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Dane Rudhyar's Fire Out of the Stone. Image Copyright 2007 by Michael R. Meyer.

A Reformulation of the
Basic Images of the
Judeo-Christian Tradition

by Dane Rudhyar, 1962

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This title was first published by Sevire, 1963.

Cover for the online edition copyright © 2008
by Michael R. Meyer.

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"Thy God is a cosumming fire."
Duet. 4:25

"He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Matthew 3:11

"I am come to send fire on the earth."
Luke 12:49

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"And call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father which is in heaven"
Matthew 23 : 9

In order to envision and to formulate a new Image of God, man must pass, in most cases, through a crisis of denial in which he questions the validity of any God-Idea. During the last centuries of our Western civilization, we have witnessed progressive phases of such a crisis. The humanism of the early Renaissance, the intellectual deism of the eighteenth century, the materialism and atheism of the nineteenth, have been phases in a vast movement of revolt against religion. They have led to the historical materialism of Marx, the "Descent of Man" evolutionism of Darwin and his over-zealous followers, to Nietzsche's superman-worship, to Communist statism, to Freudian and behavioristic psychologies, and to a host of related systems and technical procedures all of which lead to a denial of God and of the divinity latent in man.

This revolt against religion was inevitable, for it was conditioned by the narrow dogmatism or the power of oppression of Churches often influenced by political power and wealth; Churches upholding an Image of God which in some cases had lost all essential likeness to the divine Image of the Father as it emerges from the direct and simple words of Jesus. Indeed, in every civilization, humanism, atheism and the fight against rigidly organized and dogmatic religion constitute an antithesis to the original thesis proclaimed by the "Prophet" or "divine Manifestation" whose life had been the creative Source of that civilization. But this antithesis is not only a rebellion against what has become an oppressively dogmatic God Idea capitalized upon by a priesthood entrenched in its privileges; it is also a positive statement. It seeks to make man positive. It seeks to give to man a purely human dignity and a dynamic value. It wants to free men from what has become spiritual bondage.

The psychological purpose of a vivid faith in any Image of God is that, by striving to grow into the likeness of it, man will walk eagerly and courageously toward the condition of more-than-man. If however the Idea which man is given of God incites him to settle hopelessly at the level of human evolution where he is operating — or worse still, causes him to fall back in dejection and despair of soul — then, the religion which upheld such an Image of God has condemned itself. It has betrayed the essential task and function of religion, which is to hold before men a vision of God whose very power and radiance impel them to become God-like.

To be God-like does not mean to be a negative or passive type of man. The positiveness of divine being does not build itself up on the negation of human values and strength. God is not glorified by man's sinfulness and lack of independence or character as a man. Man must be positively human in order to meet God within his soul; but this soul must reach up to God, must love God, and not be bound to matter and the energies of matter. Man must want to meet God. He must image himself forth divine, realizing however that, in the relationship of God to man, God is the active pole, the bestower, the full; while man is the receptive pole, the ultimately transfigured vessel whose emptiness becomes filled with the creativity of spirit. Man becomes more-than-man by receiving and assimilating the power and substance of the divine.

It is the character of this relationship between God and man which is the touchstone of an individual's spirituality, as well as of the spirituality of a society and its religion and culture. An "Image of God" includes, or at least implies, an "Image of man" and a specific attitude toward the relationship between God and man, and between man and God. These three factors are truly inseparable. If one of them becomes perverted or deviated all three lose their creative efficacy and their essential meaning.

They do become perverted whenever religion establishes an impassable spiritual barrier between man and God, and man ceases to believe profoundly and vitally in the possibility of the Marriage of God and man within his individual soul. It is only through such a "Marriage", in which God is the positive transforming pole, that man can become more-than-man. It is only through a "Transfiguration" process that man can fulfill his true being. The whole problem of the "spiritual life" is the problem of how to induce this transfiguration of individual man.

