Frye on God: “Hell is in front of us because we have put it there; paradise is missing because we have failed to put it there”

Part of the evolution of the universe sequence in The Tree of Life

Over the last little while we’ve been running a Frye on God thread, which has already become part of a skein that weaves together a number of themes, not all of them obviously related.

In a post yesterday we had a look at Job, who seems to get us closer to a notion of God that consolidates these apparent incongruities. So let’s see how much further Job’s God can take us. From Words with Power:

The mysteries of birth and death. . .can never be understood because they can never be objectified. But there is a creation that mystifies and a creation that reveals, and the latter is identical with the former. Except that the mysterious creation, the one infinitely far back in the past, is the one that Job has heard about but cannot directly see (42:5). When the infinitely remote creation is re-presented to him, he becomes a participant in it: that is, he become creative in himself, as heaven and earth are made new to him. He is given no new discovery, but gains a deeper apprehension of what is already there. This deeper apprehension is not simply more wisdom, but an access of power.

Myths of a paradise lost in the past or a hell threatening us after death are myths corrupted by the anxieties of time. Hell is in front of us because we have put it there; paradise is missing because we have failed to put it there. The Biblical perspective of divine initiative and human response passes into its opposite, where the initiative is human, and where a divine response, symbolized by the answer to Job, is guaranteed. The union of these perceptions would be the next step, except that where it takes place there are no next steps (CW, 264-65).

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