Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Modern Fig Leaf by Pablo Giacopelli

Giacopelli received revelation about the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve began functioning from their minds and not their hearts, looking at things as if they were separated from God. They lost sight of their true identity, he writes, becoming disconnected from it. Their focus became wrongly fixed on what was outside them. “...[T]he enemy has successfully managed to blind and disconnect them from their true identity found inside their hearts where they are still made in the image and nature of God.” (37)

Giacopelli shares his experience of learning his own identity and nature in Christ and the realization that the devil wants to rob us of it. He shows why it is so important to live out of our heart and not our mind. If we live out of our mind only, we will try to get back to God by obeying rules, missing our heart engagement with God.

There is some good teaching in this book and some that makes me really nervous. Some of the really good teaching includes our misunderstanding of failure. Another great aspect of the book is the emphasis on not making the use of the mind our primary means of living.

I would advise discrimination when reading this book, however. Some of Giacopelli's revelation seems to be different from that historically accepted by evangelical Christianity. He writes, “The real reason why we are sinners is because we are born into a reality that falls short of who we really are – from living in the wholeness Adam and Eve lived in before the fall.” (44) He seems to indicate that there was no fundamental change in the nature of man because of Adam's sin. The Fall seems to have resulted in a mere change in perspective. Humans are still one with God, still in the image and nature of God. “This humanity of ours is not flawed or disgusting or repulsive to God. ...the truth is that there is nothing wrong with our humanity...” (73) And it is not just humans that are one with God. “We need to understand that everything and everyone is within God and He is within them. This is because if anyone or anything is outside of God, then God can't be God.” (246)

In order for this to be possible, Giacopelli has redefined sin. It is no longer disobedience before a holy God but “a by-product of living from our false identity.” (73) Jesus, in fact, “showed all of us He understood our true identity was not that of a sinner and our true and original Self was not capable of sinning either.” (242)

That means salvation must be redefined too. Giacopelli says it is “a fundamental and profound shift in knowing and understanding who we truly are.” (74) Salvation is no longer being made alive in Christ (Col. 2:13) but is coming to the understanding, as Giacopelli did, that God “has been with me and within me ever since I breathed my first breath...” (233) “This is what Jesus came to show and save us from … the illusion of separation that our false self leads us to believe...” (240) The illusion we need to be saved from is a state of unconsciousness in which we could not see the truth of who we really are, that there is nothing wrong with our true Self (apart from not being able to see this truth). (240)

That means he must redefine what it means to be part of the body of Christ. He used to think those individuals were people who “prayed a prayer” and “who have become Christians.” “Today, however,” he writes, “I realize and see that the body is made up of each and every one of us alive in this world today, whether we have become 'Christians' or not. The truth is that every single individual has been made in the image and likeness of God. The only difference between those of us who understand and see that we belong and those who are unable to see is only that God has awakened us to the reality, while others are not able to see yet.” (72) On being one with God, he writes, “This reality is open and true to every single one of us who have ever lived on this earth.” (234) Also, every person “carries the spiritual DNA of God.” (236)

That means that our spiritual experience and growth must be redefined. “The main opponent we face each day is not the devil, but the 'me' we see each time we look in the mirror.” (50) And because of that, “The truth is that we are responsible for most, if not all, of the suffering we experience in our lives.” (71) (He does not address Jesus' statement that the man blind from birth was not responsible for his own blindness but that it was for the glory of God, John 9:3.)

That means he must also redefine hell. He writes, “I believe that all hell means is a loss of divine union that in the present describes a state of consciousness that is unaware of the truth.” (244)

It follows that Giacopelli does not write about sin entering the world through Adam (Rom. 5:12-14), being dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1), about the heart being deceitful (Jer. 17:9), about the need for repentance (Acts 17:30 and many others), about the need to be saved (Eph. 2:5,8 and others), about becoming a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), about judgment (Heb. 9:27), and so many other aspects of what I consider historical, evangelical Christian belief.

Giacopelli has some good points. We Christians should not think that we can behave so that we can gain God's approval. Yes, we Christians are to live and rest in the position and identity we have in Christ. But the author errs in wanting his readers to accept that all mankind retains the nature of God, that every human is one with God and just doesn't realize it. Giacopelli has neglected the fundamental change that occurred in the nature of man with the sin of Adam.

Pablo Giacopelli has been a competitive tennis player and then coached some of the best female players in the world. He is a personal and professional performance coach certified by the Coach U Institute. He is also a certified professional performance tennis coach and has been trained in sports psychology. He and his family have been based in Tel Aviv, Israel, for the last four years but are planning to relocate to the USA in 2015 to expand his work with The Zone Project.

Destiny Image, 250 pages.

I received a complimentary galley of this book through The Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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