I need more than just a “Divine Spark”

We’ve been short-changed by the “divine spark” theory. Here’s the good news.

You’ve heard the sentiment:

We humans have a “spark of the divine” in us.

It’s a dominant theme in a lot of spiritual, theological, and philosophical narratives.

This concept used to resonate with me. But lately, I’ve come to believe that it’s a severely limited way of honoring what’s at hand in the human/divine relationship.

This idea completely short-changes us…

A spark?
Just a spark?
Really?

Leave it to the human ego to claim 99% of our being and attribute God a mere “spark”.

It’s as if to say, “You know, I’m so awesome in and of myself. I mean, I really have this life-thing handled. But sometimes, I just need a little help. Just a little spark. Other than that, I’m good. Just give me that spark and I’ll handle it from there.”

I’ll say this — and it’s a gospel promise.

God doesn’t just offer us a spark. In Christ, God claims every iota of our being. Our false individualistic ego is continually broken down and renewed in Christ.

It’s called theosis (divinization). If you’re of the Eastern Orthodox persuasion, you know this concept well.

The idea of a self-enclosed, self-motivated, self-made, self-sustaining individual (even one that is equipped with a divine spark) is a delusional concept. It claims itself as its own God. Which brings me to this point…

Divinization doesn’t say that we are our own God. Me, Jonas Ellison, the guy who was born in Modesto, CA; has been socialized in various contexts; has his own tastes, likes, dislikes, quirks, foibles, and evils as well as beauty and goodness — this guy is rotting flesh. He is a mere social abstraction that will soon die and be forgotten by most everybody.

In divinization, Jonas is not Jonas’s God.

In divinization, Jonas has already died (in Christ) and been reborn (in Christ) not on the day I made some emotional promise in a church, but on the first day when God created all of creation and deemed it as “good”.

So, as for you…

All of that stuff you might have done to yourself or others.
All of the ways you’ve fallen short or messed it up.
All of the times you didn’t say the thing you wanted to say.
All of the things you’ve done and have left undone.

All of it is burned in God’s fire
but the Christ that imputes you is not consumed.

In baptism, we aren’t infused with a little spark of Christ.
We are imputed entirely with Christ.

Our hearts of stone aren’t assisted by a little spark of the divine in order to #crush our egoic goals or reach some level of westernized “success”. They’re crushed and entirely replaced by the soft fleshy beating heart of Christ.

Now, you know what this means, right?

It means that human love (which merely seeks the beautiful) is replaced by God’s love (that creates it out of nothing). In other words, just as divinization assigns us the status of the most anointed, it also assigns us the sacred task as servants to the lowest, the last, the least, the lost, and the lonely.

When our ego is replaced and renewed in Christ, our human love (which can only curl in on itself — aka ‘sin’) is replaced by a love that can’t help but flow outward towards our human siblings.

Human love is needy.
God’s love is endlessly generous.

This sounds like hell and servitude to the ego. No “spark” can get us here. The ego must die and Christ must be reborn in us for this transformation to happen.

And this must happen time and time again throughout our lives as our hearts are hardened by the world.

These dying/dead egoic hearts can’t be sparked back to life. They must be fully claimed and restored by the hound of heaven.

There’s nothing we have to do in order to have this done to us. It is just… So.

This is God’s work. Not ours.
This is the work of the Ultimate. Not the temporal.

So, tell the sparkers to keep their spark. If this is all they need, then good luck to them. If a firework is all that Katy Perry wants, well, I guess that’s all she needs (love that song, btw).

But for me, I need a new being.

In and of myself, I have no idea. I can’t do this thing called life with merely a spark. I can barely see past my nose in the scheme of things. I’ve mucked up more things than I can imagine.

May I surrender my spark-hungry ego and accept the Christ-ness that claims all of me.

This is what makes me fully human.

Amen.