Know your true self

For the Lesson titled "Mortals and Immortals" from November 5 - 11, 2012

The ancient delphic maxim, “Know thyself,” voices a recurring theme in religion, philosophy, and science. It is natural to want to understand our nature and purpose. While there are many interpretations of this maxim, some early Christians embraced it as knowing one’s true spiritual self, or the divine spark within. And then there is Samuel Coleridge’s poetic response. He found this maxim too self-interested and declared instead, “Ignore thyself, and strive to know thy God!” (“Self-Knowledge,” 1832). Perhaps both responses have validity, as this week’s Bible Lesson, “Mortals and Immortals,” invites us to know both God and our true selves as the immortal expression of God’s being. 

The Lesson opens the first section with multiple passages from Isaiah describing how God created humankind with knowledge, blessings, and understanding. Isaiah says, “I will pour out my spirit upon thy seed” (44:3, citation 3). God’s very nature is expressed through men, women, and children. Included are God’s promises for blessings and guidance always, not just for a fixed time, showing the eternal nature of God’s love. And Isaiah 45 explains that God is the only source of being, whether we see it or not: “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me” (cit. 4).

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