Three Greek verbs of seeing in the sense of understanding

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/e/e-i-d-om.html

When seeing is believing

— The three Greek verbs of seeing in the sense of understanding —

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary


The verb ειδω (eido) is one of three verbs that cover three groups of tenses of the act of seeing — for instance a star (Matthew 2:2), amazing things (Luke 5:26), conflicts (Philippians 1:30) — but specifically with a subsequent recognizing and understanding. Particularly, in the narrative of the New Testament, a past-tense seeing results in a present-tense knowing ("I saw" means "I know").

The simple act of looking, or using one's eyes, would be expressed by means of the verb βλεπω (blepo); the opposite of which is to be blind. The opposite of our verbal triad is to be obtuse. These two verbs are beautifully juxtaposed in the evangelists' quote of Isaiah 6:9: "... you will keep seeing (blepo) but you will not see (eido)" (Matthew 13:14, Mark 4:12, Acts 28:26). Or in the words of Jesus: "You know (eido) neither me nor my Father; if you knew (eido) me, you would know (eido) my Father also" (John 8:19).

Our verb ειδω (eido), and its verbal derivations, is used for most pluperfect (he had seen/ was seeing; Matthew 24:43, you had seen/ was seeing; Luke 2:49, I had seen/ was seeing; John 1:31) and most aorist forms of our verbal triad — and the aorist (or a-horizon, or no-boundary) tenses describe the mere action of the verb but say nothing about when it occurred, occurs or will occur. This tense is the most common in Greek storytelling and usually (but not always) correlates with a past tense in English storytelling.

Our verb ειδω (eido) also takes care of most of the perfect forms (past tense — "God saw before you ask"; Matthew 6:8), and in one case a future form ("they will know"; Hebrews 8:11).

Imperative forms of this verb emphasize a mental observation or understanding: "behold!" or "understand!" (Matthew 1:20, Mark 13:21). In total, our verb ειδω (eido) is used a whopping 901 times in the New Testament see full concordance, not counting its many derivatives:

