OrthodoxChristianity.net
September 19, 2014, 12:10:39 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: How does God metaphysically exist?  (Read 1372 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Remora
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Anglican
Posts: 18


in mora, memor remorae sum


« on: June 28, 2013, 04:20:21 AM »

Firstly I'll say this - I do believe God exists and that he's mysterious and beyond my humble comprehension of him. Personally I don't think there's any need to metaphysically prove that God exists when there is sufficient evidence of him in the lives of Christians and the witness of Christ.

But I'm curious, because I've had to do a lot of uni work on how Hellenistic philosophers justified the existence of their gods.

To give some examples from pagan philosophers:

  • The Epicureans thought that their gods were human shaped, and lived far away from human beings, perhaps in the voids between universes. Nothing gives them any trouble; they live forever in blessed tranquility. Unlike everything else in the Epicurean cosmos, the gods aren't made of matter or atoms, but something like matter.
  • Plato thought that the Creator God occupied the same position in the universe as the mind does in the body.
  • Stoics also thought that the entire universe was infused with the soul of a deity. In their case, though, they thought that fire was the element which souls were made of, and that the universe was permeated with a life-giving heat. Their deities included the Universe, celestial bodies (stars are giant intelligent balls of life-giving fire), and natural phenomena (the soul in the sea is called Poseidon; in the earth is called Gaia, etc.).

As Orthodox Christians, how do you think God might metaphysically exist? Does he have any kind of shape? Jesus is possible to visualise, but I am completely at sea when it comes to God the Father. Some paintings depict the Father anthropomorphically, or show God's presence by drawing a hand in the sky (eg. at Dura-Europos). Does that mean he's human shaped?  If it is not terribly prideful for me to ask, what substance is God, or does he have a substance? Does he have a soul? It is rightfully said that God is Spirit... what is spirit? God is personal, so he must have a mind? And are spirit, mind and soul all different?

Or is asking these questions futile in the face of his infinite majesty? He says "I am" and leaves it at that for Moses, after all...
Logged

It is a small fish, about six inches long, but when it attaches to a ship the ship cannot move, but seems rooted in the sea, despite raging storms and gales. This fish is also called "delay" (mora) because it causes ships to stand still. 
(Isidore of Seville, Etymologies, Book 12, 6:34)
Jonathan Gress
Archon
********
Online Online

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOC/HOTCA
Posts: 3,093


« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2013, 07:13:06 AM »

These are good questions and there are some (partial) answers to them.

Remember that "metaphysics" means "after physics" or you can think of it as "beyond physics". It deals with things that do not have shape, so in that sense your question is answered by saying God does not have a definite shape that you can visualize or comprehend. This is what the Fathers mean when they say we can't know Him in His Essence.

But you rightly noted that we can visualize Jesus Christ, Who is God Himself! Of course, we can only visualize Him in His human nature, but since He is God at the same time as Man, in a sense we can say that it is possible to visualize God as Jesus Christ.

God the Father cannot be visualized in Himself, although He can be represented symbolically, and is on certain icons, as you point out, e.g. by a hand, or by the image of an old man (yes, some will dispute that those icons are genuinely Orthodox, but they are meant to be symbolic of the Father, not true depictions). This is what Christ means when He says "no one knows the Father but through the Son". I.e. we cannot "know" (visualize) God except in His Incarnation as Jesus Christ.

When it is said that "God is Spirit", that means that God is immaterial, i.e. not made of substance that can be studied or comprehended by human reason. But He does have "substance", if by substance we mean "nature". God really exists and has a nature and substance, which is Uncreated and eternal. This is what we call the Divine Nature, the nature of being Uncreated.

I wouldn't say God has a soul but that He IS soul, or rather three souls: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the same way He IS three minds. What is distinct about God, though, is that the three minds work in concert and never against each other, so really there is only one mind of God. By analogy, when we Orthodox pray together, we ask God that we become of "one mind". What God has by nature we pray that we can possess by grace.

