Relationship: A Partnership of Grace
Relationship: A Partnership of Grace
Dr. Art Waeterling
For by Grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. Ephesians 2: 8, 9.
What is Grace? What does it do? Why does it exist? Where does it exist? Is Grace peculiar to God or, does it also reside in Man? Without Relationship, for what does Grace exist? Can Relationship exist without Grace? Does Grace operate outside need? Is the necessity and appearance of Grace, the result of Historical conflict? Can Grace ever run out? Can Grace be measured and to what does such depend? By faith, how much Grace do we receive when asking? How does Grace compel greater need for more? While Grace may be an Eternal Gift of God, how is it made a finite reality?
We are clearly speaking of one Gift, else Paul would have had to say “they are the gifts of God.” The Gift is Grace - not faith.
What is faith? Does God have faith? Does Man have faith? Has God created an Image requiring faith, to live? Is faith and its development a product of God, or Man? Are we reborn by faith in Divine Grace? And by faith, can God’s Grace be rejected? If by the latter we are faulted, does not the former merit boast? What is a self-centered act? Does refusing Forgiveness constitute a self-centered act? Does receiving Forgiveness constitute a self-centered act? If both are self-centered actions, of what is there left for either side to boast?
What is Salvation? From what are we saved? To what are we saved? For what are we saved? Why do some invite Forgiveness, while others walk or even run away? Why does Salvation become a hard pill to swallow? If saved, do we have relationship with the eternal Trinitarian majesty of God Is Relationship? If saved, how much of the Divine do we grasp, and, how much of God Is Relationship…Grasps us? Were there no Salvation by works, would by Grace be meaningless? What does it mean to work Salvation out, and where do we go to do it? Though faith is strictly a human development, does God Is Relationship participate in growing it? While the Divine may not give us faith, cannot God Is Relationship increase the acuity of five sensory data from which all things become new?
What is Relationship? What is Being? What is Existence? What is Flesh? What is Spirit? Apart from Relationship, what can be defined? What entities of themselves are Relationship? What is the difference between being in relationship, and, being Relationship? Without using Father, Son and Holy Spirit, can the Trinity be encapsulated in three words? What is the Image of God? If the purpose of Image reflects God Is Relationship, must not the individual human entity also be…relationship? What are the components of Man is relationship? Speaking of two partners, what is the meaning of relationship, in relationship…to relationship?
Now contemplating these Doctrines can be fruitful, but if God Is Relationship, Divine Power can only emerge as dogmas…relate. This is the discussion of our essay.
Having contemplated these questions, let us question ourselves.
- The Christian Doctrine of Trinity propounds One God of Three Eternal Manifestations – Father, Word/Son, and Holy Spirit. True or False?
- Standing alone, it is sometimes difficult to express what appears to be three gods…much less draw pictures. True or False?
- We sometimes worship the Father. We sometimes worship the Word/Son. We sometimes worship the Holy Spirit. True or False?
- God is greater than Father, Word/Son, and Holy Spirit. True or False?
- God Is Relationship Transcends between Three Eternal Manifestations. True or False?
- God Is Relationship is a Structureless Structure of Spirit. True or False?
- Only what is relationship, can Image what is relationship. True or False?
- I am…relationship. True or False?
- All Theology proceeds from the Relationship between Father, Word/Son and Holy Spirit. True or False?
- Finite relationship cannot exist without Grace. True or False?
- Finite relationship cannot exist without Faith. True or False?
- Grace is the Eternal Product of an Infinite Mind. True or False?
- To participate or not to participate – both are questions of self-preservation. True or False?
- To run from Forgiveness maintains the grip on “innocence.” True or False?
- Embracing Forgiveness means by our own self-evaluation, it is desperately needed. True or False?
- Without Forgiveness, Relationship will destroy itself. True or False?
- Forgiveness is the Eternal Product of an Infinite Mind. True or False?
- Faith is the Finite product of a divided mind. True or False?
- Before the Fall, Adam was void of faith. True or False?
- It is less a man questions the existence of Grace and Forgiveness, and more his faith to believe it. True or False?
- To believe Grace and Forgiveness exist, demands more than, “because the Bible says.” True or False?
- If Cosmic Forgiveness rests completely upon Christ’s Resurrection, proving the incident provides enough compelling Faith to Believe. True or False?
- Cosmic Forgiveness can only become viable…if it can be seen working today. True or False?
- Participation in Cosmic Forgiveness by Grace through faith, means recipients do not condemn or judge each other. True or False?
- Proof Christ arose and evidence He did not rests upon a single word – Body. True or False?
- By Grace we are saved through faith is synonymous to having forgiven ourselves. True or False?
- Christians are a most courageous bunch, for joining a Church preaching something always higher than has yet been reached. True or False?
- Christians are not quiet, neither private about their convictions…but shout it from the airwaves. True or False?
- Christians know they will eventually fail living up to the purity of their message. True or False?
- While rarely thinking failure or hypocrisy a thing of pride – Christians have the courage to risk constant legitimate accusation. True or False?
- While hypocrisy is defined as contradiction of doing and saying, impassioned prosecution is usually the result of an attitude attached to either. True or False?
- The purest field of growth can only be found, appropriating Forgiveness by Grace through faith…or another way to put it, cleansing the land with Blood. True or False?
- Forgiveness by Grace through Faith means…we’re going to need it. True or False?
- Many forgive according to the measure of personal conscious transgression, while setting an unconscious line: This far and no further. True or False?
- Forgiving atrocities beyond our own, requires we bleed. True or False?
- Forgiving another is more difficult, than forgiving ourselves. True or False?
- Guilty of the same transgression in another context, it is possible to forgive without forgiving ourselves. True or False?
- The greatest proof we have forgiven another, reveals the transgression forgiven in ourselves – we call this Redeeming the Time…and it’s not easy. True or False?
Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this Grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5: 1,2.
Literally Charisma, Thayer defines Grace as:
A favor which one receives without any merit of his own; used of the natural gift of continence, due to the grace of God as creator; deliverance from great peril to life; the economy of divine grace by which the pardon of sin and eternal salvation is appointed to sinners in consideration of the merits of Christ laid hold of by faith; extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating in the soul by the Holy Spirit; the sum of those powers requisite for the discharge of the office of an evangelist. (Greek/English Lexicon of the New Testament)
Apart from the Grace of God, Scripture is relatively silent over the issue of finite grace, and so we must deal with the obvious. Pointedly, Scripture speaks of Grace assuming human comprehension enough to empower belief…thus some form of understanding must already exist for the finite world to be addressed.
Does the finite world know forgiveness? Do we exercise life and growth through grace? And how much grace does the finite world give relative to transgression?
The answers appear as complex as the words, “Cherry Picking”.
Showing no forgiveness, Tom’s son has become the victim of a friend’s dark deed. There is no grace given, and belief the teen should be taken out and shot pervades the air. Four months later, Tom’s son is found perpetrating the same thing. Grace is given and Tom forgives his son, launching a defense.
A Judge passes lighter penalties on those that are whiter.
A daughter cries rape and parents want the pervert hanged and televised globally. Probing, the girl confesses accusation of an innocent man…because she feared her parents. She is forgiven and defense is launched.
Simply put – grace, forgiveness and pardon are, though understood – highly subjective in the finite world.
- The finite world of grace has thresholds – I can forgive anything but that...that...and that...that too…and oh yeah, best include that.
- The finite world of grace is subject to mood and time, “Yesterday I could forgive you, but in thinking about it today - cannot.”
- The greater our show of innocence in the finite world, the less grace becomes needed. “You lied to me. Do you know what this does to our relationship?” cried the yet to be discovered habitual Liar.
- In the finite world, excuses seek proof of innocence, reducing the need for grace. “I would not have lied to him, had he not lied to me first. He irrevocably influenced my transgression.”
- In the finite world, our Legal System largely puts a damper on grace with, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”
- In the finite world, grace can end. “That’s it. That’s the straw that broke the camels back. You have humped me for the last time.”
- In the finite world, power can coerce grace from fear. “Don Katcholini, of course I forgive your son for punching my boy in the face. He, he probably had it coming.”
Even so, with all our finite limitations, the world knows a taste of grace, forgiveness and pardon. Though limited, the finite world is not ignorant of autonomous sacrifice. Then too, without finite forgiving grace, literally everyone would be in lawsuits. Apart from finite grace and forgiveness, Man is relationship would wipe civilization – out. But finally, knowing the dynamics of finite grace gives room for comparison.
The Omnipresence, Omniscience and Omnipotence of Infinite Cosmic Forgiveness – best describes Eternal Grace derivative of God Is Relationship. The Eternal Conclusion to what is Seen all at once, God Is the Relationship from which finite relationship springs.
And so Sustaining all conditions of Creation, Divine Grace pervades in, through and around the finite theatre, Omnipresent to all Life.
Omniscience – or by an Eternal Glance, all possible roads taken in the finite world are Seen at once, Cradled in Divine Grace.
Omnipotence – If Eternal Grace is the Power of God…perversity cannot match it.
Now let us compare them by realizing what we know:
While finite grace and forgiveness may be seen in the world, Eternal Grace and Forgiveness IS – the Being of God. True or False?
- Were God to cease being Eternal Relationship, Divine Grace would disappear. True or False?
- While finite grace and forgiveness seek to deal with the physical world, Eternally, Grace has already filed it as Done. True or False?
- Finite grace targets the physical world, while Eternal Grace addresses the metaphysical conflict of Soul to Spirit. True or False?
- As people going to Death Row are supposedly the prime recipients of Eternal Grace, one wonders how many were Redeemed before execution. True or False?
- Finite forgiveness versus Cosmic Forgiveness – that is the question. True or False?
- Meaningless to God, chief of sinners is salient only…to the chief. True or False?
- Unlike finite forgiveness, the hook of Cosmic Forgiveness is…everyone else has forgiveness as well. True or False?
- Unlike finite forgiveness, the efficacy of Eternal Grace lies with belief…God is there. True or False?
- We cannot be picky with Eternal Grace, appropriating forgiveness here…but not there. True or False?
- Unlike finite forgiveness, Eternal Grace beckons we cease cherry-picking ourselves. True or False?
- Our first encounter with Eternal Grace was the time we were justified through it. True or False?
- Finite forgiveness or pardon escapes penalty, while from Cosmic Forgiveness…the Penalty has been Paid. True or False?
- Finite may cry need for greater forgiveness in this world, while Eternal Grace whispers, “You are Forgiven.” True or False?
- Greatest faith is needed receiving Eternal Grace for the first time. True or False?
- Greatest faith is needed forgiving our own transgression. True or False?
- Shrouded by Eternal Grace, the deeper we go into our failure, falling and sin…the greater we rise. True or False?
- Unlike finite forgiveness, Eternal Grace removes all excuse for failing to examine what lies beneath our Sin. True or False?
- While true we are by Eternal Grace Forgiven, unlike finite pardon, none will ever comprehend how much. True or False?
- The Power of Eternal Forgiveness, unlike finite grace, allows we face what is most disliked in ourselves. True or False?
- Eternal Grace allows we observe ourselves…with an infinite eye. True or False?
- The issue of Cosmic Forgiveness is not as easy a prescription as may seem, for it means even the most despicable elements of Humanity – are included. True or False?
- While a prophet exercises great faith proclaiming Cosmic Forgiveness to a City known for debauchery, like Jonah, it takes greater faith to pray they will not receive it. True or False?
- Through Eternal Grace by faith we are justified to work what has been freely received – out. True or False?
- Failing to receive Eternal Grace correlates to the Courage to use it. True or False?
- Eternal Grace touches every remote corner, closet or grave in our lives, dispelling fear and compelling – the Courage to Be. True or False?
Calling attention once again to our passages in Romans:
Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this Grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5: 1, 2.
Quite a conundrum is it not? To get to Grace we must go through Jesus Christ, but to get to Jesus Christ, we must go through Grace. About the only way to resolve this dilemma…would meet both Grace and Christ – at the same time.
Doubtful anyone ever saw the resurrected Body of Christ, that did not become justified by faith through Grace…though little faith was necessary. The resurrected Body proved the words of Christ True. But proof Eternal Grace works can only be found as justification brings forth enough Peace for relationship, with Eternal Relationship.
But lest getting too cocky about free Grace and Forgiveness, if received, we have signed up for a life of unending spiritual work.
