Sword to the Heart: The Story of Passion and Atonement


God is doing, and will do, everything He can. But because He refuses to let His creations be something other than His creations, because He refuses to stop loving His creations, because He refuses to make them less real… what He can do in our hearts, isn’t quite enough.

The saints who have walked the earth from the beginning of recorded history, and very probably from even before; who have been the salt of the earth, the taste from beyond Nature giving savor to the cultures in which they live and which they sometimes succeed in altering or improving–they may be sheep, but they are not the Shepherd. They are not God. They are sinners, too, like you and me; maybe better ethically in some or every way, yet still cursed with the sin of Adam and of angels–and of themselves.

They may walk so close to God that they are taken to heaven, in history, in legend, in myth: Enoch, Melchizedek, Elijah, Arthur.

But they aren’t good enough, they aren’t powerful enough, they don’t say enough. Even when they say more and do more than the rest of us–it isn’t enough, no matter how hard they try.

And sometimes, for all of what they represent, and for all of what they accomplish… they cause more trouble than they help.

The kingdoms of David and of Theodosius, of Arthur and of Charlemagne, have fallen–in small part or in large, due to these very men themselves; for they were sinners, too.


In order to have the best chance of changing our willed outlook (‘repentance’); the best chance of making our own responsible contributions to the undoing of our corruptedness and what we ourselves have corrupted (‘remission’); the best chance of becoming, in our lives, united with God (‘at-one-ment’, or as we say in English now ‘a-tone-ment’)–then what do we need?

We need God to help us. We need God to find a way to give us a clearer communication, a clearer communion, than is otherwise possible in our hearts.

We need God to come to us.

But there are constraints under which He must work, if He is to give us the clearest possible information about Himself, and if He is to do this without undermining His other plans.

And those constraints, some of which are quite paradoxical, are what I will discuss in the next chapter.


CHAPTER 50 – “Principles of Immanuel”

God must come to us, to give us the best possible chance of understanding Him. Not only in the ministry of the Holy Spirit to every person, inspiring and judging us in fair-togetherness, but even more directly than that, more obviously as a Person than that, more able to reveal the truth of His character in action we can see, not merely hear in our hearts.

That doesn’t mean we necessarily will understand what is happening; we might still make our own honest mistakes about it, or we might still try to fudge our way around it to protect some inflamed sense of our own self-importance.

But this leads to a number of questions about the act of God I am now considering: what should I mean by God coming to us, each of us, personally, in this manner?

Well, there have been odd tales, throughout history, all over the world, about encounters with Someone. We have dreams. We see things.

But it doesn’t take much thought to understand that such appearances, while perhaps important to us individually to one degree or another, aren’t enough to accomplish what God wants to do for all of us.

The sceptic will rightly say that these tales, taken altogether (and often even taken individually) are a garbled mess. Almost anything can be made out of them.

I am not saying they don’t serve, and haven’t served, some good purposes. But the paradoxical truth is that they are too individualistic, even assuming a proper understanding on the part of the recipients (which is assuming a lot!), to be a universal special revelation. They don’t have the best sort of trustworthiness.


The sceptic will rightly reply: very well, but He wouldn’t need to appear to each of us individually, would He? He could show up right now, ring the end-of-day bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and make a speech from the podium in front of the CNN cameras.

Yes, He could do that. I even expect that to reveal Himself universally to all persons, those living and those who have died, God will do something vastly much more impressive!

But again, would that be the best sort of trustworthiness, the best act of faith on His part, the best way to show Who He is… at least, at the beginning?

A notable show of power, even a monstrous show of power, would show us only: power.

We are already far too ready to worship mere power, whether we are religious or secular. We are already far too ready to idolize the person who can merely do more than we can; and, for that matter, we are already far too ready to jealously despise and envy those people. Even if we use a name for God that means ‘good’ (as ‘God’ in fact does as a word), we are likely to think in terms of meaning only power or authority.

What God wants to do, what we need done for us, isn’t simply an announcement or demonstration, as if He was a candidate for President with a platform, or MacArthur returning to the South Pacific, or Elvis opening a new show in Las Vegas after all these years.

Even dropping out of the sky on clouds and rolling up the heavens as a scroll, to sit in judgment upon a Jerusalem throne–or upon a Chinese Mountain of Heaven–isn’t all we need, as individual people, because if power is all that is shown by God, then we will worship only power. I do expect an ultimately obvious reign of power to happen someday, too; but because God wants to help us best, He must do something else, too… something else, first.

We need to see the truth that He is a person, first and foremost, for us–for us, and with us.


Okay, so why don’t we have a personal manifestation of God wandering around beside all of us, constantly; not showing off His divine niftiness, necessarily, but giving us the personal attention we need?

