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Begotten Not Made

Begotten Not Made

Fr. Ed Pelrine

One of the approaches to understanding who Jesus is to look at the Nicene Creed, which we recite at mass every Sunday.

The Nicene Creed is the most widely accepted and used brief statement of the Christian Faith. It is common ground to Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Calvinists, and many other Christian groups. Many groups that do not have a tradition of using it in their services nevertheless are committed to the doctrines it teaches.

When the Nicene Creed was drawn up, the chief enemy was Arianism, which denied that Jesus was fully God. Arius was a priest in Alexandria in Egypt, in the early 300’s. He taught that the Father, in the beginning, created (or begot) the Son and that the Son, in conjunction with the Father, then proceeded to create the world. The result of this was to make the Son a created being, and hence not God in any meaningful sense.

It was also suspiciously like the theories of those Gnostics and pagans who held that God was too perfect to create something like a material world, and so introduced one or more intermediate beings between God and the world. God created A, who created B, who created C, . . . who created Z, who created the world. Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, sent for Arius and questioned him. Arius stuck to his position and was finally excommunicated by a council of Egyptian bishops. He went to Nicomedia in Asia, where he wrote letters defending his position to various bishops. Finally, Emperor Constantine summoned a council of Bishops in Nicea (across the straits from modern Istanbul), and there in 325 the Bishops of the Church, by a decided majority, repudiated Arius and produced the first draft of what is now called the Nicene Creed.

The Arian position has been revived in our own day by the Watchtower Society (the Jehovah’s Witnesses), who explicitly hail Arius as a great witness to the truth. So here we have “begotten of the Father before all times, before all ages.” Arius was fond of saying, “The Logos is not eternal. God begat him, and before he was begotten, he did not exist.”

A chief spokesman for the full deity of Christ was St. Athanasius, deacon and later Bishop of Alexandria. The Athanasians replied that the begetting of the Logos was not an event in time, but an eternal relationship.

 A favorite analogy of the Athanasians was the following: Light is continuously streaming forth from the sun. (In those days, it was generally assumed that light was instantaneous so that there was no delay at all between the time that a ray of light left the sun and the time it struck the earth.) The rays of light are derived from the sun, and not vice versa. But it is not the case that first the sun existed and afterward the Light. It is possible to imagine that the sun has always existed, and always emitted light. The Light, then, is derived from the sun, but the Light and the sun exist simultaneously throughout eternity. They are co-eternal. Just so, the Son exists because the Father exists, but there was never a time before the Father produced the Son. The analogy is further appropriate because we can know the sun only through the rays of light that it emits. To see the sunlight is to see the sun. Just so, Jesus says, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

begetting of the Logos was not an event in time,
but an eternal relationship

God is not in time. Time, like distance, is a relation between physical events and has meaning only in the context of the physical universe. When we say that the Son is begotten of the Father, we do not refer to an event in the remote past, but to an eternal and timeless relation between the Persons of the Godhead.

What This Means For Us

Although we can have a real relationship with Jesus, we can also speak of who he is in theological terms. This Jesus, whom we worship and proclaim as God and Lord, is in eternal relationship as Son to the Father, in the Holy Spirit. He is also fully human through the Blessed Virgin Mary. This joining of divine and human natures is called the Hypostatic Union – one person with two natures. Because he is God, he has the power to save humanity. Because he is man, we humans can receive this salvation. And the reason for all of this is summed up in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

FOR FURTHER READING ON THIS TOPIC

Who Is Jesus

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The English writer C.S. Lewis famously presented his argument for the identity of Jesus as God. It’s a famous argument also presented by the philosopher Peter Kreeft of Boston College.…

Begotten Not Made

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One of the approaches to understanding who Jesus is to look at the Nicene Creed, which we recite at mass every Sunday. The Nicene Creed is the most widely accepted…

In Accordance With The Scriptures

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How do we know that Jesus is the Messiah and not another prophet? Why do we follow him and not another? That is because the Old Testament prophecies of Christ’s…

Who Is Jesus

Who is Jesus

Fr. Ed Pelrine

The English writer C.S. Lewis famously presented his argument for the identity of Jesus as God. It’s a famous argument also presented by the philosopher Peter Kreeft of Boston College. Often referred to as “aut Deus aut homo malus:” either God or a bad man.  

