Associating the image of the hologram with Christ can facilitate the meditation of one of the most impenetrable mysteries: that of the One and of the many (in metaphysical terms), which include both sides of multiplicity, and that of Becoming (Creation) and Resorption (Pleroma).


What is Metaphysics?

The type of metaphysics we want to present here is not one that would intellectually reconstruct the reality into some perfect system, leading to some comfortable certainty. The type we recommend may use concepts, but in order to have us touch or sense what is beyond concepts. Here, viewed from the empire of rationality, is the realm of uncertainty. Here, metaphysics invites mysticism; here, speculation —speculum is mirror in Latin— meets revelation; here, knowledge may become gnosis, that is to say an epiphany of the Spirit. And that is, we believe, the fundamental purpose of metaphysics, a potential link from existential realities to the Reality, enabling the much hoped for pneumatization of the intellect to happen, if the Spirit is willing.

Here is the original and unique contribution of Wolfgang Smith, as I see it, which is to have his share in revealing where modern science, which he understands well, can or cannot take us from “ignorant knowledge” to gnosis, while resorting to metaphysical science, which he understands well too.

The Language of Metaphysics  

Contrary to some misconceptions about metaphysics and religions, there is no such thing as supra-metaphysics, a formalizable “transcendent unity of religions”, a “Religio perennis” or a “Sophia perennis“, except in the general sense of a homo religiosis and a universal “First Cause”. To go too far in this direction would be to look down on religions, relying on one’s own intellectual power. We believe that even the most open intellect cannot access anything without revelation and grace. We therefore believe that any “supra-religion” should be seen as a bottom-up construction, the mythological projection of a concept (however seductive it may be before it has been examined in depth). An immanent or rather “analogical unity of religions” (Jean Borella) would indeed be acceptable, provided that each of them remains unique in its form and language.

This means that there is no supreme language above those of religions. So, if metaphysics is an “epiphany of the Spirit” (Borella), the language of a (revealed) religion is a priori adequate to express universal (ultimate) metaphysical notions, and vice versa.

Metaphysical Mysteries and the Image of the Hologram

Out of many metaphysical mysteries, two are especially relevant to the present meditation on “hologramity” that we are sharing today. These Mysteries, as they are expressed, are akin to paradoxes. The former has to do with the synchronicity of immanence and transcendence, the latter, probably the most subtle one, is the “coexistence” of the One with the multiple.

Imagined by Jules Vernes1 in the XIXth century and made possible after the invention of laser (1961), the hologram is just a 3D picture, but with the particularity that the whole (holos) image is “written” (graphein) in each part of it. The analogy of this particularity with Christ becomes obvious: “the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ep. I: 23).

As there is a vertical identity between the Son in (the) Trinity, the Word at the moment of Creation and Christ once on Earth, we shall review Christ’s hologramity from (the) Creation to the Pleroma, via our existence hic et nunc.

The Hologramic Christ Through Creation

From the Immanence-Transcendence Paradox…

Any cosmology — which, in Plato’s philosophy, is granted, at best, the status of a “plausible myth” (ton eikota mython, Timaeus 29D) —asks for a cosmogony and, in fine a primary cause2. Obviously, such primary cause is transcendent to what it produces; it is the Absolute in relation to the Relative, the later having less reality than the “ultimate Reality”. Māyā in relation to Brahman, one would say in the context of Hinduism.

Now, what is it that links the Absolute and the Relative? Metaphysically speaking, it is the paradoxical conjunction of Transcendence (the inaccessible Above) with Immanence (the Presence of the Absolute inside all things). Yet, the Christian theology teaches that everything is through Christ: God Father creates through Christ, to whom all things belong; it is through Him that He speaks unto us.

  • God Father hath spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds (Heb. I: 2).
  • For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him (Col. I: 16)
  • For of him, and through him, and unto him, are all things (Rm. XI:36)

So, Christ is more than just a Link (some in-between): He is God within the Trinity and He has subsumed the human nature through his incarnation, unfolding a total Verticality: Christ (Incarnation) – Word or Logos (Creation) – Son (God-Trinity).