  • The mysterious noun αδης (hades), which started out as the personal name of the Hellenic god of the underworld (Hades), but became the name of the underworld itself (and the Greek counterpart of the Hebrew concept of Sheol). It's not clear how this name was formed, but Socrates voiced against the then popular belief that it was constructed from the particle of negation, α (a), and our verb ειδω (eido), to see. Socrates felt that our word meant rather the opposite, and reflected the knowledge of Hades, rather than its quality of being invisible.
    Here at Abarim Publications we surmise that the concept of Hades originally reflected the collective knowledge of the whole of humanity from the caves up. Indeed, much of this knowledge was wrought by our long dead ancestors, by means and motivations that are as removed from our modern minds as the motivations of a toddler are.
    The key to all this is that some of our ancestors' efforts remain with us until today, while others have been utterly rejected and ultimately forgotten. This same principle Jesus referred to when he discussed Abraham (Matthew 22:32), and the fact that his audience was baffled demonstrates that Socrates' arguments had not been popularly accepted. This noun occurs 11 times in the New Testament see full concordance.
  • Together with the preposition επι (epi), meaning on or upon: the aorist verb επειδον (epeidon), meaning to look upon, again with the obvious connotation of looking with recognition and understanding. This verb is used only twice (both times with God as subject), in Luke 1:25 and Acts 4:29.
  • The noun ιδεα (idea, hence our English word "idea"), which describes a thing that "takes shape" in one's mind. This word is one of a few meaning "shape/form" (others are μορφη, morphe and σχημα, schema), but the emphasis of our noun ιδεα (idea) lies on the mental aspect of it. In the classics this word describes the elementary forms of physics, styles or genres in literature or modes of acting, classes in logic thought and, of course, Plato's celebrated archetypes and ideal forms.
    In the New Testament our word occurs only in Matthew 28:3, where it clearly does not so much describe the physical appearance of the angel but rather the guards' suddenly acquired insight about the goings on: "seeing him was like getting hit by lightning".
  • Together with the preposition προ (pro), meaning before: the aorist verb προειδον (proeidon), meaning to see before one, or look forward to (Acts 2:31 and Galatians 3:8 only).
  • Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συνειδω (suneido), meaning to also know; to be privy to. Paul uses this verb in his famous statement "For nothing I co-know by myself..." (1 Corinthians 4:4). This verb occurs 4 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derives:
    • The important noun συνειδησις (suneidesis), literally meaning "co-knowledge", "shared insight" or "agreed-upon understanding". It's the core idea behind the scientific method: statements are accepted to be true because they have been confirmed by others rather than by a private, inner conviction. This noun occurs 32 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and is often translated with "conscience". It should be recognized, however, that one's conscience jumps into action mostly upon reflection of what other people might know. Closer English equivalents, therefore, would be "reputation" or "collective conviction", or even "peer pressure" (John 8:9) and most spectacularly "peer pressure from Holy Spirit inspired peers" (Romans 9:1).
  • Together with the preposition υπερ (huper), meaning over or beyond: the amazing verb υπερειδον (hupereidon), literally meaning to overlook. In the classics this verb often describes the act of over-looking out of disdain, but the emphasis lies not on the not-seeing of something, but rather on the seeing of something preferable beyond something that's avoided. Our verb occurs only once, in Acts 17:30, where it describes God's looking beyond the daft idolatry of the Athenians and toward the renewal of their life.
  • The noun ειδος (eidos), which describes both the act of seeing and perceiving, as well as the quality of being observable and understandable. The latter is of course a quality of a thing that is visible as opposed to a thing that isn't, which helps to explain this word's derivatives. Our noun appears 5 times in the New Testament and that in some of the gospel's most defining statements: the Holy Spirit descended in the bodily visible manifestation of a dove (Luke 3:22), yet we walk by faith and not by visible manifestations (2 Corinthians 5:7). We have not at any time seen the Father's appearance (John 5:37), but the appearance of Jesus' face was altered when he prayed (Luke 9:29). Furthermore, we are to abstain from evil in all its fashions or forms (1 Thessalonians 5:22; see these five listed in our concordance). Our word's derivatives are:
    • The noun ειδωλον (eidolon), meaning a visible object or "object of visualization" (hence our English word "idol"). This noun occurs 11 times, see full concordance, and see our lengthy discussion of this word below, under the header "On idols and creeds and statements of faith". From this word in turn come:
      • The noun ειδωλειν (eideleion), meaning a place of or for idols; an idolarium. This word occurs only in 1 Corinthians 8:10.
      • Together with the verb θυω (thuo), meaning to sacrifice or offer: the adjective ειδωλοθυτον (eidolothuton), which describes an item (mostly food) that was dedicated to an idol. Since in the first century it was impossible to avoid such items (everything was dedicated) dealing with these items is discussed at length in the New Testament and this word occurs 10 times see full concordance
      • Together with the noun λατρεια (latreia), meaning service and that mostly of a religious kind: the noun ειδωλολατρεια (eidololatreia), from which comes our English word "idolatry". This Greek word is usually indeed translated with "idolatry", which makes it seem like an easily avoidable folly. In fact this word describes a religious devotion to any static representation, and is much more rampant in our days and age than intuition would dictate. In the New Testament it occurs a mere 4 times, see full concordance.
      • Together with the otherwise unused noun λατρις (latris), meaning servant: the noun ειδωλολατρης (eidololatres), meaning idolater; someone who goes for the quick fix rather than a real relationship with the living Creator: a religious junkie. This word occurs 7 times, see full concordance.
      • Together with the preposition κατα (kata), meaning down from, down upon: the grim adjective κατειδωλος (katadeilos), literally meaning: idoled-down; stunted and muffled due to a draining devotion to folly. This word occurs only once, in Acts 17:16, where it describes the city of Athens. This fair city's condition of being idoled-down ultimately provoked Paul into delivering his famous sermon from the Areopagus.
    • Together with the noun πετρα (petra), meaning a massive rock or cliff: the adjective πετρωδης (petrodes), meaning rocky but not in the sense of being strewn with rocks but rather rock-like in the sense of being so much like rock that it might be construed as such: a hard, unyielding and unreceptive slab. This noteworthy word is used 4 times in the New Testament, see full concordance


The second member of our triad of verbs that cover different aspects of the act of seeing in the sense of perceiving and understanding is the verb οραω (horao). This verb is used when the story specifically incorporates a present tense (with one exception Acts 1:3, where οπτομαι, optomai occurs). Our verb οραω (horao) is also used once for an Attic (older) pluperfect, namely in Acts 7:44 (he was seeing/knowing), and Attic perfect forms (he saw a vision; Luke 1:22). In John 6:2 occurs the only imperfect form (which also happens to be Attic), which uses this verb οραω (horao).

