I Am the True Wine
Rather, he means what Schuon means by the term, which is to say, a "mirror of the supra-sensible and itself a supernatural ray of light."
The intellect is both the mirror and the light it reflects, and simply cannot be a purely natural phenomenon. It is not God, but then again it isn't not-God, since it is a Divine Spark -- similar to how daylight on earth isn't the sun, and yet, it isn't not the sun. Rather, it's nothing other than the sun, only radiated and dispersed to the cosmic periphery.
Let's face it, without the intellect, we couldn't even know about the existence of God, so it all has to start there in some form or fashion, no matter how watered down or distorted. It is what reduces the mayaplicity of the world to unity, whether scientific or religious:
"The Intellect ‘is divine,’ first because it is a knower -- or because it is not a non-knower -- and secondly because it reduces all phenomena to their Principle; because it sees the Cause in every effect, and thus surmounts, at a certain level, the vertiginous and devouring multiplicity of the phenomenal world" (ibid.).
The intellect is the key to metaphysical understanding and certitude: our reason "perceives the general and proceeds by logical operations, whilst Intellect perceives the principial -- the metaphysical -- and proceeds by intuition. Intellection is concrete in relation to rational abstractions, and abstract in relation to the divine Concreteness" (ibid.).
When we talk about the Incarnation of the Word, I think this is more the Word we're talking about, i.e., Intellect vs. mere reason, the latter being a small subset of the former. Thus, Christ is the "cosmic intellect," not just some bubbleheaded Einstein writ large.
McGinn: "the essence of all Eckhart's preaching can be reduced to understanding that the intellect" is "something that has no existence apart from its inherence in the Word..."
Only like can know like; which is why "I say to you in everlasting truth that if you are unlike this Truth of which we want to speak, you cannot understand me" (Eckart). Again: the intellect can only know God because it is already of God, knowing following in the tracks of being.
The intellect, you could say, is timeless. The will, however, is intrinsically temporal, in that it "takes time" to do anything, whereas understanding occurs in a flash. Intellect and will are truth and way, respectively, and "there is no Truth that does not have its prolongation in the Way," just as "there is no intelligence that does not have its prolongation in the will..." (Schuon).
Jesus being the perfect concordance of the two -- Truth and Way, intelligence and will -- his Truth is his Way, and vice versa. Indeed, he even says so: "I am the way, the truth, and the life," not to mention, "I am the light of the world." And while we're at it, we might as well throw in the true vine, i.e., the one with its roots aloft and wine down below.
About the Way to this realization, "every human being must, out of love of God, strive to 'be what he is'" and "to disengage himself from the artificial superstructures that disfigure him..." (Schuon). As they say, no one is obligated to participate in the infrahuman pathologies of the world, at least if your wood beleaf.
Rather, our task is "to become once again a tree whose root is made of liberating certitude and whose crown is made of beatific serenity" (ibid.).
It could also be said: we face the supra-personal Divinity as pure Intellect; the personal God we face as a human being; and the God-man... we face as a child. Now while on the one hand these three relationships are separate, on the other hand they cannot be exclusively distinct. --Schuon