Identity is "the quality or condition of being the same in substance, composition, nature, properties, or in particular qualities under consideration, absolute or essential sameness, oneness, the sameness of a person or thing at all times or in all circumstances; individuality, the condition or fact of remaining the same person throughout the various phases of existence, continuity of the personality, an individual's distinguishing character or personality, a person's emotional, intellectual and moral qualities."

Philosophically, F. H. Bradley, in The Principles of Logic, wrote, "The real axiom of Identity is this: What is true in one context is true in another. Or, If any truth is stated so that a change in events will make it false, then it is not a genuine truth at all."

God is the primal and ultimate Identity. Specifically, individual identity is the manifestation of soul that God condenses from Spirit. God must number and name every life spark used to condense an outer form with the particular rate of vibration of a descending living soul. Each living soul's number and name is specific and unlike any other in the whole universe.

Once God numbers and names a life spark, giving it identity, nothing can change or appropriate its identity, for it eternally vibrates to its original, God-given number and name. From the complete living soul itself to the life sparks that form the outer physical sheath, substance forever clings to its own number and name and to no other.

Number and name constitute eternal identity. Once God bestows eternal identity on a living soul, it cannot be lost unless we destroy ourselves by misusing Light, which is all Mind, all Power and all Substance. Eternal identity is the source of our freedom of choice, and of our personal identity.

Identity is the name and number governing an aggregation of life sparks called a living soul. Spirit is all unnamed, unnumbered universal substance ready to become. A living soul has a specific name and number.

We call soul expression "personality." The identity of soul cannot change, but personality can. Personality must express soul identity, which is the great individuality called the Oversoul.

Identity is an absolute and abstract principle, a law of being and a law of doing (expression).

Edna Lister on Identity

God is a great Being of Light, who differentiated Himself into countless differentiations. We started as unconscious individualized manifestations of all that is, yet we are returning as conscious individualized manifestations, we are returning with conscious identity. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Lectures, January 28, 1933.

You are the link that binds outer to inner. – Edna Lister, February 6, 1942.

You are a key on earth. Sometimes your key gets stuck and won't turn, but the grand Master Key fills all locks with the solvents of Light and Power, and opens them. – Edna Lister, April 3, 1942.

A soul can lose identity by misusing soul substance, but the life sparks of spiritual substance return to God. – Edna Lister, July 31, 1944.

You always retain your complete identity once you've won back to the heart of God. – Edna Lister, August 28, 1944.

From self-expression into soul-identity with the Source of all life is your goal as you walk the Way of the Christ. – Edna Lister, Five Important Steps in Ascension, 1945.

You are on earth, but not of it. – Edna Lister, Seven Churches of Revelation, October 18, 1946.

Self is the repository of experience gained throughout past lives, which is stored in the cells. When you lose identity, you lose personal awareness, although the life sparks return to the Source. – Edna Lister, May 26, 1947.

The Father created all living souls and sent them forth, each with its own identity. – Edna Lister, June 3, 1947.

Loss of identity is based on an escape complex. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Lectures, July 1, 1948.

Oversoul always retains identity with the Source, which is why we must return Home. – Edna Lister, August 10, 1949.

Perdition is the annihilation of identity, a complete dissolution of all substance in forms, and having the life sparks cast into the lake of fire until all identity memory is burned from that soul. Perdition means loss of identity, and insanity on earth. – Edna Lister, October 9, 1950.

The Christos Degree always includes the complete surrender of an earthy self-identity for the greater glory of soul identity with God. – Edna Lister, Success Through Prayer, July 7, 1953.

You express your divine identity through free will, and those who choose not to express are nonentities. – Edna Lister, The Gospel of the Cross, October 18, 1953.

The Supreme Being cannot derive identity from His creations, for He is the Identity. – Edna Lister, Your Life's Practice, May 23, 1954.

The world is afraid to surrender self, fearing that it means loss of identity. – Edna Lister, Your Life's Practice, May 23, 1954.

You never lose conscious identity if you mind your own business and ascend. – Edna Lister, May 24, 1954.

The masses fear they will lose identity if they live by love rather than by the little self. – Edna Lister, Jesus, the Psychologist, October 17, 1954.

When you know whom and what you are, you know your equipment is designed for God's service, and identify with Him in every step, emotion, thought and imagination. – Edna Lister, July 23, 1955.

