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Born from Above

Last time, we talked about the fact that the central doctrine of Christianity -- being saved from God's judgment by the redeeming power of Jesus -- is a religious myth. The church perpetuates this myth for two reasons.

The first is negative. It is an outgrowth of a false assumption about human beings. The church fathers decided that, in order to elevate God, they had to debase his creation. As a result, they stressed humanity's imperfection in contrast to God's perfection. This produced the belief that we are unfit to come into his presence without an intermediary who can protect us from his wrath. This whole concept is, of course, a reflection of the power structure of ancient societies when kings ruled by divine right and peasants were treated as though they were dirt.

Interestingly, maintaining the concept of saviorhood in the church today puts the authorities in the same position as the kings of old. They claim the right to judge their membership, to fill them with fear, and to decide who will be saved and who will be punished.

The second reason is positive. It is an effort to close the gap between God and ourselves, so we can live in fellowship with him in the kingdom of heaven. But there is a fundamental difference in how we view this gap.

The church says that God created the gap, that it is an unbridgeable chasm, and that Jesus is the only one who can cross it. New age revelation sees the matter in a far different light. We are part of God. Thus, there is NO gap. God cannot be separated from himself. We are eternal spiritual entities who, from time to time, incarnate in human form in order to advance our spiritual evolution.

And that produces the difficulty. In a sense, this human plane is an illusion. We know that the "physical" is actually nothing more than energy (atoms and molecules) organized to simulate all the things we see as solid and permanent. Thus, we are spiritual beings temporarily living in what appears to be a physical environment, and we are often seduced into thinking that that environment is the only reality..

Jesus refers to our physical/spiritual nature in John 3: 5-6 where he says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." So the matter is actually a struggle between our two natures, ego and soul.

The church says that our physical dimension, because of God's plan, is so alien to our spiritual being that it can destroy us. But that alienation did not come from God. He created our two natures to be in harmony. The alienation comes from our ignorance of our own true identity. The whole Christian concept of "salvation" is merely a metaphor for coming to recognize our dual nature. When we learn that we are an eternal part of God, we can choose to move our consciousness from a purely human view of ourselves to a spiritual one. At that moment, we are reborn or, as one translation has it, "born from above."

Thus, our future does not lie in believing that we are hopeless sinners who need a savior. It lies in the recognition that God has created us to be like himself.

Posted Oct. 15, 2004

Copyright: John W. Sloat 2004