Christian Existence and Modern Existence. 1. The problem of Science

Modern Existence and Christian Existence
1. The problem with Science

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:1-4

‘He [Adam] moved contrary to his nature, madly (ανοητ0ς) and of his own initiative, making a bad use of the natural faculty which had been entrusted to him in his constitution with an eye to the unification of what was separated, so as rather to separate things united’ Maximos the Confessor. Quoted in ‘Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses’ Jean-Claud Larchet Volume I, p65

“We murder to dissect” William Wordsworth ‘The tables turned’

It needs to be said at the outset that my aim here is not to ‘have a go at science’ Rather to reveal the changes in the Church which led to it as a way of Knowing the World. I am very aware that contemporary Science is waking up to the interconnectedness of things – from Quantum Physics to Neurobiology. However in a world created by the privilege given to the Scientific way of Knowing, and it is all but total – ultimately our humanity is lost. For we are only human in relation to God, and all that is. Science starts from the assumption that the World might be known apart from God – further it is a way of knowing is attractive to us because of its tendency rooted in the human, to Power over that which is, Rather than Love for . . .

 

I had a mind to call this series ‘Things fall apart . . .’ picking on a line from WB Yeats poem ‘The second coming.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Yeats is writing here at the end of the First World War, but his words if anything have yet more powerful echoes and resonances in the world in which we live, or rather, I would say the Culture, the Times . . . things fall apart, the Centre cannot hold – and of course this seems to be as true of the Church as of the World, and I would suggest, the two are not unrelated . . . Jesus says to his church ‘You are the salt of the earth . . . you are the light of the world’ If there is no salt or light . . .

Christian faith is at its core integrative. To walk in the light of Christ is to become whole, integrated. ‘God was in Christ reconciling the World to himself’ 2 Cor 5:19. This is the path of our healing. The Person so being healed, integrated, becomes a source of Integration for that over which they have dominion, If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.  Romans 5:17 their being inextricably woven into all that is in Christ.  ‘He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together’  Col 1:15-17
That ‘things fall apart’ – that all around us and more especially within us is dis-integration [I recall with horror the recognition of the Horcrux in Harry Potter – saving a life by breaking it into parts . . .] can only mean that the Christian Existence has been largely abandoned in our day, even amongst those who profess otherwise. We may well ask ‘whatever happened to any practical understanding of how we might ‘grow up into our salvation (healing)’?

This disintegration is closely associated with the Scientific outlook – it is its fruit, but that Outlook is itself not a thing which sprang out of nowhere but is itself the fruit of a Root distortion of the Christian faith which ushered in what we now call ‘the Modern World’.

That said, whilst we will in these early weeks be concerned with the way in which things Have fallen apart, my longer aim is rather the Christian view of what is, a view summed up in a word which recurs several times in the New Testament – that is Koinonia – which might be taken to express a woven togetherness of things. What is more this Koinonia expresses a powerful HOPE for Existence made known to us in the Incarnation, the Life Death and Resurrection of a first century Palestinian Jew, Jesus of Nazareth. And that this Koinonia is made known in the Church, most clearly Revealed in the Eucharist. ‘The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a Koinonia in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.’ A truly Cosmic Koinonia is the End of all things in Christ – and in a few weeks time we shall return here, but first . . .

Thesis

At the outset I’d like to state that my thesis is that the Modern World is ‘a culture of things in separation’, ‘things apart’ of ‘disintegration’ — e.g we are all too aware, not only as Christians of a culture of Individualism – but there is much more; and that our cultures many disquiets are precisely due to these manifold separations, but more, that it was changes in the Church, specifically in our Western tradition which I dare to suggest were the cause of Modern Society, and furthermore and highly ironically as such a view of things is antithetical to Christian existence in the world. Which is perhaps why Modern Western Christianity seems so helpless and ‘irrelevant’ in the face of our existence today. ‘Having the form of godliness but lacking its power’  2Tim 3:5
A hapless parent looking on aghast at its errant child wondering what on earth it has done wrong.

