You’d be hard pressed to find another word in the entire bible which is more frequently misunderstood, in the sense that wrong meanings have been attributed to it. The word I have in mind is the word, Perfection. It conjures up notions of a stainless steel sinlessness; of being without fault or blemish.
In biblical Judaism, it meant being absolutely law abiding; knowing and fastidiously adhering to all 613 precepts of Torah – many of which may have promoted good hygiene for nomadic tribesmen, but which were promoted as divine decrees.
In the Roman Catholic world, it meant keeping the ten commandments of Moses, the six commandments of the church, accepting the dogmatic teachings of the councils and believing in the infallibility of the pope.
In all cultures, it meant accepting the pyramid of power, the stratification of society and blind obedience to the leaders.
We Are Products of Our Future
In truth, however, perfection doesn’t mean any of these things. What it does mean is, “to be committed to the purpose for which you were created.” The word in Greek (and the New Testament was written in Greek) is Telos, from which we get the English word, teleology, which means, “to be attracted to a goal.”
It epitomizes the truth that we are as much products of our future as we are of our past. It is our dreams and hopes, our fears and anxieties that determine the courses that we chart for ourselves. As you watch a snail’s silky trail, you learn as much about him by looking at where he is headed as you do by examining where he’s been. The mouse stuck in the trap is a victim of his desire for cheese; and the antelope drinking ecstatically at the water hole is being rewarded for his drive to satisfy his thirst. Your years of sweating at your college courses are the result of the dream of landing a good job; and the daily careful choices at mealtimes are driven by the hope of becoming healthy.
Perfection, then, is about evolution; hence Nature is the exemplar par excellence. The newly dropped acorn is perfect because it is utterly committed to growing into the mighty oak tree which it was born to become.
The Cosmic Positioning System
Here, then, is an important question, “what were you born to become?” You are perfect if you are committed to becoming that, no matter how many falls you take, no matter how many “sins” you commit, no matter how many detours you take.
A GPS is a global positioning system that allows you to know, with great specificity, where you are at any time, on the surface of the planet. The soul, in comparison, is a CPS, a cosmic positioning system that allows you to know, with great specificity, where you are at any time, in the journey of perfection. Lovingly, compassionately, non-judgmentally, it guides you to your destination, never screaming at you for ignoring its directions, nor blaming you for getting lost. No matter how many detours you make it understands that ultimately you want to go Home, and so it patiently plans a route to get you there from here – wherever here happens to be.
And each one’s journey is different; you have a different starting point from everybody else because you are a unique manifestation of Source; and you have unique way stations to visit on your journey, because you have a unique mission; so the CPS will give you different directions from those it gives to others.Is God Perfect?
And what of God? If my argument is correct, how do I explain Jesus’ injunction that we be “perfect even as your heavenly father is perfect”? Do I mean that God, too, is evolving? Yes, I do. And yes, She is. While Source, the transcendence of God, is beyond categories, including that of evolution, God’s immanence is in a constant state of development. In all of manifestation, Spirit is at work, inexorably lessening the gap of a perceived separation from Source. So, when Jesus speaks of “the father” he is not really speaking of Source; rather he is speaking of God’s immanence, of the Spirit of evolution, the thrust to complete the journey that began in God’s womb and will end in God’s heart. So, yes, the father is “perfect” in that sense; and we do well to imitate his perfection.
The statement, “you must be perfect even as your heavenly father is perfect” is found in Matthew’s gospel. Luke has an apparently different but, in fact, complementary idea, “you must be compassionate as your heavenly father is compassionate.”
What’s the deal here? Though Luke was writing in Greek, Jesus was actually speaking in Aramaic. And in Aramaic the word for compassion is “rahamim” which is the plural of the word for “womb.” And when Jesus speaks of “our father” he is using the Aramaic word, “Abwon”, which can also be translated as, “birthing principle of the cosmos” or “womb of all that is (or can be.)” Now, a womb is that organ that can conceive, carry and birth, not just once but again and again and again.
Here then is Jesus’ injunction ala Luke, “you must be womblike, and birth continuously more evolved versions of your self just as the birthing principle of the universe does.” What would that look like?
How Much Birthing Do You Want to Do?
It means initially birthing a version of the self in which you identify with your physical body; then you birth a version of the self in which you identify with your emotions; then you birth a version of the self in which you identify with your ideas; then you birth a version of the self in which you identify with your family (now your concern has extended beyond a skin-encapsulated ego); then you birth a version of the self in which you identify with your tribe; then you birth a version of the self in which you identify with your nation; then you birth a version of the self in which you identify with your enemy – this is a huge leap forward; you realize that your enemy is you bleeding through from a parallel universe to hasten your growth and to weed in the garden of your shadow-land; then you birth a version of the self in which you identify with all life forms on planet Earth; next you birth a version of the self in which you identify with all sentient beings no matter what world, what universe or what dimension they inhabit; you are becoming sequentially closer to your purpose; and, finally, you give birth to God!
In this birthing process, you have been ripping apart the cloying cocoons which had previously trapped you into a series of nested dreams. Now you wake up to the fact that life is simply a dream that the ego is having; that the ego is simply a dream that the soul is having; that the soul is simply a dream that Spirit is having; and that Spirit is simply a dream that Source is having.
Now you are perfect and compassionate. You have given birth to God; or rather God – which IS all that IS – is winding up the game of hide-and-go-seek She had been playing with Herself. Like a puppy that chases its own tail for the pure fun of it, and then lies down for a well-deserved rest, God “sleeps” in order to dream up Her next game.
Would you like to audition for a part in that dream?