Nonresistance is possible only when one has gained an identity with the Source of Creation. Identity with your Source is the place of conscious knowing that anything is possible under the great Creative Impulse of Mind which does the work. – Edna Lister, Eternal Youth, 1956.

The greatest question that any soul can ask is "Who is this 'I' that I am?" The children of earth live as infants who are learning to identify themselves: "This is my finger, these are my toes." Some children are born with a sense of "I," but many adults are still feeling their toes with no conscious sense of identity. We identify ourselves by occupation, which does not identify "I," only what "I" is doing. You must question "I" if you are to become enlightened. – Edna Lister, Your Attitude Toward Man, December 9, 1956.

Soul is that part of you that remains aware of the inner when you descend to earth. Identity is the individual manifestation of soul that God condenses from Spirit, which becomes you. Universal Spirit is a part of God's original universal substance, a primary rate of vibration, with all qualities uncondensed and only the one Power. God gives soul a conscious rate of control over this Power. Thus, God forms miracles not of that Spirit that dwells in man, but of spiritual substance. – Edna Lister, The Bond of Spirit, October 6, 1957.

You must understand your relationship to humanity to understand your relationship to God. This gives us our identity with God. – Edna Lister, April 21, 1958.

Some think they will lose their identities by agreeing and adjusting, which is silly, for all you lose is your petty little ego. – Edna Lister, Constancy in Obedience, October 26, 1958.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Romans 8:35. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Stand and identify with your Source. – Edna Lister, Doing Without Thought of Reward, November 9, 1958.

To feel God, lift yourself up above what is dragging you down. Say, "I am Good," and you call on the name of God. "I am good" is your identity with God. – Edna Lister, Eightfold Path of Buddha, June 23, 1959.

The Christ consciousness within is your identity. It has always guided you as intuition and illumination. – Edna Lister, I Am That Bread of Life, October 25, 1959.

Conscious mind enfolds your conscious identity and the world mind; it is your link to that "mind which is in Christ Jesus." – Edna Lister, How Can I Apply Law to My Life, June 7, 1960.

True love is the only integrative power that can establish your identity with God. Prayer holds your identity and your oneness with God. – Edna Lister, When Prayer Is at Work, June 4, 1961.

You can either regress and lose all identity, or ascend and surrender all self! Freewill is synonymous with identity. – Edna Lister, The Key to Integration of Soul and Spirit, June 6, 1961.

Ye are gods. – John 10:34, and this identity with the Source of all life and expression must become your rock solid foundation before you may receive the "keys of the kingdom." – Edna Lister, Wherever You Go, October 22, 1961.

Faith is the only way to have identity with the Source. You are the sum of your own identity, what you put your faith in and what you practice. You hold your conscious identity with the Source when you practice your faith. – Edna Lister, Identity: Our Hope of Glory, April 29, 1962.

You must know the nature of man and God. God gives and man receives. He is our Father, we are His Sons and Daughters. – 2 Corinthians 6:18. You must know your Source and how to hold to your source of identity. You must know yourself as a soul to have identity with God. – Edna Lister, April 30, 1962.

The greater your recognition of your identity with God, the greater your conquering. – Edna Lister, May 6, 1962.

When you identify with the Source, you are not bitter or grimly peevish. – Edna Lister, The Cross, June 23, 1963.

From birth to passing over, is a process of accepting and discarding in your seeking a complete identity with God. – Edna Lister, The Rose as the Crown, June 30, 1963.

You cannot reach your goal of knowing God and holding your identity without standing on the base of principle. – Edna Lister, August 5, 1963.

God established our identity before we came here. The tragedy comes when you identify with the negatives. – Edna Lister, Your Sacred Light, November 10, 1963.

Every soul is identified in the heart of God, yet lack of understanding of your identity causes you to criticize others. Your inadequacy in establishing your identity causes your trouble. – Edna Lister, Comprehension and Recompense, November 7, 1965.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. – Matthew 6:33. This verse also means to go to God and be His son or daughter; seek your identity in a complete surrender of self. God can use you as an instrument when you have surrendered the "I." – Edna Lister, November 8, 1965.

Do not lose your identity because of worldly problems. – Edna Lister, Choice: Your Glorious Foundation, October 16, 1966.

