I often seem to be in a more mystical mood on Fridays. Oh well. That's your problem. Unless you stop reading.
Those cryptic symbols at the end of yesterday's post are intended to evoke several fundamental limits of thought -- or perhaps "limitless limits" -- including Beyond-Being, Absolute, Infinite (or All-Possibility), Trinity, and Incarnation (which may also be seen as the Last Word in the creative Godhead's Exitus-Reditus, or eternal respiralation).
Among these, the only one that is totally beyond our natural capacity to know is Trinity. It seems that no amount of thinking could ineluctably arrive at this, and yet, once known, it is perfectly compatible with the rest. In my opinion.
This is not to say that there are two, or three, or four ultimates. Obviously, that would constitute something that Cannot Be. However, who's to say things up there can't be a bit more complicated than we assume? In fact, the Trinity itself implies as much.
For example, for St.Maximus,
the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is never an isolated theme within the context of his theology. It is precisely a dimension in it with repercussions and consequences all over the field (Thunberg).
A dimension with repercussions and consequences in a larger context. Exactly.
One of the obstacles to envisioning this is the Greek idea of God's absolute immobility. Thank you, Greeks, but no thanks, for while immobility is important, it must be complemented by a kind of mobility (AKA change, gasp!), not as privation but perfection.
This is just my opinion again, but I think the revelation of the Trinity is partly intended to help us wrap our minds around the idea that there is indeed a kind of "perfect change" within the Godhead; moreover, a kind of relativity, or indeed, what's the point? If a dynamic and relational Trinity is identical to an immobile monad, then big whoop.
I know we've been down this path before, but this time it will be different. It has to be, because this isn't some kind of axiomatic or deductive walk down from O, rather, an inductive and improvisational walk up from this side of manifestation -- not Can I learn metaphysics from you?, more like Can I buy some pot from you? Big difference. The fried day difference.
In any event, "God is not immobile in the sense that He cannot move." Rather, it is "possible to conceive of divine motion in terms of a free and creative activity," including "an expression of His condescension toward humankind, as already manifested in His creation and His subsequent acts of salvation" (ibid.).
Maximus maintains the general presupposition that God is essentially immobile, but he does not agree that this implies that motion in God is only a concession to a fall that has taken place in revolt against him.
In short, Maximus -- and eastern Christianity more generally -- emphasizes the Incarnation as pure gift as opposed to merely a response to our naughtiness. In fact, it takes place irrespective of the latter, in order to graciously include us in the Trinitarian party.
This is a most (lower case o) orthodox notion. I'm rereading Garrigou-Lagrange's Three Ages of the Spiritual Life, and it doesn't get more orthodox. Yes, mankind is a rat bastard, and we mustn't kid ourselves about that. Nevertheless,
our interior life descends to us from on high, [and] can reascend even to God and lead us to a very close union with Him.
Again, pure gratuitous gift, not just cure or response to sinfulness.
The result is a "growth of our supernatural organism." Sure, we inevitably fail to measure up, but God always builds back better: "Few men suspect what God would make of them if they placed no obstacle to His work" (St. Ignatius). So get out of His Way!
"Just because there are stunted oaks, it does not follow that the oak is not a tall tree" (Garrigou-Lagrange). Likewise, just because so many men are closed and stunted jokes, it doesn't mean that man cannot embark upin an open relation with the Divine Life. If creation is a kind of ex-spiralation, then the indwelling of the Holy Spirit facilitates the up- and inspiraling return: it is
not a repetition but a way of drawing near to circular contemplation..., which, like the flight of a bird, describes several times the same circle around the same point. This center, like the apex of a pyramid, is in its way a symbol of the single instant of immobile eternity...
Back to Maximus, there is
a movement, divine in nature, which is not a decline or fall, but represents, on the contrary, a kind of perfection. God himself is mobile. He moves toward "multiplicity," thereby perfecting, or fulfilling, His nature....He expresses through that movement His own mode of perfection (Thunberg).
The "inner Trinitarian movement... marks the perfection of a living circle, the dynamics of a divine Being who makes Himself personal" (ibid.).
We are personally invited to participate in the mystery of Big Spiral, of "man's perfection in deification" and through man "the fulfillment of the destiny of the whole cosmos."
If there's something better than that, then God is keeping it to himselves.