Monday, March 21, 2011


In the beginning, there was One, and One was All that there was.  Out of this One that was All, there began to manifest matter…and stars…and planets…  On one planet that we know of, slowly soil…and water…and plants…and animals…began to appear…but still there was only One that was All.  Simple at first, the One began to manifest in more and more complex forms. The One was becoming the many, but the many were still the One.  And the One loved the many.  The forms would appear for a time and then return to the All – we have called this birth and death.  Some of the animal forms completely ceased to appear, returning back into the All (we have called this extinction) while ever new and growing forms emerged.   Still the One that is All remained, unchanged yet always changing – for God is One.  God saw that it was all good, and that nothing was ever really lost.

As one of the forms developed, it became aware of itself in distinction from the One – became “self-conscious.”  These first humans realized they were different and separate from all that surrounded them – they became aware of themselves as individuals.  They even gave all the other plants and animals names because they perceived everything as so different from themselves. Believing themselves to be “separate beings,” they had no sense of their connection with plants, animals, other humans, or with the One.  The One was still very much in the many and the many in the One, but self-conscious humans were not able to discern this.  This is the only thing that God said was NOT good – man's perception that he was alone!

One of the things newly self-conscious humans noticed was that something terrible happened to the other animals and humans around them: they ceased to be – they experienced Death.  And humanity began to understand that this was the horrible fate that awaited each person. In metaphorical language, humanity ate of the tree of knowledge (awareness), and as a result realized they would surely die.  Naturally, this caused great fear!  With no knowledge of the One in which they lived and moved and had their being, humanity felt alienated and alone, naked, exposed, vulnerable and without protection in a large and terrifying world. So began the conscious struggle for survival - the need to fend for and preserve themselves. Aware for the first time of the always impending threat of death, humans began to perceive circumstances in terms of whether they were advantageous to physical survival…or not.  Good…or evil....  Selfishness came into being.  Hot on the heels of (and driven by) selfishness, sinful behavior began to proliferate.

Death and sin are intrinsically connected, but we do not die because we have sinned.  Death, as far as can be ascertained scientifically, is natural and has always been a part of the cycle of life.  Instead, awareness of our own mortality creates a great fear which compels us to do whatever is necessary to survive.  Sin, then, is not the cause of death, but rather a result of the fear of death.  We sin because we're afraid of dyin'...

More later...


Don said...

I like this premise. Not long ago I read an article with a similar idea. I thought to myself then that this is a great explanation of the connection between "sin & death". Where di you get the material for your post?

Mae said...

I'm not really sure where the connection of these ideas came from - I think from the Spirit or out of the "stillness" as Tolle would say. I listened to the Evolutionary Christianity teleseries, and I guess that got me thinking about whether the premise of original sin is valid. I read Spong's Eternal Life A New Vision about the same time, and he talks about humanity becoming "self-conscious." I became aware of Matthew Fox's premise of Original Blessing, although I've not read his work. And I read Richard Beck on Original Sin - he does say that we sin because of our survival instinct (he has a wonderful series if you've not read it.) But I don't think I read anyone who put together the idea that our fear comes from losing our sense of Oneness. Do you remember where you read the article you mentioned - I'd be most interested in reading it!

There's a lot more rattlin' around in my brain about this idea...I hope it gels so I can make sense of it! But, I think there are huge ramifications for the way atonement and salvation are understood. If Oneness is true (and I believe it is!) then we have never been separated from God...

Sammy said...

An interesting idea. I've never thought of it this way before. The traditional Christian doctrine, which I grew up believing, was that we were separated from God because of our sin and that Jesus' death created a way for us to be united with God.

I now believe that feeling of being separated from God is an illusion. God is always with us and within us. As you say, God is the one in which we live, move, and have our being. I believe we were created from God by God and that we are one with God.

However, I believe there is still a uniqueness to each individual consciousness. Yes, we are one with God, but we are different than God. God created us from Himself as His children, not separate, but distinct. I'm not sure if that makes any sense. It's not an easy concept to put into writing.

Mae said...

Sammy, Thanks for stopping by. Like I told Don in an earlier comment, there's a lot more surrounding this that I plan to write about when it all gels in my mind. :) Your statement "separate but distinct" makes perfect sense, and I agree with you completely! It's still fuzzy to me, but the individuation process is necessary. We remain unique after the individuation process is completed, but we regain awareness of our Oneness - I think this is Christ-consciousness or putting on the mind of Christ.. Here are a couple of quotes I plan to use when I write more about this:

“The ego is negated without personality being obliterated …” (Hick, John, Death and Eternal Life, pg. 445.)

