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JosephM

True Gospel message? (enlightenment from one progressive Christian perspective)

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Many years ago when i studied Greek i wrote this under a pen name as it was a bit progressive for its time.  I would like to revisit it if anyone has interest. If not , i'll remove the thread as when it was presented in the past it was rejected  and seemed to offend some of the more fundamental thinking at the time even on this site.

The True Gospel Message

Enlightenment from a Christian Perspective

By Koshada

 Matthew 4:17

    From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  

Repent (metanoeo) (in Greek) means to think differently for the (basileia) realm of (ouranos) by implication happiness or elevated state is (eggizo) made near or at hand.

 Note: The kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God are used interchangeably in the New Testament yet are two different words in the Greek. Heaven denotes the elevated state and God denotes Divinity or the source.

 John 3:3-6

    Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. [4] Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? [5] Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. [6] That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

 Truly, Truly, unless a man is  (gennao) regenerated or brought forth of the water (flesh) and of the (pneuma) Spirit/vital principle he can’t go in the realm of (theos) Divinity. The two are different. Flesh is (sarx) flesh as in meat of an animal and Spirit is Spirit/vital principle as in essence. To regenerate is to renew again which signifies that something of the Spirit was set aside or forgotten or lost and needs to be renewed to enter back in to the realm of Divinity. In reality nothing is really lost but in this world of duality it is as if it is lost.

 Luke 17:20-21

    And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: [21] Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Here it is plainly told that the realm of Divinity does not (erchomai) appear or come with (parateresis) observation or ocular evidence. Further more he tells us the realm of Divinity is (entos) inside or within you. The outside world would not exist without the presence of the life force from within. (Within and without are from the perspective of this world as in true reality there is neither)

Col. 1:27

    To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

  To whom God/Divinity would make known what is the (ploutos) wealth as in fullness of the glory of this (musterion) secret or mystery (as in hid) which is (Christos) his anointing (his Divinity) as in the idea of contact in you, the hope of glory (his apparent fullness or presence).

2 Cor. 5:17

    Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

If any man be in the anointing contact of God, he is a new creature (as in regenerated freshness): old things are (parerchomai) neglected / set aside / passed away, all things are become ( kainos) new as in freshness.

Luke 18:29-30

    And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, [30] Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

 Left (aphiemi) house or parents, or wife or children does not mean go away or abandon but rather ‘laying aside’ the attachment and desires associated for the realm of Divinity‘s sake. It is a preference of preferring one above the other and not necessarily a physical leaving. This is because there is no where to leave or go in the physical to find the realm of Divinity which is within. It is clear the reward for leaving the old is great in this PRESENT TIME and in the world to come. (See fruits below in Galatians 5:22)

Romans 6:11

    Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We arrive at this state by the simple considering or reckoning ourselves (as in Repent or thinking differently) to be dead to sin (which is ignorance of the flesh or what some call ego, vanities of the flesh or the old creature which is a result of a false center of self or false thinking) and alive to our true being in Divinity through the same anointing that was in Jesus. In simpler terms the only task to be accomplished is to let go of the identification with the flesh nature (ego or old creature) as one’s real self. Of course, only when one is ready or sees through introspection the fruitlessness of his present state and path will he even be drawn to think differently in his search for truth. Removing the obstacles standing in the way brings revelation understanding and truth which is present all along but obscured. These obstacles include but are not limited to learned and preconceived perceptions of reality, subjective opinions, upbringing, subjective experience, false teachings, and mentations with a mind that operates on dualities, is limited, subjective and incapable of discerning truth from falsehood without the intervention of the Spirit. Since Truth is self evident and already present within, then the key to the kingdom and the fruit is letting go of that which is not true (or as most would say that which is false). This realignment of self to our true nature of Divinity brings about a change in context. (You are what you worship) That change reveals itself in fruit.

Galatians 5:22-23

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

These are the fruits that are manifested from this anointing called Christ in you in Christianity, which is your hope of the presence of God/Divinity in you. The fruit of faith is not the same as believing but is truth itself as defined in Hebrews 11:1 (the substance or evidence of things not seen with the eyes)

Many are worried that by realignment of their thinking they may manifest evil instead of good with their fruits being the opposites of above. However, it is an impossibility to willfully remove the obstacle of duality and end up with opposites as they don’t exist except in the duality of the mind of man which has to be surrendered to God or reckoned dead. There is no such thing as death, evil, fear, anger, hate, pride, conflict, judgment, force or even time in the world of non-duality. They are not possible because they can exist only in mentations in the world of effects and form. That world is changing and evolving as the consciousness of man evolves by the transformation from the Divinity within us. Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

1 Cor. 15:55-56

    O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

When Christ/Divinity/Truth/Light/Enlightenment is realized, physical death loses its sting which is sin/ignorance. The grave loses its victory because fear of death is gone and we know that we are complete in Divinity and physical death has no power over us. For the strength of sin or ignorance was the law or belief system. (Judgments and measuring which manifests as un-forgiveness , condemnation and fear.)

 It is recorded that Jesus prayed in John 17:21

    That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:

The questions will of course arise:

How did we get into this predicament of separateness in the first place? How did that which was enlightened to start become unenlightened?

 The answer is Choice. By choice mans consciousness chose to know both good and evil (the false world of duality) and create a belief system, a melodrama and experience it with all of its attributes. As the human mind/soul gave reality to falsity, it then believed that the falsity had an independent existence. Man identified with that mind and body and became subject to suffering in the form of shame, guilt, pride and fear which existed only in his mind. And the mind creates that which it believes. Man then became unaware or as some say unenlightened of his true nature and subject to error. Creating the world of duality or opposites in a mind allows us to experience the world of form in a myriad of false ways as a separate reality of the minds creation. Being lost in its melodrama led to misidentification and ignorance of our true nature and manifested as positionality and subjective opinionating which is vanity. To the mind it appears we are many separate self existent beings but the nature of Divinity within us tells us we are one and sees allness in all of creation, both with and without form.

But not to worry.

 Ephes. 1:9-10

    Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

1 Cor. 15:23

    But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

The end is sure. In the fullness of times, ALL will return (home or to source) from whence it came. In Reality, nothing is lost or gained. No one has really left in the first place as the presence of Divinity is the only reality of an omnipresent God. The absence of Divinity is merely a mentation of mind. To remove oneself from the presence of Divinity is an impossible scenario as existence itself whether in or out of form is Divinity by essence. Nonexistence is by linguistic definition a hypothetical and by definition cannot exist.) 

Note: Christ is not a man. Jesus manifested Christ consciousness or the connection with Divinity. But his name was not Jesus Christ even though he is referred to that way. He was called “the Christ”. It is a nature or title. In the same way, Siddartha was called “the Buddha”. It is a nature and title meaning an awakened one and is not a name of a person though it is often used that way.  

 

It can be downloaded free at this link if desired.

https://sites.google.com/site/josephmattiolipc/writings/Gospel Message.htm?attredirects=0&d=1

Comments?

Joseph

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I think the world would be a much better place if this was the dominant type of Christianity.

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I think the post is a perfect demonstration of the overlapping ideas of Christianity and New Age / Buddhism - type of spirituality.

 

I'm generally speaking sympathetic of the kind of spirituality you talk about but what I don't sign into is the rejection of theism, or at least, blurring of the concept. I think "Christ in me" is not a separate concept from personal level interactions with a personal, external God. Rather "Christ in me" is a channel for those interactions. I don't see "Christ in me" as an alternative concept for the classic "relationship with a personal God" - concept.

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11 hours ago, Jack of Spades said:

I think the post is a perfect demonstration of the overlapping ideas of Christianity and New Age / Buddhism - type of spirituality.

 

I'm generally speaking sympathetic of the kind of spirituality you talk about but what I don't sign into is the rejection of theism, or at least, blurring of the concept. I think "Christ in me" is not a separate concept from personal level interactions with a personal, external God. Rather "Christ in me" is a channel for those interactions. I don't see "Christ in me" as an alternative concept for the classic "relationship with a personal God" - concept.

