Phenomenological definition of God

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The philosopher Michel Henry defines God in a phenomenological point of view. He says: "God is Life, he is the essence of Life, or, if one prefers, the essence of Life is God. Saying this we already know what God is, we know it not through the effect of some knowledge or learning, we do not know it through thought, against the background of the truth of the world. Rather we know it, and can know it, only in and through Life itself. We can know the essence of God only in God."[1][2]

This Life is not biological life defined by objective and exterior properties, nor an abstract and empty philosophical concept, but the absolute phenomenological life, a radically immanent life which possesses in it the power of showing itself in itself without distance, a life which reveals permanently itself.[3][4] A manifestation of oneself and a self-revelation which doesn’t consist in the fact of seeing outside of oneself or of perceiving the exterior world, but in the fact of feeling and of feeling oneself, of experiencing in oneself its own inner and affective reality.[5]

As Michel Henry says also in this same book, "God is that pure Revelation that reveals nothing other than itself. God reveals Himself. The Revelation of God is his self-revelation".[6][7] God is in himself revelation, he is the primordial Revelation that tears everything from nothingness, a revelation which is the pathetic self-revelation and the absolute self-enjoyment of Life. As John says, God is love, because Life loves itself in an infinite and eternal love.[8][9]

Michel Henry opposes to the notion of creation, which is the creation of the world, the notion of generation of Life. The creation of the world consists in the opening of this exteriority horizon where every thing becomes visible. Whereas Life never stops to generate itself and to generate all the livings in its radical immanence, in its absolute phenomenological interiority that is without gap nor distance.[10][11]

As we are living and by consequence generated continually by the infinite Life of God, as he never stops to give us life, and as we never cease of being born into the eternal present of life by the action in us of this absolute Life, God is for Christianity our Father and we are its beloved Sons, the Sons of the living God.[12] This doesn’t only mean that he has created us at the time of our conception or at the beginning of the world, but that he never stops to generate us permanently into Life, that he is always at work in us in the least of our subjective impressions.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Michel Henry, I Am the Truth. Toward a Philosophy of Christianity, Stanford University Press, 2003, p. 27-28.
  2. ^ Gabrielle Dufour-Kowalska, Michel Henry, passion et magnificence de la vie, Beauchesne, 2003, p. 246 : "Le salut, la foi, la connaissance de Dieu, la communion avec Lui, reviennent à expérimenter dans le souffrir-jouir de la Vie le Don infini et l'Amour qui se révèlent en creux dans cet engendrement."
  3. ^ Philippe Capelle (éd.), Phénoménologie et Christianisme chez Michel Henry, Editions du Cerf, 2004, p. 21 : "Puisqu'il est question de la vie, écartons ici une équivoque. La vie n'est-t-elle pas l'objet de cette science en plein essor qui s'appelle la biologie ? Il faut répondre négativement : il n'y a pas de vie en biologie."
  4. ^ Philippe Capelle (éd.), Phénoménologie et Christianisme chez Michel Henry, Editions du Cerf, 2004, p. 21 : "Le concept d'immanence est celui qui a le plus manqué à la pensée occidentale, c'est cette absence qui a fait d'elle une pensée extérieure de la réalité, et, à ce titre, le plus souvent superficielle."
  5. ^ Michel Henry, I Am the Truth. Toward a Philosophy of Christianity, Stanford University Press, 2003, p. 33-52.
  6. ^ Michel Henry, I Am the Truth. Toward a Philosophy of Christianity, Stanford University Press, 2003, p. 25.
  7. ^ Gabrielle Dufour-Kowalska, Michel Henry, passion et magnificence de la vie, Beauchesne, 2003, p. 159 : "L'objet de C'est moi la Vérité n'est ainsi rien d'autre que Dieu comme cette Archi-Essence de la phénoménalité laissée en suspens depuis la parution de L'Essence de la manifestation. Le philosophe nous invite à rejoindre le Fond originaire qui soutient, comme un abîme d'infinité, l'être du sujet humain [...]."
  8. ^ Michel Henry, I Am the Truth. Toward a Philosophy of Christianity, Stanford University Press, 2003, p. 31.
  9. ^ Gabrielle Dufour-Kowalska, Michel Henry, passion et magnificence de la vie, Beauchesne, 2003, p. 195 : "L'amour divin peut-il signifier davantage ? Davantage que le fait pour Dieu de nous donner sa propre vie en partage, sa propre auto-révélation dans cette "étreinte pathétique" qui le constitue ?"
  10. ^ Michel Henry, Paroles du Christ, éd. du Seuil, 2002, p. 107.
  11. ^ Translation in English : Michel Henry, Words of Christ, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012.
  12. ^ Antoine Vidalin, La parole de la vie, Parole et silence, 2006, pp. 79-87
  13. ^ Michel Henry, I Am the Truth. Toward a Philosophy of Christianity, Stanford University Press, 2003, p. 152-170.

Primary references[edit]

  • Michel Henry: The Essence of Manifestation, The Hague : Nijhoff, 1973
  • Michel Henry: I am the Truth: Toward a philosophy of Christianity, Stanford University Press, 2003
  • Michel Henry: Words of Christ, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012

Bibliography[edit]

  • Gabrielle Dufour-Kowalska: Michel Henry, passion et magnificence de la vie, Beauchesne, 2003
  • Philippe Capelle (éd.): Phénoménologie et Christianisme chez Michel Henry, Editions du Cerf, 2004
  • Antoine Vidalin: La parole de la vie, Parole et silence, 2006

See also[edit]