I think part of the answer is: we do have something of this sort already, in our conscience!–this is a major role of the Holy Spirit, the 3rd Person of God, in relating to God’s creatures. But if we aren’t ready to listen to our conscience, and try our best to understand it and work with it–even if we don’t recognize it to be the work of the Holy Spirit–then we are only going to be more petulantly annoyed at a personally vouchsafed manifestation of God following us around. Even if we thereby believed God existed, we still in our sins wouldn’t necessarily believe in God.

What if we all receive an experience like this when we die? No doubt that would help, and so I do not doubt it will happen (sooner or later)! But again it wouldn’t by itself help us relate to God beyond what our sin inclines us to think and expect about ultimate power.

There are numerous delicate balances, which are important to God–important enough for Him to have instituted them to begin with, and to keep them going even to this day: the balances of having a real creation, with real people, and real effects from subordinate actions and reactions. God doesn’t in fact hold Himself apart from these situations, dictating them from on high; God rather empowers these situations to exist at all, as He empowers His creations within these situations, allowing His creatures to contribute in various ways to the real story of that Creation.

This is what ultimate power actually does; but this is hard for us to imagine and to keep in mind. We need the Throne of Power to be a throne that reveals the self-sacrificial love and positive justice of ultimate power, the ultimate Truth of God Most High. We need the throne to be a seat of propitiation, not only in the sense that we throw ourselves on the mercy of the throne, but in the sense that the King comes to lead His rebellious subjects out of their rebellion, to lean upon Him, to smile upon Him.

Would multiple manifestations, seven billion God-images wandering the planet along with us, be in themselves demonstrating this truth to us about God, for us to repent as sinners and commit to cooperating with Him instead?


I discount the ‘problem’ of limited resources; He could miraculously take care of such a trivial problem as extra food. He would want to eat and drink with us, I think. Why? To show us that He cares about His creation.

But showing that He cares about His creation, means showing that He cares about respecting the rules of the Nature He has instituted. He would limit the amount of flashiness. Extra food and drink on special occasions, perhaps; but going hungry with us otherwise. Even depending on the charity of others for food or feasting.

He would especially want to let us see Nature affecting Him–by His voluntary, self-sacrificial choice.

And not only do we need to see His humility with respect to His own natural creation, but we need to see His humility with respect to us: how He lets us do a lot of what we want to do, even when it’s bad–for us, for other people… and for Him.

What we do when we sin, hurts God. I suspect the devils know this very well, better even than we can know, though I also expect they ignore or discount the truth of God’s voluntary acceptance of this suffering, preferring instead to believe that they are forcing God to react to their power.

We need to see that we hurt God with our sinning; and we need to see that God voluntarily bears our sins against Himself: suffering along with our victims–suffering for all-mighty love of us, even if we are the chiefs of sinners.

And, while there are numerous other goals that this manifestation of God’s fundamental self-sacrifice would in principle be acting to accomplish, there is also something else that I have asked you, my reader, to keep in mind, on occasion, throughout this book:


God loves sinners–and that means all of us. It at least means me; I think it includes you, too, however much of a sinner you may be. (And however much of a sinner, or not, you think you may be!) He loves us enough, as I have said before, to let us make our own horrid contributions to history, His story. The innocents suffer unjustly, because God loves us. You and I have suffered something we ought not to have suffered, if only by being born like this, because God loved our first rebellious progenitors; and because God still loves the rebel angels, and the rebel humans, who insist on tampering with His creation.

The bill for all this unjustness–not only what happens to you and me, but also what you and I inflict on other people unjustly–ends up eventually with God Himself. It isn’t His fault; but He is authoritatively, sovereignly responsible.

So, it is only fair that He should pay for allowing us to be the sinners whom we are. Isn’t it?

We need to see that God truly is fair, despite all the injustice around us. And the best way, the only way, to fully demonstrate that to us…

…is for Him to let Himself be condemned unjustly to suffer, as a Person (just as each of us is individually a person), by the enemies He loves.

But He cannot do this in a historical vacuum. There are other goals He will be acting to accomplish, too. And that will be the topic of my next chapter.


CHAPTER 51 – “The Hope Of The People Sitting In Darkness”

If God is going to maintain all the various balances in His creation, while still working to His utmost to help effect our salvation from our own sins and the sins of our predecessors, then He will have to go about it within our history–not merely within the stories we tell ourselves (although He will do some work along those lines, too), but within the real natural reality we inhabit as synthetic creatures. This means He will act within a historical context, and it will be a context of His choosing: designed and guided, even ‘tweaked’ by Him to fit His plans; but also incorporating the choices of the people, the families, the nations, who will be a part of this particular story of history.

