Participating Phenomena, Participating the Spirit: Implications of a Sacred Semiotic Theory
In this thesis I attempt a theological reading of the ramifications of Owen Barfield’s theory of the evolution of human consciousness as articulated most fully in his book, Saving the Appearances. Barfield hints at a connection between the sacramental liturgy and the evolution of consciousness but does not go on to develop it. I argue that Barfield's hope for the culmination of the evolution of human consciousness is correlative to the Christian eschatological hope in the deification of man. Furthermore, the Christian sacramental liturgy is the vehicle by which man is drawn into this stage of human consciousness, because it bears in it the seeds of the Kingdom of God. I attempt this reading with the aid of St. Augustine, whose faith in the Incarnation of the Word enabled him to develop a semiotic understanding of the sacramental liturgy.