I suppose my first theological blog ought to be about God!
In classical orthodoxy, God cannot be defined or described, so here are four quotations summing up the viewpoints that have guided me in my theological explorations. Although they are all classical orthodox statements, they have utterly radical implications.
God is not a thing that exists but existence itself. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologiae: The perfection of God Prima Pars, Q. 4.
St. Aquinas was a thirteenth century philosopher and theologian. His argument was that God is not like other things that exist – tables, chairs, animals, planets. God is existence itself. We might say God is not a real thing but reality itself or God is not alive but life itself. An exploration of life in all its fullness is an exploration into God.
God is that in which we live and move and have our being.
St. Paul quotes this saying of Epimenides in the Acts of the Apostles (17.28). God is as close to us as water is to the fish, or the air we breathe. There is no need to search for God but simply to relax in God’s presence.
God is that which cannot be doubted. Anselm in Proslogion chapter 3)
St. Anselm was a twelfth century philosopher, theologian and archbishop of Canterbury, whose views challenge many of our theological notions. When people say “I’m not sure about God, I don’t know whether he exists or not”, they are labouring under a misapprehension. Our exploration of God needs to begin with things that we don’t doubt – life perhaps, love, ourselves. Exploring these things is an exploration into God.
If I know myself I shall know thee O God. Augustine in Soliliques.
St. Augustine was a fourth century theologian and bishop who propounded the view that since we live and move and have our being in God, then getting to know ourselves is getting to know God.
All these avenues of exploration may take us down well-trodden religious paths. They might also take us into the everyday world without any obvious religious language or symbolism. Does that matter? I don’t think so.