Christianity is based on the Jewish focus upon time and redemption, yet it has too often based itself upon the Greek focus on space and salvation.
PART ONE= SPACE AND TIME FOR GREEKS
W.F. Otto [‘The Homeric Gods’, p 5]= “..the natural has become one with the spiritual and eternal.. The ancient Greek religion comprehended things of this world with the most [incisive] sense of [their] reality.. and nevertheless – nay, for that very reason – recognized in them the marvelous delineations of the divine.”
Plato, like all Greek philosophers, started from the empirically given, the phenomenal world of space, time, and matter. His argument is that space and matter ‘reflect’ a higher reality, whilst time inevitably moves away from it, pointlessly, and alarmingly.. Eternity is immutable and immoveable, in permanent repose. The phenomenal world is an ‘image’ of Eternal Verities, but time degrades, undermines, and destroys, that ‘en-visioning’ of the divine built into the warp and woof of things.
For Plato, space, and the matter holistically configured in it, has been shaped by divine forces, and is therefore a metaphor, a poetic yet exact analogy, of divine realities. Thus, he can speak of the divine as ‘an ocean of beauty.’ Similarly, the life-giving sun is an image of the unconditional generosity of the divine. The visible realm ‘below’ mirrors the invisible realm ‘above.’ As above, so below.. We ‘see’ the invisible through the visible, because the visible is transparent, more like a stained glass than an opaque surface. The visible is the ‘ikon’ of the invisible.
Plato takes joy in describing the Greek landscape acutely yet resonating with echoes of divinity which it portrays, or depicts, visually, symbolically, imaginatively. ‘Ellada’ is a place not burnt by a pitiless and harsh sun, as in the desert, but warmly embraced by a bountiful sun which brings all things to light, causing them to flower in their full potentiality, and also beautifying them, and un-hiding their quintessential reality, their own particular gift. There is a pervasive ethos of the divine Above, and the phenomenal world Below, in happy accord. The divine ‘overlooks’ the world to encourage it to be the best it can be. ‘Putting the best foot forward’, in its Greek context, is not only about walking the Right Path to stay attached to What Is, as opposed to wandering ever further into What Is Not, as in the Far East, but more ‘credit’, more encouragement, is given to the Relative by the Absolute, in the Eros of the Greeks. ‘Ripeness is all.’ There is nothing of the Western god of punitive and suspicious gaze. The Greek Eros is ‘on our side’, rooting for us. Perhaps this is why even the gods and goddesses of Greece are far more anthropomorphic than the multiple divinities of Hinduism in India.
For Plato, the phenomenal world is ‘already meaningful’ because it has an implicate structure that works as a balanced, harmonious, coherent [and comprehensible], Whole. Everything follows a circular course, returning to where it began, because Eternity is like a Circle where the unity of the divine nature cannot be divided, and is a completeness without any lack, protectively holding everything, like a mother who loves all her children the same. Thus everything in this Whole has its own essential being, its way of having being, like the instruments in an orchestra, all differing yet playing together. The ‘basic nature’ of each thing, and that of the Whole of all things, is basically good [life-giving], beautiful [proportionate yet ravishing], luminous [disclosed not veiled]. Yet for all that, it is only a lower, and pale, ‘copy’ of the Original Fullness of the Good, the Beautiful, the True. The Eros of the Greeks contains a paradox. Although it sees in the phenomenal world a ‘marvelous delineation’ of the Higher Realm of Ultimate Reality, the very goodness, beauty, truth, discovered here creates in the seeker a painful yearning, an almost nostalgic longing, to be there at the very Source of the Divine Splendour.
Plato both affirms the ‘visibly generated’, ‘sensible’ realm, finding it of intrinsic value, yet by virtue of that, becomes dissatisfied with the replica, and desires the proto-type, the original version, the first [arche] type, which is the invisible and un-generated, ‘intelligible’ realm. We look through a glass darkly now, but then we shall see as we are seen.
Lief Boman [‘Hebrew Thought Compared With Greek’, 1960, p 155]: “The basis of Plato’s thinking is the eternal or transcendent world of which our world of experience is only an image; this image is in itself.. glorious, but the glory of the [sensory and material] world is as nothing compared to the glory of Eternity. ..For Plato, things like geometry are a sensible image of invisible Eternity. It belongs to the world of experience yet has laid aside its sensuousness as much as possible. ..Platonic Eternity is ..like a Circle that goes on ceaselessly. The Divine Ideas do not belong to the world of experience but to Eternity. Experience does awaken in us a ‘presentiment’, or intuition, of them. Indeed, the intuition of the Ideas is union with Eternity.”
On the most ‘upbeat’ version of Platonism, the visible world is valued because it is a ‘making visible’ of the invisible Divine Nature. But the downbeat is that time is invariably cracking that mirror. If the cracks get too fierce, the mirror breaks.
Plato’s concern is with the difference between Being and non-being. Plato’s goal as a philosopher is to find ‘what really is.’ His way of operating is, awaken to the Real, and thus see through the Unreal. Discern Reality from Illusion.
The highest Being is unalterable and indestructible, at rest, and possesses Goodness, Beauty, Truth, in and of itself. Everything else has not got being in itself, but is given its being, and therefore is lesser in being, dependent on the Origin of Being.
The phenomenal world is in a strong sense a domain of ‘appearances.’ It consists of genuine terrestrial ikons of celestial mysteries, but because of the unawareness that humans are prone to, it is also full to the brim with ‘false pictures’ of happiness, fulfillment, attainment; these misleading pointers cause humans to put hope in, and become attached to, what is merely temporal and perishable, and thus has no value. We need to ‘look to’ the things in this world that point us beyond it, to Eternity. If we look to things confined to this passing world for the answer to the question of how to find ‘the good life’, the ‘right’ path, we are ‘misdirected.’ We are deceived.
‘Non-being’ is the negation of being and therefore refers to all the ‘phantasies’ and ‘opinions’ and ‘notions’ that can have no reality. When human culture separates itself from the beholding of and participation in the Sacred Kosmos of the Whole, humans ‘construct’ more and more of this unreality. Thus, in addition to genuine images of the ultimate, our world contains much that is illusory, mere empty appearance of no substantiality, producing delusion and confusion. Plato, like Hinduism and Buddhism, has no ‘devil’, except as merely a personification of all the enticing ‘non-being’ humans become glued to; none the less, in the lesser realm there are, as Boman puts it, ‘many dark corners where rogues can hide out and ply their mischief.’
In the lower world, light and shadow, reality and distortion, images [of the real] and illusions [of the unreal], the unveiled truth and the veil of error hiding and distorting truth, are interwoven, and co-exist.
The problem in the lower realm is, humans remaining captive to ignorance, blindness, sleep.
The Greeks were called “men of eyes.”
Seeing is the chief of the senses, the eyes of the body. But it is necessary to ‘see’ what is inaccessible to the senses, the invisible. Seeing the invisible in the visible requires the [plural] ‘eyes of the soul’ [Philo], whilst seeing the invisible in itself requires the [single] eye of the nous. In more Buddhist language, sensory eyes perceive ‘the gross’, soul eyes perceive ‘the subtle’, and the noetic eye perceives ‘the pure.’ [The plurality of eyes of the soul includes the psychic, and the imaginal. The psychic eye is key to Plato’s description of the four kinds of ‘divine madness’, four kinds of psychic charisma. The imaginal refers to the ability to visualize possibility, and thus expand the factual beyond its narrow restrictions.]
Knowing refers to that which is unveiled. In Sanskrit, and Greek, ‘truth’ really means ‘the truth of being’, What Is, as opposed to what seems to be, yet is not. Knowing as ‘seeing’ is an event of disclosure: a screen of Illusion is drawn back, and Reality breaks through. This is a ‘theophany.’
Spectacle and solemnity are one for the Greeks, and the highest in religion. At certain rituals, the gods came to observe and to be observed. They were ‘spectators.’ The spectator perspective is regarded as divine in itself. It may be that it is from the cultic mystery dramas that we get the oldest Greek word for God. Thus, in ancient usage ‘theoris’ is a ‘spectator’, and this might well be the root for ‘theos.’
The link with ‘theoria’ [theorizing] is clear cut. Thus, a theoretician was someone like a visionary, or mystic, who beheld a divine disclosure, a divine ‘spectacle’, and then came away from this and bore witness to it, portraying it to others who had not experienced it.
The theory is indirect, but it allows those who have ‘not been there’ to see, to visualize, to ‘picture’, what the witness who was there really saw. A bad theoretician adds to, or subtracts from, re-invents, their direct experience of beholding; they convey it falsely to others who did not behold it. The others get a false picture of what the person witnessed. A good theoretician ‘tells it like it is’ when they encountered it; this conveys it truthfully to others who did not behold it. The others get a true picture of what the person witnessed.
In Shamanism, the person who has had divine encounter must sometimes keep it to themselves, yet other times they must take it to the assembled people, and then say, ‘I saw this, it happened there.’ It must be un-fabricated, un-adorned, a ‘true witness.’ This is cognate with ancient Greek theoria.
Yet the fullest theoria is when the divine enters nous, soul, body, and the person becomes in their entire life and presence an ikon of the ultimate. Such persons are illuminated from within, a spiritual radiance coming from beyond them, yet active within them, and radiating out from them. The external light creates shadows; the spiritual light is without shadows.
The Divine is ‘the One Who Sees All, Spectates All, the only ‘objective’ observer’ of visible and invisible in their unity. To see it all as the divine sees it, to whatever degree we can attain this, is to be on the road that leads to human elevation. Knowing the Exalted is what exalts the human.
Humanity attains their acme when they absorb and realize in themselves as much of the Eternal as possible.
