the parallel gospels of the tree of life

Words of Christ - 6/52

Words of Christ - 6/52 (Photo credit: Roger's Wife)

Here are parallel verses of John 1:1-5. You can read these exactly in the sequence written and also by color, that is, by reading all five verses of a single color.

Inspired in large part by:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

In the beginning is the seed, and the seed is with the roots, and the seed is the roots.

At the beginning was the Way (Tao), and the Way was with the Creative Presence (yang), and the Way was the Creative Presence.

From the beginning was the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit was with the Father, and the Holy Spirit was the Father

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The seed is with the roots in the beginning.

The Way was with the Creative Presence at the beginning.

The Holy Spirit was with the Father from the beginning.

He was in the beginning with God.

The branches come to be through the seed, and without the seed no branches come to be.

The 10,000 temporary forms (yin) came to be by the Way, and without the Way no temporary form came to be.

Creation came to be through the Holy Spirit, and without the Holy Spirit there is no birth.

All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.

What comes to be through the seed is the tree of life, and this tree of life is the blossoming of the fruit.

What came to be through the Way was everything, and this everything was the radiance of Human Being.

What came to be through the Holy Spirit was incarnation, and this incarnation was the manifesting of the children of God.

What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race;

the blossoming penetrates the sky, without the attention or knowledge of the sky.

the radiance enters the cosmos, and the cosmos carries and reflects it.

the manifesting conceives, immaculately.

the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Other popular translations say that the darkness has not extinguished it (the light) or has not understood it.The black text above (including the translation that the darkness has not overcome the light) is from the New American Bible:

Here ends the parallel translations (considering that all translations are also interpretations). Next begins a commentary.

English: Frontispiece to the King James Bible,...

Image via Wikipedia

Note first that, in certain popular religious writings, including in the Judeo-Christian versions, a recurring theme is the sacrificing of the child. Let’s quickly review the proverbial stories of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.

Abraham, whom I consider the first and founding prophet of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, may be most famous for being willing to sacrifice the life of his son Isaac (AKA Ishmael), the fruit of his own loins. In Abraham’s willingness to offer the life of his child to God, his child is sanctified and saved. The key transition is that Abraham submits his personal will to God.

Then, in Genesis 22:12, Abraham receives this instruction to refrain from harming his only son: “Do not do anything to him, for now I know that you fear [respect, obey, submit to, are faithful to] God because you did not withhold your son, your only son, from me.” Abraham no longer sees his child (what he produces) as his own, but as God’s own. Then, according to Genesis 22:15, Abraham receives the message that the Lord swears on the Lord’s own name that Abraham shall hereafter receive the blessings of the entire world.

Next, how about the Liberator (and we might even say Savior) of the people of Israel: Moses? Baby Moses (at the age of only three months!) is placed into a basket and hid in the banks of the Nile river (according to Exodus chapter 2, Moses was not sent down the river, but was hid and then watched from a distance. See

The mother releases her child from her own involvement. The mother knows that God gave her the child, and she trusts God with the future of her child, known by the Hebrews as Moshe, by the Arabs as Musa, and by many others as Moses.

Finally, the only begotten son gives his life for the salvation of the world. He is the one who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Oops, no- my mistake: not the sins of the world, but “the sin of the world.”

Is there only one sin, that being the sin of the world? If there is only one sin, what could that be except attachment to one’s will as personal, that is, as isolated from and thus potentially opposed to or in conflict with the Will of God?

So that is the brief commentary on the recurring theme of the sacrifice of the child. However, being that I am most familiar with what some might call the legends or myths of Jesus, I’d like to explore that story with you further… indeed, much further.

In chapter 3 of John, we can read of Jesus talking to people about them being born again in a new spirit– as in transformed, like from a caterpillar into a new creature: a butterfly. This rebirth or transformation apparently has something to do with saving the world rather than judging it (3:17). What does it mean to stop judging the world and instead to redeem it, perhaps even to bless it and honor it as God’s Will (God’s Creation)?

Does judging the world take something away from it (or appear to/try to do so)? Does refraining from judging the world keep the entire world intact and whole, rather than divide it? What would be another way of saying “keeping the integrity of the world safe from divisiveness?” How about this word: “saving?” How about saving the world? How about, rather than sinning against or judging against the world, saving it- like preserving it, choosing it exactly as it is?

Is not judging the world an attachment of identifying with the world? In John 8:23, Jesus says “You are of this world. I am not of this world.”In John 8:12, aI am the Light of the world; bhe who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

In 8:44, some listeners, proud of their orthodox background, are confronted and startled with this distinction: aYou are of byour father the devil, and cyou want to do the desires of your father. Is Jesus talking about their biological male parents as “the devil,” or is he referring to the source of their experience, a spirit or quality of character from which actions issue forth? Is that devil an actual individual with a specific personality, or is the devilish father a figurative reference (wait, would Jesus ever make a figurative reference?) to a philosophical presumption- as in a sin-cere belief which is divisive, dualistic, and diabolic? Note, by the way, that the word “devil” originates from the roots dia-bol, meaning literally to “throw across” (as in to cover), denoting the action of slandering or assaulting someone’s character:

Jesus apparently says many things that may seem bizarre to the way of thinking of many people. He says things like “I am the door of the sheep…. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:7, 11.

In response to the confusion of some listeners, Jesus responds by saying various condensed things, like that he fulfills the Law of his Father. In, John 4:34 Jesus *said to them, “My food is to ado the will of Him who sent Me and to baccomplish His work.”

