From The Manifesto (Matthew Chapters 4-7)
The Lamp of the Body – Chapter 6:22-24
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
What is the Lord illustrating with the eye? This is a further illustration to prevent exhausting ourselves with earthly pursuits. The necessity of single motive in life – one aim, one purpose, one passion.
The eye is referred to as the lamp of the body not the light of the body. Remember earlier that the parable constituted a lamp shining –not designed to hide things but rather that hidden things would be brought to light. As with the lamp that holds the light but is not the light so the eye is not the light but it perceives the light. Without light the eye is quite useless. Conversely light doesn’t illuminate without an organ to perceive it. What good is light for the blind person. The eye apprehends, interprets, and applies the light. When light is shining on things they are seen through the eye. In psychiatric practice we may assess people who are blind despite having the ability to see as in certain conversion disorders. If the person intentionally feigns blindness for psychological benefit it is termed factitious disorder. If the person pretends blindness for some other gain it is labeled a malingered illness.
The eye represents our spirit, the organ capable of having relationship with God (and others). The spirit is what most distinguishes us from other physical beings as humans were created in God’s image for the purpose of an everlasting love relationship. God’s spirit is the light and our spirit apprehends it. Without the light our being is in darkness and does not apprehend. Keep in mind we exist as an integrated whole of body and spirit. We sometimes use the term spirit to mean the soul or psyche of a person (mind, will, emotions), the part of a human beyond the physical essence, the metaphysical part. We are essentially physical beings but with a spirit, in the image of God who is a spirit. We also refer to the term spirit to be that specific part of the psyche that is able to communicate with God through the Holy Spirit. It is also that part that we sometimes refer to in our relationships when we refer to “soul mates”, i.e. the part of a person that allows connections with other humans in relationship, again in the image of God who is relational. God is relational and so are we as image-bearers. God resides with us the believer. He is no longer confined to the physical temple of the old testament (old covenant). Since Immanuel (God incarnate) came to this physical world as Jesus Christ, He joins with us to guide us back to Eden and complete relationship with no interference or darkness. This Holy Spirit is with us continuously – our constant companion.
Two words are used to describe the condition of the eye (spirit of a man): “single” and “evil”. A healthy eye is “Aplous” the Greek word for single or without a fold i.e. no astigmatisms (or other structural defects that might distort the light so the rays do not converge on the retina). The spirit of the believer has been renewed (enlightened) yet is still influenced by the structural defects i.e. our psyches have folds. The enlightened spirit allows things to be clearly seen in the right perspective and illuminates the whole person.
The diseased eye is “Poneros” the Greek word for evil in influence. This is not a structural deficit but rather a squint, or perhaps double vision or crossed eyes that do not look straight. Devotion to two visions is a distraction: “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Money represents the physical body and its cursed existence. If we are distracted by the physical world and do not walk in the light we will not enjoy the fellowship of God. So we are impressed with the importance of discerning the true value of things (perception, intuition).
25 Let your eyes look directly in front of you
and let your gaze look straight before you.
26 Make the path for your feet level,
so that all your ways may be established.
27 Do not turn to the right or to the left;
turn yourself away from evil.
A metaphor from Tennessee – A coon dog following Rabbit trails isn’t worth a lick.
James 1:7-8 New English Translation (NET Bible)
7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 since he is a double-minded individual, unstable in all his ways. Literally from the Greek “a man of two minds” is double-minded person whose devotion to God is less than total. His attention is divided between God and other things, and as a consequence he is unstable and therefore unable to receive (light) from God.
1 Corinthians 13:12 New English Translation (NET Bible)
12 For now we see in a mirror indirectly,[a] but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known.
For the non-believer the eyes are blind. For believers we often have an indirect vision as looking at someone through a bronze mirror (Not face-to-face). Perhaps these are like cataracts in the eye, cloudy lenses. Through a glass or mirror “obscurely” or “darkly” or “indirectly” or “dimly” may refer to our relationship with God in our spirits being obscured by the cursed physical existence. However, the footnote in the New English translation for this verse mentions that Corinth was well known in the ancient world for producing some of the finest bronze mirrors available. Paul’s point in this analogy, then, may not be that our current understanding and relationship with God is distorted (as if the mirror reflected poorly), but rather that it is “indirect,” (i.e., the nature of looking in a mirror) compared to the relationship we will enjoy with him in the future when we see him “face-to-face”. The word “indirectly” comes from the Greek phrase “en ainigmati” translated as “in an obscure image” which itself may reflect an allusion to Num 12:8 where God says that he speaks to Moses “mouth to mouth” i.e. “face-to-face” and not in dark figures of speech. Furthermore in 2 Cor 3:18, that the apostle Paul again invokes the use of the mirror analogy in order to unfold the nature of the Christian’s progressive transformation by the Spirit. However, even the most finely crafted mirror will have imperfections and distort the image until our beings are finally restored to that original precursed existence. The our relationship with God becomes directly face-to-face.