HERE IT IS! I hope it's understandable and if not, I'll answer any questions.
Gospel of Thomas Verse 4
The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the place of life and he will live. For the first will become last and they will become one and the same.
On face, this is an absurd verse. Older men do not ask infants about the place in life or anything of import. This is an interesting verse because on the surface it seems that the ideas within it don't go together, at least initially. With a closer look a theme develops surrounding the virtue of humility or humbleness.
In a scriptural setting the words child and children have a number or meanings. There are times when it speaks of actual children, and times when it's used to describe an unflattering psychological or spiritual immaturity of adults. Such as this verse shows; "But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets and calling unto their fellows." (Matt 11:16)
Very often the converted are called "children" denoting where they are spiritually speaking.
1 John 2:11 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. (deviate err)
1 John 2:12 I write unto you little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his names sake.
In these two verses it can be seen that children is used to signify those who have undergone conversion/awakening.
There are also times when child/children is used to speak of an initiatory level of spiritual development such as can be found in (1 John )I write unto you fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning, (spiritual