Is lucidity fantasy or commencement of deification? Christianity v. psychology

Photo: Alexei Boitsov

Some writers have defined lucidity as following fantasy and being a natural continuation of it, within the purported psychological framework of Lacan’s initial meaning of the sinthome. This was apparently done in an attempt to downplay or completely change the real significance of lucidity; willfully or otherwise. However, such an assertion by the said writers is not true because fantasy and lucidity belong to two different orders – realms, levels – of functioning, in relation both to the nature and the abilities of common man.

Fantasy, on the one hand, belongs to Lacan’s order of the Imaginary, which is one of the psychological orders. It originates from man. No true insight or understanding are present in fantasy, otherwise it would not be fantasy in the first instance. Lucidity, on the other hand, belongs to the order, the realm, of the Spirit, which is the supernatural order (not to be confused with the preternatural order). It originates from God the Holy Spirit and is a gift of grace. Lucidity carries within it both true insight – clarity of vision – and understanding.

As the supernatural order is, by its very character, a higher order than the psychological order, it can subsume the latter within it, if and when necessary, but not vice versa. One cannot, therefore, traverse fantasy qua fantasy, to reach lucidity in a natural manner. Moreover, it is well-known in the apophatic via negativa of Eastern Christianity (as opposed to the cataphatic via positiva of Western Christianity) that when lucidity is present, fantasy is absent because it is no longer needed. But how, then, does all this happen and what does it really mean? 

The Reopening of the Nous and the Commencement of Deification

Deep within the soul of common man, whenever a soul is newly created, is a part that is specifically reserved by God the Father for Himself. It is his resting place in man and it is different than those parts of the soul in which Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit similarly rest, in accordance with the words of Christ to Jude the Canaanean, that

Whoever loves Me will keep My word and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him.

This deep part of the soul is called the nous and it is more commonly known as the very eye, or heart, of the soul.

When first man (Adam) and first woman (Eve) were created, the nous of their souls was naturally open, and both the imprinted image of God and the likeness after God within them were intact – immaculate. God the Father, with His Son and Holy Spirit, rested in them as He did on His very throne, and they walked and spoke intimately with God as their Father and Creator.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

At that point, Adam and Eve possessed a childlike innocence and purity. No fear, shame, or guilt was even remotely on their horizon, and they did not need to labor to live. They lived fully immersed in and in accordance with the Divine Will, and for them intimacy with God was natural – ordinary and real.

But when Adam sinned by using his human will to disobey God’s command not to eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil – the sole test set by the Eternal Father, for Adam to confirm the gift of deification both for himself and all his descendants thenceforth, the Father became angry at such a betrayal; the second from among His creatures.

To the woman, He said: “I will greatly multiply your pain and your travail. In pain you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband and he shall rule over you.” And to Adam, He said: “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, saying: You shall not eat of it; cursed is the ground for your sake and in labor shall you eat of it, all the days of your life! Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. With the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it were you taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

At that point, the Father, together with His Son and Holy Spirit, stopped residing in Adam and Eve; the Divine Will retreated, and the nous of their souls was closed. Their childlike innocence and purity were lost. Fear, shame, and guilt set in.

The image of God imprinted on the souls of Adam and Eve remained intact, but their likeness after God was shattered. Instead of deification being confirmed, the wound of original sin (primal sin) had damaged the souls of Adam and Eve, and those of all their descendants (bar one) for posterity; and the capacity of common man to have full intimacy with God – both internally and externally – was lost.

The veil, separating the Divinity from common man, had descended. The ordinary had become the extraordinary.

Despite their primal sin, however, God the Father did not abandon Adam and Eve. He loved them too much to do so, despite their betrayal of His gift – a gift He had not even granted the angels who, being preternatural, had a higher nature than common man.

And God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

He did not leave them naked to their sin. Moreover, because the Father knew that what Adam had really desired above all else, even in the process of sinning, was to become like Him, God set in motion the process by which common man would be redeemed from his own sin and thus become able to progressively rejoin Him.

God the Father proclaimed to Lucifer, who had possessed the serpent and been the first to betray Him in an earlier instance

I will put enmity between you and the Woman, and between your seed and Her Seed. She will crush your head and you will bite at Her heel.

The Woman was the Virgin Mary who would be born in time, centuries later, and Her Seed was the Father’s only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ – the God-Man Who came into the world at the fullness of time to die and both open up anew and be, for common man, the Way to the Eternal Father.

