Take for instance Abraham who was commissioned to kill his own son. This goes to show what a tremendous paradox faith is, a paradox which is capable of transforming a murder into a holy act well pleasing to God.
When we by our thinking faculties fight against His ways we oppose ourselves, because we are in fact resisting our new heart which is fashioned to live by faith. Why this inclination towards opposing ourselves? The reason is that we all our lives have fed from the wrong tree – the tree to knowledge of good and evil.
The knowledge it provides is in opposition to faith because it gives rise to thoughts that tell us that what we want is impossible. We don’t deserve it. It is too good to be true. God wouldn’t do such a thing.
That tree claims that you cannot trust your new heart. It charges our heart with all kinds of evil. It vehemently accuses our wants to be selfish and only for ourselves. But, that can’t be. We are for others. However, that is often hidden to us. Why? Because that faith which is more precious than gold can only emerge in an environment of paradoxes. Reason and thinking cannot handle paradoxes.
It was Kierkegaard who said that faith begins precisely there where thinking leaves off.
We are now to examine a most stunning verse:
“Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.” (Deut 1:39)
Having knowledge of good and evil is in fact an impediment to us when we walk His paths in that sense it causes us unnecessary pain, condemnation and confusion. And as if that wasn’t enough, we are made unfit to possess our possessions.
A last point is that when we see those giants and fortified cities He leads us towards many of us are inclined to shrink in fear imagining that we somehow will fall prey to these things we perceive as our adversaries. Those giants are not surprisingly also our own imagined shortcomings and bad sides.
Norman Grubb called them humps we had to pass to appropriate our unity with God and as a consequence become safe selves that trust our wants, desires and doings in the face of ethical deliberations.
That Peter is a perfect example of this good and evil syndrome is quite evident. This is what took place when Jesus told Peter that He soon would be crucified: “Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!””
Peter, whose entire outlook was colored by good and evil, judged what he now encountered by reason and saw only evil. This happens continually in our lives too as God causes us to walk paths which seem out of the ordinary to us, even ‘evil’. We begin to question everything, even God’s goodness, and not least we begin to doubt that He causes us to walk in His ways.
Before we move on let us examine a couple of passages in the second chapter of Deuteronomy that provides us with further insight into what we here are discussing:
“And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore: Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession.”
“And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.”
Keep this thought in your mind as we proceed; “I will not give you!”
Before God issued these commands He had told Moses:
Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward.
In other words, your time of being conditioned in the wilderness is now an ended chapter. The mountain is the mountain of law and condemnation, i.e, death. It is in the wilderness we learn we are utterly dead. Notice that it is God who takes the initiative when our exhausting march is over and we are to enter a new level in our consciousnesses.
Here we stand at a crossroad. Are we willing to renounce everything on the altar and let it burn to ashes so that we can enter the faith dimension? It is by our will we receive or reject what He offers us.
Our will cannot add a thing to God. Our will can merely receive what He freely gives us. Reason, which is a most splendid and glorious faculty, can if it is used outside its domain work against our will. On the other hand faith nourishes our will and turns it towards God. This is of course a huge paradox. He causes us to walk in all His ways, but since reason cannot reconcile this with temporal realities it rejects this stunning and liberating fact.
We mirror our inner awareness. If we predominantly see good and evil and judge most things in accordance with reason that is what we will reflect. We can only speak about what we have seen and heard.
When we now return to those two incidents from Deuteronomy we are to understand them as types of our own fight against what we judge to be our bad sides. In the wilderness we have fought against them with all our willpower, but to no avail. Now, on our way to the river God tells us not to fight those traits in ourselves we find disturbing.
Until now our heart’s cry has been: “Change me God!” We are perhaps just as perplexed as the Israelites when God says no and won’t grant us those victories we believe should be ours because of this or that or our moral convictions.
Notice that both Esau and Seir means rough. Let your rough sides be, our Father says. I have meant them to be a part of you!
This knowledge of good and evil has caused us to fight ourselves, but everything in us in meant to be! Don’t fight yourself! Don’t oppose yourself! Was is not Jesus who said that a house fighting itself couldn’t remain standing? Of course it won’t be standing when it is built on sand.
We are northbound marching towards the Promised Land. However, before we can cross the river we have to face our own personal Jericho, taken there by Joshua. Who else than Jesus can lead us to Jericho, the fortified city.
That fortified city is that stronghold in our minds which insists on judging according to good and evil. It is a place where reason reigns and thus suppresses faith. Reason cannot handle paradoxes. Faith thrives in such an environment.
We are talking about the kind of reasoning that opposes Kingdom realities in the similitude of the tower of Babel, viz., men’s attempt at explaining and understanding God. The kind of reasoning that merely see separation and can nothing else.
