If the gods ‘exist’ then how can god do so? …or what does that mean for monotheists?

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by _Z_, May 30, 2010.

  1. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Re: If the gods ‘exist’ then how can god do so? …or what does that mean for monotheis

    Hi Z,

    You said,

    "…I wonder if we have to include the universe in that there cannot be a ‘not-universe-existing’ space."

    --> I think this puts a limit on how far infinity goes. I do not think we can do that.

    "So the universe at any stage in its history is still the singularity. In this way we can see a pre universe with a singularity in it, where that pre universe singularity is of the previous universe."

    --> I disagree. If the universe is the one and only singularity, there cannot be a pre-universe.

    "…the absolute contains all, hence it has the ‘all’ version’ of light!"

    --> If the light is the all, then there cannot be non-light.

    "…Or ‘is’ the absolute?"

    --> Either the absolute equals the light or it does not. You seem to be leaning towards the idea it does, while I am leaning in the opposite direction.

    "…bliss is the absence of things/apsects…"

    --> That is a fascinating idea, although I do not think I agree.

    "…you have to have things to stop you feeling bliss, so a lack of things = bliss."

    --> Again, a fascinating idea. But there are two different ways of looking at it. One idea is that there is bliss and there is non-bliss — a duality. But I contend that there is an even higher level of ‘existence’ where even such a thing as a bliss/non-bliss continuum disappears.

    "…So why not simply use different terms for the two kinds of darkness, so people don’t get confused?"

    --> Good question. There are a couple of reasons. First, there is the idea of God is light. This is very powerful symbolism, and I think a lot of people cannot get away from it. Another problem is that we are dealing with very cerebral ideas here, ideas that common people cannot easily grasp. I have a friend of mine named Tony, he is a really nice guy, but all of this theory is waaay over his head. Another thing is that theists refuse to accept the idea that the absolute is not God, and they love to describe the absolute as darkness, which causes people to confuse darkness-as-absolute with darkness-as-evil, which advances the theists’ cause. We are fighting a very big uphill battle here.

    But you are right, we need to look at new terminology. What do you propose instead of light/darkness? Ceugant/what? Also, there is the issue of the four corresponding concepts (absolute/spirit/matter/universe, the Christian darkness/father/mother/son, The Hindu Parabrahma/Brahma/Pradhana/Brahmā, and the Jewish Ayin/Ain Soph/Ain Soph Aur/Demiurgos. Lastly, let’s not forget the Buddhist Sunyata/Avalokiteshvara.) Any new terminology must take this into consideration too.

    "…i think our views are very similar aside from the semantics, but they are important to peoples understanding of wisdom."

    --> I agree. And I think this has been a very helpful discussion in helping to iron out confusing concepts and nonstandard terminology.
     
     
     
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: If the gods ‘exist’ then how can god do so? …or what does that mean for monotheis

    Hi Z —

    Catching up quickly, so hopefully a fw quick posts to throw in some ideas and/or reference points.

    In our tradition what distinguishes light from darkness is the intellect. At each 'level', the intellect can illuminate its own level, and all below it, thus minerals don't 'see' plants, plants don't 'see' flora, flora don't 'see' fauna, and fauna don't 'see' humans, humans don't 'see' angels, and angels don't 'see' God.

    I'm talking the eye of the mind here, not the optic nerve. So animals see humans, but they don't fully comprehend what humans are ...

    At human and above, the rational capacity of the intellect can posit what is not seen by what it sees, and thus draw conjectures ... but knowing is something else.

    In most traditional systems as they stand currently (I can't speak authoratitively, but from what I've understood) pure objectivity is the goal, and since the Enlightenment, subjectivity is seen as utterly fallible. In the Christian Tradition however, the goal is pure subjectivity — not the objective identification of the Other as other-than-I, but the subjective experience of the intimate union of self and the Other, which is Divine Union, and expressed in terms of a nuptial mystery as being the most precise human term to convey the depth, profundity and intimacy of that union.

    We do not hold with the idea of the extinction of self in this union, because it implies a union of one, in which the lower is utterly subsumed by the Higher, but the idea of the lower embraced in love .

    Extinction is then the complete gift of self to the Other, and the Other responds by giving Itself in return, in the gift of the Higher to the lower, the lower is sustained because its ontological source of being is the Higher — in this embrace the Higher purges the lower of everything the lower is not, according to its essential nature.

