God and an RPG Metaphor

Sometimes a metaphor can more powerfully illustrate a concept than a philosophical argument.  In the Divine Life Communion, everything in this life is an aspect of God’s life. This includes humans, animals, bacteria, rocks, elementary particles, etc.  Each exists with its constraints.  While there is an abysmal aspect of God that Tillich called “the God above the God of theism”, for some reason God chose to live.  In Christianity and other religious systems this represents an emptying or taking on constraints to live. In Christianity this is called kenosis where Christ shed the divine nature in some respects to become incarnated in human form.

Now it is important to remember that each aspect is part of God’s life but each with its own particular constraints. So, one metaphor that might illustrate this is a type of game called role playing game.  In these games the player takes on the role of some type of character. That character has certain attributes: personality, strengths, weakness, powers, moral character, attitudes, etc.  It might be a knight, a thief, a priest, a noble, a scoundrel, a healer, etc.  Now the key to how good the gamer is, is how well they take on that role and behave according to the attributes of that character.  They must suspend their own personal attributes and take on the role, even if it is contrary to how they would normally think or behave.  A similar analogy is found in acting where the actor takes on a role that may be very different from how they are themselves.

While these metaphors are not perfect, perhaps they can partially illustrated how God takes on an aspect in life.  Each aspect has its attributes, limitations, strengths, etc.  For some reason God wanted to experience life in all these different “roles”, to embrace the limitations, struggle with challenges and experience both the positive and negative consequences of that constrained being.  And just like in an RPG game it is not only the individual role that is important but also how all the characters act towards each other and how the community fares in their adventure together.  God’s aspects do not occur in isolation.  They occur within the communion of all God’s aspects, each playing its part in the unfolding of God’s purposes in living. Each has its own identity but that identity is also in communion with all the others.  They all also participate in the divine depth that guides and navigates all the vicissitudes and challenges that life has to offer.

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