We are justified to look into the eyes of what is feared most. We are justified to assign our repressions to God’s light. We are justified…to remember. We are justified to dig up what has been buried deep, without stone or marker. We are justified to be greater self-critics, than our enemy’s accusations. We are justified to reach, no matter how many times we fail. And by seeking our own impurity, we are justified bringing light. Indeed, we are justified to work out – what has freely been given.
Standing on Eternal Grace, we exult in hope of God’s Glory.
Perhaps metaphorically we can perceive free Eternal Grace and Forgiveness as likened to a man awakening one day to all the lumber, drywall, windows, plumbing, electric, steel, cement, roofing, paint, with all the tools necessary to build – a Temple. Coming with the package, we are instructed to “With unlimited time, do whatever it takes to build it.”
Now, it’s not like we are alone in this task…if our Partner is Christ. Eternal Grace has become our Partner, providing Power to elect the spiritual real estate of a Kingdom. A Partnership – such an obvious conclusion considering relationship, in relationship with God Is Relationship. And then there’s our Partnership with Forgiveness. “With unlimited time, do whatever it takes to build it.”
Ever try going on a vacation with Christ? It’s a real…honest trip. You can’t lie, exaggerate or even omit the truth. There are neither accidents nor excuses – and fictional stories told to make you look good are – out. Oh, you can try a few, but His only response will be those peaceful silent eyes and smile quietly questioning such obvious facades.
Partnership with Christ transforms Eternal Grace from a metaphysical Fact – to Relationship…and a rather unpredictable One at that.
See, in Partnership with Christ, Eternal Grace as Relationship tends to light up dark corners preferred not seen; calls attention to closeted skeletons turning to dust; with the sudden appearance of markers reading “Dig Here.”
The Mystery of Grace is not from hence the Gift comes, for we know Eternal Forgiveness proceeds from God Is Relationship. The Mystery of Grace is the next slice of ourselves we are given. The Mystery will always be “Whew, never saw that coming…or did I?” Or, “I already have a full plate. Why this? Why now?”
Well, off hand I can think of several possibilities. Sometimes we may need the appropriation of Grace to this…before that. Then too, we tend being slow appropriating Grace to what we know, compared to the sudden appearance of what we do not. But it is worthy to note after a while… the dots can be connected as the Question becomes the Answer.
For God is able to make all Grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, “He scattered abroad; He gave to the poor; His righteousness abides forever.” (2 Corinthians 9: 8, 9)
As a general rule, we give the amount of grace we have received. Forgiveness according to the severity of transgression, determines the Grace we have sufficiently received. What is the meaning behind “He who has been Forgiven much, much shall be expected?” Bottom line seems to be, “Those Forgiven the severest of Sin, can forgive almost anybody.”
A Partnership with Grace means far more than Forgiveness of an act or actions. The actions have history…from the last transgression to the first, and Grace is needed every step of the way. Like a bubble of light surrounded by darkness, we are forgiven the worst of ourselves to find the road out. Our Partnership has replenished the candle, and together through Grace we step until light advances direction.
Though revealing and indicting, the task simply appropriates what we know, to what moving into Darkness was forgotten. Into every situation of sin and darkness, drop in God Is Relationship and the numerous implications reveal…things that reveal – and there is Light. In Partnership with Grace, we explore motive, means and opportunity as God Is Relationship once faded. Step by step, the lessons of Sin are revealed and through Grace, received and understood.
But perhaps there is an important compelling power attached to Grace that is frequently overlooked. Simply put: What was considered the very worst of it all – has been Forgiven. The sojourn does not move forward toward an atrocity of transgression, hoping to find forgiveness at an abhorred end. The sojourn moves away to find the cause. As greatest Darkness becomes greatest Light, Grace and Forgiveness must spread abroad…as many we may never know, are touched.
Our verse teaches clearly Grace does not abound unless used. But this called out a minor problem needy enough to mention.
And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, Grace abounded all the more that, as sin reigned in death, even so Grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that Grace might increase? May it never be. How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 5:20 – 6:2)
Paul makes two observations of those calling upon Grace. One uses Grace to discover greatest light from darkness, and the other to continue sliding away from light.
Humorous really, only Man can harness an infinite principle to make a finite buck…or another way to put it – Premeditated Sin. Considering Mia Culpa, Enigma depicts by song and dance – premeditated sin…asking forgiveness before the act.
But Paul does not approach such atrocity without first describing the true work of Grace that might reign through righteousness – Postmeditated sin. Not so bad. It’s the might part of it that partners us with Grace. It’s the fact that we may fall to deepest darkness – before seeing the light of our profession. For this is the task of Grace – resurrection after resurrection…after resurrection.
Paul is also clear to say we cannot die and continue to live in sin using Grace as a theological excuse, without contradicting the Nature of what is professed. Descending further, it makes Grace responsible for the Sin it forgives – to the power of zero.
But lest we be too hasty, the question may not be as cut and dry as it seems.
What about any plot to kill Adolph Hitler, Osama Bin Laden or your mother-in-law?
How about lying about the Jew in the Attic? How about bombing Abortion Clinics, or assassinating the doctors that perform them? And how about freedom of speech promoting lies for political agendas? How many call upon the Grace of God to fulfill the results of their calling?
I think we need draw distinction between finding ourselves in situations exposing perhaps strong temptation to fall, or, compromise the distance and, in the name of God, causing the temptations in the first place. Of these scenarios, the Nature and Purpose of Grace can only be found but one place – as Forgiveness resonates where needed.
Ironically, it is superfluous to think by Grace through faith we embrace further sin – as if without this, we do not as effectively transgress. If anything, History shows us this is so…a sad but humorous fact.
But the question becomes somewhat moot, for to premeditate sin is to already be in darkness…still needing an introduction to Forgiveness.
But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have Faith to the preserving of the soul. Now Faith is the spiritual substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained repute. By Faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. And without Faith is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 10:39 – 11:1-3, 6)
And He has said to me, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12: 9, 10).
Does God have Faith? Does God need Faith?
Speak to me of God the Father, Word and Holy Spirit Omniscient to paths of all things, my answer is No – if all beginnings, middle and endings are seen at once. Father, Word, Holy Spirit – there is no such thing as Hope with God. God does not Hope. God IS Hope. And when it comes to things not seen – Father, Word, Holy Spirit…Omnipresence…do the math. If without Hope all is Seen, Faith drops out of Father, Word, Holy Spirit – like an eternal unnecessary season. Father, Word, Holy Spirit – we call the Transcendence of God Is Relationship.
On the other hand, speak to me of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we discuss Jesus as subject to all finite feeling, emotion, strength, weakness, temptation…and relationship mano-y-mano…face to face. An Incarnation instantly transforming all perception to the five senses, created immediate need for Faith. An Incarnation relative to Father and Spirit – suddenly requires continuance Faith.
Jesus was no wallflower on Faith, conspicuously making the Human substance of things hoped for, a regular part of his vocabulary.
Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt?
In all Israel, I have not seen such Faith. Return home. The child will be healed.
Your Faith has healed you. Go and sin no more.
Because you have seen, you have believed. Blessed are those believing without sight.
Jesus could Feel…Faith – Who touched me. Someone touched me as the crowd pressed on.
By Faith, greater works than these shall you do.
Where’s your Faith? What happened to your Faith? If you had the Faith of a mustard seed – you could move mountains.
By Faith the Son’s Relationship to Father and Spirit never Severed, and by Faith, neither did the Son’s relationship to Man. Some may say the crucifixion was a good indication Man killed the relationship, and spiritually, when the Father turned away.
I suppose they would be correct, unless by Faith, the Christ held on to both Man and Father…when He Died. Father, Son and Holy Spirit – incarnates to Body, Soul and Spirit. Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the First, Born perfect Image of God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit – we call Incarnation the Immanence of God.
And so does God have Faith? Does God need Faith? From a Transcendent View – the answer is still No. From an Immanent point of view, the answer is Yes.
But perhaps we should ask, “Do Transcendence and Immanence Know Faith?” Obviously Yes, for as the Lamb slain before the Foundation of the world, Immanence rests inside Transcendence.
Faith is a matter reserved as a human event. Unique to Man, Faith allows simultaneous connection to spirit, soul and body…relative to inside and out.
By Faith, man receives the words “I love you.” And whether spoken right or wrong, by Faith we make our vows. By Faith we reach for vocation and embrace relocation. By Faith we launch investments in business, education and hobby. By Faith we ask someone out for the first time, and by Faith big time, initiate a first kiss…ever. All speak of Faith, relative to outside.
On the other hand, though going down in flaming devastation, by Faith Man, like the phoenix…can rise. By Faith we give our lives to causes made our own. By Faith our priorities both settle and change. And let us not forget the fear and trembling from which by Faith, salvation is worked out. By Faith dare we ask, “Which takes the greatest commodity - facing the World or ourselves?” Offhand I would say whichever situation requires greatest draw off Faith’s Partner…Grace, for we speak of Faith relative to the mountains inside ourselves.
The Role of God in Faith
If Faith is unique to Man, if any, what role does God play developing the substance of things not seen? We have seen Grace the direct product of God Is Relationship, eternally offered to Man is relationship. Simply put: Created by God, our existence presupposes Grace.
We have also seen without the Incarnation, Faith would be completely absent in God. Yet, even under such point of view, are we to say God would supply nothing for the faith of Man to grow? Considering Natural or General Revelation of the Word provides occasions of Faith, by five senses Man is compelled to leap beyond the substance of seen, to what is not.
On the other hand, when God Is Relationship becomes Man is relationship, in relationship to man is relationship, we have seen how Jesus compels Faith to stretch from inside – out.
Now, talk about cutting Man a Break? All Man knows seeks relationship to the Father – at least enough to see God with the five senses. “Show us the Father and we will believe thee.” (John 14:6)
Strange as it may seem, I sometimes feel we misinterpret Jesus’ reply, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Those are pretty strong words, coming from a Man. Obviously, Jesus was not saying He was the Father. So let’s put it another way, “By Faith, if you have seen me, you have seen the Perfection of Relationship to the Father…and let your five senses have a go at that.”
Many kinds of miraculous works included in that statement, but bottom line, Jesus adds, “By Faith, greater works than these will you do.” Greater works than walking on water, and resuscitating the dead? Greater works than calming a storm or changing water to wine? Greater works than cleansing the leper or giving the blind sight?
If this is what Jesus meant by greater works than these, exactly what kind of works might he be talking about?
To answer this question, we need ask a few others. Is there a difference between the Faith of Jesus, and the faith of Man? If Man can by faith go beyond the miracles of Jesus, did the Messiah by Faith hold back? Perhaps. But maybe there is another answer. Are there things the faith of Man can do, that the Faith of Jesus cannot?
By Faith the Messiah gives Cosmic Forgiveness, taking away our Sin…but by faith, we have to appropriate the Work in partnership with Grace.
By faith in partnership with Grace, we must face our imperfection and sin, while by Faith as Grace, the Messiah bought us the privilege.
By faith in partnership with Grace we work toward perfecting imperfection, while by Faith, Jesus is the Object.
Is there a difference between Perfect Faith, and imperfect faith? Perhaps there is which in turn may answer our question.
For there were some things the God/Man could not do: (a) He could not address His own Imperfection; (b) He could not Face His Sin; (c) He could not appropriate His Work, to Himself.
It stands a likely conclusion, the constitution of what Jesus could not do, comprised by faith the greater works of man. Essentially Jesus is saying, “There is nothing greater than appropriating my work.”
There is nothing greater than appropriating My Forgiveness to what you cannot forgive in yourself.
There is nothing greater than finding in yourselves, what is detested in others.
There is nothing greater than embracing Grace.
There is nothing Greater than Sacrifice.
There is nothing Greater than forgiving others as we have been Forgiven.
There is nothing greater than faith that Grows.
Simply put, we can walk water and resuscitate the dead; heal the sick and open blind eyes; make the paralyzed whole and cleanse lepers; change water to vintage wine and ride wild asses – but the greatest work leaps into the heart of our Fire.
Positioned betwixt soul/body and spirit, so our partnership of Grace/faith stands liaison to transformation of thought and consequent feeling…changing the nature of perception and deed. Simply put: There is nothing greater than faith/Grace, standing in the middle of what looks and feels like – our own eternal mess.
And so as humans will superlatively do – we can see quite a few “nothing greater” as we do the math. The question therefore remains: What is greatest…of nothing greater? Only one thing really, and perhaps put into the words of Jesus, “By faith/Grace, work out whatever it takes to become as I Am.”
