Peonies, Day 19

“The Eternal Tao (Panels 3 and 4)”
©️2020 by Gloria M. Chang

“The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things”

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 1, translated by Derek Lin

God is both hidden and manifest (nameless and named) in relationship to spiritual creatures. 

The theophany to Moses on Mount Sinai in Exodus 33:18-23 has traditionally been interpreted as a revelation of this truth. God told Moses who asked to see his glory, “You cannot see my face, for no one can see me and live… When my glory passes I will set you in the cleft of the rock and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand, so that you may see my back; but my face may not be seen.”

St. Gregory of Nazianzus offers the following reflection in his Second Theological Oration (Oration 28), III:

“What is this that has happened to me, O friends, and initiates, and fellow-lovers of the truth? I was running to lay hold on God, and thus I went up into the Mount, and drew aside the curtain of the Cloud, and entered away from matter and material things, and as far as I could I withdrew within myself. And then when I looked up, I scarce saw the back parts of God (Exodus 33:23), although I was sheltered by the Rock, the Word that was made flesh for us. And when I looked a little closer, I saw, not the First and unmingled Nature, known to Itself—to the Trinity, I mean; not That which abides within the first veil, and is hidden by the Cherubim; but only that Nature, which at last even reaches to us. And that is, as far as I can learn, the Majesty, or as holy David calls it, the Glory which is manifested among the creatures, which It has produced and governs. For these are the Back Parts of God, which He leaves behind Him, as tokens of Himself like the shadows and reflection of the sun in the water, which show the sun to our weak eyes, because we cannot look at the sun himself, for by his unmixed light he is too strong for our power of perception.”

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