The distinction between spirit, soul and body is complicated. With respect to humans such as ourselves, we have two parts, a body and a soul, i.e. a material part and an immaterial part. The "spirit" is not a second immaterial part of us, but rather a part of the soul itself, i.e. the part that possesses a rational will that is capable of voluntarily submitting to God. "Spirit" and "mind", in the Orthodox sense of "nous", are interchangeable. Other animals have souls, i.e. immaterial animating principles, but they don't have spirit, i.e. they have no rational will. They don't really have personality either, since persons are essentially free agents, and animals, though alive, are not free agents.
Logged
IoanC
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,378



WWW
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2013, 12:39:27 PM »

God is all-immaterial, or all-spirit meaning He is totally "bodiless" according to any concept physical and spiritual, known and unknown to us. This is of course a great mystery because it seems an impossibility, as if God is "nothing", but with God all things are possible. This also makes Him genderless, even though we refer to Him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and literally as such; they are not just metaphors, but it has to do with God's person-hood (I can't find a better word). Ontologically and literally God is love; yet, in being love He does not lose His person-hood. He is a persons, well, three persons who are love -- love that is personal.
Logged

WPM
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,361



« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2013, 01:05:40 PM »

He exists in the form and appearance of bread and wine
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 01:05:53 PM by WPM » Logged
Rufus
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: leet


Nafpliotis with sunglasses and a cigar.


« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2013, 01:33:38 PM »

God is all-immaterial, or all-spirit meaning He is totally "bodiless" according to any concept physical and spiritual, known and unknown to us. This is of course a great mystery because it seems an impossibility, as if God is "nothing", but with God all things are possible. This also makes Him genderless, even though we refer to Him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and literally as such; they are not just metaphors, but it has to do with God's person-hood (I can't find a better word). Ontologically and literally God is love; yet, in being love He does not lose His person-hood. He is a persons, well, three persons who are love -- love that is personal.

So can you explain what any of this means, or why you think any of it is true?
Logged
IoanC
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,378



WWW
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2013, 03:02:08 PM »

God is all-immaterial, or all-spirit meaning He is totally "bodiless" according to any concept physical and spiritual, known and unknown to us. This is of course a great mystery because it seems an impossibility, as if God is "nothing", but with God all things are possible. This also makes Him genderless, even though we refer to Him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and literally as such; they are not just metaphors, but it has to do with God's person-hood (I can't find a better word). Ontologically and literally God is love; yet, in being love He does not lose His person-hood. He is a persons, well, three persons who are love -- love that is personal.

So can you explain what any of this means, or why you think any of it is true?

It means what it does; let's not get funky. It's all stuff I've gathered from The Fathers and Church thinkers; now, forgive me if any of it is wrong (to the best of my knowledge it isn't).
Logged

Sinful Hypocrite
Everyday I am critical of others. Every day I make similar mistakes. Every day I am a hypocrite.
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: "The Orthodox Church" by Bishop Kallistos Ware: "We know where the Church is but we cannot be sure where it is not; and so we must refrain from passing judgment on non-Orthodox Christians."
Posts: 1,688


Great googly moogly!


« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2013, 05:53:08 PM »

The free dictionary gives this definition of metaphysical
met·a·phys·i·cal  (mt-fz-kl)
adj.
1. Of or relating to metaphysics.
2. Based on speculative or abstract reasoning.
3. Highly abstract or theoretical; abstruse.
4.
a. Immaterial; incorporeal. See Synonyms at immaterial.
b. Supernatural.
5. often Metaphysical Of or relating to the poetry of a group of 17th-century English poets whose verse is characterized by an intellectually challenging style and extended metaphors comparing very dissimilar things.

So the word is just a way for people to describe what we have based our faith on, but which is not seen or heard in the physical sense.

There is nothing wrong with the word as a description of God per se, it is simply a word used in a scientific sense, to describe what is scientifically unprovable.

One who uses the word is not necessarily using it in a derogatory sense towards the faithful.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 05:55:24 PM by Sinful Hypocrite » Logged

The Lord gathers his sheep, I fear I am a goat. Lord have mercy.

"A Christian is someone who follows and worships a perfectly good God who revealed his true face through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.“
Rufus
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: leet


Nafpliotis with sunglasses and a cigar.


« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2013, 06:44:25 PM »

The free dictionary gives this definition of metaphysical
met·a·phys·i·cal  (mt-fz-kl)
adj.
1. Of or relating to metaphysics.
2. Based on speculative or abstract reasoning.
3. Highly abstract or theoretical; abstruse.
4.
a. Immaterial; incorporeal. See Synonyms at immaterial.
b. Supernatural.
5. often Metaphysical Of or relating to the poetry of a group of 17th-century English poets whose verse is characterized by an intellectually challenging style and extended metaphors comparing very dissimilar things.

So the word is just a way for people to describe what we have based our faith on, but which is not seen or heard in the physical sense.

There is nothing wrong with the word as a description of God per se, it is simply a word used in a scientific sense, to describe what is scientifically unprovable.

One who uses the word is not necessarily using it in a derogatory sense towards the faithful.

I only agree with definition #1, but, like you, I don't immediately see anything wrong with asking metaphysical questions about God.
Logged
Remora
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Anglican
Posts: 18


in mora, memor remorae sum


« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2013, 04:19:47 AM »

These are good questions and there are some (partial) answers to them.

Remember that "metaphysics" means "after physics" or you can think of it as "beyond physics". It deals with things that do not have shape, so in that sense your question is answered by saying God does not have a definite shape that you can visualize or comprehend. This is what the Fathers mean when they say we can't know Him in His Essence.

But you rightly noted that we can visualize Jesus Christ, Who is God Himself! Of course, we can only visualize Him in His human nature, but since He is God at the same time as Man, in a sense we can say that it is possible to visualize God as Jesus Christ.

God the Father cannot be visualized in Himself, although He can be represented symbolically, and is on certain icons, as you point out, e.g. by a hand, or by the image of an old man (yes, some will dispute that those icons are genuinely Orthodox, but they are meant to be symbolic of the Father, not true depictions). This is what Christ means when He says "no one knows the Father but through the Son". I.e. we cannot "know" (visualize) God except in His Incarnation as Jesus Christ.

When it is said that "God is Spirit", that means that God is immaterial, i.e. not made of substance that can be studied or comprehended by human reason. But He does have "substance", if by substance we mean "nature". God really exists and has a nature and substance, which is Uncreated and eternal. This is what we call the Divine Nature, the nature of being Uncreated.

I wouldn't say God has a soul but that He IS soul, or rather three souls: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the same way He IS three minds. What is distinct about God, though, is that the three minds work in concert and never against each other, so really there is only one mind of God. By analogy, when we Orthodox pray together, we ask God that we become of "one mind". What God has by nature we pray that we can possess by grace.

The distinction between spirit, soul and body is complicated. With respect to humans such as ourselves, we have two parts, a body and a soul, i.e. a material part and an immaterial part. The "spirit" is not a second immaterial part of us, but rather a part of the soul itself, i.e. the part that possesses a rational will that is capable of voluntarily submitting to God. "Spirit" and "mind", in the Orthodox sense of "nous", are interchangeable. Other animals have souls, i.e. immaterial animating principles, but they don't have spirit, i.e. they have no rational will. They don't really have personality either, since persons are essentially free agents, and animals, though alive, are not free agents.
Thanks! It's great to hear these answers. I have a couple things to clarify, though. It's mostly about the mind thing. When God is three minds who always work in harmony, and thus are like one mind, how is it possible that God the Father can know some things which the Son does not know? In Mark 13:32, when talking about the timing of the end times, Christ says, "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." How can Christ's mind be separate from the Father in that he does not know everything the Father knows?