Imperative forms of this verb usually mean "see to it / make sure that" (Matthew 8:4) or "look out for" (Mark 1:44). This verb οραω (horao) is used 59 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, not counting its derivatives:

  • Together with the particle of negation α (a), meaning without: the adjective αορατος (aoratos), meaning invisible, or rather: presently invisible or "right now not perceived". This word occurs 5 times in the New Testament. see full concordance
  • Together with the preposition απο (apo), mostly meaning from: the verb αφοραω (aphorao), meaning to look either away from or out of some specified motivation. This word occurs only twice in the New Testament, namely in Philippians 2:23 and Hebrews 12:2.
  • Together with the preposition κατα (kata), meaning down (from, in, upon, etc.): the amazing verb καθοραω (kathorae), literally meaning to see down: to bring "down" into one's understanding. This verb is used only once in the Bible, in Romans 1:20, which tells how the invisible (αορατος, aoratos) attributes of God are "brought into vision" via the study of creation.
  • The noun οραμα (horama), meaning something that is seen; a sight or a vision. This noun is used 12 times, see full concordance, and covers visions of things that occur in one's private mind, as opposed to things that occur in shared reality. This is demonstrated in Acts 12:9 where Peter doesn't realize that the angel is doing things in shared-space and thinks he is seeing a vision.
  • The noun ορασις (horasis), meaning sight or the act of seeing/understanding. This noun is somewhat of an equivalent of the previous one but is apparently less private and may describe visions that could be expected to be seen by more people (Revelation 4:3). It occurs 4 times; see full concordance.
  • The adjective ορατος (horatos), meaning visible (Colossians 1:16 only).
  • Together with the preposition προ (pro), meaning before: the verb προοραω (proorao), meaning to foresee (Acts 2:25 only).


The third verb of the three verbs that express the act of seeing, perceiving and understanding is οπτομαι (optomai; hence our modern word "optic"). This verb is used for passive ("to be seen", which often translates as the active "to appear"; Matthew 17:3, Acts 26:16) and future tenses, and aorists whose voices imply passivity (Matthew 17:3, Mark 9:4). It's also used once to describe a present tense, namely in Acts 1:3, but never to describe an imperative. All in all, this verb occurs 58 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, not counting its derivatives:

  • The noun ομμα (omma), which is a poetic word for eye. It's rarely used in Greek prose, and when it happens it usually denotes something that the eye(s) represent: to look someone in the "eye" rather means to look straight at him, and when someone has a twinkle in his eye, his face is bright and radiant. This word is also often used to denote brightness of mind, that is joyfulness and wisdom, or even something generally precious (hence the "apple of the eye," which has neither to do with apples or with eyes). In the New Testament our word occurs only once, in Mark 8:23, where Jesus "spits" in the blind man's "eyes". This "spitting in the eyes" is an expression much alike "apple of the eye" and has probably nothing to do with actual spitting and actual eyes. What is does mean is unclear, but the surprisingly gradual effect was that the blind man was ultimately healed from both his physical inability to see anything and his mental inability to properly process what he was beginning to learn how to see.
  • The noun οπτασια (optasia), meaning appearance in the sense of a vision or apparition. This word occurs 4 times; see full concordance
  • The noun οφθαλμος (ophthalmos), meaning eye — not simply the organ of physical sight but rather that part of an individual where understanding begins to happen; where information begins to get augmented to one's mind. This important word occurs 102 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and often part of perennial expressions: having a good or evil eye (Matthew 6:22 and 6:23), having open eyes (Matthew 9:30, Acts 26:18) or shut eyes (Matthew 13:15), to dig out your eyes (Galatians 4:15), to lift up your eyes (Matthew 17:8), to fill your eyes (2 Peter 2:14). From this noun derive:
    • Together with the preposition αντι (anti), meaning over or against: the verb αντοφθαλμεω (antophthalmeo), meaning to look against. In the classics this word is used in the sense of looking someone in the face, or rather to go face to face with someone. In the New Testament it occurs in Acts 27:15 only, where it describes the going face to face of a ship and a storm.
    • Together with the adjective μονος (monos), meaning only: the adjective μονοφθαλμος (monophthalmos), meaning one-eyed. This word occurs in Matthew 18:9 and Mark 9:47 only (the often misused word "Cyclops" doesn't mean "one-eyed" but "round eyed"; but see our article on κλεπτω, klepto, to steal).
    • Together with the noun δουλεια (douleia), meaning servitude: the noun οφθαλμοδουλεια (ophthalmadouleia), meaning eye-service. This remarkable word appears to be a Paulism, as it occurs in Ephesians 6:6 and Colossians 3:22 only and no other extant Greek text. Most commentators will suggest that our word applies to good behavior only when in view of the boss, but our two contexts demonstrate a compass somewhat beyond merely that. The term "in one's eyes" means "in one's opinion/judgment" and although our noun indeed suggests an attitude depending on the opinion of others (mostly the boss), from Paul's usage of this word (in Colossians 3:22 he dubs it a quality of a ανθρωπαρεκος, anthropareskos, a man-pleaser) it seems clear that he meant this word to also apply to one's own opinion. Truly good behavior comes from one's heart and not from one's worry what other people might think of us, and certainly not from one's conscious self-appraisal.
  • The noun οψις (opsis), meaning a thing seen, a sight or appearance (John 7:24, 11:44 and Revelation 1:16 only). Note the similarity with the otherwise unused word οψον (opson), which means "meal" in the sense of a lot of food presented on a table. It's diminutive form, οψαριον (opsarion), does occur in the New Testament.

The noun οπη (ope) shares its Proto-Indo-European root with οπτομαι (optomai) and describes any opening or hollow, specifically in the body but also in the earth: a hole, such as a mouse hole, the entrance to a cavern, or even a natural fountain (Hebrews 11:38 and James 3:11 only). From this noun comes:

  • Together with the noun αστηρ (aster), star: the noun αστραπη (astrape), meaning lightning or a sudden burst of inspiration or insight. This noun is used 9 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it in turn come:
    • The verb αστραπτω (astrapto), meaning to flash or to suddenly illuminate with a great burst of light (Luke 17:24 and 24:4 only). From this verb in turn come:
      • Together with the preposition εκ (ek), meaning out, from or of: the verb εξαστραπτω (exastrapto), meaning to flash forth or flash out of (Luke 9:29 only).
      • Together with the preposition περι (peri), meaning around or about: the verb περιαστραπτω (periastrapto), meaning to flash all around, to flash abundantly (Acts 9:3 and 22:6 only).

Whether and to which extent the noun ωψ (ops), meaning eye is formally related to our verb οπτομαι (optomai), to see, and its derived noun οφθαλμος (ophthalmos), eye, isn't immediately clear but it does seem obvious that any less critical user of Koine Greek would assume it without further reservations.

In the classics, our noun denotes the eye(s) as visual anchor of one's face and most dominant element of a person's countenance; that part of a person that's immediately visible and addressable. Our noun is hence often used in expressions such as "to look one in the eye" or "she has the eye [face/countenance/looks] of a goddess".

In the New Testament this word is not used, but from it stem the following important derivations:

