The Morning After: The Word is Born, Now What?
In ether worlds, no conception, no birth. But birth obviously isn't the end of it. Or, like all births, it is the end of one mode and the beginning of another; every birth conceals a death, and vice versa. Where there's a wake there's awake.
Also, many things can prevent conception and/or terminate pregnancy, including such permicides as materialism or the various abortofascisms of the left. Such verbicidal techniques either prevent the union of Word and flesh, or assure a celestial abortion once it has taken place. For many people, spiritual conception is a disaster, as it would totally interfere with their preferred manner of living, i.e., their wholly narcissism.
I don't know if this is true, but I read somewhere the other day that Christmas wasn't celebrated for the first 400 years or so of Christianity's existence. One way or another, it grafted itself onto pre-Christian celebrations of the winter solstice, which marks the moment when the world arrests its descent into cosmic darkness, and imperceptibly moves toward the new life of spring.
But this hardly makes the cerebration of this any less Christian. Rather, it simply makes Christianity the most adequate expression of permanent truths that have always been known. As Warren mentioned in a comment the other day,
"Basically, everybody more or less knows this stuff. It's the wisdom and experience of the entire human race speaking here. The only people who claim to deny it are a few little fringe modernist groups (materialists, certain fundie Protestant sects, etc.).
"In fact, this is a big reason why some fundie Protestants view Catholics as 'pagans'. In a way, they're quite correct, because the Catholic tradition includes much wisdom from the pagan world, while trimming away (ideally) the false and/or devilish elements in it. Rejecting the entire pagan worldview, as certain Christians do, is to needlessly throw out a large chunk of the human race's traditional wisdom, thereby making oneself much more clueless than is strictly necessary."
Raccoon omeritus Meister Eckhart agrees with this view, in that "throughout his life, [he] championed the... position that philosophy and theology did not contradict each other and that philosophy was a necessary tool for Christian theology."
I suppose this is one of the ways in which I part company with the mainstream, which, it seems to me, tries to derive metaphysical truth solely from history, whereas I would say that it is the other way around -- that what we call "salvation history" must be the instantiation of certain meta-cosmic principles.
I will grant that a potential danger in the latter approach is the reduction of the personal God of history to a kind of quasi-mathematical deism, but that is not my view at all. Rather, the Creator is a person. But he has principles. And unlike Democrats, his principles are not for sale to the highest bidder.
Here is how Eckhart put it: "What philosophers have written about the nature and properties of things agrees with [the Bible], especially since everything that is true, whether in being or in knowing, in scripture or in nature, proceeds from one source and one root of truth." Philosophy, science, theology and revelation all "teach the same thing, differing only in the way they teach, namely as worthy of belief, as probable and likely, and as truth."
Remember, although Jesus is "Word made flesh," this does not mean that the Word was nowhere to be found in this vale of tears prior to the Incarnation. Rather, I would say (with Augustine) that the Word and wisdom of the Christic principle were (and are) always here, and couldn't not be here; again, where there is truth there is God.
So Eckhart's whole project was guided by a coonviction "about the conformity between reason and revelation, philosophy and theology." The Meistrʘ, who often used paradox to convey truth, expressed it thus: "It does not so much seem to me that God understands because he exists, but rather that he exists because he understands."
Do you see the point? Surely, understanding must be anterior to existence, to such an extent that to understand is to exist (I mean, someone had to have understood all those finely tuned mathematical equations that govern the big bang; surely we can't have been the first). Naked existence itself is neither here nor there. Thus, God is first and foremost "the negation of negation," or perhaps the negation of invincible cosmic stupidity.
I would go so lo as to see that the affirmation of anything is the affirmation of God, and therefore the negation of "nothing," i.e., the absurd affirmation of blind nihilism. Otherwise, there is no ground for any affirmations at all, not even "I am an idiotic troll named anonyorthogonal." For to know that one is an idiot is to at least know a permanent truth, and thus nurture a conception that may eventually come to full term.
All of the above quotes are taken from Bernard McGinn's The Harvest of Mysticism. I'm going to just keep philipping along and see where it leads.
Starting tomorrow I guess. I still want to catch up with my work by the end of the year.....