Some of the most important questions anyone can ask in their life are these:
Who is God for you? Whether you are a believer or an atheist or someplace in between, whether you worship divinity or reject divinity, who is the God you worship? Who—what—are the gods you reject?
Another question that goes with them is the following:
How has your understanding and experience of God evolved over the years? From childhood to adulthood for example? From times of joy to times of darkness and depression? From youth to middle age to elder age? From parent to grandparent times?
If “all the names we give to God come from an understanding of ourselves,” as Meister Eckhart teaches us, how has our understanding of ourselves evolved over the years and under evolving circumstances? And how does one—our understanding of God—mirror the other—our understanding of ourselves?
How has your spirituality, that is your living from your depths and not from your surface, evolved? And how has your understanding of God evolved with it along the way?
We have seen how the Bhagavad Gita tell us “God has a million faces.” St Thomas Aquinas, medieval theologian and mystic, goes even further. He says that “every being is a name for God!” What follows from his statement is that there are multiple trillions upon trillions upon trillions of names for God. Countless creatures–therefore, countless faces, countless names.
But at the end of his statement he adds that no being is a name for God because “God surpasses all things.”
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God, pp. xxvf, 155-157.
And Matthew Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations on Creation Spirituality with Thomas Aquinas, pp. 182f.
And Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas, pp. 79-84.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: A panoramic view of a vast, sculpted area of gas and dust where thousands of stars are being born has been captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Full image and caption Credit: NASA, N. Walborn and J. Ma
iz-Apellaniz (Space Telescope Science Institute), R. Barb`a (La Plata Observatory, La Plata, Argentina). On NASA.gov.
Queries for Contemplation
How many names for God do you like working with? How have they evolved—if at all—through your lifetime and your life experiences? Do you also interact with the nameless God?
Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God …Including the Unnameable God
Too often, notions of God have been used as a means to control and to promote a narrow worldview. In Naming the Unnameable, renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox ignites our imaginations by offering a colorful range of Divine Names gathered from scientists and poets and mystics past and present, inviting us to always begin where true spirituality begins: from experience.
“This book is timely, important and admirably brief; it is also open ended—there are always more names to come, and none can exhaust God’s nature.” -Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of Science Set Free and The Presence of the Past
Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality
Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him. He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French). He gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way.
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake
The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times
A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book! Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit