God, the word, the world, the fire
God: day-night, winter-summer, war-peace, famine-starvation. It is transformed like the fire which, when mixed with perfume, is called by the name of the smell of everyone (cf.
It is God’s being in the making. God is in motion, changing himself by remaining himself. The act is divine. God is united with the word, with the world, with the fire. It is the unity of the opposites. The bright (the day) and the dark (the night), the hot (the summer) and the cold (the winter), the conflict and the peace, the abundance and the famine, find in them their harmony and cease to they are just as they are for people. Deity is the foundation and the solution of the contradictions which for human weakness always interweave and tear the others. The deity does not abolish contradictions, it does not prevent the day from being night and night, but this is one of its many manifold events.
God is connected with the cosmic fire. The fire of the sacrifices offered to God is perfumed and has many names. The variety of her names, however, is only one truth. In the same way, people give a deity different names. The deity is the universal Sophia. For Sophia, we know from Excerpts 50 and 41 that it makes us understand that “Always is One” and “everything is all about everything.”
God is day and night, winter and summer. God does not do that. This is the sacred rhythm of becoming. Then, is the world itself?
It is obvious that God creates nothing, since “this world, which is for all, no man nor God did, but it was from ever and ever, and it is and will be the eternal fire that glows lightly and fades away.” Deity is the meaning of the world. As a sense that is united with speech.
God and the word are united but not identical. Heraclitus speech is unclear and deity is a reason. Word and God are the joints of the Universe and are present within human thought. Human thinking thinks of the deity and speaks to it and to it because every reason is dialogue. Heraclitus thought conceives with thought and expresses with the language the truth and the meaning of the totality of the world, this totality that is eternal and no creation. While Christian theology believes in a world created from nothing by God.
Only a pagan God can appear through the fire and in its most violent form, the lightning. The fire is the life of the world and God its meaning. We saw in a previous article that the fire is wise (out of 64). The lightning that governs everything is the strongest appearance of cosmic fire. And God has the same “qualities” with the fire. The fire is called wise and Zeus is called a thunderbolt. God and the fire have eternal life. However, God is not the thunderbolt, and the lightning is not God. There is digestion, but not a merger.
God, the word, the world and the fire unite without being identified. The same happens with the opposite, joining but not being identified within the deity. God is war and peace (cf. 67). Inside God, homonymy opposes disunity and is composed with it, since justice is discord. Epicurean Philodemos informs us that “Heraclitus said that war and God are identical.” War, which is a universal power, must have God on its foundation. Of course, God is both peace and peace, since his perpetual change coincides with eternal rest. Ultimate movement is also a supreme rest.
Its uniqueness makes God also the foundation of every law because all human laws feed on one law, the Divine. He keeps as much as he wants his power, enough for everything, and it goes beyond everything (see 114). The law, the structure of nature and the city, is a harmony of opposing tensions and draws its power from the very rhythm of the totality it expresses. It is a law only when it feeds incessantly on the only divine law.
The truth of the unique divine law, which makes the opposites coincide and is present within the vigour of secular fire, is revealed over time. This eternal time is the primacy of the conflict of the opposites, and it updates the periodic changes of fire. Therefore, God is a thunderbolt and a wise man, revolted and agitated. It is not only associated with the word, the world, the fire, the hidden harmony and the war but also with time. For the time, the excerpt 52 told us that he is a child playing dice, that is, a child’s reign. The world is the theatre of unrighteous play, which is a game of royal and childhood.
The play and time of the eternal present are the deep traits of Greek life and thought. Heraclitus conceives the importance of the bond that unites the game, the war and the time associated with the deity. The wars that people make among themselves are also a toy, and in the heart of the Trojan, War games are played. And the oestrus and the sanctuary also meet at the feasts of Olympia. The tragedy is a great game. This close affinity that exists between the struggle, the play and the sanctuary is now founded by Heraclitus on the very structure of the Universe where the divine discourse manifests itself. Within God, the universal war becomes universal wisdom, and the game of time, the world’s sin.
Why the deity is the sin of the world. A sinning that is inherent in the world because the very necessity of the world itself only expresses the converging power of the names and manifestations of the totality, that is, the word, the fire, the lightning, the time, the harmony, the game and the unique divine law. The universe contained, that is, the totality reveals at one time one of its ways of existence. The human gaze considers the appearance of these faces, but there is a danger of them being isolated. The thought aspires to capture totality as a whole. As long as this ambition holds, the thought reflects the deity (the foundation of all that is) and, in its attempt to speak of it, becomes a theology. The Heraclean deity, because it is unity,
The deity reveals its presence everywhere. However, ubiquitous presence is not its property. The universe is not the mirror where the deity is reflected. It is her home. Thunderbolt is not her tool. She is one of her expressions. The game that plays with the most opposing forces has as its field the world, and it is also included in this game. The fact that in this deity the opposite coincides does not allow us, in any case, to regard it as a kind of universal neutrality and as a deified neutral: the divine. The deity does not neutralize anything, because it also preserves the conflict of opposites, without which the world would be thrown down. Deity is war and harmony. It is the joining game.
The divine and the people
The divine reveals to the people who need to know how to listen to their voice.
Most of the divine things due to infidelity escape and are not known (cf. 86).
Heraclitus begins with a warning. One has to prepare to know the deity, as he has to hope to reward the unbeliever “if you do not hope you will not find the unexpected because it is unexplored and impassable” (cf.
Hope and faith are intended to make the dialogue between the Divine Word and the Human. Faith does not oppose logical or intuitive opinions in logical knowledge. Human calculus must be available to accept the call of the deity. Since deity assures the structure of the world, human calculus is the conception of this invisible structure, of this masked harmony.
The first conception, by the thought, of the divinity is not at all certain knowledge. The effort of thinking is the initial move that maybe knowledge will succeed. Institutional faith immobilizes thought. The thought prepares to accept what may seem unbelievable. Belief comes after. Heraclitus demands the opening of the mind.
Human thought directed at the deity cannot really be directed to it unless it first asks its call. In this sense, the deity is what comes first. But the thought of man, when he goes to the higher spheres of knowledge, stumbles upon what he can not know and thus recognizes the deity as the last obstacle. This quest is a great adventure. We must struggle to conceive what overcomes us and not to reduce what is great. Human suffering is perhaps a sacred disease because it prevents us from communicating with the sanctuary, and our vision deceives when it adheres in an extremely exclusive way to what is directly visible, preventing us from seeing.
Man is always in the field of divinity, and it is impossible to hide from what never disappears (Rev. 16).
The universality of the divine law is the only source of all special laws that too often, if not always, their current deviates from the right path. In order to remain in the truth, man has nothing to do with his origin. With great labor, he can become a philosopher (cf. 35). On the contrary, God is this whole being that contains man and the course, only that is the Wise (see 32). The love of Sophia that establishes and fertilizes the basic quest is thus transformed into the love of the deity since the deity is the universal wisdom.
People should not forget the laws of immortal play. Man must not construct the image of his God according to his own image. God is All (and All is God), while a man without being Nothing is a Part. With Heraclitus, abstract thinking takes its appearance with its fundamental question that does not cease to question everything, even when moving within a “frame” that already contains some answers. Heraclitus establishes in the heart of theological concern the questioning meditation. The lessons learned from this event are tragic: people are children who ask questions, and these open questions that start like a scalpel are kept open, despite the answers and memories of the answers they get, because these questions are enigmas. Every true thought contains a contradiction, an antithesis, that is, a tragic element. The thought of Heraclitus tries to overcome the contradictions by conceiving the unionist deity. Contradictions, however, remain compassionate for the mortals who are theirs is a constant occurrence. This conception of divinity takes place with the thought that is open to the world’s enigma.
Extracts from the book of Axelos – Heraclitus and philosophy