There can be an exchange between personalities and an exchange of personality among those portions of the same source of identity. Identity is the name and number governing an aggregate of life sparks called a living soul. Spirit is all unnamed, unnumbered universal substance ready to become. A living soul has a specific name and number. We call soul-expression "personality." Soul cannot change, but personality can. Outer personality must express soul identity, which is the great individuality we call the Oversoul. Oneness is that into which identity is folded to operate as the many as One, then this ability to partition one's self and to come forth as identity. We have just two states, unconscious (inanimate) and conscious. – Edna Lister, October 18, 1966.

You do not "find yourself" until you establish your identity with your Source. You have your cross to bear, no magic door into heaven. – Edna Lister, Your Mount of Transfiguration, October 30, 1966.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. – Ephesians 1:3-4. This passage is our complete identity. – Edna Lister, Your Divine Inheritance, November 6, 1966.

Children seek security in a parent's firm and loving expression. A naughty child seeks identity with authority just as does the adult atheist who challenges God. The child seeks discipline just as we do, to prove that God is. – Edna Lister, Beauty: A Spiritual Way of Life, May 9, 1967.

Each soul needs confidence in his own identity. Move up in consciousness and be one with God. – Edna Lister, The Supremacy of Religion, October 15, 1967.

Whatever you must do, do gently, do wisely and with great firmness. Firmness is complete confidence in God and assurance of your identity as one with God at the Source. – Edna Lister, October 16, 1967.

"Love your brother as yourself." – Deuteronomy 6:5. You cannot love your brother unless you first have reestablished your identity with God and love yourself. – Edna Lister, Creating My Own Divine Security, November 19, 1967.

God created man with a cosmic urge, a divine compulsion that we must satisfy. This is why we seek identity with the Source. – Edna Lister, Five Important Mysteries, October 27, 1968.

You must seek your point of identity with God in the morning, or you flounder through the day. – Edna Lister, Five Important Mysteries, October 27, 1968.

The soul is always seeking its true and complete identity with God. First, you must seek your conscious identity as a child of God, standing in His image and likeness. Second, you must accept that you are a creator in the likeness of God, and here you either must accept or repudiate Him. – Edna Lister, Secrets of the Soul, November 10, 1968.

The three secrets of the soul are your identity with God as our Source, your identity as a co-creator with God, and your immortality now! – Edna Lister, Secrets of the Soul, November 10, 1968.

Faith gives you your identity in Light. – Edna Lister, Your Mount of Transfiguration, December 2, 1968.

Jesus organized a method of identification with his Father God, which he outlined in the Sermon on the Mount, that will never die, and leaves no loopholes for self to deny this identity. – Edna Lister, Secret Place of the Most High, November 16, 1969.

Ye are gods. – John 10:34 is proof of our identity, yet we are nothing unless we consciously identify with the Source. – Edna Lister, December 4, 1969.

When you lack conscious identity with the Source, you lack security on earth. To have a permanent identity, you need a permanent Source, which is the underlying reason for all peoples, nations, races, tribes, who need to worship. They must have God, a reason greater than self. We call this religion, and it must be the twin of science. Religion and science are the two permanent pillars on the Way of Life. Religion gives a Source, a beginning, while science gives the means of expression for right living. – Edna Lister, February 5, 1970.

You must accept your full identity with the Source, a line of contact between your soul and the Father. Jesus came to show us the way to our destiny, which is our destination. Hold fast to that identity day and night, without forgetting it for hours on end. – Edna Lister, The Golden Chalice of Life, June 21, 1970.

When you are "in one place of one accord" (Acts 2:1), you may consciously identify with your Source. The Light is yours. You are the Light. The Light is One. – Edna Lister, June 28, 1970.

Your application of God's Power and Substance as personality gives you identity with God. You can draw upon the Breath of Life to touch the Source anytime. – Edna Lister, Ascension Makes All Things New, July 5, 1970.

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Your Identity With Your Source

Edna Lister published Eternal Youth, the book from which this passage is excerpted, in 1956. We have included the revisions she had intended.

Most of our present unrest, uncertainty and limitations stem from one outstanding fact: Humanity has lost all contact with and awareness of a Source of Power greater than itself. You must have a conscious identity with an established Source of Power to lean upon, ready to be drawn upon whenever you need something greater than self.

In refuting the old idea of a personal God, humanity was broken into unidentified fragments. Then, because of the inner urge to have a Source of Power, man actually exalted himself into the place left empty in consciousness when he repudiated God. He then proceeded to exalt himself into insecurity because he had nothing left to depend upon outside self. Humanity will never be complete, happy or even satisfied with only self to worship. This is the reason humanity, in its search for something greater than itself, follows demagogues and evil ideas.

Life itself fills you with an undying urge to follow something with devotion, something to which you may cling with faithfulness. Eventually, this compelling urge causes you to accept new ideas. You may turn to today's psychological findings and metaphysical principles to achieve a solid background and needed foundation for your life.

You soon discover that by study and practice you can establish a certain secure identity with a Source that is immutable, invincible, unchangeable and immovable. The Source is ever there to be called upon; it fills all the emptiness, all the loneliness. Security takes their places, confidence and trust take over, holding you more securely than hope. An inner knowing fills your life with new peace and joy.

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David Mihalic created this essay for The Via Christa May 12, 2017.

Identity is defined as 1. Sameness of essential or generic character in different instances; sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing: oneness. 2. The distinguishing character or personality of an individual individuality; the relation established by psychological identification. 3. The condition of being the same with something described or asserted. 4. An equation that is satisfied for all values of the symbols.

Aristotle's law of identity asserts that "A is A. A is not B."

As can be seen by the above definitions, we can mean a variety of things when we speak of identity. From Aristotle's point of view, a more fundamental meaning is educed albeit tautologically. [Tautology means "a phrase or expression in which the same thing is said twice in different words." The definition of tautology in logic is "a statement that is true by necessity or by virtue of its logical form."]

From a psychological and/or spiritual point of view, the meaning of identity is often raised in conjunction with the question, "Who am I?" In these cases, the ensuing search for identity is less of a philosophical issue and more of a personal one. That is not to say that we cannot learn something about identity from philosophical inquiries. It is just that the philosophical approach is more about principles of existence and not so much about personalities. You can see this dual aspect of identity already forming in the first two dictionary definitions listed above.

So when we say identity, we can be referring to a thing or a personality. That is, we mean something somewhat different when referring to a "chair" or "Mary Jane." When we identify something or someone, we call it by name. The name tells us something collectively about the thing or person. Name, at least as it applies to things, also refers to function. Chairs are for sitting on and cars are for driving.

Thus, identity usually denotes function. Function should be differentiated from attributes of things. I can have a red bathtub or a white one. The bathtub's color is an attribute of its being but not part of its function. In general, attributes contribute minimally, if at all, to the function of an object. Yet in some cases, "redness" may actually have some function as in red traffic lights or stop signs.

The identity we are most interested in is, of course, personal identity. It makes for interesting philosophical conversation to question what the nature of objects are but, the nature of what and who we are is certainly one of the greater mysteries of life.

Who am I? From Aristotle's most basic observations, I am myself and not somebody else, an obvious but important truth. But why is this important? Some people identify with more famous or successful persons in life, sometimes to the extreme and to the detriment of their own mental health. Examples abound with people going so far as to have plastic surgery to look like their personal favorite.

From this sort of extreme behavior you might conclude that personal identity is malleable. It is not necessarily fixed at birth; however, we know that at least some portion of our identity must be fixed or we would not meet the Aristotelian premise that I am who I am and not someone else.

This still leaves the question of who I am almost completely unresolved. Earlier we said that when we identify something, we call it by name. Indeed one of the very first things that happens when you are born is that you are given a name. That name denotes you, presumably not someone else, although some others might have the same name. Thus, we have satisfied Aristotle's first two criteria for identity.

However, as we said before, names can also denote things as well as people. Both people and things also have functions. We most often think about people in terms of how they function, noting also that they may have multiple functions. When attending social gatherings, for example, and meeting a person for the first time, the most obvious first interaction is to introduce yourself by using your name. The second question many ask the other is, "What do you do for a living?" That is, how do you function?

However, what distinguishes some person with a particular name and a particular job function from someone else with the same name and the same job function? Several things come to mind. First, these individuals are just that, individual. They are separate in time and space (A is not B). Second, these individuals undoubtedly have many other functions that would differentiate them. Third, we can introduce the concept of relationships as a defining element of identity.

A relationship defines some kind of connection or association between people or things. For example, to say that I am someone's son is to define what my relationship is to the person I call my father. To say that I own a home is to define my relationship to an object. Some relationships are personal; I am married to that person. Some are logical; for example, 120 is greater than 25. So relationship is a way of qualifying or quantifying a connection or association.

