Friday, December 27, 2019
Though I did not have the privilege of meeting her personally, Beatrice Bruteau (1930–2014) was a brilliant scholar with a wide-ranging interest in mathematics, religion, science, and philosophy. Through her writing and relationships, she influenced the study of contemplative practice and evolutionary consciousness in significant ways. Enjoy this glimpse into her thoughts on incarnation:
The traditional understanding of the Incarnation is that the Person of Christ subsists in two natures, a divine nature and a human nature. But Christ is only one Person, the divine Person called “the Word.” . . . What would seem to be the [opposites] of Being are held together in the intimate union of a single Person. Without ceasing to be God, the Word becomes human. And without ceasing to be incarnate as a human being, this Person is divine.
It seems impossible, but this is what Christians claim we believe. . . . Indeed, we could never have proposed such a thought to ourselves if we had not sensed its reality in ourselves. We do not pretend to understand the Incarnation in an analytical abstract way. We rather understand it in an experiential way. We know what it means because we resonate with it in our own being. Whatever meaning it has for us comes from the deepest level of our sense of our own reality. . . .
[I want to pause here for just a moment to celebrate what Bruteau is saying: What is true in Jesus is true in us! We never could have claimed this intellectually if we did not sense it intuitively.]
In the case of the cosmos, we can say that God as Creator is incarnate as self-creating universe, including self-creating creatures within that universe, such as, for instance, ourselves as human beings. [Or, as I like to say, God creates things that create themselves.] Creativity itself is what’s evolving in the cosmos, and . . . we are in a position to realize ourselves as incarnate divine creativity. This has two effects. It makes the whole thing intensely meaningful. . . . We are part of this, creative contributors to this. And this is the other effect: we bear some responsibility. We have to take our part in the work. We, for instance, are now in a position to do something about all the suffering. . . . We are agents within the system and can have causal effects on other parts of the system. We have intelligence, we have empathy and capacity to feel for others and to care about them, we even have insight into the Ground [or Spirit] present in every being and calling for an appropriate form of absolute respect.
Because of our inherent dignity as children of God, we are empowered and called, like Jesus was, to create a more loving and compassionate world. Responding to this divine invitation might be the ultimate gift we could offer back to God this Christmas season.
Beatrice Bruteau, God’s Ecstasy: The Creation of a Self-Creating World (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 1997, 2016), 37, 178.