PART THREE COMING SOON
(Had to reprise Part Two as Prep for Three. This is foundational and perhaps repetitive but maybe something worthwhile in a re-read.)
Basic Truths Two –The Beginning of the Beginning: GOD
Basic Truths of Union Life in Christ Series
By Fred Pruitt
GOD is our starting place.
I. There is nothing in our human mental makeup, alone, that can have any true idea or understanding of God. The significance of realizing that, is not to point out the deficiency of man, but rather to understand that he is made that way because he has been, from the beginning, appointed to be a receiver. Father Adam did not originate anything in his Eden world, but merely participated and came to know his world by eating the fruit of the Garden and naming the animals. For me naming the animals became much more significant when I began to see how He grows us up into Himself, in consciousness. As a children’s story, it has one meaning, simply about the animals in the field, sky and water. And it is wonderful and beautiful in that meaning, and stirs something in us to long after God.
But in a more expanded adult view, we see maybe a different Adam from the one we might have imagined in the past. We are used to talking about the fallen Adam, but what of the Adam before his fall, before his Eve was taken out of him? He is the pinnacle of creation, the most wondrous being yet brought forth by the Lord God. He is God’s “Pièce de résistance,” a creature He has seen from eternity to reflect His Glory and express His Love in myriads of Sons in an unstoppable outflow of Divine Life into a universe of Love and Light through all the ages and eons, in manifested physical form. Not such a crude physicality as we have now, that requires constant care and maintenance until it runs its course in this world and dies, but a body eternal in the heavens, clothed with spiritual flesh, which is of a greater and finer quality than the flesh we have now, that even in its fallen state is nevertheless a deep and mysterious wonder on its own!
Adam is the beginning of the culmination of God’s glorious manifestation of His universe, which from its first origins groans and travails in vanity always awaiting the manifestation of not just “The Son” of God, but the Sons of God coming fully into their inheritance, which on the final day will release the universe from its bondage to vanity, and explode like a Second Big Bang, generated this time not by the sovereign act of God before there was anything, but by the Word of the Sons!
In his beginning, Adam is marvelous and magnificent in the every sense. His being radiates the Light of the Deity Who had in-breathed Himself into him, “And the Lord God … breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen 3:7). The very breath of God (His Spirit) brought him to self-consciousness, to be a “living soul,” another “i am,” out of Him Who says He is, “I AM that I AM.”
Adam was to be the Life and Light-bearer of the world; it was to be his dominion; he would be its guardian, its caretaker and developer. But more than that he was father to the human race, the very trunk of the entire human tree, with all of us who have come since, as individual branches on that same tree.
When Adam named the animals, he was bearing witness within himself to God and also to all his posterity, to the depths and heights of the limitless wonders of God in creation. It was certainly more than just thinking up words out of nowhere to call things. Where did the words come from?
Consider where he walked in his innocence and wonder, in the bright light and vivid colors of the indescribable Paradise, in which he could still clearly see the Word manifesting in each and every thing, whether earth or tree, animals, fish, or the myriads of birds in the sky. Surely when he spoke the names of the things that came across his clean and pure mind, he could only speak the only Word he heard within himself, because as he walked in the garden of Paradise he only knew one Voice.
There was only One with Whom he communed in the cool of the day. He could have only spoken out of that Voice, and so naming the animals became through God something akin to giving each individual thing life in his consciousness in distinctiveness, and real substantial being in the world.
“Yes, here, in this deer, look and consider, what hath God wrought?” Whatever primal Word he heard, it was not intellectual but a gift of the Spirit, Who was his only university. The “names” he heard inwardly formed “words” in his mouth, which he spoke at the instigation of the Lord, and blessed all the world around, while also expanding Adam in understanding, knowledge and wisdom. His naming infused himself and all the animals and the whole Garden with the life of the Spirit, both in actuality and in his own inner consciousness. What the Father had seen in invisibility, the Word had spoken it into being, and now had brought forth Adam to be its benevolent lord, to continue the speaking Word to expand creation and the wonders of God ad infinitum.
We’ll get back to Adam and Eve later in this series, but to begin to understand what it is to be in union with Christ, we need to go back to before Adam and Eve. Where all this began. In God.
II. Jesus said, “God is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24). For all practical purposes, the human mind is a wonderful instrument and capable of many glorious and complex things. Its purpose is to be God’s servant in us to express and declare the glory of God in the things of this world. But that same wonderful mind of this world cannot comprehend God. God is a “no-thing” to it. Why? Jesus said it – because God is Spirit! And even though the whole world, no, the whole cosmos, “lives and moves and has its being” in God, not one person on earth can see or perceive Him with their natural eyes, simply because He is Spirit, and spirit has no scientific detectability. One cannot “see” spirit, but only its effects. Spirit has no form, except whatever form it makes for itself to give itself expression.
