Holloway on… Sacramentum Mundi: The Evidence for Jesus Part II

Holloway on… Sacramentum Mundi: The Evidence for Jesus Part II

The evidence for Jesus, God incarnate, the Word made Flesh, begins most immediately with Mankind. First, the making of man as a synthesis of living matter and spirit. We can show how the living body, through that unique brain which alone in all nature is the brain of man, needs the soul of its own material formulation, and requires the non-material spirit as its principle of life formation and personality. The relationship is equally true, whether in a philosophy of ordered evolution, which gives a much greater majesty to the process, or of direct creation. If we postulate the creation of man by an ordered evolution, then we keep the Unity of the Unity-Law within which all being is framed in the beginning, as a much more majestic economy. We can also show how Man is at once continuous with natural evolution through the body but a special creation — through the soul, for God alone and directly can create the spiritual energy. The soul cannot evolve. Angels neither marry nor beget, because they are totally spiritual in nature.

Man: a new dimension

The thrill about this line of evidence for Jesus, is that Man, breathed by God into a new dimension of being, needs a new dimension of the Unity-Law, to give him his control, his direction, and his fulfilment in being. All life forms less than mankind are controlled by the law of fulfilment, personal and according to their species, by the law which is within the interplay upon them of nature around, the impact of earth and light, and air, and forest, and their inbuilt nature and its brain … in a word, by the environment that is of their own kind and is the closed cycle of material, deterministic being. With us, when you get to us, it is different. We are made into a new dimension. We live, learn, think, and are fulfilled by intellect and free thinking reason, by the inward knowledge and by its expression in the spoken word, because in man, the soul synthesized with mattter, needs both the inner word of understanding, the word of prayer and consciousness of God, and also the word expressed with matter.

