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15. Ideas in God

1. An idea or concept is the mind's grasp of an essence. It is the understanding of what a definition means. Thus the idea human being is the mind's grasp of human being as such. It is the mind's grasp in one act of understanding of an essence that may be found in many individuals, and indeed is found in every man, woman, and child. Thus an idea or concept represents in universal an essence that may exist really in individuals. The idea or concept is called the species (or, more completely, the expressed intelligible species) in which things are understood. Now, since God perfectly understands all essences, we say that the ideas of all things are in God.

2. Yet the ideas of all things in God are not separate species in him; they do not bring complexity into the absolute simplicity of God. God's knowledge is not manifold in itself, but only in the creatural objects known. In knowing himself, God knows all things knowable, and hence God's essence is the single species in which he knows all things. This is what we must ever keep in mind as we use the imperfect human expression, "In God are the ideas of all things".

3. In so far as the divine ideas are concepts of things that can be created, they are called exemplars. In so far as these ideas are concepts of things simply knowable rather than creatable, they are called types or archetypes. Thus we say: in God are the exemplar-ideas and archetypal-ideas of all things.

"As the flesh is nourished by food, so is man supported by prayers"
St Augustine

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"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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"It is not God's will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will."
Blessed Henry Suso

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