Celtic Spirituality on Redemption

Celtic cross at dawn in Knock, Ireland (at the...

Celtic cross at dawn in Knock, Ireland (at the bus stop to Westport) 28/07/2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been reading The Book of Creation by J. Philip Newell. During his discussion on the first day of creation, he writes:

In the Celtic tradition redemption is the journey of being reconnected to the light of God within. It is a journey home that takes us through what seems like unknown land.

It is not that God haw been absent from us but that we have been absent from God, and therefore from the light that is within us and at the center of all life. God’s light is the very root of life. Too often in our Western religious traditions we have been given the impression that sin has had the power to undo what God has woven into the very fabric of being. Redemption in such models of spirituality is about light coming from afar to shine in what is essentially dark. In the Celtic tradition, on the other hand, redemption is about light being liberated from the heart of creation and from the essence of who we are. It has not been overcome by darkness. Rather, the light is held in terrible bondages within us, waiting to be set free. (11-12)

This has me thinking about the emphasis Western Christianity places on the original sin and the process of redemption. On the one hand, having been raised in the Western church, heavily influenced by Augustine‘s doctrine of original sin, part of me wants to gloss over this spirituality. On the other hand, this Celtic spirituality makes sense. If we take the creation account in Genesis 1 on its face, each day of creation is “good” and the whole of creation is “very good.” If what God has created is “good” or “very good,” then how can something against God’s will (sin) have such a devastating effect on the whole of creation? To put it another way, if God is all powerful, how can something like sin preempt God’s power? If Christianity is a monotheistic religion, why do adherents to Christianity elevate sin and the Devil to the level of God, giving them as much, if not more power than the creator of all?

I am feel very conflicted as I read this book…not that feeling conflicted is a bad thing… 😉


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