Postscript to Yes I Am
Norman went to be with the Lord ("popped up" as he would say) this last December. Recently Sanda Cooper passed me this unedited manuscript of Norman’s, and it reminded me of the many articles Norman sent me to edit for the Intercessor that stirred up so many memories. I first met Norman in 1967 when I was 18. Mimi Anderson had invited him to Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Everything he said sailed right by me though I bought a hard back copy of The Spontaneous You which I still treasure. Little did I know that Mimi would become my mother-in-law four years later in 1971, and Norman a mentor and friend from 1979 on when self disillusionment was in its early stage.
Most of what Norman shared I caught first in my head with glimmers of spirit witness. I saw him at conferences, marvelled that he always answered my letters, and I even had the privilege a couple of times of driving him on tours. He was ever accessible.
After cracking up (long overdue), I have slowly given myself to receiving in a child-like way our simple vesselhood, to the truth of "one person in the universe." My crackup was in thinking I was that person instead of the "derivative oerson." My how I now hunger to see more of what Norman saw in the scriptures. He always said he had a toe in the ocean. What an ocean! And what a toe he had in it! Here’s to getting our does a bit wetter with it.
I am writing this because I have laid bare my heart and mind in this Yes I Am in book, which may be my last book before I join the Hebrews 11 "cloud of witnesses. In it I wanted to do as Priscilla and Aquila did for Apollos, "expand the way of God more perfectly. In some areas I have thought that I did not underline certain vital facts plainly enough, so these extra sharings are in hopes of giving them yet further clarity. As a start, I would remind you of what I have already said is the one and only foundation of all truth: that there is only one Person in the universe–God The All in all. The whole universe, then, whether things or people, is nothing but dependent and derivative–the "in all" of "God All in all."
We find by the Scriptures and revelation that HE is the Total Good, The Eternal Selfgiver and Other-lover. Therefore, since He is The All, whatever there is in the universe of the contrary must have its perfect love-purpose, and we should regard such suffering, evil, and misused negatives on the level of that word in Habakkuk, "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil." So we go on to replace our first disturbed human reactions with the fixed declared faith and praise that all such things are the shadow side of the sun-light, the sufferings which condition us to experience their opposite in the glory.
To this then, I have added the con-summation of the revelation–that it always has been God’s purpose to manifest His invisible self in visible forms by His Son and sons. They are He in His divine nature expressed by His son family, and by them He fulfills all His eternal purposes of perfection; we are, then, that family of foreordained sons. This means that He thus fixedly re-expresses Himself in our human forms. This is the history of the human race right up to its completed form as the divine-human brotherhood with His own Son as "the first born among many brethren."
This has been so completed in Him, that we humans may now know who we really ARE. This is Paul’s revelation of "the mystery" of Col. 1:24-29
– "Christ in you the hope of glory." We are all complete in Him, each fulfilling His love-purposes by and as us in our generation. And marvelously, we knowing our eternal destiny that, as we share in His saviourhood sufferings (Col. 1:24), we move on to share His glory as co-inheritors of His universe.
By this understanding through the Scriptures and Spirit revelation, we examine and re-examine all these "ways of God" by which we are "conformed to the image of His Son." We express our Royal Priesthood in union with our Eternal High Priest who has "passed into the heavens" and know how to live as "more than conquerors" while we take our share of our daily dyings, "led as sheep to the slaughter."
We also use with authority the "power of His resurrection" in physical and material manifestations of that power in response to faith. And we go on to complete our share of the intercessory "dyings of the Lord Jesus" by which that whitened harvest of "other sheep" may be reaped, as it is being reaped, sharing with His body the precious secret of what it is to be a "completed self."
MORE ON THE LAW OF OPPOSITES
One fundamental truth is that the law of the universe is opposites. There can be no consciousness without opposites, and no means by which any thing or person can be manifested except by the interaction of opposites, the one swallowing the other up ("Rhythmic balanced interchange"). Each positive has its negative as its necessary reverse. Light and dark, sweet and bitter, hard and soft, right through to the ultimate negative of physics in the positive and negative of electricity, and the electron and proton of the atomic particle.
