What is meant by “exorcism journaling”?

A short while ago, I got into the habit of keeping a journal of sorts. Instead of writing reflections and thoughts coherently, I simply write emotional vomit; that is, I write all my negative emotions and discontentment in a near-but-not-quite stream-of-consciousness manner. It’s not meant to be well-phrased, thought-out, introspective, written for later reading or for a prospective audience. It’s not entirely stream-of-consciousness either. It’s simply emotional vomit. Hence the term exorcism; it’s a sort of exorcism of negative emotion. Catharsis.

Why “exorcism-journal”?

Catharsis. Plain and simple. Get in there and write your emotional vomit, feel free to scrawl across the page with no concern for legibility. Just get the words out. Emotional vomit. Write everything vile inside you, all those horrible emotions and thoughts that plague you.

You will walk away feeling so much lighter, at least for a short while. That should be reason enough.

How to “exorcism-journal”

Acquire cheap paper.

Don’t use nice paper or stationery, don’t use a nice cutesy journal or anything like that. Your best friend is a cheap $1 spiral-bound notebook. I cannot stress this enough, get the cheapest lined paper you can get your hands on. The nicer the stationery, the more you’ll be subconsciously inclined to take yourself seriously.

Acquire your absolute favorite writing instrument

If you prefer to write with those cheap 15-cent bulk-buy Bic pens, that’s great. If you’re a pencil kind of person, that’s fine too. If you have a $20 fountain pen that you adore, use that. The point is that it should feel like a pleasure to write with.

Prepare a distraction-free space

Turn off your computer. Turn off your phone and put it across the room. The goal is for there to be as little friction and interruptions as possible. If you’re thirsty, go get a glass of water. If you want ambiance, get your music and candles situated before you sit down. Get rid of every possible distraction so you can write uninterrupted.

Don’t worry about your penmanship, don’t be afraid to write in a scrawl.

Get in there with your raw emotions. Don’t write well. Don’t write entirely illegibly unless you think it’s necessary. (Mine are borderline illegible, but my deliberated handwriting isn’t much better.)

Don’t use spaces or paragraphs to separate topics; just let things flow in one big page or set of pages.

This seems like an odd one, but I have found that the catharsis is more complete when I don’t format my thoughts with paragraphs.

Why I don’t like the term “journaling”.

The idea of the journal has a lot of (for lack of a better term) “baggage” attached to it. It is supposed to be well thought out, introspective, and a reflection on your day. Keeping a bullet journal, keeping a daylog, or keeping a prayer journal, all of it has preconceived expectations. Connotations, that sort of thing.

A case for cheap notebooks (as opposed to journals)

Journals are an overrated novelty and a complete waste of money. Contrasted with a $1 notebook, you get considerably less real-estate per page, and less pages altogether. Journals worth writing in are ~$10, a spiral-bound notebook worth writing in is ~$1. For the price of a journal, you could get 10 notebooks.

Aside from more real-estate, spiral-bound notebooks allow you to tear out their pages and rearrange them in a three-ring binder. You don’t have to take your paper so seriously. You can doodle away on one page and write in another, take notes from the phone on another page, and class notes on another. It legitimately does not matter. Notebooks are superior by every metric, the singular outlier being size. Notebooks are thinner than most journals, but a great deal wider and taller, which makes them difficult to fit in small purses or travel bags. (I would testify to the superiority of the backpack or duffel bag, but that’s a talk for another post.)

Subjective impressions and experiences.

I started the practice a short while ago, and I absolutely adore it. I sit down every evening, or sometimes multiple times a day, and just write. It feels amazing to write my raw emotional state, Much of my writing is prayers.

Every time I finish writing both sides of a page, I rip it out and tape it to my wall — not with any intention of ever reading it or having anyone else read it. My room is my sanctuary, and having my innermost feelings on the wall makes me a part of it, and makes it a part of me.

