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11. The Unity of God

1. Unity means oneness, and oneness is the same as being. For every being is that one thing. A being cannot be multiplied or divided into a plurality of itself. To divide a thing into parts is to destroy its unity and also to destroy its being as that one thing. And yet each part is that one part, that one thing; still the truth holds that being and the one are really the same, although there is a logical distinction between them.

2. The one and the many are contrasted as opposites. The many (that is, plurality, multitude, more-than-one) is countable or measurable by the unit, that is by the one. And multitude (that is, two or more) when measured by the unit is called number. Thus number is contrasted with the unit which measures and determines it.

3. When we speak of the unity of God, we speak of the fact that there is one God and cannot be more than one God. God is infinite, and a plurality of infinities cannot be. If, by an impossible supposition, there were two infinite beings,"X" and "Y", then: either (a) "X" and "Y" would have identical perfections, and thus would actually be one being and not two; or (b) "X" would have its own perfections which "Y" would lack, and "Y" would have its own perfections which "X" would lack; thus neither being would be infinite, for what lacks any perfection is, by that fact, finite or imperfect. Thus it is inconceivable that there should be more than one infinite being. That is to say, it is inconceivable that there should be more than one God.

4. Since being and oneness are really the same, it follows that the more perfect being is the more perfect unity. God is absolute being; therefore God is absolute unity. (The unity of God's being does not conflict in any way with the trinity of Persons in God. This fact will be discussed later.)

"God gives us some things, as the beginning of faith, even when we do not pray. Other things, such as perseverance, he has only provided for those who pray."
St Augustine

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"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."
Thomas á Kempis

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"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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