Evelyn Underhill quoted by John Hick, p 443, “this is the paradox that, in the perfect relationship between the human and the divine, human individuality remains and yet is totally emptied of selfhood.” It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives within me. “'s a hard to define state of both unity and diversity in which there is a merging into one, and yet the many remain somehow many even when they have become one.” (Hicks, pg 442.)

Isn't it a wonderful realization that our sense of separation from God is only an illusion?!

Sammy said...

Yes, it is wonderful. There are no words to accurately describe it. It's a life changing realization.

I just become frustrated when people get so caught up in religious doctrine. Christianity alone has thousands of denominations, some of which are almost identical, differing solely in one tiny detail.

What truly matters is that God is love and that there is no separation between us and God. I don't believe there ever genuinely was any separation, we just thought there was for a multitude of different reasons.

I love John Hick's quote. He expressed that idea much more eloquently than I did. Actually, I am currently reading one of his books: Evil and the God of Love.

I've read much of your blog over the past few days and I've greatly enjoyed it. I'd love to have you visit mine- The Scientific Universalist

Mae said...

Hi Sammy,

Yes, the only thing that really matters is that God is love. But as a former fundie, I know that if my eyes can be opened, there's hope for those caught up in doctrine! I truly think we have to reach a certain level of spiritual maturity before we're capable of seeing the Oneness of all things and that separation between us and God or us and others is only an illusion. I know there's still so much that remains a mystery to me, but, O! what a great adventure this journey is!

I'm glad you like my blog, and I'll certainly pay you a visit at yours...looking forward to getting to know you better!

Blessings to you, Sammy!

Don said...

"If Oneness is true (and I believe it is!) then we have never been separated from God..."

This is so, so, true!! The Original Sin doctrine is one of the most damaging doctrines in all of traditional Christianity, right along with the doctrine of hell. I have personally witnessed what this destroyer of self-image can do to a person.

I believe it was Spong who convinced me that we've never been separated from God. About a year ago, I subscribed to his articles on his website:

It give you access to a vast archive of his articles. I have printed out ALL of them! They have been indispensible for me. He has gone through the entire New Testament, detailing each book as to origin purpose, etc; It is well worth the $10 a month to me to have access to this wonderful man's heart and soul. you can preview many of the articles without joining.

Mae said...

Don, Surprisingly, it was the KJV that convinced me that we had never been separated from God! Col. 1:21 says, "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind..." We only THINK we're separated from God! And of course, Romans 8 says that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.

No wonder traditional Christianity is so opposed to evolution - once we realize death has always taken place, it dismantles the doctrine of original sin - and hence, atonement as it has been taught. I know this is heresy :-)but the problem IS with us, it's in our MINDS. Our need is to present ourselves as a living sacrifice (death to self/flesh/ego) and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Then the veil is removed and we're able to see that we are One with God. How awesome that it's really all right there in Scripture but misunderstood by men...

Thanks for the link, I'll check out Spong's site. I know I really enjoyed "Eternal Life, A New Vision." After all his "deconstruction," Spong comes out agreeing with the mystics that we are all One. He even says he's become a mystic in his old age...

Blessings to you!

Sammy said...

I never understood original sin. We would never think to blame a child for his/her father's crimes. Why should we be blamed for what Adam and Eve (supposedly) did? The doctrine of original sin is almost as bad as the doctrine of everlasting torment in hell. All it does is breed guilt and fear.

I think Christians are so opposed to evolution because they think it somehow makes us inferior. I guess God snapping His fingers and everything just appearing is more impressive than God spending billions of years carefully guiding a universe to create galaxies and planets, and then taking millions of years to painstakingly direct organic molecules into more and more complex forms, slowly becoming more and more complicated, until humans are produced, all the while staying within extremely strict physical laws, which He also designed. Yeah, that second one isn't nearly as awesome as just the finger snapping...

Don't worry about being a heretic though. Heretics are much more interesting. Plus, most of us won't disown you if we disagree about something.

Don said...

Mae- I wrote a post on "Oneness" some time ago. If you haven't read it, here's the link:

I would be interested in what you think of it.

Don said...

Silly me. I just went over to the repost I made on "Oneness" and see you commented on it. Write it off to old age!! Sorry!

Mae said...

Sammy -
You said, "most of us won't disown you if we disagree about something." I was just thinking that this morning! It's great beyond words to be able to be open and honest without fear of being excluded, and I thank you (and Don) for that!

Don -
Yes, I read that blog post and loved it! You really touched on THE "sacred cow," but I believe it's the truth!

I notice both of you are reading about the problem of evil and God. That's the toughest question of all for me. Hope to see some blog posts about it!