Monday 29 October 2018

Ultimate metaphysics and Mother in Heaven

In understanding metaphysics using the deepest and most spontaneous kind of explanation; I need to dispense with mathematics, physics and 'science' in general.

My aim is something much more like those Ancient Egyptian myths of primal beings - gods and titans emerging from chaos; or the folk stories about 'totem animals'... Instead of particles and forces we have beings with motivations.

As I have previously posted I have a personal intuition/ revelation that confirms the Mormon teaching (independently endorsed by William Arkle) that God is both Father and Mother (a 'dyad' - complementary - the whole God consisting of an eternal union of man and woman).

The implications are tremendous, and only incrementally becoming clear to me.

One is that this is the truth behind the principle of 'polarity' as articulated by Coleridge and clarified by Barfield. 'Polarity' is a concept derived from the physical sciences - hence is only a model: the reality is our Heavenly Parents.

Thus, the two interdependent forces - centrifugal and centripetal - about which Coleridge talks; and from the interaction of which, all may be derived in a dynamic and self-renewing way; are actually the primal man and woman.

If we ask what is the difference between the Father and Mother, we have actually taken a step away-from the primary reality, because our answer can only be in terms of abstract qualities - whereas our  divine parents are the irreducible units from-which all else (including all abstractions) are derived.

Our Heavenly parents are what they are. While we can know and understand them empathically, by direct intuition - because we are their children and of the same kind - we must (in the attempt to communicate) resist the false temptation to describe them in terms of lesser qualities, or to analyse them as quantities - and then to regard these partial, distorted, abstracted descriptions as the reality.

Heavenly Father and Mother differ; qualitatively and complementarily (to make a living unity in-time); but this difference can't be captured by a static, structural 'personality description'. 

Creation is the consequence of their love; and that is why love is (as the Fourth Gospel tells us) the prime relationship in the universe of creation. Nothing is more important than love; because love (between our Heavenly parents) is the causal basis and reason for all of creation (including, of course, the creation of ourselves, as children of God).

Having reached this point; it seems very important to pay more attention to both Father and Mother in the nature of God; this duality is neglected yet must be of prime importance. If this was physics, we would not neglect one of a polarity - how much more important when it comes to God.

Indeed, this seems a matter of urgent importance.


Chiu ChunLing said...

I think that the difficulty is that even by identifying God as composed of a Mother as well as a Father, we've introduced the temptation to associate a good many incorrect ideas about how they are different from each other based on our own experience and preferences about mothers and fathers.

Or the difficulty is that we are at present at a stage of our development which is more characteristic of being under the care of our Father than having appeal to our Mother, if that general idea about one of the differences between mothers and fathers is applicable.

I think that it is already notably implicit in the concept of God as a Father (rather than a gender neutral Parent) that we would have had a Mother. In a sense it is redundant to state that we have a Father and a Mother. If we took the idea of God as our Father at all seriously we would hardly need to be reminded that this means we also have a Mother. The problem is that Christianity generally has abandoned the idea that God is actually our Father. Only Catholics seem to remember that God is really a Father at all, and to them only the Father of Christ, not of us. Which is why it is Mary who is practically worshiped as the divine Mother, which certainly cannot be correct.

But going beyond making the point that God is really our Father seems to raise the grave danger of assigning to our divine Mother a trait based on our general experience of mothers, and I would suggest that our expectation that a good mother does not judge her children, but simply accepts them no matter what, is an especial danger. Particularly when we conflate our current assumptions about what is desirable in life with what our divine parents' perspective of the matter.

I think it is interesting that, in many major religious traditions where a female deity is taken quite seriously, she is a goddess of death and often effectively an enemy of human existence. If we do look at our mortal life from a divine perspective, this makes a good deal of sense. Even if the goal of mortality is to draw closer to God in the sense of becoming more like God, it is also a separation from God and a departure from our spiritual childhood. The view that a divine Mother would mostly be moved by a desire for our mortal existence to end sooner rather than later so that we could return to the state of disembodied existence similar to (but crucially different from) our pre-mortal spirit existence is quite a bit more plausible than the naive assumption that a mother who is not particularly associated with mortal life would have the same attitude towards it as one who is mortal herself.

Of course this is just as much a speculation based on what we know about mothers generally as the expectation that our divine Mother would do everything possible to spare us suffering and infirmity. Or rather, it is merely another look at how She might do so...certainly to someone for whom mortal life is separation and physical death merely return to a prior state of disembodied spiritual life, ending mortality quickly is a reasonable and natural way to alleviate suffering and infirmity. As natural as it would be for a mortal mother to respond to her children getting their clothes dirty playing in mud puddles by hauling them in away from their play, stripping of their clothes, and tossing them in the bath (in this analogy, our physical bodies are nothing but the dirtied clothes which will be replaced later).

But at least this speculation avoids (or subverts) what I see as the real danger, the tendency for us to appeal to our divine Mother to spare us Father's program of training and judgment designed to help us grow up towards a divine adulthood rather than remain spiritual children.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - I must emphasise that this is not the kind of belief which could, even in principle, be derived from 'evidence' or argument. It must be a matter of intuition/ revelation - we must simply come to believe that this is how things actually are.

So, we might get-from-somewhere the idea that God is both Father and Mother; and then by prayer and meditation come to know that this is indeed so.

Having come to such a belief then we can (unsurprisingly) find all kinds of ways in which that primary reality is expressed in creation - but observations of creation lead to... well, at least all the many religions of the past and other possible ones.

There isn't much (and nothing explicit) in the Bible to suggest that God is dyadic in the way I believe; there isn't much in Mormon scripture for that matter - although it is official doctrine. But my understanding is that revelation is serial, and depends upon what stage of maturity humanity and individuals have reached.

I am struck by the fact that the dyadic God, and the fact that sex (man and woman) goes all-the-way-down, *was* revealed to Jospeh Smith in the early 19th century; at the time and in the place it was needed (indeed, the revelation was perhaps a generation or two later than ideal; which might suggest there was a 'failed prophet' before Smith - but this is pure speculation).

And I mean exactly *needed*, despite that Western Man has decided to assume the ultimate reality of materialism/ positivism, and reject all concepts of God on principle.

Chiu ChunLing said...

In that idiom I see an assertion of essential agreement between the divine Mother and Father which also denies the appeal to Mother vetoing Father's plan.

The Bible is, after all, prior to the later theological development which makes God so utterly unlike man such as to throw into question the obvious necessity of a mother as a requirement for fatherhood. The divine Mother is not mentioned for pretty much the same cultural reasons that wives are so rarely mentioned alongside men who are obviously married. It is stated outright that a man cannot be great at anything, least of all being a father, without a good wife. And there is no serious challenge to that thesis. Any person living in that cultural context would feel puzzled that we would even wonder whether any person who is mentioned as a father had a wife.

Not that they didn't expressly know that illegitimacy was possible. But calling a man "father" merely for having illegitimate offspring would be unthinkable.

In that sense, one should say that the idea of God being a Father without having a wife would be pretty appalling to people in Jesus's day. But for all the things that people took offense over Jesus doing, nobody ever blinked at calling God "Father in Heaven" all the time. So the idea of God having a wife should have been generally accepted.

Of course, the Biblical cultural context had a very different view of marriage, especially the status of a wife relative to a husband. Jesus had to explicitly confront that issue more than once, but is not recorded to have done so with regard to whatever the people of that day were thinking of God's wife. Their implicit cultural assumptions about what "Mother in Heaven" would be like would be wildly divergent from ours (probably no big danger of attempted appeal to contradicting God the Father's commandments, at least).

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - Good points.