Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
...no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. (I Cor. 12:3)
I invite Friends to continue this discussion here. I will add my own comments later.
Here is the thread so far:
Hello, Stephen! Thank you for replying to my post!
You have raised many legitimate questions about the nature of God and His attributes. I certainly don't have answers for all the questions you pose. And anyway, I don't think that trying to answer all of those questions is the assignment the Lord has given me in life! That's all grist for the Bible scholars and theologians' mill, and I would not even pretend to be up to the task. Some QQ participants believe that they understand all of these matters, but I would not make any such claims for myself! And I look askance at what appears to be hubris on the part of some.
Nor can I defend the misdeeds of church leaders or members. As I see the matter, this is not the assignment I have been given either! I could easily prepare a list of such misbehavior myself and, perish the thought, I might even be on the list! I'm afraid there's plenty of sin to go around, and Christians have committed more than their share. So..., what can I say in response to your posts?
First of all, I can say that casting off the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible) is not the right solution to the theological conundra you have described. The Old Testament was Jesus' Bible. He did not cast it aside, although He offered new perspectives on its meaning. Philip Yancey addresses these very questions in *The Bible Jesus Read*. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0310245664/ref=rdr_ext_tmb I bought the book years ago, and have yet to read it. "Life is so short, and there are so many books to read!!!" Since these are burning questions for you, and the book is so inexpensive if purchased used, I urge you to take a look at it.
Generally speaking, I think that a Christian must interpret the whole of the Bible using the life and teaching of Jesus Christ as the key to understanding. He is the apex of the Biblical story, and it is through Him that we can understand the Bible, Old Testament and New.
I understand my role as a Christian to be that of a witness. I think I know as an "existential fact" that the Bible can function "as a lamp unto our feet," and that Jesus Christ brings light and hope to our lives and spiritual understanding. I reworked an aphorism recently on my Facebook Page, as follows: "worry ebbs where faith begins to flow!"
Stephen, I invite you yet again to partake of the Bread of Life and the Living Water!
"We are then essentially not material creatures but creatures of thought, our personal identity is a construct of thought, and not what we see in the mirror, as even that image is a product of thought conditioning and it's evaluations. Despite our complex and informational technology today, we are still victims of thoughts like greed and violence."
I have only read your responses here. So I may not understand for where you are coming from and the direction of your responses. With that said. I agree with you that normally personally identity is established in outward religious and secular conceptual constructs, traditions, scripture, doctrines, creeds, institutions, etc. That is, normally identity, meaning, purpose, etc. are drawn from a conscious anchored in and a conscience informed by outward forms or representations. That has been the way of things, the human condition, for most people. For some people those representations are pliable help them glimpse the unrepresented. For others, the representation is a thing in itself. Both are essential of the same nature, a conscious anchored in and a conscience informed representationally.
There is another way. A way wherein personal identity, purpose, meaning, etc. are established in the direct and unmediated experience of the Unrepresented. That is, the Unrepresented settles down right into the conscious and conscience and is established within so that outward representation of the Unrepresented are just no longer of value. Human being living in the incarnation of the Unrepresented in the conscious and conscience is of a direct impulse, an inward impulse, that no longer look to outward forms, practtices, creeds, insitutions, scriptures, traditions, practices, etc.. In this life, human being experience a consciousness that sustains even upon the death of the body. In the outward nature the human body anchors consciousness and conscious through the representations of sensation, perception, thought, feeling, will. This representational consciousness knows identity through the representations mediated through the body. This is easily illustrated by imagining being without the five sense and the brain. Imagine consciousness with eyes to see, nose to smell, ears to hear, tongue to taste, nerves to feel and thoughts, feelings, will. The outward nature cannot sustain sustain consciousness without the function of the body.
When the Unrepresented incarnates into the conscious and conscience, human being experiences, is gifted, eternal life because the Unrepresented itself re-places the forms of the outward bodily nature and the conscious and conscience is re-born it a new way of Being, a new self the sustain even the lose of the body. The Unrepresented itself becomes the Form. Practice, Creed, Tradition, Scripture. and human being enters heaven.
Truly, this good story is not a mere outward narrative to be believed or reasoned to intellectually and approached through the outward trappings of religious institutions, practices, creeds etc. The good story is a living story, one that human beings can experience and know directly right down in the core of their conscious and conscience.
