God and His Jnâni Quest
Hmm. Return to our previously scheduled program, or continue with Soloviev? Magnus made a comment that is worth highlighting. He likes "the idea of the 'conquest of the nondivine,'", and sees "everything since the onset of the Big Bang (at least) as part of a relentless expansion of God into the void of utter nonexistence. First space and time, then matter, then life and mind etc., culminating with the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth (and the cosmos in general), until it is leavened all the way through and God is all in all, every bit of creation glowing with divine beauty, harmony and sheer rightness."
So is the creation ascending toward the divine, or is the divine coondescending toward the creation? I would suggest that they are ultimately the same movement looked at from different angles. God kenotically pours himself into creation, while we pour ourselves back into God, in a mutual surrender. But only if we are already partially divinized can we surrender at all.
Again, that is just one of the startling innovations of Christianity -- the idea that God "surrenders" and turns himself in to fallen man, in the hope of raising him up again. Our task is to surrender to the surrender, so to speak. As Balthasar describes it, "the divine and integral wholeness is answered from the side of created reality by a progressive integration into that integral wholeness," but not before the "glorious descent of Agape," which makes "humanity the object of God's quest." In contrast to the blues musicians of old, we have a heavenhound on our trail.
Magnus continues: "I may be wrong, though. There are only a few passages to this effect in the Bible, while there are chapter after chapter with threats of death and destruction and going on about how angry God is and [the] good reason He has for it. The conquest of the nondivine must be pretty hard work -- if not at the still center of the Godhead then certainly out here at the frontier (though I suppose some of us are more frontier than others...)"
Re God's "anger," elsewhere in The Glory of the Lord, Balthasar speaks of a progressive "demythologization" of God that occurs in the Old Testament, so that the God of Proverbs or Wisdom has quite a different character than the earlier, more anthropocentric depictions. Eventually Judaism is essentially completely cleansed of mythology, and develops a fully apophatic notion of the divine, to such an extent that this sacred cow can't even be uddered (i.e., G-d).
In turn, once the idea of God is completely demythologized -- or what we would call "unsaturated" -- the historical stage is set for God to appear as he is, as opposed to how we would like for him to be.
In other words, not only did God have to prepare a people for the divine descent, he had to create an "empty space," a literal void, a "higher nothingness" (which in a way parallels the original creatio ex nihilo). This is why Jesus' appearance was so unexpected (to say the least) and unprecedented (although in hindsight, we can see that there were hints and clues all along). Those who did nurture the idea of a specific messiah obviously didn't envision anything like Jesus. No one saw it coming in this particular form. Only after the fact did the apostles begin putting two and two together; or perhaps we should say three and one.
Also, as Magnus suggests, the divine descent is not the end, but only the beginning. And while in some sense the "victory" over matter is assured, this hardly means that it will be a smooth ride from here to the eshchaton.
Rather -- and I mentioned this in a comment yesterday -- it seems that the later Soloviev (1890-1900) was considerably more pessimystic than the early, more optimystic Soloviev (1873-1883), which is a good thing. While he never abandoned his Christocentric cosmic evolutionism, as he matured, he developed a much greater appreciation of the Hostile Forces that oppose the evolution, both individually and collectively. Balthasar feels this makes him a much deeper thinker than Teilhard, who had a fair amount of new-age fuzziness and happy talk about him. Teilhard definitely failed to appreciate the Dark Side.
This is also what elevates Soloviev above Hegel, as well as the upside-down Hegelians, i.e., the left. In the case of Hegel, his idea of the Absolute is far too abstract, and tends to blot out both the individual and the historical landscape, as if we are all just riding on the dialectic that inevitably returns us to Absolute Spirit.
And in the case of the left -- and we see this in an astonishingly immature form in the Obama cult -- people really believed that the election of this cunning and transparently mendacious politician would lead to some kind of "transformation of consciousness," or Deepak's "quantum leap in awareness." Please. Leftism can only create a heap of ants, not any true interior unity.
Here again, this emphasizes the importance of demythologizing the spiritual space, because if you don't, you will simply fill it with your own retrograde fantasies, as does the left. One would hope that no true conservative is foolish enough to believe that the evil in man can be transformed by electing this or that politician. If anything, a noble man such as Ronald Reagan only makes them hate that more fervently. The left despises nobility in all its forms, and nobility is one of the first fruits of Spirit. In reducing man to matter, they rob him of his nobility and try to make up for the loss with stolen goodies, thus plunging him further into the abyss.
The "principle of progress" can only be located in the individual, and only then because he is embedded in a deeper movement of "the evolution of nature towards man, of history towards Christ, and the Church toward the Kingdom of God in its completeness." Absent this movement, there is no progress, only agitation and change. Nor is there any true hope, only a counterfeit and reactionary hope that obscures their cosmic hopelessness.
Like me, it seems that Soloviev tried to playgiarize with everyone and everything in order to Bobtize the cosmos. Thus, "he fully appropriates" these sources for himself; "the muddy stream runs through him as if through a purifying agent and is distilled in crystal-clear, disinfected waters," so these sources might "live and breath... in an atmosphere of unqualified transparency and intelligibility."
Regarding mind parasites, Soloviev came to appreciate that "the forces of egotism are given to man not to be destroyed but to be transformed, just as God himself creates good out of evil. The dark 'ground' is constantly in need of being brought to illumination." Illuminate and eliminate, as Petey always says.
But the main point is that we do not escape from matter, but transform it: "Christianity sees material life as the necessary foundation for the realization of divine truth, the embodiment of divine spirit.... [I]t is only the acknowledgment of matter in its true significance that sets us free from actual slavish dependence upon it, from an involuntary materialism." Indeed, "so long as man does not feel material nature in himself and outside himself as something that is his own, something akin to him, he does not love it, and he is not yet free from it" (emphasis mine).
So real freedom is identified with love, but especially in the "sacred marriage of Heaven and earth," or the union "between the fully incarnate deity and divinized reality of the world." "Sophia is the eternal feminine in the world, the eternal object of God's love." In their eternal union, God and Sophia become "one flesh," or Theosophia (in its proper sense, not the brand name).
Again, this is why Christian wisdom is always embodied wisdom, not some abstract ideal that is imposed upon reality. No: "the understanding alone is in no way the organ by means of which we can know any actual reality. Such reality can be known only through genuine experience," i.e., O-->(n).