Herbert Marcuse wrote of the ‘one dimensional man’ of the technological age. In the age of the Consumer we may well posit the ‘economic man’ – a construct rather than a whole person. Then again, our minds might drift to ‘religious man’ who has a religion, adheres to a routine and belief system and very little of God. The tragedy of the Christian Construct it that he thinks these elements are God. Not that the institutional man has none of God. But he has droplets rather than rivers.
There are folks whose union with a personal Jesus is real and direct. They are salt, light and yeast of the Kingdom in what can be a religious but dry place. A direct union with Jesus has been called ‘mysticism’ by some, although there is nothing mysterious about it – except the paradox of the incarnation in which the living Christ becomes part of the living you and I. Direct union with Jesus is not the possession of an elite. It’s own by those who are looking for a life in Christ that is more than externalities.
Thomas Torrance observes that “[ Normal Christian life] is union with Christ .. sharing in the inner life of Jesus, being united to him in the wholeness of his incarnate reality as the crucified and risen Son of God. Thus, it is a personal, ontological union. Echoing classical formulations on theosis Torrance contends, ‘This must include, in some real measure, an intimate assimilation into that inner life through sharing in the power of Christ’s resurrection…’” (1) We see that a rich life in Jesus is more than giving assent to scripture and doctrinal positions.
We might wonder why so many believers remain captured in in institutionalism and constructs of the ‘knowledge of good and evil’ when we have close at hand the largesse and finesse of union with God 0 a union so real that we are part of Him and He is part of us.
It depends on what our lens is. Is our lens the letter or is our lens, Jesus The Living Word as depicted in the prologue to the book of John. Seeing God through the person of God is different to seeing the life of God through abstractions.
‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14,20. Realize and declare it to yourself now!
When we know what the new birth really is, we will understand what the new covenant is – the installation of the self from where we came from to where we belong. We came from the separation wrought by Adam. We have been placed in fellowship with God. We belong in the company of God. When we can see that life is defined as the person of God and living in that person, we can be done with written transcripts of God’s character and the imbroglio of the letter that is death. We are done with them because we and Father have become one. Now we can stop straining at gnats and living as camels and beasts of burden. We have become the expression of God. We are sons in spirit and in truth.
If you have been schooled, socialised and just plain indoctrinated into a culture of the knowledge of good and evil, you may not make sense of what you find in these posts. Then again, they may appear to you as what they are – light and truth – because you have chosen to walk in the light rather than in what you have absorbed in the first part of your life – a Christianised version of the knowledge of good and evil.
LEVELS OF BEING
Richard Rohr observes, “Lawrence Kohlberg, who wrote some excellent material on levels of moral development, charted what each level of moral development was like, describing six distinct levels. He was clear about the difficulty of seeing reality, especially moral or spiritual reality. He concluded that we are incapable of understanding a stage more than one beyond our own. A third level person can't make sense of what someone on the fifth level is saying. It is meaningless.
That's what we're up against when we preach the Gospel. Jesus, in Kohlberg's schema, is a sixth-level person. Many people have not done their first, second and third level work of conscience. They're really not bad-willed; they just can't understand a higher, more complex moral understanding … They just have no idea where the Gospel is coming from. They have some growing to do yet.” They are still contained in their pre-cross contractual relationship to behaviors and positions.
ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE
All who desire to grow can grow. We just have to be willing to move beyond the fences we and others have made for ourselves. Cages of the mind are at once the most stubborn and the easiest to remove. This is why Jesus said, ‘ONLY BELIEVE.’ There’s liberating power in right belief. When Jesus spoke of life to the full, he meant this kind of life – the life in which we live an I AM of the self in the I AM of Jesus. This is a replication of His life as ours in our very being. There’s no compilation of good acts and a shunning of bad acts here. We are talking sheer, unadulterated life in the person of Jesus manifesting through our person. The son of God begins manifesting as the sons and daughters of God. A son of God always has it over a worker or a human construct.
(1) Habets Myk, Theosis in the Theology of Thomas Torrance. P.119