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Personality and Spirituality
Meaning is not found in the evacuation of
the author of mind,
the conceiver of spirit
and the founder of man.
In our last chapter, we were impressed with individuality.
what is its perspective ? How is it to be understood, and to understand ?
It is now our joy to consider some of the aspects of this matter, as production of the Lord, in the Lord for the Lord, and some of the variations, variegations, the colour and the meaning, the depth and the modes of it, the significance and the relationship to spirit, to what matters most, to God.
Individuality is first in our line of investigation, physical, for this is visible and strikes the eye; then it is mental, and this is intimate and impacts the very thought; then it is spiritual, and becomes the cast or case, depending on the liberty left before the Lord, of the person. Personality, terminologically, may be deemed simply the appearance of the person in the eyes of the world, or even in his/her own eyes, to the extent either of these appearances are objective, sound and true, and not invaded by inveterate prejudice of this kind or the other. There IS an impact, however much hate may distort, or love may ennoble.
The person is the term used for the spiritual entity, with the mental equipment as we shall see, characterised and the bodily habiliments, if corporeal in kind, as added ware.
Let us consider then first the physical side of it.
There is a genetic structure as we have considered in its environment and place before (cf. ...genome... gene index and SMR index). This gives the information for the production of the physical, sets the quality of the apparatus and any qualifications which disorder or purity may enable or require.
Nor is this itself without individuality. Even when the child is young, stimuli from near the outset (and to the mind of some, before birth, when the child may respond inwardly to aspects of the speech of the mother and so on, in earlier ways) may lead to differentiation. Thus we have report that the exceedingly delicate neural apparatus, as it develops, has many potential paths for connection or termination. These in a sense appear to develop themselves on the pattern. As callouses develop on a labourer's hands, so ordered and heavily organised responses come in the neural development, all schematised, all magnificently made, like a Jaguar being produced in its engine, with the driver's habits and requirements, to a limited (special edition) extent, being built into the result.
That is an individuation of massive importance, a use-for aspect of the use-by apparatus, individually fashioned IN and THROUGH the very individual as life grows.
With this as merely one example of the process of individuation physically, we come to the mental aspect. Here we find an apparatus of an organised kind, so brilliant in its conception, diversified in its aspects, co-ordinated in its synthetic whole, that more than any man-made creation, is profound in correlation, information and specification. This, it simply is; and the mere comprehension of some of its ingredients of the grosser kind, is almost overwhelming.
In this, our current concern is at that interface of mental and physical, the depictive and envisaging on the one hand, and on the other, the cranial apparatus and the co-ordinated central nervous system, with whatever relevant inter-relationships with the sympathetic nervous system and other inputs are worthy of thought. This latter is a system, and its use has effects on its availability, whether alcohol be a detriment leading to a partial disengagement of developments or their deprivation, or there be other stress or poison; or whether there be hard mental work, as is now being suggested, even to old age, tending to have developmental input on the neurons and their commission, perhaps even adding some.
Thus research has been adduced to suggest that so far from the equipment being fixed, it may continue to develop, and not merely follow a set curve or path of decay, as time goes on. Certainly, cells diminish; but the point is this, that there is (as in the rest) a limited option of development. On this conception, a use is stimulus and stimulus is equipment production in the magnificent complex of considerations physically expressed, which is the cranial and related equipment. This may reduce the reductive ageing action in the cranial equipment, extending facilities and mental agilities.
In all this, once more, there is individuation, relationship for good or for evil, to the individual, RELATIVE EVEN TO the equipment available! There is a tailoring like that of a costumier, an individualisation like that of hat creator, an imbuement like that of the scalpel of a particular surgeon; and the individual input has bearing on the individual equipment. In this, of course, there is a PLAN and a PROGRAM and a DESIGN (cf. SMR pp. 211ff., 252Eff.). It is not being stressed that we in ANY sense MAKE that; it is just that we have input flexibilities and notations which INFLUENCE its type of manifestation and individual development, physically, yes and retention!
We pass now to the mental per se. The pianist has his piano and this LIMITS him; but it does not dictate. The genius with his one violin string is certainly objectively limited by this, in comparison with the availabilities for expression of a Stradivarius; but on the other hand, he/she is not managed by the equipment, but in a sense moulds it to the expression of spirit in a highly individual fashion. But we leap too far, and must pedestrian style, return to our present concern, the mental.
