Catholic Apologetics



The 'hidden' God

When natural reason in its highest flight reveals the secret of the origins of this world, and acknowledges God as the first Beginning and last End of all nature, it acquires this knowledge from data from inside the cosmos, which, being caused and contingent and relative entities, are necessarily presupposing the absolute power of Him, who has no cause and must be the Origins and End of all things we can experience in this our world.
So we shouldn't underestimate the power of human reason. It can raise itself on its own strength and initiative to the height of things transcendent. In the natural proofs of God's existence and in the natural concept of God, which is entirely leaning on these proofs of God's existence, reason is rising above the world of our experience. It seeks and finds the deepest explanation of the perceivable fact that the cosmos exists and contains many things of many kinds, in the reality we can't experience, the supernatural reality of God who creates and saves; it altogether abandons the fiction of the monde isolé of the scientists, and is able to read in the book of nature the secrets and the things worth knowing that are pointing at the Unum Necessarium, the only one who is necessary.
But we shouldn't overestimate the power of human reason, either. Because the things divine, taken in their full sense, can't be the object of any human scholarship. God is more than what any philosopher can say about Him. The formal properties of his Essence are not within the reach of natural reason, because human intellect can never free itself from being created, not even in its highest considerations, since it can't but stay in touch with its natural base: the world we can experience. Even natural theology doesn't have God as its object, but nature we can experience. As Saint Thomas says: God is the principle of the object of natural theology. And, as to this principle, the philosopher has more certainty than insight:
"Our intellect is in proportion to the first principle as the eye of the owl to the sunlight, even though this principle may be clear enough in itself. We can only penetrate the principle with the light of natural reason in so far as the consequences of the principle allow us to do. The philosophers have succeeded to reach that depth, but not deeper. So the philosophers only deal with things divine as far as it's the principle of all things created. So it finds its place in the scholarship that deals with whatever accides to all things together, and has being as such as its object."
Thus, the natural nobility of our intellect gives rise to both rightful pride and sincere humility. We have a proper name and a suitable concept for the Creator in his outward efficacy. But only God himself knows his full Essence. The philosopher can do quite a few things. He can shed some light upon all questions which this world and this life are posing. However, the entirely different one stays hidden for him. His knowledge about God is exclusively leaning on the revelation in nature; his testimony about the Creator is true, but it isn't safe for a moment without a reference to visible creation; during the highest reflection he always has to stay in touch with the world he lives in, and the concept of God he can form, can only come about by abstraction and negation.
Of course, our natural concept of God is very incomplete. Saint Thomas says: "We know about God that He is, but not what He is."
We have to understand this saying in a right sense.
Of course, it would be foolish to suppose we could know the existence of a thing without having any concept of it. How could I ever know the sun exists if I didn't know anything about its essence? How could I have the conviction that Arius was wrong in his theory about the origins of the Word that is Christ, if I didn't know anything about what Arius taught?
We can't explain everything by reference to authority. If I accept a truth because somebody else tells me it's true, I must have some insight in the essence of the thing that's true. I can't adopt from somebody else words and concepts that mean nothing to me, because they would be void formulas, to which in reality nothing and everything is corresponding. So, when we say we know about God that He is, but not what He is, we mean we attach existence to Him whose Essence we only know in general concepts, but whose properties are elevated above all peculiarities belonging to creatures and stay hidden for our intellect.

