“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…. But he spake of the temple of his body.” – John 2:19
Epictetus says in Discourses III.15: “You must be one person, either good or bad; you must labor to improve either your own governing principle or externals; you must work hard either on the inner man, or on things outside; that is, play the role of a philosopher, or else that of a layman.”
Epictetus and the Biblical author are certainly writing from different points of view; yet, as these two quotes both came to me today, they both speak to my present situation. Both address the necessity of profound transformation, a process of becoming as a foundation of life itself. For the Stoic, it is primarily a commitment to a rational point of view that liberates one from externals. For the Christian, it is a transcendence of one’s ego-self (which is turned towards the World as source of satisfaction) in order to realize a destiny in relationship with God. In this Christian vision, successful transformation depends on Divine power and the actual surrender of one’s own inadequate self-direction. The difference is axiomatic, and essential to what can only be termed a “resurrection” modeled on that of Jesus’s life.