Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"The Wounded God"

popped into my head this morning. Let's try to find out what why.

In the essay by Schuon cited yesterday, he defines Homo sapiens as the "being endowed with deiformity." As such, we are (at least in potential) a "total being" where all others are partial. We are capable of the imitation of Christ, as the old gag goes.

This being the case, the norms for humanness aren't given in the same way as for pigs, dogs, cows, and the rest of the animal kingdom. Their standards are "built in" and arrived at automatically.

As we've said before, no pig fails to become one (indeed, metaphysical evolutionists are helpless to explain why those damn fruit flies stubbornly continue to be fruit flies no matter how many thousands of generations in the laboratory). I suppose you could say that their telos is nonlocal but horizontal.

But man's archetype is nonlocal and vertical: it is for us to conform "to celestial norms," in a movement which in turn defines the "motion towards God" (ibid.).

As we've expressed it before, man is an eros shot directly into the heart of Celestial Central. In any event, "One cannot have homo sapiens without homo religiosus; there is no man without God" (ibid.).

Man qua man is in dialectic with the Divine Object, O (and with "human animality" below, if he chooses that route 666). And within this dialectic "the oneness of the object demands the totality of the subject" (ibid.), i.e., intellect, heart, and will.

Now, what this has to do with the Wound, I have no idea. Yet.

Let's stipulate that man is in dialectic with God. Nevertheless, man and God -- obviously -- are not equivalent terms. Rather, there is a senior partner who generates the whole isness. Thus we confront the orthoparadox that man "can only be himself through God" but "can never be God" (Balthasar). D'oh!

One reason why this is an orthoparadox is that we are called upon to (literally) do the impossible, precisely. I say "literally," for if we actually succeeded in "becoming God," this would be a kind of ultimate failure, since it would be delusional hubris. Nevertheless, we must try.

It very much reminds me of philosophy. The philo-sopher is a seeker of truth and lover of wisdom. The relationship is one of lover and beloved. The moment the relationship becomes one of possession, it's no longer philosophy. Usually it becomes some form of idolatry, whether, scientistic, religious, or religulous atheism.

So, theo-sophy would be a good name for the innerprize if it weren't tainted by other associations.

"No, I am not God; Yes, I need God as my beginning and my end" (Balthasar). But how are we supposed to imitate something or someone who is completely transcendent, immaterial, and unknowable?

"There was only one way out of this impasse, namely, that infinite, eternal Being should utter its own self in the form of a relative being" (ibid.).

So, man's "imitation of God" is predicated upon God's "imitation of man," so to speak.

Could this be where the wound gets in?

Yes, and in a variety of ways. For example, "anyone who encounters Christ is impelled either to worship him or to pick up stones with which to stone him" (ibid.). One way or another, somebody's gonna get hurt.

Indeed, at the ultimate extreme, "Christ's suffering, his God-forsakenness, his death and descent into hell is the revelation of a divine mystery, the language which God has chosen in order to render himself and his love intelligible to us" (ibid.).

Excuse me, but this is not the God I was expecting.

To be continued...

16 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

indeed, metaphysical evolutionists are helpless to explain why those damn fruit flies stubbornly continue to be fruit flies no matter how many thousands of generations in the laboratory

Ha! Much less evolving into a new class of creature: a bony insect with gills, perhaps, or maybe a warm-blooded flying jellybug...

3/29/2016 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Excuse me, but this is not the God I was expecting.

I'm suddenly reminded of all the worshipful imagery the media projected on Obama back in '08. The halos, the careful framing, the leg tingles and cries that he was a "lightbringer." Imagine, for a moment (if your stomach will permit) that all of those representations had been true; that in fact he was some worldly emanation of god, here to save us and bring heaven to earth. Not only would he not have been a wounded God, he would have been entirely untouchable, for the simple reason that he never descends to the level of Average Man. Can you imagine an Obama making a personal sacrifice for literally anyone else, much less everyone?

3/29/2016 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Reminds me of what Obama said yesterday about Trump. As always, when a liberal accuses someone else, he's always talking about himself:

"A job well done is about more than just handing someone a microphone. It is to probe and to question, and to dig deeper, and to demand more. The electorate would be better served if that happened. It would be better served if billions of dollars in free media came with serious accountability, especially when politicians issue unworkable plans or make promises they can’t keep. And there are reporters here who know they can’t keep them. I know that’s a shocking concept that politicians would do that. But without a press that asks tough questions, voters take them at their word. When people put their faith in someone who can’t possibly deliver on his or her promises, that only breeds more cynicism."

3/29/2016 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

He must be chronically suffocating from the fumes of his own smugness.

3/29/2016 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Pot meet kettle.

3/29/2016 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

His lack of self-awareness is awesome. It's his strongest feature.

3/29/2016 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger swiftone said...