In the fourteenth chapter of John’s Gospel, as Jesus is preparing for his death, he makes this claim to his Apostles: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Lewis argues that only God could make this claim, and if a mere human being did, he would be evil or mad.

Lewis refers to what he says are Jesus’ claims:

  • to have authority to forgive sins — behaving as if he really was the person chiefly offended in all offenses.
  • to have always existed
  • to intend to come back to judge the world at the end of time.

What do we know about Jesus’ life? He was a first century Jew from Palestine, believed by Christians to be the son of Mary of Nazareth, a devout Jewish woman, and the stepson of Joseph the carpenter. Mary is said to descend on her father’s side from the tribe of Judah and on her mother’s from the tribe of Levi. Joseph was of the House of David as well. Born in Bethlehem in Judea, just a few miles from the capital of Jerusalem, Jesus grew up in Nazareth in Galilee, in the north of the country, which was under Roman occupation.

Jesus began a ministry when he was around thirty years old, and revealed God the Father to the people of Israel. He also revealed himself as the Son of God, as he fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah. Gathering a group of chosen Apostles around him, Jesus carried out a ministry of healing and teaching, culminating with his arrest and trial, crucifixion, and death. This was his High Priestly sacrifice, as he fulfilled the sacrifices of the Old Covenant by his sacrificial offering of his own life on the Cross.

On the third day after he offered the Passover sacrifice of the New Covenant, Jesus was raised from the dead in his glorified body, and shortly thereafter returned to Heaven after commissioning his Apostles to preach the Gospel to all nations.

After Jesus revealed himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, he expressed his mission perhaps most beautifully to Philip the Apostle, when he said to him, Philip, “When you see me, you see the Father.” 

When you see me,
you see the Father

What This Means For Us

Jesus reveals the face of God the Father to us. He invites us into the relationship of dynamic love which is the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus desires an intimate friendship with us. He pours his life and love into us through his sacraments. He speaks to us through the Scriptures and through the apostolic witness in the teaching of his Church.

FOR FURTHER READING ON THIS TOPIC

Who Is Jesus

| Behold-Jesus | No Comments
The English writer C.S. Lewis famously presented his argument for the identity of Jesus as God. It’s a famous argument also presented by the philosopher Peter Kreeft of Boston College.…

Begotten Not Made

| Behold-Jesus | No Comments
One of the approaches to understanding who Jesus is to look at the Nicene Creed, which we recite at mass every Sunday. The Nicene Creed is the most widely accepted…

In Accordance With The Scriptures

| Behold-Jesus | No Comments
How do we know that Jesus is the Messiah and not another prophet? Why do we follow him and not another? That is because the Old Testament prophecies of Christ’s…

False Starts On God

False Starts On God

Fr. Paul Stein

If you believed that the earth is flat, would that change the way you live? It would if you were a sailor, for you wouldn’t try to circumnavigate the globe. What if you falsely believed that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are really just one God pretending to be three different persons? What if you believed that God is not the Trinity, but rather, a solitary reality acting in different modes that we now call the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? If that were the case, you would eventually decide that it is not worth listening to Jesus and stop following him. You would no longer be a (Catholic) Christian for you would believe a heresy.

The Catholic Church has official teachings we call doctrines.[1] The most important teachings or doctrines are called dogmas. Hence, dogma is a subset of doctrine. These more important teachings are considered core teachings, in that, if you deny one, you effectively stop believing. To hold to true or correct doctrine is orthodoxy (from the Greek: orthos, meaning “right, true or straight,” and doxa, “opinion” or “praise.”) To deny Church doctrine is generally termed heterodoxy, but more specifically, to deny (a) dogma is heresy. An analogy for heresy is that of a child disassembling a remote toy car to see how it works. In reassembling it, he does it incorrectly and leaves out a key part(s). The toy car no longer runs, it no longer works: it stops.[2]

If you don’t believe Jesus is truly God incarnate, the God-man: why would you ultimately follow him?

