Dying and Becoming
In this article the writer backtracks somewhat from a blithe assumption
of Western Wisdom Teachings and takes up a midpoint position that may be
more accessible and encouraging to the doctrinally mainstream Christian. It
is hoped that this mediation might also fortify the New Age believer who
knows his own convictions but may have some difficulty in rationalizing
them. When does the revelation of Christ-centered truth cease? Was it once
and for all time delivered, and now, in the fallow, post-Golgotha aftermath,
do the semantic shards from that glorious fallout glint in the reliquary of
gospel scripture as the sole bequest of Christian truth? But what about the
Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, which the Christ sends to teach us all
things, and bring all things to our remembrance (John 14:16-17; 15:26)?
"I have many things to say unto you, but ye can not bear them now" (John
16:12). Pray, when? "Now" was two thousand years ago. If, in 30 A.D.
Jerusalem, there were more things to know than were dreamed of in the
current philosophies, when does one awaken from the dream and know these
"things"? I submit that one major "thing" was intimated while the Christ
Being was still living in the body of Jesus, and this revelation has, for
approximately one century, been threatening to unravel the synthetic garment
of canonical Christian cloth.
"Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, some say that
thou art John the Baptist; some Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the
prophets" (Matt 16:13-14). On what assumption does the question, and, far
more, His disciples' response, draw if not an implicit familiarization with
the law of successive lives? Of course this text can be ingeniously
explained as meaning other than what it truly signifies, vindicating the
dogma that repudiates such an heretical thought. But heretical to whom? To
the Teacher Himself? As incarnate Truth, did He not have an obligation to
clearly dispatch such nonsense? That He could have pre-existed as one of the
earlier prophets? He let pass their response because it was founded on an
accepted and real metaphysical dynamic.
After the Baptist was imprisoned, the same occult truth is intimated:
Who is John the Baptist? What a silly question, right? He's John the
Baptist, a prophet. But when did he first prophesy? Hundreds of years before
the Incarnation Ä as Elijah. "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face,
which shall prepare thy way before thee.... And if ye will receive it, this
is Elias, which was for to come." Elias? The individuality that later
invested the Baptist's body? Surely this can be explained without invoking
the dread concept of reincarnation (cf. Luke 1:17). And you may be sure many
worthy wits have been pressed into this service. But then what is to be made
of the deeply telling statement immediately following Christ Jesus'
disclosure: "He that has ears to hear, let him hear" (Matt 11:7-15)? This is
the formulaic challenge for what the listener may find obscure, offensive,
or threatening. As it is said in another context, " This is an hard saying;
who can hear it?" (John 6:60)
Coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration, His three disciples ask
Jesus about the Baptist, who has just appeared as Elijah: "Why then say the
scribes that Elias must first come? [Jesus:] I say unto you that Elias is
come already, and they knew him not [naturally!], but have done unto him
whatsoever they listed.... Then the disciples understood that he spake unto
them of John the Baptist" (Matt 17:10-13).
Again, "his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man,
or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John 9:2) When had this man time
and place to sin if he was born blind? Did he sin in his mother's womb? His
congenital blindness was the consequence of a prior moral obliquity. In rush
the alarmed exegetes to work interpretative wonders, seeking to obviate the
obvious: For here is a direct allusion to an extension of the law "as ye
sow, so shall ye reap." The field for the working out of the law of cause
and effect now encompasses successive lives. Oh, perish the thought.
So do we further burden the intelligent soul already oppressed by a
faith freighted with a mandated nescience because it is disabused of the
opportunity to exercise its God-given power of reason. Heaven forbid that it
might then better account for the myriad inequities of birth and
circumstance, which apparent injustices, finding no satisfactory
explanation, lead many persons to postulate a punishing God, or none at all.
Is this a matter of spiritual blindness? That having eyes for the evident,
we are prejudiced against the hidden (spiritual) truth and see not? Christ
Jesus called the Pharisees "blind guides" (Matt 23:16). We pray with Paul
that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened (Eph 1:18), that our
minds be no longer blinded, since the vail to the Holy of Holies is rent
(Matt 27:51), done away in Christ (II Cor 3:14), and we are enabled to
understand. (We are able to enter into the innermost sanctum, where the Holy
Spirit speaks to "whomsoever will.") God wills to be known by His sons. He
has given them the means to discern His ways: "God hath revealed them unto
us by his Spirit, for the Spirit searchest all things, yea, the deep things
of God" (II Cor 2:10).