Jack,

That's an interesting observation. Personally i do not see it that way from the writings in John 10:30 where it records Jesus saying I and my Father are one and then later follows it in 

John 17:21-23 King James Version (KJV) with

21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:

To me i do not see an external God at least spiritually speaking when one is in Christ which in my view means in the Greek to be annointed or as the root of the word Christos implies ... as in the idea of being smeared together with God. After all, if God is in and through all things  or All in All as Paul is recorded writing then the idea of being separate and external seems to me to fall away. Even my own personal experience reveals to me that it is impossible to exist as separate from God.

Just my point of view,

Joseph

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1 hour ago, JosephM said:

Jack,

That's an interesting observation. Personally i do not see it that way from the writings in John 10:30 where it records Jesus saying I and my Father are one and then later follows it in 

John 17:21-23 King James Version (KJV) with

21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:

To me i do not see an external God at least spiritually speaking when one is in Christ which in my view means in the Greek to be annointed or as the root of the word Christos implies ... as in the idea of being smeared together with God. After all, if God is in and through all things  or All in All as Paul is recorded writing then the idea of being separate and external seems to me to fall away. Even my own personal experience reveals to me that it is impossible to exist as separate from God.

Just my point of view,

Joseph

Not wrong Joseph but not helpful either.  You are still mired in semantics, and cannot say God is completely separate or completely internal.

In annointing, oil on skin is both internal and external.  This is exactly the reason for crismation in many traditions: God is not entirely internal or external but both at once.

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Yes Burl,

Good point. Both at once i can relate to.

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2 hours ago, JosephM said:

Yes Burl,

Good point. Both at once i can relate to.

A similitude I like is our communications network of independent devices which operate in connection.   Phones, computers, power sources, cell towers and mail boxes, tv sets &c.

Sometimes individuality is the best approach, other times the mutual identity depending upon the specific question being asked.  Obviously the power from Niagara Falls is both external and internal to a cellphone, but what specific question does that truth helpfully answer?

 

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27 minutes ago, Burl said:

A similitude I like is our communications network of independent devices which operate in connection.   Phones, computers, power sources, cell towers and mail boxes, tv sets &c.

Sometimes individuality is the best approach, other times the mutual identity depending upon the specific question being asked.  Obviously the power from Niagara Falls is both external and internal to a cellphone, but what specific question does that truth helpfully answer?

So, Niagara Falls is both external and internal  -  and, as such, is also beyond or more or, perhaps, even other. Before there was electricity, there was the Falls.

So too, I agree there is a both/and as opposed to an either/or: God for Christianity is both transcendent and immanent. John Macquarie calls this (recognition and balancing of seeming opposites) Dialectical theism, saying that at times, traditional theism leaned too far to transcendence while others lean too far to immanence.  

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We cannot rationally reconcile the rational with the suprarational.  We need to define pragmatic questions and work from there, realizing an ontological description of God is not achievable.  We can only define signs which point to God.

I can tell someone how to move northwards by following the pole star, but if they insist on trying to jump to Polaris vertically they are absurd.  I can tell someone how to move towards God, but if they insist on a definition instead of following the signs they are in a semantic trap and will get to Polaris before they get to God.

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20 hours ago, JosephM said:

Jack,

That's an interesting observation. Personally i do not see it that way from the writings in John 10:30 where it records Jesus saying I and my Father are one and then later follows it in 

John 17:21-23 King James Version (KJV) with

21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:

 

Very often in the Bible, any given topic gets addressed from two (at least seemingly) conflicting points of view. That is very characterical for the Bible, and the topic of "unity vs separate" is not an exception. If we put together the entire picture in both Jesus's life and his teachings, there is plenty of unity-talk, but also an unmistakable element of separation from God. f.e. In pretty much every single prayer Jesus utters, he talks to God the Father as a separate person who has a will independent from his will. 