  • Together with the particle εν (en), meaning in or at: the adverb ενωπιον (enopion), meaning "in the eye of"; either "in front of" in a spatial sense (Revelation 1:4), or in sight or presence of (Luke 1:17, Acts 6:6). Our adverb is used 96 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it in turn comes:
    • Together with the prefix κατα (kata), meaning down from or down upon (or in this case probably serving as an intensive): the adverb κατενωπιον (katenopion), meaning "very much" in the presence of, or "totally" in the sight of. This word is used 5 times; see full concordance.
  • Together with the preposition μετα (meta), meaning with or among and implying motion toward the inside: the noun μετωπον (metopon), which literally describes the whole arch between the eyes, or rather the entire face, whilst also eluding to the space "behind" the eyes and thus the reasonable mind (not the emotive mind, since that was seated in the κοιλια, koilia, belly). This noun was also used to describe the entire front or face of a building, or even the front line of an army or fleet, and although it's often translated with "forehead", it much rather denotes the seat of one's ratio. The notorious mark on the forehead, as mentioned all over Revelation, is therefore not so much a physical mark on one's physical forehead but rather a singular character or identity that sits at the forefront of one's rational mind; one's reasonable bottom line. Here at Abarim Publications we suspect that the "mark of the dragon" is the principle of survival of the fittest, which brings about competition, hierarchies, tyranny and slavery, whereas the "seal of God" is the principle of survival of the weakest, which brings about cooperation, a global republic, and freedom-under-law (or ελευθερια, eleutheria). Our noun μετωπον (metopon) is used 8 times; see full concordance.
  • Together with the prefix προς (pros), which describes a motion toward: the noun προσωπον (prosopon), literally describing the area in which the eye sits: the face or countenance, and by extension a person's attention or inclination. It often occurs in phrases such as "to turn the face toward," which may indicate the direction of a person's physical journey as well as that of his attitude or attention. This noun is used 78 times; see full concordance, and from it in turn comes:
    • Together with the verb λαμβανω (lambano), meaning to take control over: the noun προσωποληπτης (prosopoleptes). This noun does not occur in other Greek writing and only once in the New Testament, but from its context and source words and derivatives we can deduce that it probably describes taking someone on face value; to form one's opinion based solely on what's immediately obvious. Peter ascribes this word negatively to God when he states that he believes that God is not a taker-on-face-value (Acts 10:34). From this word in turn comes:
      • The verb προσωποληπτεω (prosopolepteo), meaning to take on face value. This word too occurs only once, namely in James 2:9, where it is condemned. From this verb in turn come:
        • Prefixed with the particle of negation α (a), meaning not: the adverb απροσωποληπτως (aprosopoleptos), meaning without taking people on face value. This adverb too occurs only once, namely in 1 Peter 1:17, where it again is ascribed to God.
        • The noun προσωποληηψια (prosopolepsia), meaning a taking on face value. This word is used 4 times. It's negatively applied to God three times, and once explained to not exist in natural law (Colossians 3:25); see the full concordance.
  • Together with the rare and in the New Testament otherwise unused adjective σκυθρος (skuthros), meaning angry or sullen: the slightly more common adjective σκυθρωπος (skruthropos), meaning sullen-eyed or grim-faced. This word is used in the classics to describe faces that are angry or sullen, or things that are gloomy, sad or melancholy. It's even used once or twice to describe the dark appearance of wine and even of the river Melas, which was later given the familiar name Nile. In the New Testament this word shows up in Matthew 6:16 and Luke 24:17 only.

On idols and creeds and statements of faith

As said above, the noun ειδωλον (eidolon), from whence comes our English word "idol," derives from the noun ειδος (eidos), meaning "a visualized thing," which in turn derives from the verb ειδω (eido), meaning to see with the strong connotation of to comprehend.

An idol is literally an "object of visualization", that is: an object that represents the form of a thing that may or may not be visible itself, but crucially, in the sense that this represented thing is now fully expounded by the representing thing, and thus fully understandable by its observer. The word "idol" literally means "this is what we know" or rather more elaborate: "we got this difficult concept nailed and it simply comes down to this convenient representation".

The sweet aroma of knowledge

"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth" (Exodus 20:4).

When king Solomon designed the temple of YHWH in Jerusalem, he placed its water basin on twelve bronze bulls (1 Kings 7:25). That appears to demonstrate that creating visual representations of animals and plants (Exodus 28:33, 1 Kings 6:18), and even heavenly beings (Exodus 25:18, 26:1) is not always per definition a bad thing. Where God draws the line between good and bad imagery may not be immediately clear, and neither the point where illustration becomes appreciation, then veneration and finally worship. But the "uncut stones" with which Solomon built the temple (1 Kings 6:7) were the same as the kind of stones from which Israel was to make the earth-altar: (Exodus 20:25).

"You shall not make gods of silver or gold, but rather an altar of earth" (Exodus 20:23-24).

