Only Two Alternatives–Which?
In the following excerpt, Norman explains how God became eternally fixed as a Lover-Father, and thus we can have assurance that everything He brings into our life “is always perfect love with a perfect outcome.”
This brings us straight to the one and only total choice of our desire and knowledge–which totally controls all lesser choices of life. It is the choice between ultimate opposites; and remember, our choice always enslaves us and we become that choice. That one fundamental, total choice is between the only two alternatives a living self can and must make. I am made of love–and to love. I must and do love myself. I must satisfy myself. I must fulfill myself. In what direction–one of only two–shall my love by free choice, in which I become so fixed that I am its slave, take me? It can be by my fulfilling my self-love in self-getting, and “to hell with the interests of others!”; or, by my fulfilling my self-love by self-giving, meeting others’ needs, and, if necessary, “going to hell for them.” When fixed in one or the other of these two, every lesser choice is but a temporary reflection of my one major fixed choice, to which I am a slave.
The most striking revelation in the Bible, almost incidentally recorded, is that the One Person in the universe, our living God Himself, has made the equivalent of that eternal choice. (Of course there is no such thing in Him as a choice in time, such as we make, but we have to use human terms.) This is when the remark is slipped in twice (in Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:18) that God cannot lie; not did not nor does not, but can not. For a lie is one obvious form of self-seeking. A liar is seeking his own ends, no matter what the adverse effect on his neighbor. And the Bible says God cannot do that. In other words, He cannot be a self-getter, a self-seeker. Thus there has been that determined choice (to use human terms) by the one conscious Self of the universe. Of course there has been–for a self is only a conscious self by confronting the alternatives: truth or lie, self-getting or self-giving. And “cannot” means that a self is only a self by its necessary choice, and this is the fundamental total choice. So we have this marvelous revelation: that the One beyond all knowing, in order to be a manifested self-conscious Self, had to make the fundamental choice and, as it were, made it. This self-loving Being (for we read, “For Thy pleasure we are and were created”)1 is eternally fixed as the self-giving Self of the universe. He is the God for others. His self-enjoyment is in self-giving. As John writes, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”2 That alone is the meaning of John’s supreme word, “God is love”; and that has its basis in, as it were, an eternal choice that He would not be the alternative, the self-getting God. As that great inner seer Jacob Boehme writes: “There is a cross in the heart of the Deity, not just of Jesus Christ, whereby He has eternally died to being a God for self.”
That is why He is the safe God of the universe, because He is the Lover-Father and can be nothing else. That is why we can learn to have a positive outlook on a world of very negative appearances; for we know those are only temporary surface conditions, like barnacles on a ship, like ripples on the surface of a large, transparent lake; and we become those who live by “seeing through”–now, in this present time, seeing His perfect creation, the kingdom of heaven, shining through the surface disturbances. That is why the only sin is unbelief, questioning the kind of person God is. We may say we can’t account for this horror or that tragedy, but we must never say, “What kind of a God are You to permit that?” We can only say, if we are not to have a cloud over our spirits: “What You do or determine is always perfect love with a perfect outcome.”
And so we see the corollary that, if this universe has its safe foundation in its Lover-Father, it must necessarily also be owned, managed and developed by safe sons–lover-sons. And this is why we are so carefully investigating how we are to be “real persons,” experiencing our fixedness as safe lover-sons, and walking confidently in that fixity– now, in this thoroughly unfixed and confused world. And once again, there is a total answer.