The Transcendence-Immanence paradox is solved by the distinction between the essence and the power of the Word. This is how St. Athanasius puts it:

Present in the whole Creation, the Word remains outside as per his essence, but resides in all as per his power […], enlivening each being and all beings simultaneously.

St. Athanase 3

Similarly, Gregory Palamas would distinguish between essence and “uncreated energies”, as, in his view, a human being is more a part of the world than a microcosm.

Thus, the Word is both Above and Within (transcendent and immanent) and He is entirely everywhere, simultaneously: He is the divine Hologram throughout the whole Creation.

…to the One-and-the-Multiple Paradox

Metaphysically, all beings are linked together, not only as parts of one single manifestation, but as constituents of a unique ensemble of indefinite multiplicity vis-à-vis its Principle. Multiplicity, as such, exists in its own mode, but being somewhat illusory as having less reality than its unique Principle. Even the existence of that multiplicity is grounded in the unity from which it is issued and within which it is contained as in its Principle.

This is Christ hologramity in the Creation.

The Hologramic Christ in Human Existence.

The Relationship of Proximity or Neighborhood

Secondly, the Son-Word-Christ is also the Relationship par excellence: as Son, He is the relationship of God to God; as Word, He is the relationship between the created and the Uncreated; as Christ, He is the relationship of proximity or neighborhood: the Neighbor par excellence4. As such, He is the metaphysical foundation of the Relationship of neighborhood, constitutive of the neighbor.

To love one’s neighbor is thus to discover that a person is a relation of neighborhood, just as the trinitarian mystery identifies the divine Person as a relation (son or father is pure relation of filiation or fatherhood –subsistent relation in the Trinity).

Yet to this ‘logical’ foundation is added the cornerstone of Incarnation-Redemption as per which Christ remains present, in Person, by grace, in the act of Love. While being mediator Dei et hominum, Christ, mediator in essence, also signifies that, through Him only, men enter in a reciprocal relation of neighborhood. It is in Jesus-Christ that man loves God and becomes His neighbor, and by the humanity of Christ-Word-Son, that God can love all men and that every human loves his neighbor”.

Thus, if the neighbor is Christ, this is because Christ is THE neighbor, as He says straightforwardly:

  • Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me (Mt. X: 40);
  • And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea (Mt. XVIII, 5-6; Mk. IX:42; Lk. XVII:2);
  • Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (Mt. XXV:40-45).

We are all created to be the medium of the Uncreated Neighborhood. The end of love act is not another person as such, but the other person as neighbor. To put it in another way: “the neighbor is the object of neighborhood, Christ being its eternal Figure” (Borella).

To Love God, all Others and Oneself is the Essential and ‘Unique’ Commandment

This means that any neighbor is Christ, whether he be remote or even an enemy: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you… Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect (Mt. V: 44-48).

Surely, it does not imply experiencing emotional or sentimental love for all, enemies included (feelings do not respond to orders), but loving as God loves (whichever way we are able to understand this), hence the ultimate injunction: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father is perfect”.

Now, if Christ is present within every human being— which is the definition of His “hologramity”—it does mean that to others I am Christ, hence the command: “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mk. XII: 31), yet, whereas we can be Christ to all others, we cannot be Christ by ourselves or to ourselves. Christ will always be “the Other”. For the creature, God is “Otherness par excellence”, the Wholly Other.

Nevertheless, this is why the “horizontal other” leads to the Vertical One— and this by participation of all in Christ. This is why “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God… This is the first and great commandment” is followed by “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mt. XXII: 37-39).

This is what Christ’s hologramity is in our lives.

The Hologramic Christ in Human Eschatological Perspective

The Four ‘Moments’ in God

What originates first in the Trinity, then through the Creation, and finally through Incarnation defines three “moments” in God5, as John Scotus wrote:

  • the first one, eternal: the determination of the trinitarian God, from the hyper-essential Deity6;
  • the second timeless (between eternity and time):the moment of creation, in which He becomes all in all, unique essence of everything (immanence), while remaining, beyond, the ineffable and  hyperessential One (transcendence)7,
  • and the third in history: the Incarnation, in which the two natures of the Man-God recapitulate the creation8.

