Is God a “person”?

I am comfortable talking about God as divinity, a field of subjectivity that underlies all nature because it’s everywhere, it’s immanent in everything. In this sense divinity is omniscient by definition. Everything is an expression of this field of subjectivity. Such field of subjectivity can be defined as “awareness” or “consciousness” but not as metacognitive awareness or metacognitive consciousness.

By this term “meta-” applied to knowledge or volition we mean the determined dimension of knowledge and volition. I know this and I know that; I want this and/or that. The determination of intelligence and will – precisely the “metacognitive” dimension of intelligere and volle – is a limitation whose condition is given by “abstracting” (ab-straho: drawing out) from the original connection of all things in God. God does not need to decide this or that, just as he does not know this or that in a discursive and sequential sense. God’s knowledge and volition are not “abstract” but radically concrete since God knows and wills all things in a single instant in their determined and singular connections. This determination of things – essentially “subjective” genitive, i.e. of the things themselves as finite and not “objective”, posited by God’s act of determination – causes things to be eternal in their determination, without thereby eliminating their temporality . For example: that John was born in 1942 and died in 2022 is a determination of time but as a determination of John (subjective genitive) it is eternal.

In this sense, God is not an intelligent and willing subject but he is absolute, immanent intelligence and volition in all things. Thomas Aquinas distinguishes between being (“esse” in Latin) and being (“ens” in Latin), therefore God is “Ipsum esse subsistens”, God is “esse”, “intelligere”. Therefore, God is not an eternal intentional and volitional subject who thinks this or that, wants and chooses this or that. God is “beingness.” In the same way, we define God as “consciousness” and “willingness” and not as a volitional and intentional being.

Divinity is the field of subjectivity, underlying our “personal” nature and everything else. We may call “divinity” the mind at large, the cosmic awareness but without identifying this mind at large as capable of knowledge and deliberation. The question whether God is a person depends on how we think of God’s nature. If God is  “infinite” (esse, intelligere and volle) then we cannot ascribe to God cognitive, intentional and volitional status by which usually a person is identified.

We have to stop thinking of the anthropomorphic Christian deity of the New Testament, the summun bonum, the absolute good, as Someone whose mind thinks of this and that; decides what is good and bad, and responds to situation deliberately. This is a kind of a reactive deity, an instinctive God that relates to the world sometime mercifully and other time wrathfully.  By defining God as “trans-personal” we move beyond such an understanding of God as reactively related to creation and to humanity. The divinity of God is the ground of everything, even of the human intentional and volitional capacity. When we say that God thinks this and that, wills this or that, actually we “finitize” the infinite. The finitized God can be called “deus” whereas the divinity or mind at large “divinitas”. The divinitas “becomes” deus any time humanity relates to divinity. The God of the biblical revelation, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and finally of Jesus, is divinitas in its aspect of being-related-to-humanity. When the divine consciousness and the creative ground of everything becomes “our” God then divinitas is revealed as deus. The Biblical “deity” is “our” God. This dimension of the deity is what we identify as “personal” God that has created the world at a certain moment, has decided to open the Red Sea, decided to send His Son to earth as response to the sin of humanity, and has raised Jesus from the dead. It is the God that answers the prayers of the faithful when that pleases His plan or does not answer our prayers when those petitions are not pleasing Him. I can relate to this “deus” or “finitized God” in the awareness that is “my” God but at the same time knowing that God’s personal boundaries (“my” or “our” God) define God’s relationship to us as we come to comprehend with our limitations in time, space and growth.

These two aspects of God (divinitas and deus) correspond to the distinction between beingness (esse) and being (ens). They formally differ but not ontologically. The one and only reality of God (monism) is identity-in-relation (relative). The symbolic expression of this relative monism is “x = x + y” where “x” stands for “God” and “y” for creation/humanity. God is God (x = x) in His relation-to-the-world, as the conscious ground of all beings.  


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