Ego in this context

In order to understand what I mean when I say “I want to eliminate my ego”, I need to clearly define what I mean by the term “ego”. The Merriam Webster defines ego as “the self especially as contrasted with another self or the world”. Elimination of ego in this context would mean attempting to eliminate all individuality. I don’t see that as a good thing; personally, I think that is impossible. The Merriam Webster definition of ego is not an incorrect definition; it is simply not the definition I am using in this post.

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines ego as “your sense of your own value and importance”. This is the definition I am using in this context. In the following text, I will attempt to argue in favor of eliminating your perception of self-importance.

What I mean by eliminating ego

I want to completely eliminate any sense of self-value, self-importance, etc. Please understand that elimination of self-value does not equate to replacing positive self-value with negative self-value; I do not want a negative self-value of my consciousness, body, image, personality, or any other elements of the “self”. I simply want neutrality. I want to be devoid of all strong emotion; I still want to experience emotions naturally as they come and go, not suppressing any emotions. I simply do not want emotions connected to my perception of myself. I do not want to strongly believe my opinions; I want to be a dispassionate entity, simply accepting of whichever opinions seem to be rooted in rational argument, and letting every other opinion that is not rooted in rational argument fall away without regard to my ego or how I may be perceived.

When I encounter disagreement with someone on any issue whatsoever, I want to be able to dispassionately assess the logic behind what they are saying, either agree or disagree based on whether my opinion seems more rooted in logic than my own position, and experience no anger, contention, or strife whatsoever, regardless of what the opinion is or how sensitive the issue is. If I believe that their opinion is not well-founded in logic but rather in emotion and the other person is offended as a result, I simply apologize for the offense. If they accept my apology, there is no need for emotional concern. If they do not, I cannot do anything; therefore, there is also no need for emotional concern.

I am very, very far from attaining complete purgation of my ego, as this is a journey I have only been on for two years. Progress isn’t always linear; there have been weeks or months in which I’ve regressed into strong pessimism, strong hatred of myself and other people; however, with each passing day that I make a conscious effort to become better, I become more complete, more self-actualized. Self-actualization is a lifelong process, but to simply be more self-actualized than your former self is an achievement in and of itself. I am worlds closer to becoming a dispassionate entity than I was two years ago, and I will likely be worlds closer than my current self in two years from now.

Why eliminate ego?

You will be unable to take offense.

Your self-esteem enables you to take offense at other people’s perceptions of you. If you lack self-esteem, you lack the capacity for the emotion of offense. If you lack self-esteem, you lack the capacity to be angry as the result of a committed offense against you; you will simply assess it dispassionately.

What other people think of you will be irrelevant.

A person’s unfavorable opinion of you will simply not be relevant to you, because your perception of self will be dispassionately objective, and not contingent on others’ perceptions of your character or any other element of your “self”.

You will be able to accept any criticism, regardless how harsh, and assess it dispassionately.

Offense at criticism is the product of ego; assessment of the validity of criticism without a perception through which it can be tinted is the product of eliminating ego. I struggle a bit with this one, but I am getting better at it.

You will not experience any non-necessary concern.

Sometimes concern is healthy and necessary, but much of our concern is non-necessary. Logical concern is, well, logical. Non-necessary concern is an irrelevant indulgence. If you can do something about a circumstance, there is no need for concern. If you cannot, there is no need for concern.

Indulgence becomes irrelevant.

Earrings, nice clothes, jewelry, and bling are expressions of personal vanity and self-image; it boils down to two things: 1) wanting to look good to other people, and 2) wanting to look good in order to feel good about oneself. If one does not need either of those things, appearance-related indulgence becomes irrelevant. The decrease of need to fulfill the self through expression of the ego (materialism), the less desire you will have to possess the latest smartphone or smart TV, a luxurious vehicle, an obscene amount of wealth, etcetera. I will admit that I am guilty of some indulgences, but to a much smaller degree than I was in the past. Eventually, I will get there.