Since no thing or person exists by itself, all things exist in relation to one another. In that sense then, relationships define your identity through differentiation. The Latin root of relationship is, relationem, the meaning of which is "bringing back" or "restoration". So if we are bringing something back or restoring it, it is implicit that something has been lost or otherwise rendered.

If relationships then are restorative in nature, we must ask what are we looking to restore. What has been lost? The answer is a sense of connectedness. This is a generalized sensation. I say this because people seek to fill that connection void by establishing relationships with people, places or things. Some look for academic success, other seek wealth, fame or "that special someone". You can fill in the blank here with anything that people desire.

People seek based on a desire to be connected. This essentially is a search for identity. You identify with something outside yourself by seeking to establish a relationship with it. In that way, you hope to be completed or made whole through this connection. When you wish to testify to your identity, you actually make statements to the effect that you are one with that which you sought. I am a "Patriots" fan. I am a professor of English literature. I am so and so's spouse.

In all these cases, you are making statements that identify you by function, by an established relationship and by name, thus fulfilling the three criteria for defining identity. These are all statements of "I AM" but they also include predicates to modify I AM. "I AM" denotes pure being whereas "I AM something" causes Being to modulate its expression from absolute to relative. So your personalized expressions of I AM, are ways of qualifying the absolute nature of your being.

The word identity has its roots in the Latin identidem, which means "repeatedly". But identidem is a contraction of idem et idem, meaning, same and same, or A is A.

When these relationships, once established, fail, you experience that same old sense of lost connectedness. If my sports team looses, I've lost. If my spouse divorces me, I am alone and unconnected again.

Thus, the search for an identity that lasts is easily frustrated since all the things we have discussed are transient in nature. Nothing of the physical can last since by the very laws of physics all things tend to entropy.

So does anything last? Is any relationship eternal in nature? Is there anything outside of ourselves that we can call home that endures? If we strip away all the desires for things that are rooted in the transient, does anything remain? What happens when the clamoring voice of self is stilled? What transpires in that quiet place when all the ripples and disturbances in consciousness are ended?

Your life is filled with many desires. With effort and by holding true to your desire, you may obtain what you seek. You may seek knowledge because you fear ignorance. You may seek love because you fear loneliness. You may seek wealth because you fear being poor. You may have all these things and more, but will they, once obtained, bring you peace? Or will they leave you wanting yet something else? Is desire itself the problem? Or is endless desire the symptom of something else?

What you seek you may certainly find. Yet what characterizes the relationship between the seeker and the sought after? We have said that relationship is a defining element in identity. In one of the above examples, we said that a man may seek after wealth because he fears poverty. You identify with what you seek. This establishes a relationship, a defining moment in how you perceive who you are. What you appropriate to self also becomes a tether binding you to what you desire. These kinds of relationships shape you and direct your future choices in such a way as to move you closer to or farther from your goals.

The answer is a subjective experience where you are free from all the tethers, fears, beliefs and opinions that hold you back from clear seeing and knowing. You are in a place of profound silence that allows you see and know clearly with a consciousness that is not limited by the physical. In that profound silence you find the roots of your being. You do not find such a place by accident, or by some casual inquiry. It is a journey of many lifetimes that begins with the desire to end the struggles within and to find relationships that are not characterized by fear or bondage to the desires of self.

Is there a single technique to obtain these results, a method, a prayer, an exercise? Not really. Any form of practice is just another form of resistance. What you are really looking for is a change in consciousness that comes from understanding what you are doing at any given moment and why. From this high state of consciousness is born true freedom from the fictions of a worldly life that leads face-to-face to who you are, where you came from, and where you are headed.

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New Testament on Identity

Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. – Matthew 15:13.

I and my Father are one. – John 10:30.

The Father is in me, and I in him. – John 10:38.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He who abides in me, and I in him, brings forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing. – John 15:5.

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Etymology of identity: Late Latin identitas, from Latin idem, "the same" (influenced by Late Latin essentitas, "being," and identidem, repeatedly) from id, "it."

Identity is an absolute principle.

Identity is an abstract principle.

Identity is a law of being.

Identity is a law of doing.


Properly speaking, a man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognise him. – William James

Know thyself. – Delphic Maxim, inscribed in the outer court of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi


Bradley, Francis H. The Principles of Logic. Anastatic reprint of the London edition of 1883. New York: G. E. Stechert & Co., 1912, 133.

The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

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