The Universe Is Love

Creation: Week 2

The Universe Is Love
Thursday, February 22, 2018

The future can exist only when we understand the universe as composed of subjects to be communed with, not as objects to be exploited. —Thomas Berry [1]

Cynthia Bourgeault, a faculty member at the Center for Action and Contemplation, writes about how the ancient Wisdom tradition views creation:

Contrary to our usual theological notion, which sees God as “having” certain qualities—such as love, truth, and justice—Wisdom correctly perceives that there are certain states, or qualities of being, that cannot be known (or even truly said to exist) in potential but only in actual manifestation. God “has” these qualities by virtue of enacting them. “I was a hidden treasure and longed to be known,” says God, according to an ancient Islamic teaching, “and so I created the world.” [2]

Foremost among these qualities . . . is love. In the Christian West we are accustomed to rattling off the statement “God is love” [1 John 4: 8, 16]. . . . Love is a relational word, and that relationship presumes duality, or twoness, “because,” in the words of Valentin Tomberg (1900-1973), “love is inconceivable without the Lover and the Loved, without ME and YOU, without One and the Other.” [3] In order for love to manifest, there must first be duality. . . . In the words of another Sufi maxim whose truth is apparent to anyone who has ever experienced the sublime dance of recognition and mutual becoming at the heart of all love: “You are the mirror in which God sees himself.”

. . . As we begin orienting ourselves on the Wisdom road map, it is with the recognition that our manifest universe is not simply an “object” created by a wholly other God out of the effluence of [God’s] love but is that love itself, made manifest in the only possible way that it can, in the dimensions of energy and form. The created realm is not an artifact but an instrument through which the divine life becomes perceptible to itself. It’s the way the score gets transformed into the music.

References:
[1] Thomas Berry, The Great Work: Our Way into the Future (Three Rivers Press: 1999), x-xi.

[2] This saying belongs to the Haddith Qudsi, or extra Qur’anic revelation.

[3] Anonymous, Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism, trans. Robert Powell (Tarcher/Putnam: 2002), 33. Tomberg requested that this book be published anonymously to allow the work to speak for itself.

Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Way of Knowing: Reclaiming an Ancient Tradition to Awaken the Heart (Jossey-Bass: 2003), 51-52, 53.

Image credit: Winter Leaf II: CAC Gardens (detail), by Nicholas Kramer.
The Divine Presence is happening in, through, and amidst every detail of life . . . penetrates all that exists. Everything in virtue of coming into existence is in relationship to this Source. Thomas Keating
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