Home | The Logos Continuum | The Cosmic Plenum | The Imaginal Within The Cosmos | Consciousness In The Cosmos | A Cosmic Initiation | Living In The Cosmos | LogosTalk

LogosTalk: God-Imaging

___ puts it: << I do not think that either the Platonic or the Stoic tradition states that the Logos, the Word of God, the Thought of God, constitutes a second Person of a Divine trinity, a second Person who is co-equal to the first and third Persons of the said Trinity. It is my understanding that the doctrine of a triune God, composed of one divine nature and three co-equal Persons is a doctrine that is of Christian origin, albeit a doctrine influenced by Greek thought, especially Platonism and Stoicism. >>

Yes, the doctrine of the Trinity was imposed during one of those early Church Councils. As we talked already on this list, it's likely that the context of a triune divine nature came from earlier Greek thinking: i.e., Architect, Logos, and Pneuma. It's murkier when it comes to this Greek thought, in relation to later Christian thinking, regarding that the three aspects (or descriptions of God) somehow are actually "three in One."

As for the ancient Stoics, here's a small tidbit of their theology.

God is Fire (divine energy) and Logos (reason) diffused throughout the cosmos. The Law of Nature (physical law) is his material presence in the universe. As Cosmic Reason (logos) he is ipso facto Providence, ordaining all things, and Fate, imposing upon man a physical determinism that allows for freedom merely as man's inner acceptance of cosmic necessity.

So it would seem that the ancient Stoics believed in One God, but a divinity that could display its various aspects in different ways. These old Stoics, too, had a tolerance for the many religious expressions in their day--declaring that such simply were the many "faces" of God.

Thus, "in the air" of the Hellenistic World there was this thinking of a God as One, but One that could exist in diversity.

Speaking of Teilhard, ___ continues: <<It is my opinion that he could arrive at the concept of a divine Logos without help from holy writ--after all the Platonists and the Stoics did and do. >>

Well I suspect Teilhard was likely well-versed in Greek thought, since it oft underlies Christian theological training. Recently I talked with an Anglican priest and he made mention that at the beginning of his training they had to take a class that not only covered the ancient material of Greek thought, but also the relating elements of other world religions with Christian thought. However, he did say that it was *this* class where a number of seminarians dropped-out. They simply were not prepared, couldn't handle the complexity of this Continuum (as I call it).

When it comes to the Numinous, the Great Mystery, it's simply a fact-of-life that people must somehow narrow Such down into their own horizon. That's why we have specific religions that have evolved from specific cultural roots. People need to make sense of their "relationship" with God; and they are most comfortable coming out of their familiar cultural understandings.

More deep is the need to make God "personal." This brings the relationship down to the quick, so to speak. Jesus is a personal face of God for the Christians, as were the various gods in the Olympian Pantheon to those citizens of the Hellenistic World. As for the Orient, I'm not as familiar, but I'm willing to bet there's similar currents that run in different ways in the various religions in this region. Maybe wrong, but I have read that the many gods in Hinduism have been likened by their scholars as the different faces of God. People and villages link with certain of these gods, as did the Hellenistic people with theirs.

So what are we really talking about? It's about something "rock-bottom" in my opinion. This harkens back to some of our discussions about memes, the Meme of all memes, about an underlying Numinosity that has lurked in our minds since the dawn of human consciousness. The early hominids had their mysteries, the earliest agricultural societies and city-states had their gods. And as ___alluded in a recent post, there's all this bio-data in our own day that somehow our brains cannot help but be god-oriented because of how such is wired. I haven't got much into this new territory, but it seems fascinating.

Underlying there seems this Numinosity, no matter its names, no matter its introduction. And this Numinosity seems to dwell in our minds and we *project* Such into god-images that evolve outwardly into religious or spiritual thought--and the various edifices built upon this thought.

Depth psychologists have long played with our propensity for god-imaging. For these psychologists this special imaging is related to our own psychical individuation process. In other words the Numinous evolves, grows, becomes more sophisticated in direct proportion to our own growth--as an individual, as a culture. Hence we have gone from animism to gods of terror and vengeance to protector-tribal gods to cosmic gods to personal gods to loving-caring gods.

One of the best psychologists I know, who has studied this propensity for god-imaging, is the late Edward F. Edinger. A former director of both the New York and Los Angeles Analytical Psychology Institutes, he has written a series of books that lays all this god-imaging out for one to understand. He's well-worth reading, IMO.


Thus, getting back to what ___ says: <<I'm not convinced that this Divine Logos is Jesus of Nazareth.>>

And my response simply reflects my own view. Declaring Jesus as the Incarnate Logos was an effort by early Christologists to take the *next step* in Hellenistic thinking. The Gospels were attached to the Jewish Bible several centuries after the death of Jesus. In the meanwhile, before scripture was actually available, the Early Church propagated in the Hellenistic World--moving far and beyond the Jerusalem Church and any Jewish roots.