If we ask for the reason why we can't know God, as He is, with our natural intellect, the answer can only be found in the infinite distance between God and man, or, more accurate, between the divine object of knowledge and man's cognitive power.
Whilst God is absolute Being itself, and all divine perfections are identical with God's Essence, man's intellectual efficacy is very complicated and not at all intuitive with regard to the knowledge of things purely spiritual. We may call the work of human reason singular in a good sense, because it tries to intellectually exhaust truth, which is one and indivisible, but we may also rightly call the task of natural reason manifold, because it can only approach truth in a roundabout way and piecemeal. Human knowledge isn't singular, because in man nothing is perfectly one, since all we are and do and think is carrying in itself the composite stigma of our nature which is both spiritual and material. The connection of the spirit to the body is the vitium originis, the radical defect, which leaves its traces even in our most spiritual acts.
"The way we know things is related to our own characters", says a classical philosophical adage.
Saint Thomas applies this to human knowledge, as follows:
"For man, natural knowledge is knowledge of things that have their existence in individual matter; this springs from the fact that the soul, by which we know, is the principle of the form of some matter."
We know according to the way we are.
During this our life, the spirit is essentially connected to the body. It is the living principle of the form of the body. However, because our soul in its earthly existence is dependent on matter in some degree, its efficacy is also dependent on matter. This doesn't mean our soul can't perform spiritual acts or our intellect is a merely material faculty. It only says our immaterial intellect can't accomplish its spiritual efficacy without being confined within certain limits imposed by matter.
Our intellectual knowledge is something quite different from sensory knowledge, but the latter is leaning on the former: for the intellect takes our experience of material reality as its starting point.

Now God is immateriality itself. He is the highest perfection of being, or Being without further preface. Therefore, He can't anyhow be dependent on matter. Because matter is the opposite of perfection and completion: it is only potency.
So we don't directly experience God in nature. But we do deduce the existence of God from nature, and we credit Him with some transcendental properties we find back in the world of our experience as weak reflections and shadows of divine perfection. However, this knowledge of God is very incomplete; it is not adequate but analogous, because we derive the natural concepts by which we know God from the created matter of nature, so they must be representing the peculiarities of creation.
The concept of God we form on the base of the natural proofs of God's existence, must necessarily be defective. It is a natural concept we try to free from its material properties and restrictions as much as possible by negations. For example, if we say God is the highest Being, then we derive this concept from the concrete reality of our experience, but we negate that divine Being has the same potential and contingent character we perceive in the world of our experience.
This way, God, whose existence we deduced from the created things, turns out to be a verily hidden God, a Deus absconditus. Because we only know God's Essence by means of a created image that can't fully represent things formally divine. Although the analogous knowledge of God is true, it's essentially imperfect and doesn't yield a full revelation of God's inner riches, which no eye has ever seen and no ear has ever heard. It only offers a bit of insight in those properties of God, by which the first Cause is manifesting itself in its shadow images, the creatures.
If we could know God as He is, with our natural intellect, we could comprehend divine Essence with all its properties in one single concept. The proofs of God's existence teach us that this is not the case, because each of them is illustrating a new aspect of divine essence. For instance, we learnt via a troublesome reflective consideration that God is the uncaused cause. We distinguish this concept from the unmoved mover, because the consequences by which God reveals himself as a cause and as a mover are distinct.
However, in God all is one and indivisible. The distinct properties of God which our natural reason discovered in analogy with the reality of our experience, are identical with each other and with God's Essence, because all these properties belong to God by essence, not by participation.
Whilst the five ways find their starting point in the things of this world, which, according to a fivefold modality, make us presuppose the sufficient base for the actual presence of their properties outside and above the cosmos only, they find their common end point in the Esse Subsistens, the Being that exists in itself and on the strength of itself. We ourselves do still see this Esse Subsistens according to a fivefold modality, but, nevertheless, on the strength of the absolute identity of essence and existence, it can't in any sense be dependent on something different; and it finds the base of its existence, its essence and its efficacy, only in itself.

The distinct proofs of God's existence refer to 'what all people call God' with the indications 'first mover', 'highest cause', 'necessary being', 'uncaused being', 'true and good', 'intellectual designer whose objective is itself'. These indications may seem very different from each other, but, in reality, each of them indicates God's own Essence, if only by the partial revelation of an analogous sense. Because in all five cases, we define God in a way that's best expressed by the name God revealed to Moses, saying: Ego sum Qui sum - I am Who am.
In God, everything is one and indivisible. God doesn't have an existence, or an essence, or an efficacy, God is all these things. He is so in a transcendental way, and hereby he distinguishes himself from all things outside Him, that in a certain degree are participating in existence, essence and efficacy.
Saint Thomas says: "This name Who Is, is in the highest sense God's own name.
We don't understand the full meaning of this name. That's not the fault of the divine object of knowing, but the fault of our faculty of knowing, which is in proportion to God's light as the eye of the owl to the sunlight.