Seeing grants direct access to What Is– but only if consciousness is altered, and cleansed, so that it can be illumined. The requirement for such knowing is quietness, stillness, vigilance in awakeness, the giving up of attachment to things of no reality, pacifying emotionality, curbing the passions. ‘Dispassion’ is needed to see aright. Thus, we need to be ‘clear, calm, and collected.’ The human must be rendered bodily ‘tranquil’ and mentally ‘peaceful.’ A host of spiritual practices, or yogas, can help us give up our investment in what is merely passing, and enable us to reinvest in the ultimate which is not passing.
Virtues that arise from the vision of the Kosmos as the sacred and symbolic image of Eternity include a valuing of whatever is holistically arranged, concordant, consonant, ‘agreeable’ to integration; and as well as such concord, also a valuing of equilibrium, equipoise, equanimity, stability and consistency.
Alex Aksentijevic [2003, p 1]=
“Harmony, harmonic, and harmonious, are words encountered in many contexts. They are derived from the Greek ‘armonia’, meaning ‘articulation’ and ‘agreement.’ The root of the word comes from the Greek for ‘joint.’ In its most general sense, harmony represents order, proportion, and accord, in the world. The ‘Celestial Music’.. of Confucian China and the Pythagorean ‘Music of the Spheres’ comprise a perfectly harmonious music, inaudible to the human ear, thought to be produced by the movement of celestial bodies. Confucius [551-479 BC] regarded music as essential in maintaining order in the universe and in human society.. Plato, Pliny, Cicero and Ptolemy are amongst the philosophers of the ancient world who contemplated the music of the spheres. ..in medieval Europe it found its expression in abbeys and cathedrals designed to conform to the proportions of musical and geometric harmony. The English hermeticist Robert Fludd [1574-1637] visualized grand celestial scales spanning three octaves and linking levels of [being] from the sub-planetary elemental worlds to.. choirs of angelic intelligences beyond the stars. More recently, Leibnitz described the mind-body relationship as a ‘pre-established harmony’ – a divine synchronisation of monads and ideas. In mathematics, the series= 1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/4 + 1/5.. is called a harmonic series. It diverges to infinity and is often used in statistics and applied mathematics..”
The Greek respect for the ‘golden mean’, the middle way, the avoiding of dissonance, the repudiation of extremes, the distaste for the undisciplined and disproportionate in anything, constituted an ideal to which the Greek athlete [look at the statues of human bodies], no different to the Greek philosopher, aspired.
The Meta Design responsible for the holistic formation of the Sacred Kosmos could be called, in a more Shamanic context, ‘Natural Law’, or the Way which is always Naturally Flowing through all things. It is clearly parallel with the Sacred Circle and its Four Directions. The Whole is always a binary system, starting with two and proceeding to multiples thereof. It is a Sacred Geometry. Everything is ‘a part of it.’
In a more modern terminology, the Sacred Kosmos is the ‘House of Being.’
Our real need for ‘belonging’ is frustrated until we join it.
According to Boman [p 175], Plato focused on the question= “What is the relation between the sensible world and the supra sensible world? ..he had found that the sensible world was transitory, and the supra-sensible was wonderful, beautiful, and divine. If.. the sensible world is transitory, it must have an origin and.. will pass away.”
Plato focuses on ‘being’ as real, and rejects ‘becoming’ as no pointer to anything ultimate, thus spiritually spawning only the fictitious.. Divinity cannot be known in terms of time; the divine can be known only in terms of space. Boman [p 162]= “The Greek conception of blessedness is.. spatial.. determined by the contrast between this world and the timeless Beyond.”
Eternity is ‘incompatible’ with time, in the Greek world-view.
Eternity, for Plato, is not endless time; rather, Eternity means: outside of time, beyond the reach of time, above the vicissitudes and loses of time. Eternity is the ‘life-form’, to use very Platonic language, of the Divine. Eternity is not affected, for ill or for good, by time. It does not rust, decay, die. The damage of time cannot hurt Eternity. The Eternal is not only immobile, remaining always What It Is and never changing or becoming different to its Being, but also Eternity is not affected by anything that happens in time. The very essence, or nature, of Eternity is that it is ‘non-affectable’, or in the language of the Stoics [later continued by the monastics of Eastern Orthodox Christianity], ‘non-passible.’
Plato calls time ‘a moving image of Eternity’ [Timaeus, 38], but the analogy between higher realm and lower realm can be very well articulated in space, through a cosmic architecture [‘the harmony of the spheres’], but the analogy breaks down in regard to time. Eternity is at rest, thus how can time be ‘like’, or ‘akin’, to Eternity?
Eternity and time have the same formal similarity as between an Original and a Reflection, but there is a qualitative dissimilarity as between a Perfect Type and a Weak Imitation. The culprit making the weak imitation an inadequate copy, a degenerating image, is time. Perfection is the unalterable Eternity. Time brings stunning and shocking imperfection.
Indeed, some hyper pessimistic versions of Platonism push this point so far that it becomes hard to comprehend why the divine would ‘bother’ to generate such a lacking facsimile of itself.. This decidedly extreme Greek attitude throws away Plato’s sense of wonder at Nature as the mirror of all the abundance of divinity. Everything in the material world seems, then, alien, uncanny, meaningless, and humanity cannot feel ‘at home’ down here, so that the desire to ‘return’ up there becomes overwhelming. This nostalgic desire draws us out of life, and makes death preferable as ‘release’ into Eternity.
Such was the stance of the early Gnostics against whom Christianity fought fiercely, rejecting their view that the ‘lesser realm’ has no point. The Gnostics believed we can have no duty to the ‘sinking ship’ of this world, and expending love on it is a waste of time better spent on ‘getting out of here.’ Spirituality becomes an ascending movement out of the horrors of materiality and towards the ‘purity’ of the spiritual.
In fact, viewing the material realm as not just flawed, but fundamentally non worthwhile, paves the way toward the extreme doctrine that the divine act of creating is, in itself, the Fall. Just by coming to be, the phenomenal world is a catastrophic falling away from the spiritual– not a new, creative adventure, for God and for the creation.
On this extreme Gnostic view, the material world is simply Fallen by definition, wholly inferior and impoverished in itself, and thus drifting, through time, towards a final collapse into non-being.
Yet, even without taking up the radical dualism of Gnosticism, for Plato and his heirs, time has the disastrous tendency to bring everything from Being into non-being, from What Is into What Is Not. Time, in its relentless losses, is the ‘design fault’ in the lower realm that cannot really be purged out of it. Consequently, Platonic spirituality, despite acknowledging the ‘mark’ of Eternity upon the phenomenal world, cannot but seek a way out, a way back, to Eternity ‘in the end.’ There can be no consciousness of working in time, to augment time. Our consciousness must be raised, in order to remain focused on Eternity. This is how we can ‘put up’ with time.
To commit oneself to time, to look for the ultimate within time, would be like leaving safe harbour, and floating out on the tide into raging seas, where the boat must sink.
For many Christians, the Platonic Eternity is confused with the Jewish ‘heaven’, without any realization of the mistake involved in that. The higher place free from, and not open to, the tragedies inherent to time, is ‘heaven’; and they believe, in a Greek and not Jewish manner, that if they ‘serve their time’ stoically here below, and fulfill certain divine requests in this vale of tears, then after a short span on earth they can go ‘up’ to heaven.
This is probably the greatest ‘Greek heresy’ in all of Christianity, East and West. It denies Christ as the Redeemer. Redemption is of time, and it only works in time. It fully embraces time, as only the Jews ever did, in all the world’s religions. William Blake: “Eternity is in love with the productions of time.”
But it is more radical than that.
The God of the Jews is staked to what happens, or fails to happen, in time. Yahweh moves in time and is moved by what humans do in time. Indeed, human actions can change Yahweh’s disposition.
Plato believes that the only thing that can ‘save’ the visible, generated realm from total eclipse at the hands of time is its desirous seeking of the Eternal. Do not many, if not most, Christians de facto agree with him?
Plato urges humanity to recollect, or ‘remember’, the Source from which we came, and in this way, we will not fall ever further into the inevitable process of degeneration that is taking us ever farther away from that Origin. Christians have somehow contrived to make Christ’s sacrifice the saving agent, yet Platonism embarrasses this misinterpretation of Christ’s Cross; for, Platonic recollection, or remembering, is a process in the soul which needs no saving agent outside the soul to do it, nor would it require any suffering from such a salvational agent. Eastern Saviour figures function as Light-Bringers, opening the eyes of people; this is not the deed of the Messiah. You do not need a Messiah to ‘save’ the soul from Illusion and return to Reality.
But, if being forced to remain in time has no meaning in itself other than losing Eternity, why wouldn’t we want to return to our Source? Being in the world, existing in time and history, seems ‘a waste of time’– we could be somewhere else, far better than here. At most, it can be allowed that this world is like a school where we learn a few necessary lessons before our [long awaited] ‘departure’ into Eternity.
Eternity is so superior to time because it is without alteration, hence without unrest, disturbance, tumult, privation, decay, and destruction. Nothing Daemonic can invade the bliss of the Eternal, according to Plato. Boman [p 128]= “The ‘tooth of time’ does not gnaw on it.”
“Time destroys” is the maxim Plato, and Aristotle, take as simply obvious. Aristotle= “Everything grows old under the pressure of time and is forgotten in the course of time, but nothing grows new or beautiful through time” [Boman, p 128].
To put any hopes in time is futile. Time is more destructive than constructive. Basically, ‘you live, you eat, you shit, you die.’
