Consciousness of Christ: the Why of Everything
Someone recently wrote and asked me two questions: 1) By whose power did Adam and Eve decide to listen to Satan in the garden? and 2) Also in your book "Hearts of Flesh" you compare Abraham and Saul in that they were both doing God's work regardless of what it looked like - both were men of God. In other words, some Christians can look like a Saul and keep going down a road towards destruction and still be a Christian. Did I understand you correctly?
Here is the reply:
(This is a little different from what I usually write, and may not appeal to all readers. When I have spoken of these things like this in the past some have commented that I am too complicated. I apologize if some of this comes across that way. I believe the reader who perseveres all the way through will be satisfied -- at least I hope so.)
You have an interesting way of phrasing your first question -- "by whose power did Adam and Eve decide to listen to Satan in the garden? I don't think I've ever heard anyone phrase it that way before -- "by whose power."
So that's an easy answer, since there is no power except the power which is God. Satan is a misuse of the One Power, using in a sense the substance/being/existence of God Himself to create for himself in singularity, or dense concentration of self, or what I might call a vortex of sucking self, like a black hole -- a dark fire that has almost infinite heat but which emits no light or warmth, that exists only to feed itself by the consumption of everything that comes within its reach -- to use it all to feed and build up himself by the death and destruction of all.
God is also Consuming Fire, but only consuming in the sense that everything which He attracts into Himself for consumption is re-emitted as Light, Heat, and Life (Luke 20:18). This is because God has eternally determined to be Love, exhibited eternally by the Son in the form of a Lamb Slain forever in the center of the Eternal Godhead and Throne. Satan seeks to bring only death and is anti-life, whereas God's principle includes death, first of all in a sense in Himself when in His out-going to express Himself in the Son, He eternally dies to or says "NO" to that sucking self-for-self which seeks to live by feeding on the death of others so that it is supreme and without competition. Then by that death (Cross) or "NO" to self-seeking, He rises as the Son, whose eternal characteristic is to give His Life as a ransom and means of Life to others. Satan's principle is death only; God in Trinity's Principle is death AND resurrection, both death to self-seeking (by the Cross), and resurrection in the Deity out of "NO" to "YES," by which Giving-Life is out-splayed with infinite energy and infinite power to inseminate the Universe with Life unto Life. The motion of the resurrection out of death (from the lowest depths to the highest heights) is what fuels the dynamo that empowers everything that is. It is like an atomic explosion without destruction, but instead an infinitely energetic perpetual effluence of light and life in every direction.
So I would think the question, then, isn't really "whose" power it is, but where does their freedom come from that allows them to choose or follow the wrong path, or to disobey?
And the answer there is again the same. The Bible mentions liberty and freedom often, especially in the New Testament. God is Free and IS Freedom, so therefore freedom, like all things, originates in God and is first of all His principle. Freedom is having the option to choose between alternatives. We may have a limited set of alternatives, but freedom is the divine principle of personhood -- that which makes a person a person. A tree cannot choose anything for itself. Even a dog cannot do this. Because the type of choosing we are speaking of is the choice of what kind of person I'm going to be, and who I will be hooked up with.
What I say "Yes" to determines what I say "No" to, and visa versa. That "choice," as I explained above regarding the Deity, originated in God the Father in the eternal, so that eternally He has chosen or determined to be nothing but Love -- Life which does not seek its own good primarily (a "NO" to self-seeking), but preeminently the good of another (a "YES" to other-love). Satan made the eternal choice to be for himself, which is also an eternal trap because he became a caricature of True Self, by rejecting union with the Light and death to self-seeking, to live in what is really an unreality, a false fantasy, a self-delusion of himself as just himself, all by himself alone, an island of self, a closed-up fortress, having his own power, his own beauty, his own goodness, out of his own fire. Since like all sentient beings God created, he only exists to be a re-expression in limited or particular form of the Unlimited Universal Deity, but out of the same freedom by which God chose to be love, Lucifer/Satan chose to be only himself and reject Another to be his life, and thereby "fell."
So that is the same freedom, and the same power, and the same set of alternatives that confronted Adam and Eve and us all in our infancy and lack of consciousness. With this fundamental and important difference. The temptation of Adam and Eve was in the temporal, given them (with God of course knowing the outcome and MEANING IT) for their ultimate redemption and subsequent consciousness of their identity in God.
Now I haven't mentioned consciousness at this point, but God's desire to be the Son is not limited to the Eternal Trinity which is an infinite circumincession within Themselves of love loving by going out of itself to extend and propagate love. Love in not seeking itself, must instead propagate itself, expand itself, go out of itself. In other words, for love to love, there must be something for love to love and expand into. Therefore the Son must not be just the One Eternal Son, but that the Son might be reproduced and expanded into a family, the whole family being individual unique expressions of that One Son, Who is both the Eternal Object of the Father's Love, and IS the Eternal Father's Love.
