The essence of God’s spirit is light, truth, love, and goodness. This essence is what is in all things, quickens all things, and governs all things; it is the power by which all things were created; it gives life to all living things; and it is the light or intelligence of man. This is the force that governs the elements and is integral to their existence. It is the unifying principle that physicists are trying to identify.
I refer to this essence, energy, or intelligence as the light of Christ because he is unified with the infinite and all truth and goodness. Christ is the source of all light and truth. This intelligence, or the essence of our and God’s spirit, is light and truth, and the more we seek light and truth, the more we receive and the closer we come to God until we are united with Him as Christ is united with his Father. What we refer to as inspiration is often simply our becoming more in tune with this light of Christ, or intelligence.
When God breathed into Adam his spirit, man became a living soul, created not only in God’s image but also with divine potential. (Genesis 2:7). We all have a spark of His divinity in us. This portion of God’s essence that is allocated to man incorporates an ability to make choices. It is intelligent. We were created to act and not just react. This is our purpose: to decide, act, and develop that portion of God’s essence that He has given to us and bring more glory to Him through this process. Our free will also establishes our condemnation if we choose to reject this light of Christ. However, as we cleave unto light, we receive more light; as we accept truth, we receive more intelligence; as we share love, God endows us with more of His love.
This is how God is glorified. As we accept God and his goodness, more love is created in the eternities, which is the essence of God’s spirit. Thereby, God receives more glory through our development in becoming more unified with him. Interestingly, the more unified we become with God, the more we also are edified by the goodness of others. Hence, jealousy and envy are incompatible with the Spirit of God.
There are three analogies that I like to use to demonstrate the concept of the Light of Christ. Each is far from perfect and has its own limitations, but I believe they are still helpful in understanding this principle.
The first I call wave theory. When two waves meet, they combine and become one bigger wave. However, each wave has its own frequency, or rate at which it moves, which also relates to the horizontal distance between the top and bottom of the wave. The goal, then, is to become in tune with God’s frequency so we are on the same wavelength with Him. In this process, He not only lifts us, but, to some small degree, we also glorify God.
The second example is light itself. I do not believe it is by happenstance that God frequently refers to Himself as the light of the world. Light is the source of life. It enables us to see and understand truth. Interestingly, Einstein’s theory of relativity teaches that time stops at the speed of light. Theoretically, God may exist in a dimension operating at the speed of light so that all things are present before Him: past, present, and future. That also is a great way to define truth, which is another way to refer to God.
Similar to the wave theory example, adding more light enhances the light that already exists. Turning more lights on in a room does not detract from the first light but simply adds to it. Using a match to light candles on a birthday cake only perpetuates and augments the flame from the match and brings more smiles to the faces of those present. Likewise, as we accept the light God shares with us, more light, truth, goodness, and love exist, which glorifies God.
I personally like the third example of an orchestra as mentioned in an earlier essay, in which a manufacturer of color printers ran an advertisement using a tune played by one instrument and then a few more, until a full orchestra was playing a symphony. The first tune was nice, but it kept getting better. Likewise, as we become united with God, we do not lose our own identity, but our individuality enhances the glory of God. A violin is complemented by an oboe and drums, each playing something a little different yet all following the conductor to make beautiful music. Likewise, if we follow the eternal conductor, our existence will enhance the quality of existence for others following God, to our mutual benefit and the glory of God. Additionally, even though the conductor is at one with the music they are creating, he and the musicians do not lose their personal identities.
Because the essence of God’s spirit exists throughout eternity in all things, He does not lose His own personal identity. He is an entity as individual as you or I. To this I personally testify. Similarly, we will not lose our identities as we become more unified with Him.
As we seek light and truth, we need to learn that there is one great truth, one great reality that transcends all other truths and incorporates them into one comprehensive whole. That truth is the atonement of Christ. Christ’s atonement is infinite and more encompassing than we realize. He created all things that exist by distributing and organizing that essence I call intelligence or the light of Christ into various creations. This spirit essence is intrinsically connected with light, truth, and goodness. It is why the elements and all creation obey the laws of physics. Because their nature comes from God, they consistently obey. Now how does this apply to the atonement?
Christ descended below all things to make all things subject to him. While Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane, he bore the weight of all of the hurts and wrongs throughout the history of the world. Christ was fully human as well as divine, and the pain and anguish he felt was as real as the pain, miniscule in comparison, that we suffer when we are injured. His pain was so excruciating that he bled from every pore of his human body. No mortal could endure such agony. Christ was only able to live through this experience because he had power over death. Even then, he pleaded to have the bitter cup removed from him, if possible. Nevertheless, he submitted to his Father’s will and drank it up. (Luke 22:42).
Christ had a choice to make. He could escape the excruciating pain caused by sin throughout the world’s existence and the agonizing death by crucifixion, but instead, because of his love for God and for each of us, he chose to submit to God’s will and bear it. Christ used his free will and chose to become unified with love, compassion, and goodness while He was in the midst of suffering incomprehensible anguish caused by all of us, the very individuals for whom He had compassion, while suffering through this ordeal. What goodness! What love! How marvelous! How incomprehensible! No words can describe the wonder of it all.
Christ remained true to his essence while he carried the weight of the whole universe on his shoulders. He swallowed up all pain, suffering, evil, error, sickness, and even death itself, through the power of his infinite love. In this process, all things became subject to him because all things are created out of this essence. He can heal a broken heart, fix a ruined life, and raise us from the dead. Because he is so good, he is all powerful. His unity with the essence of God (love, truth, and goodness) makes all things subject to him because all things are created out of this essence or intelligence—the light of Christ—that remains in them.
The whole purpose of our existence is to become more like God by following Christ’s example and to develop our divine capacity to love so we can increase our unity with the Divine. God’s goal then is to convert us from our natural sinful state into an eternal loving state in unity with Him.
We need not become discouraged, thinking this is impossible, because it is not all up to us. In fact, it is a free gift from God, if we are willing to receive it and let God have His way with us. Now, that is the difficult part, but God will empower us to succeed as we strive to follow Him. He promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him and that He will bless us with His love to heal our souls as we follow Him. (Matthew 7:7-8). Once we feel God’s love and acceptance, He fills us with hope, which empowers us to move forward and endure difficulties.
Just like Christ, we have a choice to make. Will we listen to that voice inside us, the light of Christ, that tells us what is right and true, or will we ignore it and pursue other paths that are shallow and empty? The choice is ours. As we choose to draw closer to God, it becomes easier to follow Him. Just as a magnet has more effect on a piece of metal as it gets closer, God has more influence on our lives as we choose Him.
Some of the choices we must make may be very difficult. Will we follow the Savior and choose love and forgiveness while we are in the midst of being betrayed or falsely accused? Will we trust God enough to let go of a legitimate complaint and let Him fight our battles? Will we stand up and humbly, yet courageously defend the truth when it is unpopular? The issues are numerous yet very personal to each individual and must be faced as part of the refining process whereby God purifies our souls and brings us more into unity with Him. That is why we are told to rejoice in tribulation. (Romans 5:1-5). As we deal with challenges, we learn to rely more on the Lord and to trust Him so that He can convert us to become more like Him, and we can participate in His glory. The ancient Christian martyrs testified that they drew closer to their Savior as they yoked their life to his and suffered with him, many even in death.
The choice is ours, but as we choose to follow Christ, God will heal our souls of the emotional black holes that pull us down. He will fill us with His love and glory. It is well worth the effort. If we seek Him, we will find Him and bask in the joy of His love and glory.