Maybe Imperfection is a Good Thing?


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Not long ago I weighed in on an on-line question– “Can God make anything Imperfect?”

I made the suggestion that “GOD MAKES EVERYTHING IMPERFECT.”

In Metaphysics (Book Delta) Part 16, Aristotle gives a three possible definitions of teleios, a word we often translate into English as “perfect” —

  •  unimprovable.
  • complete (needing nothing additional)
  • functional (achieving the purpose for which it was created)

Thomas Aquinas gave two definitions for perfection– perfect in substance, and perfect in achieving its purpose.

The first definitions of both Aristotle and Aquinas come closest to the English concept of “perfection.” The suggestion in both cases is that there is flawlessness. Additionally, there is no change or growth. After all, if things change and grow, that would suggest that the things either were not perfect, or are now no longer perfect.

Everything God has created is in motion, and is undergoing change. Additionally, all living things that God has created is not only undergoing change, but is meant to grow. So everything God has created is, with this understanding, imperfect.

This may seem a bit esoteric. But there are two very practical principles that flow from this.

  1.  Don’t be bothered that you are not perfect. God did not make you to be perfect because He created you to continually learn, change, and grow.
  2. God’s goal for you is not for you to become perfect, but rather go through the continuing process of perfecting.

 

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