Monday, November 23, 2009

Love and Truth – the Nature and Attributes of God

Seventh Grade CCD
Class Two Outline

A. Knowledge of the Nature of God

Although we can come to know the existence of a Creator-God by observation and reason, such observation and reason are necessarily limited by what we already know or can imagine. However, reason can be enlightened by revelation – someone simply revealing truth to us. It is only by Divine Revelation (the Bible and Sacred Tradition) that we can have a greater and proper understanding of the mystery of the nature of God.

B. Divine Revelation – God reveals to mankind who and what He is

(1) The Fullness of Being – Truth itself – “I am” – God is

Ex. 3:13-15 – Moses said to God, "When I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' if they ask me, 'What is His name?' what am I to tell them?" God replied, "I am who am." Then He added, "This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you." God spoke further to Moses, "Thus shall you say to the Israelites: The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. "This is my name forever; this is my title for all generations.”

(2) The Word – Logos – Creative Reason

John 1:1-4 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through Him, and without Him nothing came to be. What came to be through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race.

(3) Deus Caritas Est – God is Love

1 Jn. 4:7-9 – Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.

(4) Creator – source of all that exists

Gen. 1:1-3 – In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

(5) Beginning and end of all

Rev. 21:5-6 – The one who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Then He said, "Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true." He said to me, "They are accomplished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”

C. The Nature of God

(1) One and Complete in Himself – noncontingent, dependent upon nothing, in need of nothing beyond Himself

(2) Necessary Being – the creator, source and sustainer of all that exists
(a) God created the universe ex nihilo (out of nothing)
(b) Divine Providence – God continues to sustain and interact with His creation
(c) God is Life itself – we are not the accidental products of an impersonal universe, rather, we are each created by the thought of God as an act of love, and we have life because He has breathed His Spirit into us.
(3) God has a Name – He is not merely a what, but is a who, that is, God is a conscious, intelligent, and personal being; He is not a mere cosmic force.
(4) Transcendent Spirit

(a) noncorporeal, nonmaterial
(b) God exists in and beyond space (the physical universe) and time

(5) God is Truth – God is

(a) His name reveals Him to be Being itself, existence itself – Ultimate Reality
(b) The Word – Logos, a Greek term meaning “reason” (from which we get “logic”)
(c) As truth, God embodies justice and order

(6) God is Total Perfect Love in Person

(a) The Love of God is total and perfect love in its truest and fullest sense, a “spousal” type of love that is unitive and fruitful, encompassing both the unconditional, gratuitous, and sacrificial love of agape (caritas), and the joyous wanting love of a purified and ennobled eros.
(b) The Love of God is unitive - love is by its very nature relational, and total perfect love in its truest and fullest sense involves not merely a relation of persons, but a communion of persons, whereby many become one.
(c) The Love of God is fruitful (procreative) – love in its fullest sense is naturally fruitful, it is not stagnant or sterile, but instead seeks to spread outward and grow and generate new love and life.
(d) Divine Mercy – God is ever merciful

(7) The Trinity – one God in three persons

(a) God is a loving communion of three distinct persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in one undivided nature, substance, and essence – each possesses the fullness of the other and each has always existed
(b) The Trinity is a mystery, but we can begin to grasp some understanding of the mystery by understanding that God is Truth and Love – Because God is Truth and Complete, He is One, but because He is also Love, and love is by its very nature relational – it requires an “other” – He exists as one person (Father) who loves and is loved by a second person (Son), with the love that proceeds from and to each of them being not merely a sentiment, but is a third person (the Holy Spirit).

D. The Perfections of God

(1) Holy and All Good

(2) Omnipotent (almighty, all powerful)

(3) Omniscient (all knowing)

(4) Omnipresent (present everywhere)

(5) Infinite – God is without limit

(a) The only “limit” to God is that He cannot be contrary to Himself – He is not and cannot be or act contrary to truth or love because He is Truth and Love. Thus, He cannot be unreasonable or irrational or unjust or the source or cause of evil.

(6) Eternal – God transcends and is not bounded by time

(a) God exists both in and outside of time. He is simultaneously the beginning and the end. For God, time is not linear, as for humans, but is both a singularity and a totality. All moments are for Him in the present. For Him, all things exist simultaneously, and each moment exists in perpetuity.


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