The use of the mental apparatus looking down and back to the physical fact of its horse-power, IQ and so on, themselves not entirely devoid of development with and of the individual as we have seen, as PART of the available facilities on the one hand, with the provision of a certain esprit of their responsiveness to the one who has this for a physical setting: this is fascinating. Not merely do the neurons have some relationship to their user, but paths tend to form which express compositely the overall impact of the person in the developing user-related dispositions. Memory and accessibility, in ways not wholly divorced from computer concepts, but far beyond these, have their paths; and these may indeed have some localisation in the human brain. However, as has been found in the results of surgery and rehabilitation after wars, powers of redistribution of functions, to some extent, may operate, so that where damage has come to one part, there may be some redisposition so that what is left can better carry the load.
This brilliance of adaptability in the interests of CONSERVATION of the capacities in the original DESIGN will itself depend first of all on the WILL to LIVE!
If the 'patient' does not
pursue this, there will be effects on the co-ordination and in the worst cases,
where the mood of depression is spiritually tolerated (of this more anon),
there can be death. Again, there is inter-relationship of phases. Thus the
depression may have a physical input, because certain systems or aspects are
poisoned, disturbed or damaged and the effort is too great for the spirit of
the person to contemplate, so that the desire to cope is lost. Again, the
exhilaration of facing challenge may evoke enormous personally directed efforts
which may make an enormous change to the entire program of healing. Thus again,
the personal moves into the physical, in the ways earlier discussed in terms of
pneumo-psycho-somatic medicine (Lord of Life
More generally, and leaving the theatre of the medical for the placement of the functional in its ordinary goings, the mind will affect the brain in its demands on it, and the brain will limit the mind, in its requisitions of it.
As these things develop, cumulatively, progressively, individuality is not only exhibited, but helps the entire nexus of operation, memory and intention, to which the equipment in its various neural paths and operational expectations, responds. Paths, say TOWARDS depression with the corresponding lack of mental facility and available functionality, become entrenched, like furrows where the rabbits run; or they become dismissed, unthinkable, excluded; and the exclusion is total and principial or partial and tendential. This too is a major expression of the person.
desire has a bearing likewise, in terms of express demand or patient thought;
and these are not mutually exclusive. Thus the mind may seek expression with
panache, esprit or quietness that is bordering on sloth; and all these things
develop into patterns, programs and settled paths in measure, so that the
MENTAL CHARACTER of the person emerges. Even this is not final or fatal, or if
you wish felicitous (depending on the case), for it may change, but of this
Past that analytical and investigatory flourish which the mind has at its disposal, however, there is the spirit of a man. This is more than APPLICATION of liberty; it is in human terms, its source. Here is not the movement to this or that in requirement, in requisition from the neural equipment; for now we come to the reasons for it, the reasonings about it, the imaginative considerations of the things which would CONSTITUTE good reasons or bad, and the validity of the same, the estimation and evaluation of what is sound and unsound, righteous or wrong, and whether the one or the other is in any case sought, before it is wrought, with all the sorts of consequences which have just been considered.
This is the domain of the will, the spirit of man, with its discursive enablement and rational felicity (or futility if in an excess of individuality, reason has reason given for discarding reason, and the usual self-contradiction of the moderns appears - for if reason were invalid, the value of using it to validate what you do is suicidally removed at the outset, a sort of Islamic jihad case, blowing up the life before it can even operate).
Here there is the very acme of individuality. Again, there are limits. There is a certain enduement and available a new and transformative degree of conformity (Ephesians 4:11-16,23-24, Colossians 3:10) to the original specifications, as in a bombed factory, and in some cars; or there may be an inuring, a disablement of originality in more or less degree, a channeling of fire into waterways, a sun-baking of imprinted clay, so that much of the vitality is lost. In such a case, there may be such a spiritual imprint with desire or delusion, that oddity becomes natural, and nature is oppressed. From such beginnings, some spirits will come out with astonishing vigour and vitality, others less. However, where God is known, there is no limit to the development, no recess to the restorations, no clamp on the conceptions of truth.
All these things, however are in the arena of the beginnings, and not at all the end. Starting with grave limits, the spirit of a man, purely operationally, may develop with nurture, find its own environmental stimuli, and grow quite diversely from the initial predisposition of forces. The final connection with God, may or may not then develop, making the end of the matter, like a wharfing of an ocean-going liner, secure without the loss of the capacity to voyage.
As to the initial development of spirit: This may depend in part on parents, on church, on society, on availabilities, on friends, but in the end, it is centrally related to the individual and the proclivities and aspirations which find their milieu precisely in this invisible but vital structure which permits will, perception, conception and aspiration, but does not enforce it. In our work on Licence for Liberty, as in Predestination and Freewill, some of these aspects have been considered in significant detail; but here we are interested in the overview, and so proceed.