Also, is omniscience an essential part of divine nature, such that if a person lacks omniscience, they cannot be God? If so, how can Christ not know the timing of the end times, and still be divine?

I don't wish to dispute Christ's deity, of course. I'm really thankful if you can inform me how this could be resolved. Smiley

He exists in the form and appearance of bread and wine

I like this answer.

But I would like to know what is meant by "form and appearance of". How is Christ present in the bread and the wine?

When Christ says "this is my body" and "unless he eats my flesh and drinks my blood", does he mean that the bread is his cellular body made out of sinews and muscle tissue, and the wine is his cellular blood, made out of red and white blood cells floating in plasma? If not, then what is the bread and the wine, and how is it Christ? (Or if so, why does the bread taste like bread and not like flesh?)

Thank you so much.

The free dictionary gives this definition of metaphysical
met·a·phys·i·cal  (mt-fz-kl)
adj.
1. Of or relating to metaphysics.
2. Based on speculative or abstract reasoning.
3. Highly abstract or theoretical; abstruse.
4.
a. Immaterial; incorporeal. See Synonyms at immaterial.
b. Supernatural.
5. often Metaphysical Of or relating to the poetry of a group of 17th-century English poets whose verse is characterized by an intellectually challenging style and extended metaphors comparing very dissimilar things.

So the word is just a way for people to describe what we have based our faith on, but which is not seen or heard in the physical sense.

There is nothing wrong with the word as a description of God per se, it is simply a word used in a scientific sense, to describe what is scientifically unprovable.

One who uses the word is not necessarily using it in a derogatory sense towards the faithful.

I only agree with definition #1, but, like you, I don't immediately see anything wrong with asking metaphysical questions about God.
I'm glad you're okay with metaphysical inquiries about God. I guess I was afraid that I might do it arrogantly, wishing to put God into artificial categories and constrain him by definitions. I'm not yet used to thinking about God in metaphysical terms, so I hope I don't approach it wrong. You all are probably better at navigating this field than me.
Logged

It is a small fish, about six inches long, but when it attaches to a ship the ship cannot move, but seems rooted in the sea, despite raging storms and gales. This fish is also called "delay" (mora) because it causes ships to stand still. 
(Isidore of Seville, Etymologies, Book 12, 6:34)
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 32,201


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2013, 02:42:14 PM »

If I might offer a recommendation, Remora, your posts may be easier to read if you address each separate person with a separate post. You might also find drafting your posts easier by quoting only one post and not multiple posts from multiple posters. Do with this suggestion what you will. Thanks. Cool
Logged
lovetzatziki
Moderated
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 430



« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2013, 03:45:41 PM »

Does the doctrine of the Holy Trinity say the three persons have all distinct minds?
Logged
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 32,201


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2013, 05:33:12 PM »

Does the doctrine of the Holy Trinity say the three persons have all distinct minds?
I guess a simple way of saying it is yes. Three distinct minds, since the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons, but those three minds work together in perfect concert.
Logged
Varuskeor
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: orthodox
Posts: 5


« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2013, 06:15:00 PM »


As Orthodox Christians, how do you think God might metaphysically exist? Does he have any kind of shape? Jesus is possible to visualise, but I am completely at sea when it comes to God the Father. Some paintings depict the Father anthropomorphically, or show God's presence by drawing a hand in the sky (eg. at Dura-Europos). Does that mean he's human shaped?  If it is not terribly prideful for me to ask, what substance is God, or does he have a substance? Does he have a soul? It is rightfully said that God is Spirit... what is spirit? God is personal, so he must have a mind? And are spirit, mind and soul all different?

The common mistake is to try to conceptualize God. It is usually manifested in the protestant and post-protestant religious thought.
The Western, Romanochatolic and post-RC vision is material, the Eastern is spiritual and noetic.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 06:19:01 PM by Varuskeor » Logged

IC+XC NIKA
ΟΩΝ
lovetzatziki
Moderated
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 430



« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2013, 01:43:37 AM »

Does the doctrine of the Holy Trinity say the three persons have all distinct minds?
I guess a simple way of saying it is yes. Three distinct minds, since the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons, but those three minds work together in perfect concert.

