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"I Am The Way, The Truth, And The Life,
Nobody Comes To The Father Except Through Me"

John 14:6 - "I Am The Way, The Truth, And The Life..."

"eimi hodos" ⇔ "I am the way"

"hodos" ⇔ "the way"

"hodos" ⇔
1. properly
  (a) a way, a travelled way, road
  (b) a traveller's way, journey, travelling

2. metaph.
 (a) a course of conduct
 (b) a way (i.e. manner) of thinking, feeling, deciding

NB: Please note that the use of the term 'Literalist' in this article is in no way meant to be derogatory to our brothers and sisters who are drawn by the Divine beauty of Christ - it is only that they have masked and detracted from this beauty with dogmatic or doctrinal thought created by the human mind. The terms 'Literalist' or 'Fundamentalist' are needed to define modes of thought amongst similar-thinking people in order to be able to express a contrasting mode of thought.

"I Am The Way, The Truth, And The Life..."

This simple, yet most wonderful and instructive Saying of our Lord and Founder, has been misunderstood and mistaught for centuries, ever since the original Christ-teachings of the first few centuries were altered and corrupted".

Clearing The Way By Identifying Preconceived Notions

To gain a fuller import of this most profound Saying - indeed, a Saying upon which all progression of the soul is founded - it behoves us to attempt to analyze and understand the erroneous thinking associated with this Saying, so that the spiritual environment is made clear for the deeper Truth.

In order to defend what is, in reality, an elitist and divisive path, the pedantic Literalist will often be heard saying: "But Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life and that no man comes to the Father except by Him, and therefore all other ways must be wrong!"

The Literalist uses this Saying of our Lord to proclaim that his or her concept of salvation is the only way. It is the interpretation of "The Way" that is the cause of the literalistic point of view. Yes indeed, this Saying is so very true when we understand what the Way actually is, but the manner in which the literalist interprets it is so divisively erroneous.

The conservative, evangelical type of salvation has come about because of the deep cultural belief of New Testament times Jews that God required a "blood sacrifice" and the disciples naturally assumed this is why Jesus Christ died. However, Jesus never said such a thing. The Gospel that Jesus taught was that He was God on Earth - the Good News. He taught good works and love to God and our fellow human beings.

Nobody can atone for another - they can suffer for another, yes. Jesus suffered like no other, He carried the pain of the world; but it is superstition that the death of Jesus can cancel out the sins of an individual. He was God as a Man - but that does not mean accepting that He died removes the consequences of our sins, it just means that we accept His wondrous gift of Love shown from the Cross, and in so doing we change our nature to expiate all bad consequences. It really is that simple. It is through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The often fanatical Fundamentalist quarter of Christendom may be satisfied with what amounts to nothing less than an elitist interpretation of Christ's recorded Saying, but those who seek the spirituality in Divine Truth have a much better chance of entering into the meaning of what Christ referred to with this Saying. The Literalist's view fails to consider a number of spiritual issues.

One such point that they fail to realise is the enormity of the redemptive power of the Christ, and they seek to limit it to nothing more than acceptance of a certain dogma. They do not seem to come even close to truly comprehending the all-encompassing Nature of the Redeemer-side of God. Indeed, the fact that Christ is the Redeemer in God and that the Christ of God is the Redeemer and that the Saviour is God as His own Christ, His Son, is limited so much by the Literalists that it is almost offensive and hurtful to one who sees a much more expansive and loving Redeemer.

Instead of holding a single dogmatic belief as salvation in itself, these people would realise more Truth if they could try to see that the Spiritual Christ is a reality, that Christ actually is that God who enters and expands throughout Creation to redeem - a Spiritual Christ who leads to the Perfection of those awful Realms of utter Purity which is the Godhead. The Christ is all-pervasive, and therefore no one is able to pass through any stage of spiritual development towards the Godhead without going "through" the Spiritual Christ, ever drawing closer to the Perfection of the God Who is Love and Purity.

Another point on the same subject that has been omitted by the Dogmatists due to the way certain sentences in the Holy Writ have been strung together, is that we are meant to follow the Way that Jesus the Christ laid down for us to follow for our own benefit and the spiritual development of our souls. Jesus set the perfect Example for humans to follow with the intention of giving them the means whereby the soul can gain the essential spiritual development to progress through the Spiritual Spheres of ever-increasing purity, towards that ultimate goal of perfection. In answer to the question from Thomas: "...how can we know the way?", Jesus answered in the same terms: "I am the way..."; in other words Jesus Himself had laid down the Way, and set Himself as an Example. That Way was laid down by Truth Incarnate, and that Way was laid down by the Source of Life made Incarnate. The Source of Life, out of pure love for the life He created, also became Incarnate to show the Way, the Way of spiritual progression; the Way which leads a fallen child of God out of dense and disorientating darkness, and on upwards towards the everlasting and unimaginable power of Pure Love which is perfect and awesome Purity.

Indeed, Jesus Himself places the emphasis of this teaching on movement by initially prompting the question from Thomas by saying: "And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know". The Teacher had made a statement implying a directional process of spiritual evolution, which He knew would cause an inquisitive response from His pupils. He did this to show that spiritual progress is a pathway; to show that soul-development is a progressive process - the Way is a way of movement as opposed to the "instant salvation" propagated by Literalists based upon the notion that by accepting a man-made metaphysical concept, one receives this salvation, and not accepting the notion automatically "qualifies" one for an everlasting punishment in the hells.

