Apophatic Theology Explained

Apophatic Theology Explained



December 11, 2012 · 10:50 am

3 responses to “Apophatic Theology Explained

  1. That’s beautiful… not to think as though any of our concepts pin God down! Like I wrote in the other comment I made as well, our hearts can know Him personally and our minds can know about His actions.

    But have you read anything about this apophatic way of articulating things, in light of how some concepts are really wrong to attribute to God and some are really meaningful metaphors? Surely, for example, we get the impression that God IS kind when He acts with kindness towards us, etc. Is that wrong? I guess the answer might be that we just need to be humbled in the greatness of His unknowable being while still deeply accepting His blessing of relating closely with us 🙂

    Have you read any convincing alternatives to this apophatic paradigm, either?

    Thanks so much 🙂

    • Thanks – my understanding of the apophatic tradition is pretty basic, but I think part of the idea is that while we can speak of God as kind or loving, often what it means for God to be kind outstrips our conception of kindness. We can speak of human kindness or love as an analogy, but it can never fully encapsulate what it means for God to be kind. In that respect the diagram doesn’t really cut it, but then most of them don’t. Rich

      • I appreciate the reply! That is a good comment Though if we say that our finite concept of kindness ‘reflects’ God’s infinite and immeasurable sort of kindness… doesn’t that mean that we think that we can see some aspects of ‘who God is’ in creation, which would mean that there’s a similarity in ‘form’ between Him and the finite reflections? I don’t know if that makes sense. But I was thinking about it and just wonder if anything in your tradition sheds light on this.

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