Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Does God Have Form?

Does God have this primal quality called form? Yes!

The question stems from Philippians 2:6, YLT:

[Christ Jesus] who, being in the form of God, thought [it] not robbery to be equal to God,

The word English word 'form' is translated from the Greek word 'morphe'. Morphe unequivocally means form. I do not care how many word games one plays you will never get around the fact that 'morphe' means form. Saint Paul was writing to the Philippians who spoke Greek. So we can assume Saint Paul and the God who inspired him intended to use the word morphe with profundity.

Existence and form are two closely related concepts. Notice the wording of Philipians:


who, being in the form of God (YLT)
who, existing in the form of God (KJV)
who was in the form of God (NAB)

All objects have form and if they exist, if they are real, they certainly have a location. God meets these requirements. God has form. God is located in the discrete object known as Heaven. Heaven is detached or set apart from all objects of matter that is the atoms and the fundamental objects that mediate light and gravity to and from all atoms and which all atoms also derive their form from.

Form in this context refers to an intrinsic quality. It does not refer to an extrinsic quality such as appearance, look, color, etc. Form is a quality that is observer independent. Form is a quality that an object has of itself, independent of other objects or comparative relations. So God has a form independent of anyone in Heaven observing God. And God has a form prior to God creating all the objects in the set called matter. God's Form and Existence require Faith and a new language in order to understand.

What is form? Form is a term that relates what is bounded from an immediate surrounding. (Synonym: shape) Form is a delineation or demarcation which distinguishes an object from lack of form and other things. Form is an identifying distinction. Form distinguishes the referent from its surroundings. It is the inability for the entity to lose its border/outline and morph into its surroundings and disappear. Form implies some type of surface.

Truly God is bounded from His immediate surroundings. He has some type of singular face delineating Him from nothing as well as all other objects. If this were not the case God would be a pantheistic God. When the just are assumed into Heaven they do not spill into God, and God does not spill into them. Rather they are initiated into an immediate relationship with God within an real object called Heaven. They see Him face to face with no go bet-weens. Still God is bound from the environment of Angels and Saints in Heaven. Otherwise how could a face to face relation be possible? The Angels and Saints do not morph into God, and God does not morph into the Angels and Saints or atoms, trees, stars, etc.

Furthermore even when the Holy Spirit is sent and resides within a human, he still retains his unique form. He relates intimately to that human form, more so that any two humans can possibly relate but he retains his own form. Truly the Holy Spirit is superposed with the soul and body of a human in sanctifying grace and this is similar to how the mediators of light and gravity behave.  And yet again in spite of this mystical superposition, He, the Spirit still retains his singular form.

What is the form of God? I don't know. God is not of atoms or the fundamental constituents of atoms. God has a supernatural, a miraculous form that transcends all atoms and the mediators of light and gravity between all atoms. He is not of the same stuff Angels are made of or human souls.

Perhaps God's form could be described as intensely Personal. The One God is Three: Tri-unity. There is the eternal generation. The Father eternally generates the Son; the Father and the Son eternally generate the Spirit. Clearly all Three have form and cannot possibly exist apart from one another, and there is no choice in this.  Perhaps we could say the Three Divine Persons bind each other from their immediate surrounding. God delineates God: The Father is in Me and I am in the Father (John 14:11). The Father is fully God. The Son is fully God. The Spirit is fully God. The The Father is delineated from His immediate surroundings by the Son and by the Spirit. The Son is delineated from His immediate surroundings by the Father and by the Spirit. The Spirit is delineated from His immediate surroundings by the Father and by the Son. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich described God like a sphere within a sphere within a sphere.  So there are Three Divine Forms yet One Divine Form.  It is sort of like how all the fundamental subatomic objects converge and superpose to form a single atom.  They are many, and yet one.    

