Spirit and Flesh – 5
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
– John 1:1-2, 4-5
Supposing you had a real but indescribable experience – how do you go about sharing it with a friend or confidant?
Consider an epiphany you’ve had. There was some problem, some riddle of existence which you could not answer. Perhaps for days, perhaps for years, you sought the answer and could not find it. (We are already speaking in metaphor, but hang with me).
And then, quite unexpectedly, you had it. The answer.
Now the physical phenomenon of an epiphany might be described as a new neuro-pathway, the literal (physical) firing of synapses across particular neurons in a particular order which rendered the new thought to your consciousness (whatever that is).
For one thing, this is a quite dull and tedious way of telling the story of your epiphany, but let it pass.
For a second thing, it is anything but clear that thought is, our could be, a purely physical phenomenon. Never mind this, too.
The salient point is that the truth discovered, the object of the epiphany, the objectiveness of the truth, is non-material. Insomuch as we engage with it, then, we are operating in the abstract/spiritual realm.
So when you say something like, “And then I saw it…” or “That’s when the light bulb came on…” – which functionally mean the same thing – you are pulling an abstract experience through the filter of a physical experience.
Or, you are reaching up to understand the abstract by means of the physical, which is the thesis here.
Now what if (literally) God came to Earth and became (literally) man, and dwelt among us? What if this God-man taught and demonstrated a doctrine which corrected our moral and intellectual (spiritual) deviancies, healed and exalted our wounded bodies (literally) so that we might transcend them to a greater reality? How would you describe this experience?
You might call Him the Light of the world. You might describe Him as irresistible, unassailable, like a light in darkness – in no way can the darkness overcome the light. Just so, in no way could evil overcome Him or His mission.*
And if you’ll accept the Gospel and believe in Him, that same invincibility – on the spiritual level – is conferred upon you.
*Arguably, even mission is a metaphor.