot be in God as parts, for God is pure simplicity and has no parts. These perfections can be in God only as identified with his essence. This is what theologians mean when they say that creatural perfections are in God eminently.

3. Creatures are like to God by analogy, in as much as creatures have perfections in a limited way, while these perfections are in God unlimitedly and eminently as identified with his very essence, being, and substance.

"A single act of uniformity with the divine will suffices to make a saint."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"A person who rails at God in adversity, suffers without merit; moreover by his lack of resignation he adds to his punishment in the next life and experiences greater disquietude of mind in this life."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Though the path is plain and smooth for people of good will, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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