"The Word made flesh" — Theosophy’s view

Discussion in 'Alternative' started by Nick the Pilot, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    There is a thread elsewhere about the meaning of "the Word made flesh." I thought I'd give Theosophy's explanation of the meaning of this sentence.
     
    The story of "creation" is the story of the appearance of our physical universe. According to Theosophy, the word "flesh" actually refers to all parts of our universe. (The authors of the story used the metaphor of a single person living in a physical body to symbolize the universe.) So when the story says the Word was made flesh, according to Theosophy, it actually refers to the divine plan manifesting itself as a physical universe.
     
    In prehistoric times, when these teachings were first released, it was felt that the population was too primitive to understand concepts like universes appearing and disappearing. Therefore the decision was made at that time to use symbology such as "the Word made flesh" instead of saying something like, "the Word manifested itself as a universe, one of only a seemingly endless line of universes." Fortunately, today, such symbology is no longer necessary.
     
    This is in line with the complimentary Theosophical idea that the idea of Mary and Baby Jesus actually symbolize cosmic concepts such as universes being born (Jesus) and the pre-cosmic substance that this and other universes are composed of (Mary). Mary had a child (perhaps more than one), which is symbology for the concept that there have been many universes.
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Please expound....as I read Genesis....that flesh was after most of the material world/universe.

    In both Gen1 and Gen2 stars and planets and moons and earth and plants occurred before 'flesh' arrived. Depending on which one...animals were ahead of man as well...

    So it appears to me the universe preceded 'flesh' can you flesh this out for us?
     
  3. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    You're not saying that Theosophy was around in prehistoric times are you? :confused:
     
  4. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Good question, Malku. From what little I know of Theosophy (correct me, Nick), it is a tradition buily on ageless "teachings of the elders".

    Likewise, I believe "flesh" to really be what I mean by "experience" or "made manifest" or "event"--the essence that is ("flesh") is made. The universe is made up of this primordial stuff and not what science calls matter and energy.

    Pax et amore omnia vincunt.
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Along these lines —

    There is a view, founded in Greek (the Cappadocians, Maximus) and Latin (Augustine) Fathers that the human being is the imago dei in that human nature contains within it all possible natures, or rather that the Uncreated Divine brought forth the created human nature as the mirror of all divine possibility.

    Thus all creation, formal and formless, is realised in the mind, and mind is higher than matter, so that in a paradoxical sense the infinite variety of possibility is more real than any single instance of actuality — whereas for those realised in a given actuality (such as we are), the infinite play of possibility is 'unreal'.

    Thus the human is the archetype of the infinite subjective, and in this way subjectivity is higher than objectivity — there is neither subject nor object in God, but the human, as a realised subject, immediately and simultaneously realises objectivity. Thus this subjectivity is in fact the substantia, the immaterial medium and chosen vehicle of the Divine creative process.

    Thus the created world as spoken of in Genesis 1 and 2 is immaterial, it is the world of archetypes, Adam and Eve symbolising given possibility and potentiality, and here the world is immaterial and eternal, its finitude grounded in the infinite.

    The Fall then is a metaphor of the mind's tendency to self-reflective subjectivity (or ego-centricity as we might call it today, although the term 'ego' is clumsy in relation to the order of dialogue going on here), and the created world, that is this created world, might be understood according to the Copenhagen Interpretation (I need Radarmark to check me here), in that by a 'fault' the play of infinite possibility was corrupted by the imposition of an impossible potentiality — subject in relation to itself — an inversion, a turning inside-out, as it were, which fixed the world around it and rendered it real in concrete terms by exclusion of every other possibility.

    Radarmark — this is scribbled so is probably as full of holes as an old lace curtain, but I think there's grounds for exploration here ...

    Although not 'orthodox', this view lies within the scope of Christian orthodoxy, it's in Gregory of Nyssa, maximus, Augustine, Eriugena, de Cusa and, of course, Eckhart ...

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  6. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    This is precisely what I was referring to (with the additional caveat that the Neoplatonic "mind" nous is no more real than the material)

    Yep, I just make "experience" inclusive of both mind and matter.

    For those of you interested, an updated version can be found as Kazantzakis' "Saviors of G!d" (updated to 20th century).

    Again, stated this way the doctrine is really close to Neoplatonism.

    I like it... the information-theoretic content of Quantum Theory imposes an impossible potentiality on th Copenhagen Interpretation so that there is really a a single, objective real world (which we still can never know) instead of the "potentia" which Many Worlds was invented to solve.

    A little fringe, but I think well within the acceptability of Orthodox "orthoodoxy" (which tends to be a little more flexible that either Oriental or RC in the matter of spirit, I think).

    Pax et amore omnia vincunt.
     
  7. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Wil,

    You said,

    "In both Gen1 and Gen2 stars and planets and moons and earth and plants occurred before 'flesh' arrived. Depending on which one...animals were ahead of man as well..."

    I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but I think parts of Genesis have been re-written and changed from the original. The order of sentences has also been intentionally changed in order to put the idea of "God" in as favorable a light as possible.
     
  8. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Etu,

    You asked,

    "You're not saying that Theosophy was around in prehistoric times are you?"

    --> Yes, I am. The group of gods in Genesis 1:26 who created the earth and humanity did not just create and leave, they are still with us, trying to influence us as much as they can, in ways that are as positive as they can manage. One of the things they do is they periodically send teachers like Buddha and Jesus (who have been coming and spreading the teachings for a lot longer than most people realize. I am surprised at how people think there were no teachers of the same caliber as Buddha and Jesus in prehistoric times.) These teachers have been arriving periodically since the beginning of human history, they have been continually re-releasing these teachings, and these teachings are now being referred to as Theosophy.
     
