Continuing with our theme of what God is really like when we get to know him (and vice versa), let’s veer back to that essay by Hans Jonas, A Concept of God After Auschwitz.
Again, “Auschwitz" is just a synecdoche for the inconceivable suffering that goes on down here. It can even be a bit misleading, because the mere mathematical fact can obscure the existential fact that 6 million is equal to 1, or rather, that 6,000,000 x ∞ is still ∞, each of the 6,000,000 individuals being infinitely precious.
One of the strangest characteristics of man is that he is a “species” of utterly unique and unrepeatable instances, which would seem to be a contradiction in terms. I, for example, am a human being, but I'm still waiting to meet someone who reminds me of me.
This is a bit of a side point, but the reason for this is our theomorphism. In other words, God is the principle of absolute uniqueness, or Uniqueness as such, and since we are in his image, we participate in this uniqueness.
Moreover, a trinitarian metaphysic implies that our "reflected uniqueness" must be reflected within the Godhead (i.e., as Son to Father). At any rate, you might say we are “relatively unique” whereas only God is absolutely unique.
We human beings are relative to each other, but ultimately to God. It is why the people who detach themselves from the Principle of Uniqueness tend to become such horizontal clones of each other, i.e., statistics, conformists, sheep, lemmings, the swarming anthill of NPCs. There are even Aphorisms for this:
For God there are only individuals.
Inversely, for the left there are only statistics, races, sexual preferences, etc. Or just say Identity Politics.
Only the theocentric vision does not end up reducing man to absolute insignificance.
The two poles are individual and God; the two antagonists are God and man.
As in mankind enclosed in progressive ideology. There is a circularity at work here, in that progressive ideology is indeed a sufficient explanation for the idiot who adopts it: feminism explain feminists, as queer theory explains queers and CRT explains the low IQ racists who are stupid enough to believe it.
Only for God are we irreplaceable.
That is indeed a bold statement, for it is easy enough for any intelligent person with sufficient curiosity to believe in God, but another thing to imagine he cares about us, of all people.
Let’s try to rein Bob in and refocus on the essay. In it, Jonas sketches out his own myth of God and creation. I won’t say it’s as unhinged as my own huge mythunderstanding presented on pp. 6-17 of the bOOk. Still, my meta-myth is a kind of parallel looniverse to his, but let’s start with Jonas's and comment on it as we go along:
In the beginning, for unknowable reasons, the ground of being, or the Divine, chose to give itself over to the chance and risk and endless variety of becoming. And wholly so...
Several things can be said about this: first, that the beginning is always now, as in the vertical principles that uphold the cosmos in every moment (AKA continuous creation). Second, I’m not so sure the reasons are entirely unknowable, in the sense that, What does a Creator do all deity? Hmm. I know: create!
You are correct, sir: creators gonna create. Perhaps we can best understand this with recourse to our own creativity, which is at once inexhaustible and a bit compulsive or addictive, so to speak. Not to attribute these latter to God, but if man can’t help himself from ceaseless creativity, what must God be like? He must toss out universes as readily as we do greeting cards and sitcoms.
Come to think of it… nah, never mind. Two words: Divine Sitcomedy. Unless its a Theodrama, in which case you deicide.
Third, that word “becoming” can be a bit of a snare if we’re not careful. We love Whitehead, but we are not Whiteheadians, i.e., process philosophers in the literal sense.
Rather, while being and becoming are always seen together -- i.e., they are complementary -- becoming must nevertheless be anchored in, or subordinate to, being. If not, then there is no avoiding a descent into the pantheistic absurdity of an “evolving God.”
If we're going to talk about “change” in the Godhead -- and we are -- then we have to proceed very cautiously and respect the metaphysical guardrails. We’re not new age vulgarians.
Back to Jonas’s whale of a myth: in giving itself over to creation and becoming, and
entering into the adventure of space and time, the deity held back nothing of itself: no uncommitted or unimpaired* part remained to direct, correct, and ultimately guarantee the devious working-out of its destiny in creation (*I frankly don't understand his use of that word).
A few comments. First, Jonas comes close here to the Christian concept of divine kenosis, which, in the words of Prof. Wiki, refers to "the 'self-emptying' of Jesus. The word is used in Philippians 2:7: '[Jesus] made himself nothing,’ or '[he] emptied himself.’”
There are more or less extreme versions of this, and I prefer the more extreme -- for example, the idea that this principle of kenosis extends all the way up and in, to the Father’s kenosis in engendering the Son, and the kenosis of Father and Son in breathing forth the Holy Spirit, or something. The point is, there’s a whole lotta kenosis going on up there.
We shall continue tomorrow. As usual, I never know the point at which I am overtaxing the reader. Just because I enjoy emptying my head, it doesn't imply that you should enjoy filling yours with my kenotic verbiage.