Constantly, then, we find, as in a Volkswagen or a Cadillac, a limit; but even within the variations of the limit, there is room (as in the DRIVING of the above) for that usage differentiation which also makes for individuation. Thus faces at the physical level, are SO similar; and SO diverse simultaneously, for like the ripples made by mosquitoes on a slightly shimmering, lightly rippling surface, there are minute contributions which differentiate. They COME in time, as PATTERNS and PROGRAMS, PRE-OCCUPATIONS and PROCLIVITIES develop, to express something of the mental attitude and the spiritual zest, quest or quietus. This is part of the sheer magnitude of the genius of the formation and formulation which permits such individualisation, without making man in any sense into a god, or yet reducing him to a mere contrivance.
It is now however that we come to consider more closely what matters most in this liquid and yet ordered design called man. The spirit of man has such a high degree of aspirational liberty, that it may decide to study its navel equipment, like an admiral preoccupied with shipping rather than strategy, with disproportionate emphasis; or its meaning, or its capacities or its CONNECTIONS! In our analogy, that would be like an Admiral specialising in relationships with the political side of things.
The spirit of man can order worship of matter, of mind or of spirit; and it can then proceed to order worship of spirits, or come to grips with the originating brilliance, amplitude and magnificence of the Creator of all these synthetically, but specifically co-ordinated aspects of man, and seeking His mind, His Spirit and HIs wisdom, go beyond all limits.
Now this must be understood carefully. This is NOT to say that the spirit of a man can go to the Spirit of God and have no endemic limits. Man is man and not God. Man is able to have his thoughts interrupted by a blow on the head. He is able, when God so acts, to make connections with the infinite power of God and then order events (cf. John 6:29, 10:26, Ephesians 1:4, and Jeremiah 1, where you see the divine foreknowledge and intimate relationship to the prophet in a manner entirely individual, yet appropriate for all that, to God relative to a man). Like someone who has limited power with matches to make light, he may find a switch and turn it on; so that if the generators are in place and the transmission lines, and the electrical apparatus, and the relationship to the switch, amazing amplifications of light may come.
This is not a matter of the development of the FINGERS at the physical level; or merely of the THOUGHT at the mental level; for it implies the THOUGHT of another in making in the switch in the first place.
When however you turn to the Maker of the Switches, to the matrix manufacturer, to the concept co-ordinator, to the schema initiator, to the synthetic structuring engineer, to the spiritual engenderer on a model of some independence, that is to God (cf. SMR Chs. 1-3,10), then there is again an infinite difference for this simple reason, that there are no limits to Him, since it all depends on Him.
He is what He is; and in fact, is much more like the way some people seem to imagine they are, than they are! indeed infinitely more in that direction. The directions themselves are His.
No force, no power, no future, no potential and of course no opposition can transcend, amend or dictate, direct or require of Him. If it could, it would be God. If there were a group, that would be God; and that would require as we have often seen on this site, the structural engineer of their communicative powers of intercourse of spirit, and so on, leading always to ONE. Without limit, however, He is when accessed by man, an engenderer of more types and indeed specifications of individuality. For at this level, we transcend mere types, but not structure, and move into the FRIENDSHIP with God, which means a quality of spiritual penetration, a power of spiritual ordering and a place of spiritual revitalisation (Isaiah 40), which is without limit.
Thus the limited person, not God, the created one who is not original, but generated, derivative, specified by God, nevertheless having access to God: it is he who has access to unlimited power and grace, love and mercy. That presupposes the other topics of salvation, sin, covenant and so on, of course, but in this overview we are far more concerned to put things in their place than to establish them; for that has been done so often that the mere repetition would be otiose. We continue in our tracking then.
IF a man has utilised the covenantal provisions of God, and specifically now that it is New Testament times, the blood cover of Christ by faith through grace without works (as in Romans 3, Ephesians 2 and Galatians 3 and 5 for example); and if he has been brought there by divine power and call (as in Ephesians 1:4 and Romans 8:29ff.); and this being so, this has been done with respect to a divine love towards all as well as a divine sovereignty which selects those who are His (cf. Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 11): then what ? Then quite simply the spirit of a man has new dimensions via new relationships, just as a man does when he joins a new firm with enormous facilities, features and functions, and finds, without ceasing to be an individual, that his enterprises are given a significance, have a counsel back of them and an outreach almost inconceivable, just a short time before he so joined it!
