The Imaginal Within The Cosmos: Commentaries on the Cosmic Christ (4)
As Teilhard put it:
"Christ has conquered death, not only by suppressing its evil effects, but by reversing its sting. By virtue of Christ's rising again, nothing any longer kills inevitably but everything is capable of becoming the blessed touch of the divine hands, the blessed influence of the will of God upon our lives." [Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, THE DIVINE MILIEU, pp. 82-83.]
Now, if true, that death is defeated, then it cannot be deemed an "evil." However, the topic of death is like walking on quicksand. One can hold to a premise, a platform if you will, and something happens in so-called real life that blows the premise apart. The platform we were holding onto, for safety, lets us down and we sink.
Mostly we hold to the hope of life beyond death through faith. And this kind of faith, in its way, is actually a healthy mechanism. It keeps anxiety away. When it comes to the basics, most of us humans deep down wonder about death--even when we deny that we do.
Today the Near-Death Experience (NDE) has publicly come to light. It would seem down through the centuries the NDE has quietly been reported in various garbs. Today, however, what is significant is that the NDE is mostly reported clinically, in medical terms. Modern technology also has made the NDE more prominent, since more patients who "died" are now resuscitated.
What we have in the NDE is *not* death itself, but rather the entrance into death. The NDE would seem to be a pointer that gives some credence--beyond just religious faith--to life after death. Yet, like faith, the NDE is not an ironclad fact about an afterlife. But it does remain a pointer that looks in that direction.
What interests me is looking at this possibility of defeating death from new perspectives, aside from the usual that normally are couched in religious thought. But how to bring the Cosmic Christ into such a new scenario? All I can do is try.
To begin, as the early Christian Fathers declared, the Historical Jesus is the "Incarnate Word." Spinning-off from Greek philosophy about the Logos, the Power and Plenum that stands behind the universe, these Christian thinkers believed Jesus to be an enfleshed aspect of the Logos--the One who literally articulates the Logos, hence the "Word." The Cosmic Christ has moved into our plane of existence!
Now if true, then the Cosmic Christ is far and beyond any one particular discipline, far and beyond any one limited perspective. Until modern times, however, the thinking about the Cosmic Christ has been limited mainly to religious thinking and speculative faith. People simply did not have the tools to see the universe and cosmic mystery as we do today via modern technology. Today we might be able to look at the idea of death and the Cosmic Christ through new glasses, if you will. So let's give it a try!
I should like to edge a little into the superstring theory and the idea of a multidimensional universe. To quote:
"...the superstring theory predicts what happened *before* the Big Bang.
"According to superstrings, the universe originally existed in ten dimensions, not the four dimensions (three space dimensions and one time dimension) of today. However, because the universe was unstable in ten dimensions, it 'cracked' into two pieces, with a small, four-dimensional universe peeling off from the rest of the universe. By analogy, imagine a soap bubble that is vibrating slowly. If the vibrations become strong enough, the soap bubble becomes unstable and fissions into two or more smaller soap bubbles. Imagine that the original soap bubble represents the ten-dimensional universe, and that one of the smaller soap bubbles represents our present day universe.
"If this theory is true, it means that our universe actually has a 'sister universe' that co-exists with our universe." [Michio Kaku and Jennifer Trainer, BEYOND EINSTEIN: THE COSMIC QUEST FOR THE THEORY OF THE UNIVERSE, Bantam Books, 1987, p. 13.]
"You do not have to worry...that one day as you are walking down the street you will suddenly 'fall' into another other-dimensional universe...According to the superstring theory, the other multidimensional universe has shrunk to such an incredibly small size...that it can never be reached by humans." [Ibid, p. 14.]
Now the above is scientific theoretical speculation about our *physical* universe. But as many of us are beginning to realize, this universe we live in is not only a physical outer world but also a mental/energy inner world. We humans are microcosms of this Without/Within universe--as Teilhard would put it. The very fact that we are subjective beings as well as physically present beings points to a mental/energy dimension.
Certainly the idea of the Logos--as the Power and Plenum that stands behind the universe--suggests the existence of this mental/energy dimension. If there is such, than the Historical Jesus represents the enfleshed physical dimension of the Logos and the Cosmic Christ *is* the mental/energy dimension of the universe!
If Jesus is literally the Reality of the Logos come to us, than as an aspect of the Logos he could naturally return to the mental/ energy dimensional state of the Cosmic Christ upon physical death. As to how the Resurrection might be perceived, it's possible that as the "Word" Jesus was illustrating to humanity that we, too, have reached the level--as reflective microcosms--where upon shedding our physical bodies we will naturally follow into the mental/energy state of the universe.
If this is true, than surely Jesus' death was indeed an illustrative and salvatory act. His death and resurrection was a demonstration of what can be for conscious sentient beings who also reflect within their nature the mental/energy dimension of the universe. In essence, my speculation is suggestive that, like Jesus, we all come from and return to this mental/energy state-of-being.
Now if I may further speculate, referring back to scientific theories of the physical universe, I should like to address what is called the "dimensional bridge concept." In this concept, we approach the Black Hole and the idea of a Parallel Universe. As Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics, puts it:
"If we reexamine the picture given to us by Einstein, we see that a black hole is basically represented by a long, trumpetlike depression in the fabric of space-time.
"However, Einstein noticed years ago that this picture is not entirely correct. It turns out that if there is only one such trumpetlike depression, contradictory results occur. In fact Einstein was forced to have *two* such trumpetlike depressions combine in order to give a self-consistent picture of the black hole." [Ibid, p. 175.]
The picture as drawn by Kaku-Trainer shows large bowl-like openings on two ends of a tunnel-like gateway. One opening of these combined trumpetlike depressions (or tunnel) represents our universe, whereas the other opening represents a parallel universe. Overall the picture illustrates a gateway, also called the "Einstein-Rosen Bridge." [Ibid, drawing on p. 176.]
Now we are used to considering that if anything falls into a black hole, that's it--gone and done with. Yet scientists have theorized it could be actually possible, in future, that "space probes might be sent directly into a rotating black hole and wind up on another, parallel universe." Their thinking is related to a 1963 discovery when physicist Roy Kerr "discovered that a spinning black hole, instead of collapsing to a point, collapses like a pancake into an infinitely thin disk." Thus "it is possible, in fact, actually to map out the precise paths of such a projectile [space probe] as it moves from one universe to another." [Ibid, pp. 175-176.]
Now why am I going into all this business of black holes and a parallel universe? I'm actually using such as an analogy.
Consider the reports of the NDE, in that consistently reported is the *tunnel* through which our conscious element travels after it leaves its physical body. The NDE reflects the possibility of inter-dimensional travel from the physical dimension of the universe to the mental/energy dimension. Like the gateway the black hole represents, the Einstein-Rosen Bridge, it is possible to conceive mental tunneling as well, moving conscious beings upon death from the physical realm to the mental/energy realm of the universe.
Again, we are back to the dangers of quicksand. Our premises, our theoretics are not facts in concrete. They may not hold, and we slip away once again into the quagmire of wondering about death. Still some of these new theoretics provide new ways about that wondering. And if there be any truth to parallel dimensions, any truth of Teilhard's Without/Without universe, then indeed... "By virtue of Christ's rising again, nothing any longer kills inevitably but everything is capable of becoming the blessed touch of the divine hands, the blessed influence of the will of God upon our lives." [Teilhard, THE DIVINE MILIEU, pp. 82-83.]
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