    This should lead to a metaphysical discussion of sin, but that will probably take us too far off track. In the pure Christian metaphysic, sin is the union of self with that which is perceived to be real, but is not.

    This process of stripping the perceived real — a reality which we create for ourselves — from the actual real we call 'purgatory' because there will always be a degree of 'suffering' according to the distance between what one assumes oneself to be, and what one is. What one is will always be truer, more real, and more beautiful than the supposition of a disordered. It's a bit like a blind man who receives sight, and then on the one hand delights in all he sees, but on the other rues the years spent in darkness, and all the things he didn't see, all the mistakes he made, and all the offence he unintentionally (or otherwise) offered.

    Meister Eckhart, following St Denys, was a master of this mystical exegesis. St Thomas Aquinas explains it forensically in the Summa Theologiae.

    My personal subject of study is Johann Scottus Eriugena, who offers perhaps the most complete Christian metaphysic in the West before Aquinas. He first divides nature into that which is seen, and that which is unseen, according to the perceiving intellect.

    And, when the Spirit indwells, the soul sees what the Spirit sees, that is its gift it brings to the house.

    We see it differently. 'Universals' are according to the Hellenic philosophical tradition, they are created essences that manifest in particulars, thus, for example, human nature is a universal, containing gender, height, colour, weight, capacity, etc., all of which are the 'accidents' — every human is different, and that difference is in the accidents, because every human is entirely human, and participates in the essential nature of its species utterly — so every human is a particular instance of the universal, and the universal adheres essentially in every human.

    No. God is as God is, without condition or determination or any other limitation. God is without Cause. Were that not so, then the principles of God's being would be prior to God (This is the Hellenic view, of god as being according to the Good, which is superior it it.)

    God is the source of all principle, as creator, and we believe creation to be ordered, but God Himself suffers no principle, although all principles exist in Him, according to what he is, in that sense He alone in all is self-determining. This self determination we call Logos, which is equal to and consubstantial with God. It is God. It is the Logos which determines all things subsequently, according to its will.

    The Patristic theologians called the Son the arche, or 'principle', whereas the Father is arche anarchos, principle without principle. Anaximander came close to a philosophical speculation on this matter when he referred the the arche and the apeiron, the Boundless (or Infinite).

    But we hold that God is not anarchy or chaos, which is disorder, but God as something which knows Itself and is what It knows, and knows what It is.

    God, as free act, created, and His first principle of creation was 'let there be light', that is, let the whole creation reveal the Maker in its making. The light spoken of here is not then the process of the excitation of atoms, but the creation of the intellect.

    Lastly (not as brief as I had hoped, it seems) ...
    Faith, founded on reason, penetrates the darkness even though it cannot illuminate it, because God draws man to Himself through faith, rather than knowledge — this is why the Church has always withstood and refuted essentially intellectualist eliteisms, which reserve knowledge for their elect like the Pharisees, 2nd century Gnosticism (the gnostic idea of hylic, psychic and pnuematic distinctions in humanity is offensive and easily shown to be false), the Cathars, Pelagius, etc.

    René Guénon, an esoterist without compare in the early 20th century, went for these pseudo-elites with a will and quickly demonstrated the falsehood of their premise. He himself spent his last years quietly, in a Cairo suburb, unknown to his neighbours, the friend of many, but known only to a few as a Master of Moslem metaphysics, and Hindu metaphysics (in his day he was declared the only commentator in the West who understood Hindu metaphysical principles)

    Thomas
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: If the gods ‘exist’ then how can god do so? …or what does that mean for monotheis

    Hi Z —
    But you can't determine 'life' empirically. Biological determinism will decide whether this fertilised egg will be a person or a dog or a bird, obviously, but it cannot say at what point that cluster of cells will become its own unique life, which is a soul, which is a gift. We create the condition, God creates the soul.

    Well they're not, in essence ... although Quantum Physics would, I think, dispute that. But the material is the realm of physics, quantum or otherwise ... the spirit is a metaphysical realm, that is, beyond physics. Angels are not composed of atoms, although their presence can signify material change in the physical order, in the same way that ideas can be seen active in the chemical structure of the brain. Whether man can reproduce ideas by replicating chemical structures is something I doubt. He can reproduce the conditions, to a degree, from which man will draw ideas from what he already knows, this has been demonstrated by the 'God spot' experiments ... but the fact one can replicate external conditions does not prove that the inhering reality is replicated.

