A Mystical Retelling of John 1
The old master walked along the path with his students. “Tell us what happened long ago” one said, “in the very beginning”
“With God there is no beginning” replied the master, “neither is there any ending. The transient forms of finite things in this world begin, and they end. These forms are like the words of a story told by God. They begin and they end, but God does not begin.”
“Tell us about the beginning of these forms then” said another student.
The master gazed far off at the horizon, as if casting in the depth of his mind for a distant memory. “In the beginning, the Form came to exist. The Form was with God. And the form WAS God. This was the beginning. All finite things in their infinite variety came to be, flowing from these forms. For God became the Form, without ceasing to be God. None of the finite forms exists apart from his infinite existence.”
“Does that include evil forms? Forms of darkness and destruction?” asked one student.
“If God did not withdraw his light in some forms, he would have nowhere to manifest his light in other forms. All would be indistinguishable. God separates his being into light and darkness, and each have a part to play. He withdraws from a void of darkness and death, so that into the darkness, his light may shine, and the darkness can never overcome it. The purpose of the darkness is to be overcome by the light.”
“If all the forms also God” asked another student, “then what of us, who are forms as well?”
“God, the Form becomes flesh, and dwells within you,” said the master. “He is in the world, and he creates the world. He is in you, and he creates you. You are his own body.”
The students murmured among themselves. “How can we accept this?” said one of the louder ones. “We aren’t God! We don’t see God dwelling in ourselves!”
“You will never see it by identifying with your finite self. That is because you remain in the darkness in which God hides from himself” said the teacher. “To overcome this darkness, God sends a special demonstration. He unfolds for humanity a story in which his presence is manifest in all its glory in a single human being, a Christ, full of grace and truth from his birth – the glory as of God’s only son. Those who accept God’s glory in him are given power to become children of God themselves – not by their own finite efforts, but by God within.”
“Are you this special Son of God, this Christ?” Asked his students.
The master smiled. “I am not that light. Like you I began in darkness and awakened to the light. I remain here to testify to you of that light. You are as much children of God as I. You have all received of his fullness, but don’t yet realize it.”
“If we follow the morals of our religious tradition, will we find this light? Will we see God?” asked a hopeful student.
“The finite self does not see God in the finite world” said the teacher. “But in the Christ, God is manifest, and seeing him in Christ, you have the grace to see him in all things, even yourselves. And when God awakens in you – you will have no need of your moral tradition. Grace will flow from you.”