Eckhart on Our Divine Re-birth as Lovers

We are meditating with Meister Eckhart on a deeper and more adult understanding of Advent and Christmas, and how both commemorate how humans are to become alive and other Christs and sons and daughters of God.

“The Mission of Virgil.” Artist: William Blake, courtesy of Birmingham Museums Trust, from Unsplash

Eckhart prays that “we might be born in God in a divine way.”  He pursues this theme of our divine birth when he considers what it would be like to be human and divine at once.  One thing it would mean is a much more beautiful existence for us all, were we truly to believe in our own rebirth as children of God, our own divinity.  Says Eckhart:

Oh, that would be a noble life, that would be a blessed life!  Would that not be a noble life when everyone was inclined to his neighbor’s peace as to his own?

Surely the Christmas promise of “peace to all people of good will” is embedded in this teaching.

Such an existence would stretch out to other places and other times.  It would break through all barriers of race and gender and class and would celebrate the communion of saints and the mystical body, where beauty would feed on beauty and would be shared bountifully. 

“White Pigeon” common symbol of the Holy Spirit. Photo by Ashish Thakur on Unsplash

All the virtues which have ever been exercised by the whole human race belong to you as perfectly as if you had exercised them yourself—in fact, even clearer and better. In such an existence we would be giving birth to love and to the Holy Spirit as the Son does—indeed, “the love with which we love is the Holy Spirit.”  

Eckhart does not only remind us that “God is love,” but that love is God and love births God.  “Love at its purest and most detached level is nothing else in itself than God.”  

He does not separate a love for creatures and a love for Creator, as many theologians do.  Instead, the difference in love is within ourselves.  If our love is truly one of letting go and letting be, then every act of love, toward friends and creatures alike, partakes of the Holy Spirit.  Every movement through which we are moved to love is a movement in which nothing other is moving us than the Holy Spirit.  He is saying that every movement of love is God-inspired.

“The Creation of Adam,” by Michaelangelo. Public domain on Wikimedia Commons.

Eckhart is also speaking of humanity’s deification:

Should we now say that, if a person loves God, that person becomes God?  That sounds like heresy.  In the love a person gives there are not two but one and union, and in love I am more God than I am in myself.  The prophet says: ‘Ye are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High.’  This sounds surprising that a person should be able in such a way to become God in love; yet it is true in eternal Truth.  Our Lord Jesus Christ proves it.

The theme of the deification of humanity is a familiar one in creation-centered theologians like Saint Irenaeus and Clement of Alexander.  We shall explore this theme more tomorrow.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Passion For Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp. 317f.

Banner image: “Starry Night Over the Rhone” by Vincent van Gogh. Public domain, on Wikimedia Commons.

Is it your experience that God is Love and Love is God?  Have you tasted, however briefly, of humanity’s deification?

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2 thoughts on “Eckhart on Our Divine Re-birth as Lovers”

  1. Avatar

    Love as an action. “If you love Me, keep My Commandments.” Life is the act of love of continuously serving all living things. We all love this Life of service. Our response as an act of love, is to love the Life of service in others, as we do in ourselves. All hosts of Life need help in sustaining ourselves. We who have more than our basic needs are expected, out of love to serve others and supply them their basic needs. The love expressed by this service will bring us all, a fuller Life. Deacon’82 Environment and Global Interdependence.

    1. Avatar

      I love this statement: “We who have more than our basic needs are expected, out of love to serve others and supply them their basic needs.” I, who have more than one coat, often ask myself why I do not give one away; and this is just a metaphor for so much else that I have that I do not give away.

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