Can God be Void?

I’ve posted this topic on other forums resulting in some very interesting perspectives, but I’m interested to find out what are some Catholic thoughts on it; my question is regarding whether or not God is, or can be, what I refer to as “the Void?”

My notion of God as the Void is based on the ineffable nature of the Godhead. Since nothing can accurately be said of him other than what he’s not the idea of void comes to mind. It too is described, and can only be described, with negative description. When God is described cataphatically it’s in a sense of his likeness rather than his true nature, or what he actually is.

To put this into context I’ll explain what I mean by the Void. The Void is the noun that is nothingness. It is however not nothing but something which has no material reality. This void permeates the universe and is relative to every particle of mass. Just as light and sound are rapid alternations between light & darkness and sound & silence, so too exists an absence of mass between mass. Think of the components of an atom; between its parts there is space, or an emptiness, constituting a void. Alongside all void throughout the universe there is also void extending beyond it—together called “the Void”. It is immeasurable, ineffable, unknowable, and unattainable.

If the Void, or the sum total of all void–which truly has no sum–shares every descriptive characteristic with God, cataphatically that is, can it be said of God that he is not the Void?

And in addition, is a heavenly abode like the experience of sleeping?

No, your idea is pantheistic. God created the universe, he is not part of it. Though he is certainly active in it. It is true that we can approach God only through Negation but that does not mean we know nothing about him. We know a great deal about him through his Self-Revelation and by studying the things he has made, for they, indeed, are a faint reflection of his Perfection and Nature. So please do not refer to him as the " Void. " How about the Ineffable?

I take it you are not Catholic? Why not take a look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church and see if that gives you a better understanding.

vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM

Linus2nd

God, being unfathomably superior to us, can only be comprehended to the extent He reveals Himself. As that is done we find whether or not anything positive can be known about Him. Does ineffable necessarily equate to unknowable-or unattainable-or emptiness? God has revealed Himself to be, among other things, love- and that’s far from void IMO.

What I’m describing is not pantheistic which states God is one with the universe—void is not. Void is separate from the universe because it extends beyond it. Also, all that is mass is considered creation and void is distinct from mass because it has no substance.

Thomas Aquinas wrote that human reason cannot by its own capability gain knowledge of God and therefore required revelation. Gods qualities weren’t something to be reasoned, like love, but through Christ and the prophets it was made known. Void could indeed fit this notion since it too is not subject to reason and if it were loving and the creator no one could reason it so.

What I’m describing as “the Void” is not empty in the sense that it is true nothingness but rather nothingness in terms of comprehension. Ineffable would be a better word for God than “the Void” but because “the Ineffable” is a concept that isn’t relatable it seems less concise. Void is relatable in that it exists (or non exists) alongside everything that is.

I would also add that if the Void were God, and God is loving, that his love is perfected love and thus beyond the scope of human understanding. Describing his “love” as love is merely simplifying it for human consumption, for the true love of God can never be fathomed; it is something like love.

But He can reveal that love-directly, not merely intellectually. He can cause us to comprehend-to know-that which we cannot comprehend strictly with our own natural faculties-and be fully satisfied by that comprehension- The inability to convey what’s been comprehended is what makes it ineffable.

God has no extension. And God is a Substance, Thomas Aquinas refers to him as Ipsum Esse Subsitens. God is Pure Act or Actus Purus Essendi. Please don’t refer to him as " Void. " No matter your intentions, it will only create confusion in those you are talking to.

Thomas Aquinas wrote that human reason cannot by its own capability gain knowledge of God and therefore required revelation. Gods qualities weren’t something to be reasoned, like love, but through Christ and the prophets it was made known.

We can know with certainty many things about his nature. See part 1 of the Summa Theologica.

Void could indeed fit this notion since it too is not subject to reason and if it were loving and the creator no one could reason it so.

That is no justification for using " Void " as a reference.

What I’m describing as “the Void” is not empty in the sense that it is true nothingness but rather nothingness in terms of comprehension. Ineffable would be a better word for God than “the Void” but because “the Ineffable” is a concept that isn’t relatable it seems less concise. Void is relatable in that it exists (or non exists) alongside everything that is

O.K. but since " Ineffable " has already been used as a name for God, why not just stick with that? No Christian will accept your idea. .

I would also add that if the Void were God, and God is loving, that his love is perfected love and thus beyond the scope of human understanding. Describing his “love” as love is merely simplifying it for human consumption, for the true love of God can never be fathomed; it is something like love.

Linus2nd

I think you may be describing PanENtheism. Or very Buddhist.

