Now Presenting, God!
Better start with something that came out toward the end of yesterday's post, that
"ideas are active, in that an idea about reality brings about the reality the idea is about. This is similar to how God works: he 'speaks' his ideas into creation, whereas it is down to us to hear [and thus 'here'] them. Remove the ideas, and there is no there to be perceived. There is raw sense perception, and that is all. But raw sense perception doesn't disclose reality. Rather, limited to our senses, real reality would be foreclosed."
Now, this sounds suspiciously like the popular new age perversion of quantum physics, such that we literally "create reality" via perception. That is not what we are saying. Rather, the reality is implicitly there. We cannot create it, only bring it to the surface, so to speak: "What we are concerned with here is the emergence of organization rather than its imposition" (Bortoft).
He continues: "The 'organizing' of the organizing idea is an act of distinguishing which is simultaneously an act of relating." These are not two different acts, but two sides of the one act of "here-ing" something. Thus, "the primary act of distinguishing does not point out something which is already 'there.' It 'theres' it!"
Or, you could say the idea presences itself in our act of distinguishing it. For example, I'm looking at a chair in the back yard. Now, the idea of a chair is unitary, and yet, it may take on an infinite number of specific forms. How do I know it's a chair at all? I didn't consciously think about it, and yet, there it is. A chair has come to be.
Think of a dog, who has no idea of a chair. For it, the chair might be a meaningless obstacle on the way to that nice peeing spot, if it is seen at all. Conversely, the dog perceives many things we don't, but are these ideas? If so, they are quite narrow in scope and limited in number.
To here something is to idea-ate it, so to speak. This process of instantiation quintessentially involves placing boundaries around something. Or in other words, to idea-ate is to bound or contain. Without the boundaries, the something will be nothing (or at least perceived as such). This is a point Judaism has always emphasized, i.e., the importance of fundamental (God-given) distinctions such as sacred/profane, male/female, creator/created, man/beast, etc.
Think of the chaos that ensues if we forget or ignore these boundaries. For example, ignoring the male/female distinction leads to the possibility of "homosexual marriage." But that is no longer marriage, since one has effaced its terms. Rather, it is a regressive descent back to the primordial chaos and darkness.
Likewise, atheism hardly elevates man into the light. Rather, it again blurs the distinction between light and dark and reverts to relativistic chaos -- moral, intellectual, and aesthetic. Eliminate the gulf between man and beast and we end up with PETA fanatics who (literally!) equate Corporal Hitler with Colonel Sanders. After all, they both targeted specific populations for death.
So, it's not a question of whether or not chairs exist. I see a book, whereas an aborigine would see just a bunch of random squiggles.
Which leads to the question of how we perceive God. Now first of all, God, by definition, cannot be an object of perception. Rather, he would be the principle that allows objects to be perceived -- bounded and presenced -- to begin with. You might say that he is the principle of distinguishing and presencing, which is none other than creativity.
I can't recommend this book on Genesis, although the author does make some helpful points. For example, we could reduce the bottom-line point of Genesis 1 to Creator-Creates-Creation. These three are distinct, and yet, always one, or part of a single eternal movement. And since we are in the image of this movement, we do (and are) the same thing.
I mean, in my own little way, I am doing it now. I, the Creator, am Creating something, but I have no idea what it's going to be until it presences itself. Then, like God, I stand back and determine whether or not I can pronounce it Good.
At this point I really don't know. Could be a lot of deepaking the chopra. If I'm honest, something in me is saying that I need to tie this together on a higher plane. In other words, the post is not yet fully half-baked. When it is, the same little voice tells me to stop, usually quite abruptly.
For the Christian, Jesus is the presencing of God. John, of course, makes this quite plain. Looked at one way, Jesus is just a man, like any other. As John says, some people saw him in the flesh but didn't perceive the divinity. They did not presence God.
Note that God "presented himself," but this wasn't sufficient. Rather, each man must do his part to render God present. You might even say that we each must incarnate the divinity. I mean, if we don't, who will?
Note that in God, there are distinctions but no divisions. This is another way of saying that God is relationship, such that living in relationship is living in a state of distinction-unity, with neither being prior to the other.
Now, if Jesus is who he says he is, then he is one with mankind. And yet, he is distinct from mankind, since he is God and we aren't. But by relating to him, we presence his divinity. The word becomes flesh -- in us.
"Just as creation, for Eckhart, is a continuous and eternal process, so too the Word taking on flesh is not a past event we look back to in order to attain salvation, but rather an ever-present hominification of God and deification of humanity and the universe -- an incarnatio continua" (Bernard McGinn).
Every time a form is generated and comes to perfection in the natural world, and even the artificial world of human creativity, we can catch a glimpse of the glory of the Only-Begotten of the Father taking on flesh (ibid.).
"Okay, you can stop now."