Divinization, Radiance & Moving Beyond Anthropology

We meditated yesterday on radiance, another word for doxa or glory or the Cosmic Christ.  It is found, according to Hildegard in all things.  (Today’s science also tells us there are photons or light waves in all atoms in the universe.)

Photo meditation on the journey of a photon from the center of the sun to our Earth. CosmoBoy

Hildegard shares words she heard from the Creator God: “I am the day that does not shine by the sun; rather by me the sun is ignited.”  The words in Genesis, “Let there be light,” do not refer to the sun.  In that creation story the sun came after that first creation of light–long after according to today’s creation story from science.  Nine billion years after. 

Hildegard draws an analogy between the sun and God and the sun and us when she says that just as every ray of the sun we call the sun; so every ray of God we call God.  So we are God (not all of God but a ray of God).  The Cosmic Christ is in us all and renders us godly.

The challenge is to act like it as best we can.  Love.  Joy.  Compassion.  Justice.  Wisdom.  All are names for the divine.  All are effects of our divinization.

Man enthroned and self-reflecting: “Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles.” Photo by Oh Paris on Flickr.

The term “divinization” is rare among western theologians and especially since the modern era when the Enlightenment “deposed the Cosmic Christ” as Eastern Orthodox theologian Jarasof Pelikan put it. Biblical scholar Krister Stendahl criticizes Christians for being “more interested in ourselves than in God or in the fate of his creation.” 

He criticizes Rudolf Bultmann whose “whole theological enterprise has one great mistake…he takes for granted that basically the center of gravity–the center from which all interpretation springs—is anthropology, the doctrine of man.”

The cosmos is left out.  Nature and earth are left out.  Does this help explain climate change and the killing of Mother Earth that rages all around us?

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 111,79. 

See also Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God, pp. 1f., 26, 37, 49f., 66f.

Banner Image: What is anthropocentrism but a “Maze of mirrors?” Photo by Kathy on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Has a cosmic awareness begun to replace the doctrine of man in your view of the world?  And of theology?  And of spirituality?

Recommended Reading

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God …Including the Unnameable God

Too often, notions of God have been used as a means to control and to promote a narrow worldview. In Naming the Unnameable, renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox ignites our imaginations by offering a colorful range of Divine Names gathered from scientists and poets and mystics past and present, inviting us to always begin where true spirituality begins: from experience.
“This book is timely, important and admirably brief; it is also open ended—there are always more names to come, and none can exhaust God’s nature.” -Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of Science Set Free and The Presence of the Past

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8 thoughts on “Divinization, Radiance & Moving Beyond Anthropology”

  1. Avatar

    “The cosmos is left out. Nature and earth are left out. Does this help explain climate change and the killing of Mother Earth that rages all around us?” I believe so. I also believe that humanity and humanness have been as tragically left out in the same destructive process. What could I call this process : using nature and people as “things”.

    “Has a cosmic awareness begun to replace the doctrine of man in your view of the world? And of theology? And of spirituality?” To be honest, I’d rather free myself from this dichotomy. As you wrote beautifully, “Hildegard draws an analogy between the sun and God and the sun and us”.

  2. Avatar

    Streams of light
    Eminating from a
    Central point
    Expanding outward
    In all directions
    Radiating an infinite
    Kaleidoscope of colors
    Soul vine threads
    Cast like a net
    Each one a jewel
    In the Webb of Life.

  3. Avatar

    I am looking forward to reading Matthew’s “The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance.” It has been sitting on my shelf too long.
    The historic spiritual traditions around the world of Divine Feminine Spirituality and Indigenous Spirituality are probably even older than the theological concept of the Cosmic Christ, with their universal and unique mystical experiences and values of the sacredness of: community life and rituals, compassion, Mother Earth and all Her creatures (including humans), and the COSMOS. It is so sad in human history that the Sacred Masculine became mostly separated and unbalanced from itself, humanity, and the Divine Feminine; consequently, it deteriorated into toxic and destructive patriarchy in many human societies and institutions (including religious ones) causing much human suffering and the increasing destruction of our sacred and beautiful planetary life up to our present times.
    However, Our Beloved Mother~Father Co-Creator~Source Is Eternally Present with-in and among Us Compassionately guiding, healing, and strengthening Us with DIVINE LOVE~WISDOM~ONENESS… in the Sacred Evolution of Our ETERNAL SOULS….

  4. Avatar

    In the late 90s, I truly believed that cosmic awareness had begun to replace the doctrine of man. Sadly, the rise of radical fundamentalism which I saw begin to rise in the first decade of the 21st Century has eclipsed cosmic awareness within Christianity. In the last 7 years, this has escalated, so that now I cannot even call fundamentalist churches Christian. (Neither does Jim Wallis.) This is not to say there aren’t small pockets (primarily virtual) of progressive Christianity–as in the community you, Matthew, are creating and within the community Richard Rohr is creating with cac.org. I hope they grow and supplant fundamentalism; but I’m not seeing it happen. Back in the aughts, I was reading Marcus Borg; and he said that the youth were moving us toward deep ecumenism. It made me sad because that was my wish, but what I saw were progressive churches shrinking in size and fundamentalist churches growing by leaps and bounds–especially among the young. May this trend be reversed. May we become a faith that truly follows Christ–the Cosmic Christ.

    1. Avatar

      I share your concern and your prayer. Jim Wallis’ book, “Christ in Crisis”, says it all. The rise of Christian Nationalism, surely an oxymoron, is terrifying and harks back to the idea of the divine rights of kings centuries ago. To follow the Way is to be totally against the prevailing “wisdom” and I am also very grateful that Matthew and Richard Rohr with the CAC and many others are giving us the strength and courage to stay on the path.

  5. Avatar

    Cosmic awareness,
    the dismantling of patriarchy and colonialism,
    humility, equality and love replacing arrogance, domination and greed.
    The mystical revelation, as proclaimed over and over in the Bible, including by Jesus himself, and as also proclaimed in other religions, is THE testimony of the soul that demands LOVE of other people and the earth with all its creatures.
    I’ve shared my mystical, panentheistic, experience and the Truths I’ve learned from it and about it, in the hope that people, no matter which religion or ideology they believe in, may benefit from one more mystical voice added to the timeless, universal testimony. I especially hope to make people aware that this mysticism IS in the Bible, that it is NOT some heretical, “gnostic,” or foreign contamination.
    I believe that the Truths of the Mystical Revelation deserve to be freely available to all people. That’s why I shared what I’ve learned. I don’t know if anyone even reads it, but I give what I have, the mysticism I know. I hope it can make a difference.

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