May 17, 2011

God and Man

Genesis 1:27: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

Theologians divide the term, God into two parts: Immanent and Transcendent (and also lots of other divisions, such as monotheist and polytheists, etc.). Here we'll stick to the I/T polarity:

Immanent: "There is that of God in everyone" (Every One)(George Fox)

Isaiah 55:9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

The Bible seems to be read by most people in terms of God's Transcendence. God is high up in Heaven and we are down here in Earth.

Now the meaning of Heaven hinges on its place: is it material (in space) or ethereal (in Eternity)? A material Heaven is high up, remote! An ethereal Heaven is as close as your breathing.

Blake saw Heaven, not in terms of space and time, but in terms of Eternity.

The Eternal is right there as close as your breathing, and available whenever you can see beyond time and space. Time and space are creatures, like you and I, but Heaven is not a creature: it was from Heaven that Creation happened. You and I are creatures, made from the Dust, but we are more than creatures; we are in the image of God.

There's no such thing as 'heavenly creatures' (although it's frequently employed metaphorically). There's only Heaven, where that of God abides, and Earth, where most of us unfortunately spend most of our time.

What does all this have to do with the Bible? Readers are divided between those whose minds are strictly materialistic and those with a spiritual consciousness. If there's no spirit in your mind, then the Bible is seen simply as factual. All these things occurred in time, purely factual (and often inerrant factually!)

But love is not factual! it's spirit: no where; no time, although it joyfully occurs here and there, now and then; but love is heavenly, and when we love, we're experiencing Heaven!


At 4:08 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

When I took an "Old Testament" class, I got a prof who held that universal divine incarnation was at least implicitly stated in all major religions, the Hindu "Atman is Brahma" being the most explicit. In Christianity it's a clear implication of much of what Jesus says about "my Father", "your Father", "I and my Father are one" & similar language-- That if we're going to talk about "Jesus is God" then that's an equation that each human being can potentially be substituted into. In Buddhism you would call it The Buddha Nature. & the Sufis (cautiously around literalists) have their various ways to say this. As the prof stated it, the Creation of humanity involved God going Multiple Personality into everybody-- while still, in some fashion, retaining the transcendent unity.

Of course much of the Judaic Scriptures were heavily influence by a Sacred Oriental Despot model. But even in a state religion, it's hard to entirely keep the mystics out-- especially a state religion that reluctantly honors prophets (when it can't successfully fend them off with a stable of house-prophets like Ahab attempted to do.) So the Judaic Bible has its hints, ie your "image of God" reference, as well as the part about God breathing "His Breath" into us.

Theologians should stop trying to divide God into parts (I wouldn't hang out around anyone trying to do that to me!) But it's hard to combine statements like "I am God" and "God is a vast Being of unlimited power, love, wisdom and goodness (etc.)-- without getting as confused as George Fox talking with Ranters.

Consider a world you might find in a novel. Is it big? Conceivably it could be as small as a stage barely sufficient to hold the characters and the places where they meet-- but there's no reasonable limit to how many galaxies, how far away, might be detectable via a telescope one character knows about. The mind of an imagined person sketched onto a bundle of paper smaller than your hand... and there are galaxies in there!

All right, my mind doesn't hold all the thoughts of all the minds in all those galaxies which I know are "out there" in our "real" world--

but we've been assuming, all along, that this is my mind. It isn't a mind I made; I don't know where I found it; I not even sure it isn't misleading to claim that I "have" it.

Essentially I can't say much about it except that "I live here" (like that character in "_Being_ _There_"?)

There's this vast structure of thought and feeling and other consciousness byproducts... that literally contains what we call "the world".

I'm down here in the lower right corner of that, slightly overlapping a few other semi-autonomous clusters in that sea of mental processing...

At 4:46 a.m., Blogger Larry said...

Thanks, Forrest; I'm with you, and your professor, re "universal divine incarnation". I call myself an Evangelical, Methodist, Quaker, Universalist:

One son professes no religion, but honors (loves) brothers about like you and I do.

One son married a women who professed some kind of oriental faith, but his daughter called herself a Christian when she was about 10.

One son married a girl from a pious Catholic family; they attended a large (primarily black) Catholic Church in D.C., then moved to San Luis Obispo where they don't attend a church. He's interested in Buddhism.

God loves (and directs) them just like he does you and me.

Thanks again for your comment.


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