Thinking About Incarnation
As I ponder and research I can't get away from notion that the Incarnation is the essential act of God as love. It is God entering into the material world. Playing with this idea, and drawing from Celtic Christianity, Quantum Physics, your Open and Relational Theology, and scripture, the trust of whatever I write is going to center around the Incarnation and what God is, rather than what God is not.
The incarnation (the prime mover of early Celtic Christianity), I believe, sets the world stage for God as Love. Love, not as an attribute, but fully God. God is nothing more and nothing less, than pure LOVE. If there is an attribute in this, it is that this pure Love is a "burning love" for the universe.
This burning love is the holy rhythm that flows through the hours of the day and the ever-evolving "hours" of the universe. It is the holy rhythm found in the liturgical calendar and ritual. It is the holy rhythm sung by the lunar and solar cycles -- the sound of the universe. It is the cosmic song found in primordial myths of creation (especially in the Celtic, and certainly in the Rabbinic tradition).
As I put this all together, I find that I am writing primarily for those who have deconstructed their faith, but have no idea what comes next. Far too many flounder and drift away. I think my focus offers these folk an appealing, Christ-centric alternative to traditional Christianity. I believe also, that thinking Incarnation offers an entirely new way to be the worshiping church, a church interacting in a way that en-tunes the material universe with the divine cosmos.
I suspect, as read this, you sense hints of Teilhard de Chardin, Ilia Delio, John Scotus Eriugena, among others, in the context. They're real, they are inspiring the flow of my thinking. Still very rough, and a long way to go.
In fact, what I see ending up with is an "unfinished, ever-evolving theology." And that is pretty much in tune with my pondering incarnation in light of science and theology. And from the way I see it now, that's exactly what how Christianity needs to embrace secularity.
I think that emphasizing God’s incarnation into the material universe (into matter/nature) is an emphasize that might reach a secularized culture. This would take emphasis off of penal substitution and place on realignment. It would also address the “But God said/God do this…” naivety of popular Christianity, in a way that says God needs nature (materiality) to complete the fullness of the God-head.
We humans are the prime-movers – God’s presence – of this completeness. It (de Chardin) is about evolving into the future with more life, more being, and consciousness, what de Chardin calls “ultrahumanism.”
This is a humanism that doesn’t exclude God, but makes us creators of the new with God. In it, we evolve, nature evolves, God evolves.
So, where does this lead?
1. The Incarnation demonstrates God’s “burning love” by entering into the material (nature) universe.
2. The Crucifixion demonstrates “burning love” of the Logos (Christ) for the material (natural) universe.
3. The Resurrection seals the reality of God’s “burning love” for the material (natural) universe.
4. The Transfiguration demonstrates the potential of God’s “burning love” for the material (natural) universe.
Note emphasis on material, or natural world, rather than on humankind. It seems to me that this way of looking at the prime event of the liturgical year negates the traditional emphasis of Christ "coming to save us from our sins" (Christ came just for us) to what we might call an "entunement" (or maybe "re-entunement" is better word) of the material universe to her holy role of full-filling what was lacking in the God-head, i.e., materiality.
I would really like to hear your thoughts on my pondering.
Frank A. Mills
Sheffield Lake, OH
March 8, 2023
If you would like to read my "pondering questions" and think about them, you can do so here.
[Note: In the Celtic primordial of myth of creation, creation is sung into existence. Which means, I think, that Celtic Christianity, especially through the eyes of Eriugena will have much to contribute as I ponder.]