Now, this is an Impossible Task – for none of us will ever say, “Ahhh, my last leap and I’m finally there.” We will never cross the finish line of a last race. And though in attitude more than reality, we will never say, “Knowing it all, I cannot grow.”
If therefore it is impossible, to what direction can faith/Grace effectively go? In very fact, why bother leaping to our muck at all, when greatest hope lay in an impossible task of becoming as Christ? Our only conclusion rests in the continuance of what must exist – in relationship to ourselves and a Task that is impossible.
A Christian can never say he reached the Purity of anything to which faith/Grace leaps, which is the point. Yet, the Christian can say each leap brings a closer relationship to Perfection eternally compelling the Walk of faith - continually reaching.
For the true Christian testimony does not bear medals of races won but in the substance of relationship through deeds, or the results of thought and feeling. As such the Christian by faith/Grace walks into the heart of scrutinizing fire, bearing in relationship any testimony of past victory.
But there is something else the true Christian brings, or a sense of humility acknowledging a finished moment…portraying how far we have to go.
Suddenly something has been added to the testimonies of hidden spiritual victory as by faith/Grace, weakness and vulnerability open to strength and courage, publicly sharing light hidden in darkness.
For by faith/Grace, we are testimony to the perfection we can never reach. In our own self-analysis, by faith/Grace we will always and forever be imperfect to Perfection compelling incessant reach. On the other hand, by faith/Grace we are the Perfect Imperfection. Why?
While bringing what we have become to any relationship, Perfect Imperfection testifies to what over time, we seek and are becoming. From testimony showing work that has been done, Perfect Imperfection reveals the work we are doing. As Perfect Imperfections, we can be a testimony of growth and change…while the substance of what is not seen – appears.
And so by the work of Christ we are sent to deliver, as did Jesus, compelling challenge to embrace faith/Grace. For it is not by debating the existence of a Partnership that will bring about change, though understanding may be reinforced.
How shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “”How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things.” However, they did not all heed the glad tidings: for Isaiah says “Lord, who has believed our report?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing, by the word of Christ. (Romans 10: 14 – 17)
Our verses appear to put the vortex spreading a reality of faith/Grace - upon the Preacher. But is the issue “preacher” or, what is preached? Is it the preacher, or the substance of what by faith/Grace speaks, that determines a rise of belief? Are we speaking here of a preacher having to defend glad tidings of good things? Must glad tidings of good things be proven?
Of course they do, if faith/Grace is to multiply. But does such Joy and Gladness rest on impassioned belief in myth and fairy tale? Prove it all true, and we will believe thee.
The result is exactly the opposite of what we seek, for in reality, the request bespeaks what would require little to no faith.
For in the end our bottom line will not rest upon the veracity of propositional truth, though speech be prepositional. For the value of a preacher does not address grandiose freedom of speech, but how much of what is spoken…are the words of Christ.
Yet, though a preacher speaks the words of Christ, to what can we distinguish…should he not? Simply put, when preaching becomes confessional, we hear the words of Christ.
For the world is in fact not as interested in proving “faith” or “Grace” – but can the relationship of a propositional Partnership…work. The proof…as with Christ, is in the Flesh.
Two thousand years ago they had to see a raised Body. Today the World asks for nothing more...or less. But if returning to “greater works than these” will be our portion, dare we ask which takes greatest faith? For Jesus to rise from the Dead or – knitting the hearts of 100,000 people to a single communion of Flesh and Blood, joined by a Single Spiritual Mind?
Now on the down side such a phenomenon has yet to be seen – much less if we go to a communion of 10 million. But on the up side, three or more is a great beginning.
David…he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, neither did His flesh suffer decay. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. (Acts 2: 31, 32
But what does it say? “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” – that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10: 8,9)
Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified. Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:36 – 38)
Salvation, or literally Soteria:
Deliverance, preservation, safety from the molestation of enemies; that which conduces to the soul’s safety; instruction concerning that salvation which John the Baptist foretold; the present possession of all true Christians; bestowed on us while belonging to God. (Thayer, pp. 612, 613)
If Salvation is free, it would seem we nevertheless have a lot to do before being saved – does it not?
- We must proclaim with our mouth Jesus as Lord.
- We must believe in our hearts God raised Him from the Dead.
- We must repent.
- We must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
- We must receive forgiveness.
- We must receive the gift…of Grace.
Lots and lots of work, for something free or so it appears. On the other hand, if we are introduced to Salvation because of our works, exactly what kind of labor might that be, and, can such be seen accomplishments of righteousness?
Is it a work of righteousness to believe the spoken word of someone else? Not if we say a work of righteousness springs from what is already believed. We believe it? We do well, and so does Satan. But as for Works of righteousness…we have yet to see them transpire.
Or is it a work of righteousness to be compelled and inspired by a confessional experience of another?
And is it a work of righteousness to be invaded by confessional preaching?
Yet while the above is sufficient to make our point, is it a work of righteousness – to be pierced to the heart?
Repentance, i.e. pierced to the heart or center of something highly sensitive and vulnerable, we at all costs have or are in process of adding to the depth of our abyss. Pierced to the heart means reaching emotions we have denied. Pierced to the heart means flashbacks become our present. Pierced to the heart means discovering our influence on what we missed or long forgotten. And pierced to the heart means daring to recognize and acknowledge – what we remember.
For if Acts 2 shows us anything about Salvation, the apex rests with the perfect illustration of confessional preaching in all the splendor of simplicity. A narrative spoken from experience…a Partnership of faith/Grace rests upon an historical foundation of which…we are witnesses.
There is no apologetic here – though certainly speaking to Jews, identifying Jesus as Messiah could have surely enticed a Defense of Faith. No need, apart from the simplicity of the historical record framed in the experience of a confessional preacher…speaking Truth from God Is Relationship.
They could have walked away. They could have thrown stones. Or they could have challenged Peter to a debate on the spot. All these options easier…than facing Repentance. Let’s put it out there where it belongs – we do not awaken each day…looking forward to being pierced.
As a general rule, we can always tell confessional preaching as the words of Christ, when 300 people fall to their knees crying, “Men and Brethren…what are we to do?”
And lest we label this some radical display of a sudden change of mind, remember to whom was Peter’s address? These are the Jews who screamed, “Give us Barabbas.” Participants in the crucifixion of Jesus, they put Innocence to Death.
But the coals pile higher, for they put their Messiah to Death. I would not be surprised at fleeting thoughts of some, “Well after what we did to Him, He should be raised from the Dead…God help us.”
For Peter pulled no punches, simply speaking the confessional Truth, “That this Jesus whom you crucified, God has raised up from the Dead.” Nothing here seeking to increase Guilt. No need, but the Truth shall set you free.”
It is safe to say Repentance invades us anywhere…from drunken parties to a simple conversation or church pew. In point of fact, if there be any commodity of work attributed Man, it would fall on the side of efforts seeking escape from being pierced.
Repentance is not something we choose, unless overshadowed by a stage compelling release of the heart. Under the perfection of such conditions – like it or not, Repentance cannot be stopped, anymore than tears that follow.
Repentance may best be described a sudden invasion of mind shock from thought, usually accompanied by convicting pictures; piercing the heart with guilt; trepidation, and embattled denial of feeling and emotion…until captured by the power of what we fight not to see.
Repentance presents itself on stages we cannot predict, particularly if by design or happenstance one thing presents an essence not found in all others.
Pierced to the Heart means Repentance and the Stage from which it springs are inseparable. For by the word that is nigh thee, both in your heart and in your mouth – are the reasons we are swept to a state of Repentance.
Simply put, it is because of the Death and Resurrection of Christ we are repenting – meaning they are already in the heart…else there would be none.
And so both Paul and Peter calling for Confession – ask the same thing.
Peter went to baptism – likely from a Stage having access to water. Water Baptism is Christianity’s signature action of Confession, depicting “Buried with Him, so we rise captured, by a heart of belief.”
For Peter, Water Baptism appears to have provided two things with one dunk. Primarily, we publicly confess our death and resurrection in Jesus Christ. But Water Baptism also denotes a public confession aligning religious and political allegiance to the Body of Christ. The phrase, “And they added 300 that day,” suggests consideration.
But Peter goes on to say by such Confession, we have the right to embrace Forgiveness, and an introduction to Grace. The last element necessary to our relationship with God, we are now afforded opportunity to spiritually evolve into Partnership.
On the other hand, for Paul, Confession by mouth will do just fine. Quite different from Peter, the Stages of Paul were itinerant to a missionary agenda. In other words, chained to another in a dungeon of Rome, Confession by Water Baptism could very well hold an experience of Salvation back, until finding enough water and public.
But Paul adds clarity to this process by which we meet God for the first time. He first says from the Heart comes works of righteousness – meaning no pretense connected to our deeds. This is not something we plan or think about – for from the heart, righteousness is innocent to what comes forth.
Yet while Peter calls on Baptism and Paul, Confession with the mouth, does not such explication constitute a work of Man? And why is Salvation predicated upon Confession?
We have spoken of the Cycles of Flesh and Spirit in terms of Thought, Feeling and Deed, spawning Thought, Feeling and Deed. Thoughts focused on the Flesh incense feeling to further Lust as deeds, following suit, reinforce another turn in the Cycle… continuing to spin until confronted by Salvation.
For if by a change of Mind we have been pierced to the heart, Thought and Feeling must compel completion of the Spiritual Invasion.
Confession is the first deed completing the first Cycle of Spirit from which Salvation proceeds.
This brings us back to the question, “Is Confession, a work of Man?” Well, that may be one way to look at it. But when we say Confession is a work of Repentance, our state of remorse carries dependence upon something to which we have little control.
So then my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may have cause to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. (Philippians 2: 12 – 16)
And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is not darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we made Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:5 – 10))
We have been contemplating Salvation and the development of Partnership with faith/Grace. Looked at in terms of God Is Relationship – Man’s Salvation is simply a “Done Deal.” On the other side, when looked upon in terms of Man is relationship, Salvation is a state of faith/Grace, challenged to “work it out.”
Though Salvation is of God, it means nothing but a momentary wisp to Man is relationship…unless the challenge is met.
We are neither Perfect nor imperfect, but a perfect imperfection placed by Salvation to stand – between Darkness and Light. Without perfect imperfection, faith/Grace simply put… is unemployed. By giving us the first Cycle of Spirit, Salvation also provides temptation to cross…before which there was no Cycle apart from the one we were in.
The work is perhaps more subtle than not, for ease with which focus can be thrown off. For while working out Salvation commonly falls to specific situations of temptation, does resisting enticement mean successfully passing by what compels… an embrace? To a large extent – most definitely.
We must give plaudits to people consciously passing temptation by. The question is: How much thought do we give to what if – we had not? Or how much feeling emerges from Fantasy? Beware – for whether in Darkness or Light, the presence of one is under development in the other.
The Apostle is highly sensitive to this situation, and speaks in terms clearly defining faith/Grace, Forgiveness, Light/Darkness, and what for the moment exists inside us, as determined by Confession, or the first deed solidifying the new Cycle – Darkness or Light.
For if we say; for if we say; for if we say – we identify the Cycle into which we have moved. But moving further into the problems encountered working out, John elaborates the kinds of Darkness we can enter.
- If saying we have Fellowship with Him while walking in Darkness – we lie and do not practice the truth.
- If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
- If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a Liar and His word is not in us.
Yet John does not by any means say, “If you’re here or there – it’s over.” Not at all.
- But if we walk in the light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with the
other, for the Blood of Jesus Christ, keeps on cleansing (literal Greek) from all sin.
b/c. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us, and cleanse us from
Working out Salvation means we are in Process of realizing the scope to what we have been saved. Working out Salvation means each moment of darkness and sin are lessons increasing the value of wisdom with knowledge of each fall. Working out Salvation means Repentance and Confession join the continuing Partnership of faith/Grace.
Summarily, perhaps the greatest appeal of Salvation is…No Waste. Seeking to put our best foot forward, lives are defined by what we show…and hide, eventually spawning the Question, “Which percentage is higher by self-definition?”
No matter how we cut it, the answer will determine measures of worth folded into esteem.
Now on a normal sunny day, we define ourselves according to what we plan to show. But we also show ourselves, according to what we hide – cloudy, with patches of sun. After all, no one will know what is hidden, and I will continue putting my best face forward – thunder, lightning and hail the size of snowballs.
