A crab-catcher (colloquial for a type of bird) was down by a dirty creek pushing its head in filthy holes searching for crabs for dinner. At the same time, a beautiful, majestic eagle flew overhead. The crab-catcher called the eagle: come down here if you are looking for a sumptuous meal. The eagle had never hunted crabs before, but swooped down to the ground. As he was not equipped with Crab-catcher’s skills and long neck, two crabs clamped him on the first try, and injured his wings so he could not fly. The crab-catcher in turn shouted: Good! We are now compatriots; a new friend I have just added. The eagle looked at his once beautiful, now wounded wings and exclaimed: Only if I could fly again!
Similarly, some of us are down here meddling in this earthly muck, even though we have been given wings to soar above the clouds. If heaven is our goal and the earth is the pit of evil, let’s get our heads and hearts out of this reeking gutter. For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6).
Until our lives is detached from this our earthly and temporal existence, we cannot be what God has called us to be, because our struggle is not in the realm of the physical. Most of the time when things happen, we relegate them to the physical. Every little loss or mishap or sickness or loss of a job, we begin to suspect the devil. I have some news for you; the devil does not care for your simplistic material inconvenience; he is at war for your mind. He is at war for your soul. For Paul says, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
The full potential of humanity transcends this realm of life.
Even evolutionists and physicists have come to understand that our full potential lies beyond the mere earthly realm. When Stephen Hawking realized that his adherence to the Big Bang Theory did not fully explain existence, he proposed link-theory – an idea that transcends our 3-dimensional existence as we know it. Also, Abraham Maslow, the discoverer of the Hierarchy of Human Needs initially proposed what necessitates for reaching the full capacity of human function. He discovered that man has physical needs – food, shelter, clothing, comfort; that man needs safety – shelter from the environment, protection from harm. Humans need love – communal affection – relationships, caring. Man needs self-esteem – the need to be valued, reassurance, respect. Maslow’s conclusion suggests that if a man had all of these four needs that that individual would self-actualize. That person would reach his full potential. He concluded that If humans had sufficient physical resources, safety, love, and respect, they would be optimized for full functional capacity. That was the hallmark of Abraham Maslow’s life achievement. The psychology world and every other professional area raved at his discovery. Finally, they concluded, “we have unlocked the code for the maximum performance of the human.” However, in 1969, one year before his death, Maslow wrote the Theory of Transcendence. He realized no physical or psychological sufficiency could maximize the full human capacity or potential on earth. Just as Hawkins proposed Link Theory, Maslow began to look beyond the realm of the physical for the answers to life.
The Architect and generator of Christian transcendency
But thank God for his word through his servant The Apostle Paul who wrote 2000 years ago: God’s calling is that his chosen ones may be separated and made holy unto God, to be the holy ones, the saints (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2). In response the Bibles says: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” It is a call to transcendence. In the process of transcendence, Paul wrote: And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39 NLT). In essence, I can live above everything this life can throw at me, even when it threatens me with death; because the generator of my life is not physical. It is the driving force inside of me, and his name is Jesus.
“Transcendence refers the very highest and most inclusive or holistic levels of human consciousness (all of human faculties physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual working in perfect unison as the human entity functions), behaving and relating, as ends rather than means, (at constant state-of-perfection) to oneself, to significant others, to human beings in general, to other species, to nature, and to the cosmos (Maslow).
Paul had a different version of the explanation for transcendence: Phil. 3:12 – 14: Not that I have already attained this—that is, I have not already been perfected—but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead, I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Practicing Christian transcendency
But what is the practice of Christian transcendence?
In human view, transcendence is about getting more – more money, a bigger house, a more successful profession, more education, more power (Sadh Guru). But what happens when you get all that you can get? If you had everything you wanted, what comes next? Think about all the things you can earn in this life, a billion-dollar bank account, two PhDs, all the real estate that money can buy, successful Children, as much power as the president of the USA. Your next phase is still death!
Here is the practice of Christian transcendency:
2 Corinthians 4:18: As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. The bible says, “The just shall live by faith!” The answer to attaining our full potential does not lie in the stimuli that comes through the eye. It does not come in what you can visually behold, because the bible says we walk by faith, not by sight!
God made me to know him, love him and serve him in this world and to be happy with him forever in the next (Catholic Catechism). The whole idea is that we recognize that earth is a transitional point, but we are to be moving forward to our heavenly rest:
I’m pressing on the upward way; New heights I’m gaining every day.
Still praying as I onward bound, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
Lord, lift me up, and let me stand, By faith on heaven’s tableland.
A higher plane than I have found, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
The Struggle is Present Until I Transcend Me, to this higher ground.