Man, made in the image and likeness of his Creator, is, like Him, a
Spirit, and becomes transformed by the renewing of his mind, which opens to
spiritual worlds, where he lives and moves and experiences his real being.
Our quandaries are self-imposed. Our Kingdom is not of this world. To make
tawdry kingdoms here, in the belief that this is all we have got, is
disheartening, dis-spiriting, and mindless. We are here to learn how not to
be here, to use the lessons provided by material existence in order to
Christ Jesus had a tough time among the pundits of His day. And the
prodigious apparatus of two millenia of accumulated dogma stands no less
opaque and implacable. Truth? What is truth? asks Pilate. No answer. "If I
told you, you would not understand" is Christ's tacit response. But He does
tell us. Do we understand? It does not call for faith. It calls for common
sense. And the overcoming of a profound fear. And the dismissal of a false
humility unbecoming a son of God. And it calls for the desire to confirm the
Reality of a just and ineffably beneficient God. For else one faces
inscrutable conumdrums that require the scholastic contortions of well-
meaning sophistry and a despairing capitulation to an abused faith. A
painful irony is at work here. A primary law of physics regarded as
inviolable in the material world becomes tentative or inapplicable in the
superphysical domain: No cause without effect; no action without reaction.
Such an extension would make for a wonderful demonstration of theodicy.
Under the law of cause and effect, extended for the duration of our
earthly pilgrimage, life becomes scrupulously fair. Each is his own judge
and jury. Talk about liberation theology! What could be more liberating?
One's every thought, word and deed is its own verdict. We sow wheat or weed,
to corruption or salvation. Actually, Scripture sets up the rules, but is
construed as limiting their application and logical inferences: To each
shall be rendered according to his rendering (Rom 2:6). With what measure
you mete, so shall it be meted unto you (Matt 7:1). By thy words thou shalt
be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned Ä by thy own person
(Matt 12:36-37). A just criticism of our current penal policy is that we
merely incarcerate, we do not rehabilitate. How about the prison of the
physical body, the hell of an unregenerate life? Does God just jail us in
our worldly forms and deeds or does He offer a program for rehabilitation?
The program is called the development of Christ consciousness. Does this not
exonerate God from an imputation of unseemly vengeance. Vengeance comes to
us because we initiate it, and we must experience life as what we are. We
punish ourselves with our mistakes. We also learn. Live by the sword and
perish by it. Love without ceasing and Christ irradiates the soul with peace
Does this antiquate Grace? God forbid(s it). Rather are we no longer
servants of the flesh but sons and heirs of God (Gall 4:7). Is Christ any
less the Way, the Truth, and the Life now that man is more accountable for
being what he is? More so. More approachable, emulable, liveable. We are to
participate more consciously and concertedly in our salvation, because we
consent to it, choose it and daily plant and reap toward the consummation of
a mystic wedding. If we walk in the Way, then we too shall know the
Immaculate Conception, wherein the Christed consciousness shall be born of
the virgin soul fructified by the spiritualized mind. As Angelus Silesius
expresses the mystic birth, "Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be
born, And not within thyself, thy soul will be forlorn." This mystery is the
crux of Paul's message, "The mystery which has been withheld from ages and
from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints... which is Christ
in you, the hope of glory... that we may present every man perfect in Christ
Jesus" (Col 1:26-28).
If the Church shepherds can not lead their flocks to green pasture and
still water, the lambs will go to the wolves (Acts 20:29), or get smart
fast. What is it to "be renewed in the spirit of your mind" (Eph 4:23)? What
is it to no longer have "the understanding darkened" (Eph 4:18)? "The Spirit
itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And
if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ" (Rom
8:16-17). This being so, our duty is to "Put... on the Lord Jesus Christ
(Rom 13:14) and "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus"
(Phil 2:5). That was the mind that then said, Ye can not bear these things
now. Can we now? Bold, treacherous, unfounded, you say? Rather arrogant not
to. Belligerent resistance flouting demonstrable evidence and intuitive
urging (action of the Holy Spirit).
