This Whole Mess
1 John 5:1-12
5 Everyone who believes that Yeshua is the Messiah has God as his father, and everyone who loves a father loves his offspring too. 2 Here is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God, we also do what he commands. 3 For loving God means obeying his commands. Moreover, his commands are not burdensome, 4 because everything which has God as its Father overcomes the world. And this is what victoriously overcomes the world: our trust. 5 Who does overcome the world if not the person who believes that Yeshua is the Son of God?
World — κόσμος (kosmos)
Strong: G2889 GK: G3180
“(1) pr. order, regular disposition; ornament, decoration, embellishment, 1 Pet. 3:3; (2) the world, the material universe, Mt. 13:35; the world, the aggregate of sensitive existence, 1 Cor. 4:9; the lower world, the earth, Mk. 16:15; the world, the aggregate of mankind, Mt. 5:14; the world, the public, Jn. 7:4; in NT the present order of things, the secular world, Jn. 18:36; the human race external to the Jewish nation, the heathen world,”
The Ten Thousand Things:
The ‘ten thousand things’ is a phrase used in Zen Buddhism to mean the indefinite multitude of all forms and beings in manifest existence. In English we might call this concept “The Myriad Things;” “This Whole Mess;” or as Strong put it rather ponderously above, “The Aggregate of Sensitive Existence.”
Suppose we imagine that in Christian terms “overcoming the world” is the exact same thing as “enlightenment” in Buddhist terms.
If it is, then “trust” is the key to that door.
I’ve rephrased the passage from 1 John by looking carefully at the translations of the Greek words, and I’ve also used several different Names of God in my text. My purpose was to show how, by using perfectly accurate alternative translations of the Greek words, we can subtly affect our unconscious assumptions about the familiar words in a text. We are all culturally conditioned to react in certain ways to familiar religious terms, such as “Commandments” for example.
“All those who trust that Jesus is the Deliverer
have been born of The Holy One—
and all who love the Begetter, love the begotten.
This is how we know
that we love the offspring of the Creator—
when we love the Way
and practice its worthy precepts.
For this very thing is the love of the Most High,
that we uphold these treasured teachings.
And these precepts are not difficult,
because everyone who has been born of the Truth
prevails over the myriad things.
And this is the principle that frees us
from this whole mess— our trust.
Who is it that overcomes the world
if it’s not the one who trusts
that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Eternal One?”