    An angel is often perceived by the intellect as 'something there' and the mind envisions a sensible image according to the data received ... but if one can replicate the sensible image by exciting areas of the cortex, one hasn't created an angel.

    Thus meditation is a technique, but it does not guarantee results, tha depends on the whole person.

    Not on those terms, but they were not the terms Jesus spoke of.

    But you're looking at it from the ground up. What is Resurrected in the Christian Tradition is the true, essential self, united to God (not possible outside of that unity). The body will be 'me' in the sense of my total identification with it, but it will not be a body as we currently understand it, it will be incorruptible for a start, which signifies a whole different biochemical structure.

    You're really pushing into the mystery of the Resurrection. Christ's body was Him, it bore the marks of His crucifixion ... but no-one recognised Him until He 'revealed' Himself to them, then they knew Him.

    Today, we know people by external appearances, the interior person remains a mystery to us ... then, we will see the interior person, the external form will be purely 'accidental'. There is every possibility that it could reorganise itself to appear as different things to different people.

    There was a TV series called Babylon 5 in which a super-advanced race was kept in a sealed container. At one point, it opened the container to show itself, and every alien species, including human, saw it as one of its own ... something like that.

    Will the body be material? Yes, it will be physical (if not, then the whole created order is essentially pointless and has no destiny or place in the Divine Plan) ... but will 'physical' be precisely as we understand it now? I don't think so.

    Scripture provides a couple of marvellous references:

    "We see now through a glass and darkly; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known." 1 Corinthians 13:12

    "Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when he shall appear, we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is." 1 John 3:2

    We shall see, and be seen, as God sees us. What God sees is the image He has in mind, the logoi ... and the soul will be the perfect reflection of that image (everything that is seen is seen because it reflects light).

    Yes it would, and that is why the disciples didn't understand what He had told them.

    A point I wanted to make earlier:

    In Luke, mary sees the Risen Christ and tells the disciples. Peter and John run to the tomb. In Christian symbolism, John signifies the illuminated intellect, Peter (who always runs hot) the will.

    John runs ahead (the intellect illuminates the way forward) but stops outside the tomb because the intellect cannot penetrate its darkness. Peter catches up, and goes in, driven by his faith. John then follows, and the angel tells Him that Chrrist is risen. Peter knew it, but didn't understand it. John understood, but had to be told, to believe it was more than vain hope and speculation.
    (This from a homily by Eriugena)

    That's why Jesus chose Peter to found His church, not John. The will, faith, will penetrate the darkness of the knowledge of God that the intellect, unaided, cannot.

    The intellect casts a light, but does not move ... the will moves, but is blind ... the two ned to work in unison. Christianity, or rather Catholicism is 'universal' (that's what the term means) because it contains the totality of Revelation, and encompasses the totality of man's religious many and various religious dispositions.

    In the East there are many yogas, eg the way of knowledge, Jinani, and the way of devotion, Bahkti, and so on.

    "Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls." Matthew 11:29.
    Christ is the Logos, the Universal Way (his yoke), He is meek and humble of heart because that it the proper human disposition to the Divine: humility. We shall find res for our souls because every soul, and every way, finds its rest, its end and its good, in Him.

    ASIDE:
    Some say Christianity is a this-religion, or a that-religion ... It isn't. It is the manifestation of the universal principle of religion, founded by the Logos in which all ways adhere, and to which all roads lead.

    That's the way I reason it, anyway. Seems utterly logical to me.

    If I was really high-horsing, I would refer to the idea of the religions being the many radii from the periphery to the centre of the circle. Some stop well short of the centre, others approach very close to it. Others touch it. But Christianity is the religion of the Logos, the religion of the centre, it's not a radii.

    But then that's my belief, founded on my reasoning and logic.

    I do not accept the contemporary notion that all religions are equal because someone has decided that is the only fair way to be. Religions are equal in their human aspiration from the periphery to the centre, but they're not all equal in how close to the centre they reach.


    Faith of this order is a gift. A pure act of human will cannot enter the divine darkness, but the pure act of faith can make the leap into the unknown in the sure belief that the soul will be caught up.

    Thus true Christian faith is not a blindness, but a certitude:
    "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen, are temporal; but the things which are not seen, are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18

    "But, as it is written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9
    This last, by the way, from someone who thought he loved God, but realised he didn't, he loved his own idea of what God is ... that's what being struck blind on the road to Damascus was all about.

    More grist for the mill!

