The Cosmic Plenum: God-Imaging, Models, and Science Theory
God-imaging has long been around, boasting a long history: through animism, matriarchy, hierarchical polytheism, tribal monotheism, universal monotheism to individuation.
So one has to ponder far beyond superficial thinking about *why* we have so long clung to this seemingly eternal habit of ours to conjure and develop images of That which we call "God." So let's look a little at this phenomenon we call "religion."
Freud considered religion to be the universal obsessional neurosis of humanity--he stressed that humans projected their wishes, especially his great need for a protecting father, into an all-powerful divine Providence. Whereas Jung took the view that the libido was simply psychic energy, and that the material form in which psychic energy presents itself is fantasy.
As Jung's theories evolved, the transformer of libido became known as the archetype; the archetypes appear in dreams and fantasies as numinous images. Jung came to think of the archetypal image as the *instinct as image.*
Jung noticed that persons project their archetypal material on others, especially parents. Much of this material could be seen in its mythic features or godlike qualities. Jung refused to take a reductionist interpretation. He believed that he was actually dealing with a *transcendent center* of authority and value that resided within man and yet was beyond the parameters of ego consciousness. He believed that this situation implicated a transcendent center that could create the foundation for a religious attitude; for Jung this was the *numinosum.*
The noted mythologist Joseph Campbell complied that mythological symbolism has psychological significance, that myths originate from the "unconscious wells of fantasy." But there is a major difference between myths and dreams; and it is here that Campbell jumps from the individual to the cultural. Our myths are projections, patterns, but they are consciously controlled. Myths "serve as a powerful picture language for the communication of traditional wisdom."
Campbell exclaimed that not only are mythological figures symptoms of the unconscious, but they are "intended statements of certain spiritual principals which have remained as a constant throughout the course of human history as the form and nervous structure of the human physique itself."
Mircea Eliade, a historian of religion, considered this kind of projection, or pattern, to be utterly necessary. Eliade noted that myths represented the eruption of the sacred into the world. The myth...the archetype...becomes a paradigmatic model for all human activities. Eliade believed that man's world has to be created; man symbolically has to transform his world into a cosmos. And every creation requires a paradigmatic model. For Eliade, religious man's desire to live in the sacred...the *numinosum*...allows him not to be paralyzed by subjective experiences.
Man connects with a sacred center which renders orientation possible; with this orientation, man has a sense of real existence that counters his terror of chaos and nothingness. Religious man, according to Eliade, makes himself by imitating the divine models.
The "divine model" that interests me greatly, and might relate later to some constructs in modern science theory is the classical philosophical consideration of the Logos!
Referring to the Logos merely in terms of the concept of "Word" is considered inadequate by serious scholars. The best way to get a grip on the Logos is by exploring how it was used, especially in Greek philosophy.
Taking account the Egyptian hermetic writings, "probably the earliest Greek antecedent to the idea of the Logos came from...Heraclitus." His conceptual universe was one that constantly changed, a universe in constant motion propelled by all-pervading Reason, which Heraclitus likened to divine fire or energy.
Following Heraclitus, the philosopher Anaxagoras considered a "Divine Mind" , which was immanent in the created order...
Aristotle believed that matter and form always existed together. Hence, for him, human beings had not only a material body, but also a soul in which there dwells a divine spark that the soul shares with God. "This spark of divinity in human nature is an element of the divine Logos--the shaping spiritual power and essence of God--is eternal and impersonal." [David Fideler, JESUS CHRIST SUN OF God: ANCIENT COSMOLOGY AND EARLY CHRISTIAN SYMBOLISM, Quest Books, 1993, p 20.]
The concept of the Logos was most fully expressed by the Stoic philosophers. Stoicism believed the Universe to consist of two kinds of matter: a gross or coarse matter; and an extremely fine matter, which is virtually indistinguishable from the idea of spirit. The material, created order is thus pervaded with the spiritual substance, but it is also pervaded with a vital element--like the energetic fire of Heraclitus--that shaped, harmonized, and interpenetrated all things.
For the Stoics, this was nothing less than an intelligent, self- conscious world-soul, an indwelling Logos. Considering the Logos as God, and as the source of all life and all wisdom--then our 'human reason partakes of its nature, because this Logos dwells within us. For this reason we can follow the God within and refer to ourselves as the offspring of God." [Ibid, p.20]
The Logos Teaching in the Pythagorean and Platonic Schools (of Hellenistic Alexandria) was as follows:
*The Logos is not the First Cause...[rather] the Logos represents the first level of real manifestation or Being, for it encompasses within itself all the laws and relations which are later articulated in the phenomenal universe.
