I came that they may have life and may have it abundantly.

— St. John 10:10

Divine history shows how hard it is to for God to create that which shall not be himself, yet like himself. The problem is, so far to separate from himself that which must yet on him be ever and utterly dependent, that it shall have the existence of an individual, and be able to turn and regard him—choose him, and say, “I will arise and go to my Father,” and so develop in itself the highest Divine of which it is capable—the will for the good against the evil—the will to be one with the life whence it has come, and in which it still is—to be the thing the maker thought of when he willed, ere he began to work its being.

I imagine the difficulty of effecting this creation, this separation from himself such that will in the creature shall be possible—difficulty of creation so great, that for it God must begin inconceivably far back in the infinitesimal regions of beginnings—not to say before anything in the least resembling man--to set in motion that division from himself which in its grand result should be individuality, consciousness, choice—choice at last pure, being the choice of the right, the true, the divinely harmonious.  Hence the final end of the separation is not individuality; that is but a means to it; the final end is oneness—an impossibility without it. For there can be no unity, no delight of love, no harmony, no good in being, where there is but one. Two at least are needed for oneness; and the greater the number of individuals, the greater, the lovelier, the richer, the diviner is the possible unity. 


Experiential Christianity
by Diane Adams

When I first experienced the reality of the existence of God, the person of Jesus in my life, I started off immediately to study The Way. I wanted to understand what one must do to know God, how to live like Jesus did. I read theological books, studied the Bible using workbooks, outlines, and guides. I thought there was a perfect key, a way to understand the spiritual life with the mind and to live it out from that position. I thought I would find answers, a map for my life. After about ten years of constant input, constant striving to get it, a horrid thought began to creep around the edges of my mind: I’m not getting it. What if I don’t get it?

I didn’t get it. After years of spectacular failures, knocking my head against the quivering walls of theological structures, finding problems with each new one, trying again, reading another book, I finally ran out of gas. I I was looking for a path, and could not find it, not because the path did not exist, but because I was standing on it, looking everywhere but right where I actually was!

The spiritual life is not about understanding a world view, being able to parse the Bible to create a rational ideology that one can adopt in all the circumstances of life. It’s actually the other way around: the circumstances of life are teaching us about God. They are showing us who he is, giving us a choice every day.

It is decision in the events of life, not theories or ideas, that brings us into the spiritual unity with God that we crave. It is that day I feel empty, unable to muster a good thought about anything or anyone, when suddenly I encounter a choice. This is what God gives us, this moment of decision to believe he is good, to believe we are acceptable, to believe he will redeem what he has made. In those moments when an option to choose differently is presented, a way is made like the parting of Red Sea, and I can see out again. I choose to follow his way.

We can choose to believe, choose to make our way towards God, regardless of how we feel or think, because the choice comes at a deeper level than intellectual understanding. Oneness with God is a soul choice, a continual decision process to seek and to learn, not from books or teachers (which have their place and are great aids), but from God himself through the lessons he gives in our individual lives. There is no theory or book to explain or define this because it is different for every person and different on every day.

The road map I searched so long to find turned out to be unnecessary once I realized that the path is not an idea. We discover it when we actually walk it. God walks the path with us. He teaches us about who he is, what he wants from us as he guides us along it. Through life he is asking us questions about who we are, what we really want and need, asking us to believe in his goodness. Our responses are our answers, and no one else can give them to us or for us. The decision to respond to his voice is the only decision that truly matters. No man, no book, and no theory can replace the reality that comes from knowing him in the experience of our own unique beings and circumstances.

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