    Thomas
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: If the gods ‘exist’ then how can god do so? …or what does that mean for monotheis

    Hi Nick —

    A quick defence of theism generally here ...

    The symbol is powerful because it's viable. You don't need to get away from it. There's more to it than one lifetime could exhaust. God said 'let there me light', but I'm under the impression you're thinking of physical light?

    Without the light of the mind, there's no understanding at all. The old saying says it: "to shed light upon the matter" is to understand it.

    That's a very high-handed and somewhat offensive view view of 'common people' on your part, isn't it?

    I have friends like that. Some are highly intelligent, not 'common' at all. But that's the way of the intellect. The intellect can fabricate any hypothesis that suits itself, no matter how fantastical, and consider itself very clever for doing so.

    For very good reason ... they don't hold with your definition of 'God', rather a working proposition philosophically is 'that of which there is nothing greater'.

    So it's your definition they're not accepting, because it's false logic in their book. Depends on what construct you're working to.

    Because it has no sensible or intelligible form to 'reflect' light, or be objectified by the intellect adequately ... the human mind cannot contain nor comprehend the Divine Mind.

     
  5. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    Re: If the gods ‘exist’ then how can god do so? …or what does that mean for monotheis

    Nick, hi
    .
    Interesting post!
    .
    .
    Well I am unsure if darkness is actual and not purely mental, I think there is only light ~ as it is absolute. I suppose there are instances where light becomes other material things like atoms etc, so this would be a lack of light = darkness. Then again atoms arent as physical as we presume, they are really relationships between energy forces, hence they have no substance to block light out.
    In my conclusion I would only use darkness as a metaphor, but light as actual.
    .
    .
    Where the absolute is all inclusive all attributes are within it, or variants of it. The deeper we look into the fundamental nature of things [as like atoms [above] are not as physical as they seam] the less distinguished they become, untill eventually we simply hit the absolute in its primary and fundamental form.
    .
    Thomas, hi
    .
    .
    I think we reach a level at human, where mind is unfettered by the walls of ignorance. I wouldn’t equate light with intellect, the clear light is clouded by the intellect ~ which is after all a way of compartmentalising reality. The absolute knows via its intimate connection with all things [the paper and that which is drawn upon it], so it really doesn’t need an intellect to work things out as it already knows everything.
    We have to try to understand its mind in non linear terms, and more of wisdom than intellect. To understand something we have to work it out via processes, for the absolute to understand it needs no processes [no intellect like ours], it instantly reaches beyond all limits and thereby knows the perfect truth of a thing [wisdom]. …perfect thought because it is limited, not intellect as such because that works by sets of limits.

    For divine union read un-intellect, the unfettered mind literally is divinity.
    The self is necessarily void in such a union, yet just as we are manifest and un-manifest, formed and unformed, there is always a ‘you’ that can be manifest at will. We are always ‘there’.
    the potential for us I feel is in Socrates words ‘to touch eternity if but for a moment’. I feel we can touch divinity and that is our liberation. Thereafter I don’t know what happens ~ it depends on how the story goes.

    I feel we have some similarity with what you said about ‘sin’, our traditions just explain it differently.
    .
    I will get to your next post when I can. Thank you.
     
     
     
     
  6. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Re: If the gods ‘exist’ then how can god do so? …or what does that mean for monotheis

    Hi Z,

    You said,

    "The deeper we look into the fundamental nature of things [as like atoms [above] are not as physical as they seam] the less distinguished they become, untill eventually we simply hit the absolute in its primary and fundamental form."

    --> I agree. According to my belief system, there are physical atoms (of course), but there are also astral atoms. (A person's aura or astral body is composed of astral atoms.) There is also the theory that hundreds of astral atoms are used to construct a single physical atom. The next higher level above the astral plane is what we call the mental plane, and it is the same: each person has a mental body as well as an astral body, and it is composed of mental atoms. As with astral atoms, it is said that a single astral atom is composed of hundreds of mental atoms. On and on it goes, in a system of increasingly finer levels and atoms. But what you said was very profound -- that particles of 'matter' can be divided into smaller and smaller parts, until we hit a basic 'substance' which can no longer be divided. In my belief system we call this pre-cosmic substance by the name of mulaprakriti, and we say that this mulaprakriti is the 'substance' that is called Pradhana in Hinduism, called Ain Soph Aur in Judiasm, called Guan Yin or Avalokiteshvara in Buddhism, and called Mary in Catholicism. Catholics use the symbolism of Mary giving birth to Jesus, which to me is really only a symbolism of mulaprakriti giving birth to a universe with its physical atoms, astral atoms, mental atoms, etc.