Everything reminding us of Eternity is highly regarded by Plato; the gods and goddesses, the divine realm itself, and even geometry, were all exempt from time, the transitory, and change. These three factors are all synonymous with ‘what is passing’ and ‘what will pass away.’ If it can pass into something else, and if it can pass into death, it is not a reflection of the Real, but it is, rather, the very epitome of the deceptively Unreal.
Trusting anything good can come from within time is ‘foolishness to Greeks.’
Consequently, on the best case scenario for Platonism, humanity is generated by the Divine, we live a short while during which we actualize some of the Gift of Eros, and then we return to the Matrix from which we came. Anaximander’s ‘Apieron’ is the Infinite, the Undefined, the Immutable ‘First Cause of all things whence they all arise and whither they all return.’
The higher world, itself at rest, acts like a magnet, drawing those inhabiting the lower world towards it.
The Divine Ideas draw us ‘up’ toward them, awakening in us a desire or yearning for their Eternity, and so we strive upward. But the desire, and strength, for this upward striving stem from the Ideas themselves. They are two-fold in impact: they awaken and draw us. Awaken= mind. Draw= soul.
This divine Pull is Eros. We are attracted to the Light, drawn outside the self, beyond the corporeal and sensory, drawn toward the spiritual and intelligible, and as we go higher, so the desire for the Divine Good, Divine Beauty, Divine Truth, increases. As we awaken more, so we desire the ephemeral and unreal less, letting it go, and desire the Real and Eternal more. Mind and Soul, awakening and yearning, are the two sides of illumination. Illumination has a salvational implication, in that it helps us cease to be blind towards what is lastingly real, and redirects our thirst away from alluring but passing appearances.
Hence, Eros pulls, draws, lifts up, humanity toward the rays of the Divine Light. Who would want to go on seeing shadows, chasing chintz and drinking poison?
For Plato, no human can ascend to the divine realm by his own effort, and thereby save himself. Eros means the pull is from the Divine Reality. Without this pulling of us from the divine, we could not reach the divine.
To think we can, of our own resources or practices/disciplines/yokes, reach to the divine is Luciferian; this ‘prelest’ is the ultimate in illusory error, and it stalks the spiritually and mentally advanced more than anyone else– monks of both Greek Orthodox and Buddhist traditions recognize its supreme peril.
The temptation of the ‘East’= the false light of Lucifer.
PART TWO= TIME AND SPACE FOR JEWS
God binds himself to time, in Judaism: an odd thing to do, and by this, God gambles that in the world, and over the entire span of history, humanity will ‘come through.’ This is counter intuitive to all the versions of that ‘timeless, other worldly, ahistorical’ [Eastern] religion of Eros. By tying himself to ‘time, the world, history’, God takes a risk. There is no more security of the lower being plugging into the higher, by definition, as a given. This ontological security, guarantee, certainty, is undermined; the plug is pulled, because the lesser is risked to a future that is not yet and might never be.
To keep faith, to keep one’s promise or vow to be committed to God, whatever he does, is enacted in time. It must ‘overcome’ time, but not by transcending time, escaping time, but by ‘bearing and enduring’ within time. Forbearing: bearing and enduring in patience. The root of the Hebrew for ‘victory’ is ‘enduring’; not simply duration, but enduring, bearing up, actively, patiently, through all trials and tribulations, all setbacks. Biblical time: Keep going. Do not give up, or give in. Do not stall.. Drive forward. Victorious in time, by driving ahead towards time’s true goal, or End.
For the Jews, eschatology – the Last Things – replaces the ‘timeless’ mystical union with God. The moment of the End of all time is apocalyptic, because it is the ‘time of decision’, the time to turn or not turn, a last chance to repent and turn the heart away from the Lie and toward the Truth; this is the final ‘moment of truth’ for humanity. Getting to this point, over time, and historically, is dramatic, because the clash of Truth versus Lie ‘hots up’, and the masked Lie is unmasked, so we see in the heart much more starkly the contest between Truth of heart and Lie to the heart enacted in the world, and driving the world toward what it will finally become. What the world, and humanity, will finally become is not pre-set, but open ended.
That is the horrendous danger we face, the risk God has taken with us, and because of us, with everything else. If we go on falling, we bring down the House of Being.
The real meaning of the existential awareness of existence being ‘out over the deep’, suspended over the Abyss, is Jewish: when the Daemonic God subjects the fate of everything to time, the world, history, the lower is de-rooted from the higher, and made to advance– or fall into Nothing. Its existing becomes fundamentally active, because if it stops, it falls into the Abyss. Its only chance of making the Abyss ‘full’ rather than ’empty’ is in what action redeems the time, or fails the time, in the End.
Biblical time has a dynamic quality of pressing forward toward a goal; this time never knows a ‘backwards’, only a ‘forwards’ [Boman, p 162]. However nostalgic we become, however much we would like to go backwards to a safer, less existentially risked, moment of time, the arrow of time does not allow that.
For Bergson, time is not ‘succession’ — portrayable as successive movements between points in space — but ‘duration.’ Bergson’s experiential account of time gets close to its mystery, and is congruent to Biblical time. Its arrow is forward, each moment is not so much an ‘eternal now’ as the decisive turning point, the decision for action that comes but once, and then — whether we rise to it or fail its summons — moves on. There is, in time, no second chance. There is a new chance, yet if so, it is not the same as the opportunity and danger we crumbled toward in the moment that has passed; it is a different opportunity and danger, and we bring crumbling in the old moment to the new moment. In a sense, each instant is a watershed, a separation of ‘before’ and ‘after’ that is absolute. Thus each moment is ‘a moment of truth’, all or none. We bring past failures and past victories with us as we move inexorably forward: this is how the past lives in the present.
Thus the whole human history, for the Jews, is with us in the now, even as an unknown and not yet created future opens to us in that very moment. Consequently, past and future pressure the present. In the moment of truth in every moment, we are linked with the past yet called by the future. The future comes into the moment of decision, demanding we decide for the possibility of what can still become, rather than despairing over what did not become in the past.
For the Jews, the past is out there ‘ahead’ of us, it is what we see looking ahead, and it regales us with stories of failure and of victory, yet nothing in it is finished, complete, perfect, thus it alerts us to the future which is still ‘behind’ us, still following on behind our present moment, waiting to claim its own moment, its ‘day in the sun’ for action.
The sense of time for each person is that of being in a race where you hand on the baton to others, once your time is up. A good father, for example, is precisely the runner who mentors and empowers his children to receive the baton from him, and carry on, going beyond where he stopped. This is in marked difference to the Greek myths of the jealous father who wants to block his children lest they get farther down the road than he reached– this father who sits on his children so they cannot go beyond him is evident in Uranus, Cronos, or the king who fathered and repudiated his son Oedipus. It is humanity as an entirety, and over the whole span of time, that is ‘running the good race.’ There are no winners or losers, as individuals. All win, or all lose. The baton has to be passed on, again and again, continuously.
Both Greeks and Jews were ‘holistic’, in the modern parlance, but the Greeks were spatially holistic, and the Jews were holistic in regard to time: past and future are ‘contemporaneous’ in the present. Thus, all events in time are linked, and continue to exist, to resonate, down the ages. Yahweh’s activity runs unbrokenly in time; his creating runs unbrokenly into his taking of the people out of Egypt, and his repatriation of the people from Babylon. It is all of a piece.
Only the Jews refuse to spatialise time, to blunt its headlong rush, and accept it for what it really is ‘doing.’ There is no break in duration; time is continuous, like a mighty river that flows head-long without interruption, discontinuities, breaks or pauses, in the surge. Heraclitus: “you cannot step into the same river twice.” Time is also a river rolling in a certain direction. The question this raises is: where are we going? Where will we end up?
Only persons who believe there is some ‘place’ they can go outside time are not ‘bothered’ by such questions.
Time is irreversible. The before, the now, the not yet, cannot be qualitatively equated. Time just continues in its powerful movement ‘forward’ which could take us in significantly different directions, and we are thrust into this dynamic ‘ongoing stream of events’, forced to take our moment for action, or let it pass us by, rendering us inactive. Time is always actively in movement, and says to us, what is your movement in reply? When we are inactive towards the possibilities time offers, it slows down, tormenting us; when we are active in seizing hold of the possibilities time provides, it speeds up, hardly noticed by us.
There is a tide in the affairs of men which, if taken at the flood, leads on to victory.’ This is good timing.
Action, to be effective, must be well timed.
All the Indo-European peoples marked time by the annual cycle of the sun; their great festivals are Winter and Mid-Summer. The Jews did not note these solar moments; they marked time by the three phases of the moon. A beginning, middle, and end, to every good story.
For the more regular ‘keeping time’, the Jews used time rhythms, neither time cycles nor time lines; rhythms: pulses, heartbeats. The heart is in time: the heart bears time. The drum beat of the heart announces, I am here, I am ongoing, I am not backing off, I am not getting out. My heart beat rises and falls, thus does my energy keep coming.
Like the Celts, the Jews began the New Year in the late autumn, at the time of Nature’s dying. The Jews, and the Celts, start in death and move toward life. Everyone on solar time starts in life and moves toward death..
Time, for the Jews, is qualitative. There is, wartime; peacetime; office hours; feast time; good times and hard times; time of mourning; and ‘The Day of Trouble.’
For the Greeks, the divine ‘dwelling’ is a marvelous, indeterminate, indefinable, infinite space. The ‘spaciousness’ of Eros is its capacity to ‘make room’ for anything and everything which it holds in its embrace. Hence ‘Void and Form’, or, ‘Emptiness [No-thing] and the Ten Thousand Things.’ It stretches, broadens, expands, to grant space for each and to all. Each has its own space, all share a common space. Spaciousness: ‘living space’; ‘space to breathe’; ‘space to become what you can be’.. Plato identifies the colour blue as a chief symbol of Eros; in Greece, there is the transparent blue of the sheltering sky; there is the ever deepening blue of the distant and rounded mountains; there is the beautiful, ever shifting blue of the ‘wine dark sea.’ In fact, as light enters the earth’s atmosphere, it is perceived as blue, but this blue contains all the colours.