An interesting concept: God, because he is “ineffable”, must be described from a negative point of view: “Void.”
But, our Lord tells us to “…pray like this: Our Father…”
“Father” is a personal concept, not an impersonal one.
A “Father” is he, through whom we have life.
And we have, because of this, as a part of us, part of our father’s nature.
Therefore, God is not beyond our knowing, he is personal: a part of us.
To be personal is to be positive, not “Void.”

What you have described is a thought which pops up a lot in the mystical writers. God is often described as a ‘ray of darkness’. I also read the last line of Psalm 87 that way: “My one companion is darkness.”

The void is in some senses both physical and non-physical. I often imagine God as the infinite void, with no attributes, no limits, etc. The void seems to be the origin and end of all things, impassive, and unchangable, and contain all and pervading all.

I also think of Heaven as a state totally beyond our experience and idea of existence, where nothing can be affirmed, and all feelings are transcended- so something like a state of deep, dreamless sleep. Such a state is perfect peace, and perhaps perfect bliss.

I like this kind of imagery- and while it is quite Buddhist or Hindu, it pops up in the writings of the Christian saints quite a lot.

What I’m describing is a type of panentheism and relates to the Buddhist concept of Shunyata, or the Great Void. But contrary to the Buddhist notion of void being pure nothingness and dead—so to speak—I’m instead saying it’s indeed somethingness as well as alive. I’m also saying it is ineffable, like Zen, in that I know what it is but when I proceed to utter what it is, I am unable.

And to my knowledge, the Catechism—specifically CCC 285—doesn’t specifically deny this possibly. The only section of CCC I’ve read which comes close to denying my notion is in CCC 285, which states, "Others have said that the world is a necessary emanation arising from God…” How this differs from my notion is that the physical universe (the world) is only necessary insofar as it bestows the characteristic of “creator.” Without a creation the Creator wouldn’t be such. My notion is not that creation MUST be but rather IS, due to our Father’s will.

In regards to God as our Father, I would say he is like a father and not necessarily a father in the true sense of the word. He relates to us as a father but only is concretely understood as “I AM,” or YHWH; no characteristic can best reflect him beside YHWH. Whatever we know about him he has revealed to us but otherwise we’d know nothing of him. Nevertheless, these revealed characteristics are perfect and thus incomprehensible—we can never measure up. I am not saying he is impersonal but personable because he’s LIKE a father.

Let me be clear about my meaning of void since his voidness is not literal void. He is void insofar as he is the absence of anything measurable. According to contemporary science I am suggesting God is the concept of void; however, unlike contemporary science I do not believe this void is absolute nothingness.

My notion of God as the Great Void is analogous to paper beneath print. The paper is not nothing but rather something. However, where there isn’t print one could label the paper as void, although the paper never ceases to be paper; it is of itself something. The print, unlike the paper, is describable because it contains variation—the paper does not. Underlying the print remains the paper, for the paper sustains the print and is constant whereas the print is discontinuous. The paper doesn’t require the print to be paper but the print requires the paper to be print.

I understand God as the paper forming the print which is the creation. And it’s as if the print read, “I desire, I love, I make, I AM.”

Correct. But I am being drawn to the faith the more I read. This topic has been on my mind for some time and I’m wondering if it specifically goes against doctrine. I feel unable to conceive any other notion of God.

It just shows how limited our langauge is. Scripture also tells us God is light. So in light I see God and in darkness I see God, omnipresent.

The problem I have with your posting is, in the Christian view, God, or the understanding of who or what God is, isn’t based on one’s own notions. Therefore it can be presumed, is the reason why you don’t know God. Or you wouldn’t be asking this question.

The understanding of who the true Living God is, is based on revelation that is of God. Even Jesus witnessed God the Father, His Father as He has stated, because He, Jesus is from Heaven (the Presence of God) who came into the flesh (Son of man) to give us what He knows and has of God His Father.

In other words, its important that what is about God, be of God, else it’s a lie.

That said, defining God is a grave error for the soul. It is the Creator and Judge that defines what He creates, not the other way around.

For example, no matter what one thinks, God is who He is, but if one is in the Faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, then one is at the least a child of God and has the power to become a son of God. And if one is not of the Faith of Jesus the Christ, then one would be otherwise, hence not a child and not one who has the power to become a son of God. Or the Presence of God with Moses makes or defines who and what Moses is.

I agree. I am not stating how God is but instead what God is—there’s a difference. ‘How God is’ concerns his attributes, like ‘God is loving,’ and is revealed truth; ‘what God is,’ like what I’m discussing, is contemplation concerning in what way that truth is realized.

