Reification

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Our imagination is conditioned to re-present sensible things to our minds.

Reification means "treating as a thing what is not a thing." Reify comes from the Latin word, "res, rei," which means "thing" in English. Ugly English words formed in the same way would be thingification and thingify.

Examples of realities or aspects of reality that we tend to reify:

  • God
  • Heaven
  • Hell
  • goodness
  • grace
  • love
  • evil
  • sin
  • darkness
  • cold
  • nothing
  • truth
  • justice

All sensible things are composed of matter-energy and located in space-time.

We can think of "nothing," but we cannot have a proper image of it.

Our imagination always supplies a theatrical background for things we want to think of.

We must think: "Before creation, there was no space-time or matter-energy. There was no vacuum of space. There were no force fields." When we think these truths, our imagination keeps on supplying pictures that are inconsistent with the truth we are trying to contemplate.

Mathematicians and scientists are trained to distinguish between concepts and the pictures that represent aspects of the concepts. We need a similar discipline when we try to do theology.