“Christ has redeemed our humanity from vanity and our time from illusion.” ― T.F. Torrance. As a result no one should live in illusion and call it their ‘faith.’
What is enlightenment? We may call it the acquired ability to penetrate appearances; the ability to see beyond shadow and disguise; the capacity to separate true meaning from false; the ability to separate the whole from the parts and in doing so to cease defining parts as if they are the whole and the ability to know the truth that sets us free. People operating in the wisdom of God know that ‘In His light we see light.’
BEING AND SEEING
Enlightenment is knowing how to see. ‘The true light that enlightens all people has come into the world’ John 1.9. Light is a person. The Light of you and the world is Christ in you. We participate in this light when Christ is our life and our Lens. This light is about how we see. Unless this lens is ours we distort everything we see. If our seeing is not right we will distort the most sublime truths, subverting them to something less than they are. This is how there can be a gospel of Jesus and the apostles and a subversive gospel that is no gospel at all.
IN HIS PERSON
Light is something we participate in. It is an ontological reality and a state of being one with God. In Jesus we are one with this light. In this light the knowledge of good and evil dissolves and the knowledge of God and of ourselves increases.
Jesus uses the term ‘light’ as a shift in our seeing. This is a different way of seeing. Unless we make a transition to this new and living way of seeing we distort everything we examine. Our eye must be sound or we will live in darkness. A law culture is never a living way. It is an old and dead way.
We can only get away with confusion as a way of life and as a ‘gospel’ if we explain it to ourselves as virtue. But virtue is not only Christ as us. It is us seeing all that is through the spirit of Christ.
Should we have never made the transition from the old covenant to the new our assumptions will be conditioned by the knowledge of good and evil and its ‘letter soaked’ epistemology. We will be bound to abstractions rather than to the holistic reality that is the person of Christ as truth. Enlightenment will elude us. Confusion will engulf us and we will walk like a man in the woods bumping into shapes in the fog of a winter’s day.
As the light of the world Jesus is the embodiment of enlightenment. Contained in the law and old covenant and its abstractions we, will not have come out of darkness into this marvellous light because we will remain encumbered and distracted by the veils of the knowledge of good and evil. But we could have had the precision and certainty that is ours in the living word that is not the letter in any shape or form but personified revelation.
IN HIM IS LIGHT
‘For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart’ Heb 4.12 NIV. The word of God and His revelation is a person – not a belief system or an ideology.
Thomas Torrance puts it this way, “While the deposit of faith was replete with the truth as it is in Jesus, by … its very nature it could not be resolved into a system of truths or set of normative doctrines and formulated beliefs, for the truths and doctrines and beliefs entailed COULD NOT BE ABSTRACTED FROM THE EMBODIED FORM which they were given in Christ in the apostolic foundation of the church without loss of their real substance.
Anything tied to the law lacks substance even though it has a concreteness that is entirely fatuous. Everything that is Christ our life is alive and alight with eternal reality. This is to say that the kind of gospel one has – whether it be of the letter or the spirit determines if we are enlightened and whether we can ‘see’ in any real sense. Or not. Who wants to be blind men talking?