November 17, 2011

There Is

"...a power in the soul which alone is free... It is free of all names and void of all forms, entirely exempt and free, as God is exempt and free in himself. It is as completely one and simple as God is one and simple, so that no man can in any way glimpse it. ...So truly one and simple is this [power in the soul], so mode- and power-transcending, that neither power nor mode can gaze into it, nor even God himself! In very truth and as God lives! God himself never looks in there for one instant, in so far as he exists in modes and in the properties of his persons. ...For God to see inside it would cost him all His divine names and personal properties: all these he must leave outside, should he ever look in there. that sense he is neither Father, Son, nor Holy Spirit, and yet is a something which is neither this nor that. ...In this part the soul is the same as God and not otherwise."

Meister Eckhart. Sermons and Treatises. Vol. 1. Sermon 2.


Jon Coutts said...

This seems to suggest that the human soul and the supposedly "transcendent God" are each transcendently free of the other. However, would this not render the term "God" meaningless? There would not be a god and a human soul but two gods, and how or if they got along would be an open question, I think. Does Eckhart clarify this for me at all? What do you think?

s$s said...

I haven't read enough Eckhart, or read him carefully enough, to feel like I can answer your question. That would involve me pretending to understand what he's talking about.

With that caveat, Here's me pretending (and giving away my ignorance -"those who know don't speak."):
The term "God" would be meaningless in this part of the soul. So would the word "soul," and the word "meaningless." This power in the soul, Eckhart says, is "free of all names and void of all forms, entirely exempt and free."

You are taking Eckhart's words to imply a seperation between the human soul and the "supposedly 'transcendent God'" -but I think Eckhart is saying that in this place in the soul ideas of seperateness are not relevant. This is the place where God has no name; where God is "a something which is neither this nor that."

Your asked if Eckhart clarified whether there is a seperateness between the soul and God; he might. I don't think he does in this particular sermon. But your question reminds me of Eckhart's most famous (and most famously misunderstood) quote:

"The eye with which I see God is the same with which God sees me."

I don't know if that helps, but I enjoyed writing it.