God’s Canvas

The flesh is God’s canvas…

Published by Michael Sean Erickson

I write, act, and produce films in Los Angeles. Everything else is conjecture.

4 thoughts on “God’s Canvas

    1. The spiritual waxes and wanes like the tidal flow. Interestingly, I have noticed over the years that my writing gets more spiritual and more erotic at the same time. There is a deep and underlying eroticism in mystery, and the interplay between divinity and creation is best expressed as a lyrical mystery. This is why so many of the ancient Greek stories involving the Delphic Oracle (divine revelation in the form of mysterious forecasting of fate) were also very erotic accounts of forbidden love. The Book of Wisdom in the Old Testament expresses divine wisdom as a sensual, living being (foreshadow of the Incarnation) in often overtly erotic tones reminiscent of a steamy romance. Wisdom is described as our “lover.” I believe the reason is that religion is intrinsically sensual. This is true most clearly in Christianity, which focuses on a literally Incarnate God, but it is also true in any religion that expresses our relationship with the divine in a liturgical or ritualistic manner. After all, liturgies/rituals are sensual. We talk, we listen, we dance, we taste, and we touch, etc. while converging with the divine. Even the most abstracted and philosophical religions, such as the neo-Platonic cults and the many permutations of Gnosticism over the years, have their unique rites. They may downplay matter in favor of dematerialized, pure spirit, but they adopt liturgies of their own that are sensual and, in some cults, even altogether passionate. Some of the greatest mystics had to contend with their own wildly erotic minds and hearts. Thomas Merton comes to mind as an obvious example. Proverbs describes God as a “fiercely jealous lover,” and the Epistle to the Hebrews refers to the “Spirit of God” interacting with the faithful with decidedly intimate, and even orgasmic, images. I tend to think an overly intellectualized approach to religious or theological matters more often misses the point. Erotic poetry can penetrate the “Spirit of God” more honestly and tellingly than prose.

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      1. Now that you mention it, I wouldn’t be surprised if “they”, religious scholars, missed the point intentionally as they don’t want to advocate any kind of sensual energy.
        At least, that’s how I was raised when I was christian. But I’m only speaking from experience.

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      2. Christians who downplay the sensual are really missing the point of the Christian faith. Most fundamentally, Christianity is about God very literally becoming human so that all humans may have a redeemed relationship with God. It is not about the subjugation of the material world but rather the redemption and the glorification of the material world in virtue of the Word becoming flesh “and dwelling among us.” A faith that arises from the Incarnation cannot but be sensual, and that includes the erotic as well as all other expressions of what you so aptly describe as the “sensual energy.” In fact, both historically and philosophically, it is the Gnostics, not the Christians, who have denigrated the sensual as intrinsically, and thus hopelessly, irredeemable. The Gnostics emphasize the “spirit” as exclusively good and irreconcilable with “matter.” Indeed, the Gnostics argued, only “spirit” is real, and “matter” is at best a corruption of reality that holds back our souls and is something to be overcome. This is a rejection of the Christian Incarnation, and it is also a rejection of Aristotelian metaphysics, since Aristotle saw the soul as the anima of matter and, as such, by definition intrinsically interrelated with matter. For Aristotle, the soul has no real purpose or existence apart from matter, which is why he speculated that in an afterlife the soul must continue to inhabit some sort of “afterlife body” which he identified as a kind of “plasma.” What too many Christians fail to understand is that just because the flesh is weak (meaning susceptible to temptation and too often an instrument of sin) does not mean that the flesh is intrinsically evil. Body and soul are both to be redeemed, and properly understood eroticism is as much an expression of the Christian life as any other facet of our existence.

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