Monday 22 June 2015

What is Creation about?

For mainstream Christian theologians, the primary act of creation is making the stuff of everything; for Mormons it is perhaps the shaping of pre-existent stuff- the making of form.

But perhaps God's primary purpose was neither of these - but to bring the stuff of existence into a relation - each with every other. Because, naturally, there is no coherence - only chaos.


Before form could even be possible, first everything needed to be brought into relation. However, relation is something that happens between entities - so the implication is that entities were already present.

Entities were already there - in other words, life is eternal and universal (but very various!). Life is not the problem - the problem is to bring the multiplicity of lives into relation.


That was done through Love. The reason that Christians say God is Love refers to this primary act: God brought everything into relationship, by Love.

We can think of this primordial Love as a light emanating from God and bathing the universe in luminosity - everything is inside God's Love; or, Love could be a sea, and everything immersed in this sea.


So the first phase of creation was to make the universe 'one' - not in identity, but one group (or family) as a network of relations: a network of loving relations. 

The second phase was to enable primordial Men to become divine, and share in God's love: this is a transition from being spontaneously bathed-in love, to each man becoming a self-conscious entity and then choosing to love (choosing to participate in God's network of loving relations).

So, the secondary act of creation is in relation to Man; and the enabling of each man's self-consciousness: so that we step-back-from the first state of unselfconscious immersion - become aware of ourselves as free agents capable for choice - and then decide whether or not to participate in the network of relations.

[This participation including the matter of making more (self-conscious) Men, who will then be confronted by the same choice.]


The choice is threefold:

1. To enter into the fullest relationship with God by becoming a fully self-conscious divine person and choosing to love God-as-a-person;

2. To return to primordial and unselfconscious immersion-in love, ceasing to be a person (e.g. the Eastern religious goal of Nirvanah, impersonal non-self);

3. To oppose God's unification of the universe through love, by explicitly and actively rejecting God - denying the desirability of a network of loving relations as the basis of reality: to assert one's autonomy from this web of love.


Note, for simplification, I have left-out explicit reference to the role of Jesus Christ - which relates to the process of self-consciousness - both in Man and in each man. I also left-out consideration of a distinction of God between Heavenly Father and Mother in Heaven.


Adam G. said...

I think I could quibble about some of the details and the implications here, but the big picture you paint has the feel of holiness to me.

ted said...

Pretty summarizes the first two commandments well. Bruce, I wonder if there is a way to combine options 1 & 2? The Buddhists have evolved the self-liberation of the self to Nirvana (Theravada) to the Bodhisattva principle (Mayahana) where the individual is to take that liberation to the world. I know some progressive spiritual communities (maybe New Age/New Thought) have explored this to varying degrees, where the liberated self is not impersonal, but a Higher Self that still has a relationship to a Divine Spirit. I know there is still some abstraction here where God may not be seen as Person, but at least it doesn't fall into pantheism.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Adam - Thanks - you have emboldened me to post it on Junior Ganymede.

@ted - I don't think they can be combined - but they could be alternated; I think Nirvanah can probably serve as a temporary phase (rest and recuperation) before, or perhaps during, active personal participation in God's plan.

Andrew said...

After taking some classes in physics, I came to understand an aspect of the nature of God as the ultimate anti-entropy being.

They (that is, the Elohim), upon the spirit substratum of the universe, from chaos have organized/are organizing/will organize the intelligences and tangible matter to the end that they are eternally, non- or anti- entropically bound to Them and each other. They are bound through the relationship called agape - a love that tends toward order, obedience to divine law, mutual growth, and expansiveness.