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    maybe then you can provide what you believe to be genesis where Adam is created before he has something to stand on?
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Well, if you've got evidence of that, I'd like to see it.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  11. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Wil,

    Good idea. I have started a new thread.

    http://www.interfaith.org/forum/the-creation-story-theosophy-s-14597.html#post253987

    You asked,

    "...genesis where Adam is created before he has something to stand on?"

    --> According to Theosophy, humanity was created on Day Six, but this was only the creation of our astral bodies (our "souls" had been created even earlier, on Day One, but this has been edited out of Genesis), thus Adam needed nothing to "stand on." The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is the story of our entering physical bodies for the first time (with its story of snakes chasing fruit, an obvious reference to sex that we were able to engage in for the first time at that time in our brand new physical bodies, and the disaster that quickly followed -- hence the idea that God got "angry"). At the time of the Garden of Eden story, the earth had become quite solid.
     
  12. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    When I hear "the word" in this, I'm guessing the original term used was "Logos". If you trace that back to the ancient Greek usage, it's a bit different. Heraclitus is the originator of the term and, looking at his descriptions, it was more like "the rational order upon which the universe operates" - what we might call today "the laws of physics". The Stoics, who incorporated Heraclitus' Logos into their philosophy, had various interpretations of God which ranged from the personified deity many think of today, to something like the Einstein/Spinoza God - the immanent (not transcendent) 'soul' of the cosmos. By the time Christians took to using the term, they meant it as "the word of God".

    So, in this context, when I hear "the word made flesh" I take that to mean, in today's parlance, something like: "life emerged through the laws of Nature".
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I don't think the Greeks would agree with the contemporary definition of 'physics', which has been reduced by many to mean the measure of the measurable, and the denial of everything and anything else?

    Oooh, they understood the term Logos to mean a lot more than 'word' as we understand it. I would say, as a comparison, by 'word' we mean something akin to 'aum', the ground of all existence.

    It's worth noting that the Gospel of John opens with "In the beginning", but the Greek says En arche, and 'arche' refers to the ontological principle, rather than a temporal determination.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  14. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    DT,

    I agree with the idea that the Logos became manifest. But the question is, does it mean the Logos become manifest as one person (Jesus) or as the entire universe? I go with the second choice. Which choice do you go with?
     
  15. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    The Primordial Vibration. From this I believe, all things were created within our Universe from the Physical to the Metaphysical to the Spiritual.

    It has been called the Word in the Judeo-Christian Bible, Hindu Scriptures call it Naad and Shruti, Persian scriptures Sraosha, Kalma in Muslim scriptures, ‘the Sonorous Light' in Buddhism, Naam or Shabd by the Sikhs, in Patanjali Yoga Darshan, the God/dess Ishwara is a Being expressed by this original vibration (Pranav) and Madam Helen Blavatsky and the Theosophists call it ‘the Voice of Silence'.

    It is interesting to note the similarities between the above word ‘Pranav' in this case denoting the personification of the Primordial Vibration and the word ‘prana' which is the life force within us.

    Though the most famous and enduring name we know it as is probably by OM.
    From Blavatsky's article entitled ‘AUM' in the Theosophy literature ‘Path' [April 1886 issue p.6, Vol. I], the article mentions the first sound as Aum and describes it as a Divine Resonance, a power that manifests itself into being. This self manifesting power can be traced back to Ancient Egypt (Kemet) as the Primeval God Amon creates Himself from the black waters of Nun.
     
  16. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    IG,

    The ancient texts are full of symbolism such as Sound, Word, etc. In one symbolism,
    Spirit (“Sound”) emerges from Darkness (“Silence”). Spirit causes differentiation within the Waters. These Waters are the Voice. From the Waters (“Voice”) comes the Third Logos (“Word”).

    In another symbolism, Silence refers to the First Logos, Sound to the Second Logos, and Word to the Third Logos (with the idea that there must be sound before there can be a word, and silence precedes sound).

    It is important to note the connection between Sound and the Buddhist concept of Avalokiteshvara/Guanyin (the most important deity in Buddhism)

    “... some eastern sholars maintain that the original term was Avalokita-svara, literally the looked-at-sound.... [There is no way] the past participle Avalokita (+ Iswara or + svara) [can] mean he who looks down or the down-looking: it has to be looked, seen, viewed, or observed.” (Man the Measure, p. 204)

    The Buddhist Guanyin corresponds to the Christian Mary, and the two figures look remarkably similar (because they symbolize the exact same cosmic principle, pre-cosmic "sound" or "waters").

    Here is Guanyin.

    [​IMG]

    Here is Mary.

    [​IMG]

    Guanyin is usually shown pouring water from a vase, and Mary is often shown holding Baby Jesus, because both water and Baby Jesus are identical symbolism for our present universe. (It's amazing how similar the Buddhist and Christian symbolisms for the same cosmic principles are.)
     
  17. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    In another sign of similar symbolism, Guanyin is the most important deity in Buddhism, a large numer of temples have been built in her honor, and millions of Buddhists pray to her everyday (just as Christians pray to Mary everyday).

    Which brings us full circle to the main idea of this thread; how Guanyin's water and Mary's Baby Jesus ("Word", our present universe) emanated from Guanyin/Mary ("Sound")
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    aaaaaaaauuuuuuuummmmmmmm aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmm
     
  19. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Wil,

    I have heard it said that God has a name, and that Aum (ah, mm) are two of the syllables in His name, and that's why it is such an important word and chanted by so many people.
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    You mean, two people holding things necessarily symbolise the same thing?

    You're easily amazed, I must say ... ;)

    God bless

    Thomas
     

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