Knowing God, Becoming God

St. Gregory Nazianzen

The gift  to me (and to you) is not to have enough time to write it out with satisfaction but  to feel  the need to write it anyway. The topic is knowledge and truth.

                For what it’s worth, it’s basic to Thomistic metaphysics that a being is intelligible insofar as it is in act. If a being is totally act (as we understand the Creator to be), then it is totally intelligible. Also, a hallmark in Thomistic metaphysics is the infinity of act – unless it is limited by a “subjective” potency. And so an act tends to be infinite unless limited by potency, Only God is absolute, ontologically infinite, and every thing finite is a mixture of act and potency.

                God is infinitely intelligible insofar as He is infinite Act. We speak of God as “He” but the reality has been disclosed to us by Christ that “He” is Father, Son and Spirit, and each is infinite act without being reducible to what we mean by “individual, but we do understand without contradicting ourselves that The Father is not The Son, The Son is not the Father, and neither One is the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit is reciprocally neither One. For example, The Father is equal to the Son, but  the Father did not become Flesh.

Ratzinger offers this radically simple epistemological  exercise concerning  God; If the Person of the Son is the action of obeying and glorifying the Father as recounted in the Gospel (particularly Luke,) and if the human person as image of the Son were to do what the Son does in praying,  obeying and glorifying the Father; and if knowing is the likeness or mimic of the other, then a man would know the Person of the Son from within himself as “like” the other – or “knowing” the other.

   And such was Simon-become-Peter who was able to say, after entering the prayer of Jesus to the Father: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16, 16). And so, Christ changed his name from Simon to Peter. Like is known by like. One knows God by becoming God.

                I would dare say that that  is the thrust of the Magiterium of the Church in Vat can II and since.


Here is another angle on the same dynamic: from the epistemological side;

This is a nutshell thumbnail Distillation of Ratzinger’on Faith and Reason

Faith is an act of the whole person whereby I receive revelation which is the very Person of the Logos (Christ as Word of the Father). The Person of  Christ is the revelation of the Father (neither reality, nor Scripture, nor theology,  etc.) Faith is an infused power coming from the love a divine Person which enable me to transcend myself and so ­experience myself as Image of the Son. I know the Father by experientially becoming Christ (Mt. 11, 27 “only The Father knows the Son, and only the Son knows the Father…..) This is basically thesis 3 of “Behold the Piercerd One.” [Protagoras: like is known by like].

   Reason becomes reason (knows the absolute) only by experiencing the Absolute ontological reality of the Son in the act of transcending the self  (love, service, prayer) and therefore becoming the Son. This is the grounding of the papacy and the pope becoming “Rock” as Christ is “Cornerstone.” Rock alone knows Stone.

“Faith” is not something I “know” but a consciousness I become. It is not supernatural “information” but “Wisdom” as knowledge of the Absolute. This Absolute is revealed to be Creator of the world and therefore NOT PART of the world, yet total CAUSE of it. And yet I know it experientially as image. And so I know God experientially only by experiencing myself, and I know myself experiencing God 

If I spoke in my own voice, I would say: The Transcendent God that I know is really my very self (Am I not a son of God, am I not destined to be “Ipse Christus”?) whom I experience from within myself {understand = intelli gible = legere ab-intus: to read who God is from within myself}. That is, by going out of myself, I exercise the dynamic that is unique to God, but He has created me in His imate and likeness and baptized me into His self-gift on the Cross. I am therefore capable of transcending myself and become like Him and therefore, knowing Him: “You are the Christ.”

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