THE NAME OF GOD AS REVEALED IN EXODUS 3:14
An explanation of its meaning
K J Cronin
Commentary On The Explanation Of The Purpose Of Creation
The Explanation of the Purpose of Creation is an extended exploration of what was God’s purpose in creating and what is our purpose within His creation. What follows is a commentary on the Explanation of the Purpose of Creation. The first three paragraphs are identical to the first three paragraphs of the Commentary on the Explanation of The Meaning of the Name of God in Part II of this website. That is because the two Explanations are identical in their early passages and that is because they are both based upon the same few fundamental understandings of God. The commentary is intended to be read alongside the Explanation of the Purpose of Creation as a companion to what can at times be a demanding read. The latter four paragraphs of this commentary are very close in content to the Explanation itself, only differing in terms of brevity. That is because the latter part of the Explanation is self-explanatory.
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.
I consider the place of suffering in the creation of one perfect God later in the Explanation of the Purpose of creation.
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 also because there is nothing in existence that would imply His imperfection. At the most fundamental level, divine imperfection would mean that God is limited in power or knowledge or love or some other attribute that we associate with Him. That would suggest that in the condition of solitary existence that was His before He created, He was limited. However, God cannot be limited. He must be infinite in His essence because if He is limited, then whatever it is that limits Him would necessarily be greater than Him and hence be God to Him, unless it too was limited by something even greater and so on ad infinitum. In that condition of solitary existence that was His before He created, He was the owner of all power and knowledge and love and everything else, and because He is infinite so also must have been His power and knowledge and love. It is therefore impossible for Him to have been the totality of existence and to have been anything less than perfect. 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 of God as 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 no multiplicity of any kind in God.
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, in that condition of existence there was in God no activity of mind and hence no experience of existing because all experience of existing is had by mind. Because all that is not God is His creation, we may confirm that all of His experience of existing is had in His relation to His creation. By a process of straightforward, stepwise reasoning I then conclude that in God the perfect experience of existing will be had in His eternal relation to His formed creation.
I next consider the place of living creatures in Creation and at this point introduce the experience of suffering by such creatures. I reason that the presence of suffering in God’s creation tells us that His living creatures are necessary for Him to have His perfect experience of existing, because otherwise there can be no Justification for their suffering. In a footnote to this point (footnote 5), I explore the place of suffering in Creation. I believe this footnote is not difficult to follow and so I will not repeat it or elaborate upon it here. However, I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in why there is suffering in the creation of the One who is perfect in power and love. I conclude this passage of the Explanation by stating that in God the perfect experience of existing will be had in His eternal relation to His living creatures.
I next state the premise that the perfect experience of existing is the experience of perfect love, to which I believe there can be no compelling objection. God can only experience such love in relation to His living creatures and so I conclude that in God the perfect experience of existing will be the experience of perfect love in His eternal relation to His living creatures. That the experience of perfect and eternal love in relation to His living creatures will be God’s perfect experience of existing means that to have this experience must be His ultimate purpose in creating. The experience of love cannot be perfect unless it is reciprocated. Therefore, God’s ultimate purpose in creating is that He shall have the experience of perfect and eternal love in relation to those of His creatures who are endowed with the capacity to love Him.
Because God’s ultimate purpose in creating will not be fully realised until those of His creatures endowed with the capacity to love Him reciprocate the love that He has for them, I conclude that the purpose that God has ordained for all creatures who are endowed with the capacity to love Him is to love Him as fully as they are able. Hence the individual purpose of each and every one of us is to love God as fully as we are able. I conclude with the opening verses of the most important prayer in Judaism, the Shema: “Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone. You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
I hope that it is now clear just how important it is to understand the purpose of creation, given that to identify it requires an understanding of God in Himself before He created and of Him in His eternal relation to His creation. There is no deeper an understanding of God than this.