This takes its conscious form in the Divine and human personhood. A self can only know itself by its consciousness of the two opposing forms of conscious self-expression, as a self-getter or a self-giver. Therefore we see concerning God himself what we might call a limiting statement, that "God cannot lie." In other words, that First Sole Self of the universe could have been a self by Himself and geared only to His own self-interests.
But from eternity He has been a Trinity. The First Self re-expresses Himself in His "express image," His Son, and thus, as it were, there is a death and a cross in God. He "dies" to being a lone self for self, and from eternity they are one, yet two in the interchange of other-love. And The Third, the Spirit, is He (They) reproducing themselves in the endless forms of creation. At its summit are created persons like themselves. This is how a "consuming fire" dies to self and re-manifests itself as light, the blesser.
Therefore, if there are to be derived persons in His image, they must also only become conscious persons by knowing the opposites and having them in their interacting relationship. Thus, that topmost created being in the "heavenlies", Lucifer, had to be con-fronted with whether he would be fixed as "the Light bearer," revealing not himself but God, or choose to be a light that solely lights itself for its own ends–that difference between a self expressing self for self, or a self expressing self for others. And so there came into being in eternal history the opposite quality of nature to The Eternal One. And we read that there was "war in heaven," and the devil was cast out to the earth in great wrath, knowing that his time is short. And with him was his hosts of angels who have made that same choice.
Carry that down to our race of humans. We could not function as con-scions humans until Adam and Eve had confronted the two trees in the garden, and been stirred to conscious choice, first by the Creator’s word that all was good and available for them except the one tree. Then secondly, they were confronted by Satan, called "the god of this world, in the form of that serpent. He was put there by God as His creature to confront our forefathers with the reality of the necessary opposites which would make them conscious personsc
The serpent stirred in Eve the self-desires of appetite, sight, and mind. He stirred her toward self ends in contradistinction to the Creator’s other-self nature. The human race, destined as sons of God, had to experience the opposite sonship of their "father the devil" and the opposite consequences on and in them. By no other means (therefore planned and purposed by God) could his family of sons, destined to inherit and manage His universe, become established in His own fixed nature of self-giving love. They had to experience to its depth the opposite death-hell way of self-getting love. By no other way could they become conscious of the opposites which, as the basis of self-consciousness, go to the thus, when there came a way of exchange, they could become established in the opposite nature of self-giving love. They could then be safe to manage His universe without the self destruction of our present world in its "nature of the wicked one." "Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God: how unsearchable are His judgements and His ways past finding out."
In precisely the same way, our Last Adam could not be established as "the captain of our salvation" except by experiencing the same confrontation. Replacing the first Adam as head of the eternal family of sons, He underwent the "suffering" of a forty day confrontation in the wilderness with the opposite "spirit of error" who confronted the first Adam in the Garden. Then and only then could He be established in that "Spirit of truth" who had entered Him as a dove. So it is no light thing to become an established person. It took Him forty days without food and to the point of exhaustion, to settle those same three levels of temptation, to hand Himself over to the spirit of self- getting, and to finally say "Get thee behind me." So it takes us no less to become established right persons, able to express our right personality "made the righteousness of God" (2 Cor.5:21).
We too confront the eternal duality of the opposites, their rightful interaction, and the swallowing up of the one by the other: "death is swallowed up in victory": "mortality is swallowed up in life." But also the way we redeemed humans get settled in our right negative of the human self in relation to the Divine Self, is by our depth experiences of the misused negative in Satan operating His misused negative (self for self) in our forms, and in all the chaos, diseases, and distresses of this misused negative world.
We have constant practice in recognizing all these misuses in all outer appearances, but then we replace our first outer reactions with the faith that sees HIM in perfection in all. This is the outworking of the "perfect patience" of James 1:2-4, until we finally come to our eternal new dimensional reality, where there is no further misuse of the negative (Satan cast out), the era of "cannot be tempted with evil" of Jas.1 :13, where the opposites are in their perfect eternal marriage–negative and positive–bride and bride-groom–the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. But we totally, finally see that there always must be the interaction of the opposites, both in their perfection,even with the misuse of the negative in Satan masquerading as a positive, gone for ever, and we knowing eternally how to be "one yet two"–the eternal paradox!
