Posted by: gcarkner | June 18, 2021

Incarnational Spirituality: a new horizon 2.

A Comparison of Gnosticism and the Incarnation Worldview

Ancient GnosticismContemporary Gnosticism Incarnational Spirituality
Physical world is inferior.Your world is inferior and your body is inferior, blocking your fulfilment. It must be fixed or changed.Creation is good, although many broken relationships have resulted from the rebellious fall of humans. Christ has won, but all creation still groans towards its full redemption (Romans 8). It is a world in process of redemption, containing both good and evil.
Matter is the problem. We must fear our lower bestial nature.The mundane is the problem. Boredom is bad for you and must be resisted.Sin, disobedience and rebellion are the problem, creating a bad relationship with the loving Creator, with oneself and with creation.
Solution: escape the body to perfect the spirit, reach the heights of self. Ascend towards the Light.Turn your body into a perfection (get a make-over). Take it to the edge of thrills and adventure.Jesus’ gift of grace has freed us from sin, guilt and shame. His life is incarnate Son of Man, a fully free life of servanthood. There should be no fear of one’s body—it is God’s temple. Humans are soulish/spiritual bodies, embodied beings, embedded in social networks and relationships. There is healing for the whole person and for culture in Christ.
Look inward to find the truth and the god within (that fragment of a divine spark remnant in you at creation). Look inside to find the real you and your full potential. You can be all that you desire to become with the right advice and modifications.God opens our eyes to fullness of being, wisdom, virtue and reality/the true nature of things. Salvation is this-worldly, including all things: matter, bodies, relationships, morality, institutions, education, society and culture.
Escape this inadequate world to a perfect spiritual place or plane of existence.Escape the mundane for the most amazing. You can have it all, now! Avoid commitments that restrict your freedom or choices.There is joy, fullness, deep meaning and purpose found in worship and service to God and his kingdom purposes in this time-space frame. Our spirituality is embodied, our worship of God (not the world) corporate. Incarnation brings together transcendent/heaven and immanent/earth in the God-man and in the Body of Christ (the church).
Move towards perfection through finding special hidden knowledge (gnosis) from a guru or special spirit guide.Move towards perfect body, life, marriage, career through tips, tweaks, hacks, self-help secrets of success. Self-create, or re-invent yourself as you like, as an original.Pursue righteousness, justice, wholeness, authenticity, Christ-likeness via full social and communal redemption (within your relational networks). Find forgiveness and reconciliation here, now. Look forward to the new heaven and new earth, resurrected, glorified bodies when the world’s redemption will reach it final apex.
You are a seeker, pursuing higher spiritual truth and hidden knowledge through special techniques (magic). You try to avoid imploding into the bestial.You are a seeker pursuing fulfilment through incredible experiences and pleasures (travel, sex, fun, adventure, extreme sports, internet, social media, artificial intelligence).You are the recipient of profound common and special grace, pursued and deeply loved by God. Heal that relationship and re-engage his covenant love to flourish in this world. You will never be a god, but can become a redeemed, flourishing human being and mediate your relationship with God through Christ, your advocate. The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth in this embodied, socially embedded life. Let God be God! Practise Jesus’ Lordship and humble obedience.
Move past the inferior god (demiurge) to find the real god—you yourself. Lose your individual self in the infinite One or AbsoluteMove past organized religion, moral codes, and traditional codes of behaviour/thought and find the type of spirituality that suits you. Doctrine or religious sources are not important. Mix a variety to see what works for you. The Creator God seeks to partner with you in his mission through the church, the incarnation of Christ on earth. Model the character of humility, fruits and gifts of the Spirit within a healthy church body, a healing and witnessing community that impacts society for the common good. Become a moral light, a godly citizen and a loving neighbour. Live into a new story rooted in God’s great drama of salvation.
Break past all boundaries left in you by the inferior creator and become fully divine.Move past barriers of tradition, religion, authorities. Through innovation, seek your own unique spiritual path.Gain wisdom and self-giving skill through a community of believers writing a new story of kingdom values: integrity, joy and hope. Find your calling and use your gifts to promote shalom and the common goodPractice faithful presence, love your enemies and live humility.
When you finally arrive at this higher spiritual plane, you will discover that you are the god you have been seeking. Nothing can stop you now.It is all about you, your passion, your subjective feelings and sensibilities, what you desire, need and are entitled to. Be all that you can be.It is all about God and his story of loving, wise redemption for you and for the planet. Only he is God, you are properly human with limits and yet a high calling under his leadership. Jesus is the God-man at the right hand of the Father and he will return to bring the final fulfilment to all human seeking and spiritual aspirations. His death on the cross is the climax of God’s redemptive story and a model of humble servanthood.
Gordon E. Carkner PhD, Meta-Educator UBC Postgraduate Students

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