The Blinding Force of Self-Love

zw941.jpgMay everyone learn to know himself—by another in no wise is one known—although the defenses of self-love are so strong that very few persons, if any at all, break through to a knowledge of their own selves.

Under no other teacher or guide than God alone, the builder of man, will it ever be granted to see the secrets of the human heart. For as He created man, so He knows all the headwaters of his cunning and the source whence they come. All of which Jeremiah signified by the words [17:9]: “Who can know it?” doubtless not supposing that any one would venture to avouch that he had knowledge of it, except the God who fashioned it. Hence, at once, he adds: “I, the Lord, who search the heart and try the reins.”

From the Lord God, therefore, the Creator of man, is the knowledge of man to be sought, no less than the knowledge of Himself, though for different reasons. The knowledge of God is denied to our understanding because of its feebleness and His glory and splendor, but the knowledge of man, because of his boldness and readiness in lying and dissembling, as has been said.*

“Know Thyself”?  Socrates, that’s not possible.  We don’t know who or what we are until God reveals it to us.  Self love blinds us so thoroughly that we can’t see clearly enough to know anything until, like Paul, after his experience on the road to Damascus, God opens our eyes.

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*The Latin works of Huldreich Zwingli, Volume 3. (C. N. Heller, Ed.) (p. 76). Philadelphia: Heidelberg Press.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
This entry was posted in Church History, Theology, Zwingli. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Blinding Force of Self-Love

  1. ejoelwatts says:

    as much as I disagree with Z on principle, I really do like him. Just don’t tell the papist.

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  2. He’s going old-school here. Orthodox call this a logismoi and one of the worst kind. Basically idolatry of self. “We should zealously cultivate watchfulness, my brethren: and when – our mind purified in Christ Jesus – we are exalted by the vision it confers, we should review our sins and our former life, so that shattered and humbled at the thought of them We may never lose the help of Jesus Christ our God in the invisible battle. If because of pride, self-esteem or self-love we are deprived of Jesus’ help, we shall lose that purity of heart through which God is known to man. For, as the Beatitude states, purity of heart is the ground for the vision of God (cf. Matt. 5:8).” – St. Hesychios the Priest

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  3. “Self love blinds us so thoroughly that we can’t see clearly enough to know anything…”
    Right!
    If I may not be so scholastic here (as if I could…): There is a reason as to why Jesus “improved” the “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (loving thyself or “self-love” is implied here), to “Love… as I have loved you”. The standard is no longer the love I have for myself (self-love), but the love Jesus has for me. We cannot love ourselves as God loves us and we can’t love our neighbors as Jesus loves them. Christ did not teach “self-love”. No complications.

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  4. Sorry… to early: We CAN love our neighbors as Jesus loved us!

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