As always, its an honour and a delight
What God is cannot be known, for He is transcendent in essence
Agreed, we have commonality here
however He has seen fit to reveal Himself to man through the incarnation of the Son of God.
If you are okay with this brother, lets establish foundations about the nature of God, His attributes etc first, so we have a really firm base and we can hopefully build the house we wish to all live in as we progress? I am trying (very poorly) to be systematic with this theology so I can learn from you in a rational, and orderly way, with precision and clarity
Further we can** know the attributes of God through** the divine wisdom in which he created the world and that is reflected therein.
with permission, I took the liberty to highlight what I think is critical for our foundational base we are trying to embrace. Namely that the created world holds aspects of the “ATTRIBUTES” of God, not the essence of God. God Himself does not bring Himself into His creation, His attributes are reflected in His Creation. This is summarised very nicely in the Fr. Barron video which Jon S very kindly shared (thankyou Jon, it was indeed a great video! )
Abdu'l-Bahá says:Their [the attribute’s] existence is proved and necessitated by the appearance of phenomena’: we see that the universe follows a harmonious and ordered way, and we say that God is its Ordainer; we see creatures, and we say that God is their Creator. But our understanding of these attributes is only what we have understood, in the plane of the world of creation, of these spiritual truths, which are far beyond our minds. This is what Western philosophers call via eminentiae.
When we look at a block of lead we learn about its attributes. Its hardness, solidity and reflectiveness/shine are its attributes. Its essence (from my understanding of the word “essence”) is found in its molecular, and even in its subatomic structure, ad even beyond that even. We as human beings cannot even fully understand the “FULL” essence of a block of lead!
Now, were we to, as human beings, start to emulate and take on some of the attributes of this block of lead, namely we become hardened, more solid and shiny on our skin, then we are said to become manifest in the “image” of the lead block’s attributes. we never “actually become a block of lead”…
If we were to imagine the sun and its attributes of heat and light, and its “essence” of nuclear and sub-nuclear reactions we see that it is the “ATTRIBUTES” that are reflected in a mirror pointed in its direction, not its essence.
So here we have a distinction between “attributes” and “essence” from my understanding of the Baha’i Writings, which is beautifully worded in your next segment:
Catholics make a distinction between what we call Deus a se or “God in God’s self”, (meaning God as He is in Himself, in that inner, mysterious essence that is beyond all human reason and which is inaccessible to man) as opposed to Deus pro nobis or “God for us” (that is God’s relation with His human creatures through the twin lights of revelation and reason). The Eastern Orthodox came up with the very original terminology of “energy” as distinct from “essence” (ie Palamas).
Deus a se is the unapproachable Sun, the “Essence of Essences”…
Exalted, immeasurably exalted, art Thou above the strivings of mortal man to unravel Thy mystery, to describe Thy glory, or even to hint at the nature of Thine Essence. For whatever such strivings may accomplish, they never can hope to transcend the limitations imposed upon Thy creatures, inasmuch as these efforts are actuated by Thy decree, and are begotten of Thine invention - Baha’u’llah
…do we agree that this is an “unknowable” reality?
According to the Baha’i Writings (again from my humble understanding) Deus a se is distinct from creation, just as the physical sun is distinct from earth. Deus a se is eternal in all aspects of the word, and is “uncreated” (as the Buddha would say)
Deus a se is often referred to as “He is in Himself” or “I am that I am” or as you pointed out, “God in God’s self”…this realm or station of being is termed in the Baha’i Writings as the “World of God”…it is unapproachable by anything created, in fact it resides separate from creation altogether.
Are we on the same page in regards to Deus a se, the World of God? (please don’t worry that I will in any way hold you accountable with anything being written here
This is a dialogue carried forward with loving sincerity and camaraderie, not for segregation or elitist outcomes dear brother)
Its features include:
- Eternal existence in Himself.
- Separate from its Creation
- Eternally the Creator
Once we have this foundation we can explore some of the “essential” and “active” attributes that emanate from the Deus a se
Thankyou for reading…