What is God?

This was THE question for Thomas Aquinas at a very early age. He devoted all his life to answer it properly and systematically. Of course, he responded also to the second question “Who is God?” but this one needs Divine Revelation to be answered.

Without Revelation, a well-formed and open human intelligence can deduce the basics of the nature of God: eternal, immaterial, immutable, almighty, pure actuality, first cause, creator, even loving. At least, one great pagan philosopher did. Aristotle wrote, for example, that God as final cause moves the world as an object of love (Met. 12.7). Beautiful, is it not?

Who is God?

But most spiritual things are beyond what human reason can grasp unaided. Most of what we know about God is what he reveals himself through his Word (=Logos =Christ) and the Holy Spirit in his Church.

This is the purpose of the Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium to expound and explain the Word of God, or Revelation, in an understandable language. As all languages, it needs to be learned.

While he was a catechumen, Augustine asked the bishop Ambrose what part of the Bible he should read to best prepare himself for baptism. The answer was: Isaiah. Augustine obediently read Isaiah but, despite his training as philosopher and teacher, he was unable to understand what the prophet said. But he did not let himself be upset and simply laid aside the book of Isaiah, as he explains: “to be resumed when I had more practice in the Lord’s style of language.” (http://www.bible-researcher.com/wilken1.html)

Augustine’s example also tells that the Lord’s “language” needs to be learned at the right school, namely the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. As a convert from Manichaeism, Augustine knew where the Truth was and, accordingly, fought heresies and wrote on Catholic doctrine all his life.