Sunday, May 4, 2008

The True Idea of Incarnation

"No existing thing could be what we have meant by God. Any existing God would be less than God. An existent God would be an idol or a demon. ... God does not and cannot exist. But what led us to conceive of him does exist and is constantly experienced and pictured. That is, it is real as an Idea, and is also incarnate in knowledge and work and love. This is the true idea of incarnation, and is not something obscure. We experience both the reality of perfection and its distance away, and this leads us to place our idea of it outside the world of existent being as something of a different unique and special sort. Such experience of the reality of good is not like an arbitrary and assertive resort to our own will; it is a discovery of something independent of us, where that independence is essential. If we read these images aright they are not only enlightening and profound but amount to a statement of a belief which most people unreflectively hold."

--Iris Murdoch, Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals (1992)

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