Monday, March 27, 2017

Mirroring of God

From the work Periphyseon (On the Division of Nature) by John Scotus Eriugena (815-877), an Irish theologian and philosopher.

I declare that man consists of one and the same rational soul conjoined to the body in a mysterious manner, and that it is by a certain wonderful and intelligible division that man himself is divided into two parts, in one of which he is created in the image and likeness of the Creator, and participates in no animality … while in the other he communicates with the animal nature and was produced out of the earth, that is to say, out of the common nature of all things, and is included in the universal genus of animals. IV.754a-b.
The highest dignity for human nature is that it uniquely mirrors transcendent divine nature. Only of human nature can it be said that it is made in the image and likeness of God. Not even the angels are accorded that honor, so in a sense man is greater than the angels. Human nature may even require the application of affirmative and negative propositions: Man is an animal and man is not an animal (IV.758b).
Human nature in this respects resembles the divine nature which too is ‘both beyond all things and in all things’
For just as God is both beyond all things and in all things - for He Who only truly is, is the essence of all things, and while He is whole in all things He does not cease to be whole beyond all things, whole in the world, whole around the world, whole in the sensible creature, whole in the intelligible creature, whole creating the universe, whole created in the universe, whole in the whole of the universe and whole in its parts, since He is both the whole and the part, just as He is neither the whole nor the part — in the same way human nature in its own world (in its own subsistence) in its own universe and in its invisible and visible parts is whole in itself, and whole in its whole, and whole in its parts, and its parts are whole in themselves and whole in the whole. (Periphyseon, IV.759a-b).

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