Originally posted on Adam's Task:
I am no scientist, I study math and philosophy, but didn’t the Higgs boson and the study of other elementary particles teach us that something could be physically real but not spatially extended? Have I got this right?
Nevertheless, I think God is concrete in the sense that he is real, but not concrete in the sense that spatial extension does not apply to him. God is abstract in the sense that he exists in thought, but not abstract in the sense that he is real, that is, has actual existence. God does seem to be really similar to an abstract concept like love or beauty or infinity, but he does not seem to be an abstract concept in the sense that the properties of God have intrinsic maximums. God cannot be more beautiful; God cannot be more infinite (God is the highest possible number, so to speak, even though infinity is a concept, not a number, in mathematics.) and so on. Also, God being personal does not make him a Person. God is not a magnified human being, as many atheists like to think. God being personal is only intended, in my mind, to signify that God is at least personal, that whatever God may be beyond our conceiving, God is not less than personal, not a mere It, but always the higher and transcendent divine Thou. Which means I don’t think God being personal makes him concrete.
So, perhaps, the abstract-concrete distinction fails with God. I mean, much of what we say about God presents God as an abstract-philosophical idea. God is Being-itself, not a being. What does the Ground of Being look like? I don’t know. In fact, when I think of God I am overwhelmingly aware of the divine reality as infinitely other and greater. Of course, Isaiah pretty much summed it up for us. (Is. 40. 18-23, 25-26) In this religious sense, God is “the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy” (Is. 57.15), whose “thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is. 55.8-9) The awareness of God as holy is the awareness of One who is terrifyingly mysterious, an intensity of being in relation to which men and women are virtually nothing, a perfection in whose eyes “all our righteousness are as filthy rags” (Is. 64.6) a purpose and power before which we human beings can only bow down in silent awe.