Of course one could also describe God's Form as living, immortal, eternal, almighty, holy, loving and so on and so forth, but until we can somehow see and relate the the Blessed Trinity in Heaven our concepts, although true, will always seem insufficient, unsatisfying, incomplete and so on.

The Spiritual Canticle by Saint John of the Cross (translated by Nims)

A few years back I found a lesser known translation of Saint John of the Cross'Spiritual Canticle. I've read a few versions (I cannot completely understand the original Spanish), and I find this one most delightful.  According to the author this one reconstructs the the original by mimicking metre, rhyme, cadence, style, colloquial expressions, etc. This has a sparkling spirit and feel to it. It has verve . . . pizzaz.  Not stale and stodgy like other translations I've read.  Maybe I'm wrong but I think Saint John would love this translation.

The translator is John Frederick Nims. Originally published in 1959 by First Grove Press.

The Bride:

Where have you gone to hide,
lover, and left me sighing? Couldn't care
less for your wounded bride
but off like a deer from there?
I hurried forth imploring the empty air.

You shepherds, you that rove
over the range where mountains touch the sky,
if you should meet my love
--my one love--tell him why
I'm faint and in a fever and may die.

I'll wander high and low
after the one I worship--til he's found
not stop where daisies grow
nor shrink for beasts around;
bow to no bully and obey no bound.

A question to the creatures:

O woods and brush between,
foliage planted by a lover's hand,
meadows of bluegreen
with many a flower japanned,
tell me: has he been lately in your land?

Their Reply:

Scattering left and right
a thousand favors he went streaming by
these regions, quick as light.
And where it touched, his eye
left a new glory over earth and sky.

The Bride:

New suffering what's to soothe?
Once and for all be really mine, and cure it.
From now on, never use
go-betweens--who'd endure it?
I want your loving voice, and these obscure it.

All that come and go
tell of a thousand wonders, to your credit;
each glimmering's a blow;
like death I dread it--
something they still stood stammering. Yet said it.

How manage to withstand
so long, my life, not living where you live?
Knowing your death at hand
from arrows you receive
only to think of him? To think: to grieve.

Seeing you've wounded, dear,
this heart of mine, why never stoop to mend it?
Steal and yet leave it here?
By halves a bandit,
neither entirely take it nor unhand it?

Console my miseries.
Help as no other can in any measure.
Appear, light of my eyes,
sight's only treasure.
I have eyes for you. Or having them's no pleasure.

If only, crystal well,
clear in your silver mirror could arise
suddenly by some spell
the long awaited eyes
sketched in my heart, so faint they tantalize--

Those eyes, love! Look away!
I'm a gossamer on air!

The Bridegroom:

Swing lower, dove.
The wounded deer, astray,
shows on the hill above
drawn by your wing he loves the coolness of.

The Bride:

My love, the Pyrenees;
depths in a pathless forest cool with cresses;
rivers that seem like seas,
isles no explorer guesses,
the affectionate air, its whisper and caresses;

night sunk in a profound
rest, with the stir of dawn about the skies,
music without a sound,
a solitude of cries,
a supper of light hearts and love-lit eyes.

Our bed, a couch of roses;
lions in grottoes to assure the ground;
purple that folds and closes
on beams of peace around;
our roof, with a thousand gold escutcheons crowned.

Seeing your sandal-mark
girls whirl to the four winds; their faces shine
stung by a sudden spark,
flushed with the glorious wine.
Their breath a very heaven--the air's divine!

Shown deeper than before
in cellars of my love I drank; from there
went wandering on the moor;
knew nothing, felt no care;
the sheep I tended once are who knows where?

He showed his secret heart;
had certain marvelous matters to confide.
Proposals. For my part
I kept nothing aside,
but made a promise: to become his bride.

Forever at his door
I gave my heart and soul. My fortune too.
I've no flock any more,
no other work in view.
My occupation: love. It's all I do.

If I'm not seen again
in old places, on the village ground,
say of me: lost to men.
Say I'm adventure-bound
for love's sake. Lost on purpose to be found.