THE LIE FURTHER CLARIFIED
What follows from this is another facet of truth which is fundamentally important, indeed central to our own understanding of ourselves in our relationship to God. And what can be more central than that, because in the end we only have ourselves and how we live and operate. It is the relationship of God The Positive to us the negatives. We are back where we have just been, when we say there is only One Person in the universe and no such thing as independence. We trace that back simply enough and acknowledge the life of God in all nature as all "full of His glory," and He "filling heaven and earth."
But now we come to the touchy point of persons who have their own consciousness and are able to make choices. At this point I want to make clear what I did not make clear in the Yes I Am book, and that is that the first and only person who has sought to exalt and declare himself as independent was Lucifer–Satan, saying, "I will be like the Most High, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit upon the mount of the congregation." I did not then make clear that Satan is the first self-deceived person, because there is no such thing as an independent person in the universe. Satan is a creature like the rest of us. Therefore, he operates by a false imagination when he acts as though independent. That is why God "laughs" at him and his minions in their defiances (Ps.2.) and uses their negative defiances to pronounce for the first time in Scripture history that His Son, The Dependent, is to be on the throne.
Therefore, we catch on to this fundamental reality that Satan is always God’s convenient negative agent, no matter how he appears to be in command. And the further importance is that while this enables us to keep Satan in focus as always operated by God, so we can now see that sin in its final form is the fantasy of independent self: "I will do my own stuff." Now the importance of that for us is seen when we then recognize that Satan’s first operation on us as humans when he entered Adam and Eve in the symbol of their taking the fruit of the forbidden tree, was and is to deceive us with the same deceit in which he is himself self-deceived; for we always transmit who and what we are. So this is the distinct and sole effect on our humanity, that he has had and still has, in the one Scripture which gathers him together with all his names (Rev. 12:9)–that he deceives the whole world.
Now what is the importance of that? What is his own self-deceit? It is that he functions independently! And so he slipped that deceit into us humans, created beings as himself. And there lies the whole basis of our trouble and slowness in coming and finding our full "new creature" liberation by which we are ourselves in and as Christ. We have been brought up in, and our churches and Bible teaching have mainly falsely emphasized to us, the false concept of our being independent selves and operating by a nature of our own. We have our own wonderful "being" in God (Acts 17), and "being" means all our human faculties and capacities and normal reactions to life. We were created fully operating selves as Himself. But I seek to point out that quantity of our being is not the same as the quality of what is expressed by our selfhood, and that is the nature. A lion and lamb have the same "quantity" in the forms of their limbs, etc., but a different quality in their nature, as between the tiger and the lamb in Blake’s little poems.
Having given so much rightful stress and Biblical evidences of that, I don’t need to repeat. But the point I am making is that the root of this Satanic deceit is in giving us a false concept of being independent, and independence is the final form of sin–"every man turned to his own way." And this has led us into the delusion of having a nature of our own, whether good or evil, and therefore expecting that some change must take place in us.
It is a shock of a revelation when it finally dawns on us that we always were like a hollow doughnut with a hole in the middle. We always were owned, indwelt and managed by the Deity spirit in us–of course, created and purposed only to be expressers of God’s "divine nature" (2 Pet. 1:4). But in order to get our opposites into final fixed focus, we started by being occupied by and expressing the nature of the "spirit of error" (Eph.2: 1-3 and John 8:44). We always were and are "walking Satans or walking Christs."
MORE LIGHT ON ROMANS 7
And this is the "struggle" and final solution of Rom.7, as much described in the book: the false concept that we are evil or good. I try to shock folks into the illogicality of that when I ask those who are born again if the good things now expressed by them, love, joy, peace, etc., are their products. They will answer, "No, they are the fruits of the Spirit in them." Then I say, "Why do you say the good in you is the fruit of the good Spirit, and the evil in you–is you!!! No, cut yourself out. It is the fruit of the bad spirit in you" (as stated in Rom.6:21,22 & 7:5).
