What is a Person?
So now we have laid our Total Truth foundations according to the revealed Word of God—who He is, who we are, and why we are.
The next stage of our inquiry, then, is equally plain. We must now be sure of being who we are, as well as understanding who and why we are. And this is our human history. Not one thing out of place. What appears evil and destructive, and surely mistaken and not planned, is found to be His perfect love-purpose from the beginning and is taking us to our perfection in the only way—and none other is possible—by which we can be who we are (that is, as He is!) even during our earthly pilgrimage, and in simplicity possess our possessions. But this must be examined, diagnosed, experienced in every perfect detail. We must, as conscious persons, know what this “way of God” is…so plainly that we can with total confidence walk in it; even as it was said that Priscilla and Aquila expounded to Apollos “the way of God more perfectly.” God could not create us like Himself, as conscious persons, without daily and squarely explaining to us how a human perfectly functions and enabling us to be that.
The first question we must ask is, “What is a human person?” We have already said, “One who loves and knows, and therefore makes choices.” That means we are persons because we can discern between things that differ, and thus make our choices. This is what we call moral consciousness.
So we now come to another Total Truth—that nothing can be known except by its opposite. There could not be light in the first chapter of Genesis without, in verse 2, “darkness upon the face of the deep.” This is a fundamental law of manifestation. Light cannot be known except by contrasted darkness, sweet by bitter, hard by soft, truth by lie, and so down all the list. A thing is only to be known as a thing because it has an opposite. So all conscious life is a recognition of opposites, and then their rightful combination, so that one is built on the other and one swallows up the other. You cannot have a soft bed unless the mattress has a hard bedstead which it swallows up. You can’t say a final “Yes” to this without first saying a final “No” to that. One has said that all life is the “rhythmic balanced interchange of opposites.” Even the positive proton has to make captive the negative electron in order to form the elements.
So this brings us to the fundamental principle of opposites which condition a person. We know and we desire and, as we are forever confronted by opposites, we choose. Knowledge and desire lead us to choice. The “autonomy of our freedom” is what the world today is so busy defending, yet that freedom involves the necessity of making choices. We are free, but we must choose. Freedom is not some vague, windblown thing which floats about anywhere and everywhere. No, freedom must make choices. It exists to make choices, because life is only life by the interrelation of its opposites. Those who have tried to escape to what they conceive as ultimate freedom by some mind-blowing drug only arrive at nothingness. Life consists of making choices. We have to choose. But the curious effect is that we are all slaves to our choices! We choose to go to a meeting: we are taken over by the disciplines of that meeting. We choose a profession: we are taken over by the know-how of our profession Our freedom has become slavery! But because we freely choose, we enjoy our slavery.
So now we see that to be a person means we have desire and knowledge and will. Yes, we must make choices…and want always controls will.