With God, it is far better than that, and the results infinitely more profound; for not only is He without beginning, but without end; and not only does He have power, but power of no assignable order, for there is no limit to it. Thus man is IMBUED with the Spirit of God in such a case, ENDUED with the grace of God, ENABLED by the wisdom of God, HUMBLED by the teaching of God, CORRECTIBLE by the decisions of God, DEVELOPED by the merciful friendship of God ... and on and on, like hills merging in the dim blue distance, to the horizon, except that here, there is no horizon (Ephesians 3:16-21, 1:17-19, II Cor. 3:17-18, I Cor. 1:30).
But there is God: He who made us, formed us, and without force, redeemed us (our current topic is the Christian and his individuation); and in His hands as with King David, there is that discipline which may be forceful (as in the consequences of the Uriah matter!) and may have an edge for long; or which is more gentle, more general, more diffuse.
Overall, He does not willingly afflict the children of men (Lamentations 3:33 cf. Ch. 9 below), and it is amazing what it sometimes TAKES to alert people to what matters most, and the beauties of holiness!
In Him, there is room for Mr Ready-to-halt of Bunyan and Mr Valiant-for-the-Truth; but these are mental configurations of spiritual reality: nevertheless, there are such proclivities. In this light, there is a whole new universe of variability and individuality as man grows in friendship with God. Now when the TASK is clear, there is NO limit to the means for its fulfilment; but since brute power is not the way of Spirit, but power merely serves, this does not mean crassness, for God is not crass, but knowing all and always being the same and precisely as He declares Himself to be ("I am what I am"), He does not change but applies truth to man (Malachi 3:6). Indeed, reliability is His, and He never fails (Zephaniah 3:5). These things impact on the converted soul of man, charging it with responding felicities of character and heart.
The knowledge of God (Jeremiah , John 17:1-3) also means discovery, amazement, gratitude and patience; not all at once necessarily, but in stages like a coach lumbering on its way, or a stallion on a race track, at the various turns.
So the physical, the mental and the spiritual sides of man develop and individualise, with this amazing facility for input from the individual which tends to fashion what the individual is to be; and then that far more magnificent, and finally semantically over-riding individuality which is what we are MEANT to be. This then is a whole new life (touched by being born again), without which a man is merely a partial thing, a non-consummated contrivance, or a fashioning in preliminaries. There may be touches certainly of greatness, but without the sure knowledge of God through the means HE has chosen, man is excluded from the conclusion and so preparatory only.
Is it so surprising ? Even we have our own ways of recognising others!
Within the restored life derived by man from God (John 3, Titus 2-3), who made the design, fashioned the spirit and donated the nature of man,
and then to many its restoration (Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:24), there is vitality and exuberance, expression and interaction
with the Creator, so that creativity has here its resting place, individuality
its meaning and love its height. In this, individuality is more pregnant, being
in its final touching functions, in the mode where what is, reality, is
not only mediated like a posting, but more direct becomes available for
apprehension (John 14:21-23. 17:1-3), and life and meaning is maximised, or
better, given its consummation.
In Christ, the visible expression of the visible God, is the pattern, the person, and the power, both intrinsic and extrinsic through the sacrifice to remove the rubbish, the cataract and the conditioning, yes and the judgment also. There is quite simply no other way to God than the path which coming from God, leads to Him (John 14:6, ).
BIBLICAL EXPRESSIONS OF INDIVIDUALITY
in which is inherent
the loving relationship of
Man with his Creator-Redeemer
Now we come to some of the most pertinent expressions of this individuality which becomes such by becoming dependent, since dependency is truth (Matthew -25, John ); but dependent in such a loving relation of child to Father, that there is the greater freedom than any rebellious contrivance could create! Indeed there is no comparison, between untrustworthy truancy of what despises the truth, and devoted intimacy with the truth itself.
Here as usual, the Bible is not merely apt, adequate and irrefutable: it is buoyant, beautiful in coverage, sensitive in perception, profound in concept.
Let us look back some 3 millenia or so, to some of its expressions of this phase of life.
In Psalm 33:9-15, we have
"For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.
"The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works."
Psalm 84:2-7, this delicious spiritual morsel is displayed:
soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah
is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools.
from strength to strength;
Each one appears before God in
86:3-12, this interactive delineation of desire, target, truth, mercy and
praise comes in its individuality like a flute in the forest:
merciful to me, O God,
For I cry to You all day long.
Rejoice the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
And attend to the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble I will call upon You,
For You will answer me.
the gods there is none like You, O Lord;
Nor are there any works like Your works.