Can you provide some patristics for that one?
Logged
Remora
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Anglican
Posts: 18


in mora, memor remorae sum


« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2013, 09:55:29 AM »

If I might offer a recommendation, Remora, your posts may be easier to read if you address each separate person with a separate post. You might also find drafting your posts easier by quoting only one post and not multiple posts from multiple posters. Do with this suggestion what you will. Thanks. Cool
Sure, if it's easier for everyone here, I can make separate replies in separate posts. Smiley (I used to post at a forum where the opposite was the norm, and 'double-posting' was looked down on.)
Logged

It is a small fish, about six inches long, but when it attaches to a ship the ship cannot move, but seems rooted in the sea, despite raging storms and gales. This fish is also called "delay" (mora) because it causes ships to stand still. 
(Isidore of Seville, Etymologies, Book 12, 6:34)
Remora
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Anglican
Posts: 18


in mora, memor remorae sum


« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2013, 10:05:27 AM »


As Orthodox Christians, how do you think God might metaphysically exist? Does he have any kind of shape? Jesus is possible to visualise, but I am completely at sea when it comes to God the Father. Some paintings depict the Father anthropomorphically, or show God's presence by drawing a hand in the sky (eg. at Dura-Europos). Does that mean he's human shaped?  If it is not terribly prideful for me to ask, what substance is God, or does he have a substance? Does he have a soul? It is rightfully said that God is Spirit... what is spirit? God is personal, so he must have a mind? And are spirit, mind and soul all different?

The common mistake is to try to conceptualize God. It is usually manifested in the protestant and post-protestant religious thought.
The Western, Romanochatolic and post-RC vision is material, the Eastern is spiritual and noetic.
I guess that was what worried me a little about asking metaphysical questions - is it really good to investigate the infinite majesty of God? And I don't wish to treat God as if he were made out of material. I would like to understand him better spiritually. But I assume the Church Fathers were also aware of the problem, when they asked questions about God's nature. And I would like to think that the writings they wrote about God managed to avoid falling into that problem of a sterile conceptual picture of God. Perhaps through asking metaphysical questions in the right way, such as in the way that the Fathers did, one could gain a better understanding about God which doesn't trivialize him.
Logged

It is a small fish, about six inches long, but when it attaches to a ship the ship cannot move, but seems rooted in the sea, despite raging storms and gales. This fish is also called "delay" (mora) because it causes ships to stand still. 
(Isidore of Seville, Etymologies, Book 12, 6:34)
Nicene
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek
Posts: 605


« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2013, 07:09:15 PM »

Does the doctrine of the Holy Trinity say the three persons have all distinct minds?
To say they do not is to indulge in sebealianism.
Logged

Thank you.
lovetzatziki
Moderated
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 430



« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2013, 05:39:31 AM »

Does the doctrine of the Holy Trinity say the three persons have all distinct minds?
To say they do not is to indulge in sebealianism.

I think things are a little more complex than how you like them to be. I'm still waiting for those patristics.
Logged
IoanC
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,378



WWW
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2013, 03:39:36 PM »

Does the doctrine of the Holy Trinity say the three persons have all distinct minds?

The doctrine of The Holy Trinity may not address this, but the Three Persons must have three distinct minds, or else They wouldn't be different persons. However, since They share the same essence, then They have the same attributes and their minds are exactly the same "type", yet with the differences implied by individual person-hood. Now, a problem probably arises if we start imagining that these minds are attached to brains and stuff like that -- we are not to imagine God because He is beyond imagination.  
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 03:39:47 PM by IoanC » Logged

akimel
Fr Aidan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ROCOR (Western Rite)
Posts: 519



WWW
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2013, 11:21:38 AM »

"How does God metaphysically exist?"

