THE MYSTICAL THEOLOGY OF BLESSED JOHN DUNS SCOTUS – GOD IS ALL AND HAS ALL; WHY DID HE CREATE US, THEN?
“LOVE AND ONLY LOVE IMPELLED GOD TO CREATE US.” (BLESSED JOHN DUNS SCOTUS)
THE BLISS OF LOVING AND BEING LOVED
Realising that you cannot love someone unless you know them, Blessed John Duns Scotus turned his attention to knowing as much about God as reason and revelation could teach him. Anybody who takes the trouble to make something must have a reason for making it, or they are simply mindless. So God must have had a reason for creating the universe and everything in it. Now bearing in mind that He is self-sufficient and needs nothing to add to His own personal happiness, why did He need to create anything? He could only have created something for someone else’s happiness; for them to enjoy the pure unadulterated bliss of experiencing what it’s like to enjoy loving and being loved all the time.
GOD SHARES LOVE WITH HIS CREATURES
If yet again you ask why someone loves another then I can only answer that I do not know, not because love is irrational, but because it is super-rational and therefore above understanding of a rational creature. Rousseau put it this way: “The heart has reasons that the mind knows nothing about.” [I, as a human being, as well as other fellow-humans, do know the feeling, when you experience something that makes you really happy, you feel the urge to share this experience.] I know it’s rather silly to try and project our feelings into God, but disagreeing with other great theologians of his time, Scotus insisted that we do share our “being” with God. And, as further to this we have been created in His image and likeness, I don’t think that it is utterly outrageous to suggest that my petty feelings might well have been experienced by God, if one can talk about a pure Spirit as having feelings as we do. What I’m trying to say is, just as I would [love] to share my little human ecstasy with others, God must have loved to share his divine ecstasy with others too. Anyway that’s what John Duns Scotus meant when he said that love and only love impelled God to create us.
THE WORD DRAWS MEN INTO THE MYSTICAL BODY, INTO THE PURE, LIVING LOVE
From all eternity, eons before and quite independent of our fall from grace, God’s plan was to create all things in the “Word”, and then the “Word” would be made flesh as His masterwork, to be the King of Creation – Christ the King. He would rule with a love powerful enough to penetrate everyone and draw them up into His mystical body. There, in, with and through Him, they would be caught up and into the life and loving that endlessly surged to and fro between the Father and the Son. If this is not good news I don’t know what is. This is the Good News we [celebrate at] Christmas, when the Word was made flesh for the first time, so that we could be made divine. As the poet John Donne put it: ” ’twas much that God became like man before, but that man should be made like God much more”.
– This is an excerpt of an article by David Torkington published in “Messenger of Saint Anthony”, issue 12/12