An esoteric translation and commentary on John 1
That all might experience the joy of divine love, that none might get lost in the darkness of confusion we (that is Seraphim Winslow and I) have attempted to create a Gospel that speaks not just in words and stories, but also in poetry, in sounds and in energy – that is imbued with the holy spirit so that all who read it may be touched not just by the story, but by the inner spirit that the story is intended to convey. Sacred Texts are intended to speak to you on many levels, and this one is a history and an allegory, but we hope that we can add to this the power of poetry and art, and create a truly whole being experience of the Gospels. There are many ways to read the Gospels, and many different depths at which we can explore our Christian Spirituality. This book is for those who wish to explore the deepest mystical experience of union with the divine through christ.
There are at least 3 different ways of reading sacred texts – literally – as a history of things that happened, Allegorically as symbols that help us to understand ourselves, and mystically – where we imbibe the direct spiritual power of the words, letters, poetry, and underlying spiritual energies imbued in the text. Compared to any other translation this Oneness Gospel has not changed any of the literal or allegorical meanings, but it attempts to transfer more truly, and more completely the spiritual power of the original document, and the original words and deeds of Christ. For those who are seeking the direct spiritual experience this is for you. For those who are not seeking it, I hope that this may give you a taste, and you may begin to develop an interest in the deepest mystical experiences that Christianity can give us.
This is the first chapter of the upcoming book.
In The Beginning
בּרִשִׁית אִיתַוהי הוָא מֵלתָא והוּ מֵלתָא אִיתַוהי הוָא לוָת אַלָהָא וַאלָהָא אִיתַוהי הוָא הוּ מֵלתָא. הָנָא אִיתַוהי הוָא בּרִשִׁית לוָת אַלָהָא .כֻּל בּאִידֵה הוָא ובֵלעָדַוהי אָפלָא חדָא הוָת מֵדֵּם דַּהוָא. בֵּה חַיֵא הוָא וחַיֵא אִיתַיהוּן נוּהרָא דַּבנַינָשָׁא. והוּ נוּהרָא בּחֵשׁוּכָא מַנהַר וחֵשׁוּכָא לָא אַדרכֵה. הוָא בַּרנָשָׁא דֵּאשׁתַּדַּר מֵן אַלָהָא שׁמֵה יוּחַנָן. הָנָא אֵתָא לסָהדּוּתָא דּנֵסהַד עַל נוּהרָא דּכֻלנָשׁ נהַימֵן בּאִידֵה. לָא הוּ הוָא נוּהרָא אֵלָא דּנֵסהַד עַל נוּהרָא .אִיתַוהי הוָא גֵּיר נוּהרָא דַּשׁרָרָא דּמַנהַר לכֻלנָשׁ דָּאתֵא לעָלמָא. בּעָלמָא הוָא ועָלמָא בּאִידֵה הוָא ועָלמָא לָא יַדעֵה. בּעָלמָא הוָא ועָלמָא בּאִידֵה הוָא ועָלמָא לָא יַדעֵה. לדִילֵה אֵתָא ודִילֵה לָא קַבּלוּהי .אַילֵין דֵּין דּקַבּלוּהי יַהב להוּן שׁוּלטָנָא דַּבנַיָא דַּאלָהָא נֵהווּן לַאילֵין דַּמהַימנִין בַּשׁמֵה. אַילֵין דּלַו מֵן דּמָא ולָא מֵן צֵביָנָא דּבֵסרָא ולָא מֵן צֵביָנָא דּגַברָא אֵלָא מֵן אַלָהָא אֵתִילֵדו. ומֵלתָא בֵּסרָא הוָא וַאגֵּן בַּן וַחזַין שׁוּבחֵה שׁוּבחָא אַיכ דִּיחִידָיָא דּמֵן אַבָא דַּמלֵא טַיבּוּתָא וקוּשׁתָּא. יוּחַנָן סהֵד עלַוהי וַקעָא וֵאמַר הָנַו הַו דֵּאמרֵת דּבָתַרי אָתֵא וַהוָא לֵה קדָמַי מֵטֻל דּקַדמָי הוּ מֵני. ומֵן מַליוּתֵה חנַן כֻּלַן נסַבן וטַיבּוּתָא חלָפ טַיבּוּתָא. מֵטֻל דּנָמוּסָא בּיַד מוּשֵׁא אֵתִיהֵב שׁרָרָא דֵּין וטַיבּוּתָא בּיַד יֵשׁוּע משִׁיחָא הוָא. אַלָהָא לָא חזָא אנָשׁ מֵמתוּם יִחִידָיָא אַלָהָא הַו דּאִיתַוהי בּעוּבָּא דַּאבוּהי הוּ אֵשׁתַּעִי.
The word was in the beginning, With God the word was, and The Word was God. It was with god from the beginning, through it all things were made, and nothing was made without it. In it was the life, and that life was the light for humanity. The light shines in the dark, and is never conquered by the dark.
There was a man sent by God whose name was Yohanan. He came as witness to that light – to testify so that through him all might believe. He was not himself the light, but came to tell us of that light.
The light of truth that lights up all came to this world. In this world he was, and though the world was made through him, in this world, he was not recognised. He came to that which belonged to him, but that which was his own did not accept him. Yet to all that did accept him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to be children of God – Children who were born not of the blood, desire, or will, of man, but children born of God.
The Word embodied and made his house among us. We have seen his Glory, the Glory of the only, single Son, who came from the Father, filled with Grace and Truth.
It was of him Yohanan testified, cried out and said: “This is whom I spoke about when I said ‘The one that comes after me surpasses me because he was before me’” Out of his fullness we’ve all received grace upon grace.
For the law was given through Moshe but Grace and Truth came through Yeshua the One. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only son who is himself God and is closest to the Father, has made him known to us.
“The word was in the beginning, With God the word was, and The Word was God” John 1:1
The word “Beginning” and “Word”, are both synonymous with the principle word: “God”. So, to put it another way: In God was God … and God was with God … and God was God.
Here are three different ways to express the same meaning: 0+1+0 = 1/1 = 2 – 1.
It appears on the surface (or “persona” which means “mask” or “face”) – that is, it appears on the face of it – to be three different expressions. But, in fact, these three expressions are saying one thing. The three expressions in this equation are telling a single truth: that God is essentially Love, which is the exact same thing as saying that God is a single relational bond between partners that is, nevertheless, undivided and indivisible. God is one, and yet this oneness is capable of bearing an internal relation to itself that can be expressed in three different ways: 1) as nothing and fullness (or wholeness) and nothing; 2) or, as the Fullness of wholeness; 3) or again, as a hidden non-duality that emerges from duality but means of emptiness, i.e. subtraction.
“It was with god from the beginning.” John 1:2
Emphasizing onenesss rather than threeness, John 1:2 consists of one clause with three substances, unlike John 1:1, which consists of three clauses expressing one substantial ideal. So, John 1:2 is a recapitulation of John 1:1: He = Beginning = God; but since this is the second verse that we are now given to ponder in the reading, we understand that the duality (entailed by secondness) is just as resolvable by unicity as thirdness (entailed by the three clauses in John 1:1) is resolvable by unicity. Trinity is the unity of duality.
Yes, Trinity is the Unity of Duality. Remember this formula because it will come up again all throughout the New Testament. Later on in his scripture, John will tell us that the Logos says, “wherever two or three are gathered in my name…”. God’s name, which is “One” can manifest in twofold or threefold multiplicity – or fourfold or fivefold, for that matter – without loss of substance, quality, or essential unity.
Since all multiplicity is nothing more than a plurality of unities, then unity is always already present within any multiplicity, no matter how apparently fragmented or aggregated the units making up the plurality may appear on the surface. We know that 1 = 1, right? Well, then 2 is nothing more nor less than 1 + 1. And again, three is nothing more nor less than 1 + 1 + 1; and four is nothing but 1 + 1 + 1 +1, etc.
Trinity is the Unity of Duality. The structure of the human condition is no longer to be seen, as it was before the Revelation of God in Christ, as one against one and all against all. No, Christ’s revelation says that one is together with one, and everyone together until God becomes All in All (Galatians 3:27).
“Through it all things were made, and nothing was made without it. In it was the life, and that life was the light for humanity.” John 1:3-4
Here begins John’s variant explication on the theme of Creation in the book of Genesis. John does not use the word “to create” but the strange expression “to come into being,” as creation arrived at “being” ready made, but from some other location, and only gradually unfolded, and continues to unfold, as expressed in the present perfect verb: “what has come into being in him was life.”
We must not underestimate the cosmic magnitude and the eternal mystery of the words that John uses to limn the ineffable moment when unmanifest being was made manifest by God. The word “life” here does not just refer to mere biological life, although that is certainly our most familiar mode of life here on Earth. Nor does the word “light” here refer only to the natural light emitted by stars and other things that burn, though again these examples of “light” provide to the eyes of visual creatures a brilliant icon the metaphysical, mystical fact of the true, supernal Light.
By “Life,” what is really being hinted at, in a most poetic and verbally economical way, is the way God uses divine, uncreated Grace to effect the actions that God alone is capable of performing: creation, evolution, growth, transfiguration, metabolism, healing, reproduction, reconciliation, homeostasis, redemption, resurrection, ascension, prehension; in short, being present.
