Ten Thousand Names Essay Research Paper Ten

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Ten Thousand Names Essay, Research Paper Ten Thousand Names A second issue… is concerned with the question of the na-ture of the categories or concepts fundamental to or appro-priate for Christian speech about God. Should these be ?personal,? ?historical,? and ?ontic? in character, as they surely are in scripture, or should they be ontological, metaphysical, and therefore ?impersonal? in character, as in almost every speculative philosophical system, even an ide-alistic or panpsychistic one? This question, as formulated by Langdon Gilkey, is an in-teresting re-framing of the ST2003 assignment: Please produce a paper…having to do with God. Orient the paper around the question, ?who is God??…Subtopic #2 God as a being with Attributes. What is meant by the attributes of

God? What is included in most lists? How do we know what God is like?…Is the idea of divine attributes outmoded? The difference between Gilkey?s question ?what is appropri-ate speech about God? and Peters? question ?who is God?? is theologically meaningful. In this paper, I examine methods of a number of theologies in characterizing God and ex-plore the implications of these methods. It is helpful in this discussion to divide theologies into biblical, premodern, reformation, modern, and postmodern forms. The Bible and the Attributes of God The biblical materials do not present systematic theolo-gies. The biblical authors seem to speak of God more as a verb than as a noun. The psalmist sings of God?s power, Exodus tells of God?s mighty acts of freeing the people, Deutero-Isaiah

promises an act of redemption, Paul tells of the resurrection. None say ?God is omnipotent. Here is the proof.? The histories, narratives, songs, and prophesies in the Bible control the theologies we may construct but they are not in themselves explicit theologies. In other words, it is formally correct to say ?the biblical authors consistently describe God in a way that may be interpreted as omnipotent? but not ?the Bible says that God is omnipotent.? The biblical materials thus can serve as norms on our theologies. The biblical manner of speaking about God only in histori-cal and relational terms is still a useable method. Thus one answer to Peters? and Gilkey?s question is, ?Listen to this story.? Premodern Theologies Premodern approaches assume that there is an objective

(ontologically real, aseity), propositional set of truths about a ?supreme being? that can be deduced from philosophi-cal principles. Acquinas holds that although in statements about God the hu-man mode of signifying (modus significandi) does not corre-spond to anything in the divine being, the signified (sig-ni-fi-catum) does. Thus, for example, when we say that God is good, we do not affirm that any of our concepts of good-ness (modi significandi) apply to him, but rather that there is a concept of goodness unavailable to us, viz., God?s un-der-standing of his own goodness, which does apply. What we as-sert, in other words, is that ??God is good? is meaningful and true,? but without knowing the meaning of ?God is good.? The very concept of ?the attributes of God? is grounded in

this philosophical method, for attributes are the key charac-ter-istics in Aristotelian definitions. For God to have at-tributes requires God to be a ?being? or (in modern terms) an object. Premodern theologies, then, are quite happy to answer Peters? question, ?God is the supreme being and has the fol-lowing attributes…? A Reformation Approach Reformation theologians, especially Luther, tended to speak of God primarily relationally rather than abstractly. Paul and Luther…were concerned to assert…that the only way to assert this truth is to do something about it, e.g., to commit oneself to a way of life; and this concern, it would seem, is wholly congruent with the suggestion that it is only through the performatory use of religious utterances that they acquire