Since we cannot speak of the Eternal from the point of view of the Eternal, we are able only to speak of God as if He is a “separate individual ‘being’.” We tend to think of God as somewhat like ourselves, an “individual,” set over against other “individuals.” We just think He’s the biggest and most powerful “individual” in the Universe.
But that is just the problem – God is not “an individual.” I believe we err when we take the four Hebrew letters of God’s name, rendered in English as YHWH, and take it for a “proper name,” calling Him Yahweh or Jehovah. Who of us would address Him on that first name basis? The Hebrews, the first to write the Tetragrammaton,* would not pronounce it out loud. They substituted “Adonai” (Lord) in speaking or oral reading of the scripture, which comes across to us as “Lord God.” The reason I believe we err when we think of YHWH as God’s “name” in the same sense as a distinctive human name, like Robert or Susan or Henry, is because He simply is not an “individual” like we are. It is the exact same reason the ten commandments prohibited graven images of God or gods. He has no separated “separate” existence, but instead He is “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph 4:6). (*“TheTetragrammaton” is the name given the 4 Hebrew letters.)
Where is He that I may address Him with His name? One cannot look here, or look there, because He cannot be seen. How can one (I) who only knows particularity, division or separation, i.e., a single tree in the forest, comprehend the whole forest and even beyond it?
His being encompasses something surpassing individual personhood, because the truth of the matter is that He is the spiritually organic, ontological source of all particular being. He is not only its source, but actually comprises each individual being’s inner identity, as the True Person within every created son. Understand the enormity of this truth – from the beginning until now there is only one Person, the Father, only one Self-existent, Self-sustaining, Eternal Will to love, Who bursts forth into creation and visibility in the Eternal Word. In the outspeaking of the mind of God by the Son, the Breath of God moves as Holy Spirit, Who brings into form all that the Father saw and the Son spoke.
In material things, He spoke the sun and the moon, the earth and sky, seas, lands, trees bearing fruit with seed “after their own kind,” animals and birds almost without end. He brought forth each and everyone of them individually in the Father’s wisdom and tender love. Jesus said the Father knows when a sparrow falls. How is it that this “Person,” Who is so “transcendent” (infinitely above us) because He is ALL in all,* can know the fate of a particular sparrow when it falls? Only LOVE could be that transcendent while at the same time with us on the spot in the moment, in the deepest and most personal intimacies! That is what the material things are for and what they do – “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” (Psalms 19:1). * ALL in all = Everywhere Everything (ALL) in everything everywhere (all).
But as I said above, the pinnacle was not mountains or beautiful oceans and waterfalls, glorious as all those things are. What good are they if no one is enjoying them? It’s like a line in one of my favorite films, “Five People You Meet in Heaven.” (Loved it, leave theology at the door, it’s not about that.) The line was, “What is scenery, without solace?” There’s got to be some folks.
Jesus said later on that there was a treasure a man discovered in a field, and he sold all he had to buy the field, to possess the treasure. Now I have always equated that verse’s intent as toward me, or toward some others, to point me or them in the right direction to always want to find that treasure. Something like that. A positive thing.
But some new (to me) light came. It is this. Ultimately, without negating its previous meaning, this is speaking of the Father, as the “man” who finds a treasure in a field. What field, and what treasure? The field is His own mind, His Eternal Will, His contemplation, His “counsel,” His Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding, all of which is past finding out. Way past.
What is the treasure? It is The SON as the Seed that brings forth a family of “created” eternal sons, the Son in the sons, the “many sons” brought unto glory by the captain of our salvation, a multitude that no man can number, all of whom brought through death unto life through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, for whose manifestation all creation groans and travails. The Son is the One Seed that grows up in all of us. Paul told us that each of us is a particular “form” of Christ, each of us having grown up from the one “Seed” (singular) of Abraham, which seed was described by God to Abraham to be as numerous as the stars in the sky or the dust of the earth. Just the one seed. So, same seed, same plant, Christ in us – “I am the Vine, you are the branches.” This is not poetry nor merely inspirational words. This is as basic as knowing who our mother and father are. It is even more basic, because this is of an eternal nature. One Vine = One Person, growing out in distinctive branches each of which have individual features, etc.
Consider the significance of this. It is this “man,” who sells everything he has, to buy the field, to make the treasure his. He bets the farm! The farm is the whole universe and His Son.
