Saturday, December 31, 2011

Böhme, Tillich and the Gospel of Thomas re: Beginning and End

Here is something to chew on.  The origin and the end are important both in Böhme and the Gospel of Thomas.  The following quote is all over the internet:

"Whatever surges beneath the surface of the Gospel of Thomas, it is not a Syrian Christian wisdom teaching of the second century. The ascetic accepts creation, but always upon the basis of having fallen from it, and always with the hope of being restored to it. That is hardly the aspiration of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas. Like William Blake, like Jakob Böhme, this Jesus is looking for the face he had before the world was made. That marvelous trope I appropriate from W.B. Yeats, at his most Blakean. If such is your quest, then the Gospel of Thomas calls out to you." -Harold Bloom

Now for representative, mysterious quotes from Böhme's Signature of All Things

CHAPTER III OF THE GRAND MYSTERY OF ALL BEINGS....Courteous reader, observe the meaning right; we understand not by this description a beginning of the Deity, but we shew you the manifestation of the Deity through nature; for God is without beginning, and has an eternal beginning and an eternal end, which he is himself, and the nature of the inward world is in the like essence from eternity.
CHAPTER XIV OF THE WHEEL OF SULPHUR, MERCURY, AND SALT, OF THE GENERATION OF GOOD AND EVIL;...Whatever is risen from the eternal fixity, as angels and the souls of men, remains indestructible in its fixt being; but whatever is risen in the unfixt being, viz. with the motion of time, that does again enter into the first motion from whence it has taken its original, and is a map of its form which it had here, like a picture, or as an image in a glass without life; for so it was from eternity before the times of this world, which the Most High has introduced into an image, into the comprehensible natural life in time, to behold the great wonders of his wisdom in a creaturely being, as we plainly see.
CHAPTER XV CONCERNING THE WILL OF THE GREAT MYSTERY IN GOOD AND EVIL....Every string of this melody exalts and rejoices the other; and it is only a mere ravishing lovely and delightful hearing, tasting, feeling, smelling, and seeing: Whatever God is in himself, that the creature is also in its desire in him; a God-angel, and a God-man, God all in all, and without him nothing else. As it was before the times of this world in his eternal harmony (or voice), so also it continues in the creaturely voice in him in his eternity; and this is the beginning and the end of all things.

Now regarding relevant thought from the Gospel of Thomas from the excellent Metalogos website:

Regarding the beginning:

Gospel of Thomas: Verse 50 Yeshua says: If they say to you: From whence have you come?, say to them: We have come from the Light, the place where the Light has come into being from Him alone; He himself [stood] and appeared in their imagery.

Gospel of Thomas:  Verse 18 The Disciples say to Yeshua (Jesus): Tell us how our end shall be.¹ || Yeshua says: Have you then discovered the origin°, so that you inquire about the end? For at the place where the origin is, there shall be the end. Blest is he who shall stand at the origin—and he shall know the end, and he shall not taste death. (¹Ps 39:4; Isa 48:12, Lk 20:38, Jn 1:1-2, Th 1/19, Rev/Ap 22:13; Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy: ‘To see Thee is the end and the beginning’; T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets: Little Gidding*: ‘The end is where we start from’; Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody: ‘What kind of journey is the life of a human being that it has a beginning but not an end?’; hyperlinear)  

*We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot
Google books presented a portion of the following from J. P. Fourley.  I would have bought it except it is so expensive.  A portion of the section discussing the views of Paul Tillich in relation to Böhme was available:

Paul Tillich, Carl Jung, and the recovery of religion

 By John P. Dourley

In a section titled "Tillich and Boehme on eschatology: the location and nature of blessedness" Dourley says:

"Theologies of creation and its divine motivation connect as naturally with eschatology as do origins with ends and goals. in the form of the question: how possibly can history and its completion in the eschaton bring anything truly new to a self sufficient divinity whose perfect integration is worked from eternity? …..

Let us turn now to Boehme on these issues. In continuity with his thought on creation Boehme's eschatology is less tortured in terms of its own logic and so more compellingly candid in its honesty to the experience that lies behind it. In fact Boehme's depiction of creation tends to coincide with his eschatology. A God compelled to create in order to recognize and reconcile its opposites in the creature completes both itself and created consciousness in one historical process at once creative and eschatological."   (underscore mine - Steve)

The public in general, religious or not, has a fascination with the mystery of creation as well as the end of time.  This is reflected in the interest in where science stands on this, what mythology research has documented, and what each person's religion says.  The above is food for thought.  I plan to continue explorations along this line.  It appears that the material that each of us is comprised of was all united into a tiny pinpoint at the beginning, ie. the moment of the Big Bang.  This means something. 

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