If at the heart of Christian Faith is Salvation, The Integration – the God Man – Jesus of Nazareth – why is a world which Western Christianity has given rise to, so profoundly inhuman, for so it unquestionably is. Except Western Christianity which was for a period so dominant and dominating has turned ‘faith’ into something that it is not.

The Essence of disintegration, its fruit is Violence. The argument for non-violence as essential to the Christian life is rooted profoundly in Integration. Only in disintegration can Violence be known.

As Wordsworth puts it ‘We murder to dissect.’ Like a small enquiring child we have a tendency to ‘take things apart, or better break things apart to see how they work’ but then sit amongst the ruins knowing not how to restore them.

We live in an era of unparalleled Violence, to which we have become so accustomed to that apart from a vague unease, we barely notice it. The monk Thomas Merton writing back in the 1960s says ‘There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.’ Conjectures of a Guilty bystander. 1965. Thus quote from 2014 ed. p81 Non Violence – Peace. The capacity for Peace destroyed by the Violence of Activism

We are all of course accustomed to ‘busyness’ in one form or another. We take the words of Jesus ‘Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden . . . and I will give your rest to be little more than a spiritual gap in the day of our ‘important business’, and so we succumb to Violence. I recall sitting on some church committee or another where every half hour there was a two minute ‘pause for prayer’ It reminded me of that most violent of motor sports, Formula 1. A two minute penalty in the pit lane – engines running. Conversation almost inevitably carried on as if nothing had happened . . . It is a matter of some wry reflection on my part that the one text which whenever I preach on it, always provokes a response is the story of Martha and Mary.

Consider the Violence of the motor car. of how it has contributed to the tearing of the fabric of community as we find ourselves able to go far and wide – of how it systematically creates Violence in our world through its destruction of the created order and the covering in asphalt of everything, ‘You pave paradise, put up a parking lot’ As Joni Mitchell puts it. Of how their manufacture excavate and poison the place of their ‘construction’

Or – Violence from another not unrelated angle – the daily energy release from the combustion of oil is equivalent to 6000 Nagasaki atomic bombs, or two of the largest atomic explosions ever, the 50MT Tsar bomb detonated over Northern Russia in 1961. The total energy release from all fossil fuel combustion, is equivalent to the Krakatoa volcanic eruption happening almost on a daily basis, and fossil fuel energy release is only two thirds of the energy released on a daily basis. Energy accumulated over ages unimaginable to we mortals of three score and ten, released as it were in an instant . . . things fall apart.

Of course to suggest that the collapse of social structures, the plant and animal kingdom, and indeed the biosphere, which we are living through in what some writers have called ‘the great acceleration’ (more than half of all concrete ever produced has been made in the last 25 years) might seem absurd. Yes we can make a connection between this energy release and climate collapse, and perhaps link that to ‘the sixth great extinction’ as non human species disappear like water flooding from a ruptured dam, but human social structures?

This would not be a difficult idea to those of earlier ages, but to we moderns such thinking is to say the least a little odd, cranky or just down right laughable. But that is I suggest because the Modern person can give no account of the human or indeed of ‘existence itself’. Of what in its deepest essence it is to be a man or a woman – a human being. Before any Revolution it would be wise to ask – ‘but what exactly do we mean by ‘human’?? It almost goes without saying that we have no answer to this – indeed we do not even consider the question.
And lacking such an account any manner of violence is not only possible but unleashed upon the world, in the name of this or that ideology, Communism, Fascism. We cower at the thought of the Holocaust, 6 million Jews – or the 20 million murdered by Stalin, or the many millions who died under the great leap forward,  . . . or that great ‘god’ of our age, ’convenience’ for we have become accommodated to as many deaths of unborn children every year, let alone the untold misery of our consumer lifestyles, so called. How many die on the altar of convenience? No one it seems is all that troubled to ask the question of this smiling faced idol

Yet I want to suggest that it was Western Christianity which gave birth to this modern culture, and which is dying as a result, as is perhaps the entire Creation. For Church and Creation are woven together

We need a place to start . . . all accounts of Human existence and its meaning need as it were a place from which to start – so let us for a moment consider a picture of human existence.

