Life is spiritual

What are the characteristics of this life we receive and that we share with the Son of God, born of a woman (Galatians 4,4)?

We have been brought into existence through a fantastic process called "birth". So fantastic that we celebrate it every year as our birth-day. Being born involves parents who decided (sometimes not really) to brought us to life by launching a biological process. But this is not the only process that is triggered. Entangled with it, there are also psychological and even existential dynamics that are involved in the "creation" of our being.

Sexual reproduction is not a guarantee of parental love for the child. This love can be absent and there can be many reasons for this absence. But even when it is present, parental love is still human love. The way children are loved influence greatly their development as babies, child, teenager and even the rest of their life. Yet while broad patterns can be discerned (which form the basis of psychological theories), nothing is ever certain about what we can become as adults.

Whatever the amount and quality of love given by our parents, there is an existential reality that we have to face. This reality comes to us, at one time or another, especially when we face grief, our own or that of others. But other occasions may also be appropriate. Questions such as: "Why do I exist?", "am I useful in this world", and, above all: "why do I have to die" and "is there something after?" reveal this reality which can be qualified as spiritual1 and that is specifically human. There are many ways to look for answers to these questions. Even those who claim that these kind of questions are not relevant already give an answer by refusing the question. But by doing so they refuse to assume that they are humans because refusing to face questions raised by our existence is refusing to be responsible of it.

The spiritual process of life may seem secondary after the physiological and the psychological ones. But actually it is the essential one if we really want to become true humans. We cannot avoid investigating for answers to existential questions otherwise we live either in self-induced blindness (which damages the quality of our relationships) or in despair. And it is especially in this field of existential awareness that there is a large degree of freedom.

This freedom that we experience in our human research will have an impact on all other areas of our lives and especially in choices that we have to do throughout circumstances that we will necessarily face. They also to determine our values which are the moral guidelines of our choices (along with our emotions and our reason). Choosing one's profession, choosing one's hobbies, choosing one's spouse, educating one's children, and many more areas of life, will be directly linked to our existential choices and to the values that come from them.

In this sense we can say that our birth is not limited to that moment when we leave our mother's womb. With the famous exitential french (atheist) philosopher Jea-Paul Sartre we can agree that "existence precedes essence" which, in a sense, means that we can know who we are only when we have been what we have been. Despite the trials and tribulations of life our true values are in our choices and our choices show our values.

Notice that it is the same for Jesus who was appointed to be the powerful Son of God according to the Spirit of holiness by [ἐξ] the resurrection of the dead. (Romans 1,4). In the same way it was possible for Jesus to acknowledge that he was the son of God while he was still alive (Matthew 16,16; John 10,36) but this conviction was only made definitively true because God approved it through the resurrection.

If we agree with biblical claims like 1Timothy 6,7 (which may be an echo from Genesis 3,192 or Job 1.213 or Ecclesiastes 5,14-154 or Psalm 49,16-175 and also from other non biblical sources6)

For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out.

then being "someone" may have no importance at all if there is nothing coming after. Diogenes in his barrel (and the Cynical philosophers) is one of the few who have lived this principle to the extreme. There is "hope" in human spirituality, because we are "made to" hope from our very beginning.

1 Existential reality becomes spiritual reality when a transcendant being is involved and when life is based on meeting existential goals. Existentiality becomes spirituality through commitment and prioritization.

2 Genesis 3,19 For you are dust, and you will return to dust.

3 Job 1,21 Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord

4 Ecclesiastes 5,15 As he [the rich] came from his mother’s womb, so he will go again, naked as he came; he will take nothing for his efforts that he can carry in his hands

5 Psalm 49,16-17 Do not be afraid when a person gets rich, when the wealth of his house increases. For when he dies, he will take nothing at all; his wealth will not follow him down.

6 Anthologia palatina 10,58 γῆς ἐπέβην γυμνός, γυμνός θ᾽ ὑπὸ γαῖαν ἄπειμι: καὶ τί μάτην μοχθῶ, γυμνὸν ὁρῶν τὸ τέλος;

2 Comments on “Life is spiritual

  1. La traduction de l’épigramme grecque (antologie palatine 10, 58) c’est bien ‘Je suis venu sur la terre nu et nu m’en irai sous la terre : pourquoi peiner en vain, quand je vois que je serai nu jusqu’à la fin ?’.

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