I believe what I believe because of what I know that I know. Does that make sense to you?
It is like this (and it is quite a web of words, but trace the strands with your mind): I believe something and it is because of what I know, and then in my unbelievable belief it is the knowing that brings back believing. Likewise, I know something and it is because of what I believe, but there is so, so, so much unknowing within it, that it is my belief that renews the knowing.
It is all true, this gift of God, and I know it and I believe it. It began, of course, when “in the beginning, God . . .” created from his essence: Love.
That is all there is to it, what I know and believe.
Ever wonder why? The thing is its own answer: Love.
Ever wonder when it first began? It did not; nor shall it end, this love.
Ever wonder when it was first expressed? Was it with the first man and woman? That makes a kind of sense, and I like that and the image of a garden for them makes me weep, sometimes, while smiling with joy.
But, that is not it either, the first expression of Love, the essence of God the unknowable who makes himself known to the extent that we believe. BTW there is no limit, really, to this knowing; it depends upon how far we can allow our belief.
The first expression of God’s essence is this: “Let it come into being: Light.”
And from that Word, it all flows. This God, in and all within himself, could have remained so. Alone? No, he is in and all within himself, wholly holy. But his essence is Love, and it simply flows into his word and creative acts, culminating in that man and woman in that garden. Did God need to create? No, of course not, as he is whole. But, did he have to create? In a word, yes. It is his nature to do so, therefore it must be done. He did, and he does, and ever shall he do so, because Love and the expression(s) of love are all one: the essence of God.
Now, let us turn to this: how do we do it? Well, there is the man/woman/garden as the outcome of the expression of God’s essence, certainly, and that has not gone away. It is his design, and often our desire anyway, so that works out very nicely as a consecrated confluence.
But (you may be thinking), what about this:
“There is no greater love than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
A quick word about it, and then I see that it is getting late.
The word that is translated as “lay down” in that verse from John 15 comes from τίθημι, with similar sentiments elsewhere. It does not mean sacrifice. It does not mean deny. It does not come even close to meaning “lay down” as we have come to understand it. It means to “set in place” and is the same word that would be used to place a cornerstone for a foundation. It is a foundation upon which to build.
You mean we are not called to give up our own lives for another to show love, but instead we are to express love by having friends? Yes, that is what I mean and is what John meant too. We are to set our lives in place so that we may have relationships, friends, community. And then, we are equipped to serve, etc. and there may be some sacrifice, sure, some giving up of something or whatever. But, in relationship, it is sustainable, creative, continuous, just like God’s essence as it flows.
Thank God that he alone made the sacrifice. We cannot do it even if we try, so let us move on and place ourselves in position for relational being. Man/woman/garden by design and delight for those who will have it, and then friends galore. And it is for him, because of him, from him, and within him.
There is no greater love, nothing else that is closer to him.
Photograph “Let it come into being.” © 2018 Timothy Waugh