The Jews of the first century clearly believed there is one God and only one God. Then a certain Jesus of Nazareth showed up, proclaiming he is the Son, that the Father sent him, and that he would ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit. He also suffered and died on a cross, and then rose from the dead three days later; all of it, as he put it, was to offer us salvation from sin and everlasting death (i.e., hell).

If you don’t believe Jesus is truly God incarnate, the God-man: why would you ultimately follow him? He clearly claimed to be God; that was what got him killed (in his humanity). One early heresy in the Church was Arianism, the belief that Jesus is the highest creature, but not actually God. Similarly, Jesus clearly speaks to God as though he is a different person, the Father. He calls himself the Son and speaks of the Father and Son sending another, called the Holy Spirit. If there are not three different “persons” or unique “identities” in God, then Jesus’ speech is meaningless at best, or at worst, indicative that Jesus is schizophrenic. Why then, if the one God is not a Trinity of persons, would anyone be a (Catholic) Christian? It wouldn’t make sense.

Orthodox belief holds together two seemingly contradictory ideas: that God is one and God is three.

Yet, there is no contradiction, only a failure of our finite minds to understand the infinite God. The dogma of the Trinity is not irrational but suprarational. Rather than think of 1F + 1S + 1HS = 3 gods; it is better to consider that 1F x 1S x 1HS = 1God.[3]

A heresy is, in some ways, a false start; it is an attempt to understand what happened in Jesus of Nazareth and gets it wrong. It is taking apart the toy car and putting it back together incorrectly. Trying to insist that there is only one God, but not three different persons can lead to Sabellian Modalism. Sabellius was a third-century priest who advocated the idea that God is really one person who acts in three different modes, of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The three “persons” are not actually distinct identities, but merely three different ways of acting. If that were true, it would be extremely problematic. How could we believe Jesus’ words let alone baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit according to Matthew 28:19.

A modern form of this heresy has been seen in recent years in deacons, priests, and bishops who baptize in the name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Thinking they are being “inclusive,” such clergy are espousing something dangerous. Why is that? The actions of God, outside of himself (ad extra), are common to all three persons. The Trinity creates. Therefore, the action of creation is common to all three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.[4] Whenever we describe the action of one person of the Trinity, such as the work of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the other persons are always there. Pentecost is as much the action of the Father and the Son as it is of the Holy Spirit.

The action of creation is common to all three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

When we speak, and even in the Nicene Creed, we tend to speak of Father as creator, and the Son as savior. Note, however, that calling the Father the “creator” is not meant to exclude the Son and the Holy Spirit as also being creator. That is why in the Creed, after speaking of the Father as “maker of heaven and earth,” it continues to speak of the Son as “God from God… consubstantial with the Father.” The Father creates, as does the Son, and so too does the Holy Spirit. The Son and Holy Spirit are not excluded from the act of creation. However, to baptize in the name of the “Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier,” as opposed to the “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” is to do one of two things:

  1.  Imply that there are three gods: one is the creator god, another is the redeemer god, and the other one is the sanctifying god.
  2. Imply that the one person acts in three different modes, that God is acting as creator, then as redeemer, then as sanctifier.

Since, we would presume, that those engaging in such a practice are probably not pagan – believing in three gods – then they are at least implicit modalists, believing in a heresy.

What This Means For Us

Does such a topic as this one, a false belief in the Trinity actually affect people’s lives? It does. This author once went to a barber who, in the course of a debate over the Bible, specifically the Trinitarian baptismal formula in Matthew chapter 28, identified himself as a Sabellian Modalist. He added, “and the Catholic Church considers me a heretic.” This author’s response was, “and so do the Lutherans, the Evangelicals, the Baptists, and the Presbyterians.”

 There is a priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago, a friend of this author, who years ago had to contact a very large number of families to inform them that their child had been improperly baptized by a previous pastor. The baptism was invalid, meaning, it didn’t work. The children were not cleansed of the stain of original sin, they were not adopted by God as his children, and they did not receive sanctifying grace… all because the pastor thought he was being “inclusive,” by baptizing the name of the Creator, Redeemer, and the Sanctifier. Those children had to be baptized correctly, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 In the end, our belief in the Trinity explains how we can say that God is Love, why God made a creation he doesn’t need, and even why he would become incarnate and die on a cross to save us. This teaching is absolutely essential, and hence, why the doctrine of the Trinity is a dogma.

