Sunday, March 19, 2023

Divine Relative and Absolute Relativism

The first and most consequential line is that between Absolute and Relative. We capitalize the latter in order to distinguish it from its prolongation herebelow, or in other words, to situate it solidly within Divinity itself, or within Celestial Central.

Why does this matter?   

Mainly because any other metaphysical conceptualization of the total Universe -- the Universe of which this universe is a more or less distant reflection -- annoys me to no end. I simply cannot pretend that illogic is logical or inconsistency is consistent, nor do I appreciate being told it is a Mystery -- whether a religious or scientistic one -- just when things start to get interesting. 

The very existence of the Intellect implies a right to know. And a responsibility to know it. 

Know what?


Don't be an ass. No one can know everything, not even me.

Yes, but even you can know that in knowing this, you have touched the Absolute Mystery, and transcended the little annoying ones they try to throw in our path to mollify our curiosity. Of course Ultimate Reality is a Mystery -- an infinitely intelligible one. 

Now, what do you call a Mystery that never stops pouring out clues to itself?

Beats me. I don't think there is a name.

I do. I think it's called the Trinity, for who is the Father but the eternal self-giving self-revelation to the eternally receptive Son? True, it is a Mystery: the Mystery of the Eternal Radiance of Truth, Love, and Beauty from one Person to another and back. In this eternal spiral is the gorounding of Big Relativity. 

Not only is the Godhead Relative, there can be none more relative. All others are number four or higher.

With this in mind, let us return to Schuon's essay on the Prerogatives of the Human State, and reframe what he says in light of what we just threw out there above.

Human intelligence is, virtually and vocationally, certitude of the Absolute.

Again, this is where we begin and must begin. Or end. 

Literally. This is either the first line (i.e., distinction), or there are no lines, and we are thereby plunged into the eternal darkness and primordial slime of Prog World -- the very world from which God rescues us on page 1 of his bestselling mystery thriller, the Bible.

As it so happens, I'm just now reading Dennis Prager's thoroughly exoteric line-by-line exejewsis of Deuteronomy, and although he and I work in different vertical neighborhoods, we agree on the following: that in creating, the Creator's first creation is order itself:

The second verse of [Genesis] describes the world as being chaotic ("null and void"). God then brought [I would say brings] order through separations and distinctions in Genesis and throughout the Torah:

Night and day.

Land and water,

God and man.

God and nature.

Good and evil.

Human and animal.

Man and woman.

Holy and profane.

We have in the past characterized the left as the institutionalization of man's fall, but it is also the denial of every God-given distinction, or in other words, the reassertion of primordial Chaos.

Now, this Chaos is at once absolute relativism, but an inverse and perverse reflection of the Divine Relative, since it is detached from the Absolute pole which would render it meaningful. 

This is precisely how we end up living in a former civilization where it is considered the height of progressive sophistication to not only deny the distinction between man and woman, but to then assault the innocence of children by forcing them to endure Pervert Story Time. 

The deeper point is that relativism (like any other idolatrous ideological -ism) is a systematic denial of the Divine Relative:

The idea of the Absolute implies on the one hand that of the relative and on the other that of the relationships between the two, namely the prefiguration of the relative in the Absolute and the projection of the Absolute in the relative (Schuon).

Here is where I respectfully disagree with Schuon, but this is related to a more general question of Controlling Paradigm, his being Vedanta, mine being Trinitarian. The question is, which system is relative to which? 

Yesterday I mentioned to a reader that I had recently had a Meta-Cosmic brainwave that "perhaps each major religion outside Christianity expresses this or that person of the Trinity." He emailed back that 

I think there is a sense in which the spiritual raison d’être of the Trinity is captured by other faiths, albeit in diverse modes that are particular to their providentially unique perspectives. 
This can only be true, though, if different religions are, in fact, "willed" by God as the Pope has said (notwithstanding all the other difficulties with that man!). 
The question then remains as to whether the metaphysical (and salvific) "function" of the three persons is fully embodied in the Trinity alone, and thus only imperfectly reflected in non-Christian traditions (which, in other respects however, may have their own strengths).

Of course, my brainwave was just that -- a wave and not yet particulate. In order for it to become the latter, I need to write about it and see if it holds water molecules.

Let's start with Prager's commentary on Deuteronomy, since it is literally close at hand, and I am a lazy man. Supposing we start with our Trinitarian brainwave alluded to above, which aspect of it is reflected in Judaism, and how exactly, in that the whole point of Judaism -- like Islam -- is to preserve a radical monotheism seemingly at odds with any such distinctions in God?

This is a rather big subject to throw out at the end of a post. I think we can deal with the challenge, but we'll do so tomorrow.


julie said...

This can only be true, though, if different religions are, in fact, "willed" by God

Willed? Or rather permitted, just as sin and error are permitted? This is one of those issues that is often cause for struggle; when it is obvious how much God is working in someone's life, whether that person is Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Muslim, Buddhist, etc., it becomes very difficult to argue that there is only one correct way to be holy. That doesn't necessarily mean they are all equally valid, however.

Gagdad Bob said...

Not easy to forge a path between indifferentism and triumphalism!