[Picture of the ‘Crucified Man’] Vertical – Earth to heaven: Horizontal – Neighbour to Neighbour

We proclaim Christ, and him crucified . . . But what does it mean to proclaim Christ crucified?

The theologian Jurgen Moltmann wrote a book a few years ago called ’The Crucified God’ – it is a very important work on the centrality of the Cross when considering human suffering and God’s response. I would like to suggest that we do not forget that Jesus is also ‘The Crucified Man’ and that as such he is paradigmatic for what it truly means to be human – not disconnected but utterly woven in, nailed into place between heaven and Earth, and between neighbour and neighbour, even if the neighbours are thieves.
Modernity and its reliance on scientific understandings has taken the man down from the Cross, disconnecting us, unweaving us from the Koinonia of Existence Life itself which can only be known in relation to a profound Love of God for his Creation and our Love for one another – subjects on which ‘science’ has nothing to say – but we hear the world in science – particularly as English speakers which is the most ‘scientific’ language to date

But just how has this happened? What happened in the Church? How did the Church create ‘Science’ as we know it and why is this such a problem for us?

Sub thesis
What we do in the Church is of inconceivable significance – and when we tamper with things ‘we do not know what we are doing’ – we can only give humble and hearty thanks every moment of our lives that from the Cross Jesus prays ‘Father forgive them for they do now know what they do . . .’

I would like to argue here that when Pope Leo IX got out of the wrong side of bed one day in the C11, perhaps he stood on that lost nail? – he set in process a chain of events which have led to our ecological peril and ‘things fall[ing] apart . . . This of course seems like an absurd claim – but I suggest that this is because we are so trained by our Modern world in seeing things in a particular way – through a lens of disconnection, that we do not see how things are woven together. Or to use the language of the Scriptures,we do not Behold!

We will all have heard the following poem

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

So what of that medieval Pope (the nail in the poem if you like – the start of a chain of consequences). . . of course the very words medieval pope suggest to us Moderns a problem 🙂 [not fairly I hold, but thats another question] A controversy in the church had been long brewing but it was thought had finally been put to bed – it was a controversy that showed up a widening fracture between the Church in Rome, and the Church in the East, or more precisely Churches – for Pope Leo IX decided of his own free will, as THE Pope, to reinsert a line in the creed which the Eastern Churches could not agree to. Previously within the Church the prevailing idea had been that controversies would only be decided by Councils of the whole Church – sitting together to come to a mind on a matter – dealing with the difficulties of a truly Koinonia, or woven together existence, but for whatever reason, lost in the mists of time Rome finally decided there was no point being first amongst equals – after all this business of having to agree stuff, of waiting for the Spirit to illumine the hearts and minds that The Church might have the mind of Christ was SO tedious . . . Why not Just Be First and decide for yourself?? {Perhaps we can discern here the antithesis of the group of Grace, humility, that is Pride.

And so the Great Schism happened. It is interesting that in the West we have until fairly recently forgotten The Great Schism. I was intrigued by one of Bishop Kelvin’s blog posts written before I came here – about ‘Why the Church is in the state it is in’ He listed many reasons people gave, some of them historic. He included the Constantinian settlement – and of course who can forget The Reformation, before dismissing all of them. As I read I found myself asking, ‘but what about The Great Schism’? For it was not on the list – yet I suggest it is the root of our difficulties – after all if the Unity of the Church is the thing Jesus prays for, such a monumental split is of some ‘material’ significance? Of course we as Protestant Christians of a sort have grown so used to these things we barely give it a moments thought, so trained are we by the water we swim in. we have enough denominations to have one each . . .

