What do we puppets experience at our side of the unpassable gulf? A region of maximum differentiation, harsh definiteness and distinctness of individuals, the divisions amongst kinds and categories, individuality, corporeality and temporality. The gulf separates God from that which is not God.
To use an analogy with earthly geometry, it is as though this region of maximum differentiation is close to the equator, with the One or the Absolute occupying a region of maximal convergence at the pole. As we pass out of our equatorial zone and advance toward the higher latitudes there is a steady blurring or coming into coincidence of the divisions amongst kinds and categories, until in the end we approach and perhaps at last reach a unitary point of convergence.
The mystical pole of our whole geography is a place of infinite and no longer puzzling perfection, which we need no longer conceive as a mere supreme instance of incompatible values, but as the living principle of all those values themselves.
Thus, at the apex of all the worlds is the convergence into the One, the Godhead itself.
As we descend longitudinally, there is more and more matter. Another way of stating this is that the beings of the lower worlds have a greater awareness of their independent, progressively separate selves, of their private "I". This consciousness of self obscures the divine light, and dims the true, unchanging "I" that exists within each individual being. This egoism is also transposed upon the deity, only to be reflected back in its contingent and arbitrary behaviour to man.
This realm of the equator, this realm of separateness, is thus the realm of the Old Testament Jehovah, where the world of antinomies, that abound in individual human experience, are adjudged to be the result of the arbitrary dictates of an Absolute and wholly separate God.
As early as 85AD Christian scholars questioned the connection between Jesus and the Old Testament God. Marcion, a formidable scholar of scripture, believed, as did the Mandaeans and other Gnostic sects, that Jehovah was the creator of the physical world, while Jesus was the son of the Prime Creator. His denial of Jesus’ connection to the God of the Hebrews, of course, outraged the Christians of Rome whose views ultimately became the dominant Christian doctrine. Marcion and his followers believed that Jehovah was in fact evil incarnate. They reasoned that if Satan tempted Jesus with earthly power and riches, and if the material world is Satan’s domain, then the creator of the world, (the Old Testament God) was, in fact, Satan.
Ina world of experience riddled with so many contradictions, only the hypothesis of a higher world can provide it with any genuine sense. It was the longitudinal orientation towards the higher realm that Jesus pitted against the latitudinal orientation of the Jehovian realm. He offered a life of values which lessened consciousness of self, undimming the divine light of Transfiguration within individual beings.
It was this orientation of convergence with the One, along the lines of longitude, that a ‘conspiracy of intelligence’* has sought to preserve through the ages, in opposition to the latitudinal separatists. This has always manifested itself as a clash between Hellenic and Judaic world views.
* Coined by Ezra Pound in Guide to Kulchur, p.263.
(I am indebted for the content of much of this article to Sanford L. Drob and his article, The Philosopher and the"Rav:" J.N. Findlay, Rabbi Adin Steinzaltz and the "Double Movement" in Kabbalistic Thought. Found on http://www.newkabbalah.com/findlay.html . Well worth reading in full.)
© John Dunn.