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God's Action In A World Of Chaos By Ilia Delio


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God's Action in a World of Chaos

By Ilia Delio

 

from Part 2/3

Rather, God's fidelity in love allows creation to follow its own internal laws and designs. The notion that the humble love of God comprises the inner force of the created universe underscores the notion of a self-organizing universe, one that can entertain chance, randomness, complexity and chaos, and give rise to beauty and order that can be intelligibly perceived.

 

And to paraphrase

Without the crucifixion there is no resurrection; without chaos, death and destruction there is no evolution - no life, no novelty, no innovation. The universe reveals the cruciform of Christ.

 

I can't figure how to get to Part 1/3

from Part 2/3

http://www.metanexus.net/magazine/tabid/68/id/7722/Default.aspx

from Part 3/3

http://www.metanexus.net/magazine/tabid/68/id/7740/Default.aspx

 

 

I found this stimulating. New metaphors to replace the dead(ly) ones.

 

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

Edited by glintofpewter
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Finished Part I.

 

I like that the discussion about God's relationship to the world in discussed through a trinitarian lens. It's not the only way to do it (there are non-trinitarian forms of Christianity and certainly other faiths), but there has been a lot of theological work done trying to figure out divinity using the Trinity. It is therefore a well-elaborated concept if nothing else.

 

That said, it should be noted that the type of trinitarian theology she's using is specific to either the Franciscans or the Roman Catholic Church (I don't know enough to tell). IIRC, Calvin explicitly associates creation with God the Father, but not with the Holy Ghost or Christ. As I don't know much about any Catholic theology, I'll be curious to see how this plays out.

 

Delio also is setting of a theodicy when defining God as good as such rather than good being a secondary feature, but I don't know where she's taking it yet.

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ok, done.

 

Nice essay, though I'm not schooled enough to get into the details of the argument.

 

The obviously nice thing about the article is that rejects the whole science versus religion thing. God can be found in the infinitely complex processes of the universe, and one does not need God of the Gaps or intelligent design to "fix" science.

 

One thing that I am curious about is, if I'm reading her correctly, her claim that because God is loving he allows the universe to become infinite more complex according to its own laws, and therefore independent (to a degree) of God. My first reaction was that this seemed to be against the idea of reconciliation of God; out of love God lets the universe go as opposed to bring it back. However, thinking about it more, chaos theory brings it back around: through continually developing new complex systems that are ever-evolving, reconciliation still occurs. ...I think?

 

I'm also not sure about the form of the Trinity she uses. She seems to be describing 2 entities (father & son) with a specific relationship (the Holy Ghost). I'll need to read it again to understand how that really interacts with the world.

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(snip)

One thing that I am curious about is, if I'm reading her correctly, her claim that because God is loving he allows the universe to become infinite more complex according to its own laws, and therefore independent (to a degree) of God. My first reaction was that this seemed to be against the idea of reconciliation of God; out of love God lets the universe go as opposed to bring it back. However, thinking about it more, chaos theory brings it back around: through continually developing new complex systems that are ever-evolving, reconciliation still occurs. ...I think?

(snip)

 

It seems to me that God cannot be independent of his creation unless one sees God as a separate being. In my view, nothing can exist without the presence of God. To me, in God everything has its being, even a rock. Of course , i offer no proof as it is to me, self evident.

 

Joseph

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It seems to me that God cannot be independent of his creation unless one sees God as a separate being. In my view, nothing can exist without the presence of God. To me, in God everything has its being, even a rock. Of course , i offer no proof as it is to me, self evident.

 

Joseph

 

Joseph,

 

If we define the universe as God, then isn't this somewhat tautological, i.e. God = universe = God = universe = . . . . .?

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW
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Joseph,

 

If we define the universe as God, then isn't this somewhat tautological, i.e. God = universe = God = universe = . . . . .?

 

George

 

George,

 

Using that limited definition i would certainly be in agreement with you.

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George,

 

Using that limited definition i would certainly be in agreement with you.