Once this problem ceases to be the central feature of religion and the living core of its teachings, a movement of revolt against religion and the living core of its teachings becomes historically inevitable. If religious teachers can no longer show convincingly and by the power of example the way of becoming more-than-man, men sooner or later must seek to become "bigger men" — the only way then left for man to increase and expand. If man can no longer consider the Marriage of God and man an actual, workable, all-arousing possibility, then man must seek to become master over material forces; and such a mastery means for the man who is merely human a more or less subtle bondage. Man must eventually choose between being transfigured by God and being able to transform material elements for his self-aggrandizement. In the first case, he becomes more-than-man; in the second, a bigger man. Bigness, in the end, leads to self-destruction — witness the atom bomb and the many ways in which man are systematically destroying themselves, bodies and psyches, in the search for "bigness" at all costs!

Men today have very little choice, generally speaking, because religion has failed them; because the Image of God that Jesus held up is blurred, or overlaid with deceptive shapes where it is taught at all, and forgotten elsewhere. As a result the Image of man has become perverted by generations of agnostics, atheists, materialists, or by utterly confused individuals knocking at every door displaying the sign "spirituality" in search of an answer, a way, a living faith. Men have had to glorify man and man's intellectual-technical mastery over matter. They have had to turn their backs upon a fallacious, over-transcendent or deteriorated Image of God which brought them no promise of becoming more-than-man in a dynamic, real and creative sense. They have obeyed the inner call for activity and creativeness in the only way left them by the traditional rulers of their spiritual lives. Where God can no longer be seen as potentially descending into every human soul actively seeking to meet Him, there man descends into matter to gain a sense of power and creative activity. He must make himself a god in matter, whenever he loses faith in the possibility of his transfiguration by the light and power of divinity.

This very descent of man's consciousness into the world of matter leads some individuals to encounter in the very darkness of the "human, merely human" soil, the Root that pulsates with the hidden life of the God-in-the-depths. God is immanent as well as transcendent. Only individualized men who have been able to affirm through all earthly storms and in the midst of the most extreme natural decay "I am" can, if they take a further step that leads into a new dimension of consciousness, feel and touch the being of God-in-the-depths. They then come to know the Father; for the Father is "below" as He is "above". He is at the center of the earth, as well as in the immense expanse of sky. "Heaven" is wherever there is center, and creativity radiating from center. Heaven is not a place in space; it is the space of the Creative Order. Man meets God within his soul, when he has become ready to assume the responsibility of the true creative activity, the essence of which is "love" — the love which forever answers all human needs, whatever they may be, whatever the cost to the self and the self's pride.

Only that man can meet God who has been able to act, within the limits and at the level of man's present evolutionary capacities, as God acts. This "as" establishes the relationship of filiation between man and God. God becomes actually man's Father when man acts as His son. There cannot be such a thing as a passive likeness to God, for God — however one conceives Him, or even It — is the essential, the ultimate of creativity. Though He is absolute stillness and peace, He is stillness and peace at the core of all activity. He is positive to whatever there is; but in God's positiveness, all that is receptive in relation to Him is also positive to its own self! Even evil, which of itself is negation, becomes in God a positive factor; it contributes to the absolute positiveness of God.

In a like manner, any historical movement of revolt against religion, negative as it may appear to be, can be seen as a deep and "tragic" attempt by man to experience within his positiveness — within the dynamic and creative statement "I am" — the Father. He had to experience it there in the depths of the "I", not only because his religion had removed God-in-the-heights to so remote a realm of transcendence and mystery that no meeting between man and God seemed possible, but in a deeper sense, because until man is able to summon within his individualized self the consciousness and power of being a positive, creative agent, he is not ready to know himself as a "son" of God. And no man can know the Father, as such, unless he knows himself as His son.

"Knowing" here should be understood in the Biblical sense of experiencing the core of a being — indeed, the creative core. It is not mere acquaintance, but interpenetration. True knowledge is always gained through complete attunement to, or identification with, the essence of whatever is known. And, as the essence of any being is activity of a particular kind, to know a being is to act in unison with this being. To know God is thus to act as God; but, obviously, only within the limits of man's possibilities.

The limits, however, are not what matters most, but rather the quality of the activity. Spirit is never a matter of more or less; it is quality of activity, not quantity. God acts divinely in a three-dimensional world as well as in a universe of infinitely many dimensions. When He acts in this three-dimensional world He acts as man.

