BY: JOHN R. GAVAZZONI
JUNE 12, 2007
Thousand Oaks, CA
One man, Adam; there’s no other humanity than his humanity… none other, absolutely none. He is God’s man. If we read scripture carefully, and that, well translated, beneath the appearance of there being two men, we find that the two are really one, first appearing in the aeons in the natural state of existence, susceptible to, and finally taken over by death, thus, in that form, he is old – the old man, for with death comes oldness, decay, corruption; but then appearing in the spiritual state, truly alive, new, fresh, the new Man.
He is the same Son of God, the One who came down from glory inexpressible into and through the underworld of creaturely agony, and on to glory now fully expressed in all Its radiance. God has released from Himself the best of Himself by subjecting Himself to the worst of contrarianism to His Person in solidarity with that singular humanity which has its origin in the Divine Nature.
The old and the new are intrinsically one, for it was the old that was made new. It was the old that was crucified and buried, but that came forth out of death in newness of life. One humanity, its origin being God’s very glory, and its destiny, the same glory intensified, fully radiant from out of its own depths by means of the process of death and resurrection. The Original had to undergo death in order that its full quality be released by resurrection.
This is foundational to understanding the “one new Man”-focus in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians. Centuries have passed; it’s been nearly two millennia since the apostle dictated his encyclical that was probably first sent to Ephesus and then on to other churches, and we are still reading it with a crudeness of understanding that very particularly highlights the truth that unless the Spirit of Truth opens scripture to us, we read and study as if afflicted by a rare form of autism.
Paul makes it clear that though humanity has experienced a fundamental division that division stands in contradistinction to its nature, and in Christ, the wall of separation, the wall of divisive hostility has been broken down by the restoration to oneness which is in Jesus Christ.
The division is classically and representatively found between those “who are called Uncircumcision by the so-called Circumcision;” that is, between the Jews and all other nations, and ethnic/people groups.
Essentially, the division is between those chosen to receive a direct (albeit little understood) revelation of God’s relationship with man, and those kept at a distance from that revelation. Two states of mind emerge out of this sovereigly-designed transitional inequity.
Inevitably, and almost invariably, the favored ones interpret their chosenness as an end in itself – “We’re the favored, and that’s the end of the subject; and of course, there is something about us, in and of ourselves that has disposed God to choose us over others.”
The comparatively neglected ones, of course, do not find that as very affirmative of their place in the sun, and a deep resentment begins to fester among them, a resentment ostensibly directed toward the favored, though unconsciously it is really toward the Favorer, God. The favored, of course, resent the non-favored’s unwillingness to respect the distinction.
Enter the law. God, in order to expose the infamy of the favored’s self-righteousness, quite uniquely places upon them the burden of that purest form of law, the Mosaic Code. Only the grossest form of hypocrisy can stand in the presence of absolute holiness expressed as moral insistence, and not utterly collapse in despair. The elect must come to understand the great principle: THE CHOSEN ARE CHOSEN AS REPRESENTATIVE OF ALL MEN’S CHOSENNESS.
The favored must be brought to the place where joyfully they proclaim by their spirit, their actions, and their words: “Please understand, dear universal brethren, the favor God has shown to us is indicative of how He relates to us all. What God is intrinsically to us, He is to you also.
By nature, our Father, and your Father, holds us all in the same embrace of unconditional love with its determination to glorify our common humanity, and He refuses to disqualify any man from that predestination.”
Thus Paul, in this marvelous epistle, recognizes the Gentiles as “fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” (Chapter 3, verse 6) That body, of course, is the body of Christ, the one new man (Chapter 2, verse 15) and that body, that new man, is to be finally understood as the whole body of humanity. Evangelicals have become the comtemporary “Circumcision,” claiming only for themselves the identification as the body of Christ. Here again must be seen that principle stated above:
The favored, believing community is the present, growing, expanding expression of the body, not the whole of the body. At this point in time and space there is a first-fruits of the whole harvest, and until the harvest is complete, God’s husbandry will not be seen in all its fruitful abundance.