All nations whom You have made
Shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And shall glorify Your name.
For You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.
me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
I will praise You, O Lord, my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore."
Psalm 139 is a pageant and a verbal pilgrimage of wonder and solace, orientation and activation of understanding before the eye of the One whose wisdom inspires, whose presence fires and whose ways are wonderful:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You."
(The above is the NKJV. For more on the translation and context see The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9 at this point.)
Those who seek to deny, defy, dismiss their individuality, like salt-pepper ideologists, whose frivol is always mix, mix, mix, as if this would deny the isolation of the particulars or dignify the delusions of passion to make one without knowledge, without understanding, like a child mixing hundreds and thousands with the lamb: these merely evidence or attest the ache of deficiency in the anguish of reductionism. They want male and female to be one; black and white to be grey, bright and dull to be twilight; but they do not succeed.
There must in this, as in all things be wisdom. You must know what the design is, what the detail is and how and why the things which are to be united, are composed to form a meaningful totality. Foolish indeed to pick up Ford parts and Holden components, and by sheer passion and 'commonsense' force a 'car' onto the amazed road! How it scrapes and how futile is its ingenuity!
Indeed, the more you cling to concepts of being one, without knowledge of the actual schema of life, the sentences of design, the knowledge of integrity, the more you cease to be one. You get merely the oppressor and the oppressed; the crafty and the gulled; the directors and the lulled, the witless and the wizards, filled with ignorant power, enhanced self-images and empty of the knowledge of significance. There IS indeed a oneness in the Creator, in whose image is man, not at all 'one', but characteristically seeking to find with passion a substitute in himself for the God he ignores, in the powers he has, or the images he invents or distorts. It is not there. It cannot be found. That is why it cannot be found. God is where He is, not in the mind of taut rebellion, or indolent indifference.
There is a oneness in the design of man; but it is not to be found in divorce from the designer, since he is a participant designer, whose place in blessing is in fellowship with man; so that without Him, the very integrity of man becomes a psychiatric desire for 'integration of the personality' (as reflected in Carl Jung's work - cf. SMR Ch. 4), or of the ideals, or of the understanding, or of the physical systems, or of the personal desires, or of the priorities, or of the same with truth, in the very void of its absence, as repugnant or simply not desired *1.
Without Him, man's level of
understanding is necessarily potential only, so that the more he desires or
aspires, the less he finds, since the objective is eliminated (from relevance)
before the search begins. (Cf. SMR pp. 299ff.,
TMR Ch. 5, Barbs, Arrows and Balms
6 - 7).
This also frets the heart of man, stirs the philosophers in cycles, one might almost say, now intoxicated with new little realms of thought, now despondent and seeking to manufacture new realms of cynicism or its allies, scepticism or mockeries of this or that (cf. SMR Ch. 3). This is the parallel to the manic-depressive, as applied in the realm of philosophy: now in the midst of materialism, by means of a soul excluded from truth before it utters, now in the clouds of visionary ecstasy of one kind or another, minus god, mere shadows of greatness, covered with the obfuscatory clouds of mixed and turbulent thought about misconceived, immiscible things, and invaded with the tornadoes of mind-free emotion.
Hence, so placed, man provides increasingly the spectacles of the spectacular: the amazing (evil) exploits, which never seem to find end or sating: soulless, heartless, the broken bombshells of those who refusing to know God, make of themselves human explosions, meaningless but not guiltless, filled with the evils they have wrought. They do it physically, morally, ethically, politically, in armaments, in dismemberments.
Impassioned in desire, dispassionate in destruction, they proceed worse then brutes, being things of beauty, intoxicated with ugliness, engines of militancy. Anon, they relent, the new thing, it is to be oneself, just rich, or appeased, applauded, to forget God until the body shimmers away, and the soul awaits its reception where it has absented itself during all of its earthly life. What is it like ? It resembles someone who has dwelt in darkness, expecting a ticket found in a dust-bin, to admit him to some club where truth and love have long been the criteria of admission!
Choosing their delusions, they become like cells taken over by a VIRUS: defeated; misled; infective and infected, deluded without due understanding of the body, their own lives or even place - now derelict in design, and consigned to destruction. What else!
Yet there is room for a person in the spiritual precincts of deity. God is personal (cf. SMR Ch. 1 and Biblical Blessings Ch. 13, A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 12); and He has made this liberality to be so, being solicitous for His creation in His image, and abundant in means (John 3:16, Titus 2-3). Certainly the depredations and erosions of error cannot continue in their places when room in the presence of God is to be occupied. Assuredly they need repentance, who come to Him (Luke 13:1-3); the life requires a cover in the cross of Christ who died, the just for the unjust to bring us to God (I Peter ).
