Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Paul Tillich

It is not really news, and perhaps not blogworthy, to say that Tillich was quite good at theology. But I don't know his work, and want to quote something I found when looking for something Stephen Mulhall has written about God. Edward Feser quotes Tillich:
The ground of being cannot be found within the totality of beings, nor can the ground of essence and existence participate in the tensions and disruptions characteristic of the transition from essence to existence.  The scholastics were right when they asserted that in God there is no difference between essence and existence.  But they perverted their insight when in spite of this assertion they spoke of the existence of God and tried to argue in favor of it.  Actually, they did not mean “existence.”  They meant the reality, the validity, the truth of the idea of God, an idea which did not carry the connotation of something or someone who might or might not exist.  Yet this is the way in which the idea of God is understood today in scholarly as well as in popular discussions about the “existence of God.”  It would be a very great victory for Christian apologetics if the words “God” and “existence” were very definitely separated except in the paradox of God becoming manifest under the conditions of existence, that is, in the christological paradox.  God does not exist.  He is being-itself beyond essence and existence.  Therefore, to argue that God exists is to deny him.
All the quotes Feser provides in that piece are worth reading. Actually I think they are great, but perhaps that's just a shallow enthusiasm. And I'm not snarkily implying that Feser's commentary is not great. I simply haven't read it yet. I will do so, but I want to get this post done before my enthusiasm wanes.  

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