Tuesday 17 May 2022

God and Man

 The great achievement of the West, culminating over the last 500 years, has been the creation of the full individual. In no other culture anywhere in the world has the individual had any real value, and although there are tributaries feeding into this river from classical times, essentially from Greece, its real source can be regarded as Christianity and specifically Christ, the God who became Man and was both fully human and fully divine. No doubt, the actual human type of Western man counted for a good deal as well but the philosophical, intellectual and spiritual underpinning of the importance of the individual was rooted in the Christian concept of the person.

It is sometimes said that Man adds nothing to God. God is the Absolute, the infinite and the eternal to which nothing can be added and from which nothing can be taken away. If that were the case, why creation? But let's not reduce God to a mathematical concept or an abstraction. He is the Living God and he is Love. Note we say he. This is no linguistic accident. God is not it (if he were, there would be no love) and he is not she as he is the impregnating spirit that gives life and form to matter. He stands outside creation which is generated by him not incubated in him, and all creation is receptive, i.e. feminine, to him.

God is a person, the Person, and we are made in the image of God. What is a person? It is a free individual. Many religions discount the idea of freedom and that of the individual, seeing man as either nothing in relation to God (Islam) or part of God in a way that completely emphasises the divine over the human (most Eastern religions). Only in Christianity, the religion in which God became man, is the individual and his intrinsic freedom truly valued. In this way, man, each individual man and woman, can add something to the spiritual life of the universe and therefore to God once they realign themselves with divine being. Our God-realised individual self makes the universe a richer, more creation filled place.

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