At any age, the question is, “How much of ourselves did we have to hide, in order to show what at most is superior, and at least acceptable?” But in the end, there will never be a moment of satisfaction with percentages, for we are the reason they are indicting.
Using the reader’s age, how much has been collectively hidden to compete and survive? How much of what we do not show has been deemed waste? How much of what shames us has been buried and forgotten? How much failure do we show, vis a vis how much success? How much strength and how much weakness? Standing at this moment, how much of ourselves have we dumped – the worthless refuse of our lives.
Then too we face the issue of energy, or how much effort does it take to show, in lieu of what it takes to hide the worthless? What we show begins appearing a stature that carries a mountain.
Seems like the only solution to this tragedy might be if in some way, what has been deemed waste can be made valuable. As it happens, by faith/Grace/Repentance and Confession, working out Salvation changes garbage to treasure…and perfect imperfection lights the world.
Psychologically, Relationship appears best defined as:
The qualities or properties of parts of a whole depending upon the relationship to each other, and to the whole of which they are parts.
Learning to respond to two stimuli based on the relation between them (for example, pick the darker stimulus) rather than responding to the absolute features of one, or both, stimuli.
In general, a connection or relation between two or more phenomena (for example, objects, events, persons).
The working of two eyes or ears in harmony with one another, leading to greater information than with either alone. (Corsini, The Dictionary of Psychology)
Nothing exists that is not in Relationship, though life can be experienced as if it is not so.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18 - 20)
Few live without some recognition of Relationship, though we tend to cherry pick where to find it. Stone to stone gives us Geology. The structure of Man gives us Anatomy and Physiology. The Stars yield Astronomy. And Relationship between Wall Street and Main Street seek paving streets of gold with Economics. The entire political process of any Nation gives us Political Science. Elements mingled give us Chemistry.
Nothing exists that is not in Relationship, meaning we are ultimately connected to all things - physically expressing invisible attributes; eternal power and the divine nature of spiritual relationship. Correlatively, relationship describes rather than defines, proceeding to Define…what is Described.
Of significance, when Man is relationship is in relationship to God Is Relationship – the Principles of Relationship can be clearly seen…to overlap.
For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not wish to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good.
So no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
For the good that I wish I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
Wretched man that I am. Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh, the law of sin. (Romans 7:14 – 25)
Nothing exists that is not in Relationship, including Relationship to which Being can theoretically stand alone, and BE Relationship. It is highly suggested the reader review the Trinity Lectures before continuing.
Now may the God of Peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…teaching them to observe all I have commanded, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of time. (Matthew 28: 19, 20)
By the Firstborn Image, God Is Relationship became the God/Man. Through Jesus Christ, Man is relationship becomes defined by relationship… to God Is Relationship.
Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
And 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 and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.
For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say whether things on earth or things in heaven.
And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. (Colossians 1: 12 – 22)
Unlike Adam, Jesus was First – a Relationship born in perfect balance between God and Man. An evolution of Body, Soul and Spirit, by faith, Grace, Repentance and Confession, from rebirth Salvation transforms a human mind of thought…to conscious awareness of Two. By targeting Relationship to the Second Adam, perfect imperfection continues working out the infinite implications of what it means…to Shine.
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and though all and in all. But to each one of us Grace was given, according to the measure of Christ’s gift…until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of this stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:1-7, 13)
Prior to experience of Salvation, Repentance was triggered from the urgency of a finite mind, catalyzed by a temporal Stage. After Salvation, from the Mind of Christ Repentance is triggered by sights from a Stage of Spirit – or the breadth, length, height and depth of anything.
Prior to Salvation, our experience of Grace was to Transcendence, or Cosmic Forgiveness. After Salvation, our experience turns to Immanence, or forgiveness.
Prior to Salvation, Repentance is directed toward finding God. After Salvation, Repentance comes from having found Him.
Prior to Salvation, Repentance and Forgiveness apply generally to the Gestalt of Man, while after, examines and scrutinizes the parts…that the love of Christ surpassing knowledge may fill us with the waters of each.
Man and God, entities defined as relationship/Relationship…in relationship to each other.
Well, we know Man is relationship defines Body, Soul and Spirit; and, we know God Is Relationship defines Father, Word/Son, Holy Spirit…but what defines a Relationship to the other?
Specifically, what exists between Man is relationship, and God Is Relationship…overlap - and from immanence, transcend to Principles of Relationship held common to both.
For we cannot escape Paul’s description of a walk expressing: faith, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, love, peace and faithfulness – from one God and Father of all who is over all, and through all and in all.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5: 22, 23)
Apart from Relationship, none of the Fruit exist. So let us begin according to what we are.
God Is Relationship should be easy enough, for the Fruit of Spirit…is what the Eternal God Is.
God is Love – Eternal Union of Father, Word/Son, Holy Spirit…and Life a Divine Concerto of Eternal Resonance.
God is Joy – for it was the Father’s good pleasure all fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself…Eternally
God is Peace - having made Peace through the blood of the cross…Eternally.
God is Patience – Eternal Timelessness in Time. For these times of ignorance, God winked at, but now commands all to Repent.
God is Kindness – Eternal Forgiveness before the Creation of Man.
God is Goodness – From Eternity to Eternity, an immutable Motive for the Salvation of Man.
God is Gentleness – The Eternal Power of Sensitivity to Compel and Evoke.
But this Fruit requires a bit more exploration – for 7 might be seen as Milk-toast of the Nine. Perhaps we need to look at meekness and gentleness another way.
From meekness and gentleness come the Fruit of Humility.
From meekness and gentleness, message sent is determined by how what goes out…may be received.
From meekness and gentleness – righteous service springs from sensitivity to oneself.
And from meekness and gentleness we say, “Approach without risk.”
From meekness and gentleness, Fear is reduced on both or many sides…the more sensitivity is introduced.
From meekness and gentleness, disagreeable words softy spoken with an ounce of sensitivity, may indeed stand a chance at turning away wrath.
But let us not mistake gentleness for a Fruit never standing in the way of disreputable actions. For as we look at the History of God in Relationship to Man, it would seem the great Heilsgeishcte Events had significant amounts of persuasive time, progressively increasing the power of Divine Nudge.
And so we are brought an ultimate question: How much meekness, gentleness and sensitivity were presented to Man, before each occurrence?
Fortunately, the History of Man shows the power of Gentleness at a glance…with Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela as prime examples. And how long can dictators endure peaceful, or gentle protests before firing on the crowd? By the Fruit of Gentleness and Meekness, assault violates Innocence before the World.
For by the Perfect Power of Sensitivity to Compel and Evoke – the Meek shall inherit the Earth.
God is Faithfulness – Eternal Immutability
God is Control – Eternally embraced at once, nothing can be out of control; that at the name of the Lamb before the Foundation of the World, every knee shall bow and tongue confess to the Glory of God the Father…His Lordship.
Innocence, and the Adamic Relationship
Man is Love – Adamic Union of Body, Soul and Spirit, Innocence was consciousness by pure Relationship.
Man is Joy – The Joy of Innocence comes as compelling curiosity assuages into the next.
Man is Peace – No Fear as taking in and giving out reside within an infinite moment…moment by moment.
Man is Patience – Innocence finds each moment as significant as the last.
Man is Kind – Innocence cannot imagine less – for Innocence…does not know it exists.
Man is Goodness – Innocence enjoys perfect Union of thought, word and deed…spirit, soul and body, compelled by the single emotion of Curiosity.
Man is Gentleness – Humility gives Innocence the power to ask forbidden questions…from pure curiosity needing to understand.
Man is Faithfulness – In the Matrix of “each moment as good or slightly better than the last,” Innocence has nothing to be Faithful about.
Man is Self-Control – Innocence has yet to discover the concept of “self,” and, apart from Living infinite moment to infinite moment, the need for control has yet to spawn the word. A dynasty of pure relationship; the perfect balance of soul to spirit; reason to passion; a singularity of thought, feeling and deed – what stands before us is…The Image of God.
Fallen Man – The Rise of Autonomy
From two Greek words: autos (self) nomos (named) – Self – governing; the subjection of human will to its own laws, independently of God (Kant).
Does the existence of The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, along with a Divine Stipulation of “Do Not Touch”, bring Temptation to this pure space of Adamic Innocence? Does insatiable curiosity for knowledge define a perfect lust of Adamic Innocence? Must the forbidden fruit be picked before autonomy begins? And what of the serpent, temptation and Eve?
I suppose it depends on how we run the story – but no matter how diminuated or elaborate…it is a sojourn to Knowledge creating a Self, distinct from everything else. It is a journey into the power of Choice, on asphalt highways under strength of our own construction. Self – made laboratories putting out assembly lines of different masks achieving repute, we ride into a sunrise of hiding and showing.
The Rise of autonomy begins as Adamic Innocence is tempted to ask, “why?” This began in the Garden created by God, including the Forbidden Fruit of a Tree called Knowledge of Good and Evil. Ever wonder what happens to the lust of curiosity, observing animals partaking Forbidden Fruit – with no disastrous consequences? Why? It is a question posed to Adamic Innocence from an embryonic autonomous self.
But nothing suggests from such embryonic beginnings, an autonomy able to challenge the god-like tenure of Adamic Innocence. Perhaps we need put some time into this Adamic Story. Let’s give Adamic Innocence some Life before falling into the rise of autonomy.
Doing this, it is perhaps fair to say by death through age in Nature’s Kingdom, Adamic Innocence realized the possibility physical life carried an end to consciousness. I think we can also surmise unless Adamic Innocence relished the stench of stinking corpses, Death was something to be avoided at all cost. Ever try to bury a Lion…or Elephant?
We need ask the simplest of things, “How many times did Adamic Innocence walk by Knowledge of Good and Evil, resisting the lust of Curiosity? Or how about negotiations with animals for a bite of what was taken, without negative consequence? After all, no animal picked and…dropped dead on the spot. But Man – pick and die. Why?
While Adamic Innocence remained able to challenge any and all temptation to fall, the rise of self-autonomy nevertheless takes another leap…for what Innocence wants and lusts, is not reflected in what is done. Why?
But lest we think in temptation the Lord will provide a way of Escape, even if understood by Adamic Innocence – such a promise would never be offered. For Eden is Adamic Innocence and the beginning of finite autonomy. The Garden places a child’s mind to what most concur the body of a 14 year old, becoming sexually aware.
Adamic Innocence – Eden; childhood to accountability; the sojourn to self - autonomy into which Adamic Innocence is destined to Fall. Why?
But lest we hold God responsible denying ways of escaping such destinies – the only way of escape must Fall and be… Cast Out.
The Rise of Eve
And so Adamic Innocence looks at the Kingdom of Nature, and every form of consciousness goes two by two. Had Adam lived in Noah’s time, he would have been refused passage on the Ark. A second feeling is added to the lust of curiosity – or Loneliness.
Lot’s a ways to interpret this new feeling. Are we speaking of someone to share a cup of coffee, or a drink at Happy Hours trading embers with someone special at Treehouse: Dining Above Forbidden Fruit?
Are we speaking of someone with whom we can take baths? Are we speaking of someone we can mutually nurture, protect and find reciprocation? But most important, are we speaking of someone with whom we can be physically intimate…just like everything with a body seems to take great pleasure?
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness: and let them rule over the fish of the sea and of every bird of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them. And God saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good.
(Genesis 1: 26, 27, 31)
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis (2:18)
We remind the reader none of the following statements are meant to be in any way a scientific case for the rise of woman, but are simple considerations from which male and female… flesh Adamic Innocence as the Image of God.
It appears if the Image of God is male and female – so Adamic Innocence would be genetically, both Male and Female, with the “y” chromosome of predominance. We might also surmise what it takes for man not to be alone, is found in the Innocence of an Adamic Rib. And while Rib captures the DNA of Male and Female, it may also be seen as protective of God’s Breath.
Notable perhaps is the Female Image of God suitable to Adamic Innocence, carries physiologically both sexual difference from “x” instead of “y,” plus – an additional rib.
It would appear at best from first blush, we might suggest Eve, like Adam, was created by Transcendent Spirit. But we might also add both DNA and Breath of Immanent spirit came from Adamic Innocence.
We have said the Body of Adam evolved into a consciousness able to receive the infinity of God’s Breath, becoming the First and pure Image of God. Yet, the record does not show the same process applies to the other side of the Image, for Woman came from Man. Perhaps there may be more to the Rib than meets the Cage.
