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"Each One of Us is an Icon of the Beginning"

The unity in diversity of Scripture, ' mirrors ' the unity in diversity in God

Now the first sense of Scripture is called the literal sense; and it is through the literal sense108 of Scripture that one comes to the spiritual sense of Scripture, just as our understanding of supernatural things naturally begins with our understanding of natural things109.  And what is meant by the literal sense is the natural power of words to signify things; and the 'thing' signified has to be understood in terms of the author's intention.110

But the authorship of Scripture is another mystery.  For 'God inspired the human authors of the sacred books'111.  Therefore, while the human authors are true authors112, it is necessary to recognise that the integrity of Scripture follows on the fact that it was 'God' who inspired the human authors.  Thus, it could be argued, the unity in diversity of the different meanings of Scripture is itself a manifestation of the unity in diversity that the Blessed Trinity is.

God is the 'archetypal form'113 of being

Now if Scripture expresses the unity in diversity in God, does all that exists as a created good express, on the one hand, an irreducible diversity, and on the other hand, a union in communion?  A theological argument for this could be that the diversity within the created order is irreducible, because the Son cannot be, as it were, reduced to the Father, and the Holy Spirit cannot be reduced to the Father or the Son.  Therefore, an irreducibility in the differences between things in the created order could be a trace of the irreducibility in the difference between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  In other words this could be a theological reason for the sign of irreducible differences in the created order.

But the irreducibility of one thing to another does not exclude communion; indeed, it could be said to be the necessary corollary of it.  For if difference was not irreducible then union would not be communion.  Secondly, whatever the nature of this irreducibility is, it obviously does not exclude the union necessary to communion.  Therefore the origin of this 'sign' in creation is rightly "located" in the definition of the relationship of one Person of the Blessed Trinity to another.

The first principle of being is therefore 'unity-in-diversity'

If the first principle of being is 'unity in diversity,' precisely because this is itself an irreducible expression of the Being which is irreducible, namely God, then being cannot be apprehended more clearly, more simply and more succinctly than this.

Secondly, if this is the first principle of Being, then unity and diversity will be fundamentally evident throughout everything that is.

Therefore the relation of language to thing is one of unity in diversity.  The connection of a word to a thing is as much an expression of the unity of creation as the difference between a word and a thing is an expression of the diversity within creation.

The relevance of all this to the question of defining the meaning of integrity is precisely this: the integrity of a thing is precisely the being of a thing considered from the point of view of its essential unity; but because the being of a thing is intrinsically a unity in diversity, the unity of a thing cannot be understood except in relation to the diversity which it unifies.  In other words, unity and diversity are mutually necessary and equally irreducible terms, just as reality cannot be reduced to either an undifferentiatedly single thing or an unrelated diversity of things precisely because creation manifests the Creator and the Creator is The Unity In Diversity.

108 Cf, CCC, art 116, page 33.    Back
109 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, a concise translation edited by Timothy McDermott, (London: Methuen, reprinted 1992), Pt 1, Qu 84, art 7, page 131.  Abbrev ST.    Back
110 Cf Dei Verbum, art 11, page 757.    Back
111 CCC, art 106, page 31.  But this whole section is relevant: articles 101-141.    Back
112 CCC, art 110, page 32.    Back
113 I am indebted here to a phrase in an unpublished work by Fr. R. Conrad OP, Is one human person, or a community such as the family, the better image or model of the Holy Trinity?, May 1997, page 3: 'the Holy Trinity ... is the transcendent Exemplar of unity-in-diversity ...'  Abbrev HT.    Back

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