A few years ago I found myself sitting in a deli, waiting for my wife to get off work, having a conversation with a woman in her 70s, full of vigor and scoffing at anything spiritual, proudly proclaiming herself an atheist. I didn’t start the conversation, but was asked to join her because she knew I was some sort of “minister” (please no one ever refer to me as that), and I think she wanted to challenge me to a debate. Well, I gave up debating the truth years ago, because the truth does not need to be proved in an argument or presented by a system of apologetics. The truth is the truth, nothing up for debate. One either perceives truth as truth, or one does not. We cannot make that jump for others. All we can do is give what we have, and trust His Seed to find good soil and grow up.
After I sat down with this lady and a couple of others, another “Christian,” I realized this had already been going on for a bit. But if the moment arose, I thought I’d give it a shot and hear her out. I’ve been around a while, and years ago had many a “debate” with atheists, and as I have heard it over the years, it is pretty much always the same litany of human reason, assuming because “it” (human reason, intellect) cannot find God, then there can be no God for anyone else, either.
For a while the discussion was like a tennis match. She served and I returned, or I served and she returned, and the people on the sidelines kept moving their heads back and forth watching the ball. It was passionate, like those discussions can be, but never moved into rancor. (They can go that way, too!) Finally we were coming to a head in our discussion, and questions were swirling around in her head, until she finally blurted out, “Just Who is this God, anyway?”
I do not recall ever being asked that in all my years in Christ. Who IS God? For a moment I froze, having never addressed that issue except in a personal sense. My reason (intellect) went nuts, with all kinds of ideas and descriptions of God it could come up with, rolling and swirling around, looking for an exit. And then just sort of bubbling up from the depths, the Word came and filled my mouth (before He filled my mind), and I said,
“He is the You out of Whom you come.” (Said in first person, “He is the I out of Whom I come.”)
I think something hit her, because she quieted a moment with thought. But after a bit she shrugged it off, because I think from her point of view, too much consideration of it didn’t fit with the persona she had been wearing for a long time. No matter, I believe God will crash right through that protective firewall, and take her into His loving arms.
Even though my lady friend didn’t go very far with this at the time, I sure got a buzz! And it wasn’t from the good wine we were sharing at the table. What buzzed me, was being dumbstruck by hearing what the Spirit said, “He is the You out of Whom you come.” Not only is all humanity related to Adam because we are his offspring, so that we each individually are organically grown out of Adam, but also each of us is likewise “related” in the same way to God, except that we are more His direct offspring than Adam’s, as “spirit,” because before we were Adam’s offspring, we were God’s, even before we came into palpable existence. Again, as Paul told the unbelieving Athenians:
“ … as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” (Acts 17: 28b,29)
As I said above, God is Spirit, and He has no soul or body, except those He puts on in us as the Life in the freedom of our individual lives. And it is the Spirit reality, where through Christ His Spirit is in union with our spirits, which He fathered (Heb 12:9), that produces the image and likeness of God in and as our humanity. In Jesus Christ, what we are imaging is His Father’s Life in human form. We walk it in faith, and the Spirit is the Keeper, the Validator and the Assurance of His Word, by which Word God the Spirit, also brings everything that God the Father’s Wisdom has conceived, into form.
In short, He is the Life everywhere in everything, One Person undivided nor stretched “thin,” but One Person manifesting equally in all things everywhere. Each according to its meaning or kind. As the sun in the sky causes different flowers to grow and different trees and bushes, each of them “capturing sunlight” and turning it into energy and life in each plant, one sun, one light, in multitudinous diversity.
One Eternal Person, the Life and substance of everything, but most especially the Life and inner foundational identity of every created human son. That is the plan, and the reason for this seeming “gamble,” for betting the farm.
We’ll speak more on that in a later session. But for now, let me make a little summary.
As I was writing this, it struck me that I kept talking more about “creation” and the “sons,” than I actually talked “about” God as a subject. There is a great difficulty in talking “about” God, alone. First, He is beyond whatever our minds can conceive, so that is a problem. But secondly, and maybe more to the point, He is not known apart from His eternal manifestation. While we can throw some divine aspects and attributes out there, such as we might read in a book of theology, it’s pretty much just rote information. This Transcendent God of some theologies basically ends up very impersonal, so far above us there is no warmth between us.
As I have said many times as well as others past and present, God cannot be rationally known in an objective sense. We know Him in our hearts, inner sanctuary, and only there. If we find Him there (even if we think He came from somewhere else), then we can begin to “see Him” everywhere, because His vision of Himself and His creation becomes ours.
The real issue of this writing is this – There is only One Eternal Person, (Who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and all being and substance and finally and most importantly, personhood, resides in them alone. We cannot know this so much “objectively,” as much as we “know” by His living in us. We cannot be “one” with a theological idea or concept, but we are one with the Living God. All personages of whatever type Whom God has created, both in heaven and earth, can only be derived from or trace their Primal first source to Him Who is Above all, through all, and in all. The Son, in the Sons. The Being of all Beings.