He tells people in John 8:28 about them (the people to whom he is speaking) lifting upthe son of man,” and only then knowing that “I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” He directly repeats this idea in John 12:49, saying that he speaks according to His Father’s “commandment.” In John 14:10, he says bThe words that I say to you I do not speak on My owninitiative, but the Fatherabiding in Me does His works.” Maybe then this repeated idea is a pivotal teaching, no?

So, what does this mean in John 8:28 about “I am He?” Let’s look back a few verses: John 8:24 “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

“Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” John 5:19

John 7:17-18
17 aIfanyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of Godorwhether I speak from Myself.

18 “He who speaks from himselfaseeks his ownglory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is nounrighteousness in Him.”

Here is 6:38, “For I come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.”

John 10:30 aI and the Father are 1one.”

31 The Jews apicked up stones again to stone Him.

32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you manygoodworks from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?”

33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for ablasphemy; and because You, being a man, bmake Yourself out to be God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Has it not beenwritten in ayour bLaw, ‘cI said, you are gods’?

Let us be clear on what this means; Jesus, about to die on the cross, quotes the first part of Psalms 31:5, “Into your hands I give my spirit; you are my saviour (and redeemer), O Lord God for ever true.” Is this clear already?

John 12:25 is aHe who loves his 1lifeloses it, and he who bhates his 1life in thisworld will keep it to lifeeternal.” (Isn’t that “keep it” as in “save it?”) The one who would save one’s own personal will dies (and may already be dead, like just a confused ghost that denies being a zombie identifying itself with a corpse “in the tombs”- see John 5:28 and 5:21), while the one who dies to the personal will and is reborn not only in flesh but also in spirit experiences the salvation of the living eternity, with His word abiding in that one reborn (John 5:38). Jesus says in John 11:11 that he will “awaken” a man who is “sleeping” (named Lazarus), whom he also calls “dead” (11:14).

The child shall be no more as it has been, but a new life shall be born in the Holy Spirit. The Way of the Holy Spirit may be called foolishness by some, but the ways of the rebellious children of the Holy Spirit- who may even commit the sin of denying the Holy Spirit- such ways may be recognized as foolish sin, and then abandoned as in sacrificed.

Does Jesus offer any unusual instructions for what to do when facing a problem- instructions that might even seem utterly foolish? Let’s look in the 12th chapter of John.

When troubled by the world, Jesus demonstrates this saying: “Father, glorify Your name.” (John 12:28) This is specifically contrasted with saying something like “save Me” from this horrible development, this miserable world and these troubling problems… perhaps of how God’s Will is interfering with my personal will, causing me suffering, condemning me to eternal hell. (John 12:27). Then, according to Jesus, the judgment or slander that has been covering up or rendered against the world “will be cast out.” (12:31) Isn’t that the same terminology used in regard to demons and exorcism? While the “the judgment” is being “cast out,” Jesus calls this being uplifted: “I am lifted up from the earth,” abiding in “Myself.” (12:32) See also:

Some may assert that John 14:14-15 refers to applying personal willfulness in asking God to fix some apparent problem or to create or sustain something personally favored. What if he actually means the reverse: that if God asks anything of someone, that the someone does as commanded?

14 If you ask Me anythingain My name, I will doit.

15 aIf you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Was Jesus just telling people to do whatever he has already told them to do- like to write down what Jesus says, then worship those words and try to model one’s personal behavior after them? Perhaps! Then again, consider John 15:12-13 “I havemanymorethings to say to you, but you cannotbearthem now.13 “But when He, athe Spirit of truth, comes, He will bguide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His owninitiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”

Is it possible that Jesus was demonstrating a way of relating to the Holy Spirit (God’s Will, the Tao)? Could this be the primary teaching: “When the Holy Spirit of Inspiration asks you to do anything, do it… with love for the Holy Spirit, thus naturally honoring (in fact keeping) it’s commandments?” Consider also John 13:15, which is not referring to the same context, but may be instructive nevertheless: “For I gave you aan example that you also should do as I did to you.”

From John 14:23, aIfanyoneloves Me, he will bkeep My word; and cMy Father will love him, and We dwill come to him and make Our abode with him.In John 14:27, aPeace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the worldgives do I give to you. bDo not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he abearsmuchfruit, for apart from Me you candonothing.John 15:10 aIf you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as bI have kept My Father’scommandments and abide in His love.

But Jesus, who compares himself with a shepherd, also clearly asks something of God. In John 17:11, “I amnolonger in the world; and yetathey themselves are in the world, and bI come to You. cHolyFather, keep them in Your name, the namedwhich You have given Me, that ethey may be oneeven as We are.” Then this, in John 17,19-21:

19 “For their sakes I asanctifyMyself, that they themselvesalso may be bsanctifiedcin truth.

20 “I do not ask on behalf of thesealone, but for thosealso who believe in Me through their word;

21 that they may all be one; aeven as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, bso that the world may 1believe that cYou sent Me.”

Everything is made in the image of the one who experiences it. In the clearing of the faceless, headless No-thing, the Everything, which is also the No-thing, is dancing. See

John 8:56 aYour fatherAbrahambrejoiced1to see My day, and he sawit and was glad.”

57 aSo the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”

58 Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, beforeAbraham1was born, aI am.”

Receive the HolySpirit.23 aIf you forgive the sins of any, their sins 1have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

We do not have to sail in the direction of the wind, but if we ever sail off course, is it easier to change the direction of the wind or the direction of the sail?

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