Beyond darkness

by Andrea Elizabeth

Both Laotse and the NeoPlatonists described in Dr. Bradshaw’s Aristotle East and West talk about the One who is beyond being and knowing. The Orthodox talk about God being knowable through His Word, the Son, whom we experience through His divinized humanity. It’s like we learn of Him through His explanation, but that we are still blind to Him, like someone trying to understand color through words only. When I think of being made in God’s image, I now think of being made in the Incarnate Christ’s image, according to His humanity, not His divinity, not that they are in conflict or are opposites.

Since I relate more to literature than technical philosophy, I am finding these explanations foreign. I tend to want a story to be able to describe it. Genesis begins with a description of creation, but leaves the uncreated pretty much in the pre-existent darkness. While Aslan sometimes walks among the Pevensies in The Chronicles of Narnia, the Father-type is never seen, but is vaguely referred to as the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. In Till We Have Faces, the God-like character remains in darkness as well.

Darkness has a connotation of being cold and lonely, but I suppose we have to get over that and think of it as being beyond fullness.

Book 1. The Character of Tao

1. On the Absolute Tao

The Tao that can be told of
Is not the Absolute Tao;
The Names that can be given
Are not the Absolute Names.

The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
The Named is the Mother of All Things.

Oftentimes, one strips oneself of passion
In order to see the Secret of Life;
Oftentimes, one regards life with passion,
In order to see its manifest forms.

These two (the Secret and its manifestations)
Are (in their nature) the same;
They are given different names
When they become manifest.

They may both be called the Cosmic Mystery:
Reaching from the Mystery into the Deeper Mystery
Is the Gate to the Secret of All Life.

(The Wisdom of Laotse p. 41,42)