Bruce Sanguin is an evolutionary mystic who believes that evolution is “a divine strategy for making a world that can make itself”. From this Integral perspective, he addresses the question of Jesus’s divinity. He writes:
I’ve been asked by one of our members to differentiate my position from Marcus Borg’s on the question of Jesus’ divinity/humanity. Just to be clear, I didn’t write the post because I wanted to highlight our differences. I liked Marcus’s carefully considered response.
Perhaps it’s best if I simply clarify where I stand on this issue. First, I agree that Jesus didn’t believe he was G_d. As a devout Jew this notion would have struck him as blasphemous. Jesus was pissed when an admirer called him good, let alone G_d! And I agree that the early church gave him all the titles we subsequently came to associate with him—the Christ, the Word, Son of G_d, second person of the Trinity (incarnate Word).
Where I differentiate myself from many progressive Christians is that I may have a slighter more elevated notion of what constitutes our humanity. This is because I believe that we are, among all creatures, the ones gifted with the capacity to consciously evolve. Other creatures are perfect, in the sense that they are not likely to transcend themselves. A lion is an exquisite creature. But a lion is not stretching out consciously toward becoming more, deeper, or a higher expression of lion. It took a very long time for the universe to arrive at a lion, but once there, the lion is complete —perfected.
Not so with humans. We are the imperfect ones, incomplete, and able to strive towards completion, or better, participate consciously in the process of completion. Whether our development is ever complete is another question for another time. Our bodies and brain seem to be staying pretty much the same, (although when you watch the new crop of athletes in every sport, I am amazed at the evolution of the athlete’s body and capacities in every sport), but consciousness and culture continues to evolve.
We are the creatures who are meant for growth and development—at least in terms of expansion of consciousness and the realization of new potentials. Our intelligences are able to evolve, kinaesthetic, aesthetic, mathematical, emotional, moral, spiritual. We pass through stages of measurable development. When you read Evelyn Underhill’s description of the mystic’s path, or Sri Aurobindo description of higher levels of mind, you realize that there are stages of evolution in human consciousness and culture.
Now, this is where postmodern scholarship starts to have a conniption. Higher and lower stages of human development?! Hierarchy, eugenics, elitism, Nazism, colonialism, etc… But, as Ken Wilber points out, there are dominator hierarchy (bad) and natural hierarchy (just the way a universe does its thing). Wholes become parts of larger wholes, which can exert an upward influence. G_d’s agapic Love is the largest Whole, if you like, which exerts a non-coercive, unifying pressure on the whole cosmos. G_d as Love is the largest Whole, drawing on all things into communion, ultimately with and in G_dself.
Read Bruce’s entire post.
The topic of Incarnation is a hefty one, and it is skillfully addressed by Sanguin’s blog post. As one contemplates divinity and humanity as a continuum rather than rigid opposites, one is better able to appreciate Jesus — proclaimed as Christ for Christians — along this continuum somewhere remarkable. There’s more to be said about this topic, and I plan to return to it as the Christmas season progresses.