And then, "Learn that your new Owner-Occupier, who expresses His nature by you, is Christ in you (Rom.8:9, 10). You have been deceived into thinking you had an old sin nature which was you (Rom 7:11). You live self-condemned, whereas in fact, and at last revealed to you by the Spirit (as to Paul in that chapter), those apparent old self-responses were really sin (Satan) pretending still to be dwelling in you as you. What you believe seems real to you, but now you see that it was that Old Deceiver, Masquerader, making you think it was you in place of really being him in you (Rom.7: 17 & 20). He’s bluffing you into believing he’s still in you as you, but he’s out of you for keeps!" (Rom.5:10,11).
The great point is that there never was anything wrong with your human self. God made it and all he makes is "very good." Satan merely stole it to misuse it for expressing his lusts as if yours. Now you see through this and accept yourself back, not as wretched, but as His beautiful creation for Himself, and you freed to be yourself with Him expressing His nature by you (Rom.8:2). And I go with much length into how we are brought by that expressed word of faith and Spirit-witness into our true union relationship, and as a result into our full use of our-selves as spontaneously expressing Him.
A revelation which cannot be too much stressed is that we humans never had any self-acting, self-relying self to "surrender" or "commit" to God. We have all lived under that major delusion through Satan’s own self-deceit, and have usually mis-caught it from the churches’ teaching; and therefore have looked at it that we all have a very self-sufficient self to surrender. And there lies the battle. But now we know, not so. The Bible term is "yield" (Rom.5: 12, etc.), merely hand over what is us. But what has been so hidden from us, is that we never were a self-acting self, or self-relying self, or self-producing self! It’s Satan’s lie! We always were and are on the vessel, branch, temple, slave, wife, body-member level, with no self-acting nature or capacity of our own. As we say, something like a doughnut with a hole in the middle.
And we always were and are nothing but a marvelous self with marvelous potential and capacity for development, but a self directed by a Deity Manager, not ourselves. We are some-thing like a computer with all its capacities and potential, but we can only operate under the orders of our programmer. Only when told to play chess, for instance, can a computer both play it and probably beat us.
So the summons of Rom.6–to reckon, yield, etc.–is not to give up some self-abilities we falsely thought we had, but merely to recognize that by the one "activity" of "the obedience of faith," we were being owned and man-aged and reproduced the activities ("the lusts of your father the devil or "the fruit of the Spirit") of the Deity Spirit indwelling us.
This has been the whole point of the revolutionary discovery of the meaning of Rom. 7 for the born again believer. The only "work," Jesus said, is to "believe on Him" (John 6:29); the only sin not to have believed (John 16:9). And the only obedience, definitely named by Paul at the beginning and end of his Romans presentation of total gospel truth (Rom.1:5 & 16:26), is "the obedience, not of the works of self- effort, but ‘of faith ‘."
SPONTANEOUS FAITH IN ACTION
So then it dawns on us, arising out of the battles, confusion, and apparent difficulty of "understanding" Rom.7, that we had falsely thought our failure was in our self-effort, "to will is present with me, but how to perform I find not" (7:18). But the performer is always the Deity Spirit owning us, and that was the "sin dwelling in me," bluffing me that he was still dwelling in me. It is a bluff because he (sin-Satan) was cast out in Christ’s body-death. In actual fact, the sole truth of all born again ones, is that the new, replaced indweller and self-manager and reproducer of His deity Self by us humans is Christ by the Spirit (Rom.8: 10). Our only "works" activity is to see this in the Scriptures, believe in the heart, confess with the mouth, and the Spirit bearing His witness. Then the effortless replacement is known as fact and lived by. No self-committing, but self-realizing of ourselves under our true Deity Management!
Of course, to the eye of flesh-reasoning, or even unenlightened reasoning of the born again, the common objection or criticism is that this makes us like robots, which we are not. But human reasoning cannot grasp the paradox, that all reality has its two sides. And so far from this meaning the cessation of self-activity, it turns out to be the replacement of vigorous false self-activity (the lusts of your father ye do) by total endless right self-activity losing our lives to find them, precisely as Jesus had said. So we have to accept such distorted criticism!