In the Jewish Bible, God has no ‘permanent’ dwelling spatially, whether it be centre or periphery, above or below.. God’s dwelling place in the universe: he dwells everywhere [Psalms, 139, 7] and nowhere [1 Kings, 8, 27]. When God is associated with a place, this is not to be interpreted geographically or cosmologically, but the place reveals a certain quality of God. So, God does not dwell ‘in heaven’ any more than he dwells ‘on earth’, for both are ‘created’, and will pass away, and a new heaven and a new earth will arise at the End Time.
Christians mistakenly think God ‘lives in heaven.’ This is not so.
When God is associated with heaven, it is to reveal one or more of his qualities as God.
“God is in the heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few” [Ecclesiastes, 5, 2].
When Yahweh’s highly exalted and numinous quality is to be indicated, he dwells in heaven. This means there is a distinction between God and humanity as vast as the heavens; thus, be humble. Do not ‘set yourself in heaven’, and do not try to humanly get above yourself. Accept God’s ‘aboveness.’ We cannot raise our human clay from earth to heaven. The attempt to do so is Luciferian. It exemplifies the “man-god” of Dostoyevsky– as opposed to the God-man, or divine-humanity, of the Messiah. If we are to be raised, to be exalted, indeed to be divinized, God alone can do it. [It should be recalled that Plato similarly warned against ‘hubris’ toward the divine.]
“To thee I lift up my eyes, O thou who art enthroned in the heavens” [Psalms, 123, 1; and Psalms, 121, 1].
Or= “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool” [Isaiah, 66, 1].
Heaven is therefore not the mysterious and ultimate divine realm; for heaven is a work of Yahweh, like the earth, and one day will be scattered with the earth like smoke [Isaiah, 51, 6]. Yahweh exists as independently of heaven as of earth [1 Kings, 8, 27]. Divine transcendence is not spatial as it is in Greece, but is temporal.
The ‘ever abiding’ of Yahweh is in time. Thus this declaration is ultimate for the Jews: “God is the first and the last” [Isaiah, 44, 6; 43, 10; 41, 4]. Christ said this ultimate of himself, as divine-human, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’ [the first and the last in Greek letters]. The Beginning of time and the Ending of time. God abides in time but is himself ‘ever-lasting.’ He goes on and on.. Thus, Yahweh’s name is not the Greek, ‘he is’, but the Jewish: ‘he is and he will be.’ And ‘he is that he is’ means: he has no origin, but his reality is always ongoing, always ever-lasting.
This is not an endlessly long time; rather, it is a boundless time, a time with neither origin nor end. In regard to the boundless time of the past, the feminine figure of Wisdom says, “Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth”; in regard to the boundless time to come, the rainbow appears to Noah as a token of an ‘everlasting’ [ages to come] covenant [‘berith olam’] between God and all the world [Genesis, 9, 16]. ‘Olam’ is used of God, and it suggests unbounded time, and does not refer to Yahweh’s transcendence of time, or his being beyond time. “..from everlasting to everlasting thou art God” [Psalms, 90, 1].
“Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endures through-out all generations” [Psalms, 145, 13].
“Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth” [Isaiah, 40, 28].Trust in Yahweh forever, for Yahweh who is God.. is an everlasting rock” [Isaiah, 26, 4].
The Rock of Ages; ‘adh olam’ means ‘always’.. The Jewish ultimate: ‘I will love you always.’ Jeremiah, 31, 3: ‘God’s everlasting love’, and Isaiah, 54, 8: ‘God’s everlasting mercy.’
From ‘everlasting to everlasting.’ The endlessness of time stretches backwards as well as forwards. All Yahweh’s loving actions toward humanity have the stamp, the anchor, of this everlastingness.
However, Yahweh occupies different places in the creation, or upon the earth, to manifest different qualities of his doing. This is ‘the spirit of place’– it refers to a certain power, gift, or divine manifestation, associated with that place. This is not arbitrary. Yahweh will dwell ‘in the midst of his people’ is an expression of Yahweh’s proximity, closeness, accessibility. Similarly, Yahweh’s dwelling in the Temple signifies: God is near and gracious [Psalms, 134, 3; 1 Kings, 8]. The Temple is the special place of ‘grace’, the overflowing fountain of Eros in its generosity and goodness.
The other association of Yahweh’s name to definite places has historical significance. God of Sinai [Judges, 5, 4; Deuteronomy, 33, 2-4], or Mount Horeb [1 Kings, 19, 8], indicates that Yahweh is Israel’s Covenant God. In these places, God vowed himself to the Jews, making a solemn and binding promise that committed him, over the fullness of time, not only to love and care for them as a Saviour, but also to love and suffer for them as a Redeemer. Through the Jews, this vow and its promise is spread to all humanity.
What static ‘being’ is to the Greeks, dynamic ‘existing’ is to the Jews.
Hebrew verbs always express a movement or an activity. ‘Your kingdom will not stand’ [instead of, ‘your kingdom will have no endurance’]. Your kingdom loses impetus, loses power, in the Jewish way of thinking. It is not that static being loses one of its rich panoply of characteristics.
For the Jews, motionless and fixed being is a non-entity. Only ‘being’ which stands in inner relation to something active and moving is a reality. Thus, ‘static being’ is a motion that has passed over into repose. The distinction between being [real] and becoming [unreal] so vital to Greeks is irrelevant to Jews. The whole creation is in flux, in constant becoming.
In Hebrew ‘to be’ is ‘hayah’, and is a verb designating existence as in movement. Thus to ‘exist’ is a dynamic and moving state; as Levinas once said summarizing Heidegger, “the verb ‘to be’ is transitive” [‘A Short History of Existentialism’, J. Wahl, 1949, p 51]; and, “a potentiality which passes into act: this describes an existent which least resembles a tranquil [condition of being], self-contained and situated outside of existence” [ibid, p 52]. In Hebrew, such existentialism is built into the very language, since existence is identical with ‘effectiveness.’ Existing is inherently not at rest, but dynamic. It expresses itself in activity, activity that has ‘power.’
The hayah of the Word of God ‘came forth’ or ‘came’ to a person. The hayah of Yahweh’s Word is like the coming down of the fruitful rain from heaven; it will not return until it has accomplished the purpose for which Yahweh sent it [Isaiah, 55, 11].
The hayah of Yahweh’s ‘hand’ — God’s mighty power — intervenes in history. Or in regard to the prophet, the hand – the power of God — seizes him. Similarly, the hayah of the Spirit of God is its effect, its impact: “The Spirit of God came upon Saul’s messengers, so that they also spoke in ecstasy” [1 Samuel, 19, 20]. Or: the coming of the evil spirit – sent by God – upon Saul [Numbers, 24, 2; 1 Samuel, 16, 23].
“Above all others Yahweh IS; he is the sum of all dynamic existence and its source and creator” [Boman, p 49]. There is not a single person or thing in the world to whom hayah could be ascribed if it could not be ascribed to Yahweh. To Yahweh is ascribed an unchanging hayah, and this hayah is a dynamic, energetic, effective, personal being who carries out his will and accomplishes his purpose, and who thereby advances the salvation and good fortune of his people. The one who is the root of all dynamism, all action and deed, all activity, all energy and power: the Creator.
For the Jews, ‘to be’: not to remain statically complete, and flowering, in space; to move actively through time. Lakota Elder: ‘wisdom is not something you think; wisdom is something you do.’
God is unknowable in essence, but can be known in his activities, energies, and dynamic outreach. He is in movement, coming out of the Divine Mystery, acting in, with, and upon, creation, and especially focused towards humanity. It is a paradox. God cannot be ‘known’, except through entry into a relationship with the Divine Darkness. This numinous Darkness renders unknown not only God, but also the outcome of what the future will bring. We ‘close the eyes’ and leap into the dark when we move ahead in time.
“The [Jew].. was interested only in this world.. The poetry is intensely realistic.. Things, to be of any interest, must be of deep personal concern, [for] passion then generates a feeling of human relationship even with the inanimate. ..their poems will breathe a ‘pagan’ passionate love of life [see David’s lament in II Samuel].”
The Jews reach wisdom by searching out the depth of things. This leads to an understanding of the heart which can accept what must be and what will be. ‘So be it.’ Humanity attains their acme when they become what God wills for them, in their action of heart. ‘Thy will be done.’
The capacity for hearing is to Jews what the ability of seeing is to the Greeks. For the Jews, the Word of God is to be ‘taken to heart’, so that it changes the heart’s action.
Greek= seeing—mind axis. Jews= hearing—heart axis.
Seeing is a far-way, distance sense. Hearing is a nearby, intimate sense.
Seeing is panoramic in space, hearing is sequential in time, thus needs to be sharply focused to each instant that arises.
The Hebrew ‘Dabhar’ can mean ‘word, deed, thing’.. We speak or act to effect change in the world. Hence ‘mere words’ [‘words of the lip’] are empty and vain, and pernicious. For the Jews, untruth is the Lie. That which is powerless, empty and vain, is a lie; a spring which gives no water ‘lies’ in Hebrew.
The Lie: mirage, nullity, futile [‘shaw’ in Hebrew]; a deception, a phantom. Vain: cannot bring anything to pass. Vain: all show but no clout to back it up; impotent to do anything that matters.