A quote by Boehme might add to our understanding:
“The soul wanted to know how it would be if the temperature were to become separated—that is to say, divided, as heat and cold, moisture and dryness, hardness and softness, acridity and sweetness, bitterness and that which is sour; she wanted to taste these and the other qualities all in their separateness, although it had been prohibited to Adam by God.”
That the people had to walk around Jericho seven times is a type of our perfection. We have seen it in faith afar off, but now it is about to become ours. Until this day perfection has been a misty concept because of our moral and ethical notions fueled by the wrong tree.
We have tried to hold fast to our perfection by faith, but each time we have held it on our hands it has leaked out through our fingers like when we have cupped our hands and filled them with water.
As the people are preparing to walk around the city Joshua says a most curious thing: “Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.”
In other words, be quiet – this is God’s work. Don’t touch it. Don’t interfere!
It is the armed men who constitute the vanguard, i.e., the Spirit. When the Spirit shouts the walls come tumbling down and we see! All we do is following Him in faith. He does it!
But, now, watch! Who is it that comes out of the ruins? It is Rahab, the prostitute, representing all we saw as evil, even in ourselves. But, didn’t she hide the scouts? The evil we always saw with our natural eyes turns out to be good in disguise, but we didn’t recognize it as so because we saw double. What we perceived as selfish motives in ourselves were us for others, but we didn’t know.
Are you still troubled by that you seemingly messed up? Whose mess is it? Who causes you to walk in His ways?
Before the Israelites plunder the city God warns them against the accursed thing. It must be utterly destroyed. Silver and gold and precious metals, however, are to be taken into God’s treasury, that is, into ourselves.
Throw all your human wisdom and reasoning powers on the ash heap. They cannot add an iota to faith. Become like a little child, Jesus said, because a child believes all things. A child can believe all kinds of foolishness. God’s wisdom is as we all know foolishness to the world.
Mark 11:24 is for the fools of this world: “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
We ‘see’ something in our inner man (because everything is inner and that what is inner makes up our reality) that we want and a desire is born. This is a continuous process or else we couldn’t pray ceaselessly.
Besides, all of our tempers express prayers as well. Happiness, anger, jealousy, depression etc are all prayers, but since they are mixed with the cross they are light and love and in one way or another manifest God’s desire so see Himself in the son, that is, to be the son.
Desires thus manifest themselves in emotions. Then we pray (laying hold of His willingness), that is, we approach it (lust), we believe we will get it (eat) and then we have it (know).
Prayers or words proceed out of God nothingness in which all possibilities dwell and hence have the inherent potential to be manifested in the temporal realm. It seems to me that most of us get stuck in that we do not believe we will get it, that is, we do not eat or partake from the cross in which all things are possible.
I believe we get stuck because we look to ourselves for faith instead of seeing that all faith proceeds out of God. In ourselves we only find nothingness, a nothingness that is absolutely nothing, but when we approach God’s nothingness it is a vacuum or void that contains everything.
Understand this as when we search for faith in ourselves as if we are apart from God there in an abyss of nothingness. But, when we look inwardly and see God as us we possess everything.
“Faith is the movement of infinity within itself, and it cannot be otherwise. Everything previous is preparatory, preliminary, something which disappears as soon as the conviction arrives. Otherwise there would be no resting in a conviction, for then to have conviction would mean to perpetually repeat the reasons. Faith itself is the testimony. Faith is the justification.” (Kierkegaard)
“For from Eternity to Eternity, there never was, or ever can be, any other heavenly Goodness in any Creature, but the Life, and Spirit, and Word of God, speaking, living,and breathing in it. Bid the Anatomist, that can skillfully dissect an human Body, that can tell you the Names, Nature, and Offices of most of its Parts, that can show you how they all conspire to give Life, Strength, and Motion, to the living Machine: Bid him, I say, put Life into the dead Carcase. Now learned Reason, when pretending to be a Master of Morality, is just as powerful as this very Anatomist. It can skillfully dissect a dead System of Morality, can separate all its Parts, tell you the Names, Nature, Distinctions, and Connections, of most kinds of Good and Evil. But when this is done, learned Reason, with all its Dictates, Distinctions, and Definitions, can do just as much Good to the Soul, that has lost its Goodness, as the Anatomist can do to the Carcase, that has lost its Life.” (William Law)
I found out that the quantum theory says a lot of things that we say in Union Life. For instance, the quantum theory denies that there is an underlying objective basis to reality. What an understatement! The quantum theory says that the universe that‟s out there is not real. It says that reality is inner; that reality is subjective, that is not possible to know an outward reality. You only know the reality that is inward, in you. (Alan Parker)