A question on the Epistle to Ephesians
September 10th, 2001
Received by H.
My dear H___, before continuing with the story of my voyage through the spheres of the spirit world, I would like to answer M___’s question on the passage in the Epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 13:
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
M___ suspects the “perfect man” here means having “put on that new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24); that is, being a possessor of the Divine Love. Assuming then it means “possessor of the Divine Love,” does the “perfect man” then mean “he who has experienced the New Birth,” or any possessor of the Divine Love? My dear brother M___, in spite of your doubts, your perceptions are truly very keen, and you should really have a little bit more confidence in yourself.
It is true that in the aforementioned context the expression “perfect man” refers to the man who has received our Heavenly Father’s Love. It doesn’t refer to the perfect man in his natural love, as this term is defined in the Padgett messages. A whole series of verses points to this theme. And in these verses you can also find the key to the best understanding of this passage.
“One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” this, of course, refers to true baptism through the Holy Ghost, that is, the reception of Divine Love by means of the Holy Ghost.
But most important in this context is verse 7, stating that “unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”
As you will understand, M___, perfection only exists in the Father. All mortals and all spirits may come closer to perfection, as in the form of an asymptotic curve, but we will never become perfect like unto the Father.
The form of perfection, however, which Paul referred to, is freedom from sin. Mortals may obtain more than enough Divine Love, even while living on earth, in order to achieve this goal.
As to your question, whether Paul referred to any man who has received a certain quantity of Divine Love, or to those who have experienced the New Birth, ask yourself if it is necessary to obtain the New Birth in order to achieve freedom from sin, or if this is also possible without the New Birth. You may answer this question yourself.
Chapter 4 of the Epistle to the Ephesians is a very difficult and dangerous text. This is not only due to its contents, but also to how this chapter has been treated in the course of history. It is common knowledge that the gospels suffered severe alterations in their transmission, and it is common belief that Paul’s letters were transmitted in a purer way. Although it is true that large passages of the so-called Corpus Paulinum still contain the original wording, it is also true that this set of epistles has suffered serious modifications.
I don’t refer just to the fact that, for example, a long letter had been reconstituted using several shorter ones, or that many of Paul’s original writings have been lost, or that some epistles contained in this collection were not written by Paul, but also that very early in their transmission quarrels and theological opinions left their traces in the text.
In the very beginnings of Christendom, in the first century, there was a controversy between mainly Judeo-Christian groups, teaching that Jesus was a simple mortal like any other mortal, and that he had obtained “divinity” at a certain moment of his life, a divinity called Christ, and other groups, mainly gentiles, who maintained that Jesus was divine from his birth on, and beyond that, that he pre-existed with the Heavenly Father from the “beginnings of eternity,” and that he incarnated in order to save humanity through his sacrifice.
This kind of theological or ideological conflict always entailed alterations in the text, “corrections” or “improvements,” as the authors called them, or “falsifications,” as their opponents named them.
In the fourth chapter of Ephesians there are some verses which were interpolated with the intention of making Jesus’ preexistence clear, and therefore, to refute the argument of the Judeo-Christians and later of other mostly gentile groups, who adhered to the same vision of Jesus, that is to say, they considered Jesus a mortal man who had obtained “Christ,” the Divine principle, a principle which all mortals could obtain, becoming Divine or Christs themselves. This teaching is called adoptionism.
Beginning with the second century, a paradoxical situation built up. Another group of Christians arose who taught that Jesus was in truth God the Father, incarnated to assume the sacrifice in order to redeem humanity. This conception of Jesus, of course, was unacceptable for the group, which would result victorious after some centuries, forming the orthodoxy (“the correct opinion”) of the future, this orthodoxy where most Christian denominations derive from, Catholics as well as Protestants. This situation was absurd, because these proto-orthodox Christians had to defend their position, that Jesus was God, against the adoptionists, and that Jesus was not God the Father, against the patripassionists, as the other grouping was called (because the Father himself suffered the passion, according to their teachings). And on the other hand, they had to defend themselves against the accusation of preaching polytheism, or ditheism, teaching that there was a superior God (the Father) and another inferior God (the Son). Features of manipulations in this sense can also be found in the same chapter of Ephesians. Out of this tension and out of such a paradoxical situation originated the doctrine of trinity, an absurd teaching trying to reconcile a hidden polytheism with Judaism’s pure monotheism.
Dear M___, as you know well, there was even another struggle that left deep scars in Paul’s work, and that was the fight between Marcion and the proto-orthodox Christians. Marcion rejected the God of the Old Testament as an inferior and even wicked God of the Jews, as he taught, and based his teachings exclusively on ten letters attributed to Paul and the gospel according to Luke. But he did not accept the epistles and the gospel just as they were at that time, but rather carried out a series of “cleansings,” removing among other things all quotations from the Old Testament. Proto-orthodox Christians accused him of falsification, and he accused them of falsification, and both were right, because both tampered the texts according to their convenience.
I tell you this just to remind you that it is not only important to find the original meaning of a passage in the New Testament, but also to try to discover if the passage itself is really original.
I hope I have answered your questions satisfactorily, M___. I thank you deeply for your dedication to our work of Love. It is time to say goodbye. I want to extend my blessings to all those who work for the spreading of the message of Love in the world, and I thank you, H___, for the time that you have granted me.
a true follower of Jesus
© Copyright is asserted in this message by Geoff Cutler 2013