 

What I'm trying to say is, in my point of view, what you say is indeed part of the message of the Bible, but not the whole story. If one chooses only the unity - element, the picture becomes recognizably different from the picture that the life and teachings of Jesus paint.

 

I think both of these versions about God are lacking, if we use the Gospels as the measuring stick:

1) Picking all the separation - verses and painting a church-art style picture of God, a human-like figure sitting on a cloud, separate and distant from mankind.

2) Cherrypicking only the unity - parts and ending up painting a picture about impersonal life flow of the universe that connects everything but is really nobody in it's own right. 

 

I don't find either one of those pictures to be in harmony with the Gosples, or the New Testament. There has to be more dimensions to the story to make it fit to the entirety of the message of the Gospels. To make sense of that conflict, I find harmony in some "layer" - like thinking, which I'm not too great at articulating but it's somewhere in the direction of being both in unity with God and separate being from him. I guess I think that the unity and separateness are in different "layers" or something.

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20 minutes ago, Jack of Spades said:

I don't find either one of those pictures to be in harmony with the Gosples, or the New Testament. There has to be more dimensions to the story to make it fit to the entirety of the message of the Gospels. To make sense of that conflict, I find harmony in some "layer" - like thinking, which I'm not too great at articulating but it's somewhere in the direction of being both in unity with God and separate being from him. I guess I think that the unity and separateness are in different "layers" or something.

Also, John is the most theological of the gospels and it is doubtful that the historical Jesus would have said what John has him say. This is not to take way form the points made, merely interesting to note that, seemingly, Jesus did not 'equate' himself with the Father, as later writers did for him.

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On 8/13/2018 at 4:29 PM, thormas said:

Also, John is the most theological of the gospels and it is doubtful that the historical Jesus would have said what John has him say. This is not to take way form the points made, merely interesting to note that, seemingly, Jesus did not 'equate' himself with the Father, as later writers did for him.

For myself, i can't say what Jesus really said or didn't say, or for that matter if he said anything..... but i can read the words and compare them to my own experiences and test them in life to see if there is truth in them that can be verified in my own experience. Doing that i have found much of the reported teachings to be true and those that have not been verified in my own experiences i have found comfortable  to just let sit until it is revealed to me as profitable or not.. ie: I have experienced the at oneness with God and creation and therefor can relate to those recorded words in John. I have experienced the power of forgiveness, non judgement and excusing rather than accusing to experience the profitableness of such wisdom.

To me it doesn't matter who says the words as truth seems to me to be freely given. Therefore what credit is there to a man for sharing what he/she has received as a gift. Even Jesus is recorded saying "i speak not my own words but the words of him who sent me. (John 7-16) To me the message is most  important. Focusing on the messenger seems to me a distraction from truth.

Just saying,

Joseph

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I respect that, simply providing food for thought based on the expertise of others.

I like and agree with much of John's (and others) theology, based on both experience and reason: oneness, forgiveness, judgment, and excusing, etc. 

I like both to understand the message and, if possible, know its (human) source. I think it is important to give credit, to simply thank the man or woman (even if they are unknown as is the gospel writer) because, as is evident in the world, it takes 'something' on the part of the person to hear and understand. And, perhaps, even more credit is due for the courage to live what is given and present it when and where it is not always welcomed or accepted.

So too, it seems fine to be thankful to Jesus as his life and death is evidence of both the gift given and what it cost him to give it to others.

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Yes Thomas,

 Good advice to be thankful and i would add grateful. 

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On 8/14/2018 at 4:06 AM, Jack of Spades said:

 

Very often in the Bible, any given topic gets addressed from two (at least seemingly) conflicting points of view. That is very characterical for the Bible, and the topic of "unity vs separate" is not an exception. If we put together the entire picture in both Jesus's life and his teachings, there is plenty of unity-talk, but also an unmistakable element of separation from God. f.e. In pretty much every single prayer Jesus utters, he talks to God the Father as a separate person who has a will independent from his will. 