Thanks for the replies, they are very informative, we may not be so far apart as one may think on a casual look. We forget our words are like autumn leaves once leaving their source fall to the ground in death, yet are pretty enough to glance at, but their intrinsic life is gone.
"I Am the bread of Life" for heavenly manna is impersonal, the unrepresented that comes down daily that we feed on intuitively, that is not for the outward form or the religious man but the spiritual inner man, whose spirit is from God, his body from the earth, and his soul is the light and warmth the spirit gives to the filament of the body.
Outside of the true vine is the flesh or the outward form of the "outer man that perishes" 2 Cor.4:16.... having no intrinsic source of life of it's own, being just a temporary recipient. "We being many, are ONE bread," 1 Cor.10:16. There is no inward nutrition for "the inner man" of St.Paul's teachings until Christ comes "when Christ who is OUR life appears". Col.3:4 In that sense Christ our anointing, comes as the "Unrepresented" the Holy Spirit.
Yes "the outward man perishes" 2 Cor.4:16 and so do our words and our understandings as Christ is formed in us Gal.4:19...but it is the inner man that goes over the Jordan and enters the Christ generation, the 42nd generation, the final encampment was 42 .........
on the other side of the Jordan was Gilgal. We do not have the power to circumcise the whole body of flesh and it's 5 senses, it has to be done from above...it cannot be done this side of the Jordan under our own steam. It is interesting to note the 3 x 14 generations of Christ in Mathew chapter One, and on addition of each one, it only comes to 41...there is a missing generation, the Christ generation an anointed holy people,1 John 2:20 saints who make up the one Body of Christ..."know all things" it is intuitive knowledge through the Spirit, direct knowledge from the presence of the Holy Spirit, birthing Christ in us, that makes us "not of this world".John17:16
However the apparent duality of spirit and matter, or "flesh wars with spirit, and spirit with flesh" Gal.5:17 is not a war between the Divine and Creation. For nature in creation is also the unseen force, so the duality between nature and the spirit is actually complimentary. Spirit and nature are complimentary while spirit and matter/flesh are in absolute opposition. Life belongs to the spirit not the seen, and not to the visible body, and in itself is eternal...the subject being eternal life/invisible, hence is never the object. To perceive and object one must be the subject, to perceive the transient, one must be eternal. "The things that are seen are temporal, the things not seen eternal." 2 Cor.4:18
There is no evidence anyone has known God personally, only hearsay. It is sheer arrogance to claim ...speaking to God...the "only true God and eternal Life" John.17:3 ""Only God is truly good. ... And Jesus said unto him, Why call me good? there is none good but one, that is, God." Mark 10:18 Remember Jesus emptied Hinself of Godhead to come here "but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." Phil.2:7
"No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." John 1:18
"God is a spirit and they who worship must worship in spirit and truth" John 4:24
"Who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen" 1 Tim.6:16
Definition of person would not apply to God who is invisible, omnipresent, omniscient beyond the ken of man's toy language to define. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible."Col.1:15
" Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. ... You have not heard His voice at any time, and you haven't seen His form." John 5:37
God may have used theophanies, or even a donkey to communicate with Balaam Numb.22:30.....Moses spoke face to face with God Exodus 33:11 That is not the Most High God but a Son of God, perhaps Jesus see Deut.32:8&9 where the Lord/Yahweh is one of the Most High God's sons whose jurisdiction is over Israel a cruel racist God who lusted after blood offerings and the odour of burnt carcasses, along with genocide and baby bashing Psalm.137:9 and even ordering the disembowelment of the pregnant women of Samaria the enemies of the Jews. Hosea.13:6 I have no interest in Gnosticism, why the necessity to shove those we do not understand into a specific box they know virtually nothing about? Even the Jewish God does not speak in the thunder, or whirlwind but in the silent whisper.Elijah 1 Kings.19:12
Yes God may speak but not in man's toy language with so many distortions of meaning, and so may profane meanings take "love" for instance, would God use a word used for adulterous relations?
My argument is so many Christians lack reverence towards God, indeed God is a word so bandied around it loses it's meaning, [even the High Priest of the Jewish God was only allowed to utter the name in the Holiest of Places once a year] and are rather puffed up full of religious pride and an imagined pious humility about their conversations with God. Only as we identify with the Cross and take it up, can one see just how deluded we are, and are still living under the God of Law and the Old Covenant...see Galatians 2:19 and Romans 7.