The Devil for the Jews is a distinct hypostasis with a will of his own, and is a Liar; for in Genesis, the Lucifer Spirit masquerading as a ‘cunning’ Serpent – the wisest of all animal spirits in the Great Goddess religion of the Near and Middle East – lies about God. Thus the Evil One begins as ‘he who lies about God’, and hence introduces into the existential arena and all of history a dynamic of collision, of clashing, of non-negotiable and irreconcilable contention, between the Truth that ‘moves’ it all, and the Lie which lies about what moves it all, and thus seeks to hinder and finally stop its dynamic, and bring everything God-created to destruction.
The Divine Word has a dynamic force; it does not so much illumine our seeing as strike and move our heart.
“My word, is it not like a fire, a hammer that shatters the rocks?” [Jeremiah, 23, 29]
The Voice of Yahweh works through the many powers of nature, like a tremendous thunder that rolls through all things, like a wave running through sand and raising it into different shapes. Yahweh’s Voice is not just ‘a brute force’; it expresses a moral intent.
The Word of God is thus always creative, coming to humans to help them, to task them, to bring them through challenges [Isaiah, 55, 10]. Yahweh is ‘the Creator’ who ‘calls’ everything into existence when his Voice speaks – sometimes like thunder, sometimes like the still small voice after the storm. [The Greek Christians said of this constant theme in the Jewish Bible that, all creatures called into existence by God are each a ‘word’ spoken by God, a little word, a ‘logoi’, created by, patterned on, and held within, ‘the’ Word of God, and dynamised by the Spirit of God.]
To ‘speak’ in Hebrew means to be ‘behind’ and ‘drive forward.’ Or, ‘to drive forward that which is behind.’ The word is, if true, always a deed. Goethe changed the opening of the fourth gospel, ‘In the Beginning was the Word’ to ‘In the Beginning was the Deed.’ In Hebrew, they are not much different.
The Greek term for ‘word’ makes a clear differentiation with the Jewish ‘dabhar.’ The Greek Logos plays a mediating role in the construction of the Sacred Architecture of the Kosmos, as the central hub of the wheel of many spokes, or as the conductor of the orchestra of many instruments. The Logos is like an unextended point that holds within it all the vast Mandala that will expand outward from it, and revolve around it. Kosmos: the Logos expanded to the periphery; Logos: the Kosmos contracted to the centre. ‘In him is held all things.’ The Logos then becomes the unifier of higher and lower, visible and invisible, material and spiritual, worlds. The Logos is the macrocosm, and in each human soul is a mirror image of it, a microcosm. But each part of the Kosmos reflects the Whole in some manner. Thus ‘above’ and ‘below’, ‘in’ and ‘out’, and all other binary building blocks, converge in, and flow out from, the Logos at the core of the Kosmos.
Christos Yannaras= “The fundamental distinguishing mark of ancient Greek cosmology is.. the recognition of a universal [and] common ..principle [logos] that articulates, structures, and governs ..natural reality. This logos forms the universe into a cosmos– an ordered harmony and beauty. The logos.. distinguishes the essences of existents, shapes the variety of forms, formulates the laws of the order and harmony of the coexistence and movement of beings. The logos.. is the lover of matter, ..that urges [it] to the movement that gives it form..” [‘Toward An Ecology of Transfiguration’, ed. John Chryssavgis and Bruce Foltz, 2013, p 190].
Kosmos, in Greek, can mean the world, a lot of people, or what in English we would term the universe. Kosmos is better rendered ‘the Whole people’, the ‘Whole of Everything.’ Thus, ‘Kosmotheoria’ is, how all the System, all the Pattern, all the Meta Order, is working; it is, in addition, what any given person ‘views’, ‘sees’, or ‘envisages’, in regard to this. So, it is my or your World-View, or Cosmic-Vision. There is one Kosmos, and multiple World-Views depending on the angle of our view.
The Kosmic Dance is beneficial, but it is not personally involving. It conveys knowledge, but it does not move the heart.
The Jewish Word/Voice, of God is masterful, intentional/willed, energetic: passionate. It drives the world forward, in time.
The Jewish Word effects; the Greek Word is. The former reveals/declares God’s intention, or will, for the creation. The latter discloses/shows the divine structure that holds all the different realms in a pattern of complex yet unified being.
God requires from the heart truth in action. This means to be steady, to be faithful in the existential sense. To draw closer to God needs change of heart. ‘God requires truth in the inward parts.’ To seek the truth in one’s own heart so that it can be true to God and true for God in the world. This is Christ’s saying, ‘the pure in heart will see God.’ Pure, in this context, means ‘undivided.’
The heart needs to engage in a passionate trusting in and following of the passionate zeal of God. “Yahweh must be sought with all the heart” [Jeremiah, 29, 13].This seeking of Yahweh is full of struggle, striving, strife. It needs an ever increased ‘activation’ of the heart. Boman [p 198] refers to “these heroes of the battlefield of the inner struggle..” Those who were more advanced in the struggle, or spiritual warfare, were called “the second born”; they were teachers for everyone in the struggle. These Wise Men and Women, or Sages, were not like the Platonic philosopher– illuminati, but were persons tested and proved in the arena of existence and the furnace of God. They were granted a place alongside the prophets as bearers of revelation. [Job= a Wisdom book; Jonah as well; and Wisdom of Solomon, and Proverbs.]
For in a profound sense, truth is hard, and wounding, to the heart.
Lakota prayer= “Truth is coming, it will hurt me, I rejoice, You can heal me.”
Greeks= mind–soul; ‘Reality versus Illusion’, in regard to consciousness [or knowledge] of the Divine Reality.
Jews= heart—spirit; ‘Truth versus the Lie about Truth’, in regard to intention of the heart.
What the ‘symbol’ is for Greeks, the ‘sign’ is for Jews.
The ‘symbol’ is the image of Eternal mysteries of the Divine Nature, or Essence of Divinity.
For the Jews, a symbol expresses varying attributes of the Energy of God, not the Essence of God.
A Jewish ‘sign’ is an expression of divine will and power, manifesting through a natural entity or historical event.
Clearly, symbol and sign are in many respects over lapping and similar. Both communicate to the generated/created level here and now from the uncreated/un-generated level beyond. The real distinction is that the communication for the Greek is intellectual and abstract, so to speak ‘neutral’, a showing of some aspect of the higher reality. It asks of us that we contemplate it, to learn its nature. For the Jew, the communication is anything but neutral; it is urgent, forceful, personal: a message from one mysterious personhood to the human personhood, a talking ‘heart to heart’ between Creator and human. The message is urgent because it is part of helping the human to fulfill the action it is called to do in this existence. Signs answer the question, ‘what am I to do with my life.’
The ‘signs of the times’ manifest what Yahweh is doing with humanity at a given point in time, and may be communicated through natural or historical felicities or catastrophes.
Crying For A Vision in Shamanism would seem to be more Jewish than Greek. In a sense, this message is ‘inarticulate speech of the heart.’ It is ‘no words songs’ between Spirit and humanity.
Bodily metaphors are used of God, but as signs of his power, intention, energy. Burning nostrils: wrath [Isaiah, 30, 27-30]. Arm: might, strength, energetic assistance on which we can rely. ‘Helping power’ [Isaiah, 52, 10; Jeremiah, 17, 5]. Hand: ‘in the hands of a man is to be in his power.’ “Thy hands have made and fashioned me” [Psalms, 119, 12].The description of Yahweh’s ‘appearance’ is an evocation of his spiritual personalness as it is accessible to humans. All his qualities and energies, described metaphorically, are his ‘name.’ The name is therefore, for Jews, a manifestation of divinity. In the name of the Covenant God, his person is met face to face and his action is experienced.
God’s face: ‘panim.’
The face is not what is seen by we who look, but the other who turns toward and ‘faces’ us. Panim is used of a personal meeting with God, and really means, not that we ‘saw’ God’s ‘face’, what he looks like, but that God faced towards us. Thus Yahweh knew Moses face to face [Deuteronomy, 34, 10], and Yahweh spoke to Moses like a friend face to face [Exodus, 33, 11]. God comes to us face to face– not vice versa. Only God can initiate personal face to face with us. We cannot intrude upon God out of vain curiosity, power seeking, egoistic immodesty, or pride. And, as with Moses, God gives us grace, and protection, to meet him, for if we were somehow to ‘steal upon God’, and ‘force our way near to him’, we would die..
Yahweh is revealed as power, goodness, care, wisdom, moral earnestness, graciousness, mercy, wrath, tenderness, anger for truth, compassion. All are aspects of the divine love, in its passion.
PART THREE= HISTORY FOR GREEKS AND FOR JEWS
For the Greeks, ‘becoming’ must be grounded in ‘being’, to have any reliable reality. This gives rise to basically circular, or cyclical, notions of time, and thus to ‘developmental’ or ‘evolutionary’ models of history.
The most fully spatialised time is circular. So, in its becoming, everything passes through ‘stages’ of Eternity’s disclosure, like the four seasons of the year, always returning to the same point where it began. This seems the main intuition in Nietzsche’s ‘Myth of the Eternal Return’ [Mircea Eliade, in ‘Cosmos and History: The Myth OF The Eternal Return’, 1959, investigates the background of this ancient idea of time repeating.] The four seasons, like south, west, north, east, of the circle, are really simultaneous; you need all four spatial points to adequately portray the Eternity which the circle symbolically signifies; it may need time to pass through all four points here below, but above the four points are not sequential but simultaneous, expressing the fullness of the Circle of Being.
Cyclical time, in eras, or distinct periods, also following a symbolic arc of inevitable unfoldment, are Greek.