Footnotes

[1] The word’s origin is the Latin doctrina, coming from the Latin doctor. Long before that word meant a medical professional, it meant a teacher. Hence a PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy. This also recalls that the intellectual discipline and study of philosophy included mathematics, logic, and the functioning of the natural world. What we now call “science,” used to be considered natural philosophy. 

 [2] Credit to Rev. Lawrence Hennessy, Mundelein Seminary of the University of St. Mary of the Lake, for the analogy. 

 [3] Credit to Rev. Lawrence Hennessy. 

 [4] This topic would entail the concept of circumincession (origin Latin), also rendered as perichoresisi in GreekThis refers to the mutual indwelling, or the one-in-the-other, of the persons of the Trinity. Jesus’ states it as: “I am in the Father and the Father is in me”(John 14:10). Since all three persons share one existence, the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father, and they are in the Holy Spirit, as the Holy Spirit is in the Father and the Son. That is why whenever you encounter one person of the Trinity, you always find the other two.

FOR FURTHER READING ON THIS TOPIC

What God Is Not

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God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Fr. Paul Stein

Perhaps you have seen it, though it is rare these days: the bumper sticker that states, “God is love.” Perhaps you have seen it and thought, “everyone believes that.” To the contrary, everyone does not believe that, because not everyone is Christian, let alone Catholic Christian.[1] “Love” is a Christian title for God which requires the one God to simultaneously be a Trinity of persons. God is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Love always requires at least two persons. If your best friend tells you that she is in love, the first question you will ask her is: who? What’s his name? When we say “God is love (1 John 4:8),” we are describing what he is, not simply what he does. It is the difference between a noun and a verb. When we claim that God is love, that is what God is in himself, apart from and “before” he made the angels, humans, and everything else. That means that God is, in himself, at least two persons; in the end, we learn that love requires three persons.[2]

This revelation of God as love, or as a Trinity of persons comes from Jesus himself. Jesus claimed himself to be the Son whom the Father sent (John 5:23), and the Father would send the Holy Spirit in his name (John 14:26).

"That means that God is, in himself, at least two persons; in the end, we learn that love requires three persons."

Moreover, Jesus shows us, by coming to suffer and die on a cross save us, that God/love is the total self-emptying of oneself for another person. Jesus made a total self-gift of himself for us and shows us that God himself is the total self-gift of one person to another.

The Father, who is 100% God, loves the Son. So, the Father totally empties himself – he makes a 100% gift of his Being as God – to the Son. The Son, receives 100% of the Father’s Being, his existence, and is thus also 100% God. It is just that the Son is not the Father, he is a different person. The Son loves the Father, and so he gives 100% of his existence back to the Father. The two persons share one existence. This shared existence, which is 100% God’s Being, is the Holy Spirit. That is why St. Augustine in his work, On the Trinity, writes of God being the Lover, the Beloved, and the Bond of Love they share. This sharing of their existence, of their very self, is eternal, meaning that it happens outside of time. Thus, the Father is always giving himself to the Son, and the Son is always reciprocating, giving himself to the Father, which is their Holy Spirit.  God is three persons perfectly sharing one existence as the dynamic of total self-giving.

It is helpful to keep in mind that today, the word “person” usually means a specific human being. Thus, three persons immediately implies three separate human beings. However, in Catholic thought, a “person” is a unique identity, not another being. It is what makes you, you and not another. When you say, “I believe,” you mean not Harry, Sally, this guy or that gal. “I” indicates that there is something unique present that cannot be repeated anywhere else. For example, identical twins both have the exact same DNA, yet each is a distinct person, or identity. If someone were to clone you – which is immoral – your clone would still be a different person than you.

Jesus is truly human; he has a human body and soul. He has a human personality; it is the total of what he likes and dislikes, what he finds humorous, and so on. Yet, he is not a human person, but a divine person. The distinction between person and personality can be understood this way: while your personality may change over time, you are always the same person. He is the Son, the second person of the Trinity. Jesus is a divine person who exists two ways: as God and as man. For this reason, in the Church a “person” doesn’t necessarily mean a human being. In fact, the one God is three persons.

