By: Robert D Brinsmead
Jesus taught that the kingdom of God (the logos and the Sophia of God) is present, spread out on the face of the earth as the Gospel of Thomas says) and yet men do not see it. It is not a matter of looking to the end of history ( “wisdom is before him who is wise, but the fools eyes are to the ends of the earth”). As Luke records the words, Jesus said that the Logos and Sophia of God is within you. That is what triumphed in the Enlightenment – the triumph of human reason and wisdom which is in every man, calling into question all those external authorities telling man what to think, what to believe, treating humans as bereft of the ability to search for and find the truth for themselves. So Jefferson put in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident….” That is, you don’t need the Bible as an authority (because Jefferson found a lot of manure there too) and you don’t need the authority of the church to rule on what is truth and error. Yes, there is such a thing as a “light that enlightens every person coming into the world….” This too is what the New Covenant is really all about as promised by the OT prophet, “They shall no more teach every man his neighbour saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me from the least to the greatest.” That is why Jesus said, “You are the light of the world…” and again, “Call no man your Father (supreme Teacher, Rabbi, Holy Man). He includes himself. He did not call people to be his disciples or followers. When a man says to him, “Good Rabbi, Teacher, Sir, he replies, “ Don’t come to me with that rubbish”. There is no source of the good other than God. And you have that within you. Call no one your Father. I have suspected such for years, but now I am confident enough to say so boldly.
I now understand that even when I was still under the spell of that apocalyptic Awakening movement, I cringed at the suggestion or accusation that I had “followers.” It was loathsome to me, and there was something that caused me to discourage followers, even to chase them off because such a thing was just nonsense. No one is nearer to the kingdom of God than you are and each one of is, it is nearer to us than our heartbeat or breathe. The Sophia of God, as it says in the Proverbs, goes up and down the street seeking recognition, is no respecter of persons. Wisdom is not over the sea so that you have to ask, “Who can go over the sea and bring it to us”. It is not in the deep so that we don’t need someone to descend into the deep to bring it unto us, and it is not up in heaven so that we need to ask, “Who can ascend up into heaven to bring it unto us”, but this Word, this Divine, illuminating Reality, the Spirit of the truly human, is very nigh unto you, it is even in your mouth and in your heart that you may hear it and do it. You will find such references in both the Old and New Testaments, and of course Paul cites same in Romans 10 where it is endangered by giving it his “gospel” twist in that he applies it to Jesus as if he went down in the deep or ascended up into heaven to bring it to us….No, no, that is not what Sophia is really saying. This Sophia, this Spirit, this Divine presence, this kingdom of God is, to use a better expression of Paul, “is not far from every one of us” – that is to the whole human family regardless of race or religion or anything else. There is no religion on earth that can put you in closer touch with it, meaning that here is the great delusion of religion if that religion even remotely suggests that it has the keys to the kingdom of God. The keys are already the birthright of every person coming into the world.
Now if one does not find it exhilarating to think along these lines, then I ask him to check his/her pulse – for he might be dead, ha! Ah, I can’t switch off as my mind keeps running around thinking of examples of what I had pointed out about this New Covenant. When Moses at one time came down from the Mount where he had revelations of the divine, young Joshua was by his side as a kind of off-sider. When they came down to the people, they encountered that others in the camp were also prophesying. Joshua was upset about it, so he pulled out his sword ready to cut them down so as to defend the unique status of Moses, but the great man replied, “Put up your sword. Would that all the people were prophets.” So even Moses is represented as anticipating the New Covenant in which all would by prophets like Moses – or like the Buddha, or Jesus, or Ghandi, etc. Of course this is blasphemous to a lot of unenlightened superstitious religionists – but this was the real teaching of both Buddha and Jesus. Buddha did not want followers, much less worshippers any more than Jesus did. The Buddha means “the enlightened one,” and that he urged and taught everyone to become the Buddha. And everyone is called to be the son of God as Jesus was.
Traditionally we are of the Christian cult of thought of people like Wesley, Luther,. Whitfield being led or filled with the Holy. We need to see events such as the Enlightenment, the triumph of human reasoning over religious authority and mythology, as no less a manifestation of the outpouring of the Spirit. So it was the same Spirit of God enlightening the great scientific breakthroughs. This habit of confining our concept of the filling of the Spirit as inspiring religious events such as Pentecost and the Reformation or the great evangelical Awakenings is nonsense – as if God’s main pre-occupation is religion. This is as silly as the old Rabbis saying that God spent three hours of his every day studying the Torah. It seems to me that God largely by-passed the Church and brought the enlightenment and progress of the modern world in the triumph of science over religious mythology, the triumph of liberal democracy, the advancement worldwide of human consciousness to reject racism and inequality, etc., and not to be forgotten, the scholars who looked into the horse’s mouth to critically examine Biblical literature and the historical Jesus versus the Christ of Christian myth., God gave us reason and not religion. Where reason triumphs there the yeast of God’s kingdom grows. Reason is one of the greatest instruments for the advancement of “the kingdom of God.”