I say ‘material’ significance most deliberately. For at the heart of our faith is The Incarnation – the weaving together of heaven and Earth, of matter and the Spirit of God in Jesus Christ. The focus of this is of course the Eucharist. We might say therefore that everything Matters. If the Body of Christ – which holds everything together – is divided, then perhaps things fall apart – IF that is we accept a different understanding of things – one which pertained well into the middle ages. That Spiritual and material were woven together and one could not treat them in isolation. True Sacramental existence.

Shortly after Rome had in effect declared a form of UDI, certain things started to happen in the West. Rapidly there came to a head the issue of the nature of the Eucharist and the doctrine of Transubstantiation quickly became (Western) Church teaching. If the body of Christ The Church, is a profound, if perhaps not The Profound heart of all human existence, and The Eucharist is the the physico-spiritual expression of that, then fiddling around with the Eucharist is perhaps NOT ‘a good idea’ . . . How interesting that no sooner has the Unity of the Church been so disturbed, than the heart of the worship of the Church begins to change . . . Things fall apart . . . and so to Science and why as Christians we DO have a problem with it, but why in particular ‘a Scientific world view’ leads largely to an impoverishment of our faith . . .

The Great Schism – and it is much much more than the loss of a nail, set in course a train of events. If the Church is divided, then the woven togetherness of the Creation is at best under threat – that Koinonia, and events transpired or conspired to lead us down a path we had not thought before to follow – indeed within a very short space in time, The Church in the West was thinking previously unthinkable thoughts . . . and in that regard I introduce another character to the play – William of Ockham. In the Thirteenth century this fransiscan monk (surprisingly given our present thoughts about St Francis) suggested something utterly obvious to us, but a highly novel thought at the time. Put another way he created a set of glasses which distorted our view of the world and which we have worn since our birth – we always forget we are wearing glasses 🙂

Ockham suggested, contrary to all the previous thought of a thousand years of church tradition, that things were discrete and could be known in their totality by observing them. Now its really important to recognise that Ockham IS a theologian! He is not a medieval Richard Dawkins, out to get Christian faith. He’s grappling with ideas from within Christian culture and The Church. In large part because at this point in the West there wasn’t anything or anywhere else!
As all theologians were at that time, Ockham was what we call a natural scientist. He was looking into the ‘nature’ of things, and at a stroke radically changed the way we look at the world. [It must be said that for at least a hundred years his ideas were only entertained in incredibly high brow circles, but the rise of the modern University saw them spread like wild fire]

Now HERE is the thing. IF as I suggest Reality is Koinonia – a woven togetherness by which we cannot know anything except in relation to everything else – we cannot know or decide on the truth of something unless we understand the whole, then the World is Mystery to us.
But if we decide that there is no Essential relationship between things – then Ockham made the world in a sense a very much easier place to live. Indeed he is famous for ‘Ockham’s rasor’ The idea that the simplest explanation is the right one . . . that idea of course is essentially a biblical fundamentalist trope also – ‘the plain meaning is the main meaning’ Biblical fundamentalists are not at all medieval, they are thoroughly modern.]

Ockham in effect argued that this was not the case, that things might be known we might say ‘in and of themselves’ (BTW this thought also leads us to the modern idea of the self) This was a disastrous step.    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, – and I suggest if we might move from the nail of Pope Leo and the Schism, Ockham is the horseshoe. Now people were persuaded – we might say ‘set free’, but that is a difficult concept – persuaded that they might look at the world as a collection of objects – lacking in any essential [sic] relationship . . . we are introduced the world of objects and the objective observer. This was a double disaster for the nature of our existence.

Firstly it opened the door to our separation from one another – but more radically, also from God and Creation.

