Sunday, May 23, 2010

Clay IV.5

The question of the Fall. It is for me a question of a territory in which God's power is not in full effect, in which this power is present rather as potential, and in which, further, there is another power present. Humanity's turn away from God, figured in the story of the Garden, is always a turn toward another.

I do not believe that Creation is the work of a demiurge, but neither do I believe the Creation is entirely predestined by a God whose being is all of being. No, there is something else, an Other besides God's work, an Other that, at least as regards this territory the earth, may end up undermining this work through the weight of its resistance, the tenacity of its darkness. It is a question for me--and I do think of it in rather Manichaean terms--of a battle for the world and the souls of men. I would not, however, say with the Gnostics that the souls of men are to escape this territory, leaving it to fall into nothing. No, the material realm, this earth or universe which is the territory of God's work, is not to be abandoned in a movement of quietistic pessimism; it is not to be abandoned as garbage. That is not the goal of the battle we are in. But neither is the universe entirely good. There is a worm at the core of creation, a worm that was present at the very beginning.

The traditional doctrines are powerfully formulated as regards these questions. Nonetheless, they are not as compelling as a truth approached, among others, by the Gnostics. The Gnostics, however, have obscured the truth as well.

The truth is neither with certain of the Kabbalists who insist that God needs our constructive attention to maintain his being, nor is it with the Calvinists who insist that our being and our salvation are eternally predetermined by God.

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