‘God is not good – or else he could do better.’
Eckhart is not keen on anyone trying to describe God because words are human, they diminish the divine and quickly become ridiculous – like saying God is ‘good’.
To call someone ‘good’ is a compliment, in human terms; but it breaks down with the divine, as all descriptions do, because ‘good’, for instance, is less than ‘wonderful’.
God can end up as a slightly better version of ourselves; and in some churches – where he’s endlessly displeased and mainly concerned with sex – slightly worse.
Gregory of Nyassa warned that ‘every thought of God is an idol’; and this is echoed by Eckhart.
He even thinks the church’s talk of the trinity imprisons God – as if the one God can be contained in a numerical formula.
If the one God can be described in three ways, then why not in seventy or a hundred ways?
It is mere human shorthand, a creaturely attempt to make the incomprehensible comprehensible. And not worthy.
‘Do you know how God is God?’ he says. ‘God is God because there is nothing of the creature in him. He has never been named within time.’
There is terror and unknowing here; shock and awe in the presence of a God who will not be contained or made small.
We breathe in the One who will not be trapped, who cannot be named.