Reading the Fourth Gospel ('of John') it is almost incomprehensible how mainstream Christians became dogmatically fixed on the idea that God the Father was a spirit, and not incarnate; given the multiple and clear references to Jesus stating that he and the Father are the same in form.
The Father, we are told, is incarnate, has a body - this isn't in doubt, but the question is what this state of incarnation means.
Part of the prevalent misunderstanding that The Father is spirit derives from the already-existing philosophical idea among Classical pre-Christian intellectuals that God 'must be' a discarnate spirit, because spirit was the highest form. They regarded bodies as matter, and matter as lower than spirit - more restricted, prone to corruption etc...
Another element is that the nature of purpose of incarnation is mis-stated by the word in-carn-ation itself, with its reference to the body - asif that was the most-important aspect of the definition.
But if we accept that the ultimate reality of creation is consciousness, and that God 'thinks' creation into manifestation and sustains it as such, and that it is by our thinking that we may come to be like God... then matters become clearer.
The facts of Jesus being incarnated (from his pre-mortal state as a discarnate spirit), and that he was resurrected into the same incarnate form as ourselves, ought to show us that incarnation is a higher form than spirit. But it is not the addition of 'matter' or 'solidity' that makes incarnation higher than spirit (matter/ solidity etc. are merely consequences of incarnation) - rather it is the mode of consciousness of an incarnate that is higher than a spirit.
Incarnation is a necessary step towards divine consciousness - towards the form of consciousness of the Father and the Son.
We began as children of God in the form of pre-mortal spirits, immersed-in the divine consciousness. As such we were all happy and good; but in the incomplete, immature ways that a young child is happy and good - by virtue of our environment, not from-our-selves.
Spirit consciousness lacks full agency - a spirit is, to a considerable extent, immersed-in the consciousness of other spirits - the individual is not divided clearly from other spirits, or from God the Father. Therefore, our pre-mortal spirits were passively immersed-in the divine consciousness - we lacked 'free will'.
To fulfil a destiny of becoming fully Sons of God, of the same kind as Jesus became; entails that our consciousness become rooted in itself; and then (like Jesus) chooses (from this state of autonomous agency) to ally with God, with creation.
Physical, material bodies are 'merely' the manifestation, the consequence, of a greater degree of separation, greater self-generated activity, greater agency.
Therefore, mortal incarnation is the first step towards that agency without which we cannot become full children of God. Jesus needed to become incarnate to become fully divine.
When Jesus was incarnated as a mortal - and after he had been baptised by John to commence his ministry; Jesus had the divine mode of consciousness. He was separated from the Father, and could have rejected Him. Thus, Jesus needed to make a choice, an act of will; to Love the Father, to align-with the father's creation. And of course he did.
And after death Jesus was resurrected to a permanent and incorruptible incarnation - but he remained incarnate because it is a higher mode of consciousness; and this Jesus needed to become fully-divine.
What this aims-at, what it is 'about', is divine consciousness; which is consciousness of truth and reality. More exactly; when Jesus was thinking - he thought only and always in truth and reality and with Love for it. And - because Jesus did this; this is what we can now be offered as a choice.
It was this choice and act of Jesus to align with The Father in truth and reality, in his thinking; that made it possible for our-selves to follow the same path. Once Jesus had done it, reality was changed (because Jesus's thought was reality) - now, because reality has been changed, this path and choice is universally available for anyone else to do.
We can know this directly (without any mediation of 'communication'), and for our-selves (regardless of circumstances) by thinking in the divine way; which thinking is made possible by two things: first the fact of us being children of God; and second the fact of the Holy Ghost which will show us the way, if we seek it.
In this sense, consciousness is the centre and unifying fact of the Christian scheme. It was in order that all Men could become fully-divine, children of God, that Jesus did what he did; and it was necessary for Jesus to do what he did in order for Jesus himself to become fully-divine: he needed to become incarnate, like his Father.
By recognising The Father as incarnate, we can therefore quite easily recognise why Jesus needed to become incarnate - and (at least in outline) how the incarnation of Jesus made it possible for other Men to become fully children of God.
(Note: These End Times have the characteristic of locating and amplifying what seem like small errors in Christian theology, to make them decisive in chosen damnation. The error of insisting that The Father is spirit and not incarnate was not very important in earlier times and places; but it has become important now - because it is has become the tip of a wedge that leads to rejection of the goodness of incarnation, hence to the denial of Christ's necessity to Man's salvation.)
For myself, at least, this may be your most valuable brief posting. Much to consider. I believe in the primacy of spirit or energy, or mind, but reject a dualism that despises matter. Also a possible solution to the nature of resurrected Jesus. And a potential refinement of trinitarian thinking. Thank you.