 

What I'm trying to say is, in my point of view, what you say is indeed part of the message of the Bible, but not the whole story. If one chooses only the unity - element, the picture becomes recognizably different from the picture that the life and teachings of Jesus paint.

 

I think both of these versions about God are lacking, if we use the Gospels as the measuring stick:

1) Picking all the separation - verses and painting a church-art style picture of God, a human-like figure sitting on a cloud, separate and distant from mankind.

2) Cherrypicking only the unity - parts and ending up painting a picture about impersonal life flow of the universe that connects everything but is really nobody in it's own right. 

 

I don't find either one of those pictures to be in harmony with the Gosples, or the New Testament. There has to be more dimensions to the story to make it fit to the entirety of the message of the Gospels. To make sense of that conflict, I find harmony in some "layer" - like thinking, which I'm not too great at articulating but it's somewhere in the direction of being both in unity with God and separate being from him. I guess I think that the unity and separateness are in different "layers" or something.

This is actually the issue I was struggling with last night. The Father may be found within and John 14:23 expresses this perfectly for me "Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him."

And of late I truly feel he (and indeed Jesus) have made their abode in me, but then I was getting confused about the boundaries between Him in me and whether an external God exists at all or whether it was just humanities expression of the sense of God within. 

 

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Instead of looking for answers, try discovering better questions.  Just making a list of things God finds important is a very revealing exercise.

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11 hours ago, Skye said:

This is actually the issue I was struggling with last night. The Father may be found within and John 14:23 expresses this perfectly for me "Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him."

And of late I truly feel he (and indeed Jesus) have made their abode in me, but then I was getting confused about the boundaries between Him in me and whether an external God exists at all or whether it was just humanities expression of the sense of God within. 

Jack of Spades has made a good point, something that John Macquarie also discusses in his book 'In Search of Deity.' He speaks of seeming opposites, such as transcendent and immanent that have to be seen, as much as is humanly possible, in balance. The paradox is that, for example, God is both transcendent and immanent. If one goes too far in emphasizing transcendence they go to a theistic notion of God that paints Him as totally other, distant, external; if they lean too far to immanence, they go to pantheism. 

So too, I believe, with your question, Syke, of God and Jesus. Seemingly God is Other in that we are not responsible for 'this (creation)' and that we find ourselves to be transcendent beings, in that we always reach beyond ourselves in order to be our truest selves. Christianity speaks of the God who Calls (Word) and Encourages (Love/Spirit) empowering us to become. If indeed God is Love, then as one embodies Love, they are incarnating God: man needs God/Love in order to be truly Human. What is Other, but never external, must live in man. Is it ever internal? Not sure as internal means it is mine or even that something is my possession, emphasis on mine. I think rather that Love in never completely mine (or internal) but that which must always be chosen (again, again and again): never internal and only in and of me when I live it. My caution is that I have heard too many 'associate' themselves with God, that God is internalize in them but they never really seem to be very Human: it rings false.

I get the idea of God/Jesus making their abode in one but perhaps it is more on point to say that we live/abide in God only if we do what God IS (Love), then Love lives or finds a home in us. Never a once and done, it is always before us, always to be done, always to be Lived. 

Finally, for me, we are called to be as Jesus was: sons and daughters of the Father. It is God/Love that lived in Jesus and that must live in us also for us to be what Jesus was: man/woman expressing Divinity and therefore becoming and being Human. We don't incarnate Jesus - he is a man - rather we are called to incarnate/embody God. We can incarnate the Way of Jesus but that is God's Way. The point, for me, is not to worship Jesus, it is to be Christ.

 

So, as to 'between Him in me and whether an external God exists at all or whether it was just humanities expression of the sense of God within' I think it is man's expression of his experience of the transcendent (beyond or More than us) God that is immanent in and through creation. Is there an external God? I would say No. Is God Other or transcendent? Different question, I think - and a different answer.

