Oneness, the Law, and the Son
(I have been tinkering with this for a few months. A phrase here and there. I don't know why I am interested in and write about these things, because it is not necessary to get into these things to "walk in the Spirit." But there must be some purpose in delving into this mystery of "self-hood," both in God and in our humanity. So for others who have these same musings, here are some on my part. They are not meant to be dogmatic, but only crude descriptions of a sight which is beyond any description, that is, the eternal life of God in Christ as that life unfolds and functions in us. I think there might be some hidden treasures here for some.)
Oneness, the Law and the Son
By Fred Pruitt
We start with One, find separation and distinction in the law, and then culminate in oneness again in the Son.
What is described below we will first be tempted to think is something apart from us, having nothing to do with our daily living. But what it really is, is a description of our own lives, from a beginning state of unconscious rest, through an intermediary and necessary state of unrest, to a final state of culmination in manifested and conscious rest, repeated over and over. People often speak of "process" in the spiritual life. The following is one way to describe that process.
1. The law was given to demonstrate separation. What does that mean?
If we could speak of God as if He is human (which we really cannot) we might say that God, in creating "selves in His image," took a chance, a big gamble. Because, in departing from oneness to assume distinctive selfhood and will, what was once one is now broken up into parts in consciousness. It actually cannot really be broken, since what is one is one and can never be anything but one. One cannot be broken. But the ability of consciousness is to break it up within itself, to separate into this and into that.
It is in a way like drawings in a technical manual. The technical manual shows things "blown apart." Exploded in sight and perception into separate parts and stems. Like branches on a tree. Maybe like our scientists' "Big Bang." Everything flew apart with infinite energy, making the separation greater and greater and greater. But everybody who reads the technical manual also knows that the object described only works when all the parts aren't out on the table exploded like in the manual, but works when they are in the machine in their proper place and order, doing what they do in synch with all the other parts.
We have to understand, then, that this separation that we are describing is only something which exists in consciousness. Oneness IS, regardless of consciousness of it. But to bring something distinct out of that One and to focus or see that distinction as something apart from or "not" the One, is a causes to separation, which then becomes apartness and fragmentation. Our lives do that. We seek for wholeness, but often find the opposite. Like holiday celebrations with the family. So at some point, it then becomes the task of the eye which can only see the parts apart, to put them back together.
Now, we have to remember in the beginning, there is only a Person. Since there is no one apart to consider these things, then we cannot describe or measure this Person by a set of attributes, characteristics, or inclinations of anything which could be construed as something separate which the person is, because no matter what is thought of or described, it is still only this Person who IS. I AM. There is no separate "observer" of this Person who can give a description.
But God willed and spoke the Son, i.e. not to remain unmanifest and unknown, but to manifest, that is, to be the on-the-scene God, to be IN that which went out from Him. He saw Himself AS the Son and willed what He saw in vision to actually BE by the Word or Speaking. He willed Himself as Love by the Word to go out and demonstrate in palpable manifestatation, Himself in varieties of form and distinction. And as long as in this distinction the creature recognizes its Source and that its life is a bearer of that Source, and its "will" a reexpression of the One Will which is to forever be and manifest the Son, there is harmony even in distinction and variety of form.
But in the separation, which we call creation, many of the separated things became in perception to themselves (having been given a self-perception) as if they were not this One Person expressing in their form. This is where the "God's gamble" comes into play. They were things apart. The devil said, "I will be like the Most High," and in his, "I will," as a creature, he departed out of the One Will, having unto himself a separate will, and thus became the fountainhead of all rebellious will. The harmony or unity of oneness was disturbed. Some of the separated things wanted to go further and create their own harmony in contrast to the already existing harmony of the One in which they existed. So out of oneness and harmony, there came a separation and a disharmony in the creation, though not in God Himself, of course. Nothing changed in God. However, this disturbance affected all of creation, both animate and inanimate. We call it "the Fall."
That is the background, then, the foundation of all this that we are experiencing in this moment. It happened in the spirit realm, and became manifest in the physical realm, our realm, of time and space, i.e. separateness: time = events occurring 1-2-3 sequentially; and space = things over there apart from things over here -- distance between separate concrete things.
And again, to the separated sight, the task seems to be to fix them, to get the parts back together. (In God, Who always sees the Whole, they are not apart or separated, though distinctly existing. In us they are, through the fall, in the fragmentation and disharmony of separation.)
