Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Most Wonderful Apatheia

David Bentley Hart on the supreme importance of God's "apathy" (p. 158):
The Beauty of the InfiniteOne might even say - as alarming as it may sound - that God does not even need us to be "our" God; all we are, all we can ever become, is already infinitely and fully present in the inexhaustible beauty, liveliness, and "virtue" of the Logos, where - as the infinitely perfect reflection of the divine essence that flows forth from the Father, fully enjoyed in the light of the Spirit - it is present already as responsiveness and communion; thus, God indeed loved us when we were not (Rom. 4:17) and to participate in the being he pours into us is an act of generosity wholly fitting to, but in no way determinative of, his goodness. Indeed, one should even say that all that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the Son of God was and is in the supereminent, timeless eternity of his act of being, and would have been and would be with or without a world. This may seem the height of theological austerity, even of hellenization, but it is actually quite the opposite. The freedom of God from ontic determination is the ground of creation's goodness: precisely because creation is uncompelled, unnecessary, and finally other than that dynamic life of coinherent love whereby God is God, it can reveal how God is the God he is; precisely because creation is needless, an object of delight that shares God's love without contributing anything that God does not already possess in infinite eminence, creation reflects the divine life, which is one of delight and fellowship and love; precisely because creation is not part of God, the context of God, or divine, precisely because it is not "substantially" from God, or metaphysically cognate to God's essence, or a pathos of God, is it an analogy of the divine; in being the object of God's love without any cause but the generosity of that love, creation reflects in its beauty that eternal delight that is the divine perichoresis and that obeys no necessity but divine love itself. [source]

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