The wounded God. I recall a lecturer stating that he was interrupted by a man who stood and said, " you are a heretic. God is not wounded." The man raised in the Muslim faith could not except the idea of a wounded God. It is a radical idea that God carries a wound, almost self contradictory. Yet our faith in such a God is based on evidence of a resurrection. Perhaps this is outside human logic. But a God who loves us, knows us, is wounded for us is our experience, even if it's heretical.

3/29/2016 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

This is a great post.

Usually it becomes some form of idolatry, whether, scientistic, religious, or religulous atheism.

True. I used to think I had all the answers in religion, but I found that we were too much like that crowd in Ephesus that kept yelling, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians". The only god you can explain is a dead one.

3/29/2016 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Allena said...

Yes, and in a variety of ways. For example, "anyone who encounters Christ is impelled either to worship him or to pick up stones with which to stone him" (ibid.). One way or another, somebody's gonna get hurt.

Indeed, at the ultimate extreme, "Christ's suffering, his God-forsakenness, his death and descent into hell is the revelation of a divine mystery, the language which God has chosen in order to render himself and his love intelligible to us"

Amen to that!

3/29/2016 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Roy Lofquist said...

Perhaps off topic, but you mentioned traveling Route 666. I have. A number of times.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_491 (nee 666)

The significance of 666, of course, is that it appears in Revelations as the "number of the beast". I have seen a number of analyses and speculations as to how the number was determined, most of them involving numerology (the substitution of numbers for letters) of contemporary Romans. However, something just jumped out at me a number of years ago - 666 is not "the number of the beast" but rather "the numberS of the beast". The numbers of the Romans. DCLXVI = 666. I have mentioned this a few times in various fora but have never received a response.

Thoughts?

3/29/2016 08:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Maybe it's because if you say it fast it sounds like sick-sick-sick-sick-sick.

3/30/2016 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Actually, it's possible there may be something to that; at least, according to Google there are a number of theories about the meaning of the Roman numerals that we translate as 666.

I haven't done any serious study of Revelation, so can't speak to whether the writer was referring to any particular Romans. However, in Mark it seems part of the story about Jesus casting the "unclean spirits" named Legion into the pigs was not only an exorcism, it was pretty explicitly a bit of political commentary about Roman soldiers (legions) as well. From my study guide:

"...it should not be passed over that the name of these unclean spirits, "Legion," is the name of a unit in the Roman army. Surely a Jewish audience would have been amused by this piece of with at their enemy's expense. Even more, they would have found it a joke that these Roman demons ask to be placed in a herd of pigs. The final act of this rhetorical comedy is the scene of the pigs rushing headlong into the sea.

The serious side of this story is the pointed suggestion that those who were currently occupying Palestine and meddling with the Temple belong to the devil. At the time Mark's gospel was written down (probably the year 70), it would not have been safe or prudent for anyone to have said such a thing directly. But here and elsewhere, as we shall see, Mark insinuates his view of Rome."

Point being, the authors of the New Testament were not above making political statements and observations about the state of the world in which they found themselves, or about the direction things were heading during their lifetimes. In which case, it's certainly possible that the number of the beast had a particular political meaning at the time it was written.

Or not. Revelation is pretty much above my pray grade.

3/30/2016 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

*should be, "...piece of wit..."

3/30/2016 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger swiftone said...

Julie, I love the subtext from the Gospel of Mark.

3/30/2016 09:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once you learn about how evolution actually works--the various mechanisms, and what a species actually is, you recognize the straw man arguments against it. There are well over 1000 species of fruit flies already. Geneticists study them as their DNA is remarkably similar to human DNA and their life cycles are so short.
Speciation has to do with breeding exclusivity (sort of the way I am with trannies).
The impact on human activity is the most fascinating part of things gene in my opinion--races are real and wildly different; Jews are smart (and develop odd diseases) because of selective breeding and jobs requiring numeracy (see Cochran and Harpending); Northern Europe developed first because of genes and culture feeding back over 1000 years (Gregory Clark); the Middle East is a cousin-inbreeding swampland.
The idea that man is everywhere and every time the same is quite flawed, and the evidence is now quite overwhelming-evolution (genes) has its roots in all manifestations of life, from fruit flies eating your apples, to black crime in Baltimore.

At one time, Bob seemed on his way to synthesizing these branches of learning.

4/01/2016 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Man qua man is in dialectic with the Divine Object, O (and with "human animality" below, if he chooses that route 666)..." Another way of looking at 666, is at what it doesn't add up to, from the beginning. Genesis tells us that what God did for 6 days, was incomplete without the 7th day of slack. As reading scripture involves reading it on multiple levels, interpreting it through the three levels of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but coming up one short on each, would leave you with the monstrous Vital Man, horribly incomplete, cubed.

4/03/2016 01:32:00 PM  

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