Seeking unity without love
Nov 15, 2018
One’s worldview of the universe and of man himself will determine the solution to the problems of pain, sin and evil, and the one’s proposed solution (salvation).
Of course, atheists and materialists have no solution other than to seek the best quality of life in the time that they have and to try to find a scientific remedy to the problem of mortality. For religiously minded people, however, it is apparent that the current human condition is a problem, and they develop religions in their search of a remedy. What Paul refers to as the “old man” (translated “old self” in the NASB) is the center of attention in virtually all religions, although each uses different terminology. Yet their solutions vary because each religion seems to have a different view of the origin of man and his problem.
Christianity, too, was developed to bring forth its biblical remedy. The Bible depicts a sinless man at the beginning. Theologians generally describe him as being in a state of innocence, rather than perfection per se. Perfection implies completion and maturity with no possibility of imperfection.
Most other worldviews seem to assume that from the beginning man was imperfect. The theory of evolution would take such a belief to an extreme, of course, evolving in tiny increments of development from a single cell to what we now see. Each stage of development was inadequate to meet the uncaring and often brutal demands of nature, and hence, they say, it evolved. Such a solution is highly impractical, given the fact that nature is impatient, and if its demands are not met immediately, the creature does not survive long enough to evolve.
Eradicating the Self
Buddhism says that the solution to the mortal and imperfect nature of man is to eradicate the self or deny its existence in order to transcend it. This solution recognizes that there is a problem to be overcome and that this problem is rooted in both the body and the (carnal) mind.
The Buddhist solution is different from the biblical solution. Paul tells us to crucify the flesh or put to death the old man (self). To follow the biblical injunction, one is not required to deny its reality but to go to the divine court, as it were, and appeal for a change of identity. Though Paul surely meditated while in prayer to seek the will of God or to receive revelation, his purpose was not merely to crucify the flesh but to transfer His conscious self to a new entity that had been begotten by God. Buddhist meditation was designed to leave or transcend the body into a heavenly state without having a newly-begotten body to house his conscious self.
The Christian solution is first for faith to create a new self, or a new creation man. Secondly, one must transfer one’s identity to that new self by a legal process. At no point does a Christian have to ignore or deny the reality of matter or of the “natural man.” Matter is not an illusion, nor is it a cosmic hallucination, but is something created out of something very real—God Particles. The purpose of such matter is to manifest or reflect the presence and glory of God beyond the spiritual dimension of “heaven.”
Matter was originally good, but at a later time sin brought disharmony and death (spiritual disease) to each God Particle in the universe. Because God is personally affected by such disease, He is not insulated from creation’s pain. In fact, we know from experience that love is often painful, and because God is love, He cannot escape this universal pain. Yet His wisdom has formulated a perfect remedy that would restore the spiritual health of the created universe.
Collectivist Destruction of the Individual
The collective (brahma) principle of the Hindus intersects with Christian thought in that the Bible’s idea of ta panta (“The All”) is viewed as the whole body in need of a remedy. The main difference is that Hindu brahma elevates unity over love. The Bible elevates love over unity, and for this reason, no individual is swallowed up by the collective body. Neither is the will of the collective body allowed to destroy the individual.
The Bible does not set aside individualism nor even subordinate it to the collective. Instead, the Church (collective body) is seen in terms of a society of dependent individuals, each incomplete in himself, yet working in harmony through love.
Each has his own calling or function in the body, but no one has all the gifts and callings that are available to the collective whole. Likewise, husband and wife in a New Covenant marriage are necessary to form a complete unit, for when God took the woman out of man, He divided all that was called “the image of God” into two portions. One portion was given to the man, the other to the woman. Only by the principle of unity could each benefit from the whole. And only through love can a collective family unit function without destroying individuality.
Individuals remain unique and important, whether male or female, for marriage was not intended for one to devour the other by a spirit of collectivism. Even the concept of a man’s authority over his wife was not God’s original intent but was added after the first sin. The purpose of authority is obedience, which characterizes an Old Covenant marriage. The perfect order is agreement, which characterizes a New Covenant marriage. See my book, Old and New Covenant Marriage.