Yet, there is a fourth “moment”, which is the eschatological one.

As we have seen, the vertical Axis of the world—Christ-Word-Son—at any point of the universe, makes every existing being participate in God via Christ. Thus is made obvious the unity of the indefinite multiplicity within its Principle. Above all, the eschatological perspective becomes clear and is perfectly in line with Christ’s promise: « That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (Jn. XVII: 21).

The Soul, to Some Extent, is All Things

This very possibility has its source in Creation with the “indivisible unity of the multiplicity”, as John Scotus wrote:

Man was created among primordial Causes in the image of God so that in him all intelligible and sensitive creatures […] become an indivisible unity, and in order that he incarnate the mediation and the gathering of all creatures. There is indeed no creature that couldn’t be included in man; this is why in the Holy Scriptures man is called “every creature” (omnis creatura).

John Scotus (De Divisione Naturae, 536B)

Now, this perspective remains everlasting. This mystery of the One and the multiple is condensed by Nicholas of Cusa as the “filiation of the Intellect”:

Filiatio igitur est ablatio omnis alteritatis et diversitatis et resolutio omnium in unum, quae est et transfusio unius in omnia (“Filiation [for the intellect] is suppression of all otherness and of all differences, and the resolving of all things in one, which also is dispersion of one in all things”).

Nicholas of Cusa (De Filiatione Dei)9

With Meister Eckhart, the intellect itself becomes the Whole, the Totality. Eckhart brings together two quotes: “God is all and is One” and “the soul is all things” (in particular in his sermon 21)10. The later is from Aristotle: “the soul [i.e. the intellect] is, to a certain extent, all things that are” (De anima, 431b 20). Here, “to acertain extent”, as Aristotle insists, signifies potentially (potentia), which means that the intellect has to become all beings in act (actus), thus realizing its essence.

Become Virgin and Give Birth to Christ

Furthermore, Eckhart indicates the way to get there. It consists in becoming « virgin » (that is to say, reduced to the pure image of God), the condition which allows God to generate his Son in one’s self11. This is the deification of the soul, which thus identifies with Him. Such identification, obviously, necessarily requires a “recapitulation”, by a gathering of all beings in one’s soul:

All creatures come and gather in my intellect, so that, in me, they become intelligible. I alone, I prepare them to return to God.

Meister Eckhart12

Man, it is only when you have become all things that you live in the Word, and among the [in the ranks of] gods.

Angelus Silesius (I, 191.192)

So, the “Christological Hologram” formula aims at reminding us that the Whole is in everything through Christ, and that, consequently, when the vertical Otherness (God) disappears, so disappears too the horizontal otherness (all others)13. No doubt, this is the meaning of “loving one’s neighbor” (Mt. XXII: 39) and “loving one’s enemies” (Mt. V: 44).

This means that “selfishness of salvation”14 is a downright impossibility.

The Two-Step Cure

The first step15 is then universal love as described above—along with the crucial “judge not” (Mt. VII: 1) — i.e., so to speak, to assume the entire humanity along with all creatures. This is the most that one can do, because the second step (deification) entirely falls within the only grace of God. Yet, one should not think that this second step consists in some massive identification of the creature with the Creator:

For if “Christ can be said ‘Son of the whole Trinity’ as we are too”16, this is because, even deified, even totally assimilated with the divine Essence, there is no full identification. The entering of the creature into the trinitarian circumincession, by spiration of Love (Holy Spirit), means that the creature will never cease to eternally give of his/her self; this is why “Charity never faileth” (1 Co. XIII: 8), “for it is the eternal transition from the relative to the Absolute. As such, the supreme Identity is no pure identification”17. This is, typically, what the advaita vedānta would say:

Even if duality is vanishing [between God and man],

Ô Lord, I am yours,

But You are not mine.