{{We could write volumes about the natural concept of God with the Protestants. That's not because the natural concept of God is very complicated with them. It even is so uncomplicated that Protestant theodicy is making a very poor impression, and the usual defence formulations against the selfconfidence of scholastical Theology can hardly mask the poorness of the Protestant natural concept of God. However, the boundless variety of forms the natural concept of God is taking on with the Protestants, makes the task of the critic so manifold.
Whoever knows the fundamental religious and theological attitude of Protestantism in some degree, will not be very amazed as to this diversity. Indeed, from the beginning, Reformation asked so much respect for God's majesty in revelation and for the all-embracing importance of faith, that it hardly deigned to hear the natural language of God's visible creation.
There always was an exaggerated concern for the inviolability of God's spoken word: this caused the neglect of natural revelation and made the Protestant theodicy bear the stamp of a poor and unconvincing side subject. Although Protestant books about dogmatics did deal with the natural knowability of God's essence, polemics against the theodicy of Roman Catholicism always prevailed. Protestantism accepted the right of the locus de Deo to exist almost entirely from this distorted standpoint.
The properties of God's Essence we can know from nature, like the omnipotence, the infinity and the omnipresence, rarely had a considerable significance for the average Protestant. Whoever denied these properties are understandable, had as strong a position as who confessed they are indeed. This is perfectly consistent, because, if the natural concept of God isn't firmly based on the strong foundation of the analogy of being, it may represent anything or nothing. As long as this analogy doesn't mean more than 'vagueness' or 'poor representation', we have a full right to agree with Rudolf Otto, when he calls this natural knowledge of God true knowledge, but also a full right to agree with the opinion of Karl Barth, who thinks true knowledge of God can only be based on the Revelation of God's spoken word.
We deliberately mention the names of Otto and Barth, because these two Protestant theologians did most seriously reflect on the natural concept of God, and, above all, because their theorems about the natural knowability of God's Essence clearly are, despite all differences, the logical exponents of the religious principles of Protestant Christianity.

Rudolf Otto, an academical professor at Marburg, became wellknown mainly by his book Das Heilige. In this book, he turns out to be a clever philosopher of religion rather than a reliable historian of religion. He sets up a scholarly investigation into the phenomenon of religion from animism until monotheism, and he thinks we can find the ultimate explanation of this phenomenon in the respect - spread all over the world and over all times - which man shows before the overwhelming mystery of a high power human forces can't control.
Otto thinks the religious man is standing before a brand new reality that doesn't suit the world of our experience and can't be thought to suit, either: something supernatural, das ganz Andere. If we want to call this superworldly reality God, we have to reckon with two factors to save and affirm our conviction:
First, we can't contest God contacts man, because, without this contact, we can't acquire any certain knowledge of God.
Second, we have to somehow elucidate and demarcate the concept of God thus acquired, since, otherwise, there would be a chance of confusion between things real and unreal, or between things reasonable and unreasonable.
The first of these two conditions necessitates we make a critical introspection. It may turn out that this new reality, be it ever so superearthly, is breaking through in the world of our experience and becoming tangible in human spirit. We can be sure the relations between things divine and the cosmos of our own Me do exist: because they are actions from outside ourselves which evoke counteractions inside ourselves.
We can conclude divine actions must be present and determine their character from the very reaction of our minds. For instance, we can only find a reasonable explanation for the humble faith of our minds, the selfless submission of our wills and the helpless veneration in our hearts in and from the incomprehensible truth, the overwhelming perfection and the unapproachable sanctity of the Supreme Being.
However, the natural picture of God we acquire this way, is lacking sufficient sharpness of colour and lines. It is still too human and limited by the categories of our consciousness. So we have to 'refine' our concept of God as much as we can. We have to reconsider these categories we apply on things divine and try to strip them of their earthly properties.
However, this purification can't ever be so complete we have a full view through things divine. Even if man's mind views and reflects on all reactions which God's transcendent efficacy evokes in human life, it never can get a full picture of the things properly divine where these reactions are pointing to. After all, things divine are superworldly. We may call it das Numinöse, because it necessarily stays hidden for our minds, being the deepest depth of God, but we may also call it das Heilige, because it is always unapproachable and unassailable in its majestic secrecy. These things irrational stay away from us. They stay entities we can't give a proper name, even after we have found clear concepts for those aspects of the new reality that our reason can know.