The simplest illustration I know is how God has made it that normal human living is on precisely the same principle. As we come to our young man or woman-hood, we have an inner blank spot. We have faculties and capacities, but as yet have no body of distinct "know how" which we can put into practice and call our profession-medicine, building, carpentry, cooking, engineering or what not. We are like that doughnut with its empty center. So what do we do? We choose which "profession" we will acquire. We then acknowledge our total emptiness of our knowledge of it. So we seek to acquire it for three, five or seven years. Then what happens? A body of knowledge which was outside us gradually takes such inner hold on us that we come spontaneously to "know" it and be at home in practicing it. Something had taken our central emptiness over and manages and expresses itself by us, as us.
And now what? Our human selves now come into full effective and satisfying action. We like our profession; we are at ease in it. We are consciously competent in it, so competent that we call ourselves by the name of the body of knowledge which has taken us over -doctor, builder, carpenter, cook-though in actual fact we are only practicing and reproducing something which we gave ourselves to be taken over by! So the human being comes into total, competent, satisfying action, but really only reproducing something which has taken us over.
I had to learn an unknown language in the Congo. I applied myself until one day I found myself spontaneously speaking it. So now I speak it.But which is it, I or the language?! It is what the Bible said of John the Baptist, "the voice of one crying"-John’s human voice. Who was the crier? We all say the Holy Spirit. Or the Psalmist said, "Thou art the pen of a ready writer." I am that pen at this moment. Who is the ready writer? I hope the Holy Spirit!
So now when we say we are "Christians," in actual fact we are human selves practicing what (no, "Who") has taken inner possession of us-Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith! Yet we call ourselves "Christians," for we are the human expressers of the Deity Spirit possessing us. That is our union, which in the eternal paradox is a hidden duality. We are Christ in our human forms. We are (not "have") the light of the world. Paradox! Unity, yet duality!! We are He, yet no, we are not He, we are we!!
WHY WE ARE CALLED HERETICS
Do we see, then, how easily we are called "heretics" as saying we are Christ! And Paul came mighty near to it. Didn’t he say in Gal.2:20 that "I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me?" He just slips in the "in me" at the end, but came as close as could be to saying he was Christ, not himself! So we, in the first dawn of inner witness to us not being ourselves but He in us, tend to say, as I did, "It is Christ thinking, Christ acting, not I-I am Christ in my human form." And a disturbed, suspicious reader who sees vistas of truth not dawned on them before and thus at first disturbing, inclines to jump in and say, "Heresy, he is saying he is Christ!" And I often notice that with casual readers of our magazine. When they have not yet been caught up by the glory of who we really are, they jump in with a criticism of some phrase such as that, and throw the magazine in the trash can as dangerous!!
Of that liberated self who ,we are,I’m not saying much here, because I go thoroughly into it in the Yes I Am book, and the wonder of finding oru true selves again, as servants, agents, vessels, and branches. But certainly, yet in the paradox, we act as our own selves on this basic inner consciousness of really He as me. This caused Bill Volkman to give that title to his own experience of God in him as him, which he named The Wink of Faith, meaning of course, that he functions as a wholly liberated Bill Volkman, yet with the wink that it really is Christ in his Bill form.
How true it remains that human reason can take us only so far-to the edge of the gulf, and with ability to see from afar something of what is on the other side. But that "leap" (as Kierkegaard called it, which goes beyond reason and takes as fact and then operates on something offered and given and described by the authority of Scripture) is only experienced after we have taken that "leap of faith" over that gulf, and by heart choice believed, affirmed as fact, and confessed with the mouth that what the Scripture offers as fact we affirm to be fact. And then only, the Spirit fulfills the word of 1 John 5:10, and gives the inner witness from the Spirit-dimension that these things are so, a witness reason can never give.