This is the great promise, the great "fact" of the spiritual life. When God acts as man, it could be You. Can you accept the challenge of this thought? This is the challenge of true Christianity. The challenge is implied in these simple words which so many millions have repeated yet so few have "known": Our Father. In older religions God was nearly always given a name, even if, as in later Hebrew practice, this name was not to be spoken aloud. God, or the many gods, were conceived as powerful spiritual Beings with whom man had to establish a relationship through more or less external acts of worship or obedience, and in primitive cults, through strictly magical practices and rituals of propitiation. Jesus however did not, as far as we know, give a name to God. He spoke of Him as "my Father", as "our Father".

Many Christians think of the Father as a Being enthroned in a heavenly "House" with "many mansions"; but actually all that is strictly implied in the words "our Father" is that we are His sons! The term refers essentially to us, humans. It does not tell anything concerning the Being whom we call Father, except that there is a Being to whom we are related through a creative process. Someone has created us, has summoned us forth into existence. We are the demonstration of the function or activity of fatherhood. Without children there could be no father; there could be an un-creative God, but not God as Father. By not giving a name to God, Jesus presumably sought to draw our attention toward the creative activity of God rather than toward God as a Being.

All we know of God is that He is That from which we stem, as sons from a father. We know His Fatherhood (a creative activity) simply because we are His sons (the results of this activity). To say therefore that God is our Father means essentially but one thing: that we have a divine creative Source. However, something else is added: the motive for this fathering activity is "love". God created us, His sons, out of boundless love.

This simple statement is the core of Jesus' message; all else is derived from it. There is a divine creative activity whose motive-power is divine love. Men carry in their true essential selves the characteristic features of this activity; and if they can act with the same motive-power as does their Father, if they can act out divine love, then they will be "like their Father". To be God-like is thus to be creative under the impulse of divine love. Love one another, as I love you and as the Father loves me, said Jesus; then your actions will be creative in a divine way. They will be the Father's actions indeed, because they will be divine Fatherhood in action through you, His son; and as this happens, you will in turn become a "father".

The essential point in this, I repeat, is that Jesus wanted to focus our attention not upon the existence of a Being in an external Heaven but upon the operation of an activity, a creative power — "divine Fatherhood" — the cause and purpose of which is "divine love". This love-activity is directed toward man, for man issues forth from it. But it is not only directed toward man; it is latent in man.

Alas, man's attention has been so long turned toward other things and interests that he has forgotten the very existence of this divine love-activity at his core. His actions no longer have the character of divine Fatherhood, God's creativity; nor do they arise out of "divine love". For this reason, because this Fatherhood is not operating in him, man is not even aware of being the result of such a creative activity. He does not "know" or experience himself as a son of God; and lacking this, he lacks everything that pertains to the realm of the spirit.

Jesus came to men to demonstrate this "knowing" of divine sonship; to exemplify the way that can lead men to a realization of the love-creativity that is the substance of divine Fatherhood; to teach the elementary steps confronting every man who, having become ever so little aware of the stirrings of this love-creativity within the core of his nature, begins to burn with the urge to be God-like, to be man in the likeness of God, the Creator, the All-Father.

Jesus knew himself as son of God. He had experienced the creativity and the love-purpose of God at the very source of his own personal being, nay more as the very source and the constant sustainment of his humanity. He had removed all obstacles to the flow of this ever-renewed Fatherhood of God, these "living waters" that well up from the center of every un-deviated and un-obstructed human life. He was pervaded through and through by this divine inheritance, substance of his substance. He was pure love-creativity at work, pure Fatherhood is action. For this reason, he was the perfect son; and being a perfect son he became the father of many sons. This indeed is the proof of effective sonship, to become the father of many sons. For Jesus it meant to carry on the descent of God, to extend the activity of the Fatherhood until all men would "know" themselves as sons, and act thereafter also as fathers of still more sons.

This edition copyright © 2008 by Michael R. Meyer
All Rights Reserved.

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