Karl Barth, the leading representative of dialectical theology, followed in the footsteps of Sören Kierkegaard and Fedor Dostojevski and gave the Protestant scholarship of religion a direction his fellow Protestants consider with both hope and fear.
Barth's merits are mainly in the fields of dogmatics and exegesis of Holy Scripture. However, the concept of Revelation he devised is so radical and pioneering it finds reaction even outside mainstream theology, in natural theology.
As contrasted with Otto, Barth refuses natural Theology altogether. His judgment about the recognizability of things divine greatly exaggerated the fundamental thought of Calvin's theology: it is Calvinism put to extremes.
God is infinite in every respect. In his transcendence he is highly elevated above the limits of space and time. Man is in the full sense of the word a creature worth nothing. Therefore, God and man have nothing in common: they are antipoles. God is in His infinity even so much different from what we can imagine, that there can be no relation whatsoever, unless the actual relation with the faithful who is moved by God. It is the relation between man and the Word, which isn't a constant entity with an everlasting character nor a Revelation we may safeguard, but is actually happening whenever God touches man at any given moment.
Barth has little respect for the power of human reason. He even dares to say man can't discover anything about divine Essence without the Revelation of the Word:
"Wäre Gott nicht Mensch geworden ... so würde alles was wir von Gott über dem Menschen und von Gott mit dem Menschen uns ausdenken und sagen wollten, ebenso willkürlich, irrend und irreführend in der Luft stehen wie die entsprechenden Erwägungen die man schlieszlich in allen Religionen und Weltanschauungen über Gott und den Menschen angestellt hat."
Barth thinks that whenever we pronounce the name of God, we don't know what we say. This God is in any case far away from God who revealed Himself in the Word. We are only inventing an artificial being that can't ever be alive.}}

God, infinitely perfect

The concept of being is the most general concept we know. Lifeless matter, plants, animals and men, they all represent being in some degree. We distinguish dependent and independent being, real and imaginary, actual and potential, perfect and imperfect. Furthermore, all other concepts are presupposing the concept of being as the most general concept. Nothing can be true, good, beautiful, reasonable or free, unless it is. For this reason, being, without any composition or restriction, belongs to God alone. And for the same reason, our natural human intellect understands little about the name Who Is. The content of this name isn't clear to our minds. We even have so little concrete insight in it that many people think God whose existence we prove in philosophy has nothing in common with God of Christianity or God of natural religion.

{{As to this, the judgement of Henri Bergson about the God of philosophy is representative:
"D'une manière générale, nous estimons qu'un objet qui existe est un objet qui est perçu ou qui pourrait l'être. Il est donc donné dans une expérience, réelle ou possible. Libre à vous de construire l'idée d'un objet ou d'un être, comme le fait le géomètre pour une figure géométrique; mais l'expérience seule établira qu'il existe effectivement en dehors de l'idée ainsi construite. Direz-vous que toute la question est là, et qu'il s'agit précisément de savoir si un certain Etre ne se distinguerait pas de tous les autres en ce qui serait inaccessible à notre expérience et pourtant aussi réel qu'eux? Je l'admets un instant ... mais il resterait à établir que l'Etre ainsi défini, ainsi démontré, est bien Dieu. Allèguerez-vous qu'il l'est par définition, et qu'on est libre de donner aux mots qu'on définit le sens qu'on veut? Je l'admets encore, mais si vous attribuez au mot un sens radicalement différent de celui qu'il a d'ordinaire, c'est à un objet nouveau qu'il s'applique; vos raisonnements ne concerneront plus l'ancien objet; il sera donc entendu que vous nous parlez d'autre chose. Tel est précisément le cas, en général, quand la philosophie parle de Dieu. Il s'agit si peu de Dieu auquel pensent la plupart des hommes que si, par miracle, et contre l'avis des philosophes, Dieu ainsi défini descendait dans le champs de l'expérience, personne ne le reconnaîtrait. Statique ou dynamique, en effet, la religion le tient avant tout pour un Etre qui peut entrer en rapport avec nous; or c'est précisément de quoi est incapable le Dieu d'Aristote, adopté avec quelques modifications par la plupart de ses successeurs."
We find something similar with the leader of the German Union of High Churches, Friederich Heller:
"Der Gott, dessen Existenz die natürliche Theologie beweist, ist nicht der Gott der lebendigen Frommigkeit ... Mann kann daher nur von Vernunftbeweisen für die Realität eines Absoluten sprechen, nicht aber von Beweisen für das Dasein Gottes."}}