You will be incapable of being devastated.

Grief is natural, and should be experienced and expressed. Devastation is grief to its highest extreme, and is superfluous, unhealthy, and non-necessary. Grief is a natural process. Devastation is an indulgence.

You will treat people with more compassion. You will not hate.

Hatred is an indulgence. Compassion is logical. If someone hates you or is “your enemy” so to speak, and you have not wronged them, they are likely a broken person. Hurt people hurt people, broken people break people, etcetera. The response of the ego is to hate your enemy, the dispassionate response is to acknowledge their humanity and have compassion for them because of that.

You will remain calm during argument. f

Arguments can get intense. People often indulge in strong emotion during disagreements; if a person cannot persuade the person they are arguing against, they choose to hate them and their position instead of accepting that the other person likely has some degree (potentially a lesser degree, but still some degree) of an argument behind their position. If you choose not to experience these strong emotions, you will simply accept the fact that they believe what they believe and be able to move on with your day.

What is 5D chess?

5D Chess is an absolutely brilliant piece of software. I suppose it technically qualifies as a video game. It was released this July, I believe. It’s like chess, but with more axes. It’s technically 4D chess as it only has 4 axes, I don’t really know what the rationale was behind the software developers naming it “5D”, but it’s not. It’s 4D.

It sounds interesting. What is meant by “four axes”?

Imagine a regular chess board. You have two axes; the y-axis (the long way down the board) and the x-axis (left and right). Some pieces move only along any one of the axes at a time (the queen, the rook), some pieces move along both axes at once (the knight, the queen, the bishop), and pawns can only move along the y-axis, but capture by moving one space in both axes at a time.

Next, imagine that each move that you (and your opponent) made was saved as a snapshot of the board on a linear timeline; each “board” being saved in chronological order, a linear progression of every move that has been made, each one strung up so it appears immediately after the last. This is a third axis — which we will call the “t-axis” (t for Time) or “time axis” for the purpose of this post — which corresponds to the x-axis. I will explain axis correspondences, just not right now.

Now imagine if you could send a piece back to a previous board along the t-axis. You can’t alter the past on your current timeline; that would negate all the boards you have played since that point on the timeline. Therefore, a second chronological progression of boards (or, in simpler terms, a second timeline) is created, branching off from the initial timeline. The ‘present’ shifts backward to the new timeline, and you play moves on the altered timeline until the ‘present’ meets up with your initial timeline. Congratulations! You are now playing two simultaneous games of chess! We will call this timeline axis the “l-axis” (l for timeLine), which corresponds with the y-axis. Again, I will explain correspondences. Just hang on.

Keep in mind that we have two additional axes on top of the x-axis and the y-axis; we have the x,y,t, and l axes. Again, this technically makes it 4D chess, not 5D chess. I don’t know why the creators of the software titled it as 5D. The pieces do not move along a spatial z-axis.

What do you mean when you say the t and l axes “correspond” to the x and y axes?

In traditional chess, you can only move pieces along the x-axis and the y-axis. In 5D-chess you can move pieces along the t-axis and the l-axis as well as the x-axis and y-axis. Again, this is four dimensions, but that’s beside the point.

The t-axis corresponds to the x-axis in that any piece that can move along the x-axis can move along the t-axis. This means knights, bishops, rooks, the king, and the queen. All of these are pieces that you can move backwards in time in order to create a new timeline.

The l-axis corresponds to the y-axis in that any piece that can move along the y-axis can move along the l-axis. This means knights, bishops, rooks, the king, the queen, and pawns. All of these are pieces that you can move between the the present timelines. Please note that moving between the present timelines is not the same as moving into the past; it’s a separate axis for reasons that I will explain later.

For example, pawns can only move forward on the current timeline (solely on the y-axis), or forward between the present timelines (on the l-axis), but cannot move forward onto a prior chronological point on the linear timeline (which is the t-axis, forbidden.)

