INNER CIRCLE: Come Into Being As You Pass Away

INNER CIRCLE: Come Into Being As You Pass Away February 10, 2023

IMAGE: Pexels

SAYING 42: Jesus said, “Come into being, as you pass away.”

This is one of those sayings from Thomas that has more than one translation. Some render the text this way: “Become passersby!” But this, slightly longer version carries more meaning and offers a bit more nuance than the simpler, shorter version.

As scholars like Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman observe: “Presumably the saying has much the same meaning as Paul’s words (2 Corinthians 4:16): ‘If our outer man is perishing, our inner man is renewed day by day.'” (The Secret Sayings of Jesus, p. 155)

Another Gnostic text, The Acts of John, offers a similar notion to this one: “Die so that you may live.” [saying 76]

An ancient medieval scholar, Petrus Alphonsi, records a saying much like this one in his Clerical Instruction: ‘This world is, as it were, a bridge. Therefore, pass over it, only do not lodge there.’

And, as scholar F. F. Bruce reports, “These words [from Thomas saying 41] are later ascribed to Jesus in some strands of Muslim tradition (although in other strands they are ascribed to Muhammad or to one of his companions). The most famous instance of their ascription to Jesus in Muslim tradition is on the main gateway of the mosque erected in 1601 at Fathpur-Sikri, south of Delhi, by the Moghul Akbar the Great; it bears the inscription:

Jesus, on whom be peace, said: “This world is a bridge. Pass over it; but do not build your dwelling there.”‘ (Jesus and Christian Origens Outside the New Testament, p. 130)

But the saying here in Thomas seems to suggest more than simply dying in order to experience spiritual or eternal life. Instead, it seems to say that we should “come into being” in the sense that we are being spiritually transformed, day-by-day- even as we physically die by slow degrees as each of our cells dies one at a time until our temporal life here is over and our life in eternity comes into focus.

This saying only appears in the sayings of Jesus from Thomas’s Gospel, and so we are encouraged to interpret it in the light of the rest of the sayings which, as we know, are always about the illusion of separation or our connection with God and all things, or about our own ability to see the truth for ourselves.

With that in mind, it seems this saying falls into the third category of sayings that encourage us to nurture our innate ability to see and know the truth about ourselves and God and the universe.

Specifically, this saying would appear to encourage us to “come into being” as enlightened and liberated souls who fully see and know exactly what reality is concerning the Oneness of all things in Christ.

Our focus, then, should be to continually come into that fully complete being who rests in the fullness of Christ who fills us and the entire universe at the same time; to daily come into that realization before we die in this flesh and become eternally one with the One who is the ground of all being.


Starting on Monday of next week – Feb. 13, 2023 – my newest online course will launch.It’s called INSIDE/OUTSIDE and it’s a new self-paced course looking at the Gospel of Thomas.Last year I taught this course in-person at the University of Texas at El Paso through their OLLI continuing education program.The response was fantastic!So, I thought it might be a good idea to make the content available to everyone online as well.In this new self-paced course we’ll cover:*Why the Gospel of Thomas?*Who wrote it?*Why should we believe these are the true sayings of Jesus?*What does it mean?*What sets Thomas apart from the other New Testament Gospels?*How are they similar? Where do they diverge?*What is the connection between Thomas and the Gospel of John and Paul’s earliest epistle (Galatians)?*Why was it suppressed after the Council of Nicea?*Who discovered it?*What are implications of this text for Christians today?I hope you’ll join us starting Monday for this brand-new course on the Gospel of Thomas. It’s something I personally have really found quite fascinating and much of this content will eventually become published in a new book about Thomas coming very soon.REGISTER TODAY>NOTE: This new self-paced course allows you to watch each video session at your own convenience. No Zoom calls to join. No private Facebook groups. No time limits. Just watch and re-watch as you like.

PLUS, you’ll always have lifetime access to this content!

Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” His latest book, SOLA MYSTERIUM: Celebrating the Beautiful Uncertainty of Everything is available now on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

"I love this. So much. And I get it! Just when I start hearring old ..."

More Than Human
"Bob, you do not recall very well. In everything, I do to others as I ..."

Why Deconstruction Is About National Security
"As I recall from you many past posts you do not keep the commandments because ..."

Why Deconstruction Is About National Security
""In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in ..."

Why Deconstruction Is About National Security

Browse Our Archives