Throughout the centuries that ensued, right up to the present time, countless have been the created men and women conceived and born. A comparative few of these had the nous of their souls opened after birth by God the Holy Spirit, so that the Father could both be intimate with them and they could speak to the people about His reality and the desires of His Divine Heart. These few were, in fact, many – albeit not all – of the saints and the prophets of the Old Testament, the apostles and the disciples of the New Testament, and more throughout the ages. Although many tried and tried again, through the ladder of divine ascent.

One man had the nous of his soul opened by God in utero – this was John the Baptist, the blood cousin of Christ the Man. However, only one created individual was conceived with the nous fully open like that of Adam and Eve had been and had always been intended to be – this was the Woman, the Virgin Mary; the sinless Mother of Christ.

So what, in reality, is lucidity?

Lucidity is that which ensues after the nous has been reopened by God, subsequent to the purification and illumination of the soul of common man. It is a sheer gift of grace that occurs at the commencement of the process of deification and entails the descent of God to man, not the other way around, to pull man back up into Himself. It also results in both the vision and the understanding of many supernatural realities, including that of God Himself – theosis – in accordance with the words of Christ to the crowds, that

No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him.

and

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

The veil, separating the Divinity from common man, is raised internally and one starts seeing reality not solely with physical eyes, but also with the eye of the soul.

Particularly in Eastern Christianity, this is known as the acquisition of the Holy Spirit (not to be confused with receipt of the Holy Spirit at baptism and confirmation), and it is the commencement of the deification of common man – the wind of the Second Pentecost.

According to Aquinas, this specific

gift of grace surpasses every capability of created nature, since it is nothing short of a partaking of the divine nature, which exceeds every other nature . . . God alone should deify, bestowing a partaking of the divine nature by a participated likeness.

And Palamas stated that the

Paraclete illuminates from on high the man who attains in prayer the stage which is superior to the highest natural possibilities and who is awaiting the promise of the Father; and by His revelation ravishes him to contemplation of the light.

More aptly, Symeon the New Theologian unreservedly declared that

God comes under a certain image and yet it is the image of God . . . [He] makes Himself seen in His simplicity, formed out of formless, incomprehensible, ineffable light . . . He makes Himself seen clearly, He is perfectly recognizable, He speaks and hears in a way that cannot be expressed. He who is God by nature converses with those whom He has made gods by grace, as a friend converses with His friends, face to face. He loves His sons as a Father; He is loved by them beyond all measure. He becomes in them a wondrous knowledge, a dreadful hearing. They cannot speak of Him as they ought, nor can they any longer keep silence.

And the Elder Sophrony said that

Suddenly, the Almighty reveals Himself in boundless humility. The vision floods our entire being and instinctively we bow in adoration . . . Prayer to this God of love and humility rises from the depths of our being . . . Brought from nothingness into life, man is drawn by His Creator into the fullness of divine life.

It should be noted that deification, even in its very commencement, is not synonymous with salvation, because although salvation is, indeed, part of deification, deification transcends salvation by consisting of man’s active incorporation into and participation in the Holy Spirit Himself. Williams, in fact, clarified that both deification and sanctification involved union with God. However, while the latter

locates sanctification within the creature and in via, the former [deification] locates it at the level of the divine and insists upon the inseparability of life in via and in patria . . .  [A marker being] the union of God and humanity, when this union is conceived as humanity’s incorporation into God, rather than God’s into humanity.

Meanwhile, Palamas stated that in deification, the glory of God

while remaining imparticipable, invisible and impalpable, becomes participable by His superessential power, and communicates Himself and shines forth and becomes in contemplation ‘One Spirit’ with those who meet Him with a pure heart, according to the most mystical and mysterious prayer [which Christ] addressed to His own Father: “Grant them that as I am in You, Father, and You in Me, so they too may be one in Us” in truth.

It is precisely because the time has come – in our present day and age, within the time period of our generation – for Christ’s prayer to the Eternal Father to be fulfilled, that the extraordinary is now slowly but steadily returning to the ordinary; with the creature – common man – returning to the order, the place, and the purpose for which it was created in the first instance. That is, common man becoming what he had always desired to be since the creation of first man, Adam – a god by grace, both in via and in patria, living in and with the Divine Will; to eventually live in the heavenly Jerusalem with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for eternity.

Advertisements