Monday 19 June 2023

The hope (not mine) of a divine negentropic/ alchemical redemption of this mortal life and world

As I have previous said, from reading the Fourth Gospel as well as the core sense of Christianity, I do not believe that Jesus Christ promised a Second Coming. On the contrary, I believe Jesus fully achieved everything he incarnated to achieve in a cosmological sense - in terms of changing reality; and that since ascension His role is to guide all who ask for His help, by the Holy Ghost. 

But a familiar worldly-Messianic project of redemption of this sinful and suffering mortal life, of Jesus returning to take-up kingship of a New and Purified this-world, seems to have been introduced into Christianity at an early stage - and continues. 

For such redemption to happen, this-world would need to be remade, in such a way that all that is evil and of-sin - including death - would be removed, purified, transformed; and only Good remain. 

This might be envisaged to happen all-at-once at the second coming; but there have always (I think) been some who saw this happening gradually, incrementally, a bit at a time. 

I first understood this in listening to lectures by Stanley Messenger in which he expounded the ideas of Rudolf Steiner. In this explanation, the spilled blood of the crucified Christ entered the substance of the Being that is planet earth; and initiated a process of transformation that could be explained in terms of alchemy and homoeopathy; and would lead eventually to the total redemption of earth and everything the dwells here. In the end (as I understand it) there would be a complete integration of all, into full accord with divine purposes. 

I have also come across what seems to me a variation of this basic idea in Philip K Dick's Exegesis; where he is discussing Jacob Bohme and AN Whitehead. PKD's version is that this reality began as dominated by chaos and continues as entropy. God began creation in this context; and there has since been a process by which creation gradually overtook chaos; in which negentropy incrementally overwhelms entropy... Until either at or by the Second Coming, the process is completed and all that is evil, destructive - all suffering and pain - is transformed into Goodness and Happiness. 

My above summaries are themselves of secondary sources, thus unreliable as to detail - but I offer them as the kind of thing that would need to happen if this mortal world were to be saved, redeemed, made into Heaven on Earth. In other worlds, all that is evil, all destructive change, all death - would need to be transformed into harmony with divine creation. 

And this transformation is regarded as something that will happen. It is not a matter of choice, but of processes acting-irresistibly-upon Beings. Evil and Sin are eliminated by being made good. 

Now - I regard this as both impossible - because evil cannot be made Good; and undesirable to Christians - because salvation must be chosen.  

More fundamentally; I do not believe that this is what will happen! I think it is a mistake to suppose that Jesus said he would make Heaven on earth, or by processes incrementally to transform mortal to immortal life. 

The real situation is much simpler; which is that evil and sin will not because cannot be eliminated in this world and mortal life; which is why we must die and be resurrected to enter the state of only-Goodness: we must be born again.  

Those, and only those, who choose resurrection (and allow/ embrace the necessary transformative changes to themselves) will be added to Heaven, will join Heavenly life - leaving-behind their sins and all evil; and from thence, living only by love. 

This mortal realm with its sins and evil will be left-behind; as a place for those who choose to hold to their sins and evil, and those who choose not to live wholly by love. 

Such must happen; in order that Heaven be possible; and it must happen because eternal Beings must dwell somewhere.

And if Beings do not want to dwell in Heaven, then they will remain in some part or variant of the mixed-world of this-world of mortality - where entropy and creation contend. 


William Wright (WW) said...


You may have this backwards. It is the Good that will remain here (ultimately), and Evil that will be removed to another place (after having the run of the place for a time). There is no need to have to 'make' evil into something it is not in order to believe that this world will be redeemed, and I agree that any arguments that suggest this seem silly. The evil is simply burned away and removed. The Void now de-void its power.

I am sure why it is harder to believe that this creation, and all that is good in it, can be redeemed here rather than having to go to some other place to achieve the desired state of being. In both cases, a removal of Evil is necessary... either from this creation in the first instance, or just from ourselves in order to go to the Good Place in your story. The mechanism is the same (the removal of evil) as are the leaps of faith and the lack of understanding or being able to articulate exactly how it works, but the scope differs. Meaning, you have perhaps imagined a much smaller scope of redemption and the purpose of creation than what is intended?