The answer to man’s question to God

That is to say Mankind needs the ‘word’ made flesh in writing, speech, ritual, art, and deed. Whether to learn or to love, we look up to God and say “What about me? Where is your Unity-Law of control and direction to life and fulfilment for me? What is my meaning and my measure? Who are you, Lord of Creation? Am I your servant, my Master … or am I your son, Oh my Father?” There was One in human history, who uniquely among all “prophetic” or “priestly” figures declares with utter perfection, the answer to the query which arises from man’s very nature, and because of man’s very nature. That One declared “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father, except through Me” (John 14:6). There has been nobody, apart from Jesus Christ, who has dared to speak thus. The declaration He made is the answer to man’s question to God.
A line of perfection
As we unfold the evidence for Jesus, we are looking for more than any old proof of the existence of God. We are looking for more than any sort of ‘revelation’ from God to human kind. We are looking for a line of perfection. The development of the universe was poised with perfection within a material Unity-Law of control and direction to ordered fulfilment. We are saying
that when we get to man, the summit of the universe, we must look for that same one, perfect Unity-Law to continue without break, perfectly and coherently, from God himself, in his relationships to mankind. We are saying that with man God becomes the Lord of history, and that this “perfect line” of God’s determination of the spiritual creation will inexorably lead to Christ and will vindicate Christ.
God, the spiritual environment
It is only in this age that so full a vision can be seen in all its detail, but seen it was, even in the apostolic age. What else did St. Paul mean, when to the men of Athens he declared of God that “We are His offspring, as your own poets have said, and in Him we live, and move, and are” (Acts 17:28). Everything below man, “lives and moves and is” within the environment of that material universe, within which it finds its life law, and the determination of its being. St. Paul is saying that God is the spiritual environment within which we human beings live and move and are. In Him alone we find the life-law and the determination to fulfilment of our being.
We must look for it in Him on the personal level, the family level and the social level, the community and the world level. We do not look simply for the leadership of great souls, who have found God by contemplation, as in the faith of Hinduism and
Buddhism. We look for a line in history given by God as one with his first law of creation. We look, in the name of coherent continuity, and a more perfect truth and love for our own manifestation from God which is the Way, and Truth, and Life for mankind. By this, individually and socially, we will come to the Father by his own uniquely true and perfect “Unity-Law” for angels and for men.
Bible ‘lives again’ in this context
If we look, we will find it uniquely in the Bible, and its magisterial tradition down vast ages. Now, in the context of God’s direct leading on, how that “dead record of more simple times” lives and is radiant in its living context! We will find in the Bible a sign we find in no other Faith. We will find a record of God’s revealing by the word which begins with the creation of Man. It is simple in its beginnings as becomes God’s word to simple folk, but contains within itself an enormous power of true and coherent development in depth of understanding. No myth possesses this quality of coherent development.
Together with a pure, noble and coherent concept of God, the Bible goes on to develop down long ages in depth of wisdom and a growing truth. The Bible alone, in the fall of man, gives us the seed of that doctrine of “Original Sin”, of the damage done to the nature of man by the disobedient power of the soul, which explains why man alone in all nature is self-divided against his true good, and against his own better willing. The wisdom of the great souls of the contemplative East, perceived the “tanha” the thirst of greedy desire in man but made it basic to material life and being, and therefore made all matter in some way a fallen thing, a principle of evil.
Pointing to ‘him who is to come’
In the Old Testament too, as the record of God’s leading on of men, we find the raising up gradually and coherently, in line with man’s nature, of the priest and the prophet, who parallel the natural development of community and state, king, counsellor, warrior and scribe. The Bible alone possesses the one unique sign of a special vocation in history for mankind. We mean it is totally prophetic, and the people of the Jews, made God’s trustees for a final climax of God’s Unity-Law for Mankind, understood it to be so. All the Bible contains, whether in prophecy, word of wisdom, psalm, liturgy, or human type, was pointing forward to “Him who is to come”. Messianism, as we find it in the long ages of the Bible’s span is unique amongfaiths. This characteristic is the very “elan vital” of a spiritual evolution given by God guided by God. It develops to a peak, and anticipates some mighty culmination of God’s provision for us. The whole of the Old Testament, with its unique signs of God’s preparation for Jesus Christ, as The Lord of History Incarnate, is the Advent season of the Saviour’s coming.
Centre of the Unity-Law made ‘Son of Man’
And come he did. With him begins the “New Testament” in God’s final perfection of his creation. This is the line of God’s perfect salvation, and his redemption of fallen mankind. This is also the line of God’s perfect truth and holiness for mankind: the line of marriage restored, chastity for the Kingdom of God’s sake, and the banishment of even the evil thought which is adultery in the heart. We could require of God, in the name of his own divine wisdom and goodness, that he give us somerevealing of Himself, and some fulfilment in Himself, in the name of the One Law within which He framed creation. We could not demand, nor even dare to conceive, that the Word, the Living Mind of God in whom all creation, Angels, matter, and men was framed, should be decreed for us, within that One Unity-Law of creation, as The Word made Flesh. We could neither require it nor conceive of it in our hearts.
Jesus, fulfilment of the Intellect of God
Yet, this is the Christian claim. If God should declare it, and prove it by his own signs, the utter and appalling coherence of it all, our living communion with the Infinity, the Truth, and the Goodness that defines God’s own being, becomes another facet of the evidence for Jesus. The majestic declaration of the prologue of St. John is echoed also in St. Paul, apostle of the Gentiles. This is significant, for the vision of St. John was given by Christ personally to the “beloved disciple” trained to know Christ as “He who is”, and to fulfil the special vocation of the author of the Gospel of Christ’s explicit Divinity.
Paul also claimed to have learned his gospel of Christ, not from the other apostles, but immediately from Christ, and Paul writes of Jesus: “Who is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature. For in Him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominations, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by Him and in Him. And He is before all, and through Him all things do hold together. And He is the head of the body, the Church: Who is the Beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may hold the Primacy. For in Him it has well pleased the Father, that all Fullness should dwell …” (Coloss. 1:16-19). This is to say that Jesus Christ is the fulfilment in the Flesh for us of the Word, or Intellect of God, in which the first equational poising of the Unity-Law of primal creation was poised.
The Church, the Eucharist
Does not the sheer majesty of the evidence for Jesus begin to shine? And those words, those “dead words of long ago”, do they not live and testify with undiminished power, when shown within the living context of God, the Lord of History, who is at all times, Old Testament and New, the head of the Body, the Church, who is the Beginning, and through his physical resurrection the First Born of the dead? In such a presentation of Christ, the whole majesty of his divinity can be traced in the New Testament, in his person, his doctrine, his constitution of the Church, and the meaning of the sacraments of the Church.
The inevitability of the Holy Eucharist as well, as both sacrifice and sacrament, is shown because the Church lives in and through Jesus Christ risen. He is the very life of the whole man, body and soul, and so He would, surely inevitably, as his ‘last testament of love’ have left us the Sacrament of His Living self, body and blood, soul and divinity, under the forms of bread and wine: not transignification, but reality, namely transubstantiation.
The coherence of the magisterium
We can follow also the necessity of the claim to a divine magisterium of Jesus Christ, exercised on earth through the word as the abiding office of his Divinity within the Church. Such a word, is also by name of divine, an infallible magisterium. So to claim, is to possess a unique mark of the fulness of the Church, the Truth in which such a Church subsists. There is mighty evidence for Jesus too, in the development of the Church’s defined and solemn doctrine over two thousand years; through this magisterium she claims, and its exercised power. There is no denying the coherence, nor the sign.
All of this was never more necessary-now, when only a divine magisterium can hold to God’s true vision of man, and human goodness, the mighty, untrammeled intellect of man, growing more godlike through each decade, more terrible too, in the decadence of a fallen nature, and the arrogance of evil pride and lusts running amok. Should not the Council have taken this line? Did it not call for an Aggiornamento for the world of today, and for mankind in this age?
Tragedy of an opportunity missed
Yet the Council did not take this line, or at least did not centre it clearly and unambiguously in this way. If the Fathers of the Council had done so, if the Commissions had done so, then the Rationalist Neo-Modernist could not have seized the initiative, at the intellectual centres of the Church’s life. This happened, and so we saw dissent, uncertainty, self-division, great loss of our people, and appalling loss of vocations and of the contemplative life. The very need for the Encyclical Humani Generis [in 1950], Pope Pius XII’s last despairing warning of the resurgence of Neo-Modernism in the Church, should have shown us the way we needed to go and the alternative vision the Holy Spirit asked for and did not receive.
There are many things to think of, and the years since the Council have been no era of pride and joy and new certainty in faith. We pray God, and Our Blessed Lady, whose warnings of the dead sea fruits of human pride, arrogance of intellect, and sensual lust have come so terribly true, that we will all do better. Then we may be able to declare to God’s family and to all Mankind Sursum Corda: “Lift up your hearts”, at the vision of Jesus, and the evidences for The Sacrament of the World.


In this Editorial from 1985 Fr.Holloway was reflecting on a TV programme, ‘The Evidence for Jesus’.
The first part appeared in our previous issue.

Faith Magazine

May/ June 2019