    Take a look at this Catholic picture of the Virgin Mary.

    [​IMG]

    Now, take a look at this Buddhist picture of the Buddist deity called Guan Yin (a very Mary-like goddess that millions of Buddhists pray to everyday).

    [​IMG]

    (Note that Guan Yin is pouring water out of a small bottle.) Both Mary and Gwuan Yin symbolize the same thing, which is mulaprakriti. Both Baby Jesus and Guan Yin's water symbolize the same thing, which is our physical universe (the same symbolical use of water as in the first few sentences in Genesis).
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: If the gods ‘exist’ then how can god do so? …or what does that mean for monotheis

    Hi Z —

    I think we're mixing metaphors here? Light and dark are both metaphors — for absence/presence, sight/obscurity, good/evil, but they're all complementaries, so not Absolute in themselves. The degree of light or obscurity depends on the perceiving intellect, some intellects see more than others. The vision of the mystics and saints, for example.

    God's self-knowledge is pure light, because God is what He knows, and knows what He is. It is to humans that this vision is obscured, because w are not He, nor can we determine what He is as such, although we can define a nature by philosophy and revelation.

    The Scriptural reference to the 'divine darkness' is the cloud or the veil. In Scripture, for example, Moses descends the mountain and his face is veiled, because those who look upon him cannot discern the nature of his experience.

    It is said that the Veil of the Temple bore the image of the entire cosmos, and only the High Priest was allowed entry into the Holy of Holies.

    Agreed. But without intellect, humans could not even posit the divine. Therefore intellect is given to man by which he might come to know God. Hence 'let there be light'.

    No it isn't, in our Book, as God is no more 'mind' than 'intellect' which is a faculty of the mind, or rather the soul. And we hold that because the human can participate in God, that does not make the human God.

    Divinity is unfettered. If the human mind was divine by nature, it would be beyond fetter.

    I would argue that a union that is void is no union at all. A union by definition requires two things in harmony. If the self becomes void in the union, the union ceases to be a union.

    I would rather say the divine can touch us.

    Thomas
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: If the gods ‘exist’ then how can god do so? …or what does that mean for monotheis

    Hi Nick —
    Well there you have misread the symbolism. Mary is not pre-cosmic, she is entirely human. You're mistaking a reality for a symbol, because your 'system' does not possess an equivalent reality, therefore you toss out its actual symbolism, and appropriate it to fit your system, that's the problem with syncretism.

    Nowhere in Scripture or in the writings of Christianity is Mary presented as you do, therefore you've concocted your own interpretation of someone else's doctrine, and as per usual, you've got it wrong. In the Catholic and Orthodox Traditions, her one virtue is her faith ... every other gift she receives is through the Holy Trinity (not, as you suggest, the other way round). She is not a deity, nor is she regarded as one.

    No and no.

    For one, the Immaculata is not pouring water, Gwuan Yin is not holding a child, nor do the two symbols correlate. They are both female images, but that's about as far as it goes ... the rest of the interpretation is entirely from your imagination.

    The point here Nick, is by constantly demonstrating you are so massively wrong about Christianity, and Catholicism specifically, one can only assume that you are quite probably massively wrong about every other tradition you reference, in an attempt to give your own ideas some credibility.

    As you have not yet posted anything which is not blindly borrowed from elsewhere, it leads me to affirm my understanding of Theosophy that I arrived at when I studied it, that it has nothing that it can call its own, which you seem to affirm when you've told me that Theosophists are not obliged to believe anything in particular.

    Thomas
     
  9. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    Re: If the gods ‘exist’ then how can god do so? …or what does that mean for monotheis

    nick

    This is entirely plausible, and if everything is replicated on the mental plane then its most probable. That way one can marry everything in the physical world to that of the mental world, that there would be no problem connecting the spirit to the material to create life!
    I have been thinking about this and would like to run another view past you; if the material and spiritual/mental are both expressions of the absolute/infinite [and hence within it‘s whole], then you don’t need to have replicas [a mental version of the material version]. The spiritual could simply be the macroscopic in metaphysical terms, your human body is a collection of atoms, but they don’t compose ‘you’ as you are the whole. In science wee look at what we are [things are] composed of by reduction, we keep finding ever smaller things that make up the larger things. What we don’t look at are the larger things that everything is composed of. We simply don’t have the means to do it via our instruments as they are designed to look from the perspective of small things.
    It could be so that this outer macroscopic level is not material but something else, and ultimately it leads to the furthest example of this as the absolute ~ the whole of everythingness.
    Just a thought.

