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18. The Life of God

1. Things have life when they have the perfection of self-movement. In the world around us, this perfection is manifested by plants, animals, and human beings. Other bodily things (called, in general, minerals) have not this perfection. Therefore, not all things are alive; some things have life, some lack it.

2. Life is primarily the substantial principle or source of self-movement. Secondarily, it is the operation of self-movement.

3. Plants have vegetal life with the operations of nutrition, growth and development, and reproduction. Animals have vegetal life and also sentient life with its operations of sensing, appetizing, and local movement. Human beings have vegetal and sentient life and also rational life with its operations of understanding and will. Rational life is far superior to the other forms of life. Yet in earthly man, rational life is bound up with bodiliness. Even in angels it seeks a goal outside itself. Pure and perfect rational life is self-sufficient; its movement is not change; it tends to no goal outside itself; its activity is identified with its essence. Such rational life is all-perfect life, absolute life. It is pure perfection. Now, all pure perfection belongs to God eminently. Therefore, God is life.

4. God is life. God is knowledge. In the divine simplicity, the perfections of life and knowledge are one. Hence all things that are in God's knowledge are in God's life, and therefore we have the saying, "All things are life in God".

"This is the greatest wisdom -- to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"To do God's will -- this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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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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