There is only one God.
The God of the philosophers is no other than the God of Christianity. The Esse Subsistens, the fullness of being, that gives all other things their relative being, is more than only a product of a deep philosophical reflection. It is an essential constituent of the religious concept of God. It's not only Revelation that accounts for the reasonableness of the religious trust of man who is feeling dependent and finite, and for the reasonableness of his prayer and his sacrifice; it's not at all human feeling that accounts for it; it's above all natural metaphysics. However, every philosopher and every Christian is fully aware of the fact that the religious idea of God is much richer than theodicy's natural concept of God.

So God is highest being and therefore it finds the base of its existence in itself alone.
The proofs of God's existence show there is a complete and absolute difference, an endless and unbridgeable gap, between the Esse Subsistens, which is pure act and completion, and created being, which is a weak shadow and reflection of divine perfection and must of necessity bear essential imperfections in itself. The fact that God is perfect and creature is imperfect allows us to safely credit divine Essence with some properties that in the things of our experience are either completely missing or can only be recovered in a very restricted form.
Indeed, the creature exhibits several properties that can only be imperfect. By denying these imperfect properties in God, per viam negationis, we credit divine Essence with its socalled negative attributes.
However, the creature is also bearing many properties that must of necessity stay imperfect and incomplete in the creature itself, but must be present outside the creature, above all in the first Cause, in highest possible perfection. So we can, per viam eminentiae, credit the first Cause with positive attributes, because it contains by essence the positive perfections of being we can only find as a share, so in an imperfect way, in the caused things.

{{The dislike of metaphysics and the absence of the philosophical concept of God can leave the mark of an almost childish answer to Catholic theodicy in a rather high degree. For instance, this appears from a really strange reasoning of the reformed dogmatist Honig, who, following the remarkable laws of an exegesis we can't understand, manages to prove from Saint Paul's words concerning the natural knowability of God by means of the things created, that Roman striving to build a natural theology on the base of the natural proofs of God's existence, is foredoomed to fail.
The same theologian first discovered from the word of the psalmist "The fool says in his heart: there is no God", the important indication that the belief in God's existence can't be the consequence of a strictly logical demonstration. Thereafter, he becomes guilty of the following reasoning, which isn't very threatening for Catholic conviction:
"The law of causality is of great importance within the circle of the visible world ... But, although this is true, we have no right to say the same law holds outside the cosmos. We can't even prove that the single things in the world or the whole world are finite, relative and imperfect, so we surely can't prove a theistic God created the cosmos. Because, even though a series causarum infinita is impossible, I can think of ten, twenty, hundred intermediate causes. And when I arrive in the end at the first cause, who tells me it's transcendent and immanent? They say: a consequence can't contain more than the cause, so if we find in the cosmos things conscious and free and ideas, then the first cause must be conscious, free and the highest absolute idea. But this reasoning is erroneous because we would have as great a right to say God must have a body." Etcetera, etcetera ...}}


