Thomas Aquinas reminds us that “to exist is the most perfect thing of all, for compared to existence, everything else is potential.” And that “God is pure existence….God is essential existence and all other things are beings by participation.”
His Dominican brother Meister Eckhart puts it this way: “God is being” and a “fountain of being.” Eckhart defines creation as “the giving of being” and says that “Isness is God.” He is saying that all being is a representation of Divinity.
Greek Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart underscores the uniqueness and the necessity of God as being when he observes that:
All physical reality is contingent upon some cause of being as such, since existence is not an intrinsic physical property, and since no physical reality is logically necessary.
The ultimate source of existence cannot be some item or event that has long since passed away or concluded, like a venerable ancestor or even the Big Bang itself—either of which is just another contingent physical entity or occurrence—but must be a constant wellspring of being, at work even now.
Aquinas holds the very same perspective when he says:
God’s work whereby God brings things into being must not be taken as the work of a craftsman who makes a box and then leaves it. For God continues to give being.
Indeed, God “continually pours out existence into things.”
Rabbi Heschel concurs when he says:
[Creation] is not an act that happened once upon a time, once and for ever. The act of bringing the world into existence is a continuous process. God called the world into being, and that call goes on….Every instant is an act of creation.
Hart makes a stern judgment about our culture when he declares that we are out of touch with being: we “may well be the social order that has ventured furthest away from being in its quest to master beings.”
The specialness of the divine Being and its relationship to being resides in the fact that “nothing within the cosmos contains the ground of its own being.” Because:
It is far easier to think about beings than about being as such….we therefore always risk losing sight of the mystery of being behind the concepts we impose upon it.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God, pp. 5-7.
And Fox, Passion for Creation: Meister Eckhart’s Earth-Honoring Creation Spirituality, pp. 72, 88f, 539.
And Matthew Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations on Creation Spirituality with Thomas Aquinas pp. 87, 125f., 81.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Creation continually flowing, interacting, birthing, dying, evolving. Brainard Lake, Colorado, USA Photo by Kody Goodson on Unsplash
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree with Aquinas that “to exist is the most perfect thing of all?” What follows from that? And with Heschel that “every instant is an act of creation?”
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
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.
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