THE NAME OF GOD AS REVEALED IN EXODUS 3:14
An explanation of its meaning
K J Cronin
Commentary on the Explanation of the Meaning of the Name Of God
The Explanation of the Meaning of the Name of God is an extended account of God in Himself before He Created and of God in the first instant of His relation to His creation. What follows is a commentary on the Explanation, which is in Part II of this site. It is intended to be read alongside the Explanation as a companion to what can at times be a demanding read.
The Explanation begins with the assertions that there is a God and that there is only one God. I say that there is only one God because this understanding is what allows me to make perfect sense of everything in existence that has come to my awareness. If something makes perfect sense then as far as I am concerned it is true, in the absence of evidence to the contrary. If we were to assert that there is more than one God (or divine persons) then among the questions that must be asked is, why would they create at all? Was their own perfect company not sufficient for them without creating imperfect humans and other animals, and if not why not? And if their perfect divine company was sufficient for them, then how can they justify creating animals who would then suffer for no necessary reason? This does not make sense and so as far as I am concerned it is not true. Therefore, there is only one God. Because there is only one God, He must be the only creator and as the only creator He must have existed before there was a creation. Therefore, God was before He created.
To understand the place of suffering in the creation of one perfect God, please read my Explanation of the Purpose of Creation in The Implications of the Meaning of the Name in this website.
Having established that God was before He created, I next assert that all that is not God is His creation, or to put it another way, All-That-Is is God and His creation. Once again, I assert this because it is in the light of this understanding that everything in existence makes perfect sense to me, and, as I have already said, if it makes perfect sense then it is true. There was no other ‘stuff’ in existence that God did not create and that just happened to be by His side and that just happened to be perfectly suited to His creative purpose. To suggest that there was is to imply another, greater intelligence beyond God that created both God and the ‘stuff’ he used for creation, and so that greater intelligence would in turn be God, which is therefore pointless speculation. Because of this I conclude that before God created, He was All-That-is, the totality of existence besides Whom there was no other.
I next assert that God is perfect. Once again, I assert this because His perfection allows me to make perfect sense of everything in existence that has come to my awareness and if it makes perfect sense then it is true, and because there is nothing in existence that would imply His imperfection. By virtue of that perfection, He is perfect in unity. I define perfect unity as the condition of existence in which there are no differences by which to be distinguished. I believe that there can be no rational debate on this point. Even Christians acknowledge it, although their aversion to the concept of unity - connoting as it does the number one - causes them to speak instead of God being perfect in simplicity, which is the same thing. Therefore, in perfect unity there is only one, which means that God is the perfect One in every conceivable sense. There is in God no multiplicity of any kind.
I next restate my assertion that perfect unity is the condition of existence in which there are no differences by which to be distinguished. Because of that, and because before God created He was All-That-Is and perfect in unity, there was in that condition of existence nothing for His mind to be aware of. Therefore, when All-That-Is was God, He was not aware. You might wonder how this can be compatible with His being the creator of all that is not Him. I say that the beginning of his creating was not a decision and did not require a plan. It did not require the activity of mind. I say that it is in the very essence of God to create, so that the existence of God is impossible without creating. God and Creator are identical. God is Creator. For a schematic representation of this understanding, please see the Diagram in Part II of this website.
I next consider how it was that God became aware and specifically in relation to what did He become aware. The answer is plain when we consider that before God created, He was All-That-Is, and that following creation All-That-Is was God and His creation. He can therefore only have become aware in relation to His creation. As I have already said, the beginning of God’s creating was not an action of His mind. It is in the very essence of God to create and so He began to create before His mind became active. Once Creation began, God became aware in relation to it. For a schematic representation of this understanding, please see the Diagram in Part II of this site.
I next consider the experience that God Had in relation to the beginning of His creation. I explain that it was in relation to the first instant of the existence of His creation that He became aware. At that time Creation was absolutely without form and because all that is not God is His creation, all that God was aware of at that time was that which had absolutely no form. I then imagine what the experience would be like of existing in relation only to that which had no form and specifically how God would articulate that experience. Since the totality of the first instant of His awareness was looking out into that which had no form, I conclude that God would articulate this experience by simply saying ‘There Is’. Hence the first words in the mind of God as He looked out into the very beginning of His creation were ‘There Is’. I then reason that if there is awareness that ‘There Is’ then God would immediately conclude that ‘I AM’. For a schematic representation of this understanding, please see the Diagram in Part II of this site.
I next consider precisely what the words ‘I AM’ are the articulation of, and I conclude that they were the articulation in God of the knowledge He had of His Personal existence. However, because His Personal existence does not change, I then conclude that the words ‘I AM’ are the articulation in God of the knowledge He has of His Personal existence. Thus far I had come to understand by myself. What had not occurred to me, and I believe never would have occurred to me had I never read Exodus 3:14, was that the words ‘I AM’ are a divine name. That is the subject of Part 7 of the Explanation of the Meaning of the Name and brings it to a conclusion. I should note at this point that there are only two universally accepted translations of the name Ehyeh of Exodus 3:14b. They are ‘I am’ and ‘I will be’, on which point I would recommend to you the Textual Analysis of Exodus 3:13-15 in Part II of this site.
I hope that it is now clear just how important it is to understand the meaning of the name ‘I AM', given that to identify it requires an understanding of God in Himself before He created and of Him in the first instant of His relation to His creation. There is no deeper an understanding of God than this. A final recommendation to anyone reading the Explanation of the Meaning of the Name is that they do so while also referring to the Diagram, which is also in Part II of this site. It is intended to be both a stand-alone subject of contemplation and also a schematic companion to reading the Explanation of the Meaning of the Name.