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away from, for, whatever else it may be, it is myself. Whatever distinctions there may be within the universe, it is clear that they must all be transcended and comprehended within infinity. There cannot be two infinities, nor can there be an infinite and also a finite beyond it. What infinity may be, we can have no means of knowing. We can predicate nothing with confidence concerning the all-comprehending unity wherein we live and move and have our being, save and except as we see it manifested in that part of our universe which lies open to us.” The wide sweep of rock and sea and sky tells us of "a beneficent stillness, an eternal strength, far above and beyond these finite tossings. It whispers the word impossible to utter, the word that explains everything, the deep that calleth unto deep. So my God calls always to my deeper soul, and tells me I must read Him by mine own highest and best, and by the highest and best that the universe has yet produced.”
But why is there a universe at all? Why has the unlimited become limited ? The reason may be, that this infinite universe of ours is one means to the self-realization of the infinite. “Supposing God to be infinite consciousness, there are still possibilities to that consciousness which it can only know as it becomes limited. Those to whom this thought is unfamiliar have only to look at their own experience in order to see how reasonable it is. You may know yourself to be a brave man, but you will know it in a higher way if you are a soldier facing the cannon's mouth; you will know it in a still different way if you have to face the hostility and prejudice of a whole community for standing by something which you believe to be right. It is one thing to know that you are a lover of truth; it is another thing to realize it when your immediate interest and your immediate safety would bid you hedge and lie. Do not these facts of human nature and experience tell us something about God? To all eternity God is what He is and never can be other, but it will take Him to all eternity to live out all that He is. In order to manifest even to Himself the possibilities of His being God must limit that being. There is no other way in which the fullest self-realization can be attained."
Thus we get two modes of God,—the infinite, perfect, unconditioned, primordial being; and the finite, imperfect, conditioned and limited being of which we are ourselves expressions. And yet these two are one, and the former is the guarantee that the latter shall not fail in the purpose for which it became limited. “Thus to the question, Why a finite universe? I should answer, Because God wants to express what He is. His achievement here is only one of an infinite number of possibilities.
God is the perfect poet
This is an end worthy alike of God and man. The act of creation is eternal, although the cosmos is changing every moment, for God is ceaselessly uttering Himself through higher and ever higher forms of existence. We are helping Him to do it when we are true to ourselves
To put it in homely, everyday phraseology, God is getting at something and we must help Him. We must be His eyes and hands and feet; we must be laborers together with Him. This fits in with what science has to say about the very constitution of the universe; it is all of a piece; there are no gaps anywhere. It is a divine experiment without risk of failure, and we must interpret it in terms of our own highest."
The real universe must be infinitely greater and more complex than the one which is apparent to our physical senses. “Suppose we were endowed to hear and see sounds and colors a million times greater in number than those of which we have at present any cognizance! What kind of a universe would it be then? But that universe exists now; it is around us and within us; it is God's thought about Himself, infinite and eternal. It is only finite to a finite mind, and it is more than probable that spiritual beings exist with a range of consciousness far greater than our own, to whom the universe of which we form a part must seem far more beautiful and fuller of meaning than it seems to us. Imagine a man who could only see gray hues and could only hear the note A on the keyboard. His experience would be quite as real as ours, and indeed would be the same up to a point, but how little he would know of the world as we know it. The glory of the sunset sky would be hidden from him; for him the melting power of the human voice, or of a grand cathedral organ, would not exist. So, no doubt, it is in a different degree with us all. The so-called material world is our consciousness of reality exercising itself along a strictly limited plane. We can know just as much as we are constituted to know, and no more. But it is all a question of consciousness. The larger and fuller a consciousness becomes, the more it can grasp and hold of the consciousness of God, the fundamental reality of our being as of everything else."
Nowadays we hear a great deal about the subconscious mind, as it is most clumsily called; the sub-liminal or supra-liminal consciousness; the consciousness above the threshold of our habitual personal selves. This supra-liminal consciousness, this “consciousness above the threshhold," seems to be the seat of inspiration and intuition, according to the author of The New Theology. The thoughts which are most valuable are those which come unbidden, rising to the surface of consciousness from unknown depths. The best scientific discoveries are made in much the same way; the investigator has an intuition and forthwith sets to work to justify it. "Now what is this subconscious mind whose importance is so great and of whose nature we know so little? That is a question upon which psychology has not yet pronounced, but there are not a few who regard it as the real personality. Evidently it is not only deeper but larger than the surface mind. Our discovery of its existence has taught us that our ordinary consciousness is but a tiny corner of our personality. It has been well described as an illuminated disk on a vast ocean of being; it is like an island in the Pacific which is really the summit of a mountain whose base is miles below the surface. Summit and base are one, and yet no one realizes when standing on the little island that he is perched at the very top of a mountain peak. So it is with our everyday consciousness of ourselves; we find it rather difficult to realize that this consciousness is not all there is of us. And yet, when we come to examine into the facts, the conclusion seems irresistible, that of our truer, deeper being we are quite unconscious."
