An Ecstatic God

20 September, 2013

photo (7)I’ve been reading The Good God: Enjoying Father, Son, and Spirit  by Michael Reeves. I’m really liking this book, and  want to share an excerpt with you.

This section called, “It’s all Greek to me”, provides some insight into who God is:

There are two Greek words you will never use on a holiday in Corfu, but they drip with nectar. The first is hypostasis. I know, it sounds like a nasty skin condition, but it actually means something like “foundation” (hypo = “under”; stasis = “something which stands or exists”). The Greek Old Testament uses the word in Psalm 69:2 when the psalmist says “I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold (hypostasis)”. In other words, there is nothing firm underneath for him to stand on. But it is also the word used to describe God’s “being” in Hebrews 1:3 (“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being [hypostasis]“). Hypostasis describes the Father’s “being”, what is foundational to him.

The other word is ekstasis, from which we get the word ecstasy. It is a word to do with being beside yourself or being outside yourself (ek = “out from”; stasis = “something which stands or exists”).

What we have been seeing is that the Father, Son and Spirit have their hypostasis in ekstasis. That is, God’s innermost being (hypostasis) is an outgoing, loving, life-giving being. The triune God is an ecstatic God: he is not a God who hoards his life, but one who gives it away, as he would show in that supreme moment of his self-revelation on the cross. The Father finds his very identity in giving his life and being to the Son; and the Son images his Father in sharing his life with us through Spirit.

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