This is an absolutely impossible question for Orthodox Christians to answer as we confess that the substance (ousia) is absolutely incomprehensible.  We do not know what God is; hence we cannot say how God metaphysically exists.  This does not mean that we cannot speak of God or about God, but I think you will find that the things we might say about God that address your question are always formulated by negation:  God is atemporal, immaterial, unoriginate, uncreated, invisible, incomposite, etc.  All of these negative attributes flow from God's radical transcendence and the catholic doctrine of creation from out of nothing. 
Logged

Shiny
Site Supporter
Moderated
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2013, 12:36:59 PM »

See sig
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
IoanC
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,378



WWW
« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2013, 12:49:24 PM »

"How does God metaphysically exist?"

This is an absolutely impossible question for Orthodox Christians to answer as we confess that the substance (ousia) is absolutely incomprehensible.  We do not know what God is; hence we cannot say how God metaphysically exists.  This does not mean that we cannot speak of God or about God, but I think you will find that the things we might say about God that address your question are always formulated by negation:  God is atemporal, immaterial, unoriginate, uncreated, invisible, incomposite, etc.  All of these negative attributes flow from God's radical transcendence and the catholic doctrine of creation from out of nothing.  

God's essence is unknowable; I wouldn't say incomprehensible (just as a personal choice) because it can lead to different conclusions. I've written about this on my blog in greater detail in a few posts, but many will not even read that stuff (and I don't blame them Smiley)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 12:50:08 PM by IoanC » Logged

Jonathan Gress
Archon
********
Online Online

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOC/HOTCA
Posts: 3,093


« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2013, 05:47:32 PM »

Actually, I'm not sure it's correct to say that God has or is three minds. We believe that God has one will and one energy, so it might follow that He has one mind, as well. But let me check what St John Damascene has to say in his Exact Exposition.
Logged
IoanC
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,378



WWW
« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2013, 07:10:35 AM »

Actually, I'm not sure it's correct to say that God has or is three minds. We believe that God has one will and one energy, so it might follow that He has one mind, as well. But let me check what St John Damascene has to say in his Exact Exposition.

It's not exactly "correct" to say that God has a mind (or three minds) because to say that is to presume God must exist in the same way as humans do. God does not have a mind, but He is knowledge, intellect, etc; He is these things in themselves. That's the whole point of Him being spirit. The angels, too, do not really have a mind, but are spirits, powers. Humans are the only ones that can be said to have a mind.

But it is useful to say that God has a mind in the context that we do not alienate ourselves from Him, that we do not forget that He is a person (three persons). For this reason, God has three minds (three persons), but it is also true to say that He has one mind because the Three Persons are one (they act in perfect union and complementarity with one another).
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 07:14:06 AM by IoanC » Logged

akimel
Fr Aidan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ROCOR (Western Rite)
Posts: 519



WWW
« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2013, 08:55:31 AM »

Met John Zizioulas addresses the question of "multiple minds" in his essay "The Being of God and the Being of Man":

Quote
In patristic thought ... the person is not the center or subject of consciousness or of psychological experiences.  This is apparent from the following highly significant observation: the persons of the Holy Trinity have only one will, only one "consciousness," and--if the term may be permitted--"psychological experience."  In reality, all the things that in personalism constitute essential elements in the concept of the person are connected by the Fathers with the nature or essence of God, in other words, with what is common to the three Persons and now what is different.  In other words, these are not hypostatic-personal properties that define the concept of the person, but properties relating to the essence or the nature of God. (The One and the Many, p. 21)
Logged

AWR
Greetings from the Southern Jersey Shore.
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 240


Expelled from Paradise


WWW
« Reply #25 on: July 17, 2013, 09:28:09 AM »

One way the Church talks about God is in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom: “...God, ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever-existing and eternally the same.”

This kind of says that we do not know how.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 09:29:17 AM by AWR » Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.105 seconds with 55 queries.