Christianity has long
taught, of course, that human beings are, in potential, "sons of God,"
made, designed, in His image.1
But actualization of this potential is possible only because God's own
son underwent incarnation, became Jesus Christ, became, that is, a "son
For Barfield, of course, the relationship is
not some theological perplexity but instrumental to the evolution
In "Self and Reality" Barfield expounds on this
fulfillment. "Man is a being with a past relation and a future relation
to God," he explains,
Thus, at the final stage in the process
of evolution and bringing it full circle, we awake to see the whole as
an expression of the original polarity. We
see realized as fact that polarity which, as dialectic, was found to constitute
the nature of grammar and logic--the I AM in the act of reproducing itself.
That which I AM has so long and laboriously
created, itself affirms "I am." The Son of God awakes on earth and, awakened,
names himself the Son of Man. (RCA 161)
Barfield, however, is not entirely sanguine about
fulfillment of our divine potential: "We look like becoming, not the sons
of God, but the husks of man" (RM 158).
but he also has a present relation,
which rhythmically links the two--which indeed is precisely that link.
And this threefold relation to God is reflected everywhere in his being,
in his psyche as for instance in his thinking and willing--with feeling
between; in his physical structure; in his head and his limbs and lower
organism--with, between them, the rhythms of his breathing and the circulation
of his blood, which link and harmonize them. (RM 158)
|See in particular "The 'Son of God' and the
'Son of Man'" (RM 249-60) and "Philology and the Incarnation" (RM
|1We must be
very careful, however, Barfield reminds, about what we mean when we speak
about "man" being created in God's image.
If we say that "Man" as a whole is a descendent from God, it certainly
does not follow that any particular man, considered as a personality, can
claim to be the Son of God.
Rather he is a "descendent" by virtue of his descent, of his blood,
of his history, of all that he carries in his organism of the past not
of himself alone but of mankind as a whole, in a word because of his heredity.
A fallen, a prodigal son, no doubt, but still a son. And this part of him
is just the part of which he is normally unconscious. It is this part of
him which is as much there when he is asleep as when he is awake, unlike
his personality. I think it is because a very young baby is so largely
unconscious-so that he has as yet no personality-that we feel so strongly
the presence of the Divine when we look at him. Wordsworth knew something
about that. (RM 251)