If you ask an orthodox Jew, he will not use the full word G-o-d, “God.” He will only use “Gd.” The o is dropped. Orthodox Jews will not use the full term “God,” they will use only “Gd.” If you ask them, “Why do you use ‘Gd,’ why is the o dropped?” They say, “Whatever we say is always less than what is. So the o is dropped as a symbol that we are using a word which cannot convey the whole, which cannot be comprehensive of the total.”
The o is symbolic of zero, symbolic of perfection, symbolic of totality – the whole. So the o is dropped, only “Gd” remains.
Whenever we use any word, it is never meaningful or comprehensive of the whole. It just indicates something – not about the divine, but about the human mind. If you say “existence,” then you use a term which is neutral. You can be indifferent to it – and existence can be indifferent to you. When you use “existence” there cannot be a dialogue between you and existence. Then there is no bridge. But those who have known existence know that there is a dialogue. With everything that exists, you can be in an intimate relationship – in love. This possibility of dialogue, this possibility of relationship, this possibility of being in love, makes the term “God” more meaningful than “existence.” But they mean the same.
So I will not say that the divine exists. I will say that all that exists is divine. Existence is divine. To exist is to be divine. Nothing is, which is not divine. Nothing can be, which is not divine. We may know it, we may not know it. We may be aware, we may not be aware. It makes no difference.
You asked whether the qualities of love and grace can be attributed to the divine. Again, no qualities can be attributed, because qualities can be attributed only if the contrary is possible. Otherwise they cannot be attributed. You can say, “Someone loves me,” because someone is capable of not loving. If he is incapable of not loving, you will never say, “He loves me.” Then to say that someone loves you carries no meaning. If I can be in not-love, or even in positive hatred, only then you can say, “I love you.” If I am incapable of being in hatred, then the quality of love cannot be attributed to me. Love then is not a quality, but nature. And that is the difference between a quality and nature.
A quality is something which can be in manifestation and can be in non-manifestation. A quality is something you can be deprived of. You exist with the quality, you can exist without the quality. It is not your intrinsic existence. It is something attributed to you. It is something added to you. It is not your nature.
Nature is something you cannot exist without. So when someone says, “God is loving,” he is not saying exactly the right thing. Jesus is right when he says, “God is love,” not “loving.” Then love becomes nature, not a quality. They can be replaced: God can be love, love can be God – because love is the intrinsic nature of the divine.
Love is not something added. It cannot be. It is not possible to conceive of godliness without love. If you can conceive of godliness without love, you are conceiving of godliness which is not godliness. To conceive of godliness without love is to conceive of a God without godliness, because the moment love is erased there is no godliness left behind. So again, I will not say that love is an attribute. Neither will I say that grace is an attribute. They are nature.