Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
November 20th, 2015 by Joel Watts

John Keats on “soul-making”… on the point of Creation

John Keats, by William Hilton (died 1839). See...

John Keats, by William Hilton (died 1839). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have search for something…for a statement… on my view of Creation, or rather, the point and goal of it. It begins with Genesis 3 and the tree of the knowledge of good, evil, and everything inbetween.

This is it. It sums up well my views, although I believe the “Chrystain” religion is bigger (as is often the case) than our dearest Poet would allow.

“…The common cognomen of this world among the misguided and superstitious is ‘a vale of tears’ from which we are to be redeemed by a certain arbitrary interposition of God and taken to Heaven — What a little circumscribed straightened notion! call the world if you Please ‘The vale of Soul-making’ Then you will find out the use of the world (I am speaking now in the highest terms for human nature admitting it to be immortal which I will here take for granted for the purpose of showing a thought which has struck me concerning it) I say “Soul making” Soul as distinguished from an Intelligence — There may be intelligences or sparks of the divinity in millions — but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself. Intelligences are atoms of perception–they know and they see and they are pure, in short they are God — how then are Souls to be made? How then are these sparks which are God to have identity given them–so as ever to possess a bliss peculiar to each ones individual existence? How, but by the medium of a world like this? This point I sincerely wish to consider because I think it a grander system of salvation than the chrystain religion — or rather it is a system of Spirit-creation — This is effected by three grand materials acting the one upon the other for a series of years — These Materials are the Intelligence — the human heart (as distinguished from intelligence or Mind) and the World or Elemental space suited for the proper action of Mind and Heart on each other for the purpose of forming the Soul or Intelligence destined to possess the sense of Identity. I can scarcely express what I but dimly perceive — and yet I think I perceive it–that you may judge the more clearly I will put it in the most homely form possible — I will call the world a School instituted for the purpose of teaching little children to read — I will call the Child able to read, the Soul made from that school and its hornbook. Do you not see how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a soul? A Place where the heart must feel and suffer in a thousand diverse ways! Not merely is the Heart a Hornbook, it is the Minds Bible, it is the Minds experience, it is the teat from which the Mind or intelligence sucks its identity–As various as the Lives of Men are–so various become their Souls, and thus does God make individual beings, Souls, Identical Souls of the sparks of his own essence…” – John Keats, April 21, 1810

I will have more to say about this later.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

6 Responses to “John Keats on “soul-making”… on the point of Creation”
  1. “Do you not see how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a soul?”
    I like that. A young person thinks the world is their oyster. They are invincible, and the entire world is for their taking. But then, from hunting a rabbit and hearing it scream before it dies, to watching loved ones die, you realize there might just be something more to life than just picking some fruit (referring to Gen 3). We’re up next.

  2. Know More Than I Should says

    Keats seems to be expressing a Hindu-like concept. According to that line of reasoning, everything can have a soul. This can include even inanimate objects.

    • I have no problem with that. In my bad old days when hunting, I did indeed hear a rabbit scream before he died (I was the culprit). If he didn’t have a soul, no one does. Of course, anything with a personality, including my dog and cats, I think, have a soul. But don’t ask me to prove it. Obviously I can’t.
      On Keats, I read that his mother and father died when he was young. And his relatives, including himself, suffered and died from TB. So this probably developed the, perhaps, Hindu-like concept. However, whatever gets you through the day, is OK with me. Including beer.

      • Know More Than I Should says

        Carry this “everything is everything” Hindu-like philosophy far enough, and reincarnation pops up on the horizon.

        • And Buddhist. We had a good friend that died of cancer that was a Buddhist. Who am I to say if her beliefs were right or wrong? So far, I have never received any visions or revelations that indicate who the heck is right. The only thing I know for sure, is that most people, including myself, base their faith on immediate past history, that is, family, who we hung around with, what we are familiar with, what we are comfortable with. I haven’t ever meet a person that has seen a vision of Jesus on a road to 7-11 on Damascus Street. But then, I have a bad attitude.

          • Know More Than I Should says

            In addition to Buddhism and Hinduism, Jainism also teaches reincarnation.

            The Ancient Greeks and Druids had a reincarnationist theology. Knock on wood anyone?

            Until labeled heretics, the Cathars taught reincarnation. Today, a fair number of Christians believe in reincarnation.

Leave a Reply, Please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: