Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The True Word

August 10, 2016

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God."
     ~John 1:1

     The earthly institution of Christianity is but the crudest approximation of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. The Bible is the closest we can come to the Living Word of God while stranded here on the shore of immanence. The other shore, the transcendent far shore, cannot be bridged from where we stand. It hides from us from behind a veil and a symbol, glimmering from within the impenetrable dark cloud of unknowing. The far shore unfolds delicately like a lotus flower, blooming inside the heart of the Gospel. The True Word is not a book nor the paper on which it's printed, nor the symbols stamped into that paper. It does not properly exist as a physical object in three-dimensional space. In the beginning, the Word already existed. 
     He is a transcendental Father, whose divine exhalations inspire men to speak, write, and act for His name's sake. Since God is the ontological root of existence itself, the Alpha and Omega, He is the only one who is not empty. Emptiness is a property of all created phenomena. Things conditioned by and contingent on other things for their existence have no independent existence of their own and are thus "empty." 
     The treachery of images (that famous Rene Magritte painting) also extends to symbols. Supernaturally transcendent realities will never be adequately reduced to symbols. Symbols, like the letters of the sentence you are now reading, always signify something other than themselves. Their referents are easily understood. In Simulations and Simulcra (1981), Jean Baudrillard proposes a theological dilemma that was of course inevitable:
     “But what if God himself can be simulated, that is to say can be reduced to signs that constitute faith? Then the whole system becomes weightless, it is no longer anything but a gigantic simulacrum - not unreal, but simulacrum, that is to say never exchanged for the real, but exchanged for itself, in an uninterrupted circuit without reference or circumference...” 

     Lead me from the unreal to the Real
     Lead me from the darkness to the Light
     Lead me from the temporary to the Eternal
     ~The Pavana Mantra, from the Upanishads


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