Saturday, October 10, 2009

Self preservation

In Dao De Jing (道德經), written about 500 BC, there are these words: “聖人 ... 生 而 不 有 , 為 而 不 恃 , 功 成 而 弗 居 。 夫 惟 弗 居 , 是 以 不 去 。 ”

Loosely translated, it means: (The saint) nurtures but does not claim ownership over the result. Builds up but does not boast of his work. Succeeds but does not cling on his success. It is precisely because he does not boast of nor even cling on his successes, that his status is secure.

In the New Testament in the Bible, written some 500 years later, we read these words on Jesus Christ:

“Think of the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all, when the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death - and the worst kind of death at that - a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth - even those long ago dead and buried - will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.” [Philippians 2: 5 -11]

It is not impossible but highly unlikely that the authors of these books knew of each other. But some of the thoughts are remarkably similar. It is perhaps because Chinese sages, in their observations of the universe, have uncovered some of the wisdom of the creation. But without specific revelations from God, they can only arrive at a partial understanding. Only when Jesus came and revealed God’s plan through His own life, do we have a more complete picture.

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