But those people will not be sock-puppets. They will be real people; they will be fallible, even though God works with them to the best of His own ability; and they will be sinners, just like the rest of us.

In fact, they are likely to be rather sinful!

When we look back into the beginnings of recorded history, we find that God has not yet evidently made the specially self-sacrificial impact I have inferred He will attempt, doing among us small and close what He is always doing throughout all reality. There are little hints, scattered here and there, of something similar to the notions I have inferred; but however much knowledge of God was vouchsafed to our ancestors in the legends and myths of prehistory–and even the beginning of history is shrouded in such mists–the knowledge has been muffled, and forgotten.


God has let us go as far away from Him as we can, while still being alive in this Nature; as He has let the rebel angels go as far away from Him as they can. He has allowed injustice to flourish first, so that eventually we shall see that however far sin may exceed, the grace of God Most High shall hyper-exceed it!

So from this bottoming out, this chaotic mass of strength-worship, world-worship, sex-worship, blood-worship, suffering-worship (of pain or of pleasure), this worship of not-God, of the null within the non-story that merely repeats like a wheel, this fracturing and perversion of what light we do have into fog…

…out of this, God will begin His mightiest and most subtle work.

The earth was formless and filled with futility; darkness lay over the chaotic deeps, of history and of myth–the myths of the world.

But: the breath of God still hovered above those chaotic swirling depths, and over the people drowned in them. God did not leave them sitting alone in darkness; still He strove to work with them, however little that might be.


What happened to those people when they died? The same that happens to all of us when we die: the synthetic chrysalis falls free, leaving us in some other, higher Nature (for there is no point to undoing our creation, and so we must have a distinctive natural system in which to be); and the consuming fire of the eternal Holy Spirit works upon us, as He always has done, as He is doing this very moment to you and to me, as He always wishes to work even more with us. The Holy Spirit, the 3rd Person of the Trinity, is not separate from the 1st and 2nd Persons; the Father and the Son are there as well, God Self-Begetting and God Self-Begotten, as they are now with us, as they were with the people at the beginning of recorded history, and before the beginning.

Does this mean we will exist in some merely mental fashion without a body? Perhaps–we already exist in a merely mental world at night when we dream, while our sleeping bodies exist in the fuller reality of Nature. But this natural system is a fuller reality than a merely mental one–would anything be gained by restricting our existence afterward to that which was merely mental?

But if it is physical, too, we must either be supplied with new bodies, or else our old ones must be transformed and raised from their corruptibility into incorruptibility.

This, to put it mildly, clearly does not currently happen! But would it happen someday? And why would that be, if so?

I do not think it is likely that the new Nature we shall enter will be corrupted as our current Nature has been corrupted–there would be no point in God making such a translation of our spirits into an equal corruption. Then again, how much of our nature, and of our Nature, shall be done away with, and how much shall be saved and redeemed?

We shall put off corruption, and will (if we choose to accept the gift) put on incorruption: a new body, whether or nor redeemed from the old one. Perhaps there we will meet–perhaps our ancestors did meet–creatures born into that Nature, unfallen. Perhaps they can come to this Nature on occasion, as messengers, or merely as travelers to the dangerous and exotic and beautiful land of this world that we should love.

These are but speculations: the ‘elves’ of our world are already here–you and I are two of them. Yet, we do have stories of other elves…


I only speculate about what might be in the ‘next’ world, or in other worlds, and whether any of it trickles or gushes or travels to this world; I heartily wish it to be true, for I love true magic, and our souls are suffused with it already: the breath of God. I think we have grounds to honestly hope that anything good that can be done, has been or will be done. If it can be good to have elves, or unicorns, then have them we shall!–though always with the dangers that accompany any good thing, for there always must be consequences to any action.

Again, only speculation. I trust what I do know: and I do know God exists, and is committed to His creations, which includes this Nature, and which includes us as people. When we have finished the evil dying, then something new will happen, and new adventures will begin, for us as individual people–and I expect also for us corporately, as families or nations, for these are outgrowings of our lives as individuals. I trust that sooner or later–and I have no reason to suspect it would be much later–we will reach a Nature, a country, itself uncorrupted; whether new or, more likely, itself redeemed from our current field of reality, where our synthetic shape shall not hamper our hearts and minds.

(Why would that be more likely? Because God is already so committed to the current field of Nature that He allows it to affect us with suffering! To simply throw it away afterward and replace it with something else would leave victims of Nature without a victory over Nature–and without reconciliation to that which God has created but which has been since perverted.)