This stipulation to create an earth-altar from unhewn stones follows the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) like a kind of ugly duckling. This "Eleventh Commandment" offers God's desired alternative for what he prohibits in the First Commandment. This Eleventh Commandment isn't often discussed, but it obviously sums up the reason for, or rather the expected result of, the Famous Ten (see our discussion on the world-wide altar for more on this). Jesus, after all, fulfilled the Law (Matthew 5:17), and was the embodiment of the temple (John 2:19, see 1 Peter 2:5 and of course 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 and Revelation 8:3).

The temple of YHWH in Jerusalem was not simply a house of worship (not at all like a modern church) but rather a central bank and state university combined (read our article on ναος, naos, meaning temple). Likewise, the earth-altar describes mankind's collective learning process that brings humanity to the Creator (John 6:45); the same process that made Paul exclaim: "For the invisible things of [God] are clearly seen from the creation of the world, being understood by the things that are made" (Romans 1:20). In Colossians 2:2-3 Paul explains that Christ is the mystery (that is: hidden thing — see our article on the word μυστηριον, musterion) of God, in whom in turn are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, rather precisely like a library.

An idol is an artistic expression that is proclaimed to be true and to which even reality itself is expected to yield. The difference between an idol and the stones of the earth-altar (and ultimately Jesus Christ) is that God commands the stones to be incorporated into the altar unaltered: the way they were found, not chipped and clipped to answer to a general type, but peerless, unique and original (or in Greek: μονογενης, monogenes).

Likewise, Jesus never yielded to any force that wanted to shape him (Matthew 4:9) but remained true to Truth while at the same time he "continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom" (Luke 2:40, see Hebrews 5:8). In other words: since reality always grows but never changes, any representation of reality must in turn always grow but never change. And only a living, conscious and learning thing can do that.

It's alive! It's alive!

Any creed or model of reality that derives from static representation cannot represent the liveliness that makes reality what it is, and must thus ultimately be false (Exodus 32:4, Acts 7:41). And that wouldn't be so bad if our understanding of reality didn't translate directly to the level of effectiveness, safety and benefit of our technology. Bad math builds leaky ships, and leaky ships lead to loss, and loss leads to anger, scarcity, hunger, disease, war and ultimately a descent away from communion with the Creator, which is why mankind is building its earth-altar in the first place.

The ancient world was riddled with idols as much as our modern world is, and the battle against these life-sucking leeches is not a matter of competing religions but against the violation of natural law, natural progress and ultimately life itself. The authors of the Bible urged people to avoid fidelity to folklore and to not compliantly bleat along with some incomprehensible Frankencreed (such as the dismal Nicene Creed, or the Heidelberg Catechism), but to investigate the underlying order beneath the observable world, simply because proper science builds stable societies, which in turn lead to greater prosperity, which in turn leads to greater understanding. The Body of Christ does not consist of people who sit, listen and do as they're told, but of spontaneously self-organizing collectives of liberated minds, embracing and celebrating the vast bounties of life and its unimaginable diversity of manifestations and expressions (1 Corinthians 2:9, Ephesians 3:20).

Diversity — the polar opposite of εικον, eikon; a mass-produced "icon" — is the ultimate bottom line of reality, and its understanding can never come from an idol and can never be an idol. Hence the Bible authors often discussed this quest for knowledge of the underlying order: this quest must be wholly free (Galatians 5:1) and utterly unbound (1 Corinthians 13:7). It must always work (James 2:14-26). It must never stubbornly stick to a story but investigate all things and incorporate emerging evidence (1 Thessalonians 5:21). And it must always keep refining and responding (Psalm 12:6).

A proper scientific theory is able to do two things: (1) explain past observations by means of a underlying system that is not directly visible, and (2) predict which observations will be made next (Hebrews 11:1). And someone who respects this scientific method stands like a deeply rooted tree (Psalm 1:3) who doesn't get in a twist with every wind that blows (Matthew 24:23). Someone like that calmly derives his worldview from his vast knowledge of this deeper consistency, and never spontaneously from what he sees in front of his short nose (2 Corinthians 5:7).