 

I am unclear on how an entity can be not independent of creation, exist in creation yet not be creation. (This is not stated very well for which I apologize).

 

Also, I noticed you used the third-person, singular pronoun 'his' in reference to God. This pronoun is normally used in English to refer to animate, usually human, creatures. I am not sure how this fits in your concept.

 

I hope this doesn't come across as argumentative, but I would like to understand what you are saying.

 

George

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I know this wasn't directed to me, but if I may, I would just throw some thoughts out there.

 

I think that when we talk about 'created beings', and even 'creation' and 'universe', we're usually speaking in reference to objects of perception: 'things' with well-defined properties, characteristics, etc.

 

To me, when one states that God is not the universe (neither this nor that), one may be denying that God can be defined by, or as, any particular object. Hence, God is nothing we can speak of. Now, at the same time, God can truly be the universe, if we suppose that the universe does not have its own independent nature or 'selfhood': that the universe is not its own possession.

 

Just some thoughts.

 

Peace,

Mike

Edited by Mike
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Hi Mike, all,

 

Talking about the ineffable - Lord keep me humble because I making it all up.

 

As you have discovered, Ilia Delio, is Franciscan.

 

Some quotes from her conversation with Michael Dowd. This is expansive in mood.

 

When we talk about God, what we’re talking about is primordial relationality. That relationality is at the heart of universe and life in the universe.

...

I don’t distinguish between God and the universe. God here AND the world over there. For me, the whole being of world itself is the beingness of God. Now I am not conflating those two things—it’s not a pantheistic thing—but when I talk about creation and emergent evolution, what I’m saying is that there’s something that is the being of being itself and that pushes or impels being onward towards greater unity and greater life and that is who God is for me.

...

If we think about love(Christ as the word of God) incarnated all along, then from the Big Bang onward, in every quark and every photon in every hydrogen atom and in everything that’s emerging, the whole evolutionary universe is that word of love being incarnated.

...

Again, following Teilhard de Chardin, the whole evolutionary universe is an ongoing birthing of Christ. That means that we continue that birthing process into our life.

 

from The History of God by Karen Armstrong

[For the Eastern church] the best theology is silence - God can only be known by what God is not, if one must say anything. ...The Greeks seek a dogmatic truth that was only grasped intuitively and as a religious experience."

 

I think, I may be wrong, that Joseph's reply is an example a truth intuitively grasped.

 

i offer no proof as it is to me, self evident.

 

As you may know, for me, in the face of the ineffable, we are making it all up. We make meaning in our metaphors as we describe our experience. Rational or a theological conversation about God is a metaphor, for me.

 

Other metaphors are messier and cannot be pinned down. John Haught, my favorite speaker in the Evolutionary Christianity series, says that

 

"[We carry the] meaning of where we came from, where we are going, what we should be doing with our lives, within the context of myths, stories, dramas, and narratives."

...

"[W]e need to get away [from] these conversations [about a rational theology] and turn our attention to what I call the ‘drama of life’ and underneath that, the whole drama of universe. So the point is not whether design or [rationality] points to deity, but whether the drama or the story [of our life and] of evolution carries a meaning."

 

I think God and creation are co-extensive and co-evolving. Tonight I am picturing a curl on a large wave moving in the midst of the ocean. That curl is the present moment in which all the past is drawn up into the next moment. Gd anf creation are always recounciling. God is the force that moves the wave. But if there is no force there is no wave and if there is no wave there is no force; they cannot exist separately but in words.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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Hi George,

 

Please strike out the word "his". At times i slip into old habits of speech and writing. I have no real concept of God especially as a separate being, only as a subjective experience and i can only speak of what God is not. Mike has answered in my view very well .

 

Joseph

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Hi Dutch,

 

How have you been?

 

I really like the quotation you provided:

 

Hi Mike, all,

 

Talking about the ineffable - Lord keep me humble because I making it all up.

 

As you have discovered, Ilia Delio, is Franciscan.

 

Some quotes from her conversation with Michael Dowd. This is expansive in mood.

