John’s Gospel uses the term Father 250 times, having about twelve uses per chapter. First John has about eight uses per chapter. Throughout, Jesus refers to God intimately as the Father. The connectedness in John’s writings is particularly important. God is love and love is God the Father. A Father’s love for his children is unconditional, whether they love him back or not. Through Jesus we are presented with the Fatherly nature of God’s love for his children. It would seem that the real experience of Love is there to be accepted or rejected.
What is this love to be accepted or rejected and how does it relate to the survival, or rather, the saving of the self? And how is the Father relationship to be accepted in a modern secular world? There is analogy. There is metaphor. There is no other way to explain the mystery of consciousness. The point here is that an active choice is necessary. It is our choice, now, at this moment and every moment. It is an active choice that recognises man’s apartness and individuality. By its nature, choice assumes autonomy.
Let us work through the metaphorical implications. Not to choose to accept God’s fatherly Love is to live for the pre-existent entity which is the world (and this includes the pre-existent entity which is the idol God), and, in turn, to be subject to the prince of this world. To reject God’s fatherly Love is to turn instead to another father. In condemning the Jews for rejecting God’s love, Jesus said:
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44-45)
In choosing an inauthentic father, the individual lives a lie.
The experience of my journey, and my encounters with all the many efforts to assert the self, has led me to an understanding that the self survives only in a dialectical process that both creates it and is created by it. All descriptions must fall short where that which will not be defined is concerned. We can only describe the process as Love, and accept the mystery. In passionate love fire meets with fire. God’s love was expressed in the heat of passion, the Passion. But we do know that out of an encounter with passion something lives on, as one sole essence, an immortal diamond, with ‘consequences for eternity’. And the fires of love must burn constantly because this dialectical process of creation is constant. God from the beginning is always ‘I am’. But we have a choice and the acceptance of Love is central to this choice. I repeat John’s words in this context.
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)
Choose Love and the dialectical act of creation, described here in 1 John as a mutual indwelling, maintains the ‘I am’. Reject Love and the ‘I am’ of mutual indwelling is lost. The ‘I am’ that dwells in the individual is lost. The self is lost. Does this not give new meaning to Jesus’ mission on Earth to save you and me?
© John Dunn.