Teaching About The Nature Of God

God is one and is perfect according to essence. What is He by nature; what attributes does the absolute essence of God possess? The term by nature signifies the sum total of the attributes which we observe in beings and essences. To give an example of this, a sphere is a body; it is a certain being. Yet we also say that a sphere is a round body, and if it has colour as well, we say that it is a red, or a white, or some other colored round body. Here the words round, red, etc., are the attributes of the sphere. When these attributes are considered together, they comprise the nature of the sphere, by which it is distinguished from other bodies of a different shape and colour.

The most perfect essence is God. Consequently, He has not simply nature, but the most perfect nature. God possesses form by which He is distinguished from other beings and is recognized, even as we recognize beings by their kind, nature, and form. Hence in God there is present not only perfect existence, but also perfect nature and a wholly perfect form, which represent perfectly the perfect existence of God.

The existence and nature of God maintain a constant union, for they are joined by indissoluble bonds. They are held together in harmony by a mystical relationship, or by an equally perfect power, because an imperfect power cannot unite, bind, and hold together two other perfect entities, existence and nature.

Consequently, in God there is not only perfect existence and perfect nature, but also a perfect relationship and a power that stands between the existence and the nature, between being and knowing – a living, active power, without which He could have neither existence nor nature or kind. Here there is perfect existence with a perfect nature and form, united by a perfect relationship and power. These three remain indivisibly united and eternally undivided in the one true God whom Jesus Christ has revealed to mankind.

The first attribute of the perfect essence of God is absolute being; by it God is distinguished from relative beings and relative essences. The second attribute of the perfect essence of God is perfect being. The essence of God is whole and complete; it is characterized by nothing which requires increase or decrease or improvement.

A third attribute of the essence of God is absolute intelligence and knowledge. Just as God is ultimate essence and ultimate self-being, similarly He is ultimate intelligence, ultimate knowledge, and ultimate self-awareness. Thus the Orthodox Church and Holy Scripture confess and acknowledge God to be ultimate self-being and ultimate self-awareness.

Another attribute of the divine essence is absolute living. God is ultimate self-life, just as He is ultimate self-existence and ultimate self-awareness.

Absolute being, absolute knowledge, and absolute life – these are ultimate and perfect attributes which are found in the one God whom the Theanthropos revealed to mankind. Another description of them is complete and perfect existence, complete and perfect intellect, and complete and perfect life.

This is the God in whom the Christian believes. This is the God before whom he prostrates himself in time of prayer. The God he worships is perfect existence, perfect intellect, and perfect life. In His existence, the Christian exists. In His understanding and knowledge, the Christian understands and knows. In His life, the Christian lives. Therefore, it is every Christian’s duty to see that he exists and thinks and lives in accordance with God’s will, for on God depends his existence, his understanding, and his life. He must do nothing contrary to the will of the first principle from which he springs, if he is to be unit.ed with it eternally.

The Theanthropos taught that God is Spirit. He taught that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth(John 4:24). The apostle Paul also revealed – or rather, Christ revealed through St. Paul – that God is Spirit, for he wrote: “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (II Corinthians 3:17). A spirit is that which has existence together with knowledge and life, as distinct from matter, which has only existence without any conscious understanding or knowledge. “God is Spirit” indicates not only that God has existence, but also life and understanding.

Because God is perfect existence, He also is complete and perfect life, and complete and perfect intelligence. Thus the God of the Gospel and science is perfect existence, understanding and living to perfection. This is the perfect God revealed to man by the Theanthropos. The qualities of God are infinite, yet they may be summarized in three-perfect existence, knowledge, and life. If we define God as absolute and perfect existence, absolute and perfect intelligence and life, by this definition we comprehend the one God of the Gospel.

Thus, who is God? The answer is that God is He who exists, understands, and lives perfectly and absolutely. God is He who possesses perfect existence, perfect knowledge, and perfect life.

Let us worship and fall down before our one and only true God. Come, let us worship and fall down before God, the king and monarch of all. Come, let us worship and fall down before the absolute and perfect existence, intelligence, and life of our one and only true God – whom the Theanthropos, Jesus Christ, our infallible mentor and professor, revealed to us, for His teaching is eternally true and never errs.

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