Thomas Aquinas states in Summa Theologica,

“Sacred doctrine, being one, extends to things which belong to different philosophical sciences because it considers in each the same formal aspect, namely, so far as they can be known through divine revelation. Hence, although among the philosophical sciences one is speculative and another practical, nevertheless sacred doctrine includes both; as God, by one and the same science, knows both Himself and His works. Still, it is speculative rather than practical because it is more concerned with divine things than with human acts; though it does treat even of these latter, inasmuch as man is ordained by them to the perfect knowledge of God in which consists eternal bliss.”

I do not believe the gospel is a “one sized fits all” kind of truth, it has multiple dimensions. Some dimensions are simple for simple people and others are more esoteric. These esoteric dimensions are occasionally revealed, for example, when declaring heresies—since knowing what is not eliminates certain possibilities. And because I do believe God to be the Great Void doesn’t make it a lie. A lie is knowing the truth and concealing it with fallacy.

Simply put, I’m defining God as undefinable. I’m not adding to removing any revealed attributes. It is merely taking a concept and relating it to another concept.

I do believe I did say and or refer to “what God is”:

“Christian view, God, or the understanding of who or what God is, isn’t based on one’s own notions.”

Correct?

I do not believe the gospel is a “one sized fits all” kind of truth, it has multiple dimensions. Some dimensions are simple for simple people and others are more esoteric. These esoteric dimensions are occasionally revealed, for example, when declaring heresies—since knowing what is not eliminates certain possibilities. And because I do believe God to be the Great Void doesn’t make it a lie. A lie is knowing the truth and concealing it with fallacy.

Your are correct in believing that the Gospels aren’t a one size fits all, its not supposed to. It fits the Lord God of Israel and His purposes for man. Which is the fulfillment of His Word in the flesh according to the Lord Jesus Christ’s fulfillment in the Son of man in which He, God, God the Father is satisfied and proved by the rasing of Jesus Christ. Therefore I am sure you have heard of transformation in Christ and that would be the disregarding of ones own fulfillment of this life for the Life of Christ given. Hence it is not the life of Christ that is to fit you, it is you by the penitent walk you are to receive the Life of Christ shedding your own and growing little at a time in Christ. There is only one life for those of mankind that will be in the Kingdom of Heaven and that is the Life of Christ Jesus. Therefore the requirement for Jesus to give us His Life so that we may have Life. The life of Adam is required in order to be in the world, but it is the Life of Christ that is required in order to be in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Simply put, I’m defining God as undefinable. I’m not adding to removing any revealed attributes. It is merely taking a concept and relating it to another concept.

That don’t even make sense, how can you expect anyone to believe that you are not defining by saying you are defining a thing as undefinable, that is a definition of something as “undefinable”. Ether you are doing a thing, or you are not.

Besides the Bible already tells us many things about God, the first thing is Creator and Judge “Elohim” also known as “God”, hence who He is and Jesus says He is Spirit, therfore what He is. If you meditate and contemplate the things that the Lord God has already revealed about Himself in scripture you won’t have time to, nor need to look to anything else. Look to what the Lord Jesus says about Himself and John says about Him in the Gospel according to John and compare it to what is revealed in the Torah (first five books in the OT) you will learn a lot more then what can be learned from your own notions.

O.K., As I said, I think you should read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It may help you clarify your ideas. But honestly, if you go around calling God the Void, people are going to run away from you. It is something they haven’t heard and they won’t want to stand around for an hour or two and listen to your explanation.

Linus2nd

Well then, let me rephrase what I said.

I am not stating WHAT God is but instead HOW God is—there’s a difference. ‘WHAT God is’ concerns his attributes, like ‘God is loving,’ and is revealed truth; ‘HOW God is,’ like what I’m discussing, is contemplation concerning in what way that truth is realized.

The point is, there’s a separation between the KNOWN and UNKNOWN. What is unknown is subject to speculation, and it is the speculative aspect of the faith I’m aiming to discuss. If what I’m saying contradicts what is known, let me know.

Every word used to describe the concept of void means exactly that; empty, absence, nothing, etc. Therefore, it is undefinable because is has no real definition, or contrast, to define—it’s simply “BLANK.” But I’d say you are right as well because void simultaneously exists and is nonexistent, and likewise is definable and undefinable. For example, the definition of void is “BLANK.”

Okay, he’s Spirit… and what is that?

The scriptures are not meant to have your face buried in them; they reflect what you find when you put the scriptures down and take a look around. I’m taking a look around and discussing what I see as a result from reading the scriptures but you tell me to bury my face again in the scriptures. It seems silly.

