Monday, 5 March 2018

Wise Words: The Divine Womb

DERRICK JENSEN: … You quote Wendell Berry as saying, “Perhaps the greatest disaster of human history is one that happened to or within religion: that is, the conceptual division between the holy and the world, the excerpting of the Creator from the creation.”

MATTHEW FOX: Religion in the West has fallen into theism, just as science has. Theism is the belief that we’re here and God’s out there someplace. It’s a very Newtonian idea, that God is behind the universe with an oilcan. And of course the next step after theism is atheism. It’s very easy to reject a God who’s way out in the sky. I don’t know any other civilization that has invented atheism except the West. The word does not exist in indigenous languages. The spirit exists.

What I’m about theologically is the replacement of theism with panentheism, which is the idea that we’re in God and God is in us. And by “we” I don’t mean just humans, but all beings. The image I have is that the universe is a divine womb. We’re all in here swimming together. It’s an image of interconnectivity.

And it’s a mystical image. By that I mean it isn’t something conceptual; it’s something experiential. People experience the divine in their lives. They always have.

The divine is not separate from anything in nature. Aquinas talked in the thirteenth century about the immanence of God in all beings. The mystery of existence, the goodness, the beauty—all of that is divine imagery, divine footsteps.

(Derrick Jensen, Listening to the Land: Conversations about Nature, Culture, and Eros, Chelsea Green Publishing: White River Junction, Vermont, 2002, 2004, p. 69)

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