Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Lactantius and Apophaticism

Lactantius was a theologian of revelation as opposed to reason. He was thus primarily apophatic in his theological orientation, contending that humans cannot apprehend God through the senses. Moreover, neither thought nor intellection can bridge the chasm between infinite and finite being: the divine one must reveal himself to those with pious leanings.[1] Otherwise, divine supremacy and otherness would be compromised. The secret counsel of the Most High God, who created all things, in short, cannot be attained by human ability. If human thought could attain to the eternal counsel of God and his heavenly decrees, there would be no objective difference between God and man.

[1] DI 1.1.5. Compare Cyprian Idol 9: “He cannot be seen-He is too bright for vision; nor comprehended-He is too pure for our discernment; nor estimated-He is too great for our perception; and therefore we are only worthily estimating Him when we say that He is inconceivable.”

No comments: