Sunday, December 11, 2011


From, The Religious Sense (pp. 118-119), by Luigi Giussani

What we have just said explains why all of humanity's authentic religious traditions have referred to mystery, that is to say, spoken about God in negative terms: in-finite, im-mense, im-measurable, in-effable, that which cannot be spoken, unknown, that unknown god to which the Athenians had consecrated an altar. And even if certain words do seem positive -- for example, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent -- they are in fact, negative from the standpoint of experience because they do not correspond to anything in our experience. They are positive only in a formal way and to understand them we must negate our own way of being powerful, or of knowing. Likewise, we use certain phrases: God is goodness, God is justice, God is beauty. They are starting points which, if multiplied, enrich the presentiment we have of this ultimate Object. But they cannot be definitions of this Object, because God is goodness, but he is not goodness in the way that we know goodness; God is love, but not love as we know it; God is person, but not as we are persons. However, these are not meaningless, purely nominalistic terms. Rather, they are expressions that intensify the way we relate to, draw closer to the Mystery. They are the openings to the Mystery.

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