Q&A: We All Are Divine

We All Are Divine

Question

What I've learned of Jesus is that Jesus was connected to his higher self and knew it, and in knowing it could manifest great things. He said we could do the same if we just believe in ourselves -- in our divinity. This is what he taught (he is the way), and was/is trying to teach us that way (which is having faith in God and in ourselves). He taught that we are divine in that we are children of God.

Answer

Because there are many different religions/groups which claim to follow the teachings of Jesus (e.g. Evangelical Christianity, Liberal Christianity, Islam, Christian Science, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baha'i, Freemasonry), and because each group claims that Jesus taught something different from what the other groups claim he taught, there is great confusion over the person and work of Jesus and the content of his teachings. To a large degree, what we believe Jesus taught is determined by two things: 1) the authorities/sources from which we gain our information about Christ; and 2) the way we interpret those teachings according to our worldviews and presuppositions.

At Third Millennium Ministries, we believe absolutely that the Bible is the only authoritative source of information about Christ, and that is by far the most reliable source. Our worldview and presuppositions include the idea that the Bible is not a secretive, mysterious book that requires divine or higher insight to understand. Rather, we believe that it communicates in largely the same way as non-sacred literature, and that by diligent study (which is often rather difficult as well) most people can come to an understanding of its teachings. We also believe that its truths are conveyed not by modern ideas of what the Bible should say, or of what truth should be, but rather by the intended meanings of the original authors. These original meanings can be determined by studying things like the Bible itself, the original languages of the Bible (Hebrew, Greek, and a bit of Aramaic), the history of its authors and original audience, their thought, literature and religion, as well as these people themselves.

We also believe that such study of the Bible does not demonstrate the views which you have mentioned. Rather, we believe that Evangelical Christianity has rightly understood the Bible's teachings about the person, work and teachings of Christ. Specifically, the Bible teaches that Jesus was God incarnate (he was always God, but he came to earth and took for himself a fully human nature, including body and soul), and that the rest of mankind are merely his creatures. That is, he is divine, but we are not.

The Bible does not teach anything explicit about Jesus' "higher self," and it is the normal vocabulary of non-Christian religions, and it normally refers to a divine or higher nature, so I am rather uncomfortable with this term. Still, one might think of Jesus' awareness of his divinity as an awareness of his "higher self." Nevertheless, since Jesus is the only man who is also divine, he is the only one who might be considered to have such a "higher self." If instead, "higher self" is taken to mean an awareness of the way to enlightenment or some similar concept, this idea is totally foreign to the Bible. The message of the Bible is God's redemption and salvation of man, rather than man's betterment of himself.

Jesus also did not teach that we need to believe in ourselves. Rather, he taught that we need to believe in him. By this he meant that we need to believe what he taught, what he did, and who he was. Specifically, only he is able to provide salvation. We can gain that salvation only by believing that he is the the Son of God who has come to save us by his life and death, and by seeking forgiveness of sins through his death on the cross. This is part of what he meant when he said he was "the way" (John 14:6). More precisely, he is "the way" because we can only get to the Father and to heaven "through" him, that is, by virtue of his merit and also in union with him (those who believe in him are mystically united to him).

Jesus also did not teach that all men are the children of God, at least that was not something he emphasized. The Bible uses the idea of God as Father in a number of ways. On very rare occassion, it speaks of God as the Father of all creation or of all mankind. More often, especially in the Old Testament, God is the Father of those people who are in special covenant relationship with him (namely Israel in the Old Testament). In the New Testament, however, we find the great majority of references to God as "Father," and the vast majority of these limit him to being the Father of believers. In fact, the New Testament teaches explicitly that it is only by virtue of our union with Christ that we are able to receive the inheritance as God's children. This is because Jesus himself is the only one who really deserves this inheritance, but by virtue of our union with him we are credited with his merit and standing, and thereby he shares his inheritance with us (see especially Galatians 3).

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.