Early Christian leaders surely had to connect in some way with the Hellenistic Mind. Even St. Paul made the effort before the Athenian philosophers, trying to identify Christ with the "Unknown God." As psychologists, mythologists, and classical historians have come to understand, the pantheons of gods in the Hellenic/ Hellenistic World were archetypal aspects of the human psyche, were the hopes of the human mind. Hence, themes such as "virgin birth," such as "resurrection," were already prominent in this ancient world. So was the theme of One God in diversity in its higher philosophies.

The groundwork was already there for the Christ Imago to take root in the Mediterranean region. It was like pulling it altogether and *personalizing* it. This personalization of a loving, caring God especially appealed to the poor and the persecuted. Remember, this world existed upon the foundation of vast slave-power. Oft these slaves lived a brutal existence, and they needed exactly the reinforcement of a Jesus, of a Christ Imago. These people literally died for their God. They needed a loving Father, a Son willing to die for them, and a Spirit that would always be with them!

Hence, like wildfire, Christianity soared--until Constantine declared it the State Religion of the Roman Empire. Then it took another twist. But that's a discussion for another day.

The important issue in all this is *where are we at today, regarding the Christ Imago?* Teilhard saw what a number of people have seen/ are seeing. There's a staleness that begs for reinvigoration, for new paths and approaches in light of what we know and experience today. Thus Teilhard linked Christ with cosmogenesis.

I can only speak for myself, but I'm not uncomfortable with various god-imagery--as long as I know clearly that it is *only* imagery of the Numinous that underlies all Creation. In the end I hold faith in this Numinosity, this Ground of Being. So whether we talk of this or that god-image, I feel we are simply putting a "face" on this Numinosity.

We have to do this, bring the Numinous into our own horizon, otherwise there would be no connection. Yet, I *know* that we are dealing with images. But I also believe in the Great Mystery that stands behind all our faith effort. So, for me, I'm comfortable with our culture's god-image, which is the Christ Imago. I'm comfortable, too, with people like Teilhard who make the effort to evolve this Christ Imago beyond the parochial into the universal. It's where we need head in my estimation.

To end, it's all in the imagery as to how we grow in God.

___ also noted: <<...Rembrandt, Picasso and Jung...reached back to ancient classical images to define themselves. Classical images carry the charge of the archetypal psyche. >>

Fifteen or more years back Jean Shinoda Bolen came out with her book on the "Goddess." Following, Christine Downing--a classical historian and religious scholar--published a Goddess book. In both cases these authors were relating mythological images of the Greco-Roman era with those archetypal energies present in all of us. Then came the "Gods" books, and eventually there was a whole slew of such studies, all mainly coming out of the Jungian context.

What all these psychologists and writers were explaining was that these images are in the Collective Psyche of the West, and even unto modern times they pop into our dreams, into our thoughts and projections. They are the "imagos" we live out, or as once projected they were also the god-images of Classical Times.

As both Jung and Edinger have stressed, a major imago for many in the West has been the Christ Imago. It's this Christ-image that has popped into our dreams, into our visions, etc. Again, it's an *impress,* if you will, into the Collective Psyche.

But now with the resurgence of competitive religions and spiritualities in our own times, will we begin--eventually--to observe new imagery? Quite possible. Yet, I find it interesting that psychologists are once again dwelling on the imagery of the Olympian Pantheon in relation to our archetypal energies. Evidently they are either seeing a resurgence of this kind of imagery--or it is a particular sort of imagery that relates well to Typology. I suspect it might be a blend of both, from what I have read of this material.

Long ago we discussed this material in the _____, maybe not realizing it at the time. We talked some about our various demeanors, propensities, typologies. I remember relating that I connected very well with a particular Olympian goddess-image in explaining my own typology.

Of course Jung took a number of these mythological images and synthesized them into his own collection: i.e., the Wise Old Man, the Great Mother, the Hag, the Hero, the Trickster, etc. So if you look at the divine images of the Olympian Pantheon, or other archaic pantheons, you will find them dwelling in Jung's collection.

Jung got around, having visited indigenous cultures in Africa and North America as well being familiar with Western imagery. He saw a current that was similar in all of them, only presented with a different cultural imaginal face.

For me, it's this "current" that stands behind all the diversity that is significant. I've learned to understand the faces, the types, the imagery for what they are! They represent imaginally the One in diversity. But for myself, I dwell now mostly on the One--the great Numinosity that is the Ground of Being.

Nonetheless, I live in a world of people still caught-up in the diversity and making the mistake that *their* particular image of the One is the "one-and-only." I also live in a world where there's little outlet for a person who has come, plain and simple, alone, to the Mystery, to the Ground. We still must link with a given perspective, unless we wish to remain isolated.


Return to LogosTalk | Home