In the cool morning hours
we'll go about for blossoms we can wear;
string emeralds in the flowers
sprung in love's summer air.
I'll give a strand to bind them--my own hair.

curling upon my shoulder.
You loved to see it lifted on the air.
You loved it, fond beholder
caught fascinated there;
caught fast by an eye that wounds you unaware.

Your eyes in mine aglow
printed their living image in my own.
That's why you loved me so.
And why I've grown
worthier to return the fervor shown.

You thought me, cheek and brow,
a shade too Moorish, and were slow to praise.
Only look this way now
as once before: your gaze
leaves me with lovelier features where it plays.

Now that the bloom uncloses
catch us the little foxes by the vine,
as we knit cones of roses
sturdy as those of pine.
No trespassing about this hill of mine.

Keep north, you winds of death.
Come, southern wind, for lovers. Come and stir
the garden with your breath.
Shake fragrance on the air.
My love will feed among the lilies there.

Bridegroom:

She enters, the bride! closes
the charming garden that all dreams foretold her;
in comfort she reposes
close to my shoulder.
Arms of the lover that she loves enfolds her.

Under the apple tree,
that's where! Rings on your fingers--to foretell
a wedding, yours with me--
broke in a flash the spell
where all that scandal on your mother fell.

Wings flickering here and there,
lion and gamboling antler, shy gazelle,
peak, precipice, and shore,
flame, air, and flooding well,
night-watchman terror, with no good to tell,

by many a pleasant lyre
and song of sirens I command you, so:
down with that angry choir!
All sweet and low
and let the bride sleep deeper. Off you go!

Bride:

Girls of Jerusalem,
now that the breath of roses more and more
swirls over leaf and stem,
keep further than before,
Live elsewhere. And no darkening our door.

Stay hidden close with me,
darling. Look to the mountain; turn your face.
Finger at lips. But see
what pretty friends embrace
the passer of fabulous islands in her chase.

Bridegroom:

The little pearl-white dove
with frond of olive to the Ark returns.
Wedded, the bird of love
no longer yearns,
settled above still water, among ferns.

Hers were the lonely days;
in loneliest of solitudes her nest.
Her guide on lonely ways
her love, who knew them best,
that arrow from the desert in his breast.

Bride:

Let's live delighted, love!
Gaze eye to eye, see only you in these!
To the hill and heights above!
Cool waters playing! Please
come with me deep and deeper in the trees!

And on to our aerie then,
that cave in the dizzy cliff--few ever guessed it,
hid cunningly from men.
Ah but we've traced it,
and wine of the red pomegranate--there we'll taste it!

And there at last you'd show
the very thing my soul was yearning for;
and, dearest life, although
I lost it once, restore
something you gave the other day: once more

the breathing of the air,
the nightingale in her most jubilant vein,
woods and pleasures there
in night's unruffled reign--
these, and the flame caressing without pain.

With none around to see.
Aminadab's away, that once offended.
Above, the cavalry,
their long siege ended,
sighted the shining waters and descended.

Mary's Ensoulment according to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

Four and one-half months less three days after St. Anne had conceived under the Golden Gate, I saw the soul of Mary, formed by the Most Holy Trinity, in movement. I saw the Divine Persons interpenetrating one another. It became a great shining mountain, and still like the figure of a man. I saw something from the midst of the Three Divine Persons rising toward the mouth and issuing from it like a beam of light. This beam hovered before the face of God and assumed a human shape, or rather it was formed to such. As it took the human form, I saw it, as if by the command of God, most beautifully fashioned. I saw God showing the beauty of this soul to the angels, and from it they experienced unspeakable joy.

