Chapter

Possibility, Nothingness, and the Gift of Being

George Pattison

in God and Being

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588688
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191723339 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588688.003.0008
Possibility, Nothingness, and the Gift of Being

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Classical Christian theology limits what can be known of Being by embodied beings to being that has not fully actualized its potentiality. Is our knowledge of divine Being, then, merely a possible knowledge or knowledge of a possibility? For classical theism, however, a God whose Being is merely possible is a God who, in a sense, is not and thinking of God in terms of possibility results in nihilism. This is explored in relation to the concept of ‘the field of nihility’ (K. Nishida) and Derrida's discussion of the Platonic khôra. Here the question of Being and of God arrives at a point of undecidability. In this situation we may choose to live our lives in the world as sheer facticity or gratefully to experience existence as a gift, but neither compels assent. Perhaps it is precisely this freedom of interpretation—this possibility—that is the gift of Being.

Keywords: Being; possibility; act; nothingness; nihility; gift; freedom

Chapter.  24410 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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