Tuesday 3 September 2019

The purpose of creation is everlasting creating (William Arkle)

Edited from The Resolution of Grief, an essay published in The Great Gift (1977) by William Arkle:

From what I understand, the motivation for the whole of creation is that out of it should come a number of individuals who have chosen their own unique path to individuality and therefore become true unique individuals.

The Creator longed for many of these true individuals to choose to realise 'Himself' and 'Herself' as a father and mother and as a friend; should choose to relate to this Creator as a friend, not so much as a God, but more as a friend.

The more we grow in our understanding of our own reality and 'the gift', and the attitude behind the gift, from the Creator's position, the more we shall become able to take up this position of divine friendship with our Creator as well as with one another.

We shall be able to take up this position of divine friendship because, in our desire to read the heart of the Creator, we shall become more and more certain that it is the deepest thing that the Creator longs for. 

And with any friend this is the only motive we have - it is to read the deepest level of their Being and help to fulfil for them the deepest longings in their Being. This is what friends long to do for one another. It is a very creative activity, and out of it comes an endless series of creative attitudes and creative activities.

Notes from BGC:

This is apparently a very different understanding of God's motivation than most religious people have held throughout history. This is the insight that God wants that there be more gods with whom he can can live in loving and creative 'friendship'.

(Although friendship as commonly used is too weak a word - a model for this friendship is an ideal and eternal version of the love between grown-up children and their parents; this extended family working together - and with other families - on all the tasks and joys of living.)

This is a personal motivation of God; and God is therefore envisaged as a person - indeed as two  persons: the primal Father and Mother.

This entails that at the very bottom of reality, at the most fundamental level; reality consists of Beings; and the most important thing about the Beings is their relationships - specifically their love. And the most important thing that these loving Beings do is creating.

So 'the creation' is actually an 'ing' not an 'ion' - creation wasn't done, it is doing; and the hope of God is that we will choose to become - like our Heavenly parents - engaged in that doing.

This raises the point of 'true individuals', and that they cannot be 'made' but at most 'encouraged' and 'educated'. This world is made as a place where people can each have the experiences they most need to learn from (if they so choose), to learn and grow towards fuller godhood.

The need of creation is for individuals who are capable of love and have chosen love; and who are also capable of true creation - which is (to be valuable) something to which each individual brings something unique...

We create from our uniqueness. Being an individual is an essential part of the plan; in other words, God has as many plans as individuals - and each plan is a collaboration.

Therefore, the nature of this world is such as to encourage each of us to develop that creative uniqueness - within a context of love.


Lucinda said...

I’m really grateful for your posts on Arkle. I was able to read some of GoC at your other blog. It gives expanding insight about how to perceive God and His doings in my life. I liked this quote: “The compression and pain breeds a simple love that does not feed on pleasure, even Divine pleasure. It feeds on a ‘craggy’ determination, often beyond the hope of any reward in the form of happiness or joy, to improve the lot of those it loves. To my understanding this creates a love between persons... which teaches them something about the nature of the heart of love which is not learned in the experience of liberated divine bliss or devotion to ‘perfection’ as we understand it. The highest teachings we have ever received on earth seem to me to say, ‘do not take any notice of miracles and powers, God can make these happen at any time. Seek to understand the nature of the love that brought you forth. This is not interested in power or glory, or even perfect behaviour, but has something to do with the response that only you can make because there is none other like you.’"

It’s very *encouraging* for sure.

Bruce Charlton said...

@L - Yes, indeed. I think Arkle takes seriously that since God is creator, this world as-it-is must reflect what he wants - and since God loves us, this world must be best for us specifically, individually (overall and ultimately). This allows us to 'reverse engineer' (to a significant, but not complete, extent) what God wants from us (specifically), from what he has provided for us.

Francis Berger said...

These are great insights from Arkle. Some of it overlaps with Berdyaev's concepts of the God-Man and the relationship between God and the God-Man, but I find Arkle's explanations and descriptions of this dynamic in this excerpt far more approachable and inspirational (the same applies to the notes you have added).

Now excuse me while I go read "The Resolution of Grief" on your William Arkle blog.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Francis - You can still get secondhand copies of The Great Gift, including this and several other marvellous essays, at a very reasonable price from Amazon and the like.

David Smith said...

Entirely consistent with Thomas Troward's "Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning" from a century ago.

Enough Smart People keep saying the same thing...there might be something to it!

David Smith said...

@Francis - I got a copy for my daughter in Canada from Abebooks.co.uk - they still have lots of copies starting at about 8 pounds:

Francis Berger said...

@Bruce @ David Smith - Thanks for the information, gentlemen. I shall treat myself to an early Christmas gift.

TheDoctorofOdoIsland said...

I've wondered from time to time how you feel about Arkle's relative optimism about the cosmos, where a Satan or source of elemental evil does not play a large role, versus your own writings where the world's systematic corruption by demonic forces is a prominent theme.
- Carter Craft

Bruce Charlton said...

@Carter. I think Arkle did not dwell-on the subject of purposive evil; he did acknowledge its reality, but considered it to be rare.

I think this was effective for him because he realised that Heaven was not wanted by many people. He was very "tough" about people who chose other purposes, in the sense that he assumed they would get what they wanted (subjectively)- Nirvana, unconsciousness...

But I never saw anything like hell mentioned by Arkle as a choice, nor conspiracies of evil. Nor demons, although he regarded Angels as often misguided due to ignorance.

I don't think he would shirk such realities, but would regard them as simply one of many, many challenges to the individual soul, which would impinge on each person to the extent that there were important lessons to be learned.

In the end, this is an incompleteness of Arkle, from my perspective. One could work out an answer within his System, but I take the Mormon understanding as more correct, rather than Arkle's scheme of e.g. reincarnation and angels as a separate creation.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Carter - Another way I think about this is that (from talking with Arkle's son) I think Arkle would have acknowledged that purposive evil 'combinations' may well be operating, but our task is primarily to live in our world. We may be able to understand what is happening to us, our family, a circle of those we love; but we cannot realistically expect to understand what is happening to remote strangers and on a large scale.

God works primarily on a person by person basis - and what I need to do in my life may not have wider applicability - what has general applicability may be of little significance for my life.

For me - it has been a feature of my working life that the value (truth beauty goodness) of the work situation (schools, academia, medicine, psychiatry, science, Church of England etc) has been purposively and systematically destroyed over a period of decades - by the same thing: bureaucratic totalitarianism. I needed to understand how this had happened.

Therefore, I personally needed to grapple with the systemic aspects of evil (Ahrimanic evil, as Steiner dubbed it). Due to his nature, work, age and era; these were not personal realities for Arkle.