I AM and Us

[56] Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad. [57] The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? [58] Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. [59] They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

John 8: 56-59

 

 

Father Barron has a magnificent article in Catholic World Report in which he explains why it is improper to think of God as a Supreme Being:

Now to God’s invisibility. One of the most fundamental mistakes made by atheists both old and new is to suppose that God is a supreme being, an impressive item within or alongside the universe. As David Bentley Hart has argued, the gods of ancient mythology or the watchmaker God of 18th-century Deism might fit such a description, but the God presented by the Bible and by classical theism has nothing to do with it. The true God is the non-contingent ground of the contingent universe, the reason there is something rather than nothing, the ultimate explanation for why the world should exist at all. Accordingly, he is not a being, but rather, as Thomas Aquinas put it, ipsum esse subsistens, the sheer act of to be itself.

Thomas goes so far as to say that God cannot be placed in any genus, even in that most generic of genera, namely, being. But all of this must imply God’s invisibility. Whatever can be seen is, ipso facto, a being, a particular state of affairs, and hence something that can be placed in a genus, compared with other finite realities, etc. The visible is, by definition, conditioned—and God is the unconditioned. I hope it is clear that in affirming God’s invisibility, I am not placing limits on him, as though he were a type of being—the invisible type—over and against visible things, a ghost floating above physical objects. The invisible God is he whose reality transcends and includes whatever perfection can be found in creatures, since he himself is the source and ground of creatureliness in all its manifestations. Anything other than an invisible God would be a conditioned thing and hence utterly unworthy of worship.

Go here to read the rest.  God is I AM, and it is only through His will, and His will alone, that we are.  Our existence and that of the universe is a manifestation of the love of God.  He called us from nothingness to partake in His existence for purposes of His own.  Debates about the existence of God have always therefore struck me as ironic.  Men might better debate why they exist rather than pretend that matter and energy can be created ex nihilo except by a God who desires to create.

13 Responses to I AM and Us

  • Thomas Aquinas said that man’s finite mind cannot comprehend an infinite God. The Bible says that all the books in the world cannot hold the truth about God. Using the word “supreme” would indicate that there is only one God, as there cannot be two supreme Beings. Only one can be supreme as two would preempt one another.
    .
    The word “sovereign” would indicate that almighty God is Lord over all.
    .
    The virtue of humility in “Be it done unto me according to Thy will.” brings the Supreme, (one and only) Sovereign, (creating “ex nihilo” and keeping all things in existence) Being (I AM WHO I AM) to us as our God. The Supreme Sovereign Being WHO is:”I AM WHO I AM” exists and is existence, loves and is love, is beatitude and truth. Only God is good.
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    Jesus asked: “Who do the people say that I AM?”, and Peter answered: “The Son of the Living God. The Christ” and Jesus called Himself the Son of Man.

  • I have always thought that the words spoken from the burning bush are just too deep and original to have been a fabrication or legend. They MUST have been spoken in just the way the Bible relates.

  • TomD: I’ve had the exact same thought. Exodus 3:14 is an amazing passage.

  • Fr Barron’s writing and work is great. As someone who has studied both philosophy and theology I can state categorically that he has a great ability to explain the most profound and sublime truths concerning the Mystery of God-most especially in the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas-in a way a person with little or no philosophical/theological training can grasp.

  • I remember being taught (I thought orthodoxly…orthodoxically… …correctly) that Jesus was not to be called a human being, but a divine being with a human nature. Is that incorrect?

  • Pinky, it’s a little more complicated that that.

    The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches are Dyophysite, and their belief is reflected in the Nicene Creed phrase “true God and true man”.

    The Eastern Oriental churches claim to be Miaphysite; they don’t use the Nicene Creed, but if they did they would translate it as “true God-man”.

    There is a growing movement, spearheaded by Benedict XVI, that maintains that these differences are due to mistranslations and misunderstandings and so the basic theology is about the same, and so the theological hornet’s nest that has existed over these definitions is probably unwarranted. But I still think it would be good to look at the history to fully answer your question. A simple place to start might be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypostatic_union

  • Pinky and TomD

    The Church recognises that different language may be used to express a mystery that cannot be fully captured by any formula. The Fifth Ecumenical Council, in its eighth canon, anathematizes those who say “one Nature incarnate of God the Word” [Μία φυσις του θεου λογου σεσαρκωμενε] unless they “accept it as the Fathers taught, that by a hypostatic union of the Divine nature and the human, one Christ was effected.”

    The question is not whether we speak of “one nature” or “two natures,” but what we mean by it.

  • “I AM WHO IS”. “Being” is a verb made noun and both are correct. “to be is to be” and to be is being, being a being is correct since there are three Persons in the Blessed Trinity. Peter’s: “You are the Son of the Living God.” Christ’s: “I AM the LIFE”.
    .
    “accept it as the Fathers taught, that by a hypostatic union of the Divine nature and the human, one Christ was effected.”
    .
    This ony makes sense if a person acknowledges that God, the Father, God, the Son and God, the Holy Ghost willed the hypostatic union. Christ is, was effected by God. One Christ is before all ages.

  • Mary De Voe

    The Fifth Council had before it the statement of the Antiochene party, “‘Before the worlds begotten of the Father according to the Godhead, but in the last days and for our salvation of the Virgin Mary according to the Manhood; consubstantial with the Father in the Godhead, consubstantial with us in the Manhood; for a union of two natures took place, wherefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to the understanding of this unconfused union, we confess the Blessed Virgin to be Theotokos, because the Word of God was incarnate and made man, and through her conception united to Himself the temple He received from her.”

    The usage of both the Alexandrian and the Antiochene parties was to speak of the Son or the Logos before the Incarnation and of Christ after it.

    However, as St Athanasius (one of the “fathers” referred to by the Council) says,”All that He ever had continued to be His; what He took on Himself was only an addition. There was no change; in His Incarnation, He did but put on a garment. That garment was not He.” The “garment” is HIs human nature. According to St Cyril, the phrase “the one nature incarnate” is also Athanasius’s, who, like the Fathers at Nicea used physis (nature) and ousia (being) interchangeably – τὸ λεγόμενον κτίζεσθαι τῇ φύσει καὶ τῇ οὐσί (Orat II. 45)

  • Thank you, Michael Paterson-Seymour

  • As atheists misunderstand and reject The Supreme Sovereign Being, these same atheists misunderstand and reject One True God. What is apparent and misbegotten is that these same atheists use God’s Name: “I AM” all day long, and especially when they (the atheists) file suit in court for their “rights”. Using God’s Name “I AM” to reject and deny God is duplicity and perjury in a court of law. Imposing their rejection of God on all citizens through the courts denies the freedom inscribed in our Founding Principles. Not even the courts have the authority to alter our Constitution without ratification by the states.
    .
    Michael Paterson-Seymour: ““‘Before the worlds begotten of the Father according to the Godhead, but in the last days and for our salvation of the Virgin Mary according to the Manhood; consubstantial with the Father in the Godhead, consubstantial with us in the Manhood; for a union of two natures took place, wherefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to the understanding of this unconfused union, we confess the Blessed Virgin to be Theotokos,…”””
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    I have always written and read “mankind” as the whole human race, especially when women go about complaining about being left out of Holy Scripture. “Manhood”, like sovereign personhood, is so much better. “consubstanial with us in the Manhood” cannot be mistaken for anything but the whole human race.

  • Botolph: “Fr Barron’s writing and work is great.”

    .
    I listened to Father Barron on EWTN Saturday and I an convinced that Father Barron’s writing and work are magnificnt.
    Father Barron spoke of the atheist competing with God.

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