292. God Considered in Himself. -- Our knowledge of the Divine essence is derived solely from the study of creatures. Reason proves for us that all created perfections must be found in an eminent degree (eminenter) in God. We know the perfections of God, says St. Thomas, by analogical concepts. In one long corollary we derive His attributes from his substantial existence ("esse per essentiam"). Thus, God is perfect knowledge; as He is also perfect love, though Aristotle is silent about this attribute (46): and there is no shadow of doubt about the Divine personality.
The multiplicity of the Divine perfections is lost in the unity of the Infinite. But the scholastics do not agree about the distinction between those perfections, nor about their relative pre-eminence. St. Thomas holds a virtual distinction ("distinctio rationis cum fundamento in re"), and, true to his intellectualism, emphasizes the role of the Divine Science (302).
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