To know him really is to know him as unknowable

In his sermon "The Divine Being," medieval mystic Meister Eckhart quotes Augustine, Bernard of Clairvaux, Gregory the Great, and the Bible to remind his listeners about a commonplace of Christian theology. At one point, he sums it up by saying:

To know him really is to know him as unknowable … . God is something which is in no sense to be reached or grasped … . God’s worth and God’s perfection cannot be put into words. When I say man, I have in my mind human nature. When I say gray, I have in my mind the grayness of gray. When I say God, I have in my mind neither God’s majesty nor his perfection.

In other words, God is anything but "meaningful," "understandable," or "intelligible." And worship, if it is authentic worship of the biblical God, will, at some level, remain incomprehensible. Worship that enables us to encounter the living God should leave worshippers a bit stupefied; they should leave their pews, pump the minister’s hand, and enthusiastically blurt out, "I didn’t understand large portions of the service. Thank you!"

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~ by thoughtcrime2 on July 12, 2007.

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