Speaking About God

I thought to elaborate, but these article of faith really speak for themselves when presented as a unit. I would like to call attention to a few things along the way, but I will keep commentary to a minimum. Suffice it to say, despite my reading and working through the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a project for my own growth in the Faith, I do not think that all this logical analysis is enough. On a personal note, I love this, I love how clearly it is laid out, and how deeply and thoroughly these articles cover all my logical questing, but I also appreciate the simplicity that can be had in faith.

I’d like to say that I love this little pet project of mine, but I’m not obsessing, I’m just appreciating the artistry of the tapestry of faith, and trying to get a sense for the whole picture. So here we are, let’s talk about Theology.


39 In defending the ability of human reason to know God, the Church is expressing her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men, and therefore of dialogue with other religions, with philosophy and science, as well as with unbelievers and atheists.

Pretty self-explanatory, but I would like to remind readers that when I was siding with Karl Barth’s radical orthodoxy project, such a statement would have been not only impossible, but idolatrous. Since recanting, I’ve learned that while human logic is flawed and cannot attain on sole grounds the God of Jesus Christ, it can attain to a correlating higher power who can be transcended when proper catechesis is brought into the discussion of faith.

40 Since our knowledge of God is limited, our language about him is equally so. We can name God only by taking creatures as our starting point, and in accordance with our limited human ways of knowing and thinking.

41 All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God. The manifold perfections of creatures – their truth, their goodness, their beauty all reflect the infinite perfection of God. Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures” perfections as our starting point, “for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator”.15

42 God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God–“the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable”–with our human representations.16 Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God.

My only precaution in reaction to 42 would be that yes, in a sense this is true, but Christologically it is false. When we engage in theistic conversation we must needs move towards the Dei Verbum, Christ Jesus of Nazareth Himself. We must in a sense continually purify our concepts out of image bound relations, and yet retain a strong doctrine of the Trinity, which is in itself an image, and ultimately Christ Himself as the ‘image of the invisible God’ of whom we speak. Our human words fall short, but we must needs begin with and turn to Christ because at the end of a particular type of grasping classical theism, there is where Christianity begins.

43 Admittedly, in speaking about God like this, our language is using human modes of expression; nevertheless it really does attain to God himself, though unable to express him in his infinite simplicity. Likewise, we must recall that “between Creator and creature no similitude can be expressed without implying an even greater dissimilitude”;17 and that “concerning God, we cannot grasp what he is, but only what he is not, and how other beings stand in relation to him.”18


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