For let us not forget whom we are talking about here. A perfect relationship of Body, Soul and Spirit from the dawn of Human Consciousness. A Cycle of Spirit from birth to accountability, Adamic Innocence had mastery over what flies, swims or crawls – calling out a name for each…and it was so.
A consciousness of space collapsed to infinite moments of simultaneous thought, feeling and deed…into a single act. A perfect unbroken union of Body, Soul and Spirit, both temporal and spiritual observations came from the mouth of a Perfect Heart. Without question or debate, Adamic Innocence spoke with two unbroken voices, commingled to a single sound.
Adamic Innocence is a peculiar place to contemplate, for an unbroken voice of soul and spirit implying need of the First Man…are shared as the Needs of God – else they could not be expressed in a single sound. Simply put, the Needs of God are whatever it takes, to bring about the Image.
And so the Transcendent Spirit of God from Nature creates Adamic Innocence of pure relationship…a single voice of body, soul and spirit. This is Needed.
And from a Transcendent Spirit comes the Forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Tempting the sojourn of Adamic Innocence – to autonomy. This is Needed.
Pivoting to Immanent spirit, Adamic Innocence is given Mastery of all Nature. This is Needed.
From Immanent spirit, while Adamic Innocence knows nothing of titles and crowns, he simply IS the First and Apex of Creation. This is Needed.
From Immanent spirit – the single voice of God mingled with soul comes forth from the body. This is Needed.
And from Immanent spirit – God and soul in unblemished union speak: I am lonely and this is not good until a helpmate comes that is suitable. This, is Needed.
Keeping within the confines of our observations, let us not conclude Adamic Innocence was stupid. At very least, the First Man engaged direct relationship to what was perceived in the Kingdom Nature, and Human Sexuality was the next item of Need shared by body, soul and spirit. Needed for Adam, was the other side of himself. Need for God, was completion of the Image Fleshed.
Our Observations suggest the DNA and Breath of spirit came to Eve from Adam. The Question remains: From hence came the Body of a suitable helpmate?
Perhaps we are tempted to say Transcendent Spirit Breathed into an evolved female body derived from Nature. But while this might portray something easier to understand, the record shows the female, in all her glory – comes entirely from the First Man.
Accordingly, nothing existed that could not be named, and nothing could be named that did not exist. Correlatively, nothing exists not called into being by the Voice of Spirit…the sound of Perfect union: body, soul and spirit.
The reader should once again be warned – the following attempts to observe the road of scripture; giving Adamic Innocence time…for a spiritual sojourn.
Accordingly, let’s be realistic. How many of us feeling an implosion of Loneliness, would not contemplate the emotion? And let us say Adamic Innocence did so, observing his reflection in pools of water.
Putting together Loneliness and observation of intimacy in Nature, along with the hormones of a 14-year Boy – just what kind of suitable female body might Adamic Innocence contemplate?
I think we can safely say calling out the Kingdom of Nature by male and female, Adamic Innocence was well versed in Breasts and Genitalia. Would the First Man contemplate the shape of his female counterpart? Exactly what would a perfect union of body, soul and spirit think…regarding a suitable helpmate?
Off hand I would answer soul thought directed sexuality to what might turn body on most, while spiritual thought determines sexuality, an infinite intimate experience of relationship.
So let us go further and ask, what would the body of Eve look like to the First Man. We are speaking of the Apex Creation after all. And from such Apex, Woman was created. So we seek…the feminine Apex.
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.” For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2: 21 – 26)
We normally think putting a deep sleep on the Image of God pertains to anesthesia, and perhaps it does. But what occurs when perfect union of body, soul and spirit – sleeps? Deep sleep certainly suggests REM. So what happens when the voice of perfect spiritual/temporal union – Dreams?
From the Dream of Adamic Innocence, the cost of what Transcendent Spirit needed to fashion bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh was a Rib. Just about the only bone the male be can be without, transforms to the perfect flesh of his female side. And so we might conclude from Transcendent Spirit came this Divine Operation, but from the Dream, perfect body, soul and spirit – the First Woman was fashioned.
Best I can do here recognizes the place where union of body, soul and spirit intensely exist – the DNA. Perhaps entertaining the possibility of increasing the speed of DNA reproduction might make the expansion of a Rib to female more palatable…if the power of perfect union with immanent spirit has anything to say about it.
Apart from this, your imagination is as good as mine. But of one thing we can be certain: By Transcendent Spirit and Immanent spirit – a perfect Female was fashioned.
She is female to male, as men are male to female – insatiably compelled to intimate embrace…from the other side of themselves. Her existence fleshes balance to which Innocence is held responsible. For by the simplicity of her appearance, without speech, the First woman redefines Adamic Innocence as relationship to…Adamic Innocence – male and female, He created them – the Image of God. Simply put: Man is relationship… in relationship…to Woman is relationship - overlaps to define ourselves.
Our story also suggests they united as husband wife – while remaining Adamic Innocence without shame. It is therefore assumed the exploration of sexuality, all the way to intercourse, had little to do with the rise of autonomy…except for the impassioned development of attachment.
And so let us say Adamic Innocence awakened to the Female from which Dreams were made. Pump as much Erotica to Eve as we like, for without question, Apex includes the rise of Lust…either way.
We are compelled, yielding feeling and emotion to the clarity of our other side, as by her pure reflection we are defined. She supports our Dreams, contributing all 120-pound curves to Vision. She brings us emotional sensitivity, and the meaning of nurture, romance, and subjectivity. She is everything we are, and, are not. Her self-understanding increases, as she helps us comprehend ourselves. I in her and her in me, she brings to us – Love. And so as relationship, God speaks to the Image, male and female.
And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food, and it was so. (Genesis 1: 28 – 30)
Now, while this may be seen as direct communication from Spirit to the spirit of the First woman, it becomes a curiosity as to what God left…for the First man to explain.
For touring all the wonderful things God has given, we pass by the Tree of Forbidden Fruit and by relationship, lust of Curiosity doubles. Well, maybe tripled.
“What’s THAT? Look at all the…” glancing her body toward Adam, “sexy fruit.” Ending with a deep, slow, breathy voice.
Far fetched? Perhaps. But the situation was sticky, for male Adamic Innocence was left to explain a Divine Prohibition not heard by female Adamic Innocence. Silently perhaps, while Eve appears to have received and accepted the male explanation, a giant step forward to autonomy came from the haunting question, “Why did God allow you to speak for Him, on such an urgent matter?” We may perhaps assume this festered until alone…she faced the Forbidden Fruit.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, had God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’” And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die. For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3: 1 – 6)
According to our story, it appears safe to conclude the serpent was comfortably part of the Garden – before the creation of Eve. I think it also possible to conclude in light of naming the beasts of the field, Adamic Innocence was perhaps aware of the wisdom of this creature. The First Man could have made a checkers partner out of the serpent – without an inkling of Temptation to ever arise. Simply put: Words heard directly from God, could not be challenged by subtractions or additions – without being clearly seen.
We should also observe the First Couple’s disadvantage, for God used Death…a definition coupling to physical demise. Simply put therefore – the story seriously implies communication based on two very different things, defining Death. Of the one, we drop dead and are buried. Adamic Innocence likely knew that. Of the other, self-autonomy puts a will outside God, and Adamic Innocence divides. The Couple knew nothing of this. Advantage goes to the serpent.
Then there was that question likely haunting Eve, “Why did God make Adam the spokesman, for what He did not say?” Advantage goes to the serpent, able to challenge the words of God received through Adam.
Yet, let us not forget the Purpose of Eden, giving us the Rise of the First Image of God, male and female, and, the First Couple’s sojourn to self-autonomy. We may therefore say any advantage given the serpent, assured God’s purpose would be carried out. And so we must ask the simple question, “In the story Eden – who pulled the strings?”
Unless we say encounter with the serpent entirely mental, placing Adam by her side would be a tenuous assumption. It would also be difficult to explain as she yielded and reached, why Adam did not stop her. On the other hand, if what we have is verbal speech, Adam could not be standing in hearing range without challenging the serpent.
So let us assume the First Man was out of hearing range, maybe a few trees down. As predicted, the serpent targeted, using advantage.
We should observe not once, did Eve call the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil by name. Rather, of the Tree in the middle of the Garden, God through Adam has said, “Touch it and you shall surely Die.”
Accordingly, the serpent proceeds to target the words of Adam, as yet to be directly heard from God…and challenges the word Death. Contemplating, we have to say this is strategic in all aspects.
And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die. For God knows in the day you eat, your eyes shall be opened knowing Good and Evil…just like God.”
A brilliant strategy, for on the one hand he speaks of physical death as “Not going to happen.” But on the other, he describes a perfect definition of spiritual death – or self-autonomy competing with the Will of God.
Of interest here bears further contemplation, for Eve rejected physical death, in lieu of what the serpent described. Simply put, while ignorant of Death as Spiritual, her reach was tempted by what appeared as Benefits.
And so Eve Falls into self-autonomy, replacing the Will of God with equality she can call her own. Again, contemplation is called for as Eve offered the Forbidden Fruit to Adam. What kind of case could she present to Adam, persuasive enough to partake of Forbidden Fruit?
Perhaps the argument confirming her decision was the same she presented to Adam, specifically…she lives. And so Adam imbibes the Fruit, Falling to self-autonomy.
The Results of Self-Autonomy
We are safe to say while Adamic Innocence was on a direct path to self-autonomy, the road traveled had no name. On the other hand, speaking of autonomy as beginning prior to the Fall, we might perceive both male and female naming the path – Freedom. From God and Man - this was Needed.
But the First Couple could not know the cost of Freedom, until becoming autonomous. They could not understand the meaning of Will outside God. They could not realize the responsibility of knowing good and evil entailed.
Eve was first to experience the emergence of a second will to the Garden, but the effects of divided Relationship appears not immediately seen. This is not so difficult to understand, for how long do we take to recognize falling from God’s Will?
But the sparks begin to fly with the self-autonomy of Adam, introducing to the Garden…a third will independent of the first two.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. The Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you? And he said, “I heard the sound of Thee in the Garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked” Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” And the man said, “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” The Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3: 7 – 13)
Self – autonomy introduces Adamic Innocence to something never experienced before…or the rise of Fear – beginning with relationship to the other side of ourselves. They were naked, immediately protecting and shielding from sight – what fleshed perhaps their greatest difference. They were naked. There was difference. There was will, free to carry out good or evil. In common knowledge, there was Fear of each other. On the up side, Adam and Eve had yet to discover…pre-nups.
But now comes the day of reckoning – or a nakedness of guilt shared. No bush or tree was large enough to hide them. Yet none can say God did not know the answers to Divine Inquiry, making our story somewhat humorous. It tells us the only way of escape God will not provide, is from Divine Confrontation.
Let us not complicate the simplicity of Divine Confrontation, for from the dawn of Man to the present – God’s Methodology has not changed, and the Human response remains identical.
- Divine Confrontation appears to neither Lecture nor Accuse. Rather, God addresses and encapsulates the effects of self-autonomy – through the power of a Question.
- Dare we say the Power of a Question can equal or even rival the persuasive potency of a good “Dutch Uncle” Divine Lecture? Perhaps we should take a Lesson from the serpent, for if without lecture or accusation the Power of “Hath God Said?” directly caused the Fall…perhaps by “Where art thou?” the will of self-autonomy may learn to engage Relationship. Notably, God’s Methodology of Confrontation has not changed, for whether asked in Eden, or, wherever we find ourselves Today – the Question remains, “Where art thou?”
- The nature of this Divine Question should not be underestimated. It appears our only acceptable answer points to what is Feared most…or the effects of a self-autonomous will - voting against the Will of God. From our own personal experience, we are safe to conclude until given answer, the Question will continue to arise. And let us not foolishly conclude giving answer terminates Divine Inquiry, for from the single Eternal Question – proceeds a plethora of Infinite many.
- From our record it appears the First Man might be given credit for such a rapid, honest response to Divine Inquiry, “I heard thee in the Garden and Feared, for I was naked and hid.” On the other hand, while confessing to God his physical and spiritual location, self-autonomy confronts Fear with reasons for being where he should not.
There is humor to this. Just picture God for a moment as Light, and Adam makes an appointment to reveal his location. Walking in with a fig leaf briefcase, he bows before God; confesses location and rising, holds a clutching right hand to the Light crying, “Your Most High Revered Sacred and Worshipped Honor with all Due Respect…I would like to submit these briefs.” Welcome to our world…of excuses.
