deus_non_est_aluminum_license_plateA great change occurred in the late medieval era that had the effect of domesticating God, at least in the minds of some. Whereas God was understood to be transcendent and incomprehensible, but still knowable through participation, the domesticated God of modern deism, atheism, and christian fundamentalism is merely one being among others, though of greater power and proportion. Brad Gregory describes this philosophical change, which resides at the core of so much philosophical trouble.

According to Aquinas, God in metaphysical terms was, incomprehensibly, esse-not a being but the sheer act of to-be, in which all creatures participated insofar as they existed and through which all creation was mysteriously sustained. In Occamist nominalism, by contrast, insofar as God existed, “God” had to denote some thing, some discrete, real entity, an ens-however much that entity differs from everything else, a difference Occam highlighted by emphasizing the absolute sovereignty of God’s power (potentia Dei absoluta) and the inscrutability of God’s will within the dependable order of creation and salvation he had in fact established.30 When combined with an either-or categorical distinction between natural and supernatural plus nominalism’s heuristic principle of parsimony known retrospectively as Occam’s razor-the idea that explanations of natural phenomena “ought not to multiply entities beyond necessity”-the intellectual pieces were in place, at least in principle, for the domestication of God’s transcendence and the extrusion of his presence from the natural world.31