Thursday, August 16, 2012

God I


Thinking as I do that the Creator of this world is a cruel being, and being a worshipper of Christ,
I have to say: "the Son! oh how unlike the Father":
First God Almighty comes with a thump on the head;
then J.C. comes with a balm to heal it.
(Comments on A Vision of the Last Judgment)
[Erdman 565]

An esoteric alternative Protestantism nurtured Blake as a child.
But what he said above aptly expresses the feelings of enormous numbers of people in our society today:
"I don't care for the O.T. The N.T. suits me better": there is the understated strong consensus of many
today, so extravagantly stated here by William Blake.

We might trace the development of 'God-thought' in the Thinker through the years of his spiritual growth.

The materialistic psychology dominant in Blake's age as well as our own portrays the real and
the imaginative as opposites. But in truth there are only images of reality; all reality is mental,
that is, mediated into consciousness by the mind.

Our immediate experience is a chaos of sense perception from which we all create our own visions of
reality. Like Blake "[we] must create our own system or be enslaved by another man's"
(Jerusalem plate 10, line 21).

An authentic person consciously creates his own vision of reality. He chooses to be who he is rather
than to borrow his identity from a group or from a charismatic figure.
Each person's ultimate reality is his God. There is no known objective God
(the Russian cosmonauts assured us of that many years ago); there are only images of God.
Some of the outstanding images of God that have shaped the life of the world came to us from
Moses, Isaiah, Buddha, and Mohammid. Finally we have the vision of Jesus, whom Christians
consider to be an incarnation of God.

But perhaps equally influential upon the course of history have been the visions of Alexander,
Napoleon, and Stalin. Their common vision of the dominion of power is near the opposite pole
from that of the gentle Galilean.

Blake was a total and confirmed visionary, and he evisioned all of the images of God listed above
and quite a few others as well. He did this by pursuing his imaginative experience wherever it led.
The uncanny freedom with which he followed "the wind where it listeth" led him on a strange and
fascinating spiritual journey through some remarkable byways and paths, described in his poetry.
At the end of his pilgrimage he came to a definite vision of God as Jesus, the Forgiveness.
After almost two centuries it remains one of the highest and best visions of God that Christians
have for their inspiration.

Full understanding of Blake's vision of God depends upon a grasp of his concepts of time and
eternity. For Blake the eternal is the realm of the real, while time is the dimension of Plato's mortal cave
of phantasmal dreams.

Although the eternal is immortal, it does not refer simply to the hereafter; that would be just
a phantasmal portion of time stretched out indefinitely. The eternal is the Mental, the Imaginative,
the world to which a man may awaken as soon as he realizes that the corporeal, temporal,
materialistic framework of reality is an illusion.

The rationalists of Blake's day with their radical materialism had closed themselves off from the eternal.
They had imprisoned themselves in what he called the mundane shell.
They were exclusively this worldly. Blake perceived that they worshipped the God of this World,
no matter what they called him. They had most often called him Jehovah or Jesus. As a young man
Blake renamed him Urizen .

He spent half a lifetime studying this God of the timebound so he could cast him off and replace him
with a more authentic image. Eventually he came to realize that this god's truest name is Satan.
He also referred to him as the Selfhood (Jerusalem 5:21-23) and the Spectre.

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