A Zarathustrian portrayal of good and evil
Through Jesus, the bifurcation between good and evil became clear and exposed. The eternal struggle between good and evil surfaced at this turning point in cosmic history. The veil was rent. Jesus confronted hollow men, the living dead, people who lived their lives to the letter of the Law to get by in the world. Driven by externalities, these were people who had chosen the world, but who rejected Jesus’ message of the Father’s love. Their god was the god of this world, as it remains for idolaters today. They had suffered the death of the self. They had made a pre-existent idol of their god and the world. And their ways were revived in Spinoza’s great presupposition, the all-encompassing Substance, of which the individual is but one mode and subject to its laws of necessity. Herein lies the death of mind and the death of the self. And they rejected Jesus’ message and murdered Him - and continue to do so.
The Passion was the turning point and continues to be so. Before the Passion, there was death of the self. After the Passion, there is new life. We are called to reject the god of this world in order that we may have new life. Away with the laws of necessity. In proclaiming the good news about choice, Jesus was the restorer of humanity, the Saviour of mankind.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God (1 John 3:1)
A son of God - is that the answer to the Grail question - ‘what am I?’ Let us reflect on such a massive leap of faith for readers in a secular word. What place does a metaphor like a ‘son of God’ have in the modern life?
I take from Giovanni Gentile the concept of the actual being the eternal present. Creation from this point of view is not a one off ‘big bang’. Creation is eternal, always now. However, Gentile slid into solipsism, eventually even driving the thinker out of the equation, leaving only Logos, one truth, which might be likened to Spinoza’s Substance.
I was rescued from recidivism by Tomberg and his assertion of the need for mirroring, reflection and reflexivity in the conscious mind. Consciousness was established as the entity which distinguished humanity from nature, which countered the kabbalistic prospect of humanity being subsumed into Ein Sof. Looking back upon my journey, Tomberg had reinforced the position on conscience that I met in Coleridge, which in turn reinforced the importance of Fichte’s humanising summons to encounter and the subsequent ‘I thou’ relationship that Coleridge and Buber connected to love and so to God.
Love is not a pre-existent entity and does not precede the encounter; neither does consciousness, which is awakened by the encounter. Similarly, God does not precede the encounter as a pre-existent entity. To accept pre-existence makes of God an idol. God is Love and is present in the encounter.
Augustine knew that the mind must have the capacity for God (capax Dei) in order to recognise the presence of God, let alone even imagine that presence; and that this capacity for God must have something to do with the dialectical relationship with God, which is described by John as one of mutual indwelling, but only, and this is the key point, when love is accepted. ‘He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.’ (1 John 4:16)
Let us step back at this point and remember that this is not about warm and cosy lurv, or the costly mistranslation of charity, helping others and committing the sin of pride by feeling good about it. The love of mutual indwelling is about a love that results in pain, anguish, loss, passion and new consciousness, new life, resurrection. In passion the veil is rent. To be a son of God is to be a son of Love, a product of encounter. In this lies the inner reflectiveness and reflexivity of mind which saves, literally saves, the human from the abyss of kabbalistic and Spinozistic Substance.
Only metaphors can move us forward. To be a son is to be of the Father and yet to be separate and whole. To be a son is not to be a mode of the pre-existent and originating Substance that is Spinoza’s god. A son is not subsumed in the Father. There is love. This is the ‘I thou’ encounter. Fire meets with fire in the Passion. ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ Only that which is separate can be forsaken. A harrowing descent into Hell and back follows the Passion. Fire and passion co-exist as Dante well knew. An awakened consciousness is only open to those brought low. Ask - where did Dante begin his journey? Those lost in the dark wood are the elect.
A third entity co-exists with the two in the saving encounter. In their mutual indwelling is the Love which loves them. We stand apart, this internally indwelling other and I, whilst remaining one sole essence in Love. This is the reflexivity of a single conscience. Here lies the mystery - not in some pre-given idol, a prefabricated world or god. Consciousness is trinitarian and smashes the idols. God is Love, the one sole essence of the mutual indwelling.
We may never encounter Love. We may choose to reject the Father’s love. In either case, the Triune God of consciousness is lost to idol worship. For, to paraphrase Augustine, only ‘by love are we carried away to track down the truth’. And whilst the truth is a conscious choice at every moment, we do, of course, lapse into sin. The many distractions of the animal soul have been described above. Through these distractions we are drawn to worship the god of the world. At this point it is worth recalling the keen observation made by Karl Marx:
Christianity sprang from Judaism. It has merged again in Judaism’, observed Marx, ‘the Jews have emancipated themselves insofar as the Christians have become Jews… The god of the Jews has become secularised and has become the god of the world. (The Jewish Question)
Marx describes existence under the ‘Republic of Merchants’, where to have merged again into Judaism has been to fall prey to kabbalistic Tikkun, to be subsumed by Spinozistic Substance, to lose the ‘I thou’ of Love, to lose God. It is the death of the self.
Only the Love that is God, proclaimed by Jesus, awakens the consciousness that frees the individual to take possession of his own authenticity, even if first we must pass through Felix Culpa - the Fall from naive innocence to a new realisation of the choice facing us at every moment. Jesus proclaimed the truth of the awakened consciousness, new life, and was vilified for it by the devil’s children. Nevertheless, his proclamation was the turning point and still separates his God from the idols of the Judaisms, be they the original, Christic, Islamic or atheistic.
© John Dunn.