The popular modern notion of ‘development’ in the sense of an innate seed that over time grows and flowers into what it was always meant to be is also Greek. The ‘essence’, or innate meaning, given with the soul of the living creature, is freed over the course of its development: its becoming is an increasing manifestation of its inherent potential. The compacted seed becomes the fully articulated plant. St Anthony’s injunction captures this, “Become what you are.” Jung thought in this exact manner in his notion of ‘Individuation’, which is thoroughly Greek, as is his [Platonic] notion of ‘archetypal structures’ [he relocates the archetypal forms from above, in the Platonic Eternity, to the below, in the collective unconscious of humanity– but this underlying ground of the soul is also ‘timeless’ in a Greek sense: a storehouse of potential]. Much of modern Humanistic Psychology, ala Rogers, Maslow, et al., is also thoroughly Greek. ‘To be the best [most evolved, most completed, most sublime] you can become’ is quintessentially Greek. Self-improvement, needing self-discipline, unites athlete, warrior, contemplative, equally. Though this can be distorted into something selfish, and narcissistic, it is not inherently so; you ‘shape’ yourself to the Shape, and ‘move’ to the Flow, of the Higher Realm at work in the lower realm.
Maslow wrestled with this ideal of developing oneself toward one’s brightest and highest in his notion of ‘Self Actualization’, especially when he linked that to the ‘Peak Experience’ where consciousness becomes expanded to the awareness of the Sublime. Maslow had a sharp appreciation for what Freudian neurosis was really talking about– our lying to ourself, and other people, about inner problems of character-growth, our shadow side, against which we build defenses. But Maslow also speaks of the converse which Freud missed– the ‘Jonah Complex’ where we fear not our lesser self, but actually fear our bigger self, our fuller self, our more excellent self. We hide the darkest truth about ourselves, but we also flee from the brightest truth of what we could become. We settle for ‘the pathology of normality’, we content ourselves with a life of mediocrity.
It can be concluded that becoming is a reflection of Eternity if, and only if, it is a ‘natural’ growth process where What Is can unfold some of its goodness, beauty, truth, on the material and temporal plane. A ‘whole’ or ‘realized’ human being reminds us of Eternity, for this person has absorbed into their limited being some of the radiance from above and this has expanded them; at the same time, what they absorb from Eternity also acts as a catalyst to what is latently ‘seeded’ in them as a gift from Eternity — and can be brought to a flowering in time — for a time, before it dies, and returns to Eternity.
In an important sense, then, the Greeks ‘assimilate’ History back into Nature, as time is fully spatialised in differing ways. Time as [natural] ‘process’ is Greek; time as [existential] ‘project’ is Jewish. For the Jews, time is subject to very different kinds of forces, fates, agencies– including the contribution of natural forces, some of whom, some of the time, manifest divine power and intent.
This is why ‘uncontested unfolding’ is Greek, not Jewish; for the Jews, time is inherently and unavoidably ‘contentious.’
Repetition has a darker side. The other view of history among the Greeks, given their negative view of time, is James Joyce’s ‘nightmare of history.’ Humans living in ignorance of the Eternal get disoriented in time, and just repeat the same old mistakes, again and again. ‘There is nothing new under the sun.’ Even the Jewish preacher said, in Greek vein, ‘all is vanity.’ Or, as Heidegger argued even more negatively, history is not any sort of progress, not any sort of advance over time, with things always improving ‘over the long haul’, but on the contrary, the history of humanity has been little more than a constant decline. Things get worse, as they move farther away in time from the Beginning of Time, when all things were close to their Origin. Zen= “Show me your original face.” Heidegger is adamant that the peoples of the Beginning Time are naturally closer to Eternity, thus stronger and more aware than modern peoples who are weaker and more distracted; primal humanity lives at the very mysterious point where time emerged from Eternity. Paradise is not timeless like Eternity, but Paradise is a special kind of time, a timeless time, an eternal time. The Eternal Now..
The Western European idea of ‘unstoppable linear progress’ over time is not Greek.
Nor is it Jewish.
It loses any connection with God working in time, to move the world through time in a certain direction, rather than another direction. For the Jews, the nightmare of history is not inevitable because human defeat in the historical battlefield is not inevitable. Since time is the realm of the ‘contingent and changeable’, it ‘depends’ how things will turn out; they can be ‘changed’ in different directions depending on how humanity changes– if we will work with God and work for God in the world. Thus, the nightmare of history wins if the devil’s Lie prevails over God’s Truth, and if we fall into a ‘merely human’ attempt to fix the world without calling upon God’s active help and powerful involvement.
God reveals himself to humanity in history for the Jews.
History is a movement toward an End set by God; with his blessing and promise, he gets the movement underway, and intervenes in it when necessary. All valued actions by humans promote the movement to the divine goal. The life of humanity is meant to have a final End in which God’s greatest and profoundest purposes are worked out. Eschatology — victory at the last gasp, it all coming good in the End — replaces what the preoccupation with the Higher Reality is to the Greeks. For the Jews, the final roll of the dice is a Show Down at the close of all time which resolves — or fails to resolve — the inescapable risk of everything existing in time.
The world is ‘basically’ dynamic, in flux, changing, unstable, always ‘leaning forward’ in time, never at rest. We cannot stand pat on, nor cling to, what we have done up until now. There is more to do, and the past gets lost, cleared away, jettisoned, sometimes even destroyed, in order to clear a time for the action that can only be done now and the action yet to come. Existence is becoming, an action that starts now, has unbounded yesterdays, yet more boundless tomorrows. It is not that ‘time lasts forever.’ It is, on the contrary, that ‘time as ceaseless motion is ever lasting.’ The river has no start and no end. It goes on, and we can hardly remember any moment when it started going on, and we can hardly foresee any moment when its ongoing will stop– if God is in time, and time is indeed the dimension of his heart action, and humanity’s heart action in reply.
This is why it is true, as the existentialists assert, that the world, and we as ‘thrown’ into it, are inherently active, basically in movement, without let up. Instead of an essence, or a nature, we have a ‘dynamis’ [a ‘hayah’], a heart that is like an engine driving action, an energetic heart. This is passion.
Time presupposes change, and that implies a heart with a free, and personal will. What we do with our heart in the world supremely matters.
For the Jews, God’s creation inaugurates history. That humanity will go wrong in history, out of the freedom to do noble things or terrible things, is accepted and anticipated by God. Thus, in the Jewish Bible, the terms ‘creation’ and ‘salvation’ are almost identical [especially in Isaiah, 41, 18-20; 40, 12-31; 42, 5-9; 43, 1-7, 15-21; 44, 1-4; 45, 12].
It is more extraordinary even than that.
The Jewish Bible regards a trinity of divine actions from the very start of creation. Thus Yahweh is  Creator,  Saviour, and  World Perfector and Redeemer. All three of these tasks/roles/energetic actions – Creator – Saviour — Redeemer – are endlessly extolled in Isaiah. They go together, making a triad.
Indeed, it is clear from the Jewish Bible that it is God the Creator who has a right arm and a left arm, since ‘arm’ means ‘helping power’, or ‘mighty empowerment’ in Hebrew. Thus, God’s Right Arm is Salvational activity, and God’s Left Arm is Redemptive activity.
So, Yahweh is the people’s “God and Saviour” [Isaiah, 43, 3], which is Eros, and Yahweh is their “Holy One and King” [Isaiah, 43, 15], which is the Daemonic.
As the people’s Redeemer [Isaiah, 43, 1], Yahweh is their keeper and defender in huge perils [Isaiah, 43, 12]. Yahweh works the transformation of the desert into a fruitful field: this is his creative work [Isaiah, 41, 20], his Eros; yet Yahweh must also battle, fight, contend, on the reverse side of creativeness [Isaiah, 42, 10-17] to prevent the Evil One, and human fallenness and openness to wickedness, from negating and annihilating all the fructifying and flowering that is brought by Eros.
God’s powerful interventions do not stop at the ‘genesis’ of the world, but continue in and include all the creative and destructive actions of God that are saving and redeeming.
PART FOUR= DAEMONIC TRADITIONS IN GREECE
Heraclitus= “Everything changes; war is the father of all things.” This high estimate of change and motion, and the battling that determines its directionality, is un-Greek. Heraclitus came from Ephesus, and his followers were mostly from Asia Minor. Heraclitus also said something very ‘Jewish’= “Fire is the point of departure for unceasing change.” Similarly Daemonic is Dionysus who came from Eastern Thrace, and the so-called ‘Mystery Schools’ who offered ‘death and rebirth’ in this life. Whether the Homeric heroes were also Daemonic is not clear.. Warriors often are Daemonically inspired, even in cultures heavily biased toward Eros.
Greece was never without the Daemonic, especially before Hellenism, but culturally Eros won out, was made primary, and the Daemonic was forgotten, or marginalized.
PART FIVE= FINAL SUMMARY OF GREEK AND JEW
Boman’s summary is a little too neat.
He says of the Greeks= Divinity is a ‘reasonable’ being disclosing its nature, essence, attributes, to human beings through the world as a system of symbols.
And of the Jews he says= God is an active person who, through relevant deeds, is leading the world to a destination.
In the latter, God’s power is experienced and felt in the human heart and spirit, in the former, the being of Divinity is perceived, contemplated, known: either directly and mystically, close to source, or indirectly and by analogy in imagery, farther from source in emanation. [In going up to Divinity, we ‘thin’ down, and jettison symbols and images from the world of generation; this is the ‘via negativa’ or ‘apophatic’ way. In tracking Divinity coming down, we ‘thicken’ up, acquiring symbols and images that are delineations of the Divine. This is the ‘via analogea’, or ‘cataphatic’ way.]
Greeks= the What of Divinity. An elaborate, static, cosmic structure.
Jews= the Who of God. A powerful, change-provoking, force.
