You Are What You Eat: Losing Existential Weight with the Deity Diet
Note again that when we speak of God, it is -- or should be -- analogous to God speaking (of) creation. As McGinn explains, creation for John is "the expression in manifest speech of the unmanifest Word of God," or "the diffusion of invisible light in its visible form." Thus, just as the invisible Word speaks the visible world, the visible world "speaks" the invisible Creator. Either you see this or you don't, but certainly not with eyes of flesh.
What follows is going to sound controversial or perhaps even blasphemous, unless you read it very carefully. But I believe, among other things, it helps to resolve the question of whether and how God suffers with us. The problem with this is that if he does, it implies that God "changes," which violates one of the a priori definitions of God, which is that he is changeless. It also speaks to the hurdle that traditionalists have with evolution, which they understand to imply an evolving God (e.g., process theology), if not outright godlessness.
As a brief aside, I have in the past mentioned the story of how Bion said before a lecture that "I can't wait to find out what I'm going to say" (or words to that effect). I adopt the identical approach to blogging. Like him, I try to suspend memory, desire, and understanding, so that my "speaking" is simultaneously a "learning." In short, I come to each post completely unprepared for what follows.
That is, I am hardly any kind of scholar, conveying to you some information I have stored away in my melon. Rather, I am discovering as I speak. Only after I'm done, do I reread it as if it were written by someone else, and try to appreciate it from a different angle. Bear this analogy in mind in what follows.
For John, "Creation is God coming to know himself in speaking himself." Admittedly, "it may seem strange to say that God does not know himself until he creates himself," but John means this in a very precise way.
That is, to know something means first of all to place a boundary between what something is and is not. For example, to even see this coffee cup in front of me, I have to exclude everything surrounding it. Any object -- or object of knowledge -- "is inherently circumscribable or limited." It must have boundaries, or we can't think about it. And often, thinking imposes boundaries that aren't even really there, which engenders all kinds of mischief, but that's a subject for a different post about what liberals do with the Constitution.
Now, I think we can all agree that God as such certainly contains no limits, which is again why we must use the paradoxical dialectic of cataphatic/apophatic (or positive/negative) language to describe him.
Yes, God is limited in a sense by his own nature, but his nature includes limitlessness -- i.e., he is infinite and eternal. Thus, when God "speaks," he is also intrinsically limiting himself, which is none other than creation. At the same time, creation is God's self-knowledge, again, because knowledge is only possible by imposing limits and boundaries.
The easiest way to understand this is again through analogy. Being that we are in the image of God, there must be something similar that occurs with us. I'll take the example that is most readily at hand, the low-hanging fruitcake of the B'ob. You could say that the arkive is my "creation." No single post exhausts the arkive, and the arkive in its totality does not exhaust me. And yet, both a single post and the whole arkive are not just "symbols" of me. Rather, I try to make it so that they are of my very substance. Scratch one of these posts and they bleed real blood, type O. You could even say that they are little "fractals of Bob," simultaneously me and not-me.
And this again goes back to what I was saying about suspending memory, desire, and understanding, which amounts to "speaking from O." This may be too much information, but I'm not just "sharing knowledge," but my very substance. In turn, this allows us to understand what is otherwise a rather shocking -- not to mention tasteless -- statement of Jesus: "take, eat; this is my body."
In other words, "don't just know me. Comsume me," with all this implies: chew, swallow, digest, metabolize, assimilate. You are what you eat, especially psychically and spiritually (eat pp. 233-235 of the Wholly Coonifesto).
In other words, you might say that our task is to "reverse imagineer" the incarnation, or the process by which God "knows" himself through his Word.
Now, all of creation is summarized in the Word, or second person of the Trinity. He is the "lens" through which all of the Father's energies are focused, so to speak. (I'm not trying to be theologically correct here, so just stay with me. You can always spit it out later.) I believe the disciples who witnessed the transfiguration were seeing the blinding unveiling of this uncreated light-energy. Note that Jesus is Alpha and Omega, meaning that he is both Word and Understanding, speech and comprehension: "Christ who understands all things is the understanding of all things" (JSE).
Here is how the Scot expresses it: "The universal goal of the entire creation is the Word of God," culminating in the God-man. "Thus, both the beginning and end of the world subsist in God's Word, indeed, to speak more plainly, they are the Word itself, for it is the manifold end without end and the beginning without beginning, being without beginning save for the Father." His Word is his Wisdom, and his Wisdom is his co-eternal Word, "the center in which the primordial causes find their unity" (McGinn).
Thus, the Word is God's endless soph-knowledge. Eat it and shed those flabby pounds from your bloated and bunk food addicted ego.