- Few excuses can get us off the hook, but will seek to share the weight of personal
Responsibility. Put another way, by spreading the blame, Irresponsibility appears lighter and, feeling easier to bear reduces Fear. Simply put, it appears from Eden to the present, the first action of self-autonomy attempts escape from personal responsibility. Today we call this - passing the buck.
And God said to Adam, “Who told you of nakedness?” And Adam replied, “Well Lord, remember that perfect Woman you gave me…the Helpmate…that magnificent feminine complement…the other side of Your Image making me whole? With all due respect Lord, she might be two eggs short of a dozen.” We might say Adam had two briefs, and holding his fist to Light. “The Woman helped but, after all, she was just doing her job.”
And the Lord said to Eve, “What have you done?” And Eve replied, “The serpent deceived me.” But perhaps Eve could have held up a few briefs of her own…“for deceit may have been thwarted had your All Knowing Perfect Greatness Spoken to me directly, and, a slightly clearer definition of what my Holiness of Holies meant by Death.” In any Case – Eve cast blame to the serpent.
And so we must ask what is missing from this picture?
There is no Repentance. There is no Forgiveness. There was all the faith needed to Fall. And while there was need for Salvation, the necessity of Grace had yet come into play.
This is not so hard to understand, for self-autonomy had yet to learn the meaning of – Relationship. Self-autonomy had yet to understand the power of an independent will. Self-autonomy had yet to face an infinite increase of Fear…adding to an established manifest – of the Unknown. And self-autonomy had yet to discover an existence governed…by what we show and, are able to hide. Summarily, nothing could be discovered while self-autonomy remained in the Garden.
To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you shall bring forth children; yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3: 16)
The First Woman had to walk away from this Divine Encounter feeling pretty “up”, for she already had desire for her husband, and was never pregnant. But feeling the pain of childbirth does give teeth to “Be fruitful and multiply.” Coupling her desire for husband with he shall rule over you, among other things means Adam will never hear, “I’m too tired.”
Perhaps we can say the Cost of our most intimate human relationship, is the Pain of what brings each and every self-autonomous will - to pass. It has been said every normal mother seeks to give her child Eden. If this is true, the Pain of childbirth joins the Pain of sacrifice.
And lest we doubt the measure of a mother’s suffering, consider the sojourn of her child from innocence to self-autonomy…knowing what must happen, while seeking to protect from the inevitability.
It is perhaps for this reason Eric Fromm in the Art of Loving calls greatest Love maternal, the end of which seeks independence from dependence. Notably from the story of Eden, we can say the same of God.
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying ‘You shall not eat of it’, cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3: 17 – 19)
After all this, we might conclude “I’m too tired” came more from Adam than Eve. “You listened to the voice of your wife. Now by the strength of your will, you must sustain a family. Need fruit? Grow the tree. Need bread? Grow the wheat. Need life? Develop a relationship with the ground from which you have come, and will return.”
It would seem the cost of self-autonomy entails the blood, sweat and tears necessarily taken to survive.
Unlike Eden, in this place we Fear having enough will to keep Eve, the kids and himself alive. Unlike Eden, in this place we Fear the loss of our investment with weather, insects and blight. Unlike Eden, in this place by Fear we protect from The Kingdom of Nature. Unlike Eden, in this place self-autonomy learns to Fear itself. For unlike Eden, in this place self-autonomy learns of Fear as an emotion called Jealousy…willing to Murder. Summarily, unlike Eden, in this place self-autonomy is left to a will that develops or, withers away. We call this place – the World.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand and take also from the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever”…therefore the Lord God sent him out from the Garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the Tree of Life.” (Genesis 3:22 – 24)
Off the top we might ask why God created a Tree – that would never be touched much less picked?
Perhaps we can say it was a Symbol to Man that Life was available – but could not be plucked from the Vineyard of another.
Maybe God is saying, “Life is available – but Man must grow it.”
Or perhaps God is saying, “Life is available, but autonomy cannot pick what free will has yet to become.”
Or maybe God is saying, “Autonomy must grow a Tree of Life to become the Fruit it bears.”
Or is God saying, “Immortality cannot be picked, but derives solely from grounds drenched with blood, sweat and tears.”
Or perhaps God is saying, “Work out your salvation with Fear and Trembling, for I Will be working in you both to will and do of Divine Pleasure.”
The Fruit of Self-Autonomy
We have seen how all Fruit is the result of Relationship. We have considered the Spiritual Fruit in terms of God Is Relationship and, Adamic Innocence. The Question is: What has been added to the Fruit of self-autonomy – absent to God and the First Man?
What lay between an autonomous will, in relationship to an autonomous will…in relationship to an autonomous will ad infinitum? Or what lay between an autonomous will, and the Autonomous Will of God?
We have said herein resides The Fruit of Spirit, and for self-autonomy this is true. The problem comes from what self-autonomy adds to the Salad, mingling Fruit with Fear.
To understand the nature of this, we need only begin with the first.
Man is Love – If Perfect Love casts out Fear, what does it look like…embracing it.
Commingled with Fear, love may seek to possess an object of admiration.
Commingled with Fear, love may insist putting terms of relationship on paper.
Fear commingled with love…may use itself for gain of wealth or social repute.
Fear commingled with love may turn Man into Genetic shoppers.
Fear commingled with love may bring forth Classes of people.
Fear commingled with love may slip into Racism.
Fear commingled with love may declare War, blood and destruction for a higher cause.
Fear commingled with love perceives difference before similarity.
Commingled with Fear, the intimacy of love may easily turn to Lust.
Commingled with Fear, love may hide pretense.
Commingled with Fear, the real reasons for marriage may be seen too late.
Man is Joy
Commingled with Fear, joy emerges on platforms of competition and debate – wherever autonomy is present.
Commingled with Fear, joy gets the better of someone…first.
Commingled with Fear, controlling another brings joy.
In Fear – to Gossip brings self-centered joy.
In Fear we’re glad it was the other guy.
In Fear, joy thrives getting away with it.
In Fear, joy begins with a successful mask.
In Fear, ownership and assets determine joy.
In Fear, joy may be determined by what we successfully hide.
Man is Peace – from person to person or nation to nation:
Mingled with Fear, threats to peace are met with pre-emptive strikes.
In Fear we draw Alliances…to keep the Peace.
In Fear peace is kept through mutually recognized borders.
In Fear peace emerges from strength and superiority.
In Fear, the cost of peace is the price of War.
In Fear, preserving peace is as easy as turning away from confrontation.
By Fear we ignore corruption…to preserve peace.
By Fear we venture to corruption…to save the Peace.
By Fear we may turn peace into a weapon - threatening removal.
By Fear we will speak the little white ones all the way to gigantic attempts of deceit – in the name of keeping peace.
By Fear, the rewards of peace rest – with how much we control.
Man is Patience – while self-autonomy adds another… asset?
By Fear we challenge patience – taking ownership of time.
In Fear, the patience of human assessment determines by the span of moments…when Time runs out.
In Fear, patience runs dependent to the individual schedules of Man.
In Fear, we are as patient as our itinerary permits.
In Fear, we run out of patience when schedules of others – get in the way of our own.
By Fear patience is challenged – as Time becomes an obstacle to completing a task.
By Fear patience is challenged – mentally jumping ahead of ourselves.
In Fear patience is tried – by the amount of our new asset spent.
In Fear, patience is burdened by tunnel vision.
In Fear, time owned is never enough.
In Fear, we are never so impatient as we are with ourselves.
In Fear, patience becomes the simplicity of gritting teeth.
Man is Kindness – where once events proceeded without thought, self-autonomy deliberates.
When Fear mingles with kindness, we choose when and where.
In Fear kindness may be exercised to balance a badly tipped scale.
In Fear kindness is the natural cover for pretense.
In Fear kindness is suspected of having a price.
In Fear kindness can be an action to deliver repute.
In Fear, kindness may purchase targeted influence.
In Fear, kindness may seek to bend the will of another.
In Fear, kindness may be used to ward off attack.
In Fear kindness rarely makes a clandestine appearance.
From Fear there can be other reasons for kindness, apart from kindness itself.
Man is Goodness – and self-autonomy finds new ways to slightly alter the word.
In Fear, goodness protracts a second good motive.
In Fear though action appears pure of pretense, goodness may carry the silence of you owe me.
In Fear goodness may reveal pretense by defending purity.
In Fear, the veracity of goodness will rest upon answering: Why Nice?
In Fear goodness will compromise itself, if the end appears to justify the means.
In Fear, goodness may profess purity by percentage.
In Fear, goodness may unduly prosecute the righteousness of another.
In Fear, goodness may alter pure priorities.
In Fear, goodness deliberates exceptions.
By Fear, goodness evolves to meaninglessness.
Man is Gentleness; Meekness and Sensitivity – from which self-autonomy derives false humility.
In Fear sensitivity may become suffocating, whether toward another or ourselves.
In Fear meekness may be a ploy to pass inspection.
In Fear, standing before Power inspires gentleness.
In Fear we are as sensitive as whatever it takes to make the deal.
In Fear meekness seeks to hide weakness and strength.
In Fear we are sensitive…to whatever hurts our opponent most.
In Fear gentleness is negotiable.
In Fear the villain is at very least…a Gentleman.
In Fear, shrouds of meekness have hidden from serial killers to Kings, Princes and Popes.
In Fear, gentleness, meekness and sensitivity may be little but a ruse, disguised humility.
Man is Faithfulness – to designs, visions and causes of self-autonomy.
In Fear we can be as faithful as a Terrorist.
In Fear we are as faithful as the situation is bearable.
In Fear we must deliberate what to be faithful about.
In Fear we are faithful to tunnel vision.
In Fear we are faithful to solutions that do not work.
In Fear what appears faithful, may be little but a matter of convenience.
In Fear we are faithful to whatever yields self-advantage.
In Fear we may be faithful, to what should not be given loyalty.
In Fear, faithfulness has limits.
In Fear, we are least faithful to ourselves.
Man is Self-Control – as self-autonomy seeks a face.
In Fear, the relevance of self-control revolves around what may be seen.
In Fear, and on the flip side – relevant matters of self-control reside in power to hide.
In Fear, self-control emerges with a balance of shown and hidden.
In Fear self-control selectively chooses what and, what not to think about.
In Fear self-control thinks about what to say next.
In Fear for repute, we must show self-control.
In Fear, self-control conforms to parameters of the best Mask.
In Fear self-control chooses what, and what not to feel.
In Fear self-control selectively remembers, allowing the rest go by.
In the Fields of Self – Autonomy
From Eden there can be little doubt the Image of God, male and female, was redefined Relationship – will to will. Simply put, Relationship means one defined by another…becomes an identity of One. Yet, as we have proposed giving Adamic Innocence a life, so time must determine the nature of self-autonomy as Relationship…united or adversarial.
We can safely conclude though self-autonomy left Eden defined by Relationship, neither male nor female had an inking to what such redefinition entailed. In point of fact we might say the only thing held in common – was the Fall creating will to will.
And so let us consider the implication, should such primitive definition remain static. What is absent should will to will be face to face…without interaction? It would appear whether good or bad, we define Relationship…completely void and barren of Fruit.
Into this Field of self-autonomy, the First Couple was cast to fend for themselves. As Eden was centered between three rivers, we can assume a barren land of thistles and thorns had plenty of water. But with food restricted to sparse populations of untamed tree clusters growing wild, finding edible fruit was likely a formidable task. Survival would depend on how well self-autonomy, developed relationship with the earth.
More than likely, the First Couple foraged sustenance together…at least until Eve learned the pain of pregnancy and childbirth, beginning the moment she stepped foot on the land. Correlatively, in the Fields of self-autonomy, male and female would learn relationship to “be fruitful and multiply” – through the constitution of a family.
Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a man child with the help of the Lord.” And again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of the flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. (Genesis 4: 1, 2)
Keeping in mind the time taken for our brothers to mature, in the Fields of self-autonomy our First Couple would have to develop Relationship with the Kingdom of Nature – beginning with the necessity of self-protection. But losing what was mastered in the Garden, we should not conclude the loss of mastery. Likely developed after a significant number of years, Adam appears to have instructed Abel in the Art of keeping flocks, for the obvious purpose of food and clothing. After all, why else take the trouble to keep flocks?
