The desert was the dwelling place of wisdom long before the Temple became the wisdom shrine of kings and Solomon embraced the presence of glory in the City of his father, David. The tabernacle of wisdom in the desert was nomadic, being an icon of the omnipresent wisdom that discerned glory in the Name. The Burning Bush consumed the confusions and divisions of delusion but not the sound unions of wholesome difference that continue to abide abide in the Name. When the Covenant of the Name was tried by fire in history’s many revisions of revelation, the Name was veiled again, withdrawing with wisdom into the desert. The spiritual desert, where wisdom dwells, is not a place in space or a moment in time, but a sanctuary of glory hidden in awakened hearts, waiting patiently to be loved and known. It is a generous ‘nowhere’ that is everywhere, in which wisdom turns and sees.
In the light of God’s self-revelatory Name, this dazzling uncreated ‘no-thing’ is unveiled whenever wisdom discerns again the infinite radiance of the Name. Wisdom, which is both manifold and universal, discerns glory both uncreated and created. Saint Maximus says glory which creates and is not created is mysteriously none other than the glory which neither creates nor is created. Moreover glory, which neither creates nor is created, even as it creates and is not created, embraces the created in the uncreated without confusion or division. Saint Maximus was rarely read and even less rarely understood, but John Scotus Eriugena read him with attention. As the timeless dwelling place of wisdom, the desert is also the home of hallowing glory, glory which knows that paradox, or impassable contradiction, is the harrowing criterion of holy truth. Lack of contradiction, such as the fire that just consumes the bush, is the criterion of delusion. The Name is not revealed in a bush that is consumed.
Desert wisdom remembered that anarchic play of glory is infinite and timeless and its Logos is always an agonistic embrace of nature and grace. Glory perfects nature’s givens, nature’s ‘data,’ as wondrous ‘dona’ or gifts of grace. Wisdom transforms nature’s ‘dona’ into the ‘data’ of glory’s revelation of grace in the Name. Apocalyptic glory is uncreated yet creates but what it creates it glorifies, sustaining the uncreated creativity of God, renewing wisdom as prophecy and prophecy as prayer. Created glory not only creates as prophecy, but as pure prayer, does not create, but reposes in stillness in glory’s axial repose. In stillness, expansion and contraction are one, for our mutual abiding in the Spirit’s procession from the Father, is our simultaneous return through the Son to the Father, completed anew through God, in God, in every moment. Saint Denys knew that glory neither creates nor is created in the uncreated abyss of radiant Godhead, where ‘dazzling darkness,’ in the desert, is revelation of the glory of the Name. Veiled by a burning bush, the Name is unveiled as uncreated fire, which consumes confusion yet does not consume communion. This aporetic apocalypse is both primordial and eschatological, for it is at once both an arche without beginning and a telos without end. Glory that is uncreated, yet both creates and does not create, is unveiled by Christ on Tabor, unveiling the Name ‘I AM’ with theophanic predicates like way, truth and life, whilst simultaneously transcending predication altogether.
Desert wisdom bears witness to uncreated glory in glorified creation as aporetic coincidence of opposites, coincidentia oppositorum. ‘Impossible’ ways of embracing impassable aporia restore healthy difference by curing diabolic division and restoring satanic confusion to sound unity. Wisdom sees these aporetic contradictions as theophanies of integral glory, theophanies in God, in Deo, which unveil glory from God, de Deo. Christ is wisdom ‘from the Father,’ unveiling glory ‘in the Spirit,’ as timeless revelatory apocalypse. He is the way up and the way down, ascent into light and descent of glory, healing divisive, catastrophic ascent and curing disastrous, idolatrous descent, which confuses the created with the uncreated. Divine generation and creation are not confused but wisdom sees no division here either, because creation is not dualistically opposed to God. Theosis in glory from glory is infinite, formless and radiant, restoring original glory to God.
Our original nature is not uncreated by nature but deified by grace. Glorification is paradise regained, glory to come restoring original glory in timeless yet timely, ever-present presence of glory in the Kingdom come. Glory and the glorified see no confusion or division anywhere because they see God’s sound unity in wholesome difference everywhere. They see theophany wherever they turn because they know as they are known. It is wisdom they love because it is wisdom that discerns glory in her desert sanctuary. Apocalypse is present as well as coming presence here where delusion, transfused by wisdom, turns into translucence. Wisdom, both manifold and universal, discerns glory both created and uncreated, glory which simultaneously neither creates nor is created, even when, being uncreated, it creates. The wisdom of Denys and Maximus was imbibed by John Scotus Eriugena to inspire the wisdom of the School of Chartres and the Rhineland mystics in the west, but Saint Gregory Palamas in the east passed it on to Hesychast seers, through his writings in the Philokalia, even to this day.