What is this Human Self of Ours?
The following article was reprinted from four 1988 issues of The Intercessor. Part I is a study in Genesis which examines the truth about how we operate as created human beings to fulfill God’s plan from the beginning to express Himself.
What is the human self? Who am I, and why am I? The first book of the Bible, written two thousand years before Christ, begins to give me my answer. That answer starts with the revelation of THE ONE SELF in the universe-"In the beginning God." We the created selves, therefore, have our being in Him (Acts 17:28), are made in His likeness, and are called "very good."
But another startling revelation is that God himself is a fixed being because He has made an eternal choice between two alternatives. Titus 1:2 says God "cannot lie." A liar expresses a nature of self-for-self. But He, who could have been just One for Himself in all His totality of all the powers of the universe, chose from His own inner center to bring into being another like Himself. This is why from the beginning He brought into being His only begotten Son; instead of being lone self-love, He would be from eternity Other-love in His total love of His Son.
Though we are never explicitly told so, all the Son’s history evidences that He also was fixed by choice, not in self-love, but in other-love: the love of the Son for the Father (e.g. John 6:38). From these two proceed the Reproductive Spirit creating all things for the love perfection and fulfillment of all-all the universe functioning by love, as in Isaiah 11:9.
Consciousness: Confronting Opposites
Personality, therefore, in all its limitless potential, can only function in its operating consciousness when it has confronted the duality, the law of opposites. Everything gets its vitality from swallowing up its opposite (2 Cor. 5:4), as light has its visibility by swallowing up dark; sweet, bitter; heat, cold; and so on. So when God purposed in His eternal plan to have His human family of sons in His image, He placed them in the garden full of His love products (Gen. 2:9). Yet, amidst all that fullness of beauty and satisfaction (Gen. 1:30), there stood the opposite-the tree from which He forbade them to eat (Gen. 2:9, 17).
In addition, there was another spirit-being among the heavenly beings. His name was Lucifer, and he was created to be an other-lover, hearing light by which all could see God in His love-self. He also could only be a functioning person by being confronted with a choice of opposites and being taken over-"hooked"-by his choice. He took that opposite direction, choosing rather to love himself in his created beauty and live as a self-for-self-that false light of Matthew 6:23-in place of self-for-others.
He remained the created expression of that basic fire nature of God (and of the whole universe), which left to itself consumes itself (Heb. 12:29), but which in the Father has been transmuted into light in His other love for His Son (1 John 1:5). Lucifer is described for us in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-19. This perverted one, who in his blindness deceives himself as if he is self-operating (hut is really the expression of that opposite fire God never was), had been cast from heaven down to earth (Rev. 12:9).
God’s Necessary Purpose
But now in God’s perfect purpose of having His perfect human family, He’ placed Lucifer-now called Satan-in serpent form in the Garden. It was he who inserted the lying opposite into Eve, and then Adam, by his lies to Eve about the Father and by persuading her to that act of disobedience. Thus, Satan imparted into Adam and Eve his self-for-self nature by the symbol of eating the forbidden fruit.
This brought the two, by God’s necessary purpose, into consciousness of the opposites (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), and their captivity to the compulsive drive to that self-for-self nature to which God, as it were, has "died." They now became consciously operating selves with all the potential of such self-operation by which, when back in true focus one day, God would manage His universe in its full perfection.
But its first necessary effect was that their created capacity for fulfillment, with its equally created infinite hunger for that fulfillment, was taken over by that false "spirit of error," and "hooked" into the drive of every craving for self-for-self fulfillment. This was now what God, their Father, con-fronted them with in the Garden by means of the Serpent. The self-gratifying craze had already gotten its grip on them by there being a sex consciousness in a lusting sense and thus the consciousness of nakedness and its sex attraction.