Boman, wanting to end on bringing Greek and Jew closer, argues that ‘in both is a Divine Being, or God, who stands behind the world, and deploys the world, in part for self-disclosure, in part for action.’
‘Greek versus Jew’ is how Eros versus the Daemonic is known in the West.
But a conclusion different to Boman’s is needed to make an additional nuancing.
In the Jewish Bible, it says ‘God has a soul’, and ‘God has a heart.’
Greek= God’s soul. God discloses his nature as a being, God shows his essential nature through the order and fluidity of the Kosmic pattern evident in all things.
Jewish= God’s heart. God reveals his will and heart through the circumstances and occurrences of the world which then appears as a field of dynamic action, an arena of test– for God as well as for humanity.
The Greeks in the classical culture of Hellenism play up the soul—mind, but play down the heart—spirit.
The Jews found a way for the heart to take the soul on the hard journey and savage battle for the world. Heart= husband, Soul=wife. Whilst he is the existential hero, she is his helpmate, the magical source of unexpected aid from beyond.. As he must venture into the trackless wastes of the desert, so she is the oasis that keeps the venture going. She brings back the mythological, the magical, in a way that serves the existential risk– though it cannot eclipse it, nor become any escape from it.
Eros is not only Light and Space, but is also Water. The Water is incarnational, humbly and modestly flowing into every crevice, every lack, in existence where it is needed. This Eros does not raise us up to divinity, but brings divinity down to us, at our lowest point. It therefore encourages us to remain in the here and now. It also becomes the wellspring: the gift of Eros is to be shared, here below, and among all who thirst.
Eros= Light and Water.
Daemonic= Fire and Earth.
The Greek soul is carried up into the heights [of space] by the nous; this is ‘the way of the alone to the alone.’ Hence the Monk.
The Jewish soul is projected into the future [of time] by the heart; this is ‘the way of sacrifice for the sake of something only found at the end.’ Hence the Marriage Couple.
Thus it is possible for Eros to ‘stand pat’ and ‘not move’, in order to preserve the sense of divinity inhering in the world– not in the artificially built world of humanity, but in the naturally given Kosmos of the earth, nature, the universe.
Yet, paradoxically, it is also possible for Eros to accompany the Daemonic in time.
Surprisingly, the philosopher-mystic Plotinus, the creator of Neo-Platonism, had a very Jewish revelation that not only points clearly to Eros and Daemonic as God’s two powers, but also conveys them in terms of the Daemonic taking responsibility for Eros.
Plotinus= “But there is a [most ultimate vision].. It comes from a voice in my own soul, which is God-possessed and divines where it does not know. This voice told me that while God is indeed one, his highest and chiefest powers are two, even Goodness and Sovereignty. Through his goodness he begat all that is, through his sovereignty he rules what has been begotten” [‘De Cherubim’, IX, p 27].
These ‘highest and chiefest powers’ are Eros and the Daemonic, but it is the way they are inter-related that is Jewish, not Greek.
Eros is no longer an alternative to the Daemonic, rather, Eros is in the protection of the Daemonic; the heart protects the soul and the soul helps the heart.
The ‘Zohar’, the main text of Jewish Kabbalistic mysticism, echoes this dynamic coming together, in describing God’s ‘right side’ as ‘Kindness, Benevolence’, and describing God’s ‘left side’ as ‘Strictness, Severity.’
Even the two craftsmen chosen by God to artistically fashion the divinely-required furnishings of the earliest precursor of the Temple of Solomon — the mobile tent crossing the wastes of Sinai, where the ark of the covenant was kept – had names [Bezaleel and Ahooliab] indicating the right side, God’s Eros Power, and the left side, God’s Daemonic Power. The right-side person was from a prominent and wealthy family. The left-side person was from an ordinary and not well off family. Jewish commentary points out that the more charismatic right side person is not sufficient to any religious task, he must have the backup of the more plain left side person. The Daemonic person is often not making a splash in the foreground like the Eros person, but in the background is doing the heavy lifting.
The fearful Greek response to the Daemonic can be to try to make its discrepancy and savage truth ‘fit’ into the kinship pattern of the Kosmic Whole. So, it gets interpreted as the yin to a yang, or a yang to a yin. Or, its fire is muted, toned down, reduced to a pink pastel hue, by making it one of the ‘four elements’ in the Circle of Being: its role is merely ‘transformation.’ It ushers out the old and ushers in the new, and therefore is just the ‘transition’ between what is in decline and its renewal. That is putting it mildly!
The Daemonic cannot be made a ‘relation’ within the Eros System of Harmonics, a part of its inevitable pushes and pulls, its fluid balancing act. The Daemonic is the threatening stranger. You can stretch Eros to try to welcome the stranger, but if the stranger is too strange, and too much the outsider, then he will be exiled. Exile from the Circle Dance is the ‘hell’ where the inclusivity of Eros breaks down; at this juncture, to preserve its Web of Life, Eros has to shut all doors and close all windows. A bridge too far..
As the old Greeks tried to spatialise time, and traditions in their heritage in the modern world still try to reduce the Daemonic to merely ‘a part’ in the Eros Kosmic Design, so the Jews accommodated Eros by placing it in time, for a time only, but not as any exit from time.
Ecclesiastes, 3, 2-8=
“A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to kill and a time to heal
A time to weep and a time to laugh
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to rend and a time to sew
A time to love and a time to hate
A time for war and a time for peace..”
For the Jews, the Daemonic becomes primary, yet Eros is also present as the accompaniment, and co-worker. Right and Left arms are both active.
Thus, all Yahweh’s ways are ‘hesed we’emeth’, grace, and truth [Psalms, 25, 10].
Grace is understood as ‘merciful guidance’, and truth as ‘true ways of acting.’ Grace is Eros, and Truth is Daemonic. Yahweh tells Moses he will be gracious and show mercy. Yet God also asks for Truth inwardly in the heart and outwardly in action; ‘God chastises those he loves.’
The Creator loves his people as a married man loves the bride of his youth [Isaiah, 54, 1-7]; this is the Daemonic protecting Eros.
Or, Yahweh loves them as a father loves his children [Isaiah, 64, 8; Mal, 2,10; Psalms, 103,13; Deuteronomy, 32,6; Job, 38,28]= Daemonic.
Heavenly ‘lamps’, or luminaries, are signs of Yahweh’s kindness= Eros.
This is also Eros= “O give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” [Psalms, 36, 5, 7-9].
But this is acutely Daemonic= “What is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?” [Psalms, 8, 1-4]
The sun rules the day, and “day to day pours forth speech”; the moon and the stars rule the night, and “night to night declares knowledge” [Psalms, 19, 1-4].
The sun, moon and stars, are the daily signs and promises of God’s mercy shown forth in the whole of creation. This is Eros.
Eros= “The sun comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man runs its course with joy. ..And there is nothing hid from its heat” [Psalms, 19, 5].
PART SIX= CONCLUSION
From an ‘idealistic’ and ontological Greek perspective= by filtering out the passing, the ephemeral, the decaying and dying, we can get to the ‘essence’ of being in the lower world that helps us ‘recollect’ [remember] the essence of the Eternal Being. Every entity and creature and consciousness has an essence, and this is the ‘nature of its being’, and the ‘way of its being’; the ‘signature of its being’, as it were. When things are in repose we can see them as a reflection, however fleeting, of the Eternal; when they move, get busy, enter becoming, we lose that reflection.
From a ‘realistic’ and existential Jewish perspective= we cannot ‘rest on’ any plugging-in to higher being from our lower being, in order to ‘ground’ the lesser being, safely and securely, in the matrix of all being. Existence calls humanity ‘out’, calls us into personalness, and radical freedom. History is the freeing up of human agency, yet this is crippling in its angst, and certainly burdensome in its responsibility.
None the less, there are points where Greek and Jew over-lap. A more everyday example: Jews and Greeks share a very potent sense of family, where parents rejoice in their children, and they coincide in a corresponding ‘communalism’ and social togetherness. For example, both Greeks and Jews were in the forefront of democratic and left-leaning political reforms in the USA during much of the last century. For the West, the centre of the human being is the head, but this is not so for either Greeks or Jews. For the Greeks, this centre lies in the nous—soul axis, while for the Jews this centre lies in the heart—spirit axis. Both are trans-intellectual in important ways. It was the Latins who reduced Logos to logic, and the Word to verbiage.
Still, the difference is also stark at many key points, resting in different experiences of different revelations and showings of the Divine Mystery. The Right Arm of God cannot be reduced to the Left Arm of God, nor vice versa. As they both stem from the same Creator, they both express the love of God for humanity. In some final reckoning, Eros and the Daemonic are ‘partners.’ But in time, they initially go in different directions because of the need to do different jobs.
Eros, basically, ‘looks back’ to the ‘old’ lost Paradise at the Beginning; the Daemonic, mainly, ‘drives forward’ to a possible reversal of the human tragedy in the ‘new’ Holy City and Sacred Garden at the End.
Eros flows out of time to the Real Source, to effect a restoration of the ruined human condition. The Daemonic marches ahead in time, risking everything to what is accomplished or failed in time, to effect a victory in time.
In the primarily Eros religions, the Daemonic will be a secondary ‘dark side’ to be integrated into the prominent ‘bright side’, but not followed as a Way in its own right.
For the primarily Daemonic religions, Eros will be secondary yet a travelling companion all the way down the hard road. Eros will remind the Daemonic of what it is fighting for, and therefore the Daemonic will act as the chivalrous warrior towards Eros, protecting the Sacred Origins. The Daemonic will fight the worldly, and the devil, for God, so as to redeem time, the world, history.
This is why Eros and the Daemonic cannot be simultaneously effective as Ways.