In traditional chess, the knight moves two spaces along the x or y axis and one in the other. How does this work between the t-axis and the l-axis?

Very astute! You’re a clever one for asking that question. In 5D chess, for all the pieces the movements are generalized as movements per axis. Movements per axis. This means that the knight moves two spaces along any one of the four axes, and one in any other of the four axes. This also applies to diagonals (queens and bishops), in which they move one in any of the four axes and one in another, or two in any axes and two in another, and so forth.

Taking the given example of the knight, if the knight is moving one chronological move back in time, he must move two spaces along the x or y axis in order to “complete” his movement of two in any axis and one in another, in this case he would move two in the x-axis or y-axis and one in the t-axis. If the knight moves two chronological moves through the t-axis, he need only move one space along the x or y axis in order to “complete” his movement of two in any axis and one in another. Likewise, if the knight moves three chronological moves through the t-axis, he “completes” his movement of two in any axis and one in another, and his position remains the same. This is also the case if he moves two chronological moves through the t-axis and once through the l-axis.

Let’s try another example. The rook can not move two axes at once, meaning that he cannot simultaneously move in the y-axis and the x-axis. This also means that he cannot simultaneously move between the t-axis and the l-axis. Remember, piece movements are quantified as movements per axis. He can only move through only one of the four axes at a time. Therefore, he can move along the x-axis on the same board, the y-axis on the same board, he can move along the t-axis and his position remains the same, or he can move along the l-axis and his position remains the same.

The same principle applies when taking the example of the bishop. With any given move, the bishop moves once along one axis and once along another. Taking this in terms of movements per axis, with correspondence in mind, if the bishop moves one space along the t-axis, it must move one space along the x-axis or the y-axis. If the bishop moves two spaces along the t-axis, it must move two spaces along the x-axis or y-axis. If the bishop moves one space along the t-axis and one space along the l-axis, it “completes” it’s movement-per-axis, and does not need to move along the x or y axes.

Let’s take one more example, just to really hammer in the nail. This one is the most complicated. In terms of diagonals, the queen moves much like the bishop; once along one axis and once along another. This means that when the queen moves once backwards along the t axis, the queen needs to move along the x or y axis. However, the queen can also move straight along the x or y axis. This means that if the queen moves two places backward chronologically along the t axis, it must move twice along the x or y axis, and so forth.

Do I have to capture the king in every iteration of the l-axis (timeline) in order to win the game?

No, you do not. You simply have to capture the king in any one timeline in order to win the game. This means you must defend your king in the past as well as the future; you must think ahead and plan out every possible move along every possible axis. Or, you could fly by the seat of your pants and play around with it just for fun. I will admit that accidental victories have happened to me. Many times. It’s a lot of fun.

Where can I get this piece of software?

It’s on Steam and Humble Bundle. You can investigate on their website, which I will link to here.

In my previous post I contemplate why our desire to interface with other bodies exists in substitution of — or, more accurately, on top of — our souls’ desire to interface with other souls. Upon thinking more on the topic, though, I began to ponder the definitions of the terms ‘body’ and ‘interface’ in this context.

For the sake of argument, let us assume the following two hypotheticals to be true: firstly, your ‘soul’ is defined as the extant reality and/or presence of your consciousness and mental faculty endemic to the human-being (rational thought); secondly, the mental faculties not endemic to the human-being (such as desire for comfort, avoidance of pain, and instincts to eat, drink, and procreate) are the product of the body and not the soul.

Keep those hypotheticals constantly in mind as you consider what I have to say.

You are a soul. You inhabit a body. Your soul inherently desires to interface with other souls. Your body is the singular mode in which you can interface with those souls; your body is your interface. Speech is an extension of the soul through the body.