We may conclude in the Fields of self-autonomy, Adam successfully developed relationship with land from which through toil and sweat – was cultivated to produce edible fruit of relationship. We may further conclude the successful production of edible fruit – sufficient to sustain family.
Though absent from the record, what appears conspicuously present to a developing relationship of will to will – necessarily constitutes the rise of Spiritual Fruit.
What was the nature of Love in the wake of burden to an expanding family?
What was the nature of Joy in the middle of blight?
What was the nature of Peace as Eve experienced that infamous time of the month?
And how much Patience does it take to grow a tree or child?
Should flocks disperse and run, does Kindness diminish toward family, or, is the goat kicked…walking through the door?
Did Eve ever respond to a Motive for Kindness…with the Question why?
How humble is Eve toward her husband, and how sensitive is Adam to wife and child?
Is Adam more Faithful to family revealing every scrap of truth, or, by withholding certain parts? And how Faithful is Adam to the care of Fields?
Forced to uproot six trees for lack of bearing fruit while Eve for a week has said, “Too tired,” coupled to Abel throwing up on your best skin – how are we doing with Self-Control? Summarily, how much of what we have done or are doing…is through Fear?
In the Fields of self-autonomy – there appears little conflict with Relationship to God. Perfectly understandable, considering the First Couple was doing exactly…what God had instructed. The Fields are worked and babies are made – with the help of Divine-Autonomy. Will to will successfully brought fruit to bear the weight of expanding family, receiving little direction needed to raise – a Tree of Life giving Fruit.
Yet, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests casting self-autonomy into the wild had Purpose.
From Eden to Fields of self- autonomy, the Will of an unchanging Purpose remained – Creating, Raising and Sustaining the Life of Relationship.
Correlatively for the Image - by male sweat and female tears…will to will shall learn the meaning of “you shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”
From all appearance, the First Couple successfully learned the lesson, including a massive appearance of self-autonomous Fruit. Nothing here to cause concern, for cast out according to Divine Instruction – the results, including the Fruit…appears at very least nominally good.
Perhaps we can say the absence of Divine Instruction for growing Fruit from a Tree of Life, directly advanced from self-autonomy knowing good…without knowledge of evil. Severely restricted to the Fall, about all the Couple knew of evil replaced the Will of God with their own.
Yet, the Fall created a state of self-autonomy, or from Adamic Innocence to independent will. What had yet to be seen was will to will to Will as the meaning of evil. Perhaps this was about to change.
So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. And Abel on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard.
So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
And Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. The Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.
And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from you hand. When you cultivate the ground it shall no longer yield its strength to you; you shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.
And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear. Behold, Thou hast driven me this day from the face of the ground and from Thy face I shall be hidden, and I shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and it will come about that whoever finds me will kill me.”
So the Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, lest anyone finding him, should slay him. (Genesis 4: 3 – 15)
Usually, “Why did God favor the offering of Abel over Cain?” is the question most asked. Of significance we might ponder Divine Preference for the Fruit of cattle, versus the fruit of Cain’s trees. Of course, the answer lay comparing the offerings.
At first glance, the issue appears to reside with the nature of Life. Offered by Cain was the sustenance of human life while from Abel, came the Life of sustenance…and the fattest one at that.
For Abel, this was a celebration of Life’s meaning. But were God to visit Cain’s kitchen, the offering might be likened to a plate of tomato vegetable soup.
Offered by Abel came sacrifice of Life, while for Cain, the tree would continue yielding sustainable fruit without death. Perhaps we can say for Abel, sacrifice meant giving back to God what the Divine had Given – or Life…and Death. About all Cain could say was, “I never eat anything having parents.”
Countenance simply means support of the interests of another, the actions of which match attitudes facially represented. Likely not a first for the Adamic Family considering the possibility of God’s rise and fall Counsel. Do well, and countenance rises. Failing to do well, and countenance descends.
Perhaps we should ponder the depth of Cain’s anger, which might be seen with infinite intensity. Here’s a guy working the Field all his life, providing the sustenance to which likely, he was richly rewarded. Trees were his children and fruit – their babies…should they be planted. This was the task God chose for him in life, and besides, animal husbandry was never his thing…but for fertilizer. His family likely praised the fruit of his labor. Coming in second to Abel, made it all come crashing down to anger…he could not facially hide.
The depth of his anger should not be underestimated, for it reached a level of decline worthy of a new Divine Declaration: On the other side of that door – is Sin.
Sin had yet to be mentioned, suggesting the Fall – was not. On the other hand, crossing the Will of God from Innocence still necessitates Sin with penalty of division, or spiritual Death.
But this was Sin unlike any other, for there was neither need for Sacrifice or Savior, with less understanding of Genesis 3: 15 than an armadillo. This Sin was perhaps unlike any other, for the price of self-autonomy rested on the other side of Eden. But most important perhaps, and from the writer’s analysis – Adamic Innocence was destined to Fall, for without self-autonomy – Relationship cannot exist. And unlike any other, by this Sin self-autonomy grows from birth to accountability.
For if the Fall was man’s passage to self-autonomy producing will to will to Will, the immediate cost of independence rested with instruction on what it will take to survive…namely Pain, Sweat, Blood and Tears. And yet there is Divine Counsel: Do well, and countenance rises. Do well, and know good.
Spiritual Fruit was produced, while Perfection had yet to define the meaning of Evil.
Yet to be seen, the meaning of will to will to will crossing Will – introduces Evil as Sin. We should also observe the issue of offering, namely, life and death. Cain’s issue was not life, for he gave this by offering sustenance. The issue for Cain was Death. Linked to descended countenance perhaps, gave a single will misguided passion to cross the line.
But under such a scenario, first or second degree murder does not apply to Divine Will, instructing self-autonomy to be fruitful, multiply, nurture, support and raise the life of relationship.
Cain did not come in the night to club a few fatted calves, but to murder the brother raising flocks. Further, Cain murdered twenty-five percent of his family while Adam and Eve…lost both children.
While all was adequate, the importance of Spiritual Fruit as elements raising the Tree of Life could not be seen. Giving birth, sustaining, nurturing and protecting two boys appeared to receive God’s Pleasure. The imperfection of Spiritual Fruit was not an issue – for what is adequate appears good. This would change overnight as Parents began to question – what was missed or lacked? Having lost half your family to blood, what would you do…but search for Perfection?
- Did we love our kids enough?
- Did they feel the Joy of our relationship?
- Did our comfort and protection bring them peace?
- Were we patient enough when they disobeyed?
- Did we give them an environment of kindness?
- Did our motives appear mixed?
- Were we gentle enough as they faced crisis?
- Were we too faithful, or, not faithful enough to priorities by which they were raised?
- Under what model were they raised – too controlled or, not controlled enough?
It is here perhaps we get our Overlap, for self-autonomy destroying an independent will, transgressed the Perfect Nature of a Divine Will…the Image was supposed to reflect. And so God asks where is your brother, Abel? And Cain answers, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
A lawyer will tell you, “Never ask a question you do not know the answer.” Cain did not know this. But taking the consequences alone much more God’s Will for development of relationship, our Divine Answer must conclusively be – Yes, you are. Imperfect Spiritual Fruit and Perfect Spiritual Fruit overlap – and growing the Tree of Life is made possible.
The Fruit Cocktail
We buy cans of the stuff all the time. Pouring them into a bowl, what if the peaches had black spots; some of the pears were slightly brown; and the pineapple had tints of orange. Would we consume or return the entire batch?
Perhaps brought up a notch might demonstrate the meaning and nature of Overlap.
As a pear is a pear and a peach, a peach – so Patience is patience and Kindness is kind. We can be relatively certain Del Monte seeks to pack their cans with perfect fruit. In fact we might say pouring out 20 cans, would yield on inspection, 100% perfect fruit.
But let us suppose for a moment, grabbing a can from the shelf changes the contents and label to: Art’s Cocktail of Spiritual Fruit. Poured out and examined, what would we see?
Well, were it my Fruit, I can guarantee Perfection contrasted to imperfection.
But from my Fruit – imperfection cannot be removed with a handful of toothpicks, as if to show by hiding, for this but cultivates more room for rot. Rather, and unlike Del Monte, when substance, shape, consistency or color is lacking…my imperfect Spiritual Fruit, without leaving the can must grow perfection back. We may call this our first instruction for growing The Tree of Life.
Overlap entails the Perfection of Fruit from God Is Relationship, with the imperfection of Fruit from Man is relationship…and the Field that lies between grows the Tree of Life. But observing ourselves contrasted to Perfection may be infinitely difficult…requiring an equal measure of faith to simply look at imperfection. We can consider this our second instruction.
Without debate we may say: All the issues of life and death; good and evil; sin and righteousness – are elaborately and meticulously represented in the Fruit of Spirit. We may safely conclude: By the measure of Spiritual Fruit we act from each moment to the next. Simply put: every action, whether good or evil – has it’s own conspicuous can of Spiritual Fruit. To learn why this action, thought or feeling exists or has transpired – requires examining the contents of the Can. Our third piece of instruction for growing The Tree of Life.
Self-autonomy deserves the title perfect imperfection – for constant exposure of imperfection…to Perfection. Not difficult to conclude continued exposure must eventually lead to Repentance, and once again, we are in Partnership to Grace by faith…working out salvation – from our personal Can of Spiritual Fruit. The measure to which we understand ourselves, determines the Height of the Tree of Life – our fourth instruction.
Even when imperfect, stretching for Perfection strengthens the Tree of Life with Stockier Limbs – our fifth instruction.
Perfection asks first what imperfection lacks, immediately revealing poor Fruit in need of growth. God Is Relationship is not Cruel. God Is Relationship is in relationship…to Man is relationship. The overlap appears Perfection of Relationship…to the imperfection of relationship – compelling the Fruit to interact - our sixth instruction.
Assuming veracity to the genre of questions asked by Parents mourning loss to such tragedy – all question and answers of Relationship – are found inside Spiritual Fruit. Our final instruction for growing the Tree of Life.
Let us say Jeff had an affair, each time his wife Betty went out of town on business…believing she was committing adultery. Yet, apart from Betty as always too tired, he had no evidence. Meanwhile Betty had grown to disdain the way Jeff touched her – but feared him too sensitive to bring it up. How might God Is Relationship…in relationship to Man is relationship – appear?
Defined by Perfect to imperfect Fruit, the substance of relationship lies within comparison of each. Perfection overlapping imperfection cast relationship to terms of Questions coercing ultimate answers, increasing the purity of spiritual Life. The place where salvation is worked, bodies of spiritual data become immense as each Fruit - is accordingly examined. Below, though drops in a bucket, are some examples of what by Grace through faith, may confront us to answer.
Love: Perfection to imperfection
If Perfect Love casts out fear – what do Jeff and Betty share? We understand loving too little, but can loving too much turn to Fear? What are the Fruit responsible for interrupting Perfect Union – with Fear? Why do we Love? What qualities of Love, or the lack…are found within the beloved? How much of me in her, and her in me? What can be added or subtracted for a greater Perfection of Union? In thought, feeling or deed, when was Love betrayed? Can we betray Love, without betraying ourselves? Apart from the romantic, can we Love one and not all? Is Love selective? Can I love one child more than another? What do I Love in another, and how does this relate to what I detest? Does Union have a cost, and am I willing to pay it? Can the Power of Love for a few, expand to Union with the many? Apart from romance, can Love for one exclude Love for another? Is Love an action or a State?
Joy: Perfection to imperfection
Where exactly in our couple’s profile, might Joy appear? What kind of joy appears, getting away with an affair? Was there joy anticipating business trips as respites of relief? Did Jeff receive joy from those occasional trips? Can joy be derived when relationship has been transgressed? Is there joy at the end of a successful lie? Does seeing the imperfection of another, give us joy? Is there greater or lesser joy in success or failure of another? Does criticism more than affirmation bring joy? While debate may bring joy, does it appear in victory as well as losing the point? Does successfully taking advantage of another bring joy? Can joy exist in the wake of personal failure? Does wisdom derived from failure bring joy? Contrasted to Perfect Joy, what do I feel? Can joy emerge from a successful lie? Why does love rejoice in truth?