In our Accompanying book, ‘Everywhere present’ Father Stephen Freeman lays the blame for the ‘Two story universe hypothesis’ which we have all grown up with, at the door of of the C17 european religious wars – I suggest he’s missed the loss of the nail, the horseshoe, the rider and the message and moved straight to the loss of the battle 🙂 However if you want to find a philosophical shift, a change in the world of ideas which led to the religious wars – Ockham and his ‘nominalist’ philosophy is a better candidate and here comes the problem with science

Previous to this point things could not be understood on their own, in isolation, only in Participation or Koinonia. And that also meant the relation also of the Creation and the Creator – of Life and the Life Giver . . . The fallout from Ockham’s thought was this – that Creation might be known apart from the Creator, and that the human might also be known, AND that the human might be known apart from the Creation also . . . We shall come in a few weeks time to the Modern loss of the Human, but Ockham’s thought sets the train in motion . . . and sets up the conditions for what we call ‘science’

Now science is an interesting word – what does it mean? Answer ‘Knowledge’ The word science was not unknown before Ockham of course. Knowledge was important – and Theology was the Queen of Sciences, why? Because she pondered the mystery of our existence in the light of the knowledge of God. Bound up, as was Ockham in daily, and annual cycles of prayer and devotion. Theology said, to truly know anything or anyone, you must first know that all existence is bound up in God, made known to us in Jesus Christ, the Koinonia of Heaven and Earth . . . So prayer and worship was central.
BUT Now Ockham’s idea suggested something unheard of and in retrospect truly terrible [lit.] That one might as it were ‘park’ God here, and consider Creation (or as it became known ‘nature’ – point to which we shall return) over there. In other words to use picture language – we might stand in the gap between the discrete objects ‘God’ and ‘Nature’ and with our back to God look at nature to try to understand it. [And note the change of language. Creation is understood in relation to the Creator. But ‘Nature’ is understood in separation. This shift is the invention of ‘Nature’ – or as we now call it emphasising our distance from it ‘The Environment’]
Remember Ockham had said that things could be known in and of themselves. Yet this is an illusion. However with Science it is a very Power Full illusion [sic] Any observation involves ‘Interpretation’ We might call this ‘the experience of a thing’ We have no direct access to any thing. But Science in a primitive form promised such access. Yet, as the neuroscientist philosopher Iain McGilchrist says Science is ‘just one way of looking at things, a way which privileges detachment, a lack of commitment of the viewer to the object viewed’

Allied with the thoughts of John Duns Scotus (John of Dun, the Scot) who had suggested that God and Creation shared in Being, Ockham’s thought created a canyon of separation in the minds of humans – one which we are so used to we don’t even notice it. [it must be said that this was no overnight shift – even Isaac Newton 400 years later does not Assume this, but its assumption does underly his work – God and Nature sort of separated off – what Science cannot explain provides the space for God – God of the gaps – but note this is a Separation all the same]. BTW interestingly, Newton was primarily also a theologian. Although Modernity was already well established, like the collapse of the Greenland glacier, it had not yet accelerated, yet it was well under way. And Newton had terrible trouble with the Trinity. He said it could not be because The Bible said it could not. Here is an example of the modern approach. The Tradition of the Church is now seen in separation from The Bible. So the paradigmatic ‘Modern Scientist’ who pondered the force of this body upon that body – things in separation, had a theological problem with The Trinity . . . Koinonia? No, things fall apart.

To be a scientist in the Modern sense was at the time of the Schism and Ockham a very strange thing – it was to take as a Given that the Creation Could be known apart from the creator, in separation from. It created the illusion of Objectivity and subjectivity . Which is a problem. Because if it is true that in Christ and the Church God and Creation are intimately woven together in Koinonia, then Science is horribly blind. It introduces a way of looking at the world and our existence which is antithetical to the Truth of things because it takes a starting point that God is irrelevant . . .

This view – this way of seeing things was most eloquently allegedly expressed by Napoleon mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace who presented his model of the solar system to his master. Napoleon asked ‘but what about God?’ and Laplace answered ‘Sir, I have no need of that hypothesis’ . . . Put another way, if I don’t have to put God into my equations I can get an answer, and of course Ockham’s razor backed it up. [Oddly enough I read recently of a suggestion that some of the fundamental ‘problems of Science are easily resolved by reducing everything to 2 dimensions – Ockham would have at once been appalled and approving . . .]