Your body has its own desire to interface with other bodies, and this desire is separate and not-related from the desire of the soul to interface with other souls. Chemicals inside your brain (body) such as serotonin, dopamine, cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone all mix together inside your body to form a concoction of emotion that many people confuse with the soul. Your chemical emotions are not your soul; even the beasts possess chemical emotion. Your desire to interface with other bodies by mode of sexual intercourse is not your soul; even beasts possess this desire.

Your consciousness has a desire to expand upon itself, often through interface with other forms of consciousness (other people). This desire can also be partially fulfilled through the acquisition of knowledge. When this desire is fulfilled through a combination of knowledge and socialization, you become self-actualized (or, at the very least, one step closer to self-actualized).

The human is built around the concept of the interface. Every small ecstasy in our environment — perception of the extant reality of beauty in any form whatsoever — is our soul interfacing with our environment through the body. There is even an interface delay between the two — the time it takes electron-impulses to travel through our nervous-system.

Now, I pose the question that I’ve been pondering for the past week: why is the human-being designed to interface? For what purpose, and with what intent?

Keeping in mind the hypotheticals I gave earlier, consider the following. The human-being is a social animal. Our soul is inherently tied to our body; as the body matures, the soul matures. This is evident in the fact that babies possess a lower faculty in rational-thought and arguably a lower level of self-awareness (consciousness) than an adult.

Again, I must assert that the human being is a social animal. We possess individual-intelligence, but also collective-intelligence. Society and culture are but emergent properties of that collective-intelligence.

The benefit that an individual soul gains from interfacing (presumably through social interaction) is shared by both or all members who participate in this interface. Apply the same logic to every such interface that occurs within a collective, and the benefit is shared by the entire collective. We interface not solely for individual-gain, but for collective-gain.

Souls interface for collective gain, but are capable of modes of operation that violate this principle. For example, imagine a person having a heated disagreement with another person over a political or social opinion. While the ideal mode of operation in this form of disagreement is to simply discuss your opinion with dispassionate regard for the other person’s viewpoint, the chemicals in our brain (body) make it much easier to bash the other person’s viewpoint or the person themself. This is disadvantageous to the collective as it puts ‘distance’ between you and the other person and provides a short-term (and ill-deserved) emotional benefit to one individual while providing emotional-detriment to the other individual.

I suppose the one take-away from this thought process — especially the paragraphs immediately prior — would be to endeavor to (when in argument) operate in a way that’s beneficial to both you and the other person/the collective as opposed to a way that only provides benefit to yourself.

God has graced the human being with the most divine of the mental faculties: rational thought. With rational thought comes intent and meaning behind action and inaction as opposed to idle existence; with rational thought comes self control. It’s what separates us from the beasts; we are not slaves to our base passions.

It strikes me as bizarre and strange that humans possess sexual attraction when in reality we’re nothing more than a bunch of souls inhabiting sacks of skin, muscle, and bone — a fact that remains true regardless of an individual’s biological gender and sociological gender identity.

Would it not be logical, then, for the the immutable qualities of the human soul to be the focal point of our attraction? The beauty of our divine souls in substitution for the flawed, temporary form of our flawed, temporary bodies?

Yet, it seems that the desire of the flesh within which we inhabit is to interface with other flesh; a sexual desire which threatens to override our mental faculty and virtue of self-control if we are not vigilant in maintaining that mental faculty.

The divine souls within us also desire to interface with other souls just as our bodies desire to interface with other bodies — this is true — but we cannot interface, cannot seem to connect enough to satisfy the desire through social interaction alone. The human’s primary mode is to interface.

When we shuffle this mortal coil I pray that we are put in perfect bodies that don’t possess sexual attraction; I pray that our souls will shine brilliantly through our bodies and be able to interface with other souls — free from the baggage of our flawed flesh. If they do though, it will be by God’s design, and I will be happy to contend with my own contentions.

I’ve been reading the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. They are a collection of writings that were found among his possessions after he died. Though it’s often thought that he wrote solely to himself, as seems to be the case for most of the text, parts of it do seem to have a larger audience in mind.