I saw that soul united to the living body of Mary in Anne’s womb. Anne lay asleep upon her couch. I saw a light hovering over her and from it a beam descending toward the middle of her side. I saw that beam enter into her in the form of a small, luminous, human figure. At the same instant Anne sat up. She was entirely surrounded by light, and she had a vision. She saw her own person, open as it were and in it, as if in a tabernacle, a holy, luminous virgin from whom proceeded all salvation. I saw, too, that this was the instant that Mary first moved in her mother’s womb.

Anne arose and announced to Joachim what had taken place. Then she went out to pray under the tree beneath which a child had been promised to her. I learned that Mary’s soul animated her body five days earlier than is customary with ordinary children, and that she was born twelve days sooner. (Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, Mysteries of the Old Testament)


Remarks: Above is a quote taken from the prophetic visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich. She describes the supernatural creation of Mary's soul. Strangely, she describes the miraculous formation and fusion of Mary's soul to happen about four and one half months into St. Anne's pregnancy. And she goes on to say that the time of this event give about five days, is customary for all ordinary children. By ordinary I would assume she is excludes Jesus, Adam and Eve.

This is by far the latest I've ever heard anyone say that ensoulment occurs. For example, long ago, Saint Thomas Aquinas, following Greeks, suggested that ensoulment occurs for humans from 40 to 80 days after conception (fusion of M & F gametes). But Blessed Anne's number suggest about 135 days, which is midway through second trimester. Modern theologians and members of the pro-life movement have seemed to abandon the idea that ensoulment happens post conception. However as far as I know the Pope or Pope and Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church have not clearly and authoritatively taught when so called ensoulment occurs. So for her (Blessed Anne, in the 1800s) to clearly state these numbers is to me fascinating. It took me years just to get used to the idea!!! This is a private revelation but if this were true there would be all sorts of implications. And now, for a variety of reasons I agree with her. Assuming Faith it is reasonable that God would wait half way through the pregnancy to create the soul and unite it to the body. For different reasons this to me would be a a wise choice on God's part.

Notice also that she clearly states the Mary's soul assumed a form. Soul refers to an object, i.e. to that which has form, shape, figure, etc. . . pick your synonym. Form is the primary quality of all objects, and the soul is most certainly an object, NOT a concept such as love, life, justice, gravity, light. Jesus clearly references the soul as an object in Matthew 10:28. This soul miraculously formed by God, takes on the same form and unites with Mary's living, yes Blessed Anne says, living body. This agrees perfectly with the teaching form the Council of Vienne (1312). The Pope and Bishops taught that the soul of itself has the form of the body. My understanding is that they explicitly and authoritatively taught this doctrine because some philosophers and theologians of the time thought that there was this universal soul that superposed all humans. This would suggest that this soul has vast boundaries or limits, but this is not the case. The form of the soul itself, meaning that which is bound or contained from the immediate surrounding is identical to the body. In a human, the soul and the body are most thoroughly united, superposed, interfaced, interpenetrated, mingled, etc. such that there is a single object called human which can be described as having a body and a soul. Human does not reference two objects, but a single object. However the soul has form, boundaries. Furthermore it stands out, it exists, can be described as three dimensional, has location, has unique properties and abilities and is made of that which is not of Mother Nature, call it soulium if you like. But the soul does not assume its form from the same fundamental object which atoms derive their form, the same which they use to enact light and gravity. The soul of itself is not inherently connected to all the atoms of the Universe. It does not belong to the network of matter. Nevertheless when it is united to the body in the perfect and intimate relation of a human it is connected to matter via the body.