Now I for one, with a science degree am not come to bury Modern Science (although it would help if we took the time to understand that it is far from the monolith we tend tot think it is  there is a world of difference for example between my own discipline, Physics, and psychology, or economics for example) — nor am I about to argue that ‘The Bible says one thing and Science another and thus we must choose’ – as I suggested earlier the idea ‘The Bible says . . .’ is itself a product of the same philosophical root [Briefly reading the Bible apart from  its place as living scripture in the worship of the Church,  is a curiously modern idea]

But . . . yes everything before the but 🙂 . . . BUT I suggest that given that ‘science’ this particular form of interpreting the world so dominates so very much of our world, in large part because of its power to predict and thereby control certain aspects of  our lives, aspects which we have been taught to particularly value – e.g. H&S 🙂 – that what we might call ‘scientific thinking’ extends into almost every aspect of the Modern Culture – that is provides The Glass through which we try and understand the world and leaves our faith under question. It has formed the world at which we look and so it is self reinforcing.

Put another way, if everyone around you speak German and you speak let us say Lea fakatonga, or Te Reo, you are going to feel bit out of place and wonder whether you are wrong – after all the only other solution is that the whole world has gone mad . . . and life in Modern Germany is so comfortable compared with our previous existence . . . because Science is So prevalent it is The language of the Modern Western world, moment by moment reorienting our existence, a language from which all understanding of God is erased. Language after all is the expression of a culture, a life. Recently a leading Japanese business man ( I think) said that in order to be better scientists, the Japanese would have to learn English 🙂 )

Of course this is not a unique situation 🙂 A friend of mine translated the bible into a language in which there was no word for God, having been a culture dominated by Bhuddism. We might consider science as another example of Mongolian – all the more so when I came across the first mongolian I’d ever met, a convinced Communist and thus of course someone to whom the idea of God was utterly alien.

In other words we are drilled in a certain language a way of seeing the world, one which we as Christians we may wish to suggest is less than ideal, ultimately for our humanity. For the Christian gospel is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the GOD-HUMAN, the intersection of heaven and Earth, indeed the Koinonia of Heaven and Earth. Losing sight of God in the Christian Tradition also less to losing sight of the human, for not only is our way of understanding God to be found in Jesus Christ – ‘Whoever has seen me has seen the father’, so too our understanding of the human – or as Pontius Pilate, not knowing what he was saying would have it ‘Behold The Man’

We would want to say that apart from knowing God we cannot know our Creation in any way which fulfils who we are, only in ways which will lead towards our own disappearance. And that that knowing is LOVE which is that way in which we lose any sense of Object, or Observed. Personal Knowing is in the end deeply mysterious.

’Science’ at the end of the day is utterly impersonal – utterly in its own terms objective and thus objectifying – and thus there is a significant problem with Science. Put another way in describing a Universe apart from God it creates a World from which it appears God is Absent.

Fundamentally Science is a non participatory way of Knowledge – whereas in the classical Christian Tradition All Knowledge is Participatory – which is why we use the language of Knowing for Sexual relations etc.etc. ‘I have no knowledge of you except in relation to myself. I cannot know myself except in relation to you and God in Jesus Christ’ I cannot separate out my Self from Reality

There is no out there Objective ‘Other’ – ‘Love your neighbour “as yourself”’ – “My Life is with my brother” Anthony of Egypt. It is an account of existence that is deeply relational – and to see things as apart is deeply unrelational, deeply inhuman, and deeply wrong.

The consequences of such knowing are as we shall see nothing short of catastrophic for Creation and for the human

I close with a couple of short passages from John and Paul

John in his opening to his gospel,of Jesus Christ says

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.’

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

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