Language and Religion

20th Week in Ordinary Time, Wednesday (Year II)

“Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16).

What is the foundation of the concepts “first” and “last”?

“First” is derived from one. One is derived from two. Unity and multiplicity give rise to each other as relative concepts. Both arise from the perception of parts outside of parts. The origin of numbers and sequence in human thought began with countable objects, including humans themselves.

Numbers are neither primordial nor eternal, as the simple Trinity is indivisible and has no parts. Concepts of One and Three in discussing the Trinity belong to religion—the sphere of humankind’s return to unity. Indeed, the word “religion” comes from the Latin re + ligare (to bind back), an etymology discovered by early Roman grammarians and St. Augustine. 

Consciousness of separation (among objects, humans, and between humans and God) generated the need to “bind back” what was divided. 

“First” can ultimately be traced back to the primeval wound and separation of Adam from the Trinity. The one-pointed, “single eye” of original consciousness was simple and undifferentiated. As in the Trinity, the first human person had awareness of a unique “I” in communion with three unique “I’s,” but without consciousness of boundaries. Persons in communion (perichoresis) interpenetrate or dwell within one another in a manner beyond the dichotomy of spirit and matter. The process of return to the Trinity requires the transformation of fragmented consciousness (viewing the “I” as separated from all others) to a unified consciousness (realizing the “I” as inseparable from all others).

In the untransfigured realm, persons experience one another as individuals. The “I” of each person appears circumscribed by shape and form; existence extends only as far as the epidermal limit. Consciousness conditioned by spacetime projects its categories onto the divine, which is evidenced in language and grammatical structures. For example, the concept of “equality” is derived from spacetime: What is Equality? (Part 2)

The resurrection of Christ reveals the embryonic potential of matter for deification and transfiguration to an all-encompassing, undifferentiated state. When indivisible union and communion are brought to fruition in the Trinity, there will be no foundation (fissure) for “first” and “last.” 

Concepts, words, language and thought are all temporary vehicles for our journey back to unity in the Trinity.

-GMC

Click here for another reflection on the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard: Indivisible Glory

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