The number of creatures is great. Divine Essence, however, which exists on the strength of itself and doesn't thank its existence to something else, can't be manifold. It is of necessity one and indivisible. Two essences that both are carrying in themselves the fullness of being, can't exist; they either would coincide or restrict each other, but neither of them could represent the fullness of being. The hypothesis of two or more Gods is full of inner contradiction.
The creatures are divided and composite. They are not identical to their properties, and there is distinction between their existence and their essence. In God, all properties coincide with his Essence, and his Essence is Being. So we can't accept in God any physical or metaphysical composition. God is single.
The things from the world of our experience all are in some degree tied to matter. But having a physical existence or being in some way dependent on matter, is an imperfection we can't accept in God. Because things material are, by their very nature, limited; they are no perfection but potentiality. God, however, who isn't divided within himself, who is lacking any composition between an active principle of form and a receptive piece of matter, is completely immaterial, because the highest perfection of being excludes any potentiality and materiality.
As contrasted with the creatures, which we perceive are subject to change, divine Essence is absolutely unchangeable. For changing is becoming different. But God is the highest perfection of Being. He is mere Act, lacking any potentiality, so can't become different to what He is.
From God's unchangeableness we deduce God's eternity. Whilst the creatures have a passing and temporary character because of their changeableness - as Aristotle says: time is the number of the motion according to events former and later - , God must of necessity be eternal because of his complete unchangeableness.
God isn't only unlimited with respect to time, but also with respect to space. Spatial extent is a concept we only relate to things physical. However, God is perfectly immaterial. He has no body. Therefore, He's not restricted by space, but immeasurable.
Furthermore, God is infinite according to his Essence. The creatures aren't infinite. They can't be, because they have their being and their relative perfections by participation. On the contrary, God ís being. He ís his own perfection and essence. No subject or potentiality is restricting divine Essence.


Starting from the distinct perfections we can find in creatures in a limited measure only, we can say with certainty that God as first Cause must possess these perfections in an infinite measure, because a consequence can't contain more than its cause.
God is highest Truth.
We can understand truth in a twofold sense: first, as the similarity of a thing to the judgment of the intellect; second, as the similarity of the judgment of the intellect to reality. Saint Thomas says: "Truth occurs in two ways: first, in what's true; second, in who speaks or knows truth."
In the first sense, truth is nothing else but the transcendental property of being, which, in so far as it is, is similar to the true judgment of the intellect. The more a thing is, the more it's true. God as the Esse Subsistens is the infinite and most perfect being. Therefore, God is also the most perfect truth.
If we take truth in the formal sense of the word, as the similarity of the judgment of the intellect to reality, we have to credit God with highest truth as well. Indeed, the fifth proof of God's existence made us conclude there must exist a first transcendental cause of the objective of this world, and this cause must be essentially intellectual. From this we can easily deduce God knows everything as it is. Because he doesn't only know his own Essence, but also the things he brings into existence outside Himself. Therefore, God can't ever be in error. He always sees everything immediately before Himself. Saint Thomas says: "In God, the intellect and the knowing subject and the known object and the intellectual image and knowing itself, all are one and the same thing."
God is highest Good.
We can say about good the same as we said about truth: it is being in a certain sense. The more something is, the more it is good, because if something is not good, but bad or evil or however we may call the opposite of good, it indicates a shortage of being.
The Esse Subsistens, which is pure being, and is bearing all perfections of being in highest completion, is therefore also the Bonum Subsistens: good that exists in itself and on the strength of itself. It isn't lacking any perfection, but, being the cause of all things created, it is the source of all goodness outside itself. Because the Bonum Subsistens is the first cause of all relative perfections we perceive in the created things, it is also the final objective of all things. Saint Thomas says: "Good and Objective are the same concept, because good is what all things are striving after."
God is highest Beauty.
Beauty essentially means harmony of the parts and right proportions. Sensory sight finds beauty, as splendor ordinis, in the right order of the distinct noble features of a material thing. Intellectual sight, which has as its object the things spiritual rather than the things material, finds beauty in the perfect and clearly visible harmony of highest being. Therefore, highest good is also highest beauty. Saint Thomas says: "Beauty adds to good a certain relation with our faculty of knowing."
God is highest good. He is infinitely perfect; there is no perfection we can't find in Him. In divine Essence, all conceivable perfections of being are united in the harmony of highest possible unity. Being incorporeality itself, God is clearly knowable in the highest degree.
God is highest Life
According to Saint Thomas, life in the most proper sense of the word belongs to God. "To see this clearly, we have to pay attention to the fact that, whenever we say about some things they are alive, in so far as they are active on the strength of themselves and not moved by other things, we find life the more perfect in things as they are more active on the strength of themselves and less by an influence from outside."
There are several forms of life. We distinguish arbitrary life of plants, sensory life of animals, and intellectual life of man. The highest form of life is lying in intellectual activity, because the intellect is most independent in its activity; it chooses an own objective, devises own means, and is in its whole manysided efficacy most independent. For these reasons, Aristotle could already ascertain that life is strongest when the intellect has highest autonomy.
God is essentially intellectual. Everything depends on Him as the intellectual designer. The first cause and final end are the same as divine Essence. God is his own objective. He is in no sense dependent on the things he called to existence outside Himself by his intellectual act of creation. Therefore, highest life is in God, or better: God is highest life.
God is highest happiness.
Happiness is closely bound up with intellectual life. Happiness is the specific good of a reasonable being in its highest possible perfection. This perfection is situated in the full development of intellectual powers. Happiness isn't rest or dolce far niente; happiness is activity and highest efficacy of the intellect. The degree of happiness is dependent on four factors: the nature of the activity, the measure in which this activity is independent from influences from outside, the greatness of the object and the height at which this activity comes about.
These conditions for happiness all are met in God. They are so fully present in God , that nothing among all the things that are making the position of happiness in reasonable creatures so unstable and deficient, can moderate divine happiness. Because God's intellectual life is an infinite activity. The knowability of divine Essence is infinite, too. And the things outside God that are dependent on a divine cause, don't have the power to make divine happiness dependent on itself in turn.
God is almighty
When we say about God He is almighty and can do everything He wants, we credit Him with the power to realise everything that's not fundamentally impossible and doesn't include some inner contradiction.
God's omnipotence is based again on the infinite perfection of divine Essence. Saint Thomas says:
"God's active power is of necessity infinite. Indeed, if we consider the things active, we see the active power of a thing is greater as it's possessing in a more perfect degree the principle of the form by which it is active. For example, something that's warm in a high degree, has a greater aptitude to warm. It even would possess the aptitude to warm in an infinite degree if the own warmth would be infinite. Since the Essence God works with is infinite, its active power must be infinite."

