God-Talk

We can have no other meaning for the word “God” but our ideas and definitions. We have no idea or concept of God but what we can imagine. Unlike most other thoughts we have where there is some object we are referencing, what is “knowledge” of God except perhaps that we’re aware there’s some other question we need to ask about reality, and that question goes by the name “God”?

If God is transcendent, then by implication, we have no basis for our ideas about God because our point of reference is reality, finitude, limitedness. If God is imminent, then God again by implication, is indistinguishable from that which manifests; the ordinary, the mundane, nature.

What is God in the minds of men but a projection of humanity and an extension of nature declared spectacular, supernatural but not in a transcendent sense; only in the sense that there is a grander “This, but only way better”, be that God’s “personality” or God’s “reality”.

What can our god-talk signify in that case but something God doesn’t at all transcend nor what God is imminent with?

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2 thoughts on “God-Talk

  1. MattB says:

    I think that a God who cannot be described is actually less than a God who can. I understand what you are saying about God being transcendent, but that isn’t to say God can’t be described in any way. We can know, for example, that God is powerful. We don’t need to have a comprehensive understanding of how powerful he is to understand the basic point that he is powerful. We know that he is eternal, having no beginning or end. We don’t need to hold a full conception of time and eternity in our minds to have a basic concept of God’s existing forever.

    If God cannot be described or referred to in any meaningful way, then it doesn’t seem that God would be knowable in any real sense. Surely a God who can make himself known is greater than a God who cannot!

    It seems to me that we make a mistake when, in trying to lift God up, we push him outside the realm of intelligibility. At that point we aren’t really pushing him up, we’re just pushing him away.

    • Steven Hoyt says:

      the difficulty of course is in saying god is, much less that god is powerful or non contingent, etc.

      first, we presume there is a god. second, we only construct tautologies about the presumption; as in god’s eternality, power, presence, and so on.

      not to put too fine a point on it but to make it clear in no uncertain terms, we can engage in an ontological discussion about the present king of france, and unlike god perhaps, know only that our tautologies are flawless, but without any referent whatever.

      insomuch as god-talk is tautology, and insomuch as there may be no god, it is hard to say that the kind of thing you’re describing is “knowledge”.

      but supposing god does exist, granting externality and power sufficient to render universes, where do we get? certainly the point would be to make a distinction between a personality and a construct, such as energy, no?

      what i think remains is a god indistinguishable from reality where imminent, inconceivable as transcendent. and if we are to further presume volition, god does not have as part of his reason for creating anything at all, knowing him as if he is an object.

      theologically, i think about the only profitable thing to say is that perhaps we are icons of god, the question of god rather than any one answer or response matters, but knowing god isn’t any point; that what is is the experience of humanity in this particular place helps us understand ourselves exactly as intended, and all related, we in turn may be able to apprehend god as best we can. the effect of the question being necessary, but not any “the” answer over the experience of living and learning of ourselves. in some way, it matters to god.

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