Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Pre-Nicenes and Divine Innominability

The pre-Nicenes argue that divine names are only human vehicles (PROSRHSEIS) for addressing God.[1] However, PROSRHSEIS do not say anything significative concerning the Father’s essence (quidditas); spatio-temporal bound language (la langue) is not capable of defining the Christian object of worship per essentiam. The names that rational creatures utilize to invoke deity are nomina misericordiae rather than nomina substantiae. Strictly speaking, the early church writers conceive divine ONOMATA as manifestations of God’s undeserved mercy.[2]

[1] Apology 2.6; Octavius 18-19; Novatian's De Trinitate 4.11.

[2] See Runia and Augustine.

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