Venn Diagrams — A Metaphor

Theology can have a lot of technical language and argumentation but sometimes a metaphor can distill things in a more understandable way.  I’ve offered metaphors such as Author/Story, Actor/Role, Role Play Games, and Divine Action and the Juggler.  Here I’ll offer a visual metaphor for the ontology (being) of an Aspect Monism and Divine Idealism.  I’ll use a couple of Venn Diagrams.

God Venn God as Living

Divine Life Venn God as Living

What this ontology means is that this life is just a part of God.  This is similar to panentheism where God is in the world but also more.  There is a transcendent aspect of God that in theology is often called the abysmal character of God that is infinite and beyond our comprehension.  In a Divine Idealism, however, God lives a life. In our case, this particular life.  This life is part of God’s mind (thus a Divine Idealism). There may be other lives in God’s mind as well.

In the Mind of God diagram, the particular life contains everything from quarks to human animals (most certainly other beings in the universe). What you’ll notice is that there is an overlap between each of the aspects in the Divine Life with the Mind of God in total and with each other. What this means is that while our lives are within this particular life, they (and everything else) have within them a divine transcendent depth that reaches beyond the constraints of this life and also connects with everything else (a communion). This overlap might be called a porous boundary layer where the divine goals and hopes for this life provide an impetus for the eternal creation of love, beauty, and meaning.  This porosity means that the divine telos (purpose) is received within our finitude and the ambiguities of life.  So, we must constantly probe that divine transcendent depth and try to listen deeply to what it says to us.