 

Edited by thormas

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SKye,

I try not to look at it as a dichotomy such as external or internal. God to me is  All in All.  Without location and beyond languaging. Yes it says he will come and take up his abode in us but that in my experience is a deficiency in language as you were never separate from God in the first place except as a figure of speech. You could not exist except for the fact that God is the very substrate of your very existence. At least that is my personal experience put in words.

Joseph

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So for me, as indicated, not a dichotomy (either/or) but a paradox: both true and simply trying to comprehend the human 'insights' into Divinity. 

And, I agree with Joseph that we were never separate (and that language cannot capture Reality) but separate and external are different from ' other' (and there we still have paradox). Wholly other? Hardly. However, the experience seems to also speak of: transcendence or reaching beyond; finitude; and, dependence.

Also agree we cannot exist except for God: both as 'substrate' and as 'That' which must be actualized in order to be (fully).   

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23 hours ago, Skye said:

This is actually the issue I was struggling with last night. The Father may be found within and John 14:23 expresses this perfectly for me "Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him."

And of late I truly feel he (and indeed Jesus) have made their abode in me, but then I was getting confused about the boundaries between Him in me and whether an external God exists at all or whether it was just humanities expression of the sense of God within. 

 

I think it is most likely that Jesus saw God as external, but also thought that the relationship between God and human could be more personal (and cut out the middleman bureaucracy that Judaism had developed).  So not so much God being 'in you' actually but much like how we feel about another we love who we 'hold in our heart'.  I think it is some of Jesus' later followers and bible writers that have made Jesus and God two separate entities combined and written things portraying Jesus as they saw him, including things that they would like Jesus to have said (I think John is notorious for this).

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12 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think it is most likely that Jesus saw God as external, but also thought that the relationship between God and human could be more personal (and cut out the middleman bureaucracy that Judaism had developed).  So not so much God being 'in you' actually but much like how we feel about another we love who we 'hold in our heart'.  I think it is some of Jesus' later followers and bible writers that have made Jesus and God two separate entities combined and written things portraying Jesus as they saw him, including things that they would like Jesus to have said (I think John is notorious for this).

This is a good point and one I had not given a great deal of thought to but I agree that, seemingly, Jesus thought of God as his Father and therefore as other and external. Sounds reasonable for a Jew of that time.

I also agree that John in particular took the understanding of God/Jesus to a new level (and wrote some of these insights back into Jesus)l. However, although this has to be taken as poetry, I think it is valid for John and others to continue, building on Jesus, to say something more about the Divine and the Human (with 60 or so years of thinking and living the Way) in light of what they came to believe about the man Jesus. The or some kind of  'combination' of Jesus with God (or vice versa) seems, for many, to resonate as 'true.'

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10 hours ago, thormas said:

I also agree that John in particular took the understanding of God/Jesus to a new level (and wrote some of these insights back into Jesus)l. However, although this has to be taken as poetry, I think it is valid for John and others to continue, building on Jesus, to say something more about the Divine and the Human (with 60 or so years of thinking and living the Way) in light of what they came to believe about the man Jesus. The or some kind of  'combination' of Jesus with God (or vice versa) seems, for many, to resonate as 'true.'

"Vaild" in what sense - Their efforts?  I don't disagree that John and others are welcome to build on Jesus and say something more about the Divine and the Human, but what degree of accuracy do you assign to their writings and why?  Because it 'speaks' to you and/or others?  What evidence verifies John's opinions and point-of-view on God - the and words he attributes to Jesus?  Is John leading people down the garden path?  Is he accurate or miles off from Jesus' teachings?  Why does it matter?

I'm just saying John could be right, wrong, or a combination of both (Jesus could be too, even if we did have an accurate account of his words).  John might be on a completely different track than the majority of the original followers of Jesus were for all we know.  His Book is certainly a giant leap forward from the synoptic Gospels so I can't help but think there is a fair amount of 'personal interpretation' in  his writings and we have all seen how personal opinion is so wide and varied in Christianity.  So much so that I think one should be naturally suspicious of anybody who believes they have accurately and correctly interpreted the 'word of God'.