This way, natural reason learns via speculative thinking and under the partial disclosure of analogous concepts, to know the first cause as the highest, undivided and single being, as the incorporeal, unchangeable, eternal, immeasurable and infinite Essence, bearing in itself highest truth, highest good and highest beauty, and possessing highest possible power in the fullness of life and happiness.
This God is really the God of Christianity.
He's above all the God we adore and worship in the Catholic Church. The Vatican council said:
"The holy, Catholic, apostolic and Roman Church believes and confesses there is one and only one true and living God, Creator of heaven and earth, almighty, eternal, immeasurable, incomprehensible, infinite as to intellect, will and every perfection; because He is the one and undivided, unique, absolutely single and unchangeable spiritual Substance, we have to call Him really and essentially distinct from the world, happy in Himself and on the strength of Himself, and far exalted beyond words above all things that are existing or can be thought of outside Him."

Divine knowlege

The first Cause of this world must necessarily be a perfectly intellectual being. This is a certain consequence which we deduce from the natural finality in senseless creatures that don't know their objective themselves, and hence can't choose. Furthermore, it is a necessary conclusion we deduce when we apply the principle of finality on knowing, which occurs as a real perfection in several kinds of creatures, although it is only present by participation.
Saint Thomas has another demonstration for the perfectly intellectual nature of divine Being:
"In God there is perfect knowledge. To see this clearly, we have to realise that the knowing beings are standing out from the not-knowing things by the fact that the not-knowing things have only their own form of essence, whereas knowing beings have also the aptitude to take up the form of essence of something else. Indeed, the image of the thing that is known is present in the being that knows. So it's clear the nature of a not-knowing thing is more restricted and limited, whereas the nature of beings that do know has a broader and wider character. That's why the Philosopher Aristotle says the soul is in a sense everything. However, matter is restricting the form of the essence. Therefore, as a forms of being is less mortal, it comes closer to infinite perfection. Hence it's clear that a being is knowing by its very incorporeality, and the degree of knowledge is corresponding to the degree of incorporeality. That's why we say the plants can't know because they are only matter. As contrasted with this, the organ of sense is knowing because it's susceptible to the image that's stripped of its materiality; and the intellect is knowing in a yet higher degree, because it's even more independent from matter, and it's not mixed with materiality. Therefore God, who's incorporeal in the highest degree, must also be knowing in the highest degree."