*Underlying the source of all reality, the Logos is related to the principle of *Nous* or Universal Intellect, the "repository" of all the cosmic Forms and principles on which creation is based. [Ibid, p. 42]
The "Logos is in the *arche,* the Beginning, Source, or Fount of experience. As the underlying harmonic pattern of creation, all things were made through the Logos! [Ibid, p. 45]
To my mind this *arche*, this ensuing Logos, is beyond just our own fledgling god-imaging. I suspect through our religious and philosophical efforts in the past and through our scientific efforts currently, we are groping towards explaining a deep-set intuition of a Foundation--a Cosmic Plenum!
Now whether we believe through faith, or via an insightful intuition (the Logos, Sophia, Pneuma), or by a manifested inner imago--there has been down through the ages this sense of a Ground of Being, this sense of a Foundation and Central Attractor of the Cosmos, the Alpha and the Omega that holds all together, that beckons and guides the Universe. This is a contemplative concept that has long been with us.
Now let us move to the Macrocosmos, to some selected scientific considerations. Let's start with the Big Bang. Some science theorists are at least intuiting that our universe was *informed* at the first microseconds of the Big Bang.
Early in 1992 scientists officially announced their discoveries of the oldest and largest cosmic structures known. By using the millions of measurements taken by COBE--NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer satellite--these scientists were able to analyze the oldest snapshot of the ancient events that ultimately led to today's Universe.
Scientists were able actually to make direct measurements of "ripples" that were born in the explosion of the Big Bang. In a sense COBE had discovered the fossils of Creation.
In 1964 scientists had confirmed the afterglow of the Big Bang, which fills the Universe. And COBE made it possible for scientists to measure this glow--located in the long-wavelength microwave portion of the spectrum--to an accuracy of one part per million.
These measurements, these tiny one hundred-thousandth-of-a degree temperature variations are the imprints of the ripples in the fabric of space-time that were caused by the Big Bang. And through the billions of years these ripples have formed the galaxies, the galaxy clusters, and the voids of space.
This first cosmic snapshot by COBE allowed scientists to see the *forces* that would ultimately determine the future shape of the Universe. COBE had permitted scientists a glimpse of those early seeds of Creation that were laid the first billionth of a second of the Big Bang...We have come to realize that *information* propels the cosmic process of unfoldment.
As for the Microcosmos, as interpreted by quantum theory, the *foundation* of outer reality rests upon a mysterious, subatomic milieu--a milieu where little can be predicted precisely. It is a milieu where one has to work with probabilities rather than certainties. It is a milieu that meshes, that is grainy. Electromagnetic energy--such as heat or light--does not form as a continuous wave. Rather, light has a dual character. In some circumstances light may display wavelike aspects; and, other times, light may have the characteristics of particles. Electromagnetic energy, elementary particles that undergird the world, can be transferred only in quantum packages.
SO! Could it be that our ancient religious and classical philosophical concepts (such as the Logos) might be conveyed scientifically as a *Foundational Presence* that underlies all Cosmic Being.? For the late quantum theorist David Bohm, it is a Presence within cosmic energy.
Bohm's cosmic model suggests that this Presence has existed since the foundation of the cosmos. It is present in the cyclical process of the universe. It is pure, active intelligence from which all that is manifest in the cosmos comes. It acts through an inwardness in consciousness. It enfolds information into the many levels of consciousness, into all of life. It is the Implicate Order which is the Ground of All Existence.
And one has to wonder, too, that we live in a Cosmos that scientists now consider to be a Web of Relationship through and through--as derived from systems theory and the philosophical paradigm of Deep Ecology. Indeed, John Wheeler--one of the world's leading physicists--sees the "world as a self-synthesizing system of existences." It is a world of "intercommunicating existences, one based on quantum-plus-information theory." According to Wheeler, "the quantum teaches that *the world at bottom has an information- theoretic character." [John Wheeler, "The World as a Self-Synthesizing System of Existences," IBM J. Res. Develop., 32.1 (January 1988), pp. 4-15.]
Now let us return to depth psychology (where we began this multi-posting with Freud and Jung) and god-imaging. The late premier Jungian scholar, Edward F. Edinger, put it thus: " The whole evolutionary history of life gives us a picture of higher and higher syntheses of biological existence being created out of the evolutionary process...For that reason we have to assume some kind of *latent, creative intentionality* to account for the phenomenon of the historical evolution of life as we see it, not to speak of the higher and higher syntheses on the psychological level..." [Edward F. Edinger, THE NEW GOD-IMAGE: A STUDY OF JUNG'S KEY LETTERS CONCERNING THE EVOLUTION OF THE WESTERN GOD-IMAGE, Chiron Publications, 1996, p. 67.]
So just maybe our god-imaging, our philosophical pondering of such concepts as the Logos might be, in the end, appropriate intuitive efforts towards comprehending this *Foundational Presence* within our Cosmos. Thus, rather than negating these previous efforts outright, perhaps it would be more fruitful to integrate such with our contemporary scientific quest towards trying to reach the same understanding.
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