God is infinite in his simplicity and simple in his infinity. Therefore he is
everywhere and is everywhere complete. God is in the innermost part of each
and every thing.
Johannes Eckhart was one of the greatest of Christian mystics. He was born at
Hochheim in Thringen, Germany, in 1260, and entered the Dominican order when
he was 15. Later he occupied several high posts in the order in Germany.
Eckhart also taught theology at the Universities of Paris and Cologne. In 1326
Eckhart was formally charged with heresy by the archbishop of Cologne,
Heinrich von Virneburg - who also prosecuted the Brethren of the Free Spirit
in Cologne around this same time. The charge appears to have been proven. In
1329, shortly after Eckhart's death, Pope John XXII published a bull
condemning 28 propositions from Eckhart's works. Eckhart is said to have
retracted the errors. He claimed that he may have erred, but he was not a
heretic. Probably his eminence protected him, for others who put forward
similar views were indeed burned along with their works. By the standards of
medieval Christianity, Eckhart was indeed a heretic. He stressed the unity of
God and the capacity of the individual soul to become one with God during
life. He asserted that the human soul was superior to the angels. And he spoke
of passing beyond God to a `simple ground,' a `still desert,' without any
distinctions, out of which all things were created - a conception strikingly
similar to the Tao of Lao Tzu. Although he talks at times of God being in all
things, Eckhart is never talking about glorifying the creation - modern
theologians who cite him as a precursor of `creation spirituality'
misrepresent him. Eckhart believes it is necessary to detach oneself from all
sensible things, from all creatures and from the self, before the soul can be
united with God. The God that is in all things has nothing to do with created
matter: it is soul and thought. The texts are taken from Meister Eckhart,
Selected Writings, translated by Oliver Davies, Penguin Books, 1994.
God is one.
God is pure oneness, being free of any accretive multiplicity of
distinction even at a conceptual level. [Divine Consolation] There is neither
distinction in God nor in the Persons of the Trinity according to the unity of
their nature. The divine nature is one, and each Person is both One and the
same One as God's nature. [On the Noble Man]
God is in everything.
God is infinite in his simplicity and simple in his infinity. Therefore he
is everywhere and is everywhere complete. He is everywhere on account of his
infinity, and is everywhere complete on account of his simplicity. Only God
flows into all things, their very essences. Nothing else flows into something
else. God is in the innermost part of each and every thing, only in its
innermost part. [Sermon LW XXIX] The One descends into everything and into
each single things, yet remaining the One that unites what is distinct.
[Sermon LW XXIX]
God . . . is the being of all beings.
[Sermon LW XXIX]
All creatures are one with God.
All things are contained in the One, by virtue of the fact that it is one.
for all multiplicity is one, and is one thing, and is in and through the One.
. . The One is not distinct from all things. Therefore all things in the
fullness of being are in the One by virtue of its indistinction and unity.
[Sermon LW XXIX] When we know creatures in God, then that is called a `morning
knowledge,' and in this way we see creatures without any distinctions,
stripped of images and likeness in the Oneness which God himself is. [On the
Noble Man] All creatures are the utterance of God. If my mouth speaks and
declares God, so too does the being of a stone. [Sermon DW 53] However, to
unite with God we must reject the world and ourselves. When we turn away from
ourselves and from all created things, to that extent we are united and
sanctified in the soul's spark, which is untouched by either space or time.
This spark is opposed to all creatures and desires nothing but God. [Sermon DW
If we are to dwell in him . . . we should take leave of ourselves and of
all things and be attached to nothing external which acts upon the senses
within. [Sermon DW 40]
When the soul enters the light that is pure, she falls so far from her own
created somethingness into her nothingness that in this nothingness she can no
longer return to that created somethingness by her own power. [Sermon DW1]
Mystical union with God.
The sixth [and highest] stage comes when we are stripped of our own form
and are transformed by God's eternity, becoming wholly oblivious to all
transient and temporal life, drawn into and changed into an image of the
divine, and have become God's son.
On the Noble Man
Blessedness consists primarily in the fact that the soul sees God in
herself . . . Only in God's knowledge does she become wholly still. There she
knows nothing but essence and God. [On the Noble Man] Between that person and
God there is no distinction, and they are one. . . Their knowing is one with
God's knowing, their activity with God's activity and their understanding with
God's understanding. [Sermon DW 40]
Therefore it is in Oneness that God is found and they who would find God
must themselves become One. . . And truly, if you are properly One, then you
shall remain One in the midst of distinction, and the multifold will be One
for you and shall not be able to impeded you in any way. [On the Noble Man
When the soul is united with God, then it perfectly possesses in him all that
is something. The soul forgets itself there, as it is in itself, and all
things, knowing itself in God as divine, in so far as God is in it. [Sermon DW
God is outside time.
Nothing is as opposed to God as time. . . There is no process of becoming
in God, but only a present moment, that is a becoming without a becoming, a
becoming-new without renewal. . . All that is in God is an eternal present-
time without renewal. [Sermon DW 50]
God is thought.
God alone truly is, and . . he is intellect or thought, and . . he is thought
alone to which no other being is added. [Sermon LW XXIX].
I have occasionally spoken of a light in the soul which is uncreated and un
creatable. . . . This light is not satisfied with the simple, still and divine
being which neither gives nor takes, but rather it desires to know from where
this being comes. It wants to penetrate to the simple ground, to the still
desert, into which distinction never peeped, neither Father, Son nor Holy
Spirit. There, in that most inward place, where everyone is a stranger, the
light is satisfied, and there it is more inward than it is in itself, for this
ground is a simple stillness which is immovable in itself. But all things are
moved by this immovability and all the forms of life are conceived by it
which, possessing the light of reason, live of themselves. [Sermon DW 48]
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