I began my blog by asking the question: What would it be like if you attempted to see the Infinite God in all aspects of your life?
I would like to continue our discussion of William Blake’s idea of seeing the Infinite God in everything. Let’s talk about the historical basis for the words Blake places in Isaiah’s mouth, as well as the lack of evidence for God’s giant Bissell that sucks prophets up into heaven.
In the quote we discussed last post, Blake placed some interesting words in the prophet Isaiah’s mouth -- Isaiah says, “I saw no God, nor heard any, in a finite organical perception; but my senses discover’d the infinite in every thing.”
When I reflect upon the words Blake placed in Isaiah’s mouth, I realize something about the prophet I have studied for so long (going on four years now). When Isaiah sees his vision in Isaiah 6:1-7, and hears the seraphim call one to another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3), he may not be seeing something in heaven, as we often presuppose. Conceivably Isaiah is seeing the metaphysical in the physical, heaven here on earth. After all, there is no indication that Isaiah is sucked up into the heavens like a dust bunny in a whirlwind vacuum.
Interestingly, there is historical evidence for Blake’s position. Every year during a festival in Israel, the cherubim-ark, which the invisible God was believed to sit upon, would be brought into the temple. The people would cheer and sing songs of worship as they watched this great procession. It was a time of great joy. People gathered from all over the country were comforted by the presence of their God.
This ritual was not powerful because of what the people saw. They really only saw a fancy golden box, with golden winged statues upon it. It was incredible because of what the procession symbolized, something that could not be seen, but could be felt. The act itself meant little, but the belief behind the act meant much.
Isaiah's terminology tells us something about what precisely he was viewing. The phrase "Lord of hosts" in Isaiah 6:3 is used for the cherubim-ark procession in the Psalms (e.g., Psalm 24:10; 84:1, 3) and in 1 Samuel (1 Samuel 4:4; 6:2).
Setting there in the temple, watching the procession, Isaiah saw something no one else saw. He no longer just saw the picturesque box being carried by a few guys. He saw God and the powers that surrounded Him. Isaiah saw the infinite in everything, and in this experience realized he must speak up, he must act upon what he has been shown (as the rest of the book of Isaiah shows).
What if you acted upon what God has shown you? How would your life change? Certainly you too can see the infinite in everything. Try living a few days in search of it and let me know what happens, or just your thoughts about life in general.