Notes from Norman
Simple as This
By Norman P. Grubb
While I was having lunch with a pastor of a large denomination, he mentioned that their main differences “are between theology and anthropology. We all have some agreements on our understanding of God,” he said, “but many disagreements on our understanding of man.” At his request I have written what follows. I have no trained theological background and only give what is my understanding of the Scriptures, as made plain to me by the Spirit, and helped by various writers who have influenced me through the years. I have written on this in more detail in my last book entitled YES, I AM.
GOD ALL IN ALL
I have to start, however, with theology, for I have no understanding of man except in his relationship to God. I understand that God is the One Person in the Universe. Besides Him there is no other. He is Power, Peace, Joy. Christ is the Way, Truth, Life. He is made unto us Wisdom, Righteousness, and Sanctification. His name is “I AM”, not “I HAVE”. Finally He is declared as “All in all.” (I Cor. 15:28) So He can only manifest Himself in all these and a hundred other characteristics by being Himself expressed in infinite variety of forms, not a Giver, but an Is-er.
God created man in His own image that He might have a visible means of expressing and manifesting Himself, The Invisible in visible form. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world”, and then He also said, “Ye are the light of the world.” (Matt. 5:14) On the material level, light is invisible electricity, which can only manifest in visible form by a lamp, and in so doing, so possesses the lamp that we don’t say, “Turn on the lamp,” but, “Turn on the light”. Thus we humans express Him in a union relationship.
JESUS, THE SECOND MAN
Jesus, as God manifest in the flesh, is called “The Second Man” (1 Cor. 15:47), thus the perfect form of redeemed man. As such, He was His Father in manifestation. The Spirit of God in the visible form of a dove was seen by John to descend upon Him. From that time onward, it was the Spirit speaking and acting by Him. (Luke 4:14-21) It was the Spirit who took Him to Calvary (Heb. 9:14), and by the Spirit He rose again. (1 Pet. 3:18) At the supper table when about to leave His disciples, He said the purpose was that the same Spirit should possess them which was fulfilled at Pentecost and is spoken of by Paul in Rom. 8:11 as dwelling in us. Thus, if He spoke of Himself as only seeing and speaking and doing what the Father was doing by Him, and doing nothing of Himself, and finally saying that, “If you see Me, you see the Father”, then it is now the same of us, and those who see us see Him. So Paul says, “We have the mind of Christ” (I Cor. 2:16); “God works in you to will and do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13); Christ “our life” (Col. 3:4); and John, in his first epistle, caps it all by saying, “As He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17); and thus we are “in the light as He is in the light”; we “walk as He walked”; we “know as He knows”; we are “righteous as He is righteous”; we “love as He loves”; we “believe as He believes”. Therefore, our humanity is expressing His deity in all the forms of His nature.
WE HUMANS HAVE NO NATURE
We humans are symbolized in the Scriptures as being containers, expressers, developers, but not originators. We have our “being” in Him (Acts 17: 28); the quantity, the potential (much like a computer); but, the quality of what is expressed by our being is not we, but He in His nature (like the programmer by the computer). Thus He is named “All in all,” not just the One being invisible, but having derived created beings by whom He can express His Allness. Not just “The All”, but “in all”, which is why the coming of His Son taking flesh, and now, in the resurrection’ still being “the man Christ Jesus”, confirms the eternal truth as being The Person in the persons, and not some vague dissolution of essence into essence as in a religion without an incarnate Christ.
