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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.

"O Lord, my God, who will seek you with simple and pure love, and not find that you are all one can desire, for you show yourself first and go out to meet those who seek you? "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Try to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences and lose the grace of God. "
Thomas á Kempis

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