What This Means For Us

Knowing that God is Love explains so much. Why does God love? Because that is what he is.[3] Since God is infinite, perfect in himself, and already the relationship of three persons: why did God make a creation he doesn’t need? In a word: love. Love is its own reason. After we, finite humans, rebelled against God through sin: why didn’t he just wipe us out? In a word: Love. Why did God become human in Jesus Christ, and then suffer and die on a cross to save us sinners? In a word: love.

Footnotes

[1] The word Christian applies to all those who believe Jesus is the God-man, who is the second person of the Trinity, and suffered, died and rose from the dead to save us from sin and everlasting death in hell. As such, Christians include: Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Assyrians, Copts, and a number of other groups.

[2] One may think of human love, where there is only a man and woman involved; the math would seem to indicate only two persons. However, humanity only exists and continues to exist because of God. Thus, even human love requires three persons, or two human persons and the love of the Trinity.

[3] God loving his creation because he is love, shows that the verb follows the noun. What God does flows from what he is. In more technical terminology: action follows being.

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What God Is Not

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God is Being Itself

God is Being Itself

Fr. Paul Stein

In the first article, we discussed how God is not the “supreme being,” meaning a god like one of the pagan gods such as Zeus or Thor. God transcends all beings (angels, humans and others) and everything that exists. God is Being itself, not a being among other beings. This line of Catholic thought can be found in the writings of people such as St. Thomas Aquinas, drawing from the encounter of Moses with God at the burning bush in chapter three of Exodus in the Bible. When Moses asks God’s name, it was common practice in those days for the pagans to invoke their gods by name. Yet, God is above any concept humans have of “the gods,” and responds: “I am who I am” (Ex 3:14). It is, precisely, not a name at all.

The Hebrew word or “name” for God, which is translated as “I am who I am,” is called the tetragrammaton. It consists of four letters rendered into English as YHWH. While the Hebrew language has vowels, it is only written down with the consonants; you must know which vowels to supply. To the Jewish people, the name of God is considered unpronounceable. Thus, instead of trying to pronounce it, the Jewish people substitute the word Adonai for the tetragrammaton. Adonai is translated into English as “Lord.” Keep this in mind when Jesus is proclaimed as “Lord.”

"God is Being itself,
not a being
among other
beings."

In recent times, people in the Church have mistakenly treated it like it is a proper name to use: “YaHWeH.” In deference to God and in respect to Jewish tradition, we should avoid this. Additionally, the translation “Jehovah” is simply incorrect. The tetragrammaton is translated into the New American Bible as “I am who I am” and not “Yahweh.” It can also be translated as “he who exists” or “he who causes to be.” This is why we can speak of God as Being itself.

God is the one who causes humans, angels, the universe, and everything else to exist. Anything that does exist, exists because God wants it to exist. Apart from God, nothing can exist. But calling God “being itself” does not mean that the universe and all beings are made out of God, like children make shapes out of Play-doh or artists makes vases out of clay. God is not the stuff from which the universe and everything in it was made. That would be pantheism, which is Greek for “all is God.” The physical world and the spiritual world are not God and are not made out of God; he transcends them.

When children in school and religious education ask, “who made God,” the answer is, “no one.” God exists outside of all temporarily, both time in this universe and the aeviternity of angels and saints in heaven. He always was, is and will be. God has “always” existed; he has no beginning.

Furthermore, we can distinguish what a being is, from the idea that a being is. For example, Pope Francis is a human being, he is not an angel or a dog. Pope Francis currently exists, or currently has being, whereas in the year 1620 AD he didn’t exist yet. With God, there is no difference between what he is and that he is. He is his own existence. When we ask, “what is God?” the answer is, “God is his own act of existence.

This means that God is simply the one who is; he is the cause of his own existence. Anything apart from God that does exist, exists because he causes it to exist. And he has to keep causing it to exist, he has to continually make it exist; otherwise, it would simply vanish from existence. Thus, there is something kind of true to the words of the song: He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. God sustains all things in their existence, he not only initiated their existence, but causes them to continue existing. He sustains all things in their existence. The moment God no longer wants something to exist, it simply disappears from existence.