The waves belong to the ocean, The ocean never belongs to the waves.

Shankara (Vishnu shatpadi, 3.)


Because of the absolute relation of Neighborhood of the Christ-Son,

because of the Creation of all beings through Christ-Word and His presence in every being,

because of the Incarnation restoring the membership of all men in Jesus-Christ (“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ”, 1 Co. 12:12),

therefore, salvation implies all men, “every one members one of another” (Rm. 12:5), and every created thing (cf. Meister Eckhart).

  • That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us” (Jn. 17:21);
  • For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread (1 Co. 10:17);
  • For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ (1 Co. 12:12);

The metaphysical reality of Christ: His entire presence everywhere and His universal mediation (horizontally and vertically), shows how, beyond any religion, He reigns. Most important, and what His hologramity means, salvation is through Him, and with all neighbors.

Any neighbor is Christ, I am Christ to my neighbors,
Be altogether His members as one, as in heaven, so on earth.

Appendix – Besides Christianity

The Word in Various Traditions

The Word presides Creation in most traditions over nearly all continents.

  • In Afrika–-for the Dogons (a population of Mali)—, the First Word is the attribute of the First Spirit Amma. Anterior to the creation is the undifferentiated Word, without consciousness of its self, so-called “dry word”. Then the audible word, so-called “wet word”, germinates as life principle and is given to men. This is also the case for the Banamas people (Niger valley), for whom the One is Master of the Word and Word itself.
  • For Native Americans, God created the foundations of language, before anything else (Guarani from Paraguay), or, only the soul who possesses language is granted to reach the “other world” after death (Taulipang).
  • In the West, there is not only the Logos (Word) of classic Greeks (divine Thought, origin of Creation, or immanent reason in the world order) and the Word as conceived by the Old and New Testaments: “All things were made by Him”. In Islam, indeed, the Word is called Kalimat Allâh (Founding Word) and its four consonants Klmh are the quaternary manifestation of the Primary Unity. Likewise, the Sefer Yetsirah (Book of Formation, IV: 5), a part of the Hebraic Qabbalah, says that « Memra (the Word) produced all things and all beings through the Power of His Name (One)”.
  • In India, Vedic texts also say: “in the beginning was Brahmā, with Him was Vāc (the creative Voice)” and “the divine thought of Brahmā flowing through Vāc, the divine voice, gave birth to the universe in singing”.
  • In China, the Dàodéjīng (Tao Te King, 32) says: “In the origin of distinction, there was the name; with the name, existence was”.

With such universality, beyond any particular religion, “Word” constitutes the purest symbol of manifestation of Being, the source of existence.

Ibn ‘Arabī’s Logos Theory

According to the Logos theory of the soufi metaphysician and mystic Ibn ‘Arabī (1165-1241), there are three ways to consider the Logos (to which he technically refers as al-haqiqa al-Muhammadiyya (the metaphysical reality of Muhammad).

  • the Logos vis-à-vis the unknowable Principle, the “Super-Being”, the metacosm;
  • the Logos vis-à-vis the external world, the macrocosm;
  • and the Logos vis-à-vis man, the microcosm, and his final destination.

As such, the Logos presents distinct relations towards each of these “cosms”:

  • in relation to the Principle (or Super-Being), the Logos is the first degree of Being, the perfect theophany of God at the level of Absolute Being. Through Him and in Him are reflected the whole divine perfection: as intelligence, as love;
  • in relation to the external world, the Logos is the primary cause of its existence, its evolution and its conservation. He is the Law that dominates all things, the Intelligence that penetrates everything, the Order that organizes and maintains everything;
  • in relation to man and his final destiny, the Logos is not the immediate cause of his existence, but, precisely, the efficient instrument of his spiritual evolution and eternal destiny.

The Logos, moreover, has two main functions for man: He is the source of prophecy (nubuwa) and the origin of holiness (walaya).