A restored person however is better than an ignominious one, literally, without name! (cf. Matthew 7:21-23).
Acceptance is by divine decision, not human flaunting (Romans -27).
The ultimate perspective is that of God, not man; but when man meets God in truth and in reality, what then ?
Then, past all mere configuration, which is a spatial conception, while God is a Spirit (cf. SMR pp. 536ff., 546ff., 29ff., It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls Ch. 9), there are displayed for man the massifs of meaning, the depictions of principle, the solemnities of sovereignty, the heights of goodness, with the insistence on righteousness, in the outgoings of mercy and the outpourings of creative love, arising from the manifesting of the Spirit and word of God, making of man a person, and of that person, one designed to see what is there (Psalm 89, 85, 139).
With this, is the renewal of the heart, to love the God whose creations are tested and tried (Psalm 11), wise beyond all men, seeking all men, finding those who are His own in the capacious receptacle of the cross, where the worst was met that the best might be made (II Cor. 5:17ff.).
As to man, he acquires perspective in the light of the divine expression of majesty over all spiritual panorama (Psalm 145), with God Himself acme over it all, beyond all of it, in acuity and truth.
The way in is pure from all contention and contrivance of man! With God, the ways are His own (Habakkuk 3:6). They are everlasting.
Further, in Christ there is renewal after of the image of the One who created us: it is not mere bashing into shape. It is spiritual regeneration into His shaping! (Colossians 3:10). The personal makes the sinfully stricken, the depersonalised, into the repersonalised, and the meretricious, the distorted, the derelict, the arid, or the arrogant, once more to be formed into the personal, reciprocal, restored, the vitalised, walking with God in the good paths of His desire.
Impersonal persons,however, are like dry water. It is not merely that it lacks; rather it omits what is a prime feature. Only in intercourse with the Creator is the personal feature of man made into what is both entirely individual and fully spiritual; for in the shade away from the spiritual power of God, there is no light. As to the light of life, one must enter into it. That both explains man's pathetic personal, national and tribal preoccupation with identity, self-hood, power, glory and exaltation, and his bathetic failures. That is not the light of life, but its darkness!
What then of unconverted man ?
Repressed from reality, he aspires; dulled in understanding, he aspires unspiritually. Aloft unspiritually, he merely falls. He has no wings. He cannot even understand what he is:
who is in honour, yet does not understand,
Is like the beasts that perish" - Psalm 49:20.
Again, "None of them can
by any means redeem his brother,
Nor give to God a ransom for him -
For the redemption of their souls is costly,
And it cshall cease forever-
That he should continue to live eternally,
And not see the Pit."
Yet in all this, there is quite simply the work of God according to the word of God to make the life of man to find the paths of God, being translated (Colossians -14), translocated and triumphantly overcome in his evils, that the goodness of the Lord might appear in His mercy. As David puts it in that same psalm quoted twice above:
will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,
For He shall receive me" - 49:15.
Even man is careful to
consider his own grounds and modes of acquaintance and fellowship. Much less,
nay, infinitely less would one even expect the deity to founder and flounder in
feints and negotiations concerning what He is and how He may be known (cf.
Galatians 1:9-10). To know Him, however, is to gain the knowledge not merely of
what man is, since His is the creation; it is to know the sphere of sacrifice,
the very flower of love, the wisdom of redemption and the power of God, in the
beauties of holiness. (Cf. Beauty of Holiness.)
In knowing Him, the source and the splendour, there is individuality found in
His intimacy and all-encompassing perspective, that of the truth which so
regarding an individual, consummates the individuality in the bonds of a divine
Refreshings for the Digital Millenium (REF) Ch. 13 ,
With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength 10 (incl. ref. to early Greek thought),
Galloping Events Ch. 7,
Ancient Words, Modern Deeds (AWME) Ch. 9,
Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming ... Epilogue,
Divine Agenda Chs. 1, 4 (and would-be unities in or for nature, and creation);
Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 2;
That Magnificent Rock Ch. 7 , AWME 9 (noting and leaving the mish-mash of many dynamic disunities and frustrated fabrications of unity, to find the actual unity);
Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ Ch. 9 - glamour, stammer, hammer ... flitter and glitter;
The Frantic Millenium and the Peace of Faith
News, Facts and Forecasts