And on each of its circles there was seated a Siren on the upper side,

Carried round, and uttering a single sound on one pitch.

But the whole of them, being eight, composed a single harmony.

–Plato

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How can God be said to be in a place, since he is present everywhere and in all things?

And where is his special abode in the world ?

Before we treat of the seat, or proper residence of Creative Nature, it must be asked whether it can reside in any place, since it is infinite in its essence. To which doubt the whole school of Theologians replies by pointing out that it has no one defined location, like intelligences or spiritual creatures, nor is it hemmed in, like things that have bodies, but it is all pervading; although, according to Gregory, God may be said to be trebly present in all things, either as an actual presence, showing his goodness in them, or in potential, through his influence, or in his essence, for he is their inmost substance. Moreover, God is said to be everywhere, for divine power permeates all beings, and by it he defines the resemblance of the potentiality of the entire universe to himself. He is said to fill all things, not because he is contained in them, but because they are contained in him. For, says Ambrosius, it is the property of GOD to be everywhere and in everything. It is therefore plain that God is not, as you may imagine, present in everything so that anything can take him as a model for its size and shape, as the less takes the greater, but he is present in everything created. We understand, therefore, that God is inside everything, but not shut in, for he is infinite and immeasurable, and outside everything too, but not shut out, for he includes all things created in his own unbounded hugeness. Hence it is said that all things made by God partake of his goodness through his presence in them, or the presence of a degree of his essence, as angels are displayed in souls and souls in animals ; and yet, just as any creature whatsoever is of lower or higher rank according to the beauty of the shape it acquired from its primal substance or Being, so also (as lamblichus states) it will occupy a higher or lower station according to the share of merit it has acquired. Now where we perceive a good that is absolute and elemental, and for so I understand lamblichus’ words one that goes beyond nature, we assume that it is the cause of good, that is, the first principle of the essence of good; Mercurius Trismegistus speaks of this when he warns us not to say anything is better than the One God. Therefore, all operations proceeding from the Creator’s goodness are found to be participants in his essence, nor do they exceed the essential nature of God, because they naturally receive their essence, shape, and their materialised light from the ardent gener­osity of the Creator, by whose gifts they are illumined, endowed with form, turned from possibilities into realities, and are therefore said to be good by participation. And the world and worldly creatures have received this bounty that makes them real from a Creator that was not compelled by necessity, as the philosophical tradition has it, but who wished to perfect his entire creation of his own free and abundant will, according to the royal Psalmist’s Utterance :- “Whatsoever God wished, he did in heaven and earth”. Finally the ancient Philosophers have placed the abode of this creative nature in the heavens because of their beauty and bright­ness. For this reason Plato used to assert that God dwelt in a fiery substance, i.e., in the Ether. Later Philosophers (among whom I name those true worshippers of this Nature, Isidore, Bede and Basilius) seem to agree with him, calling the Empyrean heaven the abode of God. For although God is said to be everywhere, nevertheless, he is said to be present in this (Empyrean) heaven, properly, principally, and for the most part : here the works of his power shine out more, as in a worthier setting and situation, more fitting for the operation of his divine power – as Damascenus says.

God is not said to be above and outside all things because he is a distant spot, but because of the excellence of his nature, as In. Resolut, Theolog. tract 1, p.l, quaest. 4, has it. And this is called the Intellectual Heaven, because God, whose residence it is, is called the Intellectual Spirit. Others have attributed this super-celestial region to angels and the souls of the blessed, and have stated that there is another abode besides this one, which they have called the Heaven of the Trinity, corresponding to the one Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They say that this is God himself in its matter, but that it is very different in its mind. For, according to Albertus, this heaven is the strength of divine power, containing and surrounding all created things. Therefore, to be in this heaven is to be equal in strength to God the creator, container and saviour of everything. All these things are clearly explained by Ezekiel’s vision, where, although these two regions of the Intelligences and the Trinity may appear to differ, if only in the purity and exaltedness of their essence, nevertheless, the Prophet declares that they are contained in one in the Empyrean Heaven, so called because of its perfect brightness, as air and fire are contained in one in the Ethereal Heaven. For he compared the single, convex, surrounding Heaven of the Firmament to the likeness of a man, whose upper part, from the outline of the loins upward, was shining with a very fine and spiritual fire, like that of carab resin; while the lower part, from the loins downward, was spark­ling with a somewhat denser and grosser fire. The partition of this region into two regions of different worth seems to indicate the precelestial heaven, peculiar to spiritual creatures, and the super-celestial one.

–Robert Fludd (Utriusque Cosmi Historia, or The Origin and Structure of the Cosmos)

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When the intelligence is brought to bear on the tone-world, it finds therein a singular image of the primordial Unity that rules in the universe and orders all things from first to last. Not only that: there opens to it a whole immeasurable canvas, reflecting like countless mirrors the uncreated harmony, reposing eternally in itself, of God the Three-in-One. It sees also the harmony created in time, destroyed by the sin of our first fathers, and restored through the incarnation of the eternal Word—the truly realized harmony of the moral and physical creation, concentrating itself in the most manifold ways to glorify the Trinity. The intelligence is moved thereby to admiration, while in the heart there awakens a foretaste of the Beyond, arousing a tender longing for its true homeland, the land of eternal harmony

–Peter Alkantara Singer


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