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Essays in Analytic TheologyVolume 1$
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Michael C. Rea

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198866800

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198866800.001.0001

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God beyond Being

God beyond Being

Towards a Credible Account of Divine Transcendence

(p.120) 6 God beyond Being
Essays in Analytic Theology

Michael C. Rea

Oxford University Press

Theologians divide as to how best to understand God’s transcendence. Famously, towards the end of his Mystical Theology, Pseudo-Dionysius characterized God’s transcendence by saying that God is ‘beyond every denial, beyond every assertion’ and that God ‘lies beyond thought and beyond being’. Many in his wake have followed him in these affirmations. Contemporary analytic philosophers commonly dismiss such claims as unintelligible or inconsistent with basic doctrines of Christianity (e.g. that God exists, is personal, became incarnate). But they are so deeply entrenched in the tradition that it seems a worthwhile effort to try to do them justice. This chapter develops an intelligible account of divine transcendence that accommodates the language of beyondness while at the same time remaining consistent with the truth of central Christian doctrines.

Keywords:   transcendence, divine attributes, existence of God, absolute generality, modes of being, metaphor, panmetaphoricism, analogy

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