Saturday, May 20, 2006

of humanity and divinity

Apparently in the movie of “The da Vinci Code”, the protagonist, near the end, reflects with the following:
Why does it have to be human or divine? Maybe human is divine?

There are two interesting things about this supposition - not so much for any depth in the idea per se, but for the implications that it has.

One is this idea of humanity being divine. I was recently talking with a pantheist. English wasn’t his native tongue, so I’m not sure I caught it all, but basically he takes a Jim Casy-like (Grapes of Wrath) approach to holiness, that all things have a holiness to them. The trouble here is that, as more and more things become “holy”, there is less and less that is not “holy”. The usefulness of the term to describe something diminishes, since what is described is less and less homogenous. The end result, as this process continues (this is why all educated people should study calculus!), is that “holiness” becomes meaningless. While there is a distinction between pantheism (all things are divine) and asserting that all humanity is divine, the effect is the same: nothing is greater than ourselves. Ayn Rand would be proud. (And thank you, again, to the one who got me to read “The Fountainhead”.)

The second is the idea of Christ present in the gathered assembly in the liturgy. As I’ve maybe blogged before, I think this idea needs REAL caution because of how close it comes to teaching exactly what Langdon (dVC protagonist) proposes: that humanity itself is divine. Thus we lose sight of the wonder of the incarnation - Jews consider it a heresy to propose that God would take human form, while Christians regard it as a sign of the incredible power of God, that He can and did become like us in all ways except sin. Thankfully, the “we are the body of Christ” idea, legitimate though it is, seems to be given a good deal more due caution in the coming generation of clergy and laypeople than in so many priests and bishops today.


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