There's a lot of pantheistic thought in the New Testament that escaped the gimlet-eyed notice of latter-day revisionists, mainly bearded, who distorted if not destroyed Jesus' fundamental message to suit their own warped ideas of what divinity, religion, and history should be. In my view, the coming of Jesus was humankind's biggest lost opportunity. Not so much lost, as stolen. Not so much stolen, as twisted.
This post does cover the same ground covered elsewhere in this blog, but in an ever-so-slightly different way, so deal with it (or not, as you like).
There's some boring, technical, longwinded rambling to start with, but I think you will find value if/when you read to the end!
There are many schools of pantheistic thought, and many schools of thought that call themselves pantheistic, but I don't want to get into a discussion about the meaning of words. That's a sterile discussion. I want to talk about the ideas behind the words. And if I'm using the wrong words, that doesn't make the ideas wrong or invalid. I'll simply choose or even create other words to talk about those same ideas.
Notwithstanding the above, there are some semantics to get out of the way in order to examine those ideas more closely: "immanent" vs "transcendent" deity.
The mainstream monotheistic religions, the "Abrahamic" religions -- Christianity, Islam and Judaism -- are based on a transcendent model of deity, in which Creator transcends Creation. A transcendent Creator stands apart from Creation, separate from Creation. A transcendent Creator exists prior to Creation, and will continue to exist if and when Creation is destroyed/ends.
In contrast, models of immanent deity are based on the idea that Creator and Creation are one and the same thing. They are identical. Creator IS Creation, and Creation IS Creator. One way to have this conversation without bringing god or morality or ethics or good and evil into it is simply to say: "Reality is the Biggest Person there is". Or to put it another way: every thing is part of Everything.
Can't argue with that, it's a simple, non-controversial and apparently humble and unassuming statement: every thing is part of Everything. And yet, so much flows from that one statement. [Even hard-nosed, materialist, reductionist quantum physicists are beginning to discover if not realise that the universe is indeed All One. Everything is connected. As the Buddhist said to the hot-dog vendor: "Make me One with Everything".]
But I'm getting sidetracked. Let's return to immanent vs transcendent models of the numinous. The implications of immanence are clear. If Creator IS Creation, if there is no separation between Creator and Creation, if we are all cells in the body of the Biggest Person There Is, then you don't need Priests. You don't need intermediaries if there is no separation.
If Creator IS Creation, you don't need churches, synagogues, mosques, cathedrals or temples. Why would you need a "special place" if all places are special places, (or as Einstein might say, all places are the same place)? In fact, If Creator IS Creation you don't need worship, or prayer, or obedience. Reality (The Biggest Person There Is) does not require or request worship, prayer or obedience. [BTW, I've always wondered why it is seen as a good thing to be "god-fearing". Surely it would be better to be god-loving than god-fearing?]
The simple equation: Creator = Creation = Creator is the core of Jesus' message. But sadly it has been distorted and buried and obscured and hidden and misappropriated. But the message is there, and most pronouncedly in the "gnostic" writings that have not been admitted into the canon of the Old and New Testaments. [If one were being particularly stupid, and were in love with irrelevant allusions and aphorisms, one might be tempted to say in this instance that the Messiah is the Message, (with apologies to Marshall McLuhan)].
Jesus said he was the son of god, in the context that every person is a child of God. And so too is the Planet. And so too is the flowerpot on my windowsill. Or to put it another way: every thing is part of Everything, the Biggest Person There Is. Let's try not to forget that, shall we?
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