Friday, June 5, 2015

Ther Personhood of the Divine, Part V

The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch, outer panels (with the tryptich closed)
 the Prado, Madrid

The outer panel of the Garden of Earthly Delights depicts a world devoid of personhood, in the sense that it is an earth — a cosmos — with nothing in it but plants. God is ensconced in his own bubble in the upper left corner:

The quote from Psalm 33 at the top of the panels is from verse nine: for he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded and it stood firm. So there can be no doubt that the outer panel represents the moment of creation; esoterically speaking, this is the first moment of contact between the Divine and the material... The point at which the cosmos which receives the Divine Influence comes into being. The representation on the panels does not just represent the earth; it represents the entire cosmos, and conceives of the cosmos as a sphere. The landscape with trees and an atmosphere inside the sphere does not necessarily represent the earth per se, but the cosmos at large, that is, the universe. Hence its abstraction and the fact that it is represented in grisaille, that is, without color — it is, essentially, a vessel (the sphere) or receptacle for the Divine Influence, which is only revealed within the material in its full and colored living form when the panels are opened.

The opening of the panels represents the speaking of the Divine Word, and the commencement of the Divine Inflow; and the immediate result of the Divine Inflow is the arrival of personhood.

Personhood, however, precedes the creation of the universe, as the outer panel indicates. It is the foundation upon which the universe comes into Being. Personhood, in the form of God,  flows into the receptacle of material creation (outer panel), which, once created, serves as the vehicle to receive the Divine Inflow (left panel, inner part of the painting.) God's will flows out of personhood, through the material, back into personhood, the consequence of which begets all of the further activity in the painting. 

One ought to note that at the very back of the right-hand panel (that is, the upper right-hand corner) personhood is still manifesting, in the conflict between tiny white and black figures. 

In other words,  the force of  personhood is ubiquitous reading from the upper left outside panel all the way to the upper right inside panel, that is, across the entire narrative of the painting.


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