Of course the job is too vast, and is impossible. The separated sight can never see the whole forest. By its very nature it can only see the trees, and only a small portion of the trees, in a forest which is as vast as all creation -- infinite! So it is impossible for a sight which can only see this little teeny bit of a few trees right in front of it, to have any idea what the forest is or how it should look. It has no frame of reference. Only the One, God, can see and encompass the whole thing.
So now we come to the law. The law is like the family matriarch or patriarch at the holiday dinner who keeps stressing how everybody should be this or that, because it is Thanksgiving or Christmas. "Now we're all going to be thankful and get along, because it is Thanksgiving." "Today is Jesus' birthday, so let's all be nice to one another and remember the true meaning of Christmas."
That expectation sets up a tension, which often results in exactly the behaviors everybody is trying to avoid. People who keep telling themselves, "I'm not going to say anything because it's Christmas," find themselves telling off old Uncle Bill or Aunt Sue, Dad or Mom or Son or Daughter. Once, years ago, when my two boys were adolescents and we were at a very low point, I actually went across the dining room table, OVER it, to grab onto my 16 yr old son who was mouthing off to his mother. "DON'T TALK LIKE THAT TO YOUR MOTHER!" I screamed as I knocked the turkey and dressing onto the floor. So much for Christmas dinner and "being nice" for baby Jesus!
That is how the law is to the religious mind. Here are modes of conduct, thought, doctrine, to which one must align and assume -- put on -- in an effort to become integrated and back in synch with the Eternal God. So life often becomes for the penitent in a sense more false than it was prior to repentance (our turning back toward God). The reason that is so is because for many of us, when we were living in our own separation and thought ourselves to be just ourselves, we were comfortable in our "ownness" (just being ourselves), because we weren't trying to be anybody else. We just were. It may have been sin or darkness, but in our separation we were living in the naturalness of it, i.e., without effort.
However, in repentance we "try" to become righteous. We "put on" the law, "put on" ways of thinking, "put on" standards of conduct, etc., and the effort to become righteous, which is a right desire, makes us really good Pharisees. Getting out of Phariseeism without completely returning to the old life is maybe the hardest thing we do.
Now it is our common thing to say among us, that we don't live by a doctrine or concepts, etc., but we live by a Person Who we have "taken" into us.
But what does that mean, we don't live by doctrine, but take a Person? It is essential for most us that we have the doctrines and the concepts. God has provided the truths, which in the beginning as we begin to sort of "acquire" them, they are separated from us. We are far away (in understanding -- though hardly a breath away in truth), and the doctrines and concepts are for us God's road map back to the gates of the Garden and the flaming sword that guards the way. "The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ."
They get us back to the edge by the gate, and many camp out there and remain, but they do not get us past the gate back into the Garden. And that's where "Person" really comes in.
In the final analysis, taking the Divine Person is not complete until we take the Divine Person to be manifesting as ourselves -- minus the put-ons of self-efforts, law, proper ways of thinking, or standards of conduct. (In other words, we cannot "act" like we are righteous. We either are, or we are not. "Acting" doesn't cut the mustard!) That is why, as it says in Hebrews, that God has in these last days spoken to us by the Son.
People will think I am being anti-law or what is called antinomian, licentiousness, but I am not speaking of that. I am instead speaking of an integrated wholeness through the Son. As we take by committed faith (receive) the Son, to be integrated with and the Source of our own self-identity -- as more than just a separated "inspiration" inside us, but instead the Life Itself that constitutes our own self-life, so that the Son of God is manifest -- visible in expression -- as the Son of Man in our lives, then we find by the revelation of the Spirit that in our "taking" of Him, He has taken us.
So the Son is in a sense meaningless to us, except we be the sons in the Son. And Pharisees are not sons, except maybe sons in immaturity or concept, because to Pharisees everything is in parts and we as Pharisees become masters of partials and parts, but cannot put the parts together because they cannot be put together except in the Son, Who through the Cross is living in us, as you and as me.
The Son is THE Person in all the persons, THE Son in all the sons. All the parts quit being only parts at that point and join in a wholeness, a harmony of activity and function, all of which are simply the One expressing in diversity, yet remaining One. A body. And a body is "one" person. One part is the person's hand, another his foot, but it is all the SAME PERSON!
