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Saturday, June 27, 2015

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Dr. Vallicella, thank you for the response.

Do you think that the following quotation from Aquinas sheds some light on the relation between Being Itself as infinite and our desire as infinite? “For everything that according to its nature is finite is determined to the nature of some genus. God, however, is not in any genus; His perfection, as was shown above, rather contains the perfections of all the genera. God is, therefore, infinite.” (Summa Contra Gentiles, Book I, Ch. 43, par. 4) Could we argue that the only possible Object that can satisfy our infinite desire is God as Being Itself because it “contains the perfections of all the genera”?

I confess that it is a difficult topic and a profound one. I'm not trained in philosophy, so forgive me if I lack in some clarity and soundness. Once again I thank you for the time and the post and I will wait for some possible comments here.

It is a useful quotation. It shows what Aquinas means by God's infinity. God is trans-generically infinite, not infinite within any genus.

It also suggests that 'God is not a being among beings' is equivalent to 'God is not in any genus.' Every being is in some genus or other; God is not in any genus; ergo, God is not a being among beings, but Being itself.

>>Could we argue that the only possible Object that can satisfy our infinite desire is God as Being Itself because it “contains the perfections of all the genera”?<<

Yes.

The topic is intrinsically difficult. At best, "we see through a glass darkly." If it ever becomes clear, it won't be in this life.

Hello Bill and Mr. Gabriel,

It seems right to bring the concept of desire into the conversation about God and Being. But I think it's important to emphasize Bill's point that "the ultimate good for man cannot be a good thing among good things, not even the best of all good things, but must be Goodness itself. Anything less would be a sort of high-class idol."

Insofar as one desires God, that desire can't be merely a selfish inclination to consume an object or an experience. Rather, the desire must be a pure longing for something other than oneself, something of Absolute Value, not ultimately for the sake of selfish use, but for the sake of the Absolute Value itself. This sort of desire is a yearning to be taken up into the Absolute Value for the final end of the Value.

Now, if this Absolute Value were a being among beings, one that exists in the same way that all other beings exist, then it would depend on its values (e.g., goodness, love, wisdom, beauty). And we, as valuing agents, would be valuing the values above the Supreme Being. We'd be treating the Supreme Being as a means to value the values. We'd be de-absolutizing the absolute.

But if the Absolute Value, the Supreme Being, is Being itself, identical to its values, then it is Goodness itself, Love itself, Wisdom itself, etc. Then we'd be valuing the Supreme Being as Absolute Value, and not as a means to access some value that lies above and beyond.

Well said, Elliot.

Hello, Mr. Elliot. Thank you for the comment. As Dr. Vallicella said, it was well said.

I appreciate the replies, friends. My comments are just follow up thoughts on your rich reflections.

On a related note, it seems that value is necessary for desire. If one desires x, he values x. If he doesn't value x, he doesn't desire x. So the presupposition that human desire is infinite seems linked to another assumption: the human capacity to value is an infinite capacity.

This may be an indication that the human capacity to value is infinite: we recognize that only an objectively real and perfect being, the maximally great being, is worthy of worship. Only a being of absolute, non-finite value merits absolute, non-finite esteem.

Since we recognize that an objectively real and infinitely valuable object is required for infinite esteem, we have the capacity for infinite esteem.

Is the human capacity to value infinite? If so, must God be Value Itself, Infinite Value Itself, in order to meet this infinite capacity?

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