As there is an injection point on the body when a nurse or doctor gives us a shot, the substance of the injection is not meant to remain at the injection point, but from there to benefit the whole body. God has chosen a faith-gift point of injection, and favored some with the faith of Christ, in order that it spread to all the body, bringing the revelation of true identity. We are all the body of Christ, but the revelation of OUR identity must spread through the whole body of humanity.
I feel strongly that we need not, as they say, re-invent the wheel in re: to the necessity of affirming generally the true Deity and true Humanity of Jesus, our Lord, though the origin of humanness needs much more careful defining and explanation.
It is my conviction that the presumption by the early post-apostolic fathers that His Deity and Humanness existed in His Person in some hard-to-explain combination, or mixture, or blend or mingling was a mistake. The truth lies more along the line of one unfolding out of the other rather than a combining; but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Their presumption predisposed them to misunderstanding the relationship of the two. Their presumption that the origin of humanness belonged solely to God’s creative act – that humanness is not grounded in the Divine Nature, but only to an act of the Divine Nature, and not to Its very unfolding, led to some very esoteric intellectual contortionism; or as my friend, Eddie Browne, said recently, a fascinating theological tap dance. I kind of view it also as the wild, frantic broken-field running of a football quarterback who’s trying desperately not to get sacked.
It is my burden in this writing to confront Christian orthodoxy, AND theological paradigms that have merely reacted to orthodoxy, with the undeniable implications of the incarnation. I posit this seminal question: Do we have in the incarnation of Christ, the unfolding of the Divine Nature, or merely an act of God quite distinct from the Being of God?
I, for one, am immutably informed by the principle that God DOES what God IS, and the One who is the “I AM” moves forward into the destiny of Deity by BECOMING, out of the depths of the Divine Nature, more and more of that which is Deity. The promise of Jesus that the water He would give us would become a well of water springing up into aeonian life gives us a metaphorical picture not only of the nature of the believer’s spiritual life, but of the nature of the living God.
The Pauline revelation that it is in/by humanness – yes, full-blown bodily humanness – that God realizes the dynamic of His own expansiveness is too hot a potato for orthodoxy to handle. In effect, they presumptuously sweep the truth of “the increase of God” under the rug.
Paul was not so timid, in fact he was bold in declaring that what God is really up to is increasing Himself in, by, and as our humanity, which humanity is His. Yes, Paul’s expression, “the increase of God,” as conventionally translated, really does mean God’s own increase, not merely an increase from God. To nail the point firmly, he makes it clear that it is the redeemed humanity of the church which “grows the growth of God,” or “increases the increase of God.” (Col. 2:19) And this church (better translated, this gathering) will eventually include all humanity.
Jesus Christ–yes, the “historical Jesus” – was/is Deity fleshed-out, Deity embodied. Come on brethren, let’s take scripture seriously; Jesus Christ was/is the bodily fullness of the Godhead (Col. 2:9), and we all, the whole body of humanity, are His body. Jesus Christ was/is the perfect expression of the Humanness of Deity, and His Humanness is our humanness. He includes us, and the constitution of our humanness in Him, and His Humanness in us is – the glory of God. That’s what I said; the constitution of our humanness is God’s glory. That’s why Paul could say that “the man is the glory of God.” Man equals human; human equals man.
Do your biblical homework. The Personhood that issues forth out from the Divine Nature is essentially, intrinsically and irreversibly Human. The Man, Christ Jesus, is the radiance of God’s glory, the express image of His Person, the Image of the invisible God. All through scripture we are faced with something that we only understand very dimly, and that is that it is by His glory that God both reveals and conceals Himself.
Glory blinds and it gives sight. It disorients before it orients. It faces us with the fact that we must be caused to connect with our internal glory if we are to live in the atmosphere of glory. It is the story of humanity’s descent and ascent in Christ. In our descent we sink beneath all that we are not, in order to be fully connected with all that we are. It is of the essence of glory that it submit itself to the indignity of humiliating hidden–ness on the Way to full exposure. Glory must endure deprivation in order that its supply, as the constitution of all things be fully released.
UNIVERSAL MAN, Parts 1-2 [John R. Gavazzoni] 6-12-07 1