There is no "way" to do this. We simply ARE this, in whatever state or condition we are. We ARE HE. We make no effort to be Him, since He has joined Himself to be who we are. Therefore, we simply ARE Him. That is what it means to be a "part" in His body. He has put us where He has determined we should be, to fulfill the role He has determined. In realizing that fact, we come to the ease of being ourselves, because He has made us to be who we are, as living expressions of Him, or branches of the Vine which is Christ.
It is inordinately, fundamentally, simple. The branch on a vine simply is itself, and naturally bears the fruit of the vine.
For us, who are self-conscious, in Jesus Christ there is a relaxation in simple faith -- receptivity of the sap which flows through us according to the life of the vine of which we are a particular branch. No effort to become a branch. No standards to assume, no verses to memorize.
HE IS, and WE ARE.
2. If God is All in all then what is form (manifestation, particularization)?
So then, that (above) sounds nice and tidy, but life doesn't usually work nice and tidy. There is good and there is evil, right and wrong, and what do we do with all that? How do we deal with it?
It is a very difficult thing to say sometimes that "everything is God manifesting Himself." There are some raunchy nasty things in the world. There is great rage and darkness of sight in the world, and there are those who seem to be of it.
We know God is good, and we know God is everywhere in everything, but are we to say God IS all that? Does it matter?
There is God, and there is "form" which has come out of God, but is God the form? (Perhaps I should say what I mean by "form." I simply mean all manifestation of God which expresses God. The manifestation itself is not the Godhead, but points to the Godhead, and is the Godhead in expression, but lives as itself out of the Life of Another. It is the container or carrier of the Life, but the expression is not the Life in itself. It is a "form" or "outer shell" of the Life which is actually within and invisible.)
But back to the question, is God the form? If He is not, reason would have to conclude that He is not One, that there is God and not-God, i.e. two, or what our eastern brothers call "duality."
Well, that's where reason breaks down and the wisdom of God prevails. It is not by reason that we know this but by the revelation of the Spirit of Christ.
God "indwells" the form, but is not the form. That which constitutes our "self" is a form. It is not God. It contains or expresses the Truth or Person of the Godhead, but is not its own Source of Life. The "form" is like the wire, and the electricity is like God. A wire without electricity flowing through it is useless. To worship the form, or anything except the Invisible Living God, is to "turn out" from the Truth of Who we really are at our inner foundation, and to worship the "form," or expression, which is only an outer manifest container, or "house" of the Truth, but not the Truth itself. That is why to worship "form" in any sense is idolatry. It would be like praising the wire for being a wonderful wire, when it is the electricity in the wire that lights up our modern world. A wire without electricity flowing through it is useless.
In the Fall in the Garden, the temptation and subsequent Fall resulted in the form (Adam and Eve) turning from the Light within which enveloped them in heavenly innocence, toward the outer shell which housed them -- all in order to "become wise as gods, knowing good and evil." And therefore the self in separation or independence, which is a form separate unto itself in particularization and NOT the Universal Godhead, a shell so to speak, became our god. And anything "outer" that we worship really becomes just an extension of that foundational lie that we have swallowed in the fruit of the Tree -- whether it be a religion, or money, or sex, or power, or any other "thing" other than the Living God. Bottom line, we worship ourselves -- not knowing that a usurper moved into us and created for us a false consciousness of self independent of God and sufficient unto itself for itself, which of course is a lie of universal proportion. It upset the whole universe.
But there was a way made to get back. Since God is no form of self, or "no thing," to truly fall into God who is no form of self requires the form to give up its form to come to "nothing." Then the "form" and the "nothing" are one in cooperative loving consciousness, and the form understands its "form-hood" to be nothing but a picture of the Divine. That's a big giant death to the form. It means the form must give up everything -- all that it holds dear to itself that it stands and depends on, and go into nothingness. Jesus spoke in the gospels about giving up all you have -- and we all immediately think money, houses, cars, families, etc., but he meant even more than that. He meant OURSELVES -- that is our most precious possession. And those things about which we think of ourselves, our abilities, our efforts, our duty, our responsibility, our willingness, our "anything." Those are all "something," but we must sink down into the death of Lazarus -- dead as dead can be so that we do or are nothing -- before we can be called back into the fullness of Life. Lazarus had no more self-responsibility, no more reasoning over the truth, no will to surrender, no doctrines to uphold. In death Lazarus had, to quote my friend Burt Rosenberg, "bupkus." (Yiddish for "nothing.") That's how drastic is this lie that has overtaken us through the blindness which has been ours as a race -- and how far down it has to go to "be fixed." It must DIE and be nothing. No patching up will do. No better way of thinking. No new philosophy of life. All those are still of the "something," and there can be no "something" in us. Only Christ can effect this, can take us down with Him into the grave that far, so that we truly come to absolute zero, nothing, nada, bupkus.
