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25. The Power of God

1. Power is an ability for doing. It is, in itself, a pure perfection; therefore it is in God formally, or as such, and eminently, as identified with the divine essence. The passive capacity to be acted upon (called potentiality) is an imperfection, and is not in God at all.

2. The power of God is one with his infinite essence, and is therefore infinite itself. God is infinite power.

3. That is to say, God is omnipotent or almighty. God can do all things. Sometimes it is foolishly asked whether God can do what is self-contradictory; for instance, it is asked whether God can make a square circle. Now, a contradictory thing is not a thing at all. It is a fiction in which two elements cancel each other and leave nothing. Thus a square circle is a circle that is not a circle; that is to say, it is nothing whatever. To ask whether God can make such a thing is to ask a meaningless question. To say that God cannot make a self-contradictory thing is not to limit God's power, but to declare his truth, for a self-contradictory thing is a self-annihilating lie. Similarly, to say that God cannot deceive is not to limit God's power, but to affirm his veracity.

4. Since there is no self-contradiction in God, and since objective self-contradiction is nothing at all, we see that God cannot make undone what is already done; that is, God cannot make the past not to have been.

5. God does all things with absolute freedom. God might make and do other things than those he actually makes and does. God's wisdom is manifest in all his works, but these works do not limit the divine wisdom itself, nor can their perfection exhaust the inexhaustible power of God. God's purpose in things could be achieved by some other plan and order of creation if God should so choose.

6. God might go on endlessly making better and better things, yet he is under no sort of compulsion to do so, for God is not subject to compulsion. What God makes is always admirably suited for the purpose it is meant to serve, and thus it is as worthy of infinite wisdom and power as a finite thing can be.

"A tree that is cultivated and guarded through the care of its owner produces its fruit at the expected time. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"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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