Got it. I guess I don’t really know how else to explain what can’t be put into words. Plus, I hope people don’t run away because I’ll wonder why they were in the Philosophy forum to begin with.

Perhaps you are underestimating people’s capacity to ‘get’ metaphor and mystical imagery?

In my experience, it is good to use some of the less obvious and more paradoxical images of God, provided they are a part of the Tradition. The image of God in Christianity is every bit as rich and complex as any other religion- unfortunately, most of the Christian mystical tradition remains relatively unknown- primarily due to people thinking it is dangerous or confusing. But, maybe mainstream Christianity needs to re-engage its mystical vocabulary.

Lets see here, first it was:

“I am not stating how God is but instead what God is—there’s a difference.”

Now its:

“I am not stating WHAT God is but instead HOW God is—there’s a difference.”

The point is, there’s a separation between the KNOWN and UNKNOWN. What is unknown is subject to speculation, and it is the speculative aspect of the faith I’m aiming to discuss. If what I’m saying contradicts what is known, let me know.

I do believe that is what I am trying to do. To what good is the speculation of the unknown, except for writing sifi stories. If the Lord God wants you to know something then He has provided the information to you. If there is some thing He doesn’t want you to know you are not going to know it. If what is provided isn’t sufficient, then you seek to make up your own truth via agreed speculation.

But if it is revelation you seek, then it would have to be of God.

Okay, he’s Spirit… and what is that?

The scriptures are not meant to have your face buried in them; they reflect what you find when you put the scriptures down and take a look around. I’m taking a look around and discussing what I see as a result from reading the scriptures but you tell me to bury my face again in the scriptures. It seems silly.

Well if you’ve been reading so much like you say you have maybe you should know that, but if you give it some thought. God is always in a standing agreement with at least one man if not many and through Jesus the whole world. So what is in agreement with God receives of God that which is of God. So could the Holy Spirit be the fulfillment of the agreement in God, hence God’s Presence. Consider that anything that doesn’t agree to the Word of God is separated into darkness, just as that which did not let there be light was separated from the light.

Got it. I guess I don’t really know how else to explain what can’t be put into words. Plus, I hope people don’t run away because I’ll wonder why they were in the Philosophy forum to begin with.

As far as your take on this site’s philosophy section, it is just that a section of a larger site a Catholic site therefore you are most likely going to get a Christian view of a proposed philosophy and even more likely a Catholic view. I do believe you did ask for:

“I’m interested to find out what are some Catholic thoughts on it; my question is regarding whether or not God is, or can be, what I refer to as “the Void?””

Therefore don’t expect secular answers though some may post a secular answer. Just in case you are not aware. In philosophy there is atheists, those who do not believe there is a Creator and Judge. There is theists, those who do believe there is a Creator and Judge but do not know the Creator and Judge, and there are priests, those who do believe there is a Creator and Judge and know the Creator and Judge. When it comes to the things of the One and only true and living God.

I apologize, I’m not good with words. What I meant to say is: I am not stating X is God but instead Y is God. The X is God’s relatable nature to humanity; the Y is God’s incomprehensible nature. We can split hairs but it doesn’t change what I meant, so please, let’s get back to philosophy and ditch the semantics.

You see, I’m a mystic and believe there is an esotericism to the religion. In my view, it is not the conclusion of speculation which reveals truth within us but rather the act of contemplation. My love of God brings forth a desire in me to know him through and through, although I know I’ll never truly know him. I feel such gives me a closer relationship with God. I’m not saying you don’t love God, or even as much as I do, but you seem to have a different way of showing your love for him, which I interpret figuratively as “not thinking outside the box.” And I don’t mean that offensively. Neither way is right—just different approaches.

To my knowledge, Spirit is a name for what would otherwise have no name because it is beyond comprehension; it is the essence of the Great Void, or God.

And because no one has cited with authority that I’m wrong in my conception I would say this notion of mine, the topic of this thread, is not in disagreement with God, nor is it authoritatively in agreement with God.

First off, I’m not looking for answers; I’m looking for responses. Not secular responses but instead philosophical or mystic responses. The only answer I’m interested in is whether someone can cite an authoritative source proving I am wrong in my understanding.

An example of non-philosophical, non-mystic dialogue is:

*STEVE: "Could God be such and such?

DAVE: “No.”

STEVE: “Why not?”

DAVE: “Because God says so.”

STEVE: “What does God say?”

DAVE: “Read the Bible.”

STEVE: "Which part?

DAVE: The whole thing.*

This kind of vague dialogue really goes nowhere.

Sorry but as one can gather from these excerpts of this posting, plus what has been posted by the same, it is obvious this conversation is not worth having. Have a nice day.

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