Now we fight that tooth and nail, as a general rule. We must hold onto "something." It's to scary to give it all up. I must have something to hold onto. But this is the foundation of coming to understand union life. In order to have God's life functioning in us, it isn't just a matter of believing a new teaching that comes down the road. God will share His glory with no one, He says. Therefore for God's life to be living and manifest in and as our human living, the false independent self-life must be exposed and finally discarded for what it was -- a false image from the devil whereby we imagined ourselves in one way or another as having some capabilities or attributes, or could acquire them somehow, to become pleasing to God and to do His works. That is the chief falsehood that has taken the whole human race, Christian or not, whether people bring the Godhead into it or not, and it cannot stand. That is the absolute and necessary purpose of Romans seven and the confrontation with the law, to expose the this chief sin of unbelief (unbelief in God by subtle "believing" in ourselves), which sets the stage for the next phase of our lives, which is to live in freedom in His Spirit. This is a whole new life when we are, by the Spirit in us, able to forget ourselves in the midst of all that and just BE. When we live in God's IS, we forget our self-awareness and live free, away from judgment. This is what God has done. God, in taking no form of self, is only manifest as "self" in our self. Since He has made us and He is everywhere present, then He cannot abandon us.
God is this "IS," but not form. But in being IS in us, He expresses Himself in and as the form. There is no separation between God and the form. God IS in a sense the form, by being "no form," except by the form He expresses by us. Every form expresses Him; every form teaches of Him; every form carries Him in it; and He IS it in every way. God could not separate Himself from the forms. The forms, in being separate in consciousness unto themselves, in their false imaginations are separate from Him, but still He IS the form in expression. He is One. So even if a form is evil in itself by its own imagination, God, because He is love, cannot separate from the form and retreat into isolation. The form in its imagination may do so, and separation may be real to the form, but it is not real to God because HE IS, and therefore IS everywhere present, and knows every tear, every thought, every word, every deed, every joy and every sorrow -- and is in the most real sense is all of those things, though He IS "no-thing."
Scripture says He is of purer eyes than to behold evil -- and He sees all and the world is full of evil -- so how can God see all and yet not see the evil, except there be, in an ultimate sense, only He? That is, that evil exists only as a purpose of contrast, but in itself has no real separate existence, because everything lives and breathes and has its being in God -- not in separation from God -- and that the ultimate sight is to see as God sees -- to behold no evil.
And yet to be in it but not of it. That's the trickiness of God. And we learn that trickiness, too.
So that's why even though I don't want to hear of troubles, of conflict, of pain, I cannot be too pure and holy to remain aloof from it.
Everything is really only one thing. Everything is the love of God continually unfolded out into visible sight and sound, into a seemingly very crass and dirty environment, for the purpose that God might reveal Himself from and in the lowest to the highest. It is easy to see God in glory on a golden rainbowed throne. Who wouldn't be awed at that?
But only the Spirit can see God through hell and the devil, as being "purposed" by Him to accomplish all His will, "to save much people alive." (Gen 50:20) Only the Spirit can see God coming through rage and accusations. When we see that He has penetrated even there, that He has even taken Hell though Hell does not know it, then He truly is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, that He truly is Lord of All, and all, from lowest to highest, from devils to the highest angels, fall prostrate before Him, and the kingdom is given back to the Father, that He might be forever known as All in all.
This is something completely and fully inside us; this is our inner reality. Our first step was to let God in Jesus come into us and bring the love and heaven of the Father. Now, many steps later, we realize that even in hell remaining hell in our sight and the groans of this life, nevertheless He reigns there and is Lord and Master, and in every smallest particle of any part of our reality, there is the astounding abounding above-all-we-ask-or-think love of God, ruling all, filling all, conquering all. Death is swallowed up in victory!
All that to say, in all this going on with everyone of our lives, every form is God expressing Himself and is love, and is all purposed and intentionally purposed, by God and in God, for the demonstration of His redemption, protection, care, and salvation. Everything and everyone is safe in the Cross, because God is the first "self" who died to "self," (self as being some exclusive separate entity unto itself), and in dying to separation in Himself, He then is forever the hidden self in all the others (being a "nothing" to them); He is the same in those who imagine themselves to be only themselves, and the same in those who also, like God, have died to being only themselves, and join Him Who IS in all His glorious FORMS, as all things praise and magnify Him by being His continuous outworking and demonstration of love, grace and eternal reconciliation. Everything then returns inwardly in consciousness, each and every form being a perfect manifestation of one only. It IS that even if the consciousness does not know it.