God is a Spirit and can only be know through one's spirit, not the chemical reactions in the brain that creates our thoughts, but in our hearts is God's law written and spoken intuitively in the silence. " no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit."
When someone else claims to know God personally, that is hearsay -- to you.
When you know God personally, that becomes -- whether immediately or over time, whether full-grown (though unequal) friendship or simply acquaintance -- something you can't prove to anybody else, but can hardly deny. And that condition is what God intends for all of us, that "The Earth shall be full of the knowledge of God."
The Bible is an anthology of accounts of what allegedly happened and what was allegedly learned when and because various people did know God personally, while others did not.
Everything we quote from it is hearsay, unless and until you come to know the One it was written about (different parts under more or less influence of that One. Like different parts of this world, which was all created by that One, but some of it more inhabitable than others.)
After that you can use your own words -- and before that, you should please use your own words.
In any case, to imagine Jesus outside and independent of the Jewish tradition he grew up in, as worshiping 'some other God' rather than emphasizing the best developments of that tradition -- is to distort both Jesus and that tradition. [The Gnostics were the first to make that mistake, whether one knows about them or not; and despite many things they got right, the church rejected their take on things pretty early on. Every now & then somebody discovers them and thinks he's found the "real" original form of Christianity, but it was just another set of fixed ideas.]
"God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire ... of God having been given me toward you, to complete the word of God," Col.1:25
God's word is complete............but Spirit is needed to guide kindly into it's light. "For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." 2 Cor.3;6
The Bible is words of people -- more or less inspired at one time or another -- about God and what the authors believed God had done and what they believed God was telling them for what reason.
"The word of God", according to 'John' in that anthology, is the spirit incarnate in Jesus, which 'enlightens everyone who comes into the world.' The Bible does not 'enlighten everyone who comes into the world'; there are a great many people who know nothing whatsoever about it except ~"That's the book those Christians fuss about."
What we're supposed to worship is not the book, though the book provides some good and helpful descriptions. Certainly God had a hand in it; but God's word is something people can and do receive much more directly.
Here is a quote from Wikipedia..............
" In this modern usage, Logos is the "Word of God" Jesus Christ, the subject from Genesis toRevelation. Rhema is the revealed word of God, as an utterance from God to the heart of the receiver via the Holy Spirit, as in John 14:26 "
In reality what Jesus said "Before Abraham was, I AM" John8:58 or "I AM the way, the Truth and the Life" John14:6 is a referral to the FIRST PERSON of all of us. Christ is the "The Firstborn of all creation" Col.1:15. Whether you or me, male or female, black or white, Christian or Pagan, when they say "T" it is referring back to the first person...."the BEGINNING of the creation of God" Rev.3:14...whether they are conscious of that or not. The Christ is omnipresent, in all things, and as subject to God "all in all"..."When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all." 1 Cor.15:28
As you notice one quotes the Bible rather than some conversation with God one may have had or another. The New Testament is the complete revelation and everything we need is found there not in some mysterious conversation. Jesus as such is the Logos the complete revelation[LOGOS] as the Logos that we all have in the New Testament, the Spirit of Truth alone gives us the light of that revelation as Jesus Himself said: " the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for ... of his own will, but he shall speak whatever he shall hear and he shall reveal " John 16:15 It is revealed not spoken in English or man's toy languages, it is felt not telt...hence the power to say "Jesus is Lord" as it flows from the heart not the carnal mind that is at enmity with God. Rom.8:7
If you want to have your conversations with yourself and with a book, there's no need to bring us into it.
Saying the New testament is the complete revelation is like saying a box of cake mix is a cake. The NT, with a little help from the OT, makes it much easier for the Holy Spirit to reveal what God wants to reveal to us when he wants to reveal it but access to the New Testament (& OT - see Proverbs and Psalms, etc.) or lack thereof does not and never has stopped God from revealing Himself to those he chooses to reveal Himself to just as people baked cakes way before Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines entered the picture.
Putting another down and cake mix references is not an argument one can accept.
In the Bible we have references to baking with dung (a major use for salt at the time, to keep a flame burning cleanly in that sort of oven.) We have references to a great many illustrative physical tools and tasks, to make points which God and people speaking for God considered important.
So perhaps one should consider what the reference applies to: the ways God reveals Godself to human beings receiving revelation from many different starting points.