The Architecture of Reality: Sacred Time & Sacred Place in Holy Scripture
Lesson 6 – As Knowledge in the Knower and the Beloved in the Lover
Review of Lesson 5
Last time we were together, we started working on this question, “In what sense is God inside of us?” And we spent a good half hour studying all the ways God is not and cannot be inside of us. Does anyone remember some of the ways we said that God cannot be inside of us?
We looked at 8 modes/ways that one thing can be said to be in another:
As a body is in place. Example: Paul is in the Areopagus. Or, you are in this room and not at home.
As a part is in the whole. Example: A finger is in the hand.
As the whole is in its parts. Example: A hand is in the fingers, for there is no whole hand over and above the parts (fingers).
As a species is in its genus. Example: The species (man) is in the genus (animal).
As the genus is in the species. Example:The animal (genus) is in the man who is of the species rational animal.
As form is in matter. Example: The soul (immaterial form) is in the body (matter).
As an accident is in a substance. For example, whiteness is an accident that exists in the substance Socrates, and yet if Socrates goes out in the sun and gets dark/tan, he is still Socrates despite no longer being white, thus whiteness is accidental to Socrates. Substance on the other hand is the principle of unity and self-identity that persists across all accidental changes.
As agent is in a patient. Or put another way, as an efficient cause is in its effects. Example: As an author is in his story. As Tolkien is in Middle-Earth.
God is in us in this way, as the one who gives us our very existence (“in him we live and move and have our being,” Acts 17:28). However, this is God’s Common Presence in all things and all people, not His Special Presence in the saints.
Question: Did anyone think of some other ways that one thing can be inside another?
Tonight, I am finally going to tell you the true and actual way that God is present inside the believer. So we are not talking about God’s common presence (as efficient cause) in that He makes us to live and move and have our being, we are talking now about God’s special presence in the saints by grace.
Remember the reason we are asking this question is twofold:
1) Because this is one of the two realities signified by God coming and dwelling in the Tabernacle and Temple (the other is the Incarnation).
2) Because there are a ton of verses in the Bible that speak of God/Christ/Holy Spirit being in us and us being in God. And because there is no higher joy or pleasure than being united to God, we should want to 1) understand what this union is, and 2) see if Scripture tells us how we can experience more of it.
So how does God dwell inside the believer?
The answer to the question is that God dwells in the believer as knowledge is in the knower and as the beloved is in the lover. God is in us as knowledge is in the person knowing, and as the object loved is in the person loving. God dwells in the saints by knowledge and by love.
Let me read you a few examples of this from Scripture, and as I read, listen for that connection between knowledge, love, and indwelling.
John 14:15-17, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
1 Corinthians 2:12, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
1 John 4:12-13, “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”
Ephesians 3:14-19, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
So when we become Christians and make God our refuge and dwelling place, He also comes and makes us His dwelling place. So there is a mutual indwelling of us in God and God in us.
Now to better understand what this means, that “knowledge is in the knower and the beloved is in the lover,” let us consider how this kind of indwelling work amongst creatures, and then work our back up to God.
So consider two people falling in love, we’ll call them Adam and Eve.
Adam is lonely, he has a knowledge of animals and even loves the animals, but something is missing in his life.Adam wants to know and love someone that is his equal, someone more like him. Well, it’s Adam’s lucky day, he falls asleep, and when he wakes up there is a beautiful something standing in his garden.
Adam sees this something, and what happens in his soul/mind/intellect?
First, he apprehends that this is no mere animal. This thing is shaped like he is, but a little different. He abstracts from the images that his sensory powers are feeding him, and judges, this animal has the same substantial form as he does: human. It speaks and laughs and reasons, and therefore must be like Adam as a rational animal with a human nature.
But despite having this shared human nature with Adam, there are also some real bodily differences. Adam sees that this naked woman has different organs for generation than he does.
And therefore, in his mind, proceeds this internal word or concept of understanding that we might call a name/definition.
You cannot name/define something until you have grasped and understood it’s nature. What is its genus? And what is its species? How is it like or unlike other things.
So Adam beholds this other person, and grasps both the similarity and dissimilarity that is evidenced in her body and pronounces externally what is said in Genesis 2:23, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” And then in the next verse Adam is married to this Woman, and the two become one flesh.
There is physical union and indwelling of husband and wife.
Now after the fall, in Genesis 3, Adam’s knowledge of his Wife/Woman increases, and he learns that she is the mother of all the living. And because of this increase in knowledge about her, he gives her a new name, which is Eve (Gen. 3:20).
And then in Genesis 4:1 it says, “And Adam knewEve his wife; and she conceived.”
So in what ways are Adam and Eve united?
1. They are physically unitedin the marital act.
2. They are legally/covenantally united as one household/family.
3. But they are also spiritually united as knowledge in the knower and beloved in the lover.
When Adam’s knowledge of Eve increases, and he knows her to be good, His desire for her is aroused and he freely chooses to love and delight in her. And so even if Eve is not physically present, she is present to Adam in his memory, in his affections, and in his enjoyment of knowing who she is and that she belongs to Him.
This is what we mean by the mingling of souls. Because love is a unitive force, it draws us out of ourselves and into the object of our love, so that the mind and will of the person we love, the more we know and love them, the more their mind and love is inside us.
We can know what they are thinking and feeling because they are inside of us a knowledge in the knower and the beloved in the lover.
To give you a couple non-romantic examples of this, Paul says to the Philippians, “It is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart.”
He says to the Colossians, “For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.”
So the Philippians and the Colossians, and all the churches and people Paul knew and loved, dwelt within him. And so it is with us.
The things we know, remember, love and delight in, are inside of us, and that is how God wants to be inside of us. As the supreme object of knowledge, and the supreme object of our love.
It says in Psalm 10:4, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.”
God does not dwell in the wicked, because He is not in their thoughts.
And unlike Eve, and unlike any other created thing that we can see and know with our eyes, God is invisible, God is a spirit, God is incorporeal, eternal, and infinite, and as it says in 1 John 4:12, “No man hath seen God at any time.”
So how God can the invisible Triune God come and well inside of us?
Well, this is why Christ came, he is the image of the invisible God. And as the true knowledge of God is proclaimed in the world, and as we increase in that knowledge of God through reading the Bible, hearing sermons, praying and meditating, God dwells in us personally as knowledge in us who know Him.
And then from that understanding of the truths that we know about God, proceeds the supernatural love that unites us to Him. And so Paul can say in 1 Cor. 2:16, “we have the mind of Christ.”
This is eternal life, this is the purpose for man’s existence, it is know God and love Him, and that is how God dwells within the saints.