@Chip - Glad to hear this. I hope it works for you, as it did for me.
Like Chip above I don't buy anti materialism such as found in Gnosticism and have an abiding confidence that I am incarnated for a reason and that it is a good thing. I had a visionary dream which showed me that the difference between being embodied and being just a spirit were radically and significantly different. Your statement that the incarnated state is higher makes new sense out of that dream and given the reality of the body dying, puts resurrection in a new light. It is also the best explanation of what Jesus made possible for us all by the resurrection that I have encountered. Again thank you.
I'm sure you are aware that arguing incarnation is bad is a historical heresy refuted by the Catholic Church?
I have trouble following you sometimes, because there is "so much more" in your thought processes going on beyond the post, and I assume you've thought through the implications, etc. - but I really can't see how Orthodox beliefs in God the Father's nature would be a tool leading towards damnation. It seems you could argue that *everything* could be a wedge, as it seems there are many ways to distort the good.
Ugh, I just typed something and then clicked "Sign out". Derp.
To recap, anciently it was understood that matter without spirit was dead, but so was spirit without matter. Spirit contains the essential quality of assigning meaning to events and thus allowing us to see them as desirable (or not). But matter is essential to having effectual capacity to alter events and to enjoy them.
God's corporeality is superior in kind to human bodies, it has the capacity to effect material alterations in reality suitable to the term "Almighty". It also has the perceptive sensitivity to all other matter to be called "all-seeing".
I think what Bruce is saying is that these minor yet dogmatic nuances are tearing people apart from God. I was raised Catholic and went to CCD, what you might call Sunday School in England. I'll never forget when my good childhood friend had to courage to ask the priest what happens to Jewish people when they die? The priest looked him in the eye and said, "They will go to hell." That hit me like a lightning bolt of evil. That's a very small instance of a grand problem.
What Bruce is describing is intuitive and if parents and children were armed with it they could shrug off the nonsensical quarrels and get down to the real business of becoming more like God. Trying to explain dogmatic tradition that is wrong on top of being a philosophical mind bender to any 6 year old, most 16 year olds, and many 60 year olds, is ludicrous and not what we are here to do.
@Nathaniel - no, I regard this as a significant error.
It was always wrong (and involved an extraordinarily, perversely, distorted reading of scripture).
But it is one of those errors whose harmfulness has amplified through time. Now we are in a situation when the demonic is dominant, and has learned a lot; and such errors are being thoroughly exploited.
It used to be possible to ignore or patch-up wrong metaphysical assumptions - not least because people in the past had a different consciousness, and were much less self-aware and less explicitly conscious.
I have come to disagree with the assumption of Eastern Orthodoxy that nothing significant has changed in human consciousness - I now believe there has been a (divinely destined) developmental change in human consciousness. Hence history is irreversible.
Specifically, since around 1800 there has been a change in the Western consciousness (signalled by the Romantic movement) that had potential for theosis - for progression towards a more divine mode of consciousness, but which has been denied and diverted into evil.
This is the nature of these End Time - truth and error separate out, and become stark opposites aligned with Good and evil intent. And when only errors are found in the mainstream public arena.
@ads - Maybe the best answer to that question (for a child) is given, repeatedly, in the Narnia Chronicles when Aslan always says that (although we can know the reality 'behind' our own story, by some form of prayer) - Aslan will never tell 'me' about 'what happened' from the divine perspective in another person's story.
*That* business is between Aslan and that person, and not a matter for the curiosity of other people; and it is a sin to demand to know it. So the answer is 'I do not know, and neither does anybody else'.
But I may know that Jesus has saved *me* - as things stand at present.
Another answer is that people are saved or damned as individuals, by their individual choice - and so there can never be an accurate answer to questions about 'classes of people'.
Of course, most Christian churches have to some (very widely varying) extent a doctrine on the lines that anyone Not in that church will suffer some post-mortal disadvantage for non-membership - which is the flip side of the benefits that that church offers its members.
As Christians, we each need to reach a decision about the validity of such claims - which boils down to an intuition about the kind of world that we can infer our God created; which again depends on our understanding of the nature and purpose of God.
(This point was made very powerfully by Joseph Smith in his late, spontaneous and wonderful - albeit somewhat unreliably recorded and/or incoherent - King Follett discourse
Since I developed (with the help of William Arkle) a clear understanding of god as Loving father as well as creator, I have found it much easier to sort out such questions; by asking what would the perfect Father (or indeed Parent) *want* for a world consisting of his children, each different and in different circumstances. He would surely want a 'system' with many chances for everybody; but equally he must take account of agency - and also that someone can only become divine by a chosen and loving act of affiliation to God's creation. A child might be unconscious and unfree - but a full god (liek Jesus became) must be conscious and free.
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