Every being that's composed of matter and form of essence, thanks its active efficacy to the principle of form and its passivity to matter. As opposed to matter, which gives the realities we can perceive with our senses their receptivity and their passive character, the form of essence is the active principle of efficacy. In proportion as the form of essence is less dependent on matter, its activity will be stronger and more spiritual. The highest activity of a spiritual substance has an intellectual character, because there is an undeniable correlation between the principle of form and its activity: both are more perfect according as the own autonomy is greater and they are less dependent on matter. As materiality is a natural hindrance to knowledge, so immateriality is the very principle of knowledge. The more a certain being is independent from matter, the more perfect is its knowledge. The plants have no knowledge at all; since matter is prevailing, their form of essence is lacking any possibility to have a spiritual efficacy. The animals do know certain material properties of the objects they can perceive with their senses; the soul of an animal is already in some degree independent of matter, and in some measure spiritual. Much more spiritual and hence more perfect is the soul of man; in the faculty of its intellect, it can free itself from material restrictions related to space and time, and it forms general concepts like the concepts of being, cause, right and duty. But human intellect is only one function and only a certain power of the anima humana; man's form of essence is, during its lifetime, essentially tied to the body, to matter. This lack of freedom in its existence finds its echo in all efficacy of human spirit, for instance in the activity of the intellect, which is the most spiritual. Although our intellectual knowledge is very immanent and incorporeal, yet it only comes about by the cooperation of our senses. Therefore, the intellectual knowledge of man is very defective; it isn't intuitive, but discursive; it doesn't understand everything in the very principles, but has to deduce most of the truths from the principles in a troublesome way by complicated reasoning and composite judgment.
God, being the Esse Subsistens, has no potentiality at all. God is the perfectly spiritual Substance. So perfect spirituality belongs, so to speak, to the form of His Essence. Now Saint Thomas says, "the form of the essence is the principle of the action and determines the nature of the action". Hence, God's activity of knowing must be perfectly spiritual as well; matter can't anyhow hinder or restrict it. So His knowing must of necessity be direct, intuitive and all-embracing.

So divine knowledge is perfect. How should we take this perfect knowledge?
To get to know something, means: to absorb the likeness of something else. The act of knowing is a remarkable process of assimilation, in which the likeness of the known object is coming into the knower in such a way it becomes something personal. Saint Thomas says: "All knowledge comes about by means of the image that makes the knowing subject in a sense equal to the known object by giving the subject the form of the object".
The likeness we speak about with regard to knowing, has a very exceptional character. It is not an equality in the sense of complete identity. Neither is it a similarity, like we find between two or more things of nature that have their properties as something of their own, but resemble each other with respect to these properties. The likeness in knowing has this characteristic: the form of essence of the known object becomes something that belongs to the knowing subject, but the knowing subject doesn't lose its own form of essence. The very fact of knowing justifies that the form of essence of the known subject doesn't become identical to the form of essence of the knowing subject. If this would be true, then the knower wouldn't be able to know something outside himself, whereas the very peculiarity of knowledge is that the knowing subject stays who he is, and yet, becomes in a sense something else.
So knowledge is most perfect when the likeness of the known object comes into the knowing subject as complete as possible, whilst the knowing subject stays himself as much as possible.
We have to accept this perfect knowledge in God.
Because we must admit that God is by His absolute incorporeality intellectual life in the highest degree, and He is perfectly unchangeable in the absence of any passive potentiality.

(second part of meijerarttwo)