But there is the matter of choice which we might look at because there are often arguments among us as believers on this matter of choice and free will, and we go "about it and about." Of course, there is choice, for that is the meaning of being a person. But the point is that our only one real choice is to accept and recognize our total dependence on God. So our choice is to be servant sons. Proceeding from that one central choice, lisfe is hardly choosing, so much as agreeing and doing. That is what Paul meant when he said God works in us to will and do, and we work it out. Our outworking then is really under the pleasurable "compulsion" of our Owner-Manager, and "against such there is no law," and it is the righteousness of the law being fulfilled in "us" (Gal. 5:23 & Rom. 8:4). So once we have come to know and live in this Divine Compulsion of Phil. 2:13, it is, to my mind and experience, a waste of time to argue about free will. Yes, we choose to be managed, but then enjoy our managed life, w hich can hardly be called choosing. It is really only agreeing with what our Manager is always inwardly leading us into doingthe meaning of "the Spirit leading" of Rom. 8;14. This is not driving, but the Shepherd leading his flock out and they thus spontaneously following to those always "green pastures." This is the fixed eye of faith, even when they sometimes look like stony patches!
TEMPTATION AND SIN
One further aspect may concern us, which I touched on considerably in the book. It is the matter of temptation and sin. We often get jumped on as being too little concerned about a Christian sinning. The real reason is that we have gone way beyond (not come short) on the sins question, because we have delved right into, not sins, but sin. We have seen the whole sin-principle, Satan expressing his sin-self nature, cast right out of us for keeps (dead to sin), and replaced by the holiness (wholeness) nature of Christ (1 John 3:9).
Therefore, we are no longer sin-minded, but Christ-minded, and we relegate "sins" (the occasional product of sin) to where John puts it in his "Union" First Letter, just to a sentence in the first chapter, with provision for a sin committed in 1:9, and the added statement, "these things I write unto you that ye sin not"; and then all the other chapters are on union living.
But this is also clarified when we have the difference clear (Jas. 1:14, 15) between temptation and sin. Folks just beginning this "union" life and knowing Christ as them, will even ask, "Then if I sin, is that Christ sinning?" Paul answered that in Gal. 2:17, "Is Christ the minister of sin? God Forbid." The answer is again in the paradox. Within our fixed union, there remains this duality. Jesus says, "I and my Father are one," and then, "Not My will, but Thine be done."two! So temptation is the drawing out of our human spirit-selves through the enticements of soul (emotions and reasons) and body-appetites, which thus pull on us, but are not sin. Jesus had all of them, but never sinned.
That is where we have to learn to take no condemnation for such drawings, but recognize and accept them as from that external spirit of error! And then, after accepting his right to thus pull at me and get my responses, I say, "But that’s not my real ‘I,’ which is spirit, and my spirit joined to His Spirit." Then I respond to these soul-body pulls by seeing myself dead in Christ to them and replaced by my expressing Christ’s nature which is now my nature: I love in place of hate; I have courage in place of fear; release in place of tension; right use of affections in place of lust, and so on. And I take no condemnation for such temptations (Rom. 8:1).
A sin committed means that the temptation pulls on my human spirit have reached the point where I have temporarily chosen to repsond to the temptation and do it. That is my human spirit-self acting momentarily as if independent (the ultimate sin). So sins are carrying the temptation through to chosen acts, and they are not common in our newness of life. Temptation is continuous, sins only occasional. Then we move into 1 John 1:9, with confession and conscious cleansing, which turns the very sin into a further occasion of magnifying the grace of God. So, no, we are not sin-minded, but Christ minded, even though accused of being "light" on sin; whereas in actual face we have been totally heavy on sin as out of sigh for us, but see sins as occasional false choices with their 1 John 1:9 remedy turned to praise; and then the return of our human spirit to our fixed place in the union, wehich we have momentarily forgotten (2 Pet. 1:9).
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 10 No 5
- God’s Tight Corners
- Postscript to Yes I Am
- Editor’s Note
- Off With The Grave Clothes
- A New Creation
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- Moments with Meryl
- To Think About
- The Letter to the Romans
- Questions & Answers
- Life Out of Death
- The Mailbox
- New Light on the Twelve Steps
- A Look at A Book
- Words to Live By