    Another way to see this is through scientific out of body experiments, where the mind can be tricked into thinking its hand is someone else’s or that it is not in its body. I feel that death is similar, the mind is disconnected with what it thinks is its body, and goes to make a new connection [rebirth or entrance to heaven etc]. the macroscopic entity can and does connect with the material body, but can easily connect with another without the need for any complicated processes by which that is achieved.

    Mulaprakriti -- may I ask what religion this is? I see you live in china, is it Chinese Buddhism?
    May I run this concept by you; ‘What is most inner is most outer‘. if you keep going inwards you eventually reach the most fundamental layer of reality [by any name], yet equally by moving outwards we also eventually reach the same thing, I would presume that the fundamental would be so in any direction, we always arrive at it eventually.

    I see your point with the symbolism, we druids have the triple goddess [the maiden, the bride, the crone] and the maiden would be similar, representing renewal, innocence and newness. Bride is the mother goddess, and crone is the wise old woman usually associated with medicine [herbs etc] and psychic ability. …is paganism so different? Actually it is because it has some dodgy aspects associated with certain deities, baal ~ sacrificing babies, terannis ~ sacrificing criminals etc etc. this causes a big problem for me, even if Christians did some equally awful things, I don’t think they are written into the religion itself and are more of a misinterpretation [maybe]. I wouldn’t want to promote a return to paganism as it was and I do think change had to happen, this is why I try to look at things without involving gods.
    .
    Thomas

    I agree. I was classifying intellect by processes [a clever mathematician can make extensive processes to form equations], but you are quite right in that ultimately pure intellect is perception.

    This is where we differ though I agree initially. I think our intellect is exactly the same as all others [a universal and the absolute], the difference is that initially the intellect is a perceiver, then when it takes of body it is limited by that form [from germ to man]. Without body the intellect has no boundaries and is thence divine [because of that]. I probably wouldn’t call that ‘god’, though I do think it is more than nirvana/Buddha being as it may create the universe etc. if it does then I think we can conclude it is something like how we see ‘god’, or brahma/brahman, deus-pater, etc.

    I guess that we have clear differences in how we see universals and I could of course be wrong. I think divinity is the base and upper element of all things and we live in a shared reality.

    It is a difficult call to say if god creates us or if we and the universe must happen according to the tao or way of things, that the unmanifest becomes manifest by this. In my visions I see a creator god between the emptiness and existence, then our reasoning appear to back that up. Perhaps creation is eternal and perpetual and the creator is the deified representation of that process.
    .
    It all leaves a lot of questions about the roles of gods! :)
     
  10. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Re: If the gods ‘exist’ then how can god do so? …or what does that mean for monotheis

    Hi Z,
    You said,

    "…there would be no problem connecting the spirit to the material to create life!"

    --> That’s the whole idea.

    "…if the material and spiritual/mental are both expressions of the absolute/infinite [and hence within it‘s whole], then you don’t need to have replicas [a mental version of the material version]."

    --> According to my belief system, we do. I believe that every physical object has a corresponding ‘mental object’ on the mental plane.

    "…your human body is a collection of atoms, but they don’t compose ‘you’ as you are the whole."

    --> I agree. I see a human being as being a collection of a physical body, an astral body, a mental body, and more. People who think a person is only a physical body is not (in my opinion) looking at the total person.

    "In science wee look at what we are [things are] composed of by reduction, we keep finding ever smaller things that make up the larger things. What we don’t look at are the larger things that everything is composed of. We simply don’t have the means to do it via our instruments as they are designed to look from the perspective of small things."

    --> Another problem is that physical observation instruments cannot observe natural phenomena occuring on the astral planes, etc.

    "It could be so that this outer macroscopic level is not material but something else, and ultimately it leads to the furthest example of this as the absolute ~ the whole of everythingness."

    --> That is how I see it too.

    "Another way to see this is through scientific out of body experiments, where the mind can be tricked into thinking its hand is someone else’s or that it is not in its body."

    --> I know of a case where scientists absolutely refused to accept evidence that proved that out-of-body experiences actually happen.

