Why Has God Made Ego a Means to Know His Attributes and Names?
An entity that is absolute and all-encompassing has no limits and no terms: it cannot be shaped or formed, it cannot be ‘determined’ in any way such that its essential nature can be comprehended. For example, a light undetermined by darkness cannot be known or perceived, but if a bounding line of darkness, real or hypothetical, is drawn, then it can. In the same way, as the Divine Attributes and Names, like Knowledge, Power, Wisdom, Compassion, are all-encompassing, without limits and without like, they cannot be ‘determined’ and what they essentially are cannot be known or perceived. A hypothetical boundary is needed for them to become known. It is by means of ego that that need is met. Ego imagines in itself a fictitious lordship, power and knowledge, and so posits a bounding line, hypothesizes a limit to the all-encompassing Attributes, saying, ‘Thus far mine, the rest His’. Ego thus makes a division. By means of the miniature measure it contains, ego slowly comes to understand the true nature of the Divine Attributes and Names.
Through the imagined lordship in its domain, ego can understand the Lordship of the Creator of the whole universe
Through the imagined lordship in its domain, ego can understand the Lordship of the Creator of the whole universe; by means of its own apparent ownership, it can understand the real Ownership of its Creator, saying, ‘As I am the owner of this house, so too is the Creator the Owner of this creation.’ Through its partial knowledge, ego comes to understand His Absolute Knowledge, through its small amount of secondary art, it can have an intuition of the primary, originative Art of the Exalted Fashioner. For example, ego says: ‘As I built and arranged this house, so there must be One Who has made and arranged this universe,’ and so on.
Ego contains thousands of states, attributes and perceptions, which disclose and make knowable to some extent the Divine Attributes and functions
Ego contains thousands of states, attributes and perceptions, which disclose and make knowable to some extent the Divine Attributes and functions. That is to say, ego is, like a measure, a mirror or other instrument for seeing or finding out, an entity that has an indicative function. It does not carry meaning in itself but discloses meaning outside itself. It is a strand of consciousness from the thick rope of human existence, a fine thread from the celestial weave of the essential nature of humanity, an alif from the book of human character.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.