  • through prophecy, God makes His will known to human consciousness in the form of a celestial law and a divinely established order.
  • through holiness, He manifests His will in the person of the saint, the summit [apex] of man’s perfection, the supreme goal of life being to identify one’s will with God’s own will, and to be, in body and soul, a locus of divine manifestation.


  1. Le Château des Carpathes, 1892.[]
  2. Cf. our Métaphysique du paradoxe (2019).[]
  3. Sur l’Incarnation du Verbe, § 17, Charles Kannengiesser, Athanase d’Alexandrie. Sur l’incarnation du Verbe, Paris : Cerf, 1973, pp. 325-327.[]
  4. Cf. Jean Borella, Love and Truth: The Christian Path of Charity, Angelico Press, 2020.[]
  5. This is not about some « becoming God » à la Hegel, but the eternal and immobile cycle of diffusion and resorption. For human and all being, that is Christ who recapitulate the creation and through which it comes and goes back to God.[]
  6. “Descending first from the Hyperessentiality of His Nature, where He merits the name of Non-being, God creates Himself from Himself in the primordial Causes”; John Scotus, La Division de la Nature (De Divisione Naturae), 683A.[]
  7. “From the primordial Causes, which provide a mediation between God and the creature, God descends into the effects of these Causes, and He openly reveals Himself in His theophanies. He proceeds through all multiple forms down to the last hierarchical order of the whole Nature, which is the one of the bodies. And, progressing as such in an orderly course in everything, God create everything and becomes all in all. But, while He is created in everything, He stays above them all” (ibid., 683AB).[]
  8. “Christ possesses like us a body and senses, a soul and an intellect. Yet, the human nature is constituted by these components as four parts that Christ, as true Man, both assumed and unified in Him. Because Christ made Himself perfect Man” (541C).[]
  9. 3, éd. Gabriel, t. II, p. 626 ; in Jean-Michel Counet, Mathématiques et dialectique chez Nicolas de Cuse, Paris : Vrin, 2000, p. 403.[]
  10. Meister Eckhart, Les sermons, trad. Gwendoline Jarczyk, Pierre-Jean Labarrière, Paris : Albin Michel, 2000, p. 208.[]
  11. We’ll find it again, of course, with Angélius Silesius: “Man, if you consent, God generates His Son / Any time in yourself, as well as on His throne” (L’errant chérubinique, L. V., 252), or, more recently, as example, with father Henri Stéphane: « Christian soul has nothing else to do than existentially realize the Marial state so that the Father generates in her His own Son” (Henri Stéphane, Introduction à l’ésotérisme chrétien, Paris : Dervy-Livres, 1979, traité I, 1, § 9).[]
  12. « Toutes les créatures se rassemblent dans ma raison… », éd. Alain de Libera, op. cit., p. 388.[]
  13. “One dims this horizontal otherness with a communion by interpenetration and with reciprocal gift”, Œuvres de Laberthonnière, éd. Louis Canet, Paris : Vrin, 1955, p. 90. In Teilhard de Chardin: “It remains in the end, in the scheme of things, only the encounter, center to center, of human units, such as a common and mutual love can be realized. And, on the other hand, between human units, countless by nature, there is only one possible way to love each other: it is to be aware of being altogether centered into the same common ‘ultra-center’, which they only can reach, at the extreme of them, by gathering together”, L’avenir de l’homme, Paris : Seuil, 2001.[]
  14. “Mystical theology doesn’t know ‘selfishness of salvation (‘l’égoïsme du salut’)’’, Stefan Vianu, « Dieu et le Tout dans le néoplatonisme chrétien : Érigène, Eckhart, Silesius »,[]
  15. Cf. Bérard, Initiation à la métaphysique (L’Harmattan, 2009) and “La Guarigione in due tempi”, trad. Aldo La Fata, Il Corriere Metapolitico, Ve year, n° 13, April 2021.[]
  16. St. Thomas Aquinus, S. Th., III, q.23, a.2.[]
  17. Cf. Jean Borella, Love and Truth.[]