Friday, December 28, 2012

"Most High God" Part II: Highest State

(Continued from Part I: Omnibenevolence)

 Highest State

It is interesting to note that what we today define as “holy” is absolutely not as the Hebrews defined it. The Hebrew word of holy is kaddosh, which does not mean a state of moral perfection nor has anything to do with morality. It means “otherness”, not natural, but supernatural, not of this world, but alien.

It is only the echoes of this deity's actions that we can perceive. If the natural universe were a pond and God places his foot into the waters, we could not possibly see or even comprehend his foot but only the ripples of water that emanate from it. These ripples are in fact a personification of the Shekinah.
This aspect of God – echo, ripple, emanation – is Sophia (Proverbs 8:12), the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2), and the only real cognitive, active, and 'personhood' of God.

If God “steps” into our natural universe from its external, supernatural (holy - kaddosh) state, we could only see the ripples of its steps in the pond. This is the only aspect of God we can perceive. This is God's echo or ripple or emanation. This aspect of God is very much dependent on our Created Universe or it would not – could not – exist without our universe.

Certain Rabbis spoke about the Spirit of God brooding over creation and they compared it to a rider of a horse. While the rider is on the horse the rider depends on the horse but the rider is never the less superior to it and has control over it. The term Shekinah comes from the Hebrew word shakan that means to pitch one's tent. The Shekinah was not a conceived, separate divine being, but the presence of God in our world – a Personified State of God. This was the Jewish rabbinical concept of the Shekinah. Only within a time-flowing, organized universe does God become Personified. (Personhood – cognitive and conscious even). The act of the universe/world transforming from Chaos into Order 'allows' God to Personify. When God Personifies the more Order ensues.

While the Shekinah – Sophia, Holy Spirit, the ripple - is God's personification within our world, the question remains, what is that aspect of God – the alien (kaddosh), unknowable, incomprehensible and supernatural aspect that exists 'outside'? What is this Highest State of God?

To this, I look to Hinduism.
“The ground of all being, whether material or spiritual, whether in the form of men, beasts, or gods, heaven, earth, or hell., is an all-inclusive, unitary reality, beyond sense-apprehension, ultimate in substance, infinite in essence, and self-sufficient, it is the only really existent entity. This reality is most commonly called Brahma. No precise definitions are attempted. 
“...regularly refer to Brahman as a neuter something, with out motion or feeling, the impersonal matrix from which the universe has issued and to which it will in time return. This it, this One Thing, is the substantial substratum of everything.” John B. Noss,“Man's Religions”, Revised Edition, The Macmillan Company 1956, pg. 129-130
Most traditional concepts of God, especially monotheistic ones, hold five attributes to God. Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence. Omnibenevolence, and Personhood.

This 'Highest State' of God is significantly more like the Hindu concept of Brahman; akin to the Taoists Eternal Tao – impersonal. Not a being or an entity. It most definitely is a step aware from an  anthropomorphic concept of God.
“Tao can be talked about, but not the Eternal Tao. Names can be named, but not the Eternal Name.” Tao Teh Ching, verse 1
Like negative theology, God's nature is so absolutely different from our existence that it is utterly incomprehensible. “God” is by nature one which language cannot describe.

As the Hindu concept of Brahman holds, it is the substantial substratum of everything. A total summation. A gestalt, similar to the Gnostic's Pleroma, or fullness.

It does not meet all five traditional standards.
It cannot be all-knowing because It is not conscious or cognate. It lacks Personhood. It is impersonal. It cannot be said to be omnipotent simply because it does not consciously choose to do anything.

It is debatable whether It would be omnibenevolent or not. You don't need a mind or consciousness to feel. We could even debate whether being omnibenevolent requires feeling love, but rather being Love itself.

The only criterion this Highest State would clearly maintain is omnipresence.

In the opening lines of the bible (Genesis 1:2) we find the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit, Sophia – God personified) hovering or brooding over “the filaments” or “the waters”. It is uncertain and unclear what “the filaments” or “the waters” are, but one thing is clear. There is no mention of the Spirit of God creating them. They are preexistent (probably eternally co-existent) and the building blocks of everything and anything, spiritual or material. Even from a biblical perspective we find an evasive Tao-like Brahman something.

Continued on "Most Highest God" Part III: Personified State

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