July 19, 2016 (Kampala):
I’ve started reading Sallie McFague’s book The Body of God: An Ecological Theology…It’s an amazing book; I keep asking myself why I waited so long to read it! She is presenting an ‘organic’ model of God-in-the-World, a theological cosmology that centers on bodies and embodiment. She’s preaching to the choir as I already resound with what she is saying. But I believe this book will help situate my thought historically and provide rich conceptual material for me to work with. For instance, her definition of BODY nicely corresponds with what I’ve been thinking of as WORD and FORM, the λóγος that gives shape to the otherwise unknowable Mind of God.
Sallie McFague states that “theologies always have paid and always should pay serious attention to the picture of reality operative in their culture. If they do not, theology becomes anachronistic and irrelevant.”
“Some early theologians did speak of the world as a body filled with and ordered by the Logos in manner similar to the Platonic World-Soul: the Logos as the intermediary between mind (God) and matter. Origen, for instance, wrote, “The cosmos is a ‘huge animate being’ held together by one Soul.””
“Were we to imagine,” she asks, ‘the Word made flesh’ as not limited to Jesus of Nazareth but as the body of the universe, all bodies, might we not have a homey but awesome metaphor for both divine nearness and divine glory?”
Further: “The transcendence of God is not available to us except as embodied. We do not see God’s face, but only the back. But we do see the back.”
“The scandal of the gospel is that the Word became flesh [but] the radicalization of [this] incarnation sees Jesus not as a surd, an enigmna, but as a paradigm or culmination of the divine way of enfleshment.”
“Everything can be a metaphor for God, because no one thing is God. The body of God is not the human body nor any other body; rather, all bodies are reflections of God…the backside of divine glory.”
“God is related to the world and realizes the divine intentions and purposes in the world, in a way similar [analogous] to how we use our bodies….”
I finished Sallie McFague’s book yesterday. It was extremely clear and intricately argued, but I found it a bit repetitive and stuck in a conceptual cul-de-sac. Still, her body ‘model’ of God’s immanence in the world is very useful for me, once I try to set forth my own linguistic model of God.
A few quotes to remember:
“The cosmic Christ metaphor suggests that Jesus’s paradigmatic ministry is not limited to the years 1-30 C.E., nor to the church…but is available to us throughout nature. It is available everywhere, it is unlimited – with one qualification – it us mediated through bodies.”
“[Jesus’s parables] are counter-cultural and counter-biological, but they are hints and clues of a new stage of evolution, the stage of our solidarity with other life-forms, especially with the needy and outcast forms. The time has come…when our competition with various other species for survival will not result in a richer, more complex and diverse community of life-forms.”
“Hence, as a revisioning of traditional trinitarian thinking, I would suggest that rather than ‘the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’, which does not preserve either the radical transcendence or radical immanence of God, we consider the following: the mystery of God (the invisible face or first person), the physicality of God (the visible body or second person), and the mediation of the invisible and the visible (the spirit or third person).”