Is God Being Itself?

The necessary, unconditioned source of all contingent, conditional things? The consequence of that would seem to be that while God transcends the universe as the ocean transcends the waves, God is still completely present in the universe as the water of the ocean composes the waves.

If this is so, have people confused the issue by taking the phrase “heaven and earth” in the Bible to mean “the physical universe” rather than the land and sky of Earth that it originally meant? That paints a picture of God separate and remote from creation, rather than as the sustaining Being of all creation moment-by-moment.

That is one description Bishop Robert Barron uses to describe God. I believe he was quoting Karl Barth when he described God as “Being itself.” I am not sure about the implications, however the meaning of the phrase, “heaven and earth”, depends on the context of the passage.

I’m not quite sure of the connection you are trying to make with ‘heaven and earth’ and the unconditioned (transcendent) reality that God is…

Indeed God is sustainer of all creation moment by moment in classical theism, but his tranaendence does not make him remote. He is still present and emminent within the creation.

God has no genus as Thomas Aquinas would say. All we can say of him is that he simply is. He simply is existence. No human wording can put it into full perspective. Our human understanding couldn’t even be able to grasp God.

In Platonic philosophy and a few others I think, there is a duality between becoming, which encapsulates the physical world, humans, things that change and grow, and being, which is what these thing are growing towards, that which is ideal, perfect, complete, and unchanging in that it has reached the fullness of existence so to speak, which is understood by many philosophers as God. In that sense, God is being itself, because God is the eternally present perfection of ideals.

As far as personal musings and understanding, yes, God is present in all of His Creation, which is also how I understand the phrase “all Creation glorifies the Lord.” In all of creation, aspects of God are present. A fairly obvious example is the beauty of a sunset. To those who know how to see it, in a sunset, one can perceive aspects of the Beauty of God. Also, God both creates and sustains all of creation, so in that sense He is also present in everything.

The “heaven and earth” topic is more related to the limitations of human language to fully express ideas. Also, I’m pretty sure than in some places, it literally just means the Earth and the sky/stars/universe, and then in others means Heaven and Earth. Although sometimes I also think earth in the Bible refers to the physical universe in general. I’m not sure though. I’d have to see specific examples.

Belongs in the philosophy forum IMO.

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