Much that is oppressively obscure or overwrought in Christian theology
reflects the insuperable difficulty of justifying God's wisdom and love in
the absence of the twin laws of Consequence and Rebirth in which they are
embodied. They make clear that each Ego's destiny is the product of all its
"nows." Thoughts and deeds may assume far more purposefulness and
effectuality with a full appreciation of their value and impact, knowing
that there are no chances; that nothing is random; that the being and
becoming of each of us is our own responsibility; that causality operates in
our lives down to the last jot and tittle; that the mills of the gods grind
slowly, and they also grind exceeding fine; that we are to be perfect, even
as our Father in Heaven is perfect; that He has given us free will to choose
our perfection and His Son to light the way and empower us to live like unto
Him through the ministrations of the Holy Spirit, which, when sought, will
guide us and illumine our minds. Most importantly, we are given time and
occasion. Else how could we attain to such a sublime reality?
If we die not to the flesh before we die in the flesh, then we must be
born again in the flesh to learn how, that we may be born in spirit and
consciously enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:5). Physical death itself is no
key to the Kingdom of Heaven. Christ is the key. Learning how to die in
Christ is learning how to live Christ, to be Christ. Christ was not given to
humanity prior to Golgotha. What then of them who preceded him? But for the
saints resurrected between consummatum est and Easter morning, are all lost?
And if the law was their schoolmaster, teaching them a spiritual grammar,
don't they return to school the next year (life) to employ that grammar in
higher lessons, eventually graduating from bondage to the flesh's letter to
walk with their Teacher in the liberty of the Spirit? And what of those
coming after, who fail a single lifespan's death test? What of them? Many
Adams continue to eat of the sensual tree with abandon, oblivious to both
the consequences of their actions and the existence of the spiritual
antidote for the sting of death. What of them? And those righteous by the
law, who already have their reward, such as it is. Are they lost? Surely
If Christ is our Elder Brother, the firstfruits of them that slept (I
Cor 15:23); if we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:16-
17); if we are sons and heirs of God through Christ (Gal 4:7); if the works
that Christ did, we shall do, and greater works than these shall we do (John
14:12); if we shall know even as we are known (I Cor 13:12); if Paul
travails in birth until Christ be formed in us (Gal 4:6-7), until we come
unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of
Christ (Eph 4:13), until we may grow up into Him in all things, which is the
head, even Christ (Eph 4:15), in Whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead
bodily (Col 2:9); if all these sayings be true, and the Word is true, it is
also, and must be, true that the time and opportunity are provided whereby
this supreme prospect and promise may be realized. For God "will have all
men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (I Tim 2:4).
"For all shall know me, from the least to the greatest" (Heb 8:11), and be
"partakers of the divine nature" (II Pet 1:4), and the day star will arise
in our hearts (II Pet 1:l9).
God so loves the world, that He has given His only begotten Son to it,
that all may come to Him through Christ Jesus. This is His will, and all
shall, in time, sooner or later, choose Christ, repudiating all acts and
thoughts of self-condemnation. Each, in his good time, wakes and wants to
hear Him, learn Him, partake of Him, practice Him, become one with Him.
Thank God for the Grace and suffering and Example and Power and Love
enabling each soul to become wholly human, holy, complete, Christ perfected.
Many "will not endure sound doctrine" (II Tim 4:3). Yet, thank God, will
they live long enough to be proof of it. The murdered and the murderer, the
idiot and the stillborn, the atheist and the zealot Ä all will be brought to
the Light and will choose it for their being.
Humanity need not be stultified and baffled by a careless and causeless
creation, by inexplicable happenings. Rather is each created in God to
become as Him. Each immortal spirit recapitulates the entire history of
human experience: From prelapsarian innocence to the awareness of
separateness, to an "Egyptian" captivity to the senses, to a wandering in
the wilderness, to a seven-fold initiation in the mysteries of the Christ
life (The Washing of the Feet, The Scourging, The Crowning with Thorns, The
Bearing of the Cross, The Mystic Death, The Entombment, The Resurrection).
Ultimately, we grow into the image and likeness of our Creator. We know this
to be true. Now shall this truth, through Christ, make us free.