The gospel of sovereignty

People have long wondered why there is existence; where the universe came from and why it appeared in the first place. The answer to this mystery is defined as the creative principle of the universe. This is not a solution to the mystery, just its name. At present we don't have a clue what it might be or how we can begin to describe it. All we have is the universe, and the baffling mystery of its origin.

However the axiomatic creative principle of the universe may one day be described and in whatever language or medium, Christ is defined as the human embodiment of that principle (Isaiah 45:7, John 1:3, Romans 11:36, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15-17, Hebrews 1:3). This is still not a matter of belief but again an axiom; a definition of terms. But the Greek word "Christ" and its Hebrew counterpart "Messiah" were common titles that expressed having no superior, and thus being sovereign (in Israel all kings, prophets and high priests were "christs" or "messiahs").

That means that the first formal result of equating the creative principle of the universe with the word "Christ", is the conclusion that the universe is based principally on sovereignty.

What that means in practice wasn't known until the early 20th century, and that had as consequence that the nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ was also rather poorly understood over the ages. But the gospel of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with a religion. The gospel of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with feelings or publicly pledging allegiance to unsubstantiated claims.

The principle of Christ lies at the heart of all diversity, whereas the principle of Antichrist (which is again a formal result of our axiom, not a matter of belief) lies at the heart of all standardization. Standardization leads to stagnation, and to a local accumulation of energy (or money, or power). Diversity allows for infinite digression, and when maximal variety is reached, diversity either must stop or give rise to a whole new realm.

Christ is not the face of some religion but rather a natural principle that permeates the universe on every level, that forces black holes to evaporate, that forces empires to crumble, that makes large companies collapse, that lets matter spawn life, and life give birth to mind. Antichrist opposes Christ, which is why both the Romans and the Nazis hated the Jews, and why every tyrant hates people who won't partake in a mechanical humanity. In Christ we do what we want. In Antichrist we do as we're told. Fortunately, the Creator has declared the principle of Christ victorious before the universe ever started, so those silly Antichrists are a mere temporary nuisance.

Belief in Christ

Believing in Christ does not make Christ the subject of belief — you don't believe in Christ the way you would believe in Santa Claus or the Loch Ness monster. Christ is not a distant point of light in an otherwise dark night, and is certainly not a rival to an array of alternatives. Within this set of definitions, there simply are no alternatives. There is only one universe and the creative principle behind the universe.

Christ is not the subject of one's belief but the environment in which one's believing is done. You believe in Christ the way you dance in the rain. You're within him, doing your believing in whatever subject your belief is in (Acts 17:28). And subsequently, whatever your subject might be, about that you talk in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:17). When you "believe in Christ" you are wrapped in the embodiment of the creative principle like in a robe (Romans 13:14, see John 14:10-12).

Belief in Christ — that is belief not in Christ as a subject but belief that is made possible by an existence in Christ — is characterized by complete and utter freedom. And freedom is the most primary and cardinal principle of the universe. It's why quantum particles behave the way they do, why they can form into atoms, why atoms can make molecules and molecules this whole crazy world with its vast array of forms and variations, with its unpredictability, its life and ultimately its human mind. No deterministic system could have brought this about. Freedom lies at the heart and bottom of reality and is the ultimate perfection of all evolution. It's why there is variety. It's why there is diversity. It's why there is freedom (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).

Freedom is the reason for freedom, or as Paul says it: "It's for freedom that Christ has set you free" (Galatians 5:1). Belief in Christ — not in the person of Christ as some distant deliverer, but in the nature of Christ as the environment in which deliverance is enjoyed — translates into a complete absence of restrictions of your interests and a hundred percent responsibility for the actual subject of your belief, how you have obtained it and how you maintain it.

And what might the subject of our belief in Christ be? In Christ, the subject of our belief is: ...

Everything ... !!!

In Christ everything is believed (1 Corinthians 13:7). In Christ everything is clean (Luke 11:41), everything is pure (Titus 1:15), everything is allowed (1 Corinthians 6:12), and everything is summed up (Ephesians 1:10). Everything is Christ's (Matthew 11:27), and in Christ everything happens (Mark 9:23).

