… on Trevor Malkinson’s blog. His view:
I have no doubt that Jesus must’ve been a powerful presence; I like Cynthia Bourgeault’s recent interpretation of Jesus as one of the great wisdom masters of the ancient world. But I find the notion that the Incarnation was an event that only happened in one particular unique individual unfortunate. I agree with the writer of The Gospel of Thomas that “divine Reality exists inside and all around you” (Logion 3), that is, we all have access to Christ consciousness. The point of our lives is to become Incarnations ourselves. The philosopher Hegel, who also attended seminary for awhile, agreed. In his Phenomenology of Spirit, he writes that in the Incarnation God has only now achieved “its own highest essence” (1). However, Hegel writes that in the Christian view that Spirit has incarnated in only One particular person, “Spirit as an individual Self is not yet equally the universal Self, the Self of everyone” (2). That is, it is not yet recognized, to use Hegelian language, that the universal Self is the true Self of every particular person.
The focus on a single particular Incarnation also prevents us from seeing the Spirit that lives in others, that dwells and gurgles in the world all around us.
As a student of Roman Catholic theology at Harvard 20 years ago, the notion of the “scandal of particularity” is familiar to me.
The way it’s formulated in orthodox Catholic doctrine is essentially a rationalization for making the ultimate ethnocentric move: asserting your religion is the One True Faith. But it’s an idea that can be re-formulated at different stages of Christian faith, and different levels of consciousness. Marc Gafni’s idea of Unique Self, for instance, reclaims particularly of self in a non-ethnocentric way.