Is a negation a belief

negative theology that -

The last time we dealt with the question of why we shouldn't make an image of God for ourselves. Among other things, because we could only "assemble" God from known, worldly things. And trying to describe and understand God in terms of simple properties is hopeless.

So what can actually still be said about God? God is love God is Trinity? Maybe. The followers of negative theology would cross themselves at this point.

Negative theology sounds - well, negative. This is not meant in the sense of bad, but of negative. It has its origins in Plato. For him the highest principle was “the good”: incomprehensible, indescribable. Early Christians adopted this idea and invented negative theology. Which says: No attributions can be made about God, e.g. B. God is good or God is a man. That would be positive statements, and they always arise from our finite, human imagination and never do justice to God's transcendence.

The consequence of this is that one can only say about God what he is not - that is, negative statements. For example "God is not a man". A negative does not, however, require the opposite! So if it cannot be said “God is good”, then that does not mean that God is bad - only that our humble understanding of “good” does not even come close to what God is.

The early Church Fathers adopted these ideas. On the one hand, because in the Old Testament God emphasizes his incomprehensibility and unfathomability several times. And on the other hand, because the Christian idea of ​​God was thus differentiated from the pagan ideas. The ancient gods were human: Odin, Zeus and Isis were always represented as people. The Christians had a greater, more powerful God - whose essence can never be understood by humans. Even if many people of God still believe that today.

Sebastian Schafer

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