If emergence resides in God himself for Thomas, it is because God is triune. In Plato we remain in the "between" of desire because we remain in orthos doxa and never attain to epis-teme. We remain in the realm of the daimonic sphere between gods and mortals. Our orientation to the eternal is both to a primordial past by recollection, and to a never-arriving future (since arrivals are in time) through emergence. The "between" of eros is for Plato also of heavenly birth or emergence; nevertheless, it is born to reside in a realm between the heavenly and the earthly.
In the Trinitarian conception, however, the daimonic is entirely the divine and not in any sense an ontological lapsus. God is lover, eros, and agape; the mutuality of Father and Son and the emergent unilateral gift of the Spirit. But the latter expresses the mutuality of Father and Son, and the mutuality only arises as the further emergence of the Spirit. Moreover, the mutuality is itself the birth of the Son from the Father in anticipation of and communion with the Spirit which will arise from the bond of Father with Son. Desire as aspiration and desire as emergence are complexly interwoven. The "between" of daimonic eros, in seeking the unforgettable past and the unhoped-for future, seeks itself alone, the eternal metaxu. It is also the case that Plato's later dialogues, particularly the Sophist, themselves envisage an eternal interplay, or eternal betweenness that is a bond of harmonious love.
In the generation of the Son from the Father and the spiration of the Spirit, aspiration and emergence, need and resource, entirely coincide. For us as human beings, they do not, but rather ceaselessly oscillate in successive phases. This oscillation participates in the eternal daimonic coincidence of the two.
However, human fallenness amounts to the obscuring of this participation, a descent into the skeptical abyss of merely futile emerging. The alluring beauty on which to bring about has been hidden from us. How else could it be shown to us again except through renewed divine daimonic descents; indeed, most dramatically and appropriately through the historical image of the descent of God in the Incarnation. Here we are shown in time the eternal birth of Aphrodite as the beauty that incites desire, just as the Greeks presented the goddess as born from the waves of a human sea.
But how are we shown the coming about of this supreme event? Is it simply that God first appeared in beauty as human and elicited our desire which was first of all exhibited as lack? No, it was rather shown that God became Incarnate through the desire of a woman to give rise to the god-like in humanity, through a desire for emergence. In the case of Mary, uniquely, the divine coincidence of desire as bond and as emergence is shown in humanity Mary desired the bridegroom, the Logos, and from this desire the Logos emerged from the enclosure of her womb. So she desired the Father of her baby as the baby and the baby as its Father, since this Father was indeed eternally a Son. Mary's human sexual desire was not canceled but rather optimally exhibited in the Virgin Birth from which her divine lover emerged.
Yet this unique demonstration of divine power in time also echoes the male pregnancy (one thinks again of the Symposium) of Adam which gave rise to his lover Eve. As Hildegard of Bingen put it:
O how great in its powers is the side of man from which God produced the form of woman which He made the mirror of all His beauty and the embrace of all His creation. (Hildegard 2003: 4a, II, 24-9).1
Mary's action in the Incarnation is a recreation of the human race which undoes the lapse of Eve ("Sprouting, you flowered/in a change different/than Adam would have been producing/the whole human race" - Hildegard 2003: 1b, II, 4-7), and establishes here the female (one can logically say) as the new Adam as well as the new Eve, since she has performed again the Adamic act of single-sex birth: the emerging of a baby that is also an adult mutual communion. But Adam himself emerged from a single parentage in so far as he was created by God. Because she begins the new creation as a new Adam, Mary is herself the beginning of a new creation, and was so seen by many thinkers in the Middle Ages. Though she had two human parents, she is, according to Hildegard, in a special sense a direct new creation of God himself:
O flower, you did not spring from dew, nor from the drops of rain, nor did the air fly over you but divine brightness brought you forth on the noblest branch.
Mary, restoring Adam, shows the desire of God (in creating) for the Creation through her emergence. But since humanity is in the image of God as love, both mutual and giving, she had also to repeat the act of Adam in giving birth to his lover Eve, by giving birth to her lover Christ.
According to a long mystical tradition beginning with Origen, we are not united with God only by the rising up of our souls to the heavenly realm, but also by giving birth to the logos in our soul, in a repetition of the action of Mary (see C. Hart 1980). As for Plato, desire for the divine is an emergence of the new as well as a longing for the distant. Again as for Plato, knowledge, the logos itself, is possible through this emergence as well as through this longing. As desiring and knowing, we remain in the daimonic between. But since Origen, we are also said, in giving birth to the daimonic, also to give birth again to the divine and to repeat in ourselves an eternal birth that remains in the eternal even as it descends into time. For now the eternal is also the between, and now the between in us which emerges is also the eternal.
Now is born full-grown this Child
Who was chosen by humility,
And is full-grown in sublime Love
And carried to term nine months.
And each month has four weeks
And each calls for preparation and adornment
Before the great high day,
So that Love can be born perfect.
(Hadewijch 1980: 350, "Allegory of Love's Growth")
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