If you embrace time in spirituality, you vote with your feet for the primacy of the Daemonic.
If you reject time in spirituality, you vote with your feet for the primacy of Eros.
We cannot embrace and reject time at once; thus we cannot grant the Pleroma above and the Abyss below equal gravitas= if we look for the Pleroma, there is no Abyss; if we venture out over the Abyss, there is no Pleroma.
Thus, either Eros must be primary as the Way we actually walk, or the Daemonic must be primary as the Way we actually walk.
If you look for the Light of God, “fire” will be in your system only as a bit player in the band. This will hugely underplay the Fire in order to make it serve the Light.
If you seek the Fire of God, you will have to plunge in where no “light” can go.. You will be tested in a depth from which the Light shrinks. Only Fire will, in the end, after a long and arduous struggling in heartbreak, ‘radiate’ the heart, turning it golden.
The Light of Eros can dispel certain kinds of darkness, and bring certain kinds of knowledge, but against the deepest Evil it is powerless. We have to fight fire with fire= only the Daemonic can take on the fires of hell.
The Daemonic, by imposing a harsh fate on the heart, carves out for it a destiny, a difficult but worthy heroism, that will shift ‘how things turn out’ finally.
Judaism and Christianity must be Daemonic primarily, and bring Eros on board thereafter.
God gambles on time.
Jewish Eros= ontological; we contemplate what was, and could be again, but is not now.
Jewish Daemonic= existential; we trust the unknown in action by pressing ahead, with no ‘cast iron’ guarantee.
Lief Boman, ‘Hebrew Thought Compared With Greek’ 
John Macquarrie, ‘Existentialism’ 
Lev Shestov, ‘Athens and Jerusalem’ 
Henri Bergson, ‘Time and Free Will’ 
Mircea Eliade, ‘Cosmos and History: The Myth Of The Eternal Return’ 
Nikolai Berdyaev, ‘The Beginning and the End’ 1,
As is so for passion, Hebrew has a family of terms to express a spiritual reality.
‘Holiness, terribleness, fieriness, dread warrior [Jeremiah], awe, glory’, and many others, all are Hebrew descriptions of God that converge toward the Greek term ‘DAEMONIC.’
Karen Armstrong quotes a Jewish religious song in one of her books; it captures some of this complexity.
“A quality of holiness, a quality of power, a fearful quality, a dreaded
quality, a quality of awe, a quality of dismay, a quality of terror—
such is the quality of the garment of the Creator, Master of the Universe, God of
Israel, who, crowned, comes to the throne of his glory;
His garment is engraved inside and outside and entirely covered
with YHWH, YHWH.
No eyes are able to behold it, neither the eyes of flesh and blood,
Nor the eyes of his servants [spirits].”
The Eastern Orthodox Christian church sings in its Liturgy, “Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.”
Daniel’s vision of God as enthroned on fire is radically Daemonic. The rivers of fire flowing from the kingship of God reveals the Daemonic as the supreme love of God for humanity, and the entire creation.
Though Holiness is overwhelming — a Jewish friend pointed to this when he refused to describe God in any manner but finally said, to close any further discussion, ‘God is the Undeniable’ — and we must first experience Holiness as overwhelming, Karen Armstrong betrays her Western bias, or perhaps just the limit of her own experience, when she says this about the God of Holiness= “There is absolutely nothing tender, loving, or personal about this God; indeed his Holiness seems alienating” [p 216].
Armstrong could not be more wrong in this statement. The Holiness of God precludes sentimental, cosy notions of the Santa Claus daddy, fat and cuddly, who plays such a role in much, especially liberal, Christianity. The Unknown God who is the Unknown Father can be tough, harsh, injurious, yet his paradox is precisely that no other God is so tender, so gentle, so long suffering. Yes, the Daemonic God is William Blake’s ‘Tyger, Tyger, burning bright in the forests of the night’, but he is also ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’
There is a paradox in our experience of God as both the joy of Eros and the suffering of the Daemonic, but there is a far more profound paradox in the Daemonic than there is in Eros. Each has its own paradox, but the many koans of Eros have a solution in mystical enlightenment, whilst the single koan of the Daemonic has no solution. The Daemonic God is the God of the Heartbreak, the God who breaks our heart to enlarge it, to make it the human heart carrying the weight carried by the divine heart; thus the God who breaks our heart is also the God who redeems the hearts of all humans and of all creatures and things.
This is the God who suffers for humanity and this is the God who fights for humanity. Without the terrible God, there is no redemption.
The koan of the Daemonic includes good and evil, as well as other contradictions.
Lamentations of Jeremiah, 3, 37-38=
“Who has only to speak to make things exist?
Who commands, if not Yahweh?
From where, if not from the mouth of the Most High, do evil and good come?”
Judges, 9, 23=
“God then sent a spirit of discord between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem.”
In the Revised English Bible [which is a robust scholarly translation], it says=
“God sent an evil spirit to create a breach between Abimelech and the inhabitants of Shechem.”
1 Samuel, 16, 14-16=
“But the Spirit of Yahweh [the Ruach] departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Yahweh troubled him. And Saul’s servants said to him, ‘Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubles him. ..it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from Yahweh is upon you, that [a man who is skilled with the harp] will play for you, and you will be well’.”
David is described to Saul in Daemonic terms [1 Samuel, 16, 18]; ‘he comes from Bethlehem, is an accomplished musician, he is a powerful and valiant man, a man of war [a warrior, not a soldier or thug], wise in many matters, a comely person, and Yahweh is with him.’
1 Samuel, 16, 23=
“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.”
It is with the music of Eros that the evil spirit sent by Yahweh is driven out of Saul. But it should be noted, it is the Daemonic that both decrees the necessity of the sickness and finds the remedy..
Psalms, 50, 3=
“Our God will come and will not keep silence: a fire will devour before him,
and it will be very tempestuous round about him.”
Aleph= ox, strength.
Shin= to consume, to devour.
Psalms, 64, 7=
“But God will shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded.”
Jeremiah, 4, 4=
“Take away the foreskins of your heart, you men of Jerusalem. Let my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.”
‘Circumcision of the heart’= weaned off the degenerate, fantasy-based, loves of Eros that block, and impede, the Daemonic love which is roused in defending the widow and orphan, and is strong in loving the stranger — the outcast, the outsider, the eccentric maverick, the numinously ‘other’ beyond both family and tribal identity — giving him food and raiment [Deuteronomy, 10, 16, 18].
Psalms, 18, 7-15=
“Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of the hills moved and were shaken, because of the wrath of Yahweh.
There went up smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth.
He bowed the heavens, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.
He flew on the wings of the wind..
He made darkness his secret place; ..round about him were dark waters and thick clouds..
Before him ..hail stones and coals of fire.
He sent out his arrows; ..he shot out lightnings..
Then the ..foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O Yahweh.”
Isaiah, 45, 7=
“I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe, I am Yahweh who do all these things.”
Here, light is related to weal= abundance, joy, and darkness to woe= poverty, suffering.
Eros= Light, abundance, joy. Height and Breadth of Inclusion= Space.
Daemonic= Dark, poverty, suffering. Depth and Intensity of Focus= Time.
‘Olam’= Time, the World, the Everlasting.
Deuteronomy, 33, 27=
“The everlasting God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
And he drove out the enemy before you, and said, destroy them!”
Job, 13, 15-27=
“Though he slay me, yet
will I trust in him
I will surely defend my ways
to his face
Indeed, this might turn
out for my deliverance,
for no Godless man would dare come before him.
Only grant me these two things,
And then I will not hide from you.
Withdraw your hand far from me
and stop frightening me with your terrors
then summon me and I will answer..
How many wrongs and sins have
Show me my offence and my sin.
Why do you hide your face
and consider me your enemy?
Will you torment a
Will you chase after dry
For you write down bitter
things against me
and make me inherit the
sins of my youth.
You fasten my feet
You keep close watch
on all my paths
by putting marks on the soles of my
Job, 12, 13-25=
“To God belong wisdom and power;
Counsel and understanding are his.
What he tears down cannot be rebuilt;
the man he imprisons cannot be released,
if he holds back the waters, there is drought;
if he lets them loose, they devastate
To him belong strength and victory;
both deceived and deceiver are his.
He leads counsellors away stripped
and makes fools of judges.
He takes off the shackles put on by
and ties the shackles of kings around their waist.
He leads priests away stripped
and overthrows men long established.
He silences the lips of trusted advisors
and takes away the discernment of elders.
He pours contempt on nobles
and disarms the mighty.
He reveals the deep things of darkness
and brings profound shadows into the
He makes nations great, and destroys them.
He enlarges nations, and disperses them.
He deprives the leaders of the earth
of their reason;
He sends them wandering through a
They grope in darkness with no light.
He makes them stagger like
People who cannot comprehend the Daemonic try to ‘see it from the outside.’ This is not possible. You will understand the Daemonic only when you, yourself, in your whole existence, have fallen into the ‘fearful’ left hand of God, and you, yourself, in your whole existence, have been shaken down, broken, and finally burned to ashes, by the Daemonic; your identity in ruins, your worldly confidence shattered, your ‘hope in life’ springing eternal destroyed, your belief in yourself brought to nothing– brought to the Nothing, as if you had never existed. Only those upended by the Daemonic can speak of it from the inside, from experience, from going through it, from its exquisitely precise undoing of everything–everything that we treasured, whether really rubbish, or really of value, no different.
Once you have been in the room of no exit, you will always thereafter recognise your fellow wounded ones, the brotherhood and sisterhood of the Path of God’s Left Hand. This is the Way of Fire, but Fire subject to Grief, and the Suffering which, alone, reveals what is Deep.