    "I feel that death is similar, the mind is disconnected with what it thinks is its body, and goes to make a new connection [rebirth or entrance to heaven etc]."

    --> That is how I see it too.

    "Mulaprakriti -- may I ask what religion this is?"

    --> I belong to something called Theosophy. I am a Theosophist.

    "If you keep going inwards you eventually reach the most fundamental layer of reality [by any name], yet equally by moving outwards we also eventually reach the same thing, I would presume that the fundamental would be so in any direction, we always arrive at it eventually."

    --> Yes. Both going ‘inwards’ and ‘outwards’ are really the same thing — achieving a higher level of consciousness. For example, I believe that all of us will eventually become conscious on the astral plane of consciousness.

    "…we druids have the triple goddess [the maiden, the bride, the crone] and the maiden would be similar, representing renewal, innocence and newness."

    --> The idea of three cosmic principles, which energize the universe, is a belief common to many belief systems. The point where we disagree, of course, is on the specific aspects of each of the three cosmic principles.

    "…it has some dodgy aspects associated with certain deities, baal ~ sacrificing babies, terannis ~ sacrificing criminals etc etc. this causes a big problem for me, even if Christians did some equally awful things, I don’t think they are written into the religion itself and are more of a misinterpretation [maybe]."

    --> All of this is caused by several things. One is the anthropomorphizing of cosmic principles into gods and goddesses with human weaknesses. Another is people trying to explain complicated cosmic principles to uneducated people, and ‘dumbing down’ such ideas in the process. Another problem is that people seem to have a need to take cosmic principles and turn them into superstitions. (This is a particularly big problem here in China.) Another problem is that religious writings are often rewritten and changed for political purposes.

    "…I try to look at things without involving gods."

    --> Think of them as impersonal cosmic principles, not as anthropomorphized gods and goddesses with human weaknesses. Do not let superstition blind you to what is really happening out there. (Even the Bible admits that there are 'gods.')
     
  11. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Re: If the gods ‘exist’ then how can god do so? …or what does that mean for monotheis

    Hey Z,

    Dogbrain has posted an interesting post (#11) on the nature of En Sof (which I spell Ain Soph).

    http://www.interfaith.org/forum/concept-of-brahman-or-dao-9640.html

    Here are some equivalents as I see them:

    Judiasm - Ain Soph
    Hinduism - Brahman, Brahma (but not Brahmá)
    Greek Mythology - Chaos
    Norse Mythology - Black Ravens
    New Testament - God
    Old Testament - "The Deep"
    Buddhism - Avalokiteshvara
    Theosophy - First Logos
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: If the gods ‘exist’ then how can god do so? …or what does that mean for monotheis

    Hi Z —

    Not sure what you mean by 'others' ... intellect is a faculty of the mind, and as we usually understand it, the rational and self-reflective mind. Thus I would say that humans, angels and the Divine have 'intellect', although in the latter case this is something of a metaphorical attribution.

    Well, I would say depends on the universal ...

    Ooh, well ... I would tread very carefully here, if only to avoid the dualist idea, with which the history of Christianity shows a long and almost constant contention, of the opposition of spirit and body, or that the operation of the mind is somehow subject to the physical form.

    According to Aristotle: "There is nothing in the intellect that was not first in the senses", a fundamental principle that was accepted and adopted by our theologians.

    All knowledge begins with sense-experience, which of course has for its object the concrete and particular, but contingent phenomena. From here, the intellect makes judgements about what it sees, and from what is perceived, it can posit the abstract, universal, immutable essences and, eventually, God.

    Thus 'First Cause' or 'Absolute' is an intellectual proposition from things seen. It is one of the classic 'Five Proofs' of God, but as others have argued, although it is a viable proposition, it is not a given, nor is it the only proposition.

    Intellectual knowledge is dependent upon sense-knowledge, but intellectual knowledge is superior to sense-knowledge. It brings to bear on the sensible phenomena its particular capacity, and by observation and reflection determines the intelligible and spiritual essences, imperceptible to the senses, but which are hidden in, or manifest by, the contingent.

    The human intellect is not the same as the angelic intellect, but nor are angelic intellects preserved from corruption — the intellect depends therefore upon the mind.

    Whilst one might posit 'mind' as a universal, that does not presuppose a 'universal mind', as faculties and capacities of the human mind is determined by the universal human nature ... but human nature as a universal does not mean there is a universal human somewhere.