Hence the Holy Spirit investigates everything (1 Corinthians 2:10), talks about everything (John 4:25), teaches everything (John 14:26). Christ gives understanding in all things (2 Timothy 2:7) and in Christ, we assess everything and we are condemned for nothing (1 Corinthians 2:15). In Christ we mature in all things (Ephesians 4:15).

Everything is in his hands (John 13:3). Everything is under his feet (1 Corinthians 15:27, Ephesians 1:22, Hebrews 2:8). He inherits all things (Hebrews 1:2), subdues all things (Philippians 3:21), sustains all things (Hebrews 1:3) and reconciles all things (Colossians 1:20). Whoever is in Christ owns what Christ owns, which is everything (John 17:10). All things work together for good to those who are in Christ (Romans 8:28) and all things are theirs (1 Corinthians 3:21).

Theology does not exist because God cannot be measured. Only creation can be measured, and that's why there is only Omnilogy; the study of everything. Or in the words of John the Revelator: "He that overcomes will inherit everything. I will be his God, and he will be my son" (Revelation 21:7).

All the books in the world

Since belief in Christ is characterized by the complete absence of restriction, belief in Christ covers all imaginable topics (1 Kings 4:33-34), from all imaginable perspectives (and the love of Christ and ensuing peace of God transcend even that; 1 Corinthians 2:9, Ephesians 3:19, Philippians 4:7). That means that belief in Christ cannot be summed up by any creed whatsoever, but would cover more pages than all the books and websites in the world could contain (John 21:25). In Christ political alliances mean nothing, genders mean nothing, divisions mean nothing, cultural heritage means nothing and even religions mean absolutely nothing (1 Corinthians 1:13, Colossians 3:11, Galatians 6:15, see Galatians 5:6, 1 Corinthians 13:1, Song of Solomon 2:4).

Belief in Christ is obviously a highly desired quality, which follows a maturation process to its completion, and comes with the ultimate status of divine sonhood (Matthew 5:9, Luke 20:36, John 1:12, Romans 8:14-19, Galatians 3:26, Philippians 2:15, 1 John 3:1-2). But there is no test and you get no diploma. There is also no way to tell whether you have sonhood or not and if you wonder whether you have it, you don't. There is also no need to convince others that you have it, and when you feel that need, you don't have it.

A son of God is someone with enough quiet maturity, knowledge and responsibility to be left in sovereign charge of his own destiny. He can do whatever he wants except blame someone else for how his life turned out. He can follow whichever path he chooses, without having to fear divine punishment for the consequences of his deeds. Instead, other and perhaps less mature folks will look at him and wonder why he did certain things in order to learn from that (which in turn calls for caution; Romans 14:21, 1 Corinthians 8:13).

A son of God keeps the law because he understands it, not because he fears it (Matthew 5:17, Acts 13:39, 1 John 4:18). He looks at the bigger picture of humanity, and renders his private life the same amount of importance as the life of the next guy. He diligently aims to preserve the vast psycho-diversity of the unified human mental sphere, irrespective of his own private convictions and leanings. Someone who believes in Christ (that is: someone who believes all things) identifies with the whole of humanity from Adam down and up to all eternity, then with all of life and ultimately with the entire universe.

The Origin of the Entire Universe

But, in rare cases when stern commitment might provide clarity to people who are in the dark, a son of God might sum up the entire Bible with: "Treat others the way you want to be treated" (Matthew 7:12). This may seem like a mere bumper-sticker to some, but those who are in Christ recognize it as the most succinct summary of the embodiment of the creative principle; a statement that explains everything from matter-antimatter interaction to DNA replication to the basic functionality of the biosphere and the human mind. It ultimately even sums up conditions prior to creation and the very reason for it, because in order for this decree to be fulfilled, there need to be others (John 1:1).

The most fundamental principle of reality — the reason why there is existence, why things look the way they do, how evolution works and how everything is conceived, driven and maintained; the Grand Unified Theory, if you will — is the inviolable command to "treat others like you want them to treat you." This simple rule creates feedbacks upon feedbacks upon eddies and vortexes of unpredictable reactions and feedbacks. Only within an unimaginable realm that consists only of this immutable law, can all that exist within our reality come to pass. This realm exists before ours can. It's what must create us before we can exist. The ancients were right. The Bible is true.

Associated Biblical names