Thus, while creation is in one way separate from God, it can only exist because he is present to it, sustaining it in existence. So, we not only say that God is transcendent, but also immanent: God is interior to and present to his creation in order for it to exist. Creation is not made out of God, but can only exist because he is present to it at all times.

What This Means For Us

Calling God “Being itself,” means that he is not a being among other beings. He is transcendent, infinite, eternal, omniscient, and omnipotent. At the same time, he is immanent. Beings such as humans only exist by participating or sharing in his existence. This is why God knows us better than we know ourselves. God knows not only our conscious thoughts, but our subconscious and every hidden motivation that drives us. As St. Augustine wrote his Confessions, “You were more inward to me than my most inward part and higher than my highest” (3.6.11).

As transcendent and yet immanent to us, we can trust that God knows us, sustains us, and is always with us. No matter where we go or what happens, God is there. This is the idea behind the daily examen in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius (n. 43): looking to find God in all things each day.

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What God Is Not

What God Is Not

Fr. Paul Stein

Have you ever tried to explain to someone, what you mean by the word “God?” Perhaps you used words like “creator” and “Father.” Today, it is challenging to explain to people what we believe as Catholics; many people assert that they don’t believe in a “supreme being.” In a sense, we as Catholics don’t believe in a “supreme being” either.

What people often mean by “supreme being” is a god like Zeus, Thor, or one of the other gods of Nordic, Greek, or Roman mythology. Such pagan gods are understood to be very much like us humans, they are just much stronger, more knowledgeable, powerful, and tend to live forever. When people see artistic images of God the Father as an “old man on a throne,” they think we Catholics believe God is such a “supreme being.” Nothing could be farther from the truth.

God is transcendent. That means that he is above and beyond the physical world. In order to create the universe, or multiverse, God has to be existentially above all that is physical. God as God, is not physical at all. He does not have a body, he does not have eyes, or ears, or sit on a throne. Those are all images that help us understand our relationship with him, but are not literal.

"God is transcendent.
That means that he is
above and beyond the
physical world."

Sometimes, because God transcends all that is physical, people describe him as a “pure spirit.” However, angels are pure spirits. Again, the image of angels having wings helps us understand that they are swift and can move about the physical universe instantaneously. However, they are not physical at all; they are pure spirit. Even we humans, who are physical because we exist bodily, also have souls. Thus, we exist in the spiritual world as well as the physical world at the same time. As the creator of angels and human souls, God must be existentially above all that which is spiritual. (A separate article will cover the subject of “God’s Spirit” and the Holy Spirit.)

So what is God? Technically speaking, we don’t exactly know. In a way, we speak about what God is, by describing what he is not.[1] He is not physical; he is not spiritual as angels and souls are spiritual. He transcends all of that.

The same is true regarding limits, power, and knowledge. The universe, while enormous at about 100 billion light years in size, is still limited in size. Angels, while impressive in power and knowledge, are still limited. Anything that is limited is finite. God, since he is not limited, is infinite. As God is not limited in power, he is omnipotent; he is all-powerful. As God is not limited in knowledge, he is omniscient; he knows all things and everything that can be known.

Time itself is his creation,[2] and thus he exists above and outside of time; he is eternal. This use of the word eternal does not mean that he merely lives forever like people think the pagan gods live, or even the “eternal” life for which we hope in heaven. As properly eternal, God is outside of all change; he is always the same. Even angels experience change, though they are not part of the experience of time in this universe. Thus, Church writers describe their existence, and human existence in heaven, as part of aeviternity. It is a type of temporality that is very different than what we experience in this universe.

What This Means For Us

What this means is that if we get to heaven, we will never be bored. If God were just the supreme being, or finite like us, we would eventually fully understand him. And then there would be no new adventures. Because God is infinite, there will always be more to God, more to understand, and more ways to grow in relationship with him. Even now, we begin that adventure in our relationship with him. He always has more for us if we open ourselves to him and his will. Our Catholic faith is quite the adventure.

Footnotes

[1] This way of understanding God is called the via negativa, or an apophatic theology. It describes God by describing what he is not.

[2] For those more versed in physics, the universe is more properly called spacetime. Time is thus considered the fourth dimension of the universe; it is constitutive of the universe and hence part of God’s creation.

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