"Several important inferences follow from this position. The first is that our surface consciousness is somewhat illusory and does not possess the sharpness and definiteness of outline which we are accustomed to take for granted when thinking of ourselves. To ordinary common sense nothing seems more obvious than that we know most that is to be known about our friend John Smith ... But according to the newer psychology, this matter-of-fact Englishman is not what he seems even to himself. His true being is vastly greater than he knows, and vastly greater than the world will ever know. It belongs not to the material plane of existence but to the plane of eternal reality. This larger self is in all probability a perfect and eternal spiritual being integral to the being of God. His surface self, his Philistine self, is the incarnation of some portion of that true eternal self, which is one with God. The dividing line between the surface self and the other self is not the definite demarcation it appears to be. To the higher self it does not exist ...If my readers want to know whether I think that the higher self is conscious of the lower, I can only answer, yes, I do, but I cannot prove
I it; probabilities point that way. What I want to insist on here is that we are greater than we seem, that we have a higher self, and that our limited consciousness does not involve a separate individuality.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The greatest poets are the best theologians after all, for they see the farthest. The true being is consciousness; the universe, visible and invisible, is consciousness. The higher self of the individual infolds more of the consciousness of God than the lower, but lower and higher are the same thing.
“Another inference from the theory of the subconscious mind is that of the fundamental unity of the whole human race. Indeed all life is fundamentally one, but there is a kinship of man with man which precedes that of man with any other order of being. Here again the spiritual truth cuts across what seem to be the dictates of common sense. Common sense assumes that I and Thou are eternally distinct, and that by no possibility can the territories of our respective beings ever become one. But even now, and on mere everyday grounds, we are finding reason to think otherwise ... All being, remember, is conscious of being. The infinite consciousness sees itself as a whole; the finite consciousness sees the same whole as a part. Ultimately your being and mine are one and we shall come to know it. Individuality only has meaning in relation to the whole, and individual consciousness can only be fulfilled by expanding until it embraces the whole. Nothing that exists in your consciousness now and constitutes your self-knowledge will ever be obliterated or ever can be, but in a higher state of existence you will realize it to be a part of the universal stock. I shall not cease to be I, nor you to be you; but there must be a region of experience where we shall find that you and I are one.
“A third inference, already hinted at and presumed in all that has gone before, is that the highest of all selves, the ultimate Self of the universe, is God. The New Testament speaks of man as body, soul, and spirit. The body is the thought-form through which the individuality finds expression on our present limited plane; the soul is a man's consciousness of himself as apart from all the rest of existence and even from God—it is the bay seeing itself as the bay and not as the ocean; the spirit is the true being thus limited and expressed—it is the deathless divine within us. The soul therefore is what we make it; the spirit we can neither make nor mar, for it is at once our being and God's. Where, then, someone will say, is the dividing line between our being and God's? There is no dividing line except on our side. The ocean of consciousness knows that the bay has never been separate from itself, although the bay is only conscious of the ocean on the outer side of its being.”
So far the teaching of The New Theology in its universal aspect. Let us now turn to its view of the character and position of Jesus. In
a sense, says our author, everything that exists is divine, because the whole universe is an expression of the being of God. But it is well to restrict the word "divine" to the kind of consciousness which knows itself to be, and rejoices to be, the expression of a love which is a consistent self-giving to the universal life. "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him." Jesus was divine simply and solely because his life was never governed by any other principle. In him humanity was divinity, and divinity, humanity. The world by a right instinct recognizes Jesus as the standard of human excellence. But this is not to say that we shall never reach that standard too; quite the contrary. We must reach it in order to fulfil our destiny and to crown and complete the work of Jesus. “This brings us to the further question of the Deity of Jesus. As a matter of fact, as I have already indicated, this question, too, has long been settled in practice. If by the Deity of Jesus is meant that He possessed the allcontrolling consciousness of the universe, then assuredly He was not the Deity for He did not possess that consciousness. He prayed to His Father, sometimes with agony and dread; He wondered, suffered, wept, and grew weary. He confessed His ignorance of some things and declared Himself to have no concern with others; it is even doubtful how far He was prepared to receive the homage of those about Him. If there be one thing which becomes indisputable from the reading of the gospel narratives it is that Jesus possessed a true human consciousness, limited like our own.”
The next question is, to determine the meaning of the title "Christ," applied to Jesus. The author of The New Theology sets about it thus: “The idea of a divine Man, the emanation of the infinite, the soul of the universe, the source and goal of all humanity, is ages older than Christian theology. It can be traced in Babylonian religious literature, for instance, at a period older even than the Old Testament. It played a not unimportant part in Greek thought, and Philo of Alexandria, a contemporary of Jesus, works it out in some detail in his religio-philosophic system, which aimed to combine the wide outlook of Greek culture with the high seriousness of Hebrew religion. It is a true, indeed an inevitable, conception, if we hold anything like a consistent view of the immanence of God in His universe. With what God have we to do except the God who is eternally man? This aspect of the nature of God has been variously described in the course of its history. It has been called the Word (Logos), the Son, and, as we have seen, the second person of the Trinity. For various reasons I prefer to call it-or rather Himthe eternal Christ.
According to the New Testament writers, Jesus was and is the Christ, but in His earthly life His consciousness of the fact was limited. But, as we have come forth from this fontal