Now God completed the exposure of this necessary disaster by that marvelous Garden interview by making plain their new slavery with that seed (nature) of the self-for-self deity now bearing its fruit in them. That drive in all its dynamic "flesh" forms would dominate them as it has the whole human race since then. They had become "children of Satan" (1 John 3:10). They would experience his dreadful products in the operation of the "law of sin and death" in the forms He outlined to them (Gen. 3:16-19).
Mankind could never rid them-selves of the drives of the Satan nature now operating them. They were just "slaves of sin" (Rom. 6:16), "vessels of wrath" (Rom. 9:22), branches of the false vine (the opposite of the True Vine of John 15:1), married to the Satan husband (Rom. 7:1-2). They would be driven or "hooked" by what-ever form of self drive took them over by their participating in it-sex, drugs, alcohol (to identify modern drives), or pride, power, possessions-all forms of the "covetousness which is idolatry" (Col. 3:5). There is no escape. Humans are created as persons to be "hooked" by whatever hooks us.
The Coming Rescuer
Then, marvel of marvels, in His fixed eternal nature of self for others, God made a further fixed pronouncement. That same Father said to Satan, the seducer, that another would be coming in human form, one who would be different. He wouldn’t have a human father or come by human conception, but would be born of a virgin. God said to that serpent, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen. 3:15). In this way the Father spoke on our behalf when He addressed Satan about the coming Seed of the woman and about us, His stolen sons.
In His perfect love, representing us, and as our Creator, God would take upon Himself a voluntary physical death, as though being us. He would be "made sin," as expressing our sin in His body. And, in that death as us, out would go that Satan spirit of error; and into His dead body as us would come the Spirit of Truth, Who would raise Him up from the dead. Thus all of us who acknowledge by faith His death-resurrection replacement for us would be raised up.
So, out from us would go Satan forever with his self-for-self drives; and the Father’s Spirit of self-for-others love would take us over forever. Satan’s head, representing his control over us, would be crushed forever by God’s all-conquering death. Though formerly sin containers, now through the resurrection, we are Holy Spirit containers. This is the eternal fact in all of us who were once Satan captives and now are Christ captives. Yes, Satan will have bruised His heel, but He will have crushed his head, and that forever. So there was overflowing grace-the Father’s nature of total self-giving love-right at the moment of Satan’s apparent triumph and capture of us.
An Act of Grace
There had to be a casting out of the Garden, because we were being deceived by Satan into thinking we operate by our own independent selves. This never was, nor could be, because we are only created to be operated by the deity spirit expressing Himself by us. But Satan had inserted his own self-deceit into us-that deceit by which he thinks he is himself independent. He is really that negative form of the fire-self of which all are made, but which in God the Three is the eternally expressed light and love-self.
But being so deceived, we falsely think we are self-operating and so are in danger. Thus all religions and philosophies or psychologies which do not know the grace-through-faith way are traps: in other words, all religions, except the Gospel of Christ. We think we can relate to God by our own self-effort and self-righteousness. In its final highest, and thus worst, form this drove the priests to crucify the only One who was depending on His Father and not expressing Himself. But we still build the false way of self-improvement as the way to God.
So the two had to be cast out of the Garden and out of reach of the Tree of Life by the delusion of self-effort. And because of the danger of being fixed in this state, God put the angel with the flaming sword to guard the Tree of Life. In other words, we fallen humans cannot truly reach and eat of that Tree except through a sword which pierces through our sin condition and puts it to death-which we now know has pierced God’s own Son (Zech. 13:1,6,7). Only thus, can we and do we now reach and eat of the Tree.
The Hidden Deception
We see then that our created humanity has a vast potential and that we are made conscious of being selves as we are confronted by opposites. What comes to light is that we are made with the capacity of compulsive drives which operate according to our chosen form of self-fulfillment. Externally-in our present variegated world, there seems to be a tremendous variety of alternatives; and life’s usual problems are our obsessions, or crazes.
