Tuesday, August 14, 2007

His Presence is Near

His Presence is near,
Can you hear His love song?
All along He was here,
Why did you fear as if He would not hear you call?

The fall is by working the law,
Sin begins to gnaw on your soul;
The hole, so dark and black,
Feel the lack of your power to act-
React to His drawing you to Himself.

The Self: let go of you,
And He will be He,
Then there is no need to try;
Die to your i,
Only be as He is He,
and you will be you:
And then you will fly.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The life that I now live

The apostle Paul said, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ who liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.- Ga 2.20.

What is the true ontological status of one who is a follower of Jesus Christ?
What is the ontological status of anyone, whether a follower or not?

For most people, even many believers, there's a false notion, a delusion that we somehow exist independently of God. Even if theologically they believe that we are contingent upon the Necessary Being, Who is God, they will nonetheless think and act as if they exist in and of themselves.

In the Islamic shahada the statement, La illaha illa Lla, There is no God but Allah, would be an agreeable doctrine to Christians in its affirmation of the monotheistic God, if properly understood. The Sufis took the Shahada to an ontological level, by saying Only God exists, or There is no being but the Being (or Allah). In Islam the ultimate sin, shirk, is to affirm another god besides Allah. Thus to affirm another existent, in the Sufi sense, would be to commit a kind of ontological polytheism, or shirk. So, too, for Christians, if we can believe this, to believe otherwise would be ontological idolatry, or philosophic polytheism to affirm that any other than God truly exists.
This should not seem strange to us, though admittedly hard to comprehend. For to believe it is one thing, but it demands a change of consciousness on our part to experience the Reality thereof.

To be sure, the Scriptures of the Judeo-Christian faith affirmed the monotheistic status of God, and even on an ontological level at least a thousand years before Mohamed came, as Isaiah prophesied, I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside...That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.- Isa 45.5a, 6.

This is the mystery, that God alone exists, that He alone is; and if that is so, what is our ontological status? We do not argue that we are non-existent, neither do we claim to exist. Our existence is relative, and His existence is absolute, He is Absolute Being. And in relation to Him nothing exists! Do you deny this? Do you claim to exist independent from Him? Can there possibly be two existences metaphysically? You and He? Two? This would be a philosophic polythiesm, and thus an ontological idolatry to hold to this. Some would say at this point, He is Three, referring to the Holy Trinity. Yes, there are three, but they are only One in their substratum, in the Essence. It is the Essence of which we speak. Thus the Three emanate from the One, or the Father emanates the Son, and He emanates the Holy Spirit, though eternally (Heb 13.8). One Being, Three Persons, a topic for later.

Paul grasps the ontological importance of God in relation to us in the heading text above. He is talking about his "I", which we may use the small case to indicate our existential "i", as oppossed to the Absolute "I" Who is God.
Paul then says, i was crucified with Christ, neverthe less I live, yet not i, but Christ who lives in me. The life that i now live in the flesh, which is to say, existentially, i live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me...Thus our ontological status is that by Jesus' personal faith (which is how the Greek reads), we subsist in the flesh, that is existentially. Yes, He alone IS, and we do not...., and yet, we do. Why? Because Jesus the Son believes us to, that is He has faith. Faith in what? Faith in faith? Faith in us? God forbid... let God be true, but every man a liar- Rom 3.4a. He has faith, that is, He believes in what He witnessed of us when our particular entity was revealed as a glory and aspect of God, revealed in the Logos (Word). This is what Jesus meant when He said, These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God- Rev 3.14b. Thus for Him to exercise His faith concerning us is not to believe in non-existence, but in His Self-Revelation eternally occurring; what He saw in us as we were not, but were yet in Him, was Himself. He witnessed our true self in Himself, and had faith, thus saying, Amen- so be it! And so we subsist in this world to be the beneficiaries of His love and grace poured out on the cross.
Bless God!