 

When we talk about God, what we’re talking about is primordial relationality. That relationality is at the heart of universe and life in the universe.

...

I don’t distinguish between God and the universe. God here AND the world over there. For me, the whole being of world itself is the beingness of God. Now I am not conflating those two things—it’s not a pantheistic thing—but when I talk about creation and emergent evolution, what I’m saying is that there’s something that is the being of being itself and that pushes or impels being onward towards greater unity and greater life and that is who God is for me.

...

If we think about love(Christ as the word of God) incarnated all along, then from the Big Bang onward, in every quark and every photon in every hydrogen atom and in everything that’s emerging, the whole evolutionary universe is that word of love being incarnated.

...

Again, following Teilhard de Chardin, the whole evolutionary universe is an ongoing birthing of Christ. That means that we continue that birthing process into our life.

 

I'd like to develop and play with some ideas here as well...

 

The idea of a "primordial relationality" at the heart of the universe is powerful - and I would say perhaps more than an idea - that touches the 'core' spirituality of many traditions, as I see them. As human beings, it seems impossible for us not to find meaning if only by virtue of our own existence. That we exist is rife with implications that can be (and have been) explored endlessly...sifting through connections and relations between qualities and quantities, mountains and rivers, stars and galaxies without end.

 

I think a problem is that we tend to want to reduce it all to a discernible essence, and this puts us in quite a bind. We think in terms of essences...what want to get at what is 'really' going on and find out what this or that object (even if that object is the universe itself) is 'really like' - what things are in themselves, independent of our inquiry...independent of our own reality.

 

I read that there was a spiritual teacher who once attended a philosophical conference, and at one point everyone there was debating the reality of the table before them. Someone asked him, 'What do you think, Is the table real?' He said, 'Yes'.

'Well, in what sense is it real?'.

'In every sense'.

 

It doesn't seem very fruitful to ask about a reality that would supposedly be, in principle, independent of oneself or the question one is asking. Things come to be by the properties and characteristics that define their existence, and to ask about a supposed independent existence is to ask about their existence apart from any such definition. No philosophy and no scientific experiment ever has - nor conceivably could in principle - disclose anything corresponding to an independent 'essence' of things.

 

This would mean that the mind's job, whatever it is, is probably not to represent some pregiven essence to a pregiven 'us'. Truth, or Reality, is essenceless truth. The play of God? Perhaps, then, an old poem is right when it talks about some geese selflessly being reflected in a pond, and goes on to say that that truly has deep, authentic meaning - as deep as it gets.

 

Peace,

Mike

Edited by Mike
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Hi Mike,

 

My well-being is improving. :D

 

How are you?

 

I think a problem is that we tend to want to reduce it all to a discernible essence, and this puts us in quite a bind. We think in terms of essences...we want to get at what is 'really' going on and find out what this or that object (even if that object is the universe itself) is 'really like' - what things are in themselves, independent of our inquiry...independent of our own reality.

Armstrong reminds me that the Eastern Church's understanding of the Trinity is that there is one essence and three faces or persons - The word for essence, ousia, "was usually applied to an object as it was within itself. Hypostasis, on the other hand, was used to denote an object viewed from without." Rather than being rational and declarative the concept of ousia and hypotasis is another way of saying that God in essence is an absolute mystery and unknowable to us. To paraphrase the song "Love is a Rose" - "you lose your God when you say the word know."

 

The play of God? Perhaps, then, an old poem is right when it talks about some geese selflessly being reflected in a pond, and goes on to say that that truly has deep, authentic meaning - as deep as it gets.

In what sense? :P

 

geese selflessly ... reflected in a pond - I love this! If that is not how the poem goes - forget the poem.

 

Trust what you feel (but not what you think it means)

 

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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Hi Dutch,

 

Hi Mike,

 

My well-being is improving. :D

 

How are you?

 

Glad to hear it. I'm doing pretty good myself, thanks.

