Thursday, 13 August 2015

The purpose and meaning of life in two sentences - unpacked

In a simple phrase we can say that the great longing in the heart of the Creator before creation began was the longing to give birth to individual children who would eventually become His friends in the everlastingness of the Divine Spirit which He himself exists in. The whole of creation is thus His method of bringing this about and it requires Him to give and us to receive the "great gift", which is the reality and conscious understanding of our own individualised Divine Being. 

http://www.billarkle.co.uk/greatgift/text/divinelove.html


In a simple phrase we can say that the great longing in the heart of the Creator 

God has passions, God has wants, these drive the universe of reality


before creation began 

Everything created is affected by God's longing


was the longing to give birth to individual children who would eventually become his friends in the everlastingness of the Divine Spirit which He himself exists in. 

Men and women are those children. God's deepest hope is that eventually some of us choose to 'join Him' at a level and in such a way that we could be described as having a relationship of friendship: that we could 'grow-up' from childhood to adulthood in deity, and take up a relationship with God as we might imagine by extrapolating from the relationship between a parent and a child in the most perfect of loving families. This process of 'divinization', or theosis or spiritual progression is the purpose of life. 


The whole of creation is thus His method of bringing this about 

Created reality is organized around this purpose, that is the meaning of everything


and it requires Him to give and us to receive the "great gift", which is the reality and conscious understanding of our own individualised Divine Being. 

'Individualized Divine Being' - means that the only or best way in which God's purpose may be achieved is because each person has is not only his or her unique human self; but that self is a partially divine being - this is the gift we inherit from our Father. 

It is a gift - it is not something we are forced to accept, understand, believe to be true... indeed we could not be forced to accept the gift in any way that would fulfil its purpose, Everything must happen by choice. 


That we are partially divine beings makes us capable of choice, and that we are partially divine beings means that our Destiny can only be chosen, and can be rejected. That Destiny is one of relationship with God and joining-in with His work and plans - along with others of His children who make that choice to accept the Gift. 

Behind all this is that the created reality exists in Time and an unfolding thing, as a series of experiences and choices - any spiritual progress toward divinity is experiential and incremental. 

The fact of theosis operating by necessary and cumulative human choices, based on our experiences, means that the nature of reality is such that God probably could not make things to be 'already' exactly as He wishes them to be - but that we are living in a reality which is en route to an ideal (and that ideal may itself be a process leading to something ever higher, more complex, more loving, more relational). 

The world never has been perfect; rather reality was and is designed to give the necessary experiences to God's children. Some 'imperfections' are due to the need for these experiences, others are real imperfections/ horrors are due to our own choice to reject - or other people' choices to reject, God's plan - which is for reality to be based on loving relationships.


(The most ideal and loving human family is our best model of God's aim: the most ideal and loving Father is the best model of God's nature and wishes for His children - on the assumption he hopes for these children to grow-up and become as he is. Once we understand this to be the essence of God's longing and the explanation of our condition - we must choose whether to accept or reject it.)



Going further than the above quote, and bringing-in other aspects of Arkle's insights: Since everything depends on choice - Good and evil are defined in terms of acceptance or rejection of God's plan for a reality of loving relationships. This plan can be, and presumably is, rejected - either partly or wholly. 

A person might reject the plan of relationships - and choose to live in solitary, blissful love (something like Nirvanah) - or a person might choose to reject love (this rejection is termed Pride) and either remain in an ultimately-solitary state of love-less-ness; or engage in relationships with those who have also also rejected love (this is termed Hell). 

So we have (another) Two-by-Two matrix of choices: Love, Rejected Love, Relationships, Rejected Relationships 

Love + Relationships = Heaven 

Love + Rejected Relationships = Nirvanah

Rejected Love + Relationships = Hell

Rejected Love + Rejected Relationships = Ultimate solitude


6 comments:

Freddy Martini said...

A little over 10 years ago, I read Harold Bloom’s book, “The American Religion.” He has extensive commentary on Mormons within that book. It began my fascination with the LDS and how unique it was. The main thing I took away was the idea of a more Divine Man and a more Human God. I think the classical Christian view - perhaps Aristotelian - of an Omnipresent, Omniscient, and Omnipotent being causes lots of problems for many people, among them the Problem of Evil. I think the Mormons are on to something in this idea. Furthermore, the Mormon idea is not as Spiritually remote as some more traditional Christian ideas, as it focuses more on the Here and Now with Family and Fertility being a high value, and not merely a remote idea, but something very much expected to thrive in the physical realm.

Bruce Charlton said...

@FM - Well, I agree! I read Bloom's book before studying Mormonism, and while it is riddled with errors and misunderstandings, it gets the general picture just about right - and encouraged me to find out more. Further reflections at

http://theoreticalmormon.blogspot.co.uk/

ted said...

I love how you distilled these metaphysical truths. It actually makes me want to get married now :).

ted said...

One thought that came to me around the notion of more divine Man and a more human God, is that this can get distorted around the utopian impulse that infects the secular left. Many ideological movements were around the idea that we are God, and it is up to us to make change on earth. This is a fine line, where applied love can be justified on many fronts.

Sean Cory said...

When you think about it all there is to work with here is God's plan. The great test is to see how well we can come to understand it and live in conformity with the whole of it. This is an impossible task but it is certainly possible to conform broadly to most of the plan while relying on the atonement of Jesus to cover our failures. People err in getting hung up on some aspect or set of principles and push those to a position of primacy over all others. In other words they take things out of context, give these an unjustified emphasis and usually wind up rejecting or even opposing other aspects of the plan. The whole thing with justification by faith alone or predestination or "sola scriptura" are examples, I think, of taking a part and making it greater than the whole.

The breakdown of love and relationship here is really very good. It especially resolves some puzzlement I had with eastern religion as it was obvious to me that many of the saints from that tradition are truly righteous, good and saintly people but seem to be somehow "incomplete". The answer is they do love but they reject attachment. This explains the so-called "fatalism" found in so much of eastern religion. For them all the problems of mortal life will resolve given enough time. I never did find the idea of spending thousands of lifetimes in pursuit of ultimate (and solitary) bliss all that attractive.

Nathaniel said...

Understanding the Mormon ideas of love's fundamental role, our relationship to our Heavenly Father, and our purpose in becoming more Christ-like and closer to our Father - it appears these ideas exist and have existed in Christianity everywhere. At times they have (unfortunately) become subordinate to other ideas, but fortunately the CJCLDS has enthroned them in their rightful place.