The point is that the importance of the collective is recognized in Scripture but not to the point where the individual is sacrificed or eliminated. Love is still king, and eliminating the individual is not love. In the collective unit of the family, a man’s wife was to retain her integrity and individuality. Although the principle of authority tended to reduce her individuality by subordinating her will to the will of her husband, this was never to be the final arrangement. Such authority was not the original order; neither will it be permanent.
All biblical relationships are based upon the original marriage laws, whether we apply them to husband and wife, king and kingdom, master and slave, supervisor and employee, or bishop and congregation. Because there are two types of marriage (Old and New Covenant), there is a range of application in each relationship—for better or worse!
Because of sin, God knew that disagreements would arise, and so the authority of an Old Covenant arrangement was necessary. This did not mean that husbands’ decisions were always correct. In fact, apart from input from his wife, he will certainly be wrong more often than if he learned his wife’s point of view. A husband was never authorized to consume and destroy his wife’s individuality (or integrity) but to value her unique half of the image of God.
He will do so if he is motivated by love and is able to see unity as being subordinate to love. The point is that Scripture recognizes the importance of collective harmony, agreement, and unity but subordinates everything to LOVE.
The distinction between these Hindu and Christian ideas are seen in outworking of each worldview. When loveless collectivism is seen as the goal, the idea of unity consumes the individual. The Hindu worldview of subjecting the individual to the collective destroys personal liberty and is also the basis of Communism with its nightmarish purges. Communism attempts to attain unity and harmony by destroying all individuals who entertain differing worldviews—all in the name of the collective “good.” It is a system of loveless unity.
This solution is much like the Islamic one as well, which wants to unify the world under its own banner, killing all individual infidels if they do not confess Allah and his prophet. Judaism is largely the same, and unfortunately, the Church itself tortured and murdered its “heretics,” sacrificing love on the altar of Church unity. This practice was directly contrary to Jesus’ teachings, but the carnal minds of religious leaders did not understand the heart of Jesus.
Whereas the Bible defines the love of God in terms of being willing to die for one’s enemies, both the Church and Islam defined the love of God in terms of threatening His enemies into submission or in killing them if they refused to comply.
The deception in such thinking is that enemies never cease. The killing would continue until there was only one man left on earth. When he died, there would be no one left to carry on the religion. Hence, when religions advocate violent solutions to establish unity, they are self-destructive in the end, leading only to death. When the purpose of religious law is to destroy, rather than to correct through discipline, it can only lead to a bad outcome.
Biblical law, on the other hand, was a revelation from the mind of the God of love. The law, then, was an expression of His nature, leading ultimately to life itself. So Deuteronomy 30:19, 20 says,
19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days…
We see here that the law of God promotes life, not death. Why? Because it proceeds out of the mind of the living God who is love. Most men chose death by despising His law, and in the broader picture, all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Hence, the law, though based on love, must condemn all men to death (Romans 6:23). Paul says in Romans 7:10,
10 and the commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me.
Paul affirms that the law of God was intended “to result in life.” That is the ultimate purpose of the law. However, man’s inability to keep the law was a problem. Fortunately, man’s authority by which he was given the choice to be lawful or lawless, remains subordinate to God’s sovereignty. Authority can never overpower the sovereignty that created it. Hence, our sovereign God’s love will turn the hearts of all men in the end, some sooner, some later.
The point is that none of these incorrect solutions, devised by the minds of carnal men, can be very optimistic about the universe, because they attempt to deal with the carnal mind of man apart from Christ and His redemptive plan.
The Christian problem is that it has readopted the Old Covenant method of salvation, even while giving lip service to the New Covenant. It has sacrificed love on the altar of Church unity by attempting to coerce or force men to accept its creeds. Its loveless attempt to obtain church unity has only divided the cosmos into dual realms, giving Satan most of the universe and allowing God only a tiny percentage of that which He created.
Christianity needs an upgrade to a Kingdom worldview, where God is sovereign, where God is not a failure, where love compels God to do everything it takes to save His creation, where Christians are given the gift of Abrahamic faith that is based on the New Covenant, and where salvation comes through a spiritual begetting through the gospel, rather than by faith in the Church and its hierarchy.