Peace: Perfection to imperfection
Do Jeff and Betty share any peace? Does Jeff have greater peace when Betty is out of town…or home? What peace was sought from the actions of this relationship? What kind of peace accordingly arrived? What kind of peace is beyond all understanding? What can Jeff and Betty add or subtract for greater peace? Can we seek peace for ourselves and not another? Can peace be bought or sold? Does peace depend on one will, yielding to another? Can the peace we seek reside at the end of war? Can peace be decided? Can peace be greater on the inside than outside? Can Perfect peace be derived from less than all the truth? Can peace exist when hate is present? To what do we commend our greatest achievement of peace? What stopped such achievement of peace from Perfection? While imperfection may know peace, what does it take to grow? Does peace rise knowing it can be purified? Can peace be found measuring ourselves competitively to others? Can peace be held hostage to circumstances? What determines the gain or loss of peace? Can peace be the product of what is ignored or denied? When was the last time crossing thresholds – peace was lost? Does peace Grasp, or, can it be grasped? Is peace a predominantly spiritual or physical matter?
Patience: Perfection to imperfection
Does patience depend upon our relationship with time? Does patience appear largely when time goes our way? What would patience have brought to Jeff and Betty? Can patience run out of time? Is the cost of patience how much time we are willing to spend? How patient was Jeff, before his first affair? And what exactly is Betty patient about? Is there such a thing as legitimate impatience? Taking any situation where impatience overturned the boat, how much more patient could we be? Is there such a thing as being too patient? Is patience for those getting in the way, or, for getting in the way of ourselves? Why from impatience do we seek control of time? Why from impatience do we mentally finish a goal, without thought to the present road in process of being traversed? Does patience bring us to the moments we miss? Does patience rely on what is seen, or, what has yet to appear? What does patience give that impatience takes away?
Does patience and impatience determine relationship, or, does relationship determine both? Why is Love patient? How many unions does patience reveal? Does patience go unrecognized, or do we catalogue every occasion? Are we naturally patient, or, must each event be planned? What most impatient moment causes us greatest shame? What impatient moment do we still attempt to justify? Is there such a thing as patiently impatient? Asked to name the relationship requiring greatest patience would be…? And relationship requiring equal to greater patience from another was…? Does impatience disregard the value of time for another? Can difference between looking patient and patience be – gritting teeth?
Kindness: Perfection to imperfection
Can hiding truth constitute an action of kindness? Is Betty kind, failing to reveal the disdain for her husband’s touch? Is Jeff being kind to Betty, omitting his affairs? Is kindness an action or state? What is the meaning of Love is kind? Can perfect kindness be selective? The last time our kindness had no audience was…? The last time kindness had no reason to appear apart from it’s own rewards was…? Our last kind action without pretense was…? What percentage of personal actions over the last two years – were kind? Can Perfect kindness be premeditated? On what basis are we more kind than less? Are the effects of kindness determined by what is always welcomed? When does, “I’m doing it for his own good,” violate kindness? What is the Perfect motive of Perfect kindness? Can Perfect kindness ever become a tool? Can we find a state of kindness while attached to a cause? Can kindness be organized? Can kindness be negotiated? When does kindness become a priority that can be replaced? Can the priority of kindness be replaced by love or patience? The reasons for our most unkind act were…? What is the lie of kindness? Can public acts of kindness spawn investigation proving or disproving – veracity? When was the last time we heard, “Why are you being so kind?” Have we ever been asked, “The intrigue of unparalleled kindness aside…what does he have over you?” Does Perfect kindness reside in action without thought? Can what appears an unkind action be kind? Can what appears a kind action be unkind?
Goodness: Perfection to imperfection
Do my motives for kind action reveal the purity of goodness? If Perfect kindness has no motive apart from the reward of itself, does this mean Perfect goodness is empty of motive? Can Betty or Jeff show goodness in any act of kindness? Can truth show goodness? If pretense is made known, does goodness diminish or increase? Does the goodness of kindness yield trust or suspicion? Can goodness appear when an unknown motive is present? Can goodness be pure with more than one motive? Challenged, can goodness defend veracity? Can love be asked to prove itself, without petitioning goodness do the same? How does goodness connect with joy? Can peace be derived when goodness is defiled? Can countenance rise when goodness falls? Can goodness add an extra motive along the way? What thought most tempts goodness to defile itself? When goodness is defiled by pretense, does kindness become a lie? Can goodness be evidenced by suffering and sacrifice? Can goodness be measured by percentages? Does goodness depend on the quality of motive? If love is sufficient unto love, can the same be said of goodness?
Gentleness: Perfection to imperfection
Does sensitivity determine gentleness? Can gentleness emerge from fear? Is meekness the natural demeanor of gentleness? Between Jeff and Betty – where does gentleness appear? Can gentleness hide too much sensitivity? Does gentleness emerge from sensitivity to another or ourselves? Is Betty gentle from sensitivity to losing Jeff, or, Jeff losing it? While meekness may express gentleness, can demeanor obscure over-sensitivity? Can humility emerge from gentleness expressed by Jeff or Betty? In either party, where might gentleness reveal legitimate humility? In what situation might gentleness express the natural occurrence of meekness? What does gentleness need to right the good ships Jeff and Betty? Does gentleness reside in perception or…the truth? From sensitivity, does gentleness bring us joy and sorrow? What strength does gentleness provide meekness? Does meekness define gentleness; gentleness define meekness, or, does sensitivity determine both? Is gentleness an action or an attitude? Can gentleness be benignly violent? Can we be politically sensitive enough to gently take over a country? Or can we be so socially insensitive, gentleness no longer exists inside marriage? What does “Love is gentle,” mean? Can we distinguish between times of gentleness, and those that were not? Can gentleness, meekness, sensitivity and humility – be planned? Can we be gentle with ourselves and not others? Can we be gentle with others and not ourselves? Does gentleness depend on Valium? How does gentleness, meekness, sensitivity and humility – affect the other Fruit? By gentleness do we know greater Peace, Joy, Patience, etc…or less? Can what we perceive as gentle, appear an insensitive act…void of humility? Can what we perceive as gentle, appear an oversensitive act exaggerating meekness…while waving a flag of humility? Does Perfect peace define Perfect gentleness? Does not gentle enough define every moment of our lives?
Faithfulness: Perfection to imperfection
To how much of ourselves are we faithful? To what were Betty and Jeff most faithful? From 1 – 6, name the order of priorities to which we are faithful? Does this mean we are more faithful to one than six? What does changing priorities say about faithfulness? Can we be faithful to a destructive priority? Does resistance to changing priorities mean we are too faithful? To what are we more faithful today than yesterday? Does faithfulness imply favoring one Fruit over another? What is the difference between love is longsuffering and faithfulness? What is the meaning of love is faithful to love? When does changing priorities demean faithfulness, and when does it not? Does faithfulness mean our priorities never change, or, our priorities are interchangeable? Can faithfulness emerge from dogmatism? Can faithfulness appear from tunnel vision? Of relationship, to what are we most faithful? Of our relationships, what temptation launched the most lethal attack to faithfulness? Though appearing faithful, when was the last time we were not? Can faithfulness appear, attacking the priorities of others? Can faithfulness emerge from commission to kill? Can faithfulness clash with faithfulness? Can faithfulness become a burden? Can self-autonomy exist…faithful to nothing?
Self Control: Perfection to imperfection
Can we say Betty and Jeff exercised self-control? Does it take self-control to lie? Does it take self-control to ignore the truth? Does it take self-control to tell the truth? Does is take self-control to not be jealous? Does it take self-control not to be arrogant? Does it take self-control not to brag? Does it take self-control not to be provoked? Does it take self-control to endure all things? If these are the qualities of love, how does this define self-control? When does an appearance of self-control, be in fact the opposite? Can self-control feign out of control? Can we identify the moments before losing self-control? By self-control, can sensitivity appear to moments further back from the Line? Assuming we have 2 minutes before hitting the fan, what might self-control do – with all this extra time? Does it take self-control to block the way we think? Does self-control determine what we think? Does breaking out of tunnel vision require self-control? Is self-control necessary for openness and new thought? Does it require greater self-control to hang on or let go? Can passing from light to darkness mean self-control…loses self? What does control without self seek most in darkness? Is self-control the moment-by-moment choice of good, evil, darkness and light? Does self-control take responsibility for past choices? In darkness and though divided from self, does not control carry the same advantage? If control takes responsibility for itself, is not the union restored? Can self-control bring into darkness, restoration of relationship? Can self-control bring forth from darkness – light? What does self-control mean in matters of the heart? Does self-control mean our emotions are suppressed…or repressed? Can self-control be legitimate fighting love? How does self-control handle failure and loss? How does self-control bring peace? Without love, is self-control possible? Can we be too controlled for self? We know how self-control relates to patience, but what does it add to the state of kindness? Does self-control always produce joy? How does self-control aid goodness? What does love is self-control mean? Is self-control a choice? Can self-control be bartered? Does self-control hold pretense? To what are we faithful most, under self-control? What does self-control bring to gentleness and humility? Can planned self-control provide what we ultimately seek?
The Journey From Beginning To Beginning
And so from Perfection to imperfection the Fruit of Spirit roll out, folding back into each other. From Perfection to imperfection, the Fruit of Man’s spirit rolls out…folding back into each other. From Perfection to imperfection – rolling out and in, together or apart, establishes relationship of Will, to will, to will, to will ad infinitum…with knowledge of good and evil shared by self-autonomy. From Perfection to imperfection, spiritual relationship would ride upon symphonies of harmony and dissonance.
From Perfection to imperfection Man, by Grace through faith would mount forgiveness through God’s endorsement of Sacrifice. By grace through faith, Abraham and all the Patriarchs would receive their calling. By grace through faith, Abraham yielded up Isaac. By grace through faith, Moses climbed the mountain receiving the Law. By faith through grace would the Prophets, Priests and Kings arise. By faith through grace, Solomon would build a Temple in 46 years. By faith through grace, David would be confronted with sin passing to evil. By faith through grace the Red Sea parted; the sun stood still and the walls came tumbling down.
But greater perhaps than any of these – by faith through grace, mankind’s greatest need when all rolls out and in…was a Messiah who would be called the Second Adam. For 4000 years by faith through grace, the Jew would hold on and point to this Promise.
For self-autonomy had another inescapable destiny. By relationship to Perfection and faith through grace…self-autonomy discovered the perfect need of imperfection – was a Savior. In point of fact, it was impossible to have relationship with the Word without it. But most impressive, by faith through Grace – the Jews overcame the Diaspora, retaining an occupied Capital called Jerusalem. Simply put, by faith through grace, the destiny of Promise ran the Jew…smack into the fulfillment.
All of this can be traced throughout the Old Testament – also written by faith through grace.
Four thousand years of relationship by faith through grace to The Word, but Fleshed…will He be recognized? By faith through grace self-autonomy is given another choice…and we are back to the beginning of how Relationship is a Partnership with Grace.
Observations To Ponder
Were Adam and Eve Historical?
I prefer to see the story as a Poetic Metaphor of Spiritual Genesis – the basis of which must have place in history. It is a place of historical beginnings – and the spiritual evolution of Man. It is a place where God would create His First Image, male and female, and at the same moment, begin to uncover the Lamb as Second.
But the issue appears summed up with Paul:
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One, the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5: 17, 19)
If the historicity of Adam and Eve is tied to the historicity of Christ – the answer is obvious.
If Adam and Eve were historical – what does this say to the 24-hour days of Genesis?
Unless we put it all on super fast forward, the events of Eden could not have possibly occurred in the span of 24 hours.
If by the first Man sin entered into the world, why does the Adamic record indicate – it was the first Woman who picked?
While Eve picked first – the record shows she did not see herself as naked. In fact, she likely showed herself to Adam, proud to still be alive as the juice fell from her lips. Yet, no sooner was Man is relationship engaged than Adam Fell – and they saw themselves naked. The reality of spiritual death…comes home.
For if we are speaking of God’s Image male and female, it is a sojourn of both before the Image, as relationship…becomes self-autonomous. Therefore, it is perhaps more accurate to say, “By the First Image, sin entered into the world.”
Was Adam and Eve a Poetic Metaphor?
Yeah, the story of Eden is that too. For though born in sin, though divided, our childhood rests upon God’s Grace, protecting our sojourn to accountability.
For there is nothing in our childhood that could not have happened in Eden. And there is nothing in our sojourn to accountability that Adam and Eve could not have faced. Like Adam and Eve, we were created to be cast out of innocence to self-autonomy – that by faith through Grace…the Image of God might be made alive.
For by Grace through faith you are saved; not of yourselves but a Gift of God, lest any should attempt to boast.