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The divine within: you are gods

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Among the many quotes of Jesus in the canon that have startled and baffled Christians over the eons is in John 10:34, where he says "Is it not written in your law, I said 'You are gods?'" This has been particularly puzzling to those in segments of the faith in which the human being is depicted or perceived in far less flattering terms. The point Jesus was making is that in our essence we too are divine creatures because we have been made in God's image and likeness. Of course the difference between Jesus and virtually all of us is that he developed his divine essence into full manifestation while we have let ours remain almost entirely dormant.

The idea that all of us have the potential to be Christ-like, divine beings is one of the lesser known articles of religious faith and it is called theosis. In modern Christianity it is perhaps seen most prominently in the Eastern Orthodox Church and in some of the smaller holiness sects that dot the landscape. But it is far from limited to Christianity. It is much more a part of the wisdom traditions or Indian religion, and really it could be said to have become a key tenet of the perennial philosophy. Underlying the concept is the belief that the true purpose of our existence is for each of us to bring our divine, spiritual essence into full demonstration as Jesus did, and in that way transcend the terrible limitations our human identities have shackled us with.

In the East or within Hinduism in particular, Jesus is considered one of the Ascended Masters, one of those holiest of the holy who did attain full theosis and transformed himself from human to divine. The main point though is that he is just one of the persons on that pantheon, that spiritual Hall of Fame. And what Jesus wanted to tell us is that the next person could be any of us right now.

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