And I could imagine too large, I suppose, but I don't think your writing is a fair comparison of these views, or recognizes that the same issues that exist in the Earth Redeemed/ Second Coming model also exist in your own view - the can just gets kicked down the road a bit to the Good Place. And new, unique issues also arise in the view that this creation is not redeemable.

Bruce Charlton said...

@WW - It seems to me that it is an ancient, pre-Christian, and essential universal, insight that this mortal life is permeated by death and sin. There are various explanations as to why this is so - but Christians, who believe that the creator is our loving Father, need to understand *why* this is so; and why we Men (and all Beings) inhabit such a condition.

Most attempts at explaining do not explain - they merely kick the can a bit further away. Thus Original Sin just isn't an explanation; since it merely raises the question why a loving creator God made Men that way and put us in this kind of place.

It's a question of a coherent explanation that actually explains and is in accordance with primary intuitions. You may consider it 'backwards' but what I've stated fits very easily with the Fourth Gospel, read quite straightforwardly.

I believe that classical mainstream Christian theology got this fundamentally wrong, by fitting Jesus's straightforward teaching into an alien strait-jacket derived from Greek-Roman philosophy and then making this weird metaphysics a matter of dogma - this being one aspect of the resulting problems.

William Wright (WW) said...

I agree that traditional Christianity explanations kick the can further down the road, and I don't agree with 'them' assuming you and I are talking about the same thing. I am only saying your own explanations kick the can down the road in ways not as dissimilar as you might think, and introduce new problems that are not very easily solved for.

A brief, alternative story as a thought starter (not definitive by any stretch of the imagination):

In the beginning, God called the Creators of this world, and the world itself, "Good", because they were. Men were not created - indeed can't be - and so God did not create anybody 'this way'. Men were brought as a host upon this earth ("Adam" meaning "Many", or Humankind) already having bodies, but fell through their own actions/ choices, becoming servants of Satan. This service was originally viewed by Satan as being an eternal prison since Men could not die and their oaths to Satan were binding. God himself, then, instituted Death among Men as an act of mercy to free them of these oaths (the oaths being left behind with their bodies, perhaps, as we see in other stories), and to give them a new beginning.

But the solution was also the problem (though it was the best solution there was for the catastrophic situation), in that Men who had formally been living in incorruptible bodies better suited for their spirits, now found themselves in temporary/ make-shift bodies made out of great need from the already corrupted matter of this earth, not suitable or even intended to be permanent spiritual houses. So, the temporary solution of Death and the re-housing of spirits needed a permanent/ eternal fix, and this is, in broad strokes, why Jesus and the Resurrection were necessary.

I actually find it incoherent that a Creation that was Good in the beginning must be abandoned permanently for another Good place. This is the ultimate can-kicking. If this place, which was Good, can be turned irredeemably Evil, than there is no set of assumptions that would stop the next Good place from also potentially being overcome by evil - the march of chaos and evil would continue. Or, if you make a set of assumptions about the next Good Place that would prevent evil from reaching there, there should be no reason why those assumptions cannot also apply to this place also.

Rather, I think Good makes its stand and ultimate victory (a chosen, not compelled, one) here on this Earth, and from this place, Good once again fills all of creation. Creation being now restored to what it was before the Void, though now better, because we will know from our own experience that where the light shines, darkness cannot stand. It is Evil/ Darkness that will make the ultimate retreat, and not Light, and this is why I think you have it backwards.

I am not trying to change your mind or argue (I know looking for new ideas is not the primary reason why you write) - just leaving comments with alternative thoughts in case another reader finds it helpful.

Bruce Charlton said...

@WW - Your scheme doesn't answer the ultimate questions that I feel personally must be answered. If it works for you - then that's fine. I believe there are an open ended number of metaphysical assumptions that can be Christian.

The problem arises when there are important issues that are not properly answered - but are hand-waved or fudged; and this category includes many of the core mainstream dogmas.

For me, free will and the presence of evil Must be real and must be explained in context of God the creator who is personal, Good, our Parents. Time must be real and not an illusion. Jesus Christ must be essential. etc. etc.