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Nothing, continued – Daily Reflections with Matthew Fox

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Last week I saw a Nova program on PBS called The Universe Revealed: The Milky Way. It was about the emergence of our solar system, which was born 9 billion years ago. I wholeheartedly recommend it for a more complete account of the history of the Earth and the history of mankind. The journey included images of the Milky Way from various angles, made possible by the Gaia telescope, launched in 2010.

Since its launch in 2013, ESA’s Gaia observatory has been mapping our galaxy, creating the most accurate and complete multidimensional map of the Milky Way. European Space Agency, ESA

It was amazing, and amazing that at least one species, ours, could look back and thus learn how God works, how creation and Creator danced together during those 13.8 billion years that, among other things, brought our Earth and itself into existence.

Black holes play an important role in creating the galaxies we are told (although we know very little about them). Black holes seem to be nothing but nothing that does something very important. Nothing that produces.

Eckhart is talking about God in this way when he tells us this God is nothing. However, it is not that he was without existence. Rather, he is neither that nor that which we could express. He is a being above all existence. He is a being without a being.

To be a being without a being is to be nothing. Non-object. For such a nothing, the highest statement is negation – God is neither this nor that.

Walk with radiance. Photo by David Monche on Unsplash

Commenting on Paul’s blindness at the time of his conversion, as reported in Acts (9:8), Eckhart says that when Paul rose from the earth he saw nothing, and that nothingness was God. Indeed, he has seen God, and this is what he calls nothingness… I cannot see that there is One. He saw nothing, that is, God. God is nothing, and yet God is something.

Our talk about God is nothing, since we must “pray to God to deliver us from God.” What does Eckhart mean by this? We are able to make God into a God who would not be God if we imagine that we can know God. To imagine this is to reduce God to our size. Such a God is not worthy of worship. “If I had a god that I could know, I could never think of him as God.” God is beyond our knowledge of God and is greater than all our knowledge.

This is why God remains a “hidden God” and we must “keep silent and not chatter about God.”


Adapted from Matthew Fox, Passion for Creation: Master Eckhart’s Earth-Honoring Spirituality P. 194, 183, 182.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner: “And the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.” Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash

Inquiries for contemplation

Do you think it’s a coincidence that there are black holes in the universe that are generative, but sometimes our psyche seems like a black hole – from which generativeness also flows? From via negativa comes via creativa?


Recommended reading

Passion for Creation: Meister Eckhart’s Earth-Honoring Spirituality

Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets over the centuries, resulting in the spirituality of the new millennium. The sacredness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to justice and the practice of compassion are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for the modern reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in the last 500 years.” — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author Sleeping beauty kisses goodbye.


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