Love, I think, is a primary component in the metaleptic phenomenon of being and Eternal Being within the tension of existence. It is the experiential insight that gives succor to man’s deformed yearning (sehnsucht) for perfection in life, and it reveals to us that “God can not be contained within reason, because what he does goes beyond reason,” therefore the initial anticipation of the revelatory act/reality is signaled by the existential realization that God’s “unnecessitated” love for us as created being, both corporately and individually, makes transparent “God’s gift of Himself.”
A further differentiation can be made regarding the love of God for the body of the “church,” but for the sake of blogging brevity we’ll stay with corporate man and the individual.
The insight of the divine contradiction of “unnecessitated” love was, of course, the result of F.W.J. Schelling’s rather brilliant inquiries. The German philosopher further elaborated that this unnecessitated act of love is “pure beginning . . . and found only in the self-revelation of God.” Where the idea of pure beginning gives us certain difficulties because it can not be understood experientially, only through God’s revelation, requiring the true philosopher who is the daimonios aner, the spiritual man.
The mystical contradiction of Infinite Being is further explicated in what is described as “divine foolishness” and illustrated by the following scripture (I Cor 1:25): “The message of Christ’s death for sins sounds foolish to those who don’t believe. Death seems to be the end of the road, the ultimate weakness. But Jesus did not stay dead. His resurrection demonstrated his power even over death. And he will save us from eternal death and give us everlasting life if we trust him as Savior and Lord. This sounds so simple that many people won’t accept it. They try other ways to obtain eternal life (being good, being wise, ect). But all their attempts will not work . The ‘foolish’ people who simply accept Christ’s offer are actually the wisest of all, because they alone will live eternally with God.”
Here, St. Paul reveals the potential for the utter destructiveness of the pneumatic nature of man inherent within immanent wisdom. Those that he describes as “wise” are men/women captured by the hypostatization of the immanent pole of the tension of existence, who, because of the willful and prideful self-alienation (allotriosis) exist outside this reveled knowledge and consequently are unidentifiable as God’s creations, that is they exist in a state of sin. It is also important to understand that these unfortunates make up the ruck of mankind.
For men/women in this condition there is no love, not in the metaleptic experience as a love of God, nor is there the ability to love another human beyond an erotic “love,” which always has the potential to devolve into a blasphemous mocking of God’s creation.
Love then, between a man and a woman, is a mimetic phenomenon in that it reflects God’s reconciliation to man and nature; “For love does not exist where two beings are in need of each other but where each could exist independently, such as in the case with God who is already in and of Himself-suapte natura-the being God (der Seyende): here then each could be for itself without considering it an act of privation to be for itself, even though it will not want to . . . ”
The reality of this “unnecessitated” love, given in freedom (which has yet to be discussed), constitutes the tension of existence where “ . . . the existential marks the boundary of intelligibility.” God awaits us in an act of self-abnegation intrinsic in the metalepsis, in the sacrifice of Logos, defined as a Ground of Being explicated by Edith Stein not as delimited rather where, “ . . . the self-limitation of his power as regards its external efficacy is itself act and effect of his power. God’s potency is one, as his act is one, and in this one act his potency is completely actualized.”
Man, in the fullness of his existence, seeks to love his Creator, he experiences the helkein where the tension of existence exists within the pull of the Divine. Man in this condition exists in what St. Augustine referred to as the amor Dei, the love of God, the openness of the soul toward the Divine ground. It is a condition that recognizes the necessity of suffering, of a suffering in both partners, man and God, man and woman, that understands that it cannot “morally . . . exist for itself without the other.”
That is love.
Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. This essay first appeared on First Things (June 2009) and is reprinted here with gracious permission from the author.
Stein, Edith; Finite and Eternal Being, ICS Publications,
Walsh, David; The Modern Philosophical Revolution, Cambridge, 138-41.
Voegelin, Eric; Vol. 12, 18, 33, 34, Univ. of Missouri Press.