Thursday, November 22, 2007

Older than God

I've heard the expression 'older than God' before; it was always used to express that something was old...really old. But in reading the fourth chapter of the Tao Te Ching tonight, the use of the term took on a whole new meaning.

It is hidden but always present.
I don't know who gave birth to it.
It is older than God.

It rings like a koan...something for the logical mind to play with. What is older than God? How was God born? These are not speculative questions. In fact, I jotted down some thoughts to stay balanced on this theological tightrope.

God is a label.
There is Something greater than God.
Nothing is greater than God.
What is greater than God is not God.
What is greater than God is.

Hm. Surprisingly, I don't feel the need to write more; it's all in the five lines above, cryptic as they might seem. Lao Tse had the right idea: sometimes it's best not to waste too much ink or energy writing about the Named Unnamed, given that its essential nature is that of unnameable integrity and thus outside the realm of sensory/rational consciousness we are confined to.
Attempting to solve the problem of "who" It is is like doing a police sketch: you're working based on verbal descriptions of what was seen. That person, in turn, is relaying what has already passed through her subjective filters, that which attaches itself to words and is communicated as such. An encounter with a perpetrator is not the perpetrator. A picture of a man is not the man.

Thus, what is greater than God, is.

Quote of the Day: "To label something is not to see it and seeing is the one thing a writer cannot afford to lose." --Michelle Brooks


Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Rob,

Happy Thanksgiving, buddy! Love the post and the lines about God are amazing! And thanks for the quote.

Pythia3 said...

Hi Rob,

Came here from Michelle's Spell comment section.

Love the post and the quote by Thomas Merton in your 'about me' section rings very true for me too.