Now this is what has created the tremendous tension in the universe, which Paul alludes to in Romans 8:18-22, i.e. the whole universe groaning and travailing, awaiting the final manifestation of the Sons of God. And this is about consciousness -- because for the Sons to be finally and fully manifest, they must know themselves as the Son in the sons, after having freely desired, sought and received the Sonship, raised by the Father/Son/Spirit into the full understanding and comprehension of the heights, depths, and fullness of Christ -- in them! Unto a perfect MAN, as Ephesians says, raised into the Head, which is Christ. MAN raised fully into CHRIST!
And that is WHY there was a fall and WHY there was the giving of the Law and WHY Israel, as God's lamb for the whole world, had to rise and fall, rise and fall, and WHY there had to be a Saul followed by a David, and WHY, ultimately, the Son of God had to come to be the Son of Man, and WHY there had to be a Calvary in space and time as there is an Eternal Lamb Slain in the heart of eternity, and WHY there had to be the time of the Gentiles and WHY, even though the promises have been given and fulfilled there HAD to be a time when it continues to look like He has forsaken His People and has delayed His Coming, and WHY even though we are even now recipients of the Promises we still, for this time, wander in sheepskins and goatskins and find in this world no continuing city. It is all part of this ultimate tension which will explode into that final manifestation of God as His Fully Formed and Conscious Sons to the glory and unbounded benefit of the entire universal creation!
There is coming a time, and it now is, when God is beginning to peel back the layers, to give understanding, to reveal the mysteries of the kingdom. Jesus said He could not speak plainly the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but must speak them in dark sayings and parables, in order to hide them from the "wise and prudent" and only reveal them unto "babes." All the stories of the Old Testament have this quality to them. While infantile Christians are arguing with "the world" and trying to convince those whose natural minds cannot see the things of God, that these things are literal histories or descriptions of the creation scientifically, in their zeal they are straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. They miss the tremendous riches of Christ, redemption, and the New Birth revealed in the stories -- which are intended not just for information's sake, knowledge of the sake of knowledge, but for the purpose of CONSCIOUSNESS OF CHRIST, because as we see Him we know Him and these stories are all about HIS LIFE IN US.
Rather than focusing on Saul's behavior and whether he still attained heaven because of the way he turned out, as we all have at one time or another, the far greater riches are found in seeing Saul and David as counterparts of essentially the same man. And it is ALL ABOUT coming to consciousness. Because we are all like Jesus -- we learn obedience through the things we suffer (Heb 5:8), and we come to maturity (raised consciousness) by the exercise of the senses discerning good and evil (Heb 5:14). Not good and evil in the temporal "be good to be accepted" sense that the world knows, but good and evil in the ultimate sense, i.e., that which is God and that which is anti-God, and that the "knowing" of that is really coming to oneness with the truth -- as Adam "knew" Eve, became one flesh with her, so we "know" Christ in truth, and are One Spirit with Him. I've spoken much about what being "one" means elsewhere, so won't repeat that here.
There is a recurring theme in the Old Testament, which Jesus just summed up in, "The first shall be last, the last shall be first." You can see it beginning to be successively plainer in the Genesis stories; in Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, in Jacob and Esau, in Joseph and his brethren, in the generation of Israel born in Egypt which perished in the wilderness, and the generation born in the wilderness which went across the Jordan into the Promise, and so on. It is picked up again in Saul and David.
I can only briefly speak of it, because it is deep mystery but the Lord is unfolding it more and more day by day. This has been percolating in me for several years and I've tried to write and speak about it, but it is still fresh and unformed. So be patient with me.
First a bit about types and shadows. If we realize that the Scriptures were put together by the Holy Spirit for the revelation of Christ, and not thematically by men who were following an outline or plan, then we can also realize that they are not systematic in unfolding these mysteries. The mysteries of God are revealed by the revelation of the Spirit, not a systematic theology which always holds that a certain type remains the same type throughout. For instance, Esau in one sense by the Spirit represents fallen Adam whom God the Father (Old Isaac) would love to bless but cannot because he has spurned his birthright by selling it for a mess of pottage, as Adam traded his divine birthright (rights of the firstborn who gets the lion's share of the father's heritage) for an animal skin, and in other cases Esau represents the flesh which lusts against the things of the Spirit and therefore must be spurned. So the types change even within the life of a the same person. Sometimes Pharaoh represents God the Father, as in the story of Joseph, and sometimes he represents the devil who has stolen man and enslaved him, as the Pharaoh of Moses' time. Only the Spirit can reveal these things.
So then we come to Saul. You begin to see what is going on in the story when the people of Israel tell Samuel that they want a king, just like all the other nations around them have a king. In a way it is like Adam and Eve all over again, because they were under, at the time, the direct kingship of God, through the prophet and judge, Samuel. The prior years they had been the same -- no king, but a series of judges and rescuers in their ongoing battles with the Philistines and their on-again/off-again relationship with the Baals and idolatries. That might not seem like such a hunky-dory situation, but when they seek a king "like the other nations," God's reaction is pretty negative. He says they are rejecting him as King by wanting a king they can see, feel, touch, etc.
Remember, keep our eyes on the prize -- the goal here, for God and Israel (which God knows but Israel does not), is consciousness. Sons who know who they are by the exercise of their senses. In other words, they must find out by experience; they must know the wrong way in order to know the right way. And even though they were not very steadfast in their dealings with God under the judges -- they were always falling away and worshipping other gods, etc. -- still in essence they were under the kingship of God, Who they could not see -- they had to believe and follow Him in His invisibility, and in their dim and infantile consciousness, it was necessary that they reject this invisibility by which God kept them in their unconsciousness, and find a visible palpable king that would protect them from their enemies and make them great. All of this to the benefit of us all. Their lack of consciousness leads to our consciousness when we see.
So what's the first thing God does? He tells them what's what, but He honors their request. He gives them the kind of king that they, in their immaturity, think they want. He gives them a great-looking guy, who stands a head taller than everybody else. A man impressive to the flesh, and intimidating to their enemies. Someone they can put their hopes and dreams into, who will take care of all their needs, protect the land, and give them peaceful lives in security and prosperity. (Something which mankind is still doing, apparently!)
When we consider this spiritually in our own lives, when we come to God and do not yet know who we are, thinking it's about being good and obeying rules, etc., this "Saul" is who we want to reign over us. It is ourselves, our selves that we have always known ourselves to be, helped and improved by God and made into a fit and proper king. Impressive to our friends for our spirituality, and hopefully intimidating to our enemy, the devil. "Make me, Lord, be this and that. Here is this person that I am, Lord. O make me better, give me more love, more patience, more kindness." We want to stand up and be the one who is a head taller than everyone else. In our unconsciousness and immaturity, still having only a consciousness of flesh or independent self, we cannot help but think and pray this way. We do not know that we are praying for the kingship of a false hope, a wisp of self that is a persona the devil has created. Oh, our real self is in there somewhere, and there is the anointing of God, but God is a God who grants our desires, even those which are wrong sometimes for us, in order to bring us to the fullness of Himself by our failure. And that self, like Saul, must fail.
Because that self thinks that it is where the holiness resides. It is a presumptuous self, a self that takes upon itself the right to sacrifice, thinking, wrongly, that itself is the life of God, in control, the decider.
Now let's step back a moment and consider Saul. He is first of all, as above, "goodlier" than any other in Israel. He looks the part, and at first is humbled by the fact he has been chosen of God. And God puts His Spirit upon him, and anoints him king. Now, why is this so, if God already knew Saul was not going to work out, which of course He did know?
This is where this purpose of God to bring us into consciousness of our sonship begins to be revealed. Saul, in ourselves, as I said above, is the false image of ourselves that we are born with, that we know as ourselves all our lives even into our new birth into Christ, and God honors it, anoints it, blesses it, leads it, thus granting our desires in order to finally bring that self to its own self-destruction, as Saul at Gilboa fell on his sword before he was overrun by the Philistines. The first generation out of Egypt into the wilderness is the same. They are given the law and they all agree to keep the law, which of course they cannot do. They are presumptuous, rebelling against Moses who they think is no better than they. They complain. Everytime they are challenged they revert to their former selves they have always been, but are rescued by God anyway. Even after they refuse to go into the Promised Land the first time, afraid of the giants and great walled cities thereby receiving God's curse on their generation, by which they must all perish in the wilderness and never see the Promise, STILL God leads them by His Spirit in the form of a cloudy pillar by day and a fiery pillar by night. God honors them, cares for them, leads them by His Spirit, feeds them bread from heaven, gives them Christ in the form of water out of a rock, yet they cannot come to the Promise. They were born in Egypt and are perpetually in consciousness only flesh, so that they cannot touch the mountain of God.
And Saul is this same first generation, ourselves in false independence but which we in our wrong consciousness think is what and who God blesses and uses. And for a time God goes along with that. He blesses this false self, loves it, anoints it, even while it presumes upon itself its own deity. Not consciously in the sense that it believes it is God, but unconsciously in a de facto sense, because its lifelong independence is something it cannot part with, it MUST remain the chooser, the doer, the decider, thereby making itself as God. The false self created by reaching out and taking the fruit cannot change. It can only die.
Then David enters the story. Now David is the type of the new man, Christ in us, who first sprouts as a very small seed within us. At first Saul is delighted with David. David will serve him, will do his bidding, will kill his enemies. He is glad to have such a champion. But things change as Saul begins to see the handwriting on the wall. He senses David is going to replace him as king, and he cannot accept this. It is his own posterity he protects and lifts up, and, forgetting that he is a servant of the Lord God, he begins persecuting David who clearly is God's man. His favor toward David turns to anger as his visible presumption of taking the things of God to himself causes him to lose the favor of God, which is transferred to David. Even though David comforts him with his songs when he is overtaken by his melancholia, which happens more and more often (this is the beginning of Romans 7 struggle), still he begins to hate David more and more. And so the struggle begins, with Saul some days loving David and some days trying to kill him. When he is confronted with his ill treatment of David and with David's continuing loyalty to him, even after David has been anointed to be the next king, Saul repents over and over, but he cannot change. He "rededicates," but, he still wants to be king. He still wants the people to follow him, to love him, to recognize that HE is their leader and is greater than David. This is a perfect picture of the wrong self that we have been deceived into believing all our lives IS our self. It is gearing up to know and finally accept its own death, but this struggle between Saul and David, between the mind of the flesh and the mind of the Spirit, is what finally brings him to that final self-destruction on Mt. Gilboa. Because finally it cannot do what it is supposed to do -- defeat the enemies of the Lord. They are finally too much for Saul, and overrun him, so that he becomes the "O wretched man," and falls on his own sword. He takes the death that must be, "I am crucified with Christ," so that "it is no longer I, but Christ" can then take the throne.
Looking at it from David's perspective, this true man, this man who we really are in Christ, which is Christ in us as one with us, as I said above, starts in humble beginnings. He is the man of the Spirit, who we hardly know at first. He is ourselves, but our unified self in Christ, and because we are still carnal in our minds he is as if he is separate from us. At first we delight in him, but like Saul, we become suspicious of him. He is too free. He is dangerous. We are afraid to let him live.
David, unlike Saul, takes nothing to himself or for himself. Though he is continually tempted to reach out and take the kingdom from Saul, he knows he cannot touch Saul, for he is still God's beloved, still the "anointed of the Lord," and he cannot reach out and take for himself. Even though he knows that the kingdom is his, still he must receive it as a gift, and not as something he presumptuously takes. He becomes Saul's secret helper, in that he protects the borders of Israel from marauders, from the Philistines. Little by little the people begin to come to him, though he finds himself hiding in caves and in the desert. Many of his followers urge him to kill Saul and take the kingdom, and though he easily could do this, David continually refuses, knowing that if the kingdom is to be his, and he does know it, it will be given as a promise and a gift of grace, and that he won't gain it by his own hand.
That is akin to Abraham's story with Ishmael and Isaac. God gave the promise which was to be fulfilled in Sarah, but Abraham and Sarah decided to hurry things up a bit and bring a son by Hagar. Like Saul, God does bless Ishmael and has a plan for him, but he is not the son of Promise, but of the presumption of the flesh. All this is for our understanding and consciousness of this same point: the first birth, Adam, Cain, Ishmael, Esau, Reuben, the generation born in Egypt, Saul, etc., all point at the man of the flesh who is deceived into thinking he is the ruler and should reign on earth, while the second birth, Christ (2nd Adam), Abel, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, the generation born in the wilderness, David, etc., all point at the new man, Christ in us as one with us, who as the Stone Cut out without Hands, smashes the image of iron and clay -- our false selves in independence, so that that Stone fills the whole earth (Dan 2:34,35), and we finally recognize Christ in us as All in all, and therefore, as us.
This is the mystery of Christ revealed in simple stories by the Holy Spirit, that we might know that He does the same in us, to accomplish the same, to move us in consciousness from Cain to Abel (Christ Who died) and Seth (Christ Who rose), from Ishmael to Isaac, from Esau to Jacob, from Saul to David, that we might come in our understanding into the fullness of Him who fills all in all, in and through ourselves. All this is the fulfillment of Galatians 2:20, told over and over and over throughout the scriptures, because it is really all there is.
Once Christ is formed in us in consciousness, then we stand up as David, as Moses, as Paul, as the fathers John spoke of, living out of the eternal water of life that we now recognize flows out of us, not by anything we have done, could do, should do, but by the grace of the One Who favors us, WHo is pleased with us, Who sees us as "the beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ... hear ye Him!"
It is the inner mystery of the whole Scripture. It's all about Christ in us and how he comes to fullness in us. It is not something we instigate, make happen, help along, but solely and purely grace in action by His Spirit Who has come to dwell in us, his human temples, making us fruitful branches on the Vine which is Christ.