As promised, I will be posting various quotes this week from what is called “negative or apophatic theology” which is the approach that something which is infinite cannot be thought by the human mind and so we draw closer to the sacred by negation than affirmation. I will show examples of negative theology from both great Christian theologians, but also from other faiths.
“Concepts create idols; only wonder comprehends anything. People kill one another over idols. Wonder makes us fall to our knees.”
-Gregory of Nyssa
“We do not know what God is. Even God cannot say what God is because God is not anything.. Literally God is not, because God transcends being.”
-John Scotus Erigena
“We cannot say what God is, only what God is not.”
Jim, we were present Sunday last. The service and literature were impressive for us in our journey. I have been studying and practicing apophatic theology, the Desert Fathers and mothers, the Christian mystical tradition, as well as others, and Wisdom literature for decades now. I look forward to reading these blogs, and returning to AT. Andrews to worship and study.
PS also a continuing reader and teacher of the life and writings of Thomas Merton, among others.
Thank you for spending Sunday with us, and for writing. Merton was also huge for me in my growth, as were the desert monks and apophatic mystics from all over the world. I look forward to getting a chance to learn more about your journeys.
I think I’ve seen all of these before in various contexts. Isolated, the last 2 tend to leave me in the rational mode, while the 1st beckons me to a new experience that could go beyond that, perhaps to a new awareness. 4/29/14, 21:23 CDT