Beneath, however, lies the one dominant reality; this is the hidden secret, and until we discover it, we spend our time on the surface level determining how to combat or tame or find the full release from one or another of these dominant drives. Once the secret is found, the key to every conceivable form of release is in our hands. But the problem is the complete deceit under which we labor.
The whole human race regards itself as self-operating. All psychology and nearly all "religion," and every form of self-help, is compulsively captive to this deceit. Paul slipped into admitting this when he spoke of the impact of the Tenth Commandment, Thou shalt not covet. He remarks, "I was alive without that law once" (Rom. 7:9), and makes a sweeping all-inclusive admission then: Paul was really saying that we-the whole human race-appear to ourselves to be "alive" in our ways of living until a law grabs us with a "Thou shalt not." And then what? We suddenly discover that beneath our aliveness really lies a dominant, "You’ll do what your real inner drive compels you to." It turns out to be that form of self-gratifying desire which is the exact opposite to the command.
In this case the command was, "Don’t want things which are not yours to have." Then back came the inner compulsion to lust after them and thus seek to obtain those very things. This is what Paul called "lust." The point, therefore, is that when the lid of camouflage and deceit is taken off the quality of self life in which we appear to ourselves to be pretty okay self-giving selves, we find that the real self in us is straight self-gratifying. That is the true drive.
And this is what tears our world apart. Quite a number of us know where we have desperately fought without success some special form of drive which always seems near the surface to us. With others of us, even if we are not at present conscious of one dominant drive and our defeats in combating it, in general we think our way of life is okay; we are not conscious of the fact that it is really based on self-interest and self-gratification in some form. (Maybe that is why the real hidden self shows up in combats of marriage!).
Hope for the Captives
So we get to what we might call God’s problem: to get His precious humans back to their true being. Of course, they are to be His spontaneous expressions of Himself in His total other love, yet being so "naturally" themselves that it appears to be they while it is really He. They are the light of the world. Lamp? Light? Which? Both! But, to do this, they have had to live as equally and spontaneously the opposite. Apparently just themselves, they are in reality Satan in his self-forself nature and as such are busy destroying this world in an inescapable dog-eat-dog condition.
Yes, there is one vital difference. The disobedience of Adam and Eve was not of the same quality as that of Lucifer. Lucifer’s intention was to replace the eternal God in His fixed light-love nature by becoming equally fixed in his self-for-self nature. Adam and Eve, to the contrary, were tricked and deceived. They disobeyed by taking the risk of trying out the attractions of that forbidden fruit. But, beneath their disobedient tryout, they still purposed to remain God’s children.
Satan’s fall issued from his central spirit self, while Adam and Eve’s was from their deluded soul reasonings and body desires engulfing the central spirit allegiance to their Father. That was made plain by Adam’s trying to escape by hiding and then admitting what they had done when caught. Therefore, there was always in them, and in us their human family, a basic response to God as He found means to make His voice heard to them and to us. In this, then, lies the possibility of reclamation and now its actuality; whereas for Lucifer-Satan there remained nothing but God’s final curse and damnation.
So God’s finger pointing out man’s present real slavery to the false deity-"the god of this world"-was made totally clear with its present consequences. At that same moment, that very same moment, was added a coming deliverance by a coming Deliverer with equal certainty. Even then-right at the very moment of their dismissal from the Garden-they could begin to reckon by the only possible hopeful process; faith in HIS word. Such is total grace.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 13 No 4
- What is this Human Self of Ours?
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- A Look at a Book
- Body, Soul & Spirit
- 1997 Irish Conference Report
- Zerubbabel Focus: Living Links
- Excerpt from Who Am I?
- Summer Camp: Moving Forward
- Z-Youth at Camp
- From Fear to Feedom
- Questions & Answers
- Tape Talk
- Area Fellowship News: Wisconsin Fellowship
- Excerpt from Who Am I?
- The Mailbox
- To Think About…
- To Think About…
- Words to Live By…