So, these two main points taken together - the example set by Christ Jesus, and the existence of the all-pervasive Spiritual Christ of God the Saviour - explain the error of the limited outlook given by the Literalists: that the majority are not "saved" unless they follow the Literalists' own man-made dogma. While the Christ was clearly keen to remind mankind of the gathering of consequences for violating spiritual laws - part of the Law of Love, no less - the Fundamental Literalist has virtually disguised and twisted the beauty of the Christ Way by almost removing the spirituality from Christ's words entirely, with the creation of man-made ideas of salvation. Indeed, this sad view steals from true Christianity; this erroneous teaching twists and attacks the love, hope and charity taught by and exemplified by an endlessly generous and benevolent Christ - One who came to reveal Love Divine, to reveal how our God really is and how He feels towards His children. Understanding this also explains why so much of Christ and His Way is transparently evident in other paths which engender true spirituality.

In light of what has been said concerning the Way as laid down by Christ, and taking into consideration the original Greek definitions for this word (see top of this page), one wonders how any sane person could attribute the meaning to this word that the Literalist has given it, i.e. that it refers to accepting a metaphysical concept of a human replacing an animal as an altar sacrifice to assuage the otherwise unstoppable 'fury' of a superior being - and to add to the insanity, the Fundamentalist says that this concept of a furious being is also synonymous with love. The meaning of 'the way' has been changed by the Literalist to such a large extent that its original meaning is completely altered.

Let us summarise the claim of the Literalist and the trend of thought which explains his or her error:

The thinking among many Christian Literalists is as follows: "The plain meaning of 'I am the way, the truth and the life', is quite explicit in the text, there is no other way except through Christ!", and in so stating, the Literalist refers to the acceptance of his or her own Literalist dogma as being "through Christ".

It is fine for the Literalist to say this without considering the overall sense and context of the words used. Firstly, one has to discover or define as closely as possible what the Way actually is that Christ is speaking about. He was the embodiment of the Way, He was the Way. Everything He said and did was the Way.

So let us look at what else Christ said in this context concerning Himself which was recorded by John, in order to put the statement "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" into context.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death (John 8: 51)".

If we look at this statement we will see that it makes a truly parallel and complimentary declaration concerning the only Way to achieve real Life.

John 8: 51 - "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death..."

"emos logos" ⇔ "my saying"

"logos" ⇔ "saying"

* a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea
* what someone has said
* a word
* the sayings of God
* decree, mandate or order
* of the moral precepts given by God
* Old Testament prophecy given by the prophets
* what is declared, a thought, declaration, aphorism
* discourse
* the act of speaking, speech
* the faculty of speech, skill and practice in speaking
* a kind or style of speaking
* a continuous speaking discourse - instruction
* doctrine, teaching
* anything reported in speech; a narration, narrative
* matter under discussion, thing spoken of, matter in dispute
* the thing spoken of or talked about; event, deed

People may choose the suitable word or phrase to defend their own individual belief, but it should be very clear that in this context Jesus is referring to His teachings, His sayings, His discourse and instruction - He was the Word Himself.

So, in effect, Christ is saying: He who keeps His Way (of long-suffering ever-giving Love), he shall never see death. The instructions, teachings or sayings of Christ were so full of the highest standards of Love - unknown at that time - that this declaration explains that He is not referring to a metaphysical belief of the mind as being the Way ("penal substitution"), but rather a Way of living, of being.

Thus: He is that Way, that Truth and that Life, and only by going that Way - of which He was the Embodiment - does one enter that Life and "never see death all through the Aeon" (through the aion).

A stumbling block for the Literalist occurs because Christ proclaims that no one comes to the one true God "except through me". But Who is He? He is the Way. And what is the Way? He described the Way in many, many words and ways: The Sermon on the Mount, teachings about not walking on the other side of the road, about thanking God for healing, about being spiritually prepared, about forgiveness, about loving enemies as much as friends, about going the extra mile, about caring for the poor, about doing and not just thinking, about self-denial, and so on - the Way has been made clear.

That Way is the only Truth which brings Divine Life.

Christ spoke to a number of people before His death (thus before the so-called "substitutional atonement" the Literalist claims is necessary for salvation) and proclaimed their present and existing spirituality and faith in His sight; for instance, consider the Roman centurion whose faith was "great" or the unnamed scribe who was "not far from the Kingdom of Heaven".

One does not receive Life by merely having a religious belief in the mind, one does not receive Life by calling oneself by a name, one does not receive that Life by saying: "I have eternal Life because I have had a supernatural experience". That is man's thinking.

One receives that Life by following the Way, by walking in His footsteps, the Way that He demonstrated and taught because He was the manifested quintessence of the Way, He was the Word made flesh Who was the walking and living Human Example of the Way - and that Way is Love Personified, the most simple demonstration of Divine Love - indeed, of our God - available to the human being.

(See also "Straight Is The Gate And Narrow Is The Way"?

Tony Bisson

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