Eckhart on the God of Creation and the Nameless God of Mystery

In yesterday’s Daily Meditation, we heard Meister Eckhart speak about the word that each and every creature is. The Logos or the word of God. The Christ, therefore. The Cosmic Christ.  (Or the “image of God” in Judaism or the “Buddha Nature” in Buddhism, etc.)

“Christ the Redeemer.” Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.

God is a word which speaks itself. Wherever God is, there God speaks this Word; wherever he is not, there he does not speak.  God is spoken and unspoken. The Father is a speaking action and the Son is an active speech.

“The Father is a speaking action, and the Son is an active speech.”

God said, “Let there be light” and there was light, we are told. God’s Word gets things done. It is productive. 

Eckhart can say that the Father or Creator is a “speaking action” who truly creates and does not merely cogitate about truth or about creating.

Eckhart also instructs us that the talk between God and creatures is not a one-way conversation. The creatures speak back to God and “gladly” so, he says.  

“The Peaceable Kingdom, 1826.” By Edward Hicks – National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C., online collection, Public Domain.

All creatures want to express God in all their works; let them all speak, coming as close as they can, they still cannot speak him. Whether they want to or not, whether it is pleasing or painful to them, they all want to speak God, and he/she still remains unspoken.

There is a tension and a dialectic within Divinity itself, for God is both spoken and unspoken. Present in creation, but also absent. Intimate, yet transcendent. Real, yet mystery. Yet so full of mystery and power is the creative Word that we humans are left dumb and speechless by the beauty of God and creation. Creation is almost too holy for us and for mere human words.

The unspeakable holiness of creation. Photo by Vincent Ledvina on Unsplash

We cannot name God who “is higher than names or nature” and when we try to put a name on God, “then it is not God.” God is bigger than we think, bigger than we speak. Indeed, “God is the God beyond God,” we are told.    

This is why God is both spoken and unspoken. (The spoken God corresponds to creation itself and the Via Positiva; and the unspoken God underscores the mystery of Divinity and of the Via Negativa.)  We are talking (or not talking) about Mystery.

Adapted from Charles Burack, ed., Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality, pp. 110f.  

And from Matthew Fox, Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp. 57, 60-62, 70.

To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner image: Sky of Mystery over Mt. Shasta. Photo by Cynthia Greb. Used with permission.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you experience both the God of creation and the God of mystery that is ‘higher than names or nature’?

Recommended Reading

Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality
Selected with an Introduction by Charles Burack

To encapsulate the life and work of Matthew Fox would be a daunting task for any save his colleague Dr. Charles Burack, who had the full cooperation of his subject. Fox has devoted 50 years to developing and teaching the tradition of Creation Spirituality and in doing so has reinvented forms of education and worship.  His more than 40 books, translated into 78 languages, are inclusive of today’s science and world spiritual traditions and have awakened millions to the much neglected earth-based mystical tradition of the West. Essential Writings begins by exploring the influences on Fox’s life and spirituality, then presents selections from all Fox’s major works in 10 sections.
“The critical insights, the creative connections, the centrality of Matthew Fox’s writings and teaching are second to none for the radical renewal of Christianity.” ~~ Richard Rohr, OFM.

Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart

Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium. The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion–these are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for today’s reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in 500 years.”  — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author of Kissing Sleeping Beauty Goodbye.  

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11 thoughts on “Eckhart on the God of Creation and the Nameless God of Mystery”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today our Queries for Contemplation are: “Do you experience both the God of creation and the God of mystery that is ‘higher than names or nature’?”
    I have been experiencing the God of creation for the last week in a unique way. In our creation Spirituality Community called, “Spiritwind,” we have been discussing all week the earth, ecology and earth based spirituality. And as you say, “The spoken God corresponds to creation itself and the Via Positiva.” On the other hand, I experience “the God of mystery that is ‘higher than names or nature,’” at present in death, for my step-mother died just two weeks ago, my father is dying of cancer even as we speak, and I am also care giving for a neighbor who is also dying. Death to me is a mystery, and death also is “unspoken”–it is silent and voiceless. And you write: “the unspoken God underscores the mystery of Divinity and of the Via Negativa.) We are talking (or not talking) about Mystery.” I feel that death too is unspoken and a mystery of the Via Negativa.

    1. Avatar

      May you have all the loving support and practical help that you need at this time of grieving and the knowledge that your loved ones are safe with the Creator, and so are you. I agree that death is a total, awesome mystery.

  2. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Let there be…
    What was…
    What is…
    What is yet to come…
    Spoken and unspoken Mystery.

    Be there and see
    What was… always unfolding
    What is… eternally evolving
    What is yet to come… beyond words…
    Emerging from the silence.

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    A “mystic” is simply anyone who has chosen to surrender and go to the depths. In darkness and solitude they have experienced Divine LOVE. Then they try as best they can to relate their experiences to others that they may seek their own experience of such “oneness”. }:- a.m

  4. Avatar

    YES!!! Matthew, you are truly a mystic (and a prophet)! I’ve always loved the universal mystical spiritual traditions, and this is why I’m drawn to your teachings about Creation Spirituality. I’m glad you reminded us today of the mystical paradox of God’s ineffable transcendence and the many beautiful unique manifestations of God’s Creations, including our own Divine~human nature… I try to be open in my personal faith contemplative spiritual journey of deepening our Universal Christ Consciousness of God’s Loving~Wisdom~Creative Oneness in the Sacred Process of the Eternal Present Moment….

  5. Avatar

    Original Blessing is as close as I can get to “reading the Bible” than actually reading the text. Im just so averted by the tradition that I only feel safe treading it’s waters with OB as my boat.

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