3. In the Son the Oneness is complete and all separation is lost from sight.
Maybe this will help. What I was trying to get at is that in Christ all separation is done away with. Separation between God and man and between man and man is taken out, removed, in Jesus.
Jesus was able to accept invitations to eat with religious leaders -- Simon the Pharisee -- and with common fishermen -- Simon Peter -- and even tax collectors and the party crowd -- Matthew and his party buddies! When the religious people were scandalized at this, they were only reacting to a real breaking from their normal way of life. Moses had taught them that their "holiness" made them separate, and to keep their holiness, they had to keep separated. That is what holiness means -- set apart. And yet Jesus, Who IS holiness, is going in to all these outcasts as well as the accepted. I daresay He would have gone to the Roman centurion's house if the centurion had not prevented it himself. Then they would have been totally scandalized.
Yet Jesus could go into every different person's house and break bread with them -- which is symbolic of inner fellowship since all eat the same food and drink of the same wine -- he could go into those who were considered unclean and come out still clean. He could touch a dead man's body (which made one unclean by the law of Moses) and impart life to it, and not become unclean because of it. It was the same with lepers. He TOUCHED the lepers! Think on that!
We're given glimpses of Jesus eating and drinking with all these people, and it's the same Jesus in every situation. Jesus expresses no concern about getting kooties from the publicans and sinners or the fishermen. He does not hold himself aloof in his transcendent holiness as a buffer to being touched by the uncleanness. He does not separate into a separate place inside himself as a self-defensive measure to avoid being affected by the sin he encounters. He does not even do that when he is eating and conversing with the self-righteous Pharisees.
Instead He immerses Himself fully into the life that is going on. He eats with them, laughs with them, debates with them, and is, simply, one of them. He makes Himself to be no difference. He creates no separation by some appearance of being more holy or more righteous or knowing more. He IS all those things, but as He interacts with man as the Son of Man He is a man among men. Later theology would tell us that all these people, who did not know at the time what it means to be born again, were part of the domain of darkness -- and were doing the lusts of their father, the devil. But one wouldn't know that from Jesus' behavior.
This is what I mean by God having no "form of self" for Himself, but only finding selfhood in us. God, when He is Son of Man, is not aloof, alone, transcendent beyond the beyond, holding himself apart. Instead, he is like a picture I saw of myself having never actually seen "myself." Instead of holding apart in exclusivity inside myself, there is an outflow of selflife by an immersion into life -- to know and experience and not be afraid of experience, joys, sorrows, injustices, rages, questions, contradictions, and to pass judgment on none of it, except the self-righteousness that holds onto its own effort-acquired righteousness and separation of self. God cannot find a home there, because He is rejected there, being unrecognized and usurped. That is a self which holds itself in separation and exclusivity, and makes no room for God. God does not know that self because it is a falsehood. It is a lie unto itself and to everything else. It will not be a no-thing but will be a some-thing that holds onto its some-thingness, and God is only found where there is no created thing -- be it thought, word, or deed, substance, concept, imagination. God is none of that. Or at least, God is none of that as long as we hold those things as idols and forms of God to which we must bow. We find God there when we have lost ourselves and find Him as All, and in all, but not before.
Conversely, the self that knows its own inability and incompleteness, even though it may still be in separation and sin, is known of God and God dwells there in that self, leading the self outside itself (where it has retreated into isolation and aloofness) to Him Who is present in everything everywhere in fullness. When we are present in Him, having given up all separation, then we are present with Him in others in love, and have no need of fear or more isolation or more judgment, though we may feel it every day we live. It means we walk without giving into the always constant self-analysis -- "Am I doing the right thing?" -- "Is it right to get involved in this?" -- but just walk along and do as occasion stirs us. All is lawful in the Lord, and we find through trial and error what is expedient and what is not.
That is why our confession of faith, to which we encourage people, of saying by faith that we are Christ living in our forms, is a total death and annihilation of the separate self-sufficient self. That faith "taking" of Christ as ourselves is something the rational mind cannot accept, neither our own nor that of others, and that is where the death occurs. It is a death from separation and a resurrection unto oneness.