You will notice that some of these magical operations are things we consider to be “miracles” and others we relegate merely the category of “biological functions.” Look at the list again to see what I mean: creation, evolution, growth, transfiguration, metabolism, healing, reproduction, reconciliation, homeostasis, redemption, resurrection, ascension, prehension… . If you do not artificially separate these acts into such arbitrary categories you will see that each is just as inexplicable and miraculous as the other. The whole process of life re-enacts the miraculous story of God’s creation and redemption of the world.
Being, Life, Light = Belonging, Behaving, Believing
Being/Light/Life are the outer manifestations of the inner relationship of God’s Name, one utterance of which is: … One-loves-another-loving-another-loving-One-loves-another-loving-another-loving-One-loves-another-loving-One, ad infinitum …. .
Being is primary, setting the stage for the initiation into belonging, upon which all religion is founded. The Life emerging from the Being is analogous, in religious life, to the behavior (ethics) that one performs for those to whom one belongs. Finally, The Light emitting from Being is associated with the faith (belief).
“The light shines in the dark, and is never conquered by the dark..”
This means that “Light” (God-consciousness as a persuasive power), in spite of how it may appear, is not overcome by “darkness,” which is unconsciousness as coercive power. In our awe and terror of kings, armies, police, and proponents of coercive power, we humans have come to identify power only with coercive power. But in fact, all coercive power is the power of darkness, error, irrationality, mechanicity, and sin. This is the power that Yeshua came to liberate us from:
Luke 4:18: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, as he anointed me to proclaim the good news to those in need. He has sent me to announce freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight to the blind, and to set the oppressed free.”
The name “Yeshua” means, “deliverance, liberation” – in a word: freedom, in all senses of this noun. The “freedom” with which Jesus confronts coercive power, which his holy Mother, in the Magnficat calls the false “imagination” of real power:
“He has demonstrated the strength of his arm: he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.”
Coercive power “imagines” itself to be what power really is, but in fact the coercive power of the “mighty” is all smoke and mirrors – literally the power of darkness: a counterfeit force that only looks impressive because it can cause such “shock and awe” in its operation. The false, dark power of violence is the power of hate, repulsion, destruction, dissolution, paralysis, ignorance, and obscurity. True power is the persuasive power of love, creation, attraction, consciousness, knowledge, revelation, and reason. It is what gives “sight for the blind” (Luke 4:18) both literally and figuratively. God’s persuasive power is the divine knowledge that comprises the “good news to the poor” – the poor, of course, being those bereft of such knowledge and so still founder in the ignorance and delusion of mistaking false, diabolic, coercion and force for the true, persuasive power of God’s grace.
Job’s friends, who tried to persuade him to believe only in coercion, were entangled in an absurdity. At the end the discourse, God then spoke using the rhetoric of coercive power (which is the only language that bronze age people thought that power could speak) in order to convince Job that God’s only real power is persuasive and never coercive. In other words, the puissance displayed in the miraculous creation of the cosmos, which God reiterates at the end of the book of Job, manifests and reveals. It does not crush, wither, or take revenge.
This persuasive power of God has traditionally been known by another word: Grace. The uncreated Grace of God is just God’s power to persuade, never to force or coerce. This means that Divine power is a synonym for Grace, whereas diabolic force is a synonym for violence. Violence tends to separate, divide, fragment, decimate; or else it binds, grasps, clings and imprisons, but it never performs dissolving operations and binding operations simultaneously, as Grace does. Grace, on the other hand, always unites, unifies, coheres, gathers, yet it does so by paradoxically liberating, releasing, freeing, delivering, and letting go.
It is this paradoxical, non-dual action of Grace that is represented in the person John the Baptizer.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was Yohanan.” John 1:6
The name “Yohanan” that became “John” means “God is gracious,” or “God’s gracious gift.” Isn’t this the perfect appellation to designate the embodiment of God’s persuasive power? Yukhanan was a preacher, a born persuader, a man lacking any violence or coercive force whatsoever, yet what power he had!
“He came as witness to that light – to testify so that through him all might believe.” John 1:7
What God’s-Gracious-Gift, i.e. Yohanan the Baptizer came to present to humankind was the Divine Light, who had come to Earth in human form.
Yeshua – born this Light as the Christ, for his mind had been replete with God-consciousness and God-realization since the day of his birth. However, this luminous divine realization had been “hidden under a bushel” of youth, as it were; that is, until the day that this perfect bearer of God-consciousness was revealed to the world by the power of persuasive Grace in the person of John the Baptizer.