These symbols used to describe us humans are all those which express no nature of their own but as means of expressing that to which they are attached. Vessels contain the liquid, but are not the liquid; the cup is not the coffee. We don’t speak of a cup and coffee. So we are branches; but the branch is not the nature but the vine, which reproduces itself in leaf and fruit form on the branch. Thus in Rom. 6:20-22, we were bearing fruit of which we are now ashamed, but now the same branch (no difference in that) is bearing “fruit unto holiness” ¬ solely vine-nature expressed by branch which has no separate nature of its own. So we are called Temples; in Old Covenant days the tabernacle by which God manifested Himself in Shekinah Glory, or alternatively a temple of Baal. The emphasis is not the nature of the temple, but of the deity who manifests himself by it. And now in the New Covenant, our bodies are the temple of the Spirit, and God is spoken of as “dwelling in us and walking in us.” (2 Cor. 6:16) We are the body of Christ, but the nature is the Head, not the body and its actions; and in that sense the body is called “Christ.” (1 Cor. 12:12) We are “slaves” (mistranslated in the King James Version as “servants”); but a slave has no operating nature of his own in relation to his owner, but solely reproduces the activities of his owner, whether of Satan (sin) or Christ (righteousness) (Rom. 6:16). We are the wives reproducing the nature (seed) of the husband, and in that sense with only the husband’s nature. (Rom. 7:4,5)
PAIRS OF OPPOSITES: THE OPERATING LAW OF THE UNIVERSE
All the Universe, from God Himself down through all His manifestations, only operates as pairs of opposites, and the one expresses itself by utilizing the other to manifest itself (e.g., 2 Cor. 5:4), and there is no consciousness except by opposites. Light can only be seen by “swallowing up” dark; sweet/bitter; heat/cold; yes/no; hard/soft, and so ad infinitum. In an armchair, the soft must utilize the hard framework to make a comfortable chair. So too in a bed. A cook can only make a dish sweet by the sweetness overcoming the non-sweetness. Our decisive “Yes” only has its strength by swallowing up the alternative “No”. Electricity only functions by the interaction of positive and negative; the atom by the combination of proton and electron. And so, in our personal consciousness, we cannot let an infant go near a hot stove or he will burn himself, or near a pool of water, when he doesn’t yet know the difference between water and dry ground.
But as this is so on every level of our material world, it is equally and fundamentally true of our inner selves. We are only conscious of ourselves when we have discovered we are either expressers of a self-getting nature (Satan), or a self-giving nature (Christ). Our human “being”, with all its potential, can only express in its quantity the quality of the spirit-nature which indwells it, either that of “the spirit of error” or alternatively “the Spirit of Truth.” (1 John 4:6) Blake, the poet, describes a tiger and lamb as having the same physical makeup but different types of nature manifested by them. We have already mentioned a modern illustration of this: a computer with untold potential but only operating and expanding the nature of the subject the programmer has put into it. And we humans only become consciously functioning humans when we have been confronted by the two trees in the Garden, and made our fateful choice.
Behind that fact about us as created persons, Paul states that God Himself has a limitation: “…God…cannot lie… ” (Titus 1:2) In other words, He has from eternity been The Trinity, in His Father-Son relationship of love, each for the other, and the Spirit being the Reproducer of Him (them) in His nature in the Universe. If God had remained just a “One” in all His Almightiness, as a Loner He would have been a Self-for-Self, compared in Scriptures to a self-consuming fire. But by a “death” to Himself as a Loner, He brought His beloved Son into Being, to use a human expression (the spoken word which proceeds from a thought thus through to a manifestation), as His “express image” (Heb. 1:3), and thus He moved into an other-love relationship, just as fire becomes light. Fire consumes. Light blesses. We now know that that outer “fire”, the sun, consists of hydrogen atoms, which fuse into helium atoms, and the energy released in the fusing is the light by which we live.
So, if the Eternal One is only The Love Person by virtue of a “death” to one alternative of being by Himself as a consuming fire, and a “life” in an eternal love interchange with His Son, so surely all created persons in His image as persons can only be conscious selves by being confronted with the possibility of expressing a self-for-self false spirit nature, or the self-for-others God-Spirit nature. That is why the Scripture says God “created evil.” (Is. 45:7) Evil is only a person expressing self-for-self and good is a person expressing self-for-others. If God Himself had to have that settled for Himself (when it says Be “cannot lie” and thus express a Self-for-Self), so every created person must confront and have those opposites fixed in the one potential “swallowing up” the other. Therefore, when God created persons, He could only do so by persons having their freedom in those alternative choices. Thus, He “created evil” as the other necessary alternative which was “swallowed up” in Him, and He cannot create persons as persons without their having their freedom of choice as persons. Lucifer was the first person revealed by the Scriptures as made perfectly in God’s image (as we all are). By being so entranced by his own perfections (Ezek. 28:11-17) that he chose to be a self-for-self, even to appropriating the throne of God (Is. 14:12-15), he became the exposer of the necessary opposite swallowed up in God. Thus, he was named “the spirit of error”, and in his nature as the opposite of God, was “cast out of heaven.”
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