    The big point for us is any doctrine that draws the conclusion that the material realm is fundamentally evil, or at least a 'necessary evil' (as do the various traditional gnostic and dualist systems) — we hold from the Hebrew Tradition that created nature is essentially 'good' and has its place in the greater scheme of things — nature is not there as a disposable stepping stone or stumbling block along the way of some ascent.

    The Great Liturgy will be a cosmic liturgy.

    My reservation is that you seem to imply the power of the intellect would be limitless, if it were not in this body ... which I dispute. The operation of the intellect is not in the sensible as such, and the sensible cannot hinder the operation of the intellect, rather the sensible supports the operation of the intellect by submitting data for its discernment.

    (If one was deprived of one's senses, one would be in a real bind. Nor does any of the evidence of sense deprivation suggest and enhanced intellectual capacity. Rather there is a suggestion of the enhanced capacity of the other senses, but I suggest this is because one learns to pay more attention to them, not because they have become 'super-tuned' ... )

    It is our view that any 'fault' in the human function (sin/ignorance) is attributable to the will, which is the driver of the intellect, and part of the intelligible faculty ... so the sin is the sin of the flesh, but the sinner is the mind.

    (In Catholic doctrine 'sin' is a moral fault, and necessarily an informed choice to pursue a moral wrong/lesser good ... so animals/nature cannot sin, any more than your eye can sin ... all the eye does is turn light data into nerve data and transmit it to the brain, the brain recreates the visible image as something seen, and makes judgements and discernments ... the only 'fault' the eye can be blamed for is of the order of 'mechanical defect' of the instrument, not a moral choice not to see what it sees, or knowingly misrepresent what it sees ... )

    The higher intellects (angelic orders) can indwell the human intellect by similitude, and then the human intellects sees as angels see, so they lend their rationality to human rationality ... and so on ... but we do not hold there is some kind of 'intellect bank' which people, angels, etc. plug into.

    I tend to disagree, on a number of points. The first is that 'intellect' is the measure of the rational capacity of a being or mind, it's not something on its own account. Angels, for example, are beings of pure intellect, but they are not divine, nor are they omniscient.

    The human body cannot prevent the operation of the intellect, if it could, we would not be able to identify intellect as such. If the intellect was inherently divine, then the soul would have to be divine, as intellection is a function of the soul, and if the soul is divine, the body would be divine ... or put another way, how could something which is devine by nature, not realise its divinity in its nature, which by definition would be omniscient and onmipotent, eternal and incorruptible?

    How can the omniscient suffer ignorance?

    Again, I think it's probably what one means by divine.

    By divine we mean God, and there can only be one God, "that which nothing greater can be thought" as there can only be one Absolute.

    I think one would have to define those terms. Many people think 'in him we live and move and have our being' infers the divinity of man, which it doesn't. It didn't mean that for St Paul, and it didn't mean that for Epiphemides (the Cretan poet and philosopher) who said it first, 600 years earlier ... that's the problem when poeple pick up words and phrases, but not the epistemological background which gives them context.

    Epiphemides also famously said "All Cretans are liars" ... but he was a Cretan, so if he is lying, the statement is false, because it's a lie, but if he is not lying, the statement is false because he's a Cretan, telling the truth, which the statement refutes ... but if what he says is true, then he must be lying ... it's one of the early examples of logic, etc...

    I don't think you can pose 'God' and the 'Tao' as two separate things?

    It's not difficult for us, because of the clarity of our metaphysic. I would suugest that if there is a difficulty, then either the metaphysic is flawed, or not clearly understood.

    Then again, if one tries to mix two or more metaphysical systems, then really you end up with a whole bunch of contradictions which you need to resolve. I'm not saying there are no complementarities, there are many, but to assume to total equivalence of everything is an error.

    Then the emptiness is the cause of the creator god?

    We see creation as encompassing all that is created ... God alone is uncreated.

    Eriugena offered a fourfold division of nature:
    1: That which is not created and creates (God in His energies)
    2: That which is created and creates (essences)
    3: That which is created and does not create (substances)
    4: That which is not created and does not create (God in Himself) prior to all creation and above any spatio-temporal order.

    We hold otherwise, on the grounds that such a deity is not Absolute ... how that systems works has various names, monism, pantheism, panentheism ... all suggest to some degree (as I understand them) that God is conditional and determinate and subject to change ... again, not Absolute, or at least, not absolutely-Absolute but, at best, relative-Absolute ...

    Thomas
     

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