Yet, even in the new Nature to come, our hearts and minds will have already been partly shaped, not only by this Nature, but by other hearts and minds acting within this Nature–not least, by our own selves as we make our choices. This is true for us today; and was equally true in ancient Sumaria, China, India, Egypt, Africa, Ireland, Peru.

Specifically what God has done for those people in their own cultures, I do not know, although I hope for the best.

But I also know that although He excuses what I do when I do have excuses (for He will be just to me), He does not excuse what I do when I have no excuses (for He will be just to me). Nor does He simply negate the results of my mistakes, whether I have excuse for them or not.

Forgiveness is necessary; atonement is necessary. And it cannot happen without my own willed choice of action, as a person. Nor can it happen without God’s own willed choice of action, as a Person.

And the action of God, including His most primary basic action of self-existence, is God the Self-Begotten.


There is no salvation, apart from the Son of God.

But the Father will be begetting His action, and the Son will be surrendering in Unity to the Father, and the Holy Ghost will proceed; and the eonian fire will do every work He can do, to lead His children home.

This may require, to put it delicately, some ‘spanking’.

But I think it could easily be rather more delicate than the pictures we have invented of human kings and human gods tormenting with insatiable human vengeance. We should resist such images, on pain of our own damnation, insofar as they represent God setting aside His love, His justice, or both.

Yet, then again…

people are people; and we make our own choices.

I will not join with the doctrine of automatic damnation and hopeless torment; but neither will I join with the doctrine of automatic salvation and beatitude. I proclaim the active love and justice of God, however fiercely or gently such love and justice may need to blaze.


And I testify to you: I can easily imagine, I have been sorely tempted, to do things for which I would heartily deserve the loving fearsome wrath of God Almighty.

I do not wish to be saved from God: there is no salvation apart from God!

I do not wish to be saved from a just and righteous and loving punishment: the discipline of God.

I want, and need, to be saved from my sins.

And I pray God, whatever it takes, please Lord do it! Save me–not some mere copy of me, but me, personally!

I trust Him to save me, whatever it takes, whatever it costs Him in His own anguish, or costs me in mine. I love Him that much.

And I tell you, my reader: such love is not an easy love for me to give. Sometimes I resent the fire. At this moment, while I write this chapter, my heart is being crushed into a bleeding mass and set on fire, out of sorrow and anguish and loss.

But however much it hurts me, for my heart to be pulverized, I also swear to you, my reader: it is far, far better, for myself and for those around me, for me to have a living bleeding heart, than to have a constricted little hole of a heart within a mountain of stone.


So, the hope I have for myself, I also have for the people of antiquity, who though they may not have had my advantages of knowledge, did have and still have the same mighty advantage you and I have here and now:

God loves them, too!

I trust Him to save me. I trust Him to save them. Whether they trust Him to save them, sooner or later, is another matter. But God Himself will do everything He can, for them as for me–and for you, my reader.

We, all of us–past, present and future; human or angel or animal (if other sentient creatures have been or shall be)–all of us, as the children of God, are God’s chosen people: for we have been chosen by Love, the interPersonal foundational of all reality, to be people at all.

We still are chosen, all of us, even when we are sinners; chosen through birth and by Divine choice: for God, the Trinitarian Unity Who in His own Self-existence is Love, loves His children–even when they are His enemies.

So, what do we need? We need to see God loving His enemies, choosing His enemies, electing His enemies for salvation, working to bring them into readiness to accept the inheritance they were born for.

We need a symbol, of God’s love for all of us.

We, the chosen people, need to see a people chosen.


[Note: I’ve been out sick this week with the stomach pseudo-flu. :angry: Providentially, I was led back on Friday or Saturday of last week to post up most of the remaining SttH material to auto-post at the Cadre Journal, where I’m paralleling the end of the book this week for Easter. I’m still too wiped out to do much toward posting the material [u]here, yet. But I figured I could at least post the links for each day as they’ve come up, now that I’ve recovered at least a little bit. :slight_smile: ]

CHAPTER 52 – “A People Chosen”

(posted Monday Easter week, the day Christ began final Temple teaching)


Chapter 53 – “The Harmony Of Dissonance”

(posted Tuesday Easter week, the day of final opposition by religious leaders, after which they dared not say anything more)


Chapter 54 – “The Son of God”

(posted Wednesday Easter week, the day the Presence of God left the Temple in rejection)


Chapter 55 – “The Good News”

(posted Thursday Easter week, the day of the reception of the Gentiles and the night of the Lord’s Supper)


Chapter 56 – “The Price For Our Sins”

(posted Friday Easter week, the day of the trials and the crucifixion and burial)


Chapter 57 – “The Sword To The Heart”

(posted Saturday Easter week, the day when God Most High Himself rested from His labors)