Paul Tillich, Zhuangzi, and the Creational Role of Nonbeing

Philosophy East and West 69 (2):337-356 (2019)
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Abstract

For Paul Tillich, the age-old question "Why is there something and not nothing?"1 is easily answerable: there is something because thought begins with being. However, being alone is insufficient to explain the causal root of reality; the world exists, Tillich says, in a dialectical relationship with nonbeing. This nonbeing is not the absolute Nothing out of which God creates things ex nihilo; on the contrary, it is a relative form of non-being that threatens to eradicate the finite being of things. Given that God is pure potential, what Tillich calls being-itself, things are created ex deo, that is, from the pure being of God. Humans, however, question the nature of being and hence...

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David Chai
Chinese University of Hong Kong

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