And last Blessed Anne says she saw this soul unite to the LIVING body of Mary in Saint Anne's womb. She seems to suggest that Mary's body was already alive in Saint Anne's womb prior to ensoulment. Although assuming Faith the soul is an essential featured object to mature humans, Blessed Anne's words would seem to suggest that an object can be described as living prior to ensoulment meaning that the soul is not necessary for an object to enact the dynamic relation called life. And from here we need to start discussing definitions of life, establishing contexts, and so on. This is all I will say in this blog post for now, but this is by far a most stimulating quote and it has made me rethink what the theologians have shoved down my throat.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Enigmas from Jesus and Cyrus the Great

There was once a fisherman, who wanted to see the fish in the sea dance.  Day after day, he would go to the beach and play the flute for them.  When at length he saw that the fish wouldn't jump out of the sea, he lost his patience, grabbed a net, threw it in the water and dragged the fish on shore. And then when they were flopping around on the beach, he exclaimed:  "See you would not dance for me when I played my tune, but you dance for me now." [1]

Spoken like a true noble, the above is what Cyrus the Great said to an envoy of Greek-Ionians who lived in on the eastern coast of Anatolia (Asia Minor or Modern Day Turkey), after they changed their minds about allying with Cyrus. Prior to Cyrus conquering wealthy and well fortified Sardis led by King Croesus, Cyrus asked the Ionians if they would ally with him and his army. They refused thinking that Cyrus would not be able to take Sardis.  Cyrus took Sardis in 14 days, and afterwards the Greeks came back asking if they could join him in which he replied with the above.

Interestingly, this sort of enigma is similar to what Jesus said in rebuke of the Jews:

But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplace, who, calling out to their companions, say: ‘We played music for you, and you did not dance. We lamented, and you did not mourn.’

The music represents the joy of Jesus preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom.  The lamentation represents the gravity of John the Baptist preaching repentance for the nearness of the Kingdom.  The lack of dancing and mourning represents the lack of response on the part of the Jews at the time, and by extension all times.  

[1] this anecdote is taken from Reza Zharghamee's lecture promoting his book Discovering Cyrus:  The Persian Conqueror astride the Ancient World.  He is the foremost Cyrus scholar in the world.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Greed vs. Generosity

Greed: I have more and more; you have less and less.
I am filled to the full and as a consequence you are deprived.
I take without thought of what you need.
I do less so that you have to do more.
I live and you die.

Generosity: I have less so that you can have more!
I deprive myself so that you can be filled!
I only take what I need so that you can meet your needs.
I do more so that you have to do less.
I die so that you may live.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Meditation on Inequality

Perhaps I will meet you sometime in the desert, where the Zamiri roam, and men and woman fit together like water and thirst. When they meet, they are everything, Alone we are nothing. (From Black Gold, Movie)
All the lessons of psychiatry, psychology, social work, indeed culture, have taught us over the last hundred years that it is the acceptance of differences, not the search for similarities which enables people to relate to each other in their personal or family lives. (John Ralston Saul) 


In this brief article I would like to go against the grain and offer freestyle thoughts on inequality. In spite of the fact that I am embedded in a hierarchical Church, I sometimes lose sight of the importance not to mention value of inequality. This I think might have something to do with the never-ending stream of modern propaganda in favor of equality. Perhaps I and we in the West in general have lost sight of the importance and value of inequality. And as I grow older I am coming to a more mature appreciation of inequality. And this has nothing to do with blind obedience or a militaristic exchange of fulfilling orders. There is 'something' ingenious about inequality. Hopefully I can unravel this a bit in this article. 

Let us start on a base physical level.  A male form does not equal a female form.  This is qualitative.  There is no possible argument against this.  All one has to do is trace, and dissect the body.  Hand in hand with this goes the fact that females have certain abilities that males do not and vice versa.  Function follows form.  Perhaps this is why traditionally both were to assume different roles.  And I might add that each have certain strengths and weaknesses that we are all well aware of.  And they have some slightly different needs.  
Basically, a male form does not equal a female form.  There is asymmetry.  They are not identical.  Perhaps we can say that identity is a concept that is derived by comparing forms.  That which has form is everything in philosophy and physics.  Assuming Faith we may all be descended from God, Adam and Eve, and in this there is equality.  Both male and female are alike in dignity. Both are human.  And yet this cannot possibly be taken to an extreme in denial that a male form equals a female form or vice versa.  Is this a contradiction???  Not necessarily.  All one need do is clearly define equality and inequality.  [I am in no way implying that this is a justification to directly or indirectly harm, deprive or use another on a basis of inequality.]    

