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14.6 God is Action

Love and Wisdom in God are not themselves sufficient for action, but it is essential to theism that God is able to act with power. The love and wisdom exist continually, but actions are adjusted to be suitable for each occasion. Actions from God are a kind of ‘going forth’ or ‘proceeding’ into the world, and (at least as appears to us) they vary with time. They not only have to be different at different times but also depend on the divine knowledge of our actions. That is, God has an eternal and unchanging ‘core’, namely his love and wisdom, which leads to a part of himself--still divine--that is changeable.

We will use the word ‘Action’ to refer to this determination to act and to its continuation into the world as long as it has life in itself and is therefore continuous with God and remains divine. We may visualize this perhaps as the ‘arm’ or ‘hand’ or ‘breath’ of God, because it moves to do things and is part of God. It may well influence objects that are already existing, and in doing so it carries an aspect of divine power for that influencing. This Action may also be called ‘Power’ or ‘Energy’. In the Eastern Orthodox church it would be called the ‘Divine Energy’: that of God which goes forth into creation, though still remaining itself completely divine, as it has life in itself. Sometimes this is called the ‘Divine Spirit’ or the ‘Divine Breath’, especially in Christianity. I do not use the name ‘Holy Spirit’, however, since this has a specific meaning within the Christian Trinity.

Theism assumes that that proceeding part cannot suffer, decay or become corrupted--it has, after all, life in itself--but that it is still able to feel, respond, and experience delight. Life can certainly allow us humans to do all these things. How much more likely is that someone with life in himself can act and feel and delight? We summarise our central idea with the assertion:

Postulate 13   God contains proceeding Actions.

Here ’contains proceeding’ means that the temporal Actions are continuous with God, and are therefore an extension of God.

These proceeding Actions could also be called Power, but they have to be distinguished from the underlying dispositions that make up the Divine Love. That is because the Love is the originating source, whereas the proceeding Action or Power is that ability generated by love acting by means of wisdom. It is generally true that correct or good actions require the proper union or marriage of love and wisdom. This is true for us--as discussed in detail later--and is certainly true of God.


Previous: 14.5 God as the source of our own understanding Up: 14. God is Wisdom and Action Next: 14.7 A triad within God

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