The True God and Eternal Life

Leon's picture

No votes yet

And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. -1John 5:20-21

The apostle John wrote here that Jesus Christ is:

1) The True God; and 2) Eternal Life.

Why did he say this? Now, it was not said so as to be exclusivist, "My God is better than your god". For sure, the orthodox belief in Christianity is that Jesus Christ is God. But we would miss some deeper points here if we allow our minds to wander off into religious thinking. If we come at this innocently, our minds clear, we may gain something that perhaps we hadn't considered before.

When a person typically becomes a Christian, they'll view two things as separate objective realities: God and eternal life. They'll view God as 'out there' some where billions of miles away in a far off galaxy. And they'll view eternal life as this object they attained at salvation. "I have eternal life", and so on. Now there are justifiable reasons for them to use that language from a Scriptural standpoint, and certainly there is the God-creature relationship also. But, that's not what John is necessarily saying here.

God is transcendent, but He's also immanent:

Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? -Jeremiah 23:23

God is both 'at hand' that is, immanent, and 'afar off' transcendent. Yet most think of God as far off, or far away, and do not know that He is immanent. For God to be immanent means that He is here, right here, right now. How immanent? God afar off is God as Object, God as Other. God as immanent, as 'at hand' is God as Subject, God as Self. It's easy for us to conceive of God as Other, as Object, but for us to see God as Subject, and it doesn't get more subjective than to say, "Self" - we have a hard time with that. "Well, I'm not God!" We might protest. It all depends on what you mean when you say, "I". If you mean your ego-self, you're right, you are not God. One time this person said to me when he saw something I was reading, "Oh, I know about that! Everyone is God, right? You're God, and I'm God". Though when he said it, something wasn't quite right about his statement. I answered him, "Depending on what you mean when you say, 'I' ". If we think, "I'm this" or "I'm that"- and identify our selves as being anything, we have merely objectified ourselves in our mind, and fail to see Who we really are. But God, to truly be 'at hand', to truly be Pure and Absolute Subject, is to say, "I". This is why God's name is I Am (Ex 3:14), in fact, He is the only one Who can rightly say, "I" and all else that speak in the first person pronoun, "i" can only do so because He stands behind them as the True I, and under girds them as the True Substratum of Being.

For in him we live, and move, and have our being - Acts 17:28a

Ever since Christ came, His movement has been one of inwardness. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) was all about taking the Law, what had been previously understood within Judaism as being adherence to external commandments, and turning them inward, as matters of the heart. This is true of everything else, as well. Even God Himself, understood to be in heaven out there somewhere. Now, God is to be understood in an inward context. Jesus preached,
The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.- Luke 17:20b-21.

And, He also prayed thus,

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. - John 17:21-23.

Notice the interesting language the Lord uses above, "in me, and I in thee", "in us", "I in them, and thou in me", "in one", etc... All this inwardness. There is, between the Son and the Father, between us and Christ, a mutual inwardness. This is such a mystery! Within each particularity within Consciousness there is an inwardness, a shared Ground of Being that is deeper than thought, deeper than soul and mind, deeper than even human-spirit! This is the I behind our 'i'- this is the Individual beyond our individuality. God is the True I.

This is why John can say of Christ, that He is our eternal life, that He is the True God. Why? Because Christ is within us, and we're in Him. Of this mutual indwelling, which is truly beyond the particularity of soul and body, it is written:

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus - 1Corinthian 1:30a.

And again,

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory - Colossians 1:27

When we believe on Him, there is a mutual indwelling, where we are in Christ objectively, and He is in us subjectively. And we believe that we have eternal life- yet this life is not a 'thing', an object. Rather this life is Christ Himself (Jn 11:25; Col 3:4). Also, Christ is the True God. Being in us, this 'True God' is not just a deity 'out there'- but in here, in me, in you.

While it may be understood that God and eternal life are two separate yet related issues, "I know God, and have eternal life", as Christians may say, there is the fact that both God and Eternal Life are Christ, and He's in us. On one hand the two issues are really one in Christ, and on the other, knowing God as Pure Subject, and living out Eternal Life may both be known.

May this be a blessing.