But also, how do you even know these are the original words of John?  At best, the earliest evidence we have of this book is a mere fragment  (Rylands Library Papyrus P52 - measuring only 3.5 by 2.5 inches and which incidentally differs from the version which appears in the first complete copy of John we have).  It's not until around 200CE that we see anything like a complete copy of John (P66 - which is still not complete).

My point simply is that poetry is lovely.  If it speaks to people and does good, bravo.  If it speaks to people and causes harm, then thumbs down.  But I think it's valuable to keep in mind that this author (and many others in the Bible) may be completely wrong in what he/they describe and which so many people take to be the 'truth'.  Often that truth relies on individual interpretation of the text as well.  Play with it, delve into it, meditate on it, verify it - they are all good things in my opinion and if it 'resonates' as true for people, all power to them.

I appreciate that my comments may confuse Skye even further about the boundaries between Him in them and whether an external God exists at all.  But like Skye questions - "is it just humanities expression of the sense of God within?".  I think this is very likely, which means it could be right, wrong or somewhere in between.  Which is the whole reason there is any debate whatsoever about religion I guess.

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Valid in that Jesus, a man, had, along with his fellow Jews, a sense of and understanding of God. So too, it is valid for John - since Jesus is important to him and his community - to elaborate on and give voice to the understanding of the Divine which is based on their particular understanding of Jesus. 

The simple answer - a more elaborate one is built on Gabriel Moran's book 'The Present Revelation' - is that John reflects a communal understanding of Jesus that is ultimately judged to be of a piece with the Synoptic and Pauline witness. Not simply to me or some others: it has 'spoken' to Christian communities from the end of the 1st C CE and continued to speak to Christian communities to the degree that it was accepted as a correct presentation of the Christ - as opposed to, for example, gnostic gospels.

All the gospels are highly theological, so too John. His arrangements of the miracles in a particular order and a set number, while different, still 'reveals' the Christ of God to the Christian community and invites belief. That is the point of the gospels: Good News. Are any of the gospels accurate, miles off or do they simply take the oral tradition(s) and present it as the Good News of Jesus the Christ? Not history, not biography, but theology.

I agree that John puts words in the mouth of Jesus as does, for example, Mathew in his 'production' of the Sermon on the Mount and his constant comparison of Jesus as like and even greater than Moses. Seemingly some of the sermon words are historical. It has been awhile since I studied John but I do remember that one great biblical scholar, Paula Fredrekson, believes that John's seemingly allows that Jesus traveled to Jerusalem more than once as is the case in the Synoptics.

So not right or wrong; it is a particular presentation of Jesus that, if I remember correctly, is not simply John's but arises from the tradition and 'memory' of his community. Seemingly, John was not on a completely different track as his gospel was accepted alongside the other three. Again, there is personal interpretation in all gospels and his is judged to be, not a giant leap forward but a deep mediation on the Christ, 60+ years after his death. Actually, in many ways, reflecting on Jesus, it could be said that Jesus and the Father are one and the same; the two entities are 'combined' - divinity lives in humanity. Thus, many believe that John and the Synoptics have accurately and correctly interpreted Jesus.

200CE - this is a roughly 100 years, give or take a few either way - not bad?

Poetry hurts people? Perhaps if it is taken literally - as is too often the case but it doesn't mean there is not 'truth' in poetry, mythological images, symbols and metaphor. Some gospel facts  can be wrong, other information can be mis-taken as historical or literal but completely wrong? For me, this misunderstands that it is primarily theology and the theology of John still rings true: it says something 'true' about Jesus (man) with God. This is John's 'sense of God' and it may or may not speak 'truth' to the reader. For others, not so much - which is fine.

 

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I appreciate the ongoing discussion.

I have come to feel that Jesus and The Father have made their abode in me, and still there are questions, maybe the questions never end, of course I don't even really need to know the answers, if I'm smart enough to just keep following -

Hebrews 11:8 (NKJV) By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

 

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