 

 

Armstrong reminds me that the Eastern Church's understanding of the Trinity is that there is one essence and three faces or persons - The word for essence, ousia, "was usually applied to an object as it was within itself. Hypostasis, on the other hand, was used to denote an object viewed from without." Rather than being rational and declarative the concept of ousia and hypotasis is another way of saying that God in essence is an absolute mystery and unknowable to us. To paraphrase the song "Love is a Rose" - "you lose your God when you say the word know."

 

I would agree...if there is any essence at all, it is intrinsically unknowable. Perhaps that's its only characteristic. But I don't know...if I did it wouldn't be unknowable, would it? :)

 

 

In what sense? :P

 

In nonsense. :D

 

geese selflessly ... reflected in a pond - I love this! If that is not how the poem goes - forget the poem.

 

Trust what you feel (but not what you think it means)

 

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

 

haha. Ok, we'll forget the poem.

 

Wait, I do think it's pretty good though...even if that's not how it actually goes. :D

 

The wild geese do not intend

to reflect their images

The water has no mind to receive them.

 

Actually I remembered it wrong: there is no talk of "deep meaning" meaning of the event...I drew that from another poem. The full poem reads (at least its translation reads):

 

Sitting quietly doing nothing,

Spring comes, and the grass

grows by itself.

The wild geese do not intend

to reflect their images

The water has no mind to receive them.

An old pine preaches wisdom.

A wild bird is crying the truth.

 

I recall something Thomas Merton said when he was moved by some religious imagery, that there 'really is no mystery, for what matters is clear.'

 

DT Suzuki wrote:"Here is my hand, I make a fist by clasping the fingers together, I open it and now I show you the palm. Here is no secret, it is all open, no evidence of whatever nature is needed, those who have eyes are the witnesses. But if you say there is still a secret, an obscurity, something 'mystical', you cannot blame me; it is all on your end."

 

Interesting from someone who wrote about mysticism quite frequently. :)

 

This all speaks to me of "primordial relationality" - well, what that term stirs up in me. It's almost a challenge to find an identifiable essence in any of this. Strangely, in my experience, when meaning is not sought in this way, meaning seems to be liberated. "Truth shall set you free"?

 

This is fine for opening and closing one's hand. But what about the mystery - the secret - of Christ and the cross? Perhaps something similar may be said...God's action in the world was not in secret: according to our narrative Christ was publicly crucified, buried, and rose to new life. All who have eyes are witnesses. "And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" (Isaiah 52)

 

Wake up from your sleep,

rise from the dead,

and Christ will enlighten you. (Eph 4:14)

 

Perhaps God is perfectly disclosed beyond any hidden essence in action, in relation, in Christ.

 

 

Just playing with some thoughts.

 

Peace,

Mike.

Edited by Mike
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Mike,

 

play on..

 

geese selflessly reflected in a pond

 

This "mis-quote" had clarity for me. "Selflessly" suggested, with non-attachment, that something had been given, as Christ selflessly gives. A different light on the same scene in the poem.

 

that there 'really is no mystery, for what matters is clear.'

 

This could be an issue of attending, or noticing. For Michael Dowd and Ilia Delio the issue is trust vs beliefs. With the romantic, and not too inaccurate, view that children have immediate experience of the world, unmediated, uninterpreted - we hear this idea often. e.g. The immediacy of the table being real in all senses. What they saw was that the children's experience is one of trust. As we mature, get adulterated, our repeated experiences lead us to beliefs. The beliefs then mediate the experience and stop us from seeing, sensing, really.

 

They had this conversation in the context of the conflicts between science and religion, between creationist and evolutionist and were saying - I think this is clear - stop believing, stop thinking, just attend, enjoy, be in awe. The star dust, 13.7 billion years, etc.

 

The Christ story - i think we tell the way we find fulfilling. In John Haught's conversation, for example, he spoke of the evil of settling for a lesser harmony. That we needed to go through chaos to get to a higher or profound harmony. Again a cross/crucified die to reborn metaphor. The theology of condescension or fragility, a suffering God, that impels our concern for social justice issues. "Jesus loves me this I know..." is all we need to know experience to be able to see geese selflessly reflected.

 

 

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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