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The Blueprint: Past, Present, and Future

Monday, November 2, 2015

Science: Week 1

The Blueprint: Past, Present, and Future
Monday, November 2, 2015
(All Souls Day)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. —John 1:1-3

The Greek word used for Word in John’s prologue is Logos. Philosophy has often defined Logos as the rational principle that governs and develops the universe. Christian theology would say it is the Divine reason, logic, or plan that was revealed in the life course of Jesus. The early sermons in Acts tried to “demonstrate that Jesus was the [Eternal] Christ” (2:36, 9:22) and therefore the deepest pattern for everything that preceded and followed him. This is a major game changer, although most will not allow their game to be changed. I like to use the word blueprint to make the point here. Every time you read “the Word” in John’s prologue, just substitute the word “blueprint,” and it all makes much more sense to the contemporary mind.

The Primal Anointing—“Christening”—of all matter with Spirit, which began in Genesis 1:1-2, is called “the Christ” in Christian shorthand. As both Colossians (1:15-20) and Ephesians (1:3-14) make clear, Christ is “the first born of all creation,” which makes everything else—you and I included—the second born. He is the Archetype and we are the Type. According to Duns Scotus, Bonaventure, and the continuing Franciscan school, Christ is Plan A from the very beginning. This is far different than the Plan B exercise that most of us were taught as children. Jesus, the Christ, is not a mere problem-solving answer to the issue of sin (various atonement theories), but in fact, the very meaning, purpose, direction, beauty, joy, goal, and fulfillment of the whole divine adventure. As the Book of Revelation puts it, the Christ is “the Alpha and the Omega” of all history and of all creation (1:8, 21:6, 22:13). With this perspective, Christianity need not compete with other religions; rather, authentic Christians can see and respect the Christ Mystery wherever and however it is trying to reveal itself—which is all the time and everywhere, and not just in my group. This is far beyond tribal religion; in fact, it makes all tribalism impossible.

In Another Turn of the Crank, our Kentucky sage, Wendell Berry, writes, “I take literally the statement in the Gospel of John that God loves the world. I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love. I believe that divine love, incarnate and indwelling in the world, summons the world always toward wholeness, which ultimately is reconciliation and atonement [at-one-ment] with God.” [1] Quite a daring statement from a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Before we say that God is Being itself, which we will develop tomorrow, let’s dig even deeper and farther back and ask what is the nature of that Being? Is it consciousness? Is it just naked existence?  The Trinitarian and Christian answer is that the very nature of Being is first of all “an event of communion,” outpouring love, universal connection, a “fountain fullness flowing outward” (Bonaventure), or what we now call in less poetic language, a total ecosystem. The nature of Being is that it is first of all love.

The only way you and I can appreciate and know God’s Being, our being, and the being of anything else is by first entering into communion with it. Appreciation for the core and foundation must precede analysis of the parts. In the Franciscan school, love precedes—and makes possible—all authentic knowledge. This is not typical philosophy and it put us at odds with the Dominican school. To try to know something without first loving it is not to know it very well at all, Francis would say. Our failure to understand Being Itself in this foundational way has made much of the Christian search for truth and supposed orthodoxy brutal, arrogant, divisive, the possession of an academic elite, and “all in the head.”

Gateway to Silence:
Evolving toward love

[1] Wendell Berry, as quoted in Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, ed. (The Golden Sufi Center: 2013), 77.

Image Credit: Veil Nebula Supernova Remnant (detail), NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team.
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