[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]
In the class on Thursday, I covered two common views that are not what the Course teaches, and then I covered the Course’s view:
1. We are a separate creation (traditional religious view). We were created in God’s image, but after that, our identity is in our own hands. In addition to being separate and small, we have thus made ourselves sinful and now must fear God’s wrath. The downside of this is that our identity is limited, flawed, and fallen.
2. We are God (New Age view). We have a lower or apparent identity as separate human beings, but we also have a true nature as divine; indeed, as God. Thus, in reality we are not separate, but one with everything. We are not small, but limitless. And we are not sinful. The downside of this is that it dispenses with God as Authority, and by doing so dispenses with the positive aspects of that (His Love, care, guidance, and protection, including protection of our purity).
3. We are the Son of God (ACIM). The Course takes the Christian notion of Jesus Christ as God’s only begotten Son, whose nature is divine and one with God, and who enjoys an unparalleled closeness with the Father, and applies that to us. Now all that is true of us. We are the Son of God, divine, at one with God, part of the Trinity, so close to the Father that there is nothing in between us and Him.
This view incorporates elements of both the previous views. We are a creation of God that is in some sense distinct from Him. Yet being an extension of Him, we are inherently one with Him and part of Him, sharing His nature. As such, our true nature (in contrast to our apparent nature) is divine.
Then I explored three concepts in which we see this paradoxical middle ground in the Course:
We share God’s Being
God created us by sharing His Being with us, and thus our being is shared with Him.
You cannot separate your Self from your Creator, Who created you by sharing His Being with you. (T-7.V.6)
We are the Will of God
Because God created us by extending His Will, we are a segment of God’s Will that, strangely, believes it is independent of God.
You are the Will of God. (T-7.VII.10)
Father, I thought I wandered from Your Will, defied it, broke its laws, and interposed a second will more powerful than Yours. Yet what I am in truth is but Your Will, extended and extending. This am I, and this will never change. (W-329.1)
We are a Thought that God is thinking
Rather than being like a pot that, once created by the potter, exists independently from its creator, we are a Thought, and thoughts cannot exist independently by the mind that thinks them. This means we are still in God’s Mind and He is still thinking us, holding us in mind, right now.
The Thought God holds of you is like a star, unchangeable in an eternal sky. (T-30.III.8)
It follows surely from the basic thought so often mentioned in the text; ideas leave not their source. If this be true, how can you be apart from God? How could you walk the world alone and separate from your Source? (W-156.1)
The Course’s view, then, being a middle ground between we are a separate creation and we are God, is quite paradoxical and thus hard to wrap one’s mind around. There are two sides to this view:
We have our own identity that is distinct from God. With this identity we have our own faculties and can use these faculties through the exercise of our own power of choice. And this in turn produces our own experience, which (in this world) is different from the experience of others.
Yet our very being—the core, essence, and substance of what we are—is from God. Being from God it has His nature and His attributes. Being an extension of God, it is continuous with Him and one with Him. And being a Thought of God, it is held in place by His Will, not ours. He is its Cause and therefore when it comes to our own being, we have no power over it. Nothing we can possibly do can taint it or diminish it. Therefore:
- Our being is from God—it is an extension of Him
- It is of God—it has His nature and attributes
- It is in God—it is continuous with Him, part of Him
- It is with God—it is shared with Him, so that it’s Our being, His and ours together
- And it is by God—caused by Him and held in place unchanged by Him, impervious to our choices