Marcus Aurelius is one of the three big Stoic philosophers. Stoicism with a capital ‘S’ should not be confused with stoicism — Stoicism is a philosophical school of thought, while stoicism is emotional suppression. In my humble opinion the word stoicism is a pollution of the definition, but I digress.

There’s a Stoic practice which I really admire called the Dichotomy of Control. Essentially, it separates all events or actions into two groups: external events and internal events.

External events are things that happen to you, or the ways that you happen to your environment.

Internal events are things that happen inside your head: thought processes, lines of reasoning, thoughts, emotions, etc.

Next, Stoicism acknowledges that all external events are outside of your control. You may think that the ways that you happen to your environment are inside of your control – choosing to eat food, choosing to read a book, choosing to put on clothes in the morning. But, keep in mind that you could drop dead before doing any of those actions. You could misplace your book, run out of food or otherwise get interrupted. An earthquake could swallow you up. None of that is inside of your control, and none of it is predictable.

By extension, the only thing you can control are your internal events — your reaction to external events.

Say, for example, your manager yells at you. You are not in control of whether or not that happens; somebody else made the decision to yell at you. Regardless, you have two options. The natural, instinctive reaction is to get angry, upset, or otherwise be in a state of emotional distress (regardless of how well you internalize it.) What happens to you is not in control, but how you respond to those circumstances is in your control.

You are in control of whether or not you react to negative circumstances with negative or positive emotions. If you operate instinctively and react negatively to negative circumstances, you are compromising your own happiness and emotional state, and to what end? What is the benefit of choosing to be angry or dissatisfied with your circumstances?

By extension, you can also choose to respond positively to negative circumstances. This is not often the instinctive or natural state of being, but if you choose not to be negatively affected by positive circumstances, you can navigate frustration and disappointment with tranquility and peace-of-mind.

You could leave this life at any moment, for any reason. Memento mori. Thank God for what you have been given, make peace with your circumstances, and choose to be happy with the life you’ve lived.

Paragraphs six and seven are a tangent on the extant forms of reality and principle vs form. The paragraph after this sentence is counted as paragraph one.

I’ve always been inclined to believe that it is detrimental to our perspective on human cognition for personality be quantified predominantly in typology (i.e. MBTI, enneagram, four temperaments, etcetera) without respect to cognition vs intuition or any idiosyncratic traits. I have begun to question if that inclination is incorrect.

Imagine the end result if a person could catalogue each potential attribute of the human psyche into a composite aggregate of attributes (which I am going to refer hereafter to as the collective/composite ‘Whole’.)

If each human being is a set of singular pieces of the collective whole of attributes, is their ‘bundle of attributes’ not merely a contribution to the composite Whole as well? Do multiple humans with the same attribute not truly have the same attribute if it is processed through intuition in one individual and cognition in another individual? I suppose there’s no way that this can be quantified in study but it’s food for thought.

Furthermore, each individual is totally unique in their ‘mode of process’. (Mode of process, in this case, being defined as ‘in what manner and to what degree they rely on their intuition’, and also as, ‘in what manner and to what degree they rely on their intellectual cognition’.)

Allow me to explain this in simple terms. Have you ever had a dialogue in which you have remarked that the way a person other than yourself has cognitively processed the information with which you are both presented in a different way than yourself? The combination of words that they use to describe a given thing in order to portray it’s thing-ness could be different than the words you would use. It is as though they tick to a different set of idiosyncracies.

We have a typology of idiosyncracies without first processing any form of typology through baseline intuitions and cognitions, which I suppose it could be said are “subjective perceptions of reality”, but that also depends on your worldview on what falls under reality and what does not. Unless, of course, the individual’s worldview is incorrect, at which point whatever aspects of reality external of their subjective perception are not ‘nonce’, assuming there is such a thing as real reality.

