In the article, What Is Oneness With God? , we explored the historical Christian meaning of the term oneness with God. In this article we explore further what Scripture says about oneness.
Jesus expressed oneness in his prayer “That all may be one as you, Father, are in me and I am in you” (John 17:21). When Jesus talks about oneness, he is not speaking about an equivalency of being, such as that I am myself divine. Rather, what he has in mind is a mutual indwelling: I am in God, God is in you, you are in God, we are in each other……we are one.
His most beautiful symbol for this is in John 15 where he says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Abide in me as I in you” (15:4-5). The whole and the part live together in mutual, loving reciprocity, each belonging to the other and dependent on the other to show forth the love of Jesus. A few verses later he says, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love” (15:9). That’s Jesus’ vision of no separation between human and Divine.
While Jesus does indeed claim that “the Father and I are one” (John 10:30)—a statement so blasphemous to Jewish ears that it nearly gets Jesus stoned—he does not see this as an exclusive privilege but as something shared by all human beings. Jesus came to give us the courage to trust and participate in our inherent union with God, and he modeled it for us. Union is not a place we go to later—heaven; union is the place we’re called to live in now.
John also was quite clear in much of his Gospel about divine union being the ultimate goal of the spiritual life, including when he quotes Jesus “On that day [the coming of the Holy Spirit], you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14:20)
Oneness Is The Goal
As we mature spiritually we cease resistance to the Spirit of God within us. As our resistance to God’s quiet persistence diminishes, our experience of ourselves as other than Christ dissolves into realized oneness with Christ. Little by little, or for some all at once, we come to that point of freedom in which we can say, along with Paul, “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). “Not I live, but He lives in me.” That is, for me to live is for me to be that oneness with God that Christ embodies and proclaims.
Yet, oneness with God is still considered by many to be esoteric and mystical and possible only for a very few, as if God were playing hard to get. Nevertheless, divine union is still the core message and promise of the gospel. David Benner observes, “Because all people live and move and have their being in God (Acts 17:28), it is not just me and God that are one. Even beyond this, because everything that exists is held in the unity that is Christ (Colossians 1:15-17), everything that exists is one in Christ. The old joke about the mystic who walks up to the hotdog vendor and says, “Make me one with everything,” misses the point. I am already one with everything. All that is absent is our awareness. Through awareness it becomes apparent separateness of the one from the many is an illusion. Slowly we begin to see that both the one and the many are held together in the One—the Eternal Godhead. And as we come to know our self within this One, we also come to know our oneness with all that is held by the One. Awareness allows us to know this reality, and our cooperation with the Spirit allows this awareness to become transformational.”
Posted on September 3, 2019