What about a specific male form as opposed to another specific one.  Take Michael and Nicholas.  These two names refer to two distinct male forms, but are they equal?  Strictly speaking no they are not.  Again trace the lines, dissect the flesh, decode the DNA.  Slightly modified forms.  And guess what?  Michael and Nicholas have different talents, insights as well as a little different strengths and weaknesses.  Different virtues and vices.  Different personalities.  Perhaps this has first has something to do with their distinct forms in addition to their chosen acts, environment, and so on.

There is even inequality in the Holy Trinity.  Although Roman Catholics believe that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are each fully One God, Almighty, Immortal, (etc.) yet clearly the Father does not equal the Son, and the Spirit does not equal the Son or the Father.  Again perhaps a paradox, but this is what we believe.  There is asymmetry, inequality, identity in the One God.  Without this inequality it would seem that God would be imperfect.  

I suggest that there is inestimable value in inequality. Inequality sustains mutual admiration, respect, and even love for one another. When everyone is treated equally or forced into equality or unable to cultivate unique talents or assume unequal roles, perhaps we lose mutual admiration and respect for one another.  And not only this perhaps certain needs are not met.  I tend to admire and respect others who are able to do things I'm not capable of doing.  I also admire others who don't have this same face I have to look at in the mirror everyday.  This is not to say that they are not above criticism, its just there is something worthy of admiration, respect, love and gratitude that we have these unequal forms, abilities, talents, skills, roles, insights and so on.  Personally, I admire those who are able to work with the poor and the sick, as well as those who have exceptional people skills.  I clearly lack these.  

Perhaps every one in a trillion might have the unique ability to reign, and lead whole nations or empires in a non-psychopathic manner without depriving, harming or pissing off the subjects.  This doesn't happen often, but when it does happen that is a very unique, talented, UNEQUAL human.  The stars must have aligned.  All the subatomic objects crossed into him at conception.  The Holy Spirit must have modified his form, stimulated and graced him, because he is special.  He seems to be able to lead where most others cannot. And yet the strange thing is he would he needs his subjects to qualify as unequal.  They complete him so to speak.  

In love there is this attraction encountering one that is OTHER than you. Another form, with abilities, thoughts, and so on that are not your own. And this not just in context of sexual love.  Also in filial love.  This is one of the "reasons" I think I love people from other cultures and countries so much. To me they are exotic, and they make me want to get out of myself and my world.  In any sort of love which most would agree is the most precious gift one may find, inequality seems a life-blood.  Inequality seems to fuel love.  Its like we need this inequality to complete ourselves, to fulfill ourselves, to perfect ourselves.  Without it, we would be nothing.  

Imagine a world full of American businessmen and woman in suits, same haircut, loud cars, same ideas and all lusting after money.  Talk about dystopian.  Talk about losing admiration, respect, and love of others and life.  That is what I would be tempted to do. Perhaps this is why there are those who make a life commitment to go against the status quo.  That tattooed Mohawk and inked body is a brazen challenge reminding us all that we are unequal.

Inequality also inspires us to go beyond our humdrum lives.  If there was no inequality what would we possibly have to strive for???  What star could we set our course for in order to better ourselves?  If there was no Ivo Pogorelich or Grigory Sokolov, those mercurial gods of the piano setting the bar high, perhaps we would be condemned to average piano music until the end of time.  And what if there was no classical music or ethnic music to inspire???  Maybe music would degrade.  And the list goes on and on.

So in conclusion to this brief intellectual escapade, I say we should celebrate inequality.  I recommend the short story called "The Classical" by Mike Huttner.  He briefly explores the theme of inequality, and he is the one who made me start to think of the inestimable value of inequality.  Here is a link to his short story:

The Classical