Can extant aspects of reality (‘real reality’) exist in principle if not in form? What, then, is principle, if not an extension of form? Huamanity is upright in principle because we stand and walk in form. Words are capable of emotional damage in principle because it has been found to be a ubiquitous experience in form, in practice, throughout every culture and society. Maybe that’s too difficult an example, but it’s food for thought.

Now, circling back to personality typology, what is the Whole upon which we are devised? Is it an amalgamation of every individular idiosyncracy or each set thereof? Perhaps there are no parts of a whole but rather base model upon which our mode of existence – quirks and individual subjective perception – is imprinted upon, the mind being a framework for the construction of individuality in cognition and intuition. I believe that very principle is referred to as the ‘tabulum rosae’ in the study of epistemology, but I have yet to research it in much depth.

Where do our cognition come from? Is there no baseline in form with which we can discover the principle upon which we exist?

If you have any remarks on my thought process and would like to give me food for thought (or vice versa), I would find it stimulating and pleasurable if you email me at stagliano(underscore)nicolas(at)yahoo(dot)com. Do not be intimidated, I want you to chat with me if you have thoughts.

A week ago, I was asked to study Ephesians 1 and then focus on what stood out to me. Ephesians 1 is filled with lingo used to support the doctrinal standpoint on predestination, which is understandably contentious in any discussion on the finer points of Christian doctrine, or honestly any discussion at all.

Let’s look at Ephesians 1. I have underlined the portions in which I will be focusing on. (‘destined’ in my translation is written in ‘predestined’ in other translations. Both words have, for all intents and purposes, the same functional meaning.)

(Ephesians 1.1-14, New Revised Standard Version)
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight 9he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14this is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory
(Ephesians 1.1-14, New Revised Standard Version)

Now, let’s break this down. Look at verses 4, 5, and 11, leaving out verse 13. This asserts that we are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, destined for adoption as children of the Father through Jesus’ atonement on the cross, and been made heirs to the inheritance of eternal life. This is a tricky successive string of assertions, as one could easily make and back up the inference that predestination – the argument that a person does not and cannot truly choose their own salvation as they were predestined to be saved and thus were saved from the moment they were born – is the biblical position on salvation. After all, listing the successive terms in this argument does seem to be hammering in the proverbial nail: ‘chosen before the foundation of the world, destined for adoption, so as to obtain an inheritance’

However, leaving the argument at that would be premature; jumping the proverbial gun, if you will. Notice that I have underlined verse fourteen. Although it doesn’t contain the predestination lingo common to all the former underlined verses, it is an immensely important contribution as it unravels the aforementioned argument of predestined salvation. Notice the conditional statements in the following snippet: “when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.” The term ‘inheritance’ is post-mortem bequeathment terminology; put more simply, writing a will. This changes the entire doctrinal perspective of this argument.

Put simply, if my father were to die, and left me a share of his belongings in my inheritance, the inheritance would have existed before he died: the moment he penned it down in his will, it became reality. If I choose to accept the prerequisite conditions asserted in his will, I will receive my inheritance. If I do not accept the prerequisite conditions asserted in his will, I will not receive the inheritance that was portioned out to me.

The statement made in Ephesians 1, then, is not whether or not you are destined to be saved. The statement is that once you choose to be saved, you immediately meet the prerequisite conditions imposed upon the reception of your inheritance and thus are immediately, for all intents and purposes, the rightful heir to the ‘kingdom of god’. You now glory in Christ and he in you. You can now receive the love of Christ and redemption through his atonement. You are now sanctified and anointed in the Holy Spirit; chosen by God to be a vessel of his divine love. However, you still had to choose to believe before you could receive the inheritance that was yours.

In summary, if you did not take the time to truly read these paragraphs; ‘destined’ or ‘predestined’ is used to emphasize that our inheritance is already written in God’s will – however, we must hear and believe before we can receive our inheritance.