Unity views on ... Our True Estate
One of the most prominent beliefs concerning mankind is that we were "conceived in iniquity and born in sin". We have accepted this thinking of ourselves as incurable sinners, so much accepted it that it is a difficult exercise to entertain an alternative to this idea.
We have accepted, even concluded, that we are indelibly tainted with the original sin of Adam and Eve. But if we take the time to explore the Bible in depth, we will realize that the story of Adam and Eve is allegorical. It was composed after much of the rest of the Old Testament was recorded, designed to give a beginning to the story of human beings. We cannot deny that the story of creation is beautifully written, but we would do well to remind ourselves that it is man's endeavor to write of his beginnings.
Many of us have been bombarded since childhood with the teaching that we are miserable sinners, resulting from the "fall of Adam", and the implication has been that an entire lifetime would not be sufficient time to eradicate the taint of our sinfulness.
Is this our true estate? Are we doomed to spend our lifetime struggling to overcome the sin that we brought into this world at birth? Do we need to keep reminding ourselves (and God) of this sinfulness? Are there truly unforgivable sins? If we truly believed any of this, it would indeed seem that we are doomed. How can we ever surmount a burden of sin that is imposed upon us by the nature of our creation?
St. Paul shared this insight, teaching that we are "children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ." What a glorious insight into the nature of man!
The ancient Hebrew King David also had such an insight; in one of his psalms we read:
What is a man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that dost are for him? Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor. Thou hast given him dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet....
It is true that we have the right to take this alternative view of ourselves. The Bible is replete with references to the spiritual greatness of human beings. In our human inclination, we have tended to see ourselves as we appear to be, rather than as the true spiritual masterpieces we are.
But the time has come to change all that, for us to begin to appreciate the nature of our creation. The time has come for us to set aside the old and negative opinions we have accepted of ourselves and others. Yes, the time has come to appreciate the glory of our true estate. We really have been/are created in the image and likeness of God! There is a divine light that glows within each of us.
Jesus told us that we ought not to hide our light under a bushel. Rather, we should set it in a high place for all the world to see. That is our divine destiny - to be a light unto the world. The knowledge of this destiny is the viable alternative to thinking of ourselves as miserable sinners. "let your light so shine!" Accept this challenge and let your light of divinity show all people that not only are you a true child of God, but they are too.
In a moment of great inspiration, William Shakespeare wrote: "What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In form and moving, how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god!"
Do you feel this way about yourself? Surely this is how God feels about you. We all need God in our lives, but we also must know that God needs us. How will God refine expression on earth if not through people - male and female? We are vehicles through which God is able to express and be conscious on earth. Can you accept the responsibility for this thinking? If you can and will, magnificent qualities will find expression through you. Your life will be changes into a glorious expression of exciting goodness. It is not a kind of goodness that will inhibit you, but one that will expand you. You will begin to feel the real possibilities of life.
There is also the thought that God blesses some people more than others, that God plays favorites. We look around us and see others who seem to be more favorably endowed than we are. If we have this feeling, we need to recall the important Bible message, "God shows no partiality". This means that God looks upon all of us with an equal eye.
Some persons take advantage of their divinity more than others, and we are inclined to envy them; but we must not. We need not be concerned with them. Remember Jesus' words: "What is that to you? Follow me!" Therefore, we must be about the business of acknowledging and expressing our own divinity.
When we do this, then we too are "about our Father's business", giving expression to the divine qualities with which each of us have been endowed. Yes, this is our alternative: Rather than allowing ourselves to be mired in the concept of original sin, we can see ourselves as we really are. We are God's children.
Our souls are alight with the fire of heavenly virtues.
This item is an excerpt from the book "Alternatives" by William L. Fisher, and reproduced with the express permission of Unity School of Christianity, Unity Village, MO.