It is important to keep in mind that the word “believe” does not refer to the blind belief that comes about through commanding force, but the loving trust that is evoked through unifying liberation and liberating unity. The Hebrew word for commandment, “mitzvah,” implies both connection and liberation (for a Jew becomes both connected to God by mindfully fulfilling a mitzvah, and is liberated from sin and lawlessness in the same fulfillment). So, this is why it might be better to avoid the word “commandment” since it implies the kind of coercive force to which God neither would nor could ever resort.
“He was not himself the light, but came to tell us of that light.” John 1:8
That is to say, Grace (persuasive power) is not consciousness, but the power to bring consciousness to light. Grace is the flame, but consciousness is the flame’s radiance.
“The light of truth that lights up all came to this world.” John 1:9
Each and every created entity enjoys some degree of consciousness. The idea of a thing is its consciousness. This noetic energy may not come in the form of awareness or reflective consciousness, but inasmuch as indefinite substance takes form as a particular entity, the set of physical laws governing its origin, nature, and destiny represent its consciousness. Consciousness is like the energetic signature of a material thing. Consciousness is the inner subjectivity of an outer form of a being. A thing “comes into world” when a thought or idea couples with its ontological counterpart and thus emerges as a real entity. The presence of any thing, or of any person, in the world comprises the offspring of the syzygy of idea and substance, consciousness and being, information and flesh.
“In this world he was, and though the world was made through him, in this world, he was not recognised. .” John 1:10
When the Unlimited, Unconditioned and absolutely Unknowable contracts into an infinitesimal point of nearly total limitation and constraint, it can be said to be still unknown, yet now knowable. As this singularity begins to unfold and reveal its infinite features one by one, it gradually becomes more and more known. This display is made possible in light, by light, and through light. The expansion and unfurling of the initially powerless singularity comes into the light of knowledge and it never stops becoming more complex, more diversified, and more intelligent.
“He came to that which belonged to him, but that which was his own did not accept him.” John 1:11.
On a literal, historical level this verse refers to the fact that many ethnic Jews rejected Yeshua of Natzreth (Jesus of Nazareth) as their Messiah, but anagogically, i.e. integrally, it refers to the God’s being present within all things even though this panentheosis is hardly ever acknowledged by those in whom God dwells immanently. The alleged rejection of Yeshua by the Jews is a parable of the way God’s chosen people (all human beings) reject their inner divinity and prefer instead to see themselves as material beings, mere mortals subject to the same accidents and corruptions of the flesh as any animal. Yeshua would later speak to this directly when he quoted the Jews’ own scripture to them, “I say ye are gods, but ye will die like men.”
Always keep in mind that in the anagogical interpretation, the phrase “the chosen people” does not refer only to the Jews, but it means all human beings, for all human beings have been chosen inasmuch as all are created in the image and likeness of God, and so have been chosen by God to be God’s sons and daughters by adoption, inheriting all of God’s divine attributes, possessions, and sovereignty just as any crown prince in the old world would inherit all of the king’s attributes, possessions, and sovereignty. Further, in the anagogical interpretation, “men” or “people” (as opposed to “chosen people” or “his own people”) refers to all living creatures and sentient beings: animals and plants, in particular.
“Yet to all that did accept him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to be children of God – ” John 1:12
John 1:12, as if echoing the fact that Yeshua came as the archetype of God’s one son in order to restore the sonship of all of humanity through the twelve apostles (who recapitulate the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve signs of the zodiac, the dodecahedron Platonic solid, etc.) The quality of the number twelve is such that has been a source of metaphysical interest for at least 2000 years. Like a crystal or a gem, its facets and symmetries represents an idealized form of Divine thought, will, or idea – as if all of the information of the of cosmos can be reduced to twelves points and commensurately can be embodied in a variety of instances such as tribes, apostles, sun signs, and fascinating geometrical figures.
” – Children who were born not of the blood, desire, or will, of man, but children born of God.” John 1;13
Will and desire drive us, but they do so along four different possible paths: biological evolution (blood), social ambition (the will of the flesh, i.e. the ego), spiritual ambition (the will of man to become a god in his own right, without the blessing and Grace of God), and spiritual involution: the will of God to adopt a human being made in God’s image, and thereby to deify her or him.
“The Word embodied and made his house among us. We have seen his Glory, the Glory of the only, single Son, who came from the Father, filled with Grace and Truth.”
As such, the Word of God, or Christ – which means the non-duality of divinity and humanity – expressed itself in the form of a social being, a male human with the name “Yeshua” who was born in a specific location of spacetime.
Light of the world, shine your light into the darknesses of our existence. Please continue to be a guiding light for me, and overflow your joy in me that I may be a light to others. Guide me and equip me to guide others. In the name of Yeshua, Amen.