Our Nobility, Our Godlikeness, Our Responsibility

We are considering Eckhart’s teaching that every human is “born from the intimate depths of the divine nature and the divine wilderness” and is therefore noble.

United by the flame of the Spirit: “Pentecost.” Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The theme of our “nobility” is very much related to the principal theme of Jesus’s preaching, namely that the “kingdom of God” is within and among us. 

The theme of our “royal personhood” is very central to the Hebrew Bible.  Consider these teachings from the Psalms.  

Yahweh is king, robed in majesty
Yahweh is robed in power,
and wears it like a belt.
You have made the world firm, unshakeable;
Your throne has stood since then,
You existed from the first.  
(Ps 93:1f.)

13th century Icon of Our Lady of the Sign (the Annunciation and Jesus’ conception) from Yaroslavl (Kiev School, ca. 1114. Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow). Wikiwand.

And this.

Royal dignity was yours from the day you were born
on the holy mountains,
royal from the womb, from the dawn of your earliest days. 
(Ps 110.3)


You have made humans a little less than God,
and you have crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands,
putting all things under their feet.  
(Ps 8:6f)

Dr. Helen Kenik wrote her doctoral thesis on the theme of “Royal Personhood” under Hebrew Biblical scholar Walter Bruggemann (who rarely oversaw doctoral dissertations).  She writes: 

In a very real sense every Christian is called to be a royal person.  Like the kings, every person is created to have dominion in the world i.e., to be stewards of the world and builders of community within society.  In the Hebrew scriptures human beings are described as God’s creatures with a royal status and kingly responsibilities.*

“London March Against Racism, 2023” Photo by Tim Dennell on Flickr.

The first of these responsibilities is justice. Keeping the community together and in balance so “the people may live” (as indigenous teachers put it). 

Our nobility and godlikeness is not a matter of preening ourselves, but it is a matter of our dignity–“finding the nobility inside”–and of our responsibility.

* Helen Kenik, “Toward a Biblical Basis for Creation Theology,” in Matthew Fox, ed., Western Spirituality: Historical Roots, Ecumenical Routes, p. 47.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, “Chapter 7: Our Royal Personhood: Our Dignity as Responsibility for Building the Kingdom/Queendom of God,” in Original Blessing, pp. 93-102.

Banner Image: “Namaste.” Host and guest recognize the divine in one another at a home in Nepal. Photo by Stew and Vee Carrington on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you find your nobility and your responsibility named in these teachings from the psalms?

Recommended Reading

Western Spirituality: Historical Roots, Ecumenical Routes

In this book, Fox gathers scholars from various cultures and traditions such as Helen Kenik, Jon Sobrino, Nicolas Berdyaev, Rosemary Ruether, M. D. Chenu, Mary Jose Hobday, Ronald Miller, Monika Hellwig, James Kenney, Justin O’Brien and others to approach creation spirituality from many traditions and many angles. 
“An exciting and important book…a pleasant alternative to the oppressive burden of the fall/redemption tradition.” ~ New Review of Books and Religion 

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

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3 thoughts on “Our Nobility, Our Godlikeness, Our Responsibility”

  1. Avatar

    Nobility, Dignity, Godlikeness these to me are not earned, but rather are an act of grace, gifts given from our Creature to we humans, the undeserving one’s. I say undeserving, because I am fully aware of my own as well as humanities weaknesses, failures, imperfections; the many dark expressions and manifestations of our shadows and egos.

    Nobility, Dignity, Godlikeness is often entangled in the point of view of being perfect and pure; which weaves a webb of guilt, shame and fear; as well as the threads of unrealistic imposed upon expectations that can never be lived up to, either coming from our own inner critic and judger or those of others… which wraps us in soiled raggs of punishment unable to receive the GRACE of God’s unconditional love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness.

    Personally, I know I need to receive these GRACES of God, in order to respond to and kindle the spark of the Divine Godlikeness, and the nobility and dignity of this essence that is present within my humanness; AMIDST all my weaknesses, failures, imperfections and the dark aspects of my shadow and ego.

    It is the eternal truth of these GRACES of God’s unconditional love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness that sets me free; and through this I begin to see the unfolding, evolving emergence of the gift of a new mantle being woven of Godlikeness, and the nobility and dignity of this Divine light within; that I am humbly learning to respond to and embody.

  2. Avatar

    No thanks to the rising tide of far-right Christian Nationalists who want to occupy all secular and political institutions, the word “dominion” has, unfortunately, come to mean something very different from what Dr. Kenik probably meant.

  3. Avatar

    I have faith that realizing/becoming more conscious of our inner Divine Nature~Eternal Soul~True Heart Self can be truly healing/transforming in our daily relational lives with ourselves, with others, with our Sacred Mother Earth and all Her living creatures and graceful abundance, and with All Our physical and non physical spiritual dimensions in Our multiverse LOVING Co-Creating~Evolving DIVERSE COSMOS of ONENESS in the Sacred Process of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT….

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