Saturday, 20 July 2013

Yes I Am 5 - The Necessity of The Negative

Yes I am by Norman Grubb
Chapter 5

The first necessity, then, in the coming into being of the human family in God’s own image, predestined to be His sons and co-heirs with His own Son, is that we know and understand what it is to be a person. A person must know how he functions as a person, and with what faculties and capacities, before he can take his place in the scheme of things and fulfill his appointed destiny. Hence the old Greek aphorism, "Know thyself."

So from the beginning, Adam and Eve were in a garden where all things were provided by their Father’s love; but until they were confronted with alternatives and had to make an independent choice, they were not yet self-conscious persons. (The nearest parallel we have is a newborn infant who knows nothing except his parents’ tender care.) Therefore, there had to be in the middle of the garden the two trees with the special instruction given concerning one of them: "Everything is yours; use freely. But don’t eat of this one tree."

But more than merely the existence of the forbidden tree, there was already the serpent (who was one of God’s creations), and we are told who he is: "That old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan." So God deliberately planned that man should be confronted by the author of evil in the midst of the garden in which all is called very good. This is our first evidence, which appears later all through Scripture and experience, that Satan, though the enemy, is in fact God’s convenient agent, always doing precisely what God determines he should do. That makes a great difference in our attitude toward and our handling of Satan, and of all the situations and people by whom he is operating; for we then start not negatively - looking at his lying, bluffing appearance as independent power - but positively, by always recognizing that he is merely God’s servant, unwittingly fulfilling God’s purposed will in his activities.
So here it is Satan, the false god of self-centeredness, put by God in the garden to be the tempter, who first awakens Eve to the consciousness of the total oppositeness between God and devil, between self-centered self-interest and God-centered other-interest. But the significant first fact is that by no other means than to be enticed to satisfy her own self-interest could Eve be awakened to her own self-potentials. Only when Satan said "Look, God is forbidding you to have something you would really like" was she awakened (and thus all humanity) to the reality of human appetites - with the fruit looking so good to eat, and she forbidden to have it. If she could have had it anyhow, like all other fruits, then she would not have recognized the power of physical appetites; but only when she could not have it, but was tempted to want it, did she suddenly see her physical drives. (The same with all that appears to our eyes as so attractive to possess.) She was awakened to a whole range of fascinating observations when she saw something pleasant to look at but which she must not have. And finally, the lying statement that God was withholding from Eve the knowledge of the meaning of life in its variety, awakened her dormant mind to its vast possibilities. She had discovered herself as a person with all the potentialities of personhood with which God had created her - all of such unlimited use as can only be suggested by what man in his fallen condition has discovered and developed. How much more surely awaits us when the sons of God operate in their full potential! It will be, as Paul says, like "life from the dead." Flesh, sight, mind are all marvelous gifts of God. Having been misused, as in "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life," these gifts are restored to us in all the adventure and delight of their right use when we are back again as whole persons in Christ. But again we say, Only through the enticement to be self-loving selves could we know ourselves as selves. As Paul says, "O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God."

 We wrongly tend to label outer negatives, such as darkness, hardness, and hate, as evil; but they are not so in themselves.
Concerning this devil, Satan, who Jesus said was "the father of lies" and John said "sinned from the beginning," we are given two glimpses by prophetic revelation of who he is and why he is the enemy. In Isaiah 14, under the temporary symbol of the King of Babylon, this far greater person of angelic status is shown us in his determination to overthrow God Himself and take His place. In Ezekiel 28, when the prophet is speaking locally of the King of Tyrus, this Lucifer, "son of the morning," is shown in his downfall through love of his own beauty. "Lust of the eyes and pride of life" took him all the way to becoming the god of a kingdom of self-centeredness which should never have been in existence. He is that self for self which, we have seen, our God, who is the Self for others, cannot be. He is that light in reverse which Jesus spoke of when He said, "If the light which is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!" He is the one whose label is sin: for John says, "Sin is the transgression of the law," and Satan is the one who first deliberately defied the one law of the universe, our God who is other-love. And if our God of other-love is the light and life of the universe, His opposite, who is self-love, must be darkness and death. Yet he had to be, for nothing can come into existence which is not God’s determined will; and we are beginning to see that we can never be reliable sons of God in a world which can only be manifested by opposites unless we have been confronted with and involved in the opposites to which God has "died," and have ourselves experienced a transformation to the same fixity.
But we must keep it clear that, because there can only be manifested life by the fact of opposites, neither side of a thing is valueless, but each is necessary to the other. We wrongly tend to label outer negatives, such as darkness, hardness, and hate, as evil; but they are not so in themselves. What then is the good and evil of which we became conscious through the eating of the forbidden tree? It is not in the outer forms of our existence: neither in material things nor in our created selfhood, neither in our soul emotions nor body appetites. It is purely spirit. The name given to Satan is "the spirit of error." God is "the Spirit of truth." Good is the true God in the universe, evil is the false god. Knowing good and evil, therefore, is knowing either the one or the other in operation in our human form or material surroundings. Evils are but misused forms of good. In that sense, John said not that the world is wicked but, rather, that it "lieth in the wicked one" (1 John 5:19, Amplified).

Yes I Am............on Kindle

Yes I Am........... as a Paperback

Yes I Am........... free but unwieldy online screen version

No comments: