Life from Death

That’s the name of Sanford’s chapter on The Raising of Lazarus (John 11). He points out that the Greek language has two distinct words for life: bios and zoe. The first of course refers to physical life and the second to spiritual: it is a spiritual state in which a person begins to participate, here and now, in this earthly existence” as well as in the beyond. It’s opposite is spiritual death, and we are always moving toward one or the other.

This movement and opposition runs like a thread throughout the Bible: in the garden the tree of life stands there, but the primal two (representing all of us) choose the tree of death.

Deut 30:19 “Today, I call heaven and earth to witness against you: I am offering you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then…”

Proverbs 8:35-6: “whoever find me finds life, and obtains the favour of Yahweh;
but whoever misses me harms himself, all who hate me are in love with death.”

And on and on it goes: with our spiritual eyes open, we may see it wherever we look. Sanford says that this (John 11), next to the death and resurrection of Jesus, is the “most important statement John makes on this theme”, but there are many others.

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3 responses

  1. Larry,In this post you describe awakening; “with our spiritual eyes open, we may see it wherever we look…” And the ‘it’ here is… the kingdom of heaven? The description of a spiritual state in which a person begins to participate, here and now, in this earthly existence is to be fully awake. This is the opposite of being asleep, having our eyes closed, blocked from the light.Having your eyes closed seems almost developmental. In this sense, it is not so much a curse, as just not yet awake. I have been wondering if this is a choice we make? If I want to awaken badly enough can I? Can I just make that choice and experience a true awakening of spirit? If so, then why would’nt everyone just make that choice?I am certainly not suggesting that there is an element of ‘being chosen’ here – I find that repugnant. I think it is likely not only developmental, but akin to walking a path, maybe choosing to take this journey, learning to find one’s way to becoming more fully awake in each moment. For me, this journey has been a matter of softening my heart, opening myself to possibility, listening in silence… all those things. It is being able to focus on this present moment, to feel the peace and flow of a primordial breath and allowing it to saturate me. It is about dropping much about my ego, and allowing something of my soul to ascend. This feeling of being spritually awake is happening to me day by day, little by little, increment by increment. It has been a wonderful journey.

  2. Responding to Meredith’s comment above: “I have been wondering if this is a choice we make? If I want to awaken badly enough can I? Can I just make that choice and experience a true awakening of spirit? If so, then why would’nt everyone just make that choice?”As a universalist I believe that everyone does; it’s just a matter of time, which in God’s eyes is relatively inconsequential.

  3. Are you saying that everyone does have a choice, or that everyone does eventually awaken? Inconsequential to God? Why do I have this feeling of being encouraged by greater hands to awaken fully to this present moment if it is all inconsequential? I guess I am gently disagreeing with you. Smile!

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