Tuesday, March 04, 2008

God is Place and So is Second Life

"But God? Here is no object of fallen speech but a supreme object of thought and will. In contemplating God, it might seem that we pass beyond place into meta-place, into the ethereal realm ("heaven" "svarga" "pure land") in which the earthbound configuration of place, and above all its limits no longer obtain. Yet we need to think only of the fact that the Hebrew word Makom, the name of God, means precisely Place. "'Place' as a synonym for God," writes Shmuel Sambursky, "became a generally accepted expression in the Hebrew language from the first centuries of the Christian era onwards. If the Archytian position is correct, this is not an anomalous but an altogether expectable development. A rabbinical commentary on Genesis exclaims, "Why is God called place? Because He is the place of the world, while the world is not his place." Philo of Alexandria follows suit in words that could have been written by [Greek Pythagorean] Archytas, "God Himself is called place, for He encompasses all things, but is not encompassed by anything." Philo's creative conjunction of Judaism and late Neoplatonic thought is carried forward by the Cambridge Platonist Henry More, a correspondent of Descartes and an important influence on Newton;

"There are less than twenty titles by which the Divine Numen is wont to be designated, and which perfectly fit this infinite internal place (locus) the existence of which is nature we have demonstrated; omitting moreover that the very Divine Numen is called by the Cabalists, MAKOM, that is Place (locus)."

God as Place - well, why not? Surely this conception generates fewer problems that the more usual idea of God as divine Person. It allows us to depersonalize God and turn God into a cosmic occasion, or rather the place of every occasion. But as such, God remains a limit of all that exists: Its (not Her or His) celestial status and divine being (not to mention the role of that status and being in worship) change nothing when it comes to the fundamental fact that, as a place, God is a source-limit, both limit and source, of the universe. From God's Place the universe proceeds – and comes continually to end."

Edward S. Casey, Getting Back Into Place: Toward a Renewed Understanding of the Place-World. Bloomingdale: Indiana UP 1993. 17-18

As well there is already a Svarga Island in Second Life.

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