So what is it again that gets crucified?
by Fred Pruitt
Someone wrote me, wondering if the "fall" was not really into a self-centered soulish existence, with it really beginning when Eve was taken out of Adam, as well as asking "what gets crucified?" in us in the Cross. So this is a response to that questioning.
These are really important issues in our union perspective.
When you start with the fall being into self-centeredness when Adam could not find sufficiency in himself but desired a mate, the feminine aspect, I'm not unfamiliar with that. Maybe you're familiar with Jacob Boehme, the German writer from the early 1600s. Norman was tremendously influenced by him and embraced a great deal of what you might call Boehme's "cosmology," including his extensive writings on the fall of Adam & Eve. And in a lesser way I've taken in enough Boehme to say I'm also on board with much he says, though not all.
Boehme draws out the temptation of Adam, which to him started when he felt the need to sleep, and could find no help meet for him. And Boehme seems to say that there is a somewhat "lesser" Adam, perhaps farther along the temptation path, who wakes up from his slumber and finds Eve at his side. The world starts changing for the worse at that point. That may or may not be how you see it, but it seems to be in the ballpark. And I'm familiar with soul & spirit being thought of in male-female terms. The perfect Adam, in Boehme's viewpoint, would have been an androgynous Adam, both male and female in one, who could reproduce himself out of himself without the tearing of his body.
I don't go with Boehme on all this, but even if the "fall" started its slide there, then it didn't conceive and bear fruit until the day they ate of the tree. Sin only entered the world then because they had consumed it. Perhaps Adam had been diddling with it, unknowingly, and out of that diddling popped Eve. But until they ate the fruit they had no shame for their nakedness. There was no SIN until they ate the fruit. They had not disobeyed any commandment. They had been running around in their garden doing whatever they did in complete and total freedom.
Let's say for discussion that it is correct to say Eve represents the "soulish" side. If what I say is correct, that no sin occurred until they ate of the tree, then what sin is it that brought out the soulish side, with the man cavorting in the garden with her in total freedom and joy and delight, knowing nothing contrary to their existence? If we have Adam as spirit and Eve as soul then instead of something sinful that has come out of Adam's temptation we instead have this play of freedom between the two. Where each are right in all their expressions.
I'm glad Boehme's Adam didn't make it. Not that androgynous one. I'm glad God made ladies. I've got one, a loving pain in my side. And like the free unrestrained private sport and play, heavenly blessed, between husband and wife, here in the beginning of man's journey, spirit and soul live in freedom and bliss and no fear with one another.
Skipping the process of the temptation in the garden, let's get right to the heart of it. James says sin is conceived when we are enticed and drawn away by our own lusts and then commit ourselves to it. People tend to focus on the lusts, which means really just strong desire, instead of the point of conception. What that means is that there is no sin in temptation. Most people will give lip-service to that but don't really believe it, because for them to be tempted is to be "that kind of person who would think that or consider that or want that" and therefore fall into unbelief about God's life in them because of not understanding the true nature of temptation and sin. Because they think that they "shouldn't feel that" or "shouldn't want that," etc.
What about Gethsemane, the best example ever of temptation? Was Jesus not being tempted to forsake the Cross? Was He not being tempted to a "contrary will" from the Father? All along Jesus has said He and the Father are One. One will. One Life. One Action. Now here, in His prayer of asking if maybe, just maybe, He can skip this one, and He prays as if He (Jesus) has a separate will from Him (The Father). The point being, that had Jesus EVER had a separate will from the Father, He would have sinned and not been the Savior, because having a separate will from the Father is precisely what sin is. What we are seeing vividly is the greatest temptation, without sin, in history. And for all eternity.
Jesus, thinking in a separated way, feeling the press and the fear upon Him for what He was about to endure, waffled, wavered, feared, doubted, felt sorry for Himself, felt He couldn't go through with it, maybe it was wrong, maybe I'm crazy like they say. He dabbled around in all that separated non-kingdom thinking for three hours, and the stress of it was so great on him that the scriptures say He sweated blood.
He had to repeat His final word of faith three times. Three times! And He was JESUS! He's the guy that only a week before had called a stinking dead man out of a tomb and the man came out. What POWER! What AUTHORITY! To be able to raise the dead! And now here He is in a bloody sweat fearing for His life in the cold eerie hours of the night, and the word of authority that had worked so well springing Lazarus out of the earth, took three hard-fought sessions and three declarations before He was ready.
Now, where was all that stuff going on? I would say in the soul. Yet there was no sin, and we have good authority on that, since it's Jesus. Jesus' soul was running amok! "Omigod, I'm gonna die! Omigod, it's gonna hurt! Omigod, this is idiotic!" And because of that, He felt a STRONG desire, a LUST if you will, to bolt, to catch the next train to Jersey. A self-for-self, it would seem, desire.
And, as we say in the South, what wuz he thinkin'? I mean, He's the Son of God. He's got clear vision of the Father. He KNOWS who He is. Only at dinner a couple of hours ago He gave the best presentation on oneness and union with God and what His purpose was and what their purpose was and so on, that the world has ever known. Top sermon, no doubt, of all time. Wish we had a tape! But here in the night even His mind is gone. He forgot He walked on water, forgot He raised the dead, forgot He fed 5,000 people twice (at least), and so on. He forgot He calmed storms and healed men blind from birth, and for three bloody sweaty hours almost became a little scared Jesus on a hillside in Palestine. Oh yeah, and forgot He met with Moses and Elijah surrounded in dazzling Divine Light on a mountain a while back. How could you forget that?
Yet He did not sin.
Adam and Eve sinned when they took sin inside them. No activity of soul produced sin. The soul is not the person. The person is the spirit. The word soul in Genesis is a different meaning than the term in the new testament. "I AM" is spirit, because God is Spirit and the image of God is spirit. Paul refers to the "spirit of man which is in him" and Hebrews calls God the "father of spirits" and other passages as well talk of God as the Spirit source of other "spirit" beings.
Sin has its origins and conception only in the spirit. It can ONLY originate in spirit, because everything else is an expression of spirit. Spirit is the only reality, everything else is spirit in form. Therefore nothing exists that is not spirit in its source.
And when I said above that Adam & Even "consumed" sin, I meant they took inside themselves, though not purposely, the evil one who hid himself in the fruit. Now, they didn't invite him into their heart, in some sort of conscious "I'm giving myself to the devil" sort of way. They were hoodwinked. Conned. Offered what seemed to them a better deal than they were led to believe they were getting, and it "seemed good," and in their naivete about life on the street, they bought the hustler's con. It's just that with the product he was selling, like a good salesman, he stood behind the product. Offered a lifelong warranty and onsite technical support, 24/7. "You won't even know I'm there," he says. So they sign on the dotted line and their new technical advisor moves in, and like he says, they don't even know he's there.
The point to remember, that in some writing or other I did I discussed a great deal, is that our spirits are not self-sustaining, and exist only to reflect the image of He who created us. That's what it means when we say we are Christ expressed in our forms. We are created as a living word of The Word, to express Him in the totality of our individual person. The New Testament calls us temples, vessels, branches of a vine. All pictures of union. A temple to "contain" or express a god. A vessel to "contain" a liquid or dry goods, a branch to bear the fruit and leaves of the vine. We cannot in ourselves originate anything, either righteousness or sin. We exist to reflect He Who IS, out of which our original lives come. But there is nothing in ourselves, just as ourselves, whether spirit, soul, or body, which can originate anything. We receive. Continuously, whether we know it or not, from the spirit.
The issue, which is the heart of the fall, and the only problem of man, is "which spirit?" The fall was not "into soul" which would simply make us independent beings who created our own unrighteousness. Had that been the case, we would be lost forever. Because we would have willed to separate ourselves from God. We didn't will to do that. We didn't know that was part of the bargain. The salesman didn't mention that. (God had mentioned it, but we had conveniently forgotten that because the salesman had such a way about him.)
The evil one willed himself separate from God with full knowledge, and therefore his fall was complete and total. But because of who he was he in a sense, having opened up the kingdom of rebellion, he became in his wrath a rival god, and being spirit, which has no tie to space and time, locality as we know it, he sought in his rebellion the hearts (or spirits) of God's new sons, the race of men.
Sin is simply and purely the spirit of the power of the air, at work IN the children of wrath, of which we all are or have been. It has nothing to do with soul. Soul is free. In unrighteousness it is free to express unrighteousness. In righteousness it is free to express righteousness.
Soul is the origin of nothing. It is the sensory perceptor, getting the input from the outer and the input from the inner. It reacts to both. It has great purpose. In righteousness, i.e., when Christ lives in us as us, soul is the sometimes bouncer-off-the-walls, ideas, thoughts, feelings, up, down, crazy, sane, and all that is MEANT to go on. There is never going to come a day, in this life, I think, when all that just goes away. It's God's way in us, part of the cross process, part of death-resurrection. It's the fiery springboard into faith, that puts a big bounce into it as we stand at the end of the diving board readying for our jump.
We are Spirit people, and the stuff that goes on in our soul is the food the Spirit uses to affect our lives and the world around us.
Now, this is getting too long and my goodness it's late, so let me get to this finally.
Crucified is not some fancy word that has some nebulous religious meaning. It simply means killed. So when Paul talks about us being "crucified with Him," he simply means we were killed with him, died with him. He's talking about the "old man."
Going by what I've been talking about above, I identify the "old man" as the human self who has a usurper living in the center of his life, the serpent who has hidden himself in the lie that we are independent selves who run our own lives. In the fall our inner center, our spirit, was invaded and captured, though I would have to say not fully conquered, by the spirit of self-for-self, the serpent, the accuser of the brethren. He became the pharaoh and we suffered under a harsh taskmaster in slavery while crying for a deliverer.
When Jesus died on the Cross, suffering the death of all humanity, we were on the Cross with Him and died in His death. He took us with Him into His death. In His death, He took sin, the spirit of self-for-self, and in some way was "made sin," in order to go into hell itself and vanquish sin and death and hell for all eternity.
In a purely human sense I have no conception in my mind of what that act of His entailed. But the result I have some idea of, and the result is that the usurper, the spirit of self-for-self, who tried to plant his tares in God's wheat field, sow his seed wherever the Light that lighted every man who came into the world had sown his seed, that usurper who had cast a veil between God and man, he was now banished from the citadel of every human heart who would believe.
Mankind's heart had been "despicably wicked" and "wicked in all its imaginations" -- and now in the death and resurrection of Jesus mankind gets a "new heart." Old heart = spirit of self-for-self, Satan. New heart=Jesus. I no longer have an evil heart, because He is my heart. My Spirit center.
So what gets crucified is not flesh, not soul, not even spirit. The old "me" dies in His death. The old "me" was the false "I", the false sense of self, which was a product of the inner indwelling of the spirit of sin. When you die, the spirit leaves the body. When Jesus died, and He was "made sin," the "sin" left His dead body. Representing the whole human race, particularly those who believe.
The "old me" getting killed. That's all. That's all that gets "crucified." But it's the WHOLE ball of wax.
Because the "new me" rises, and the "new me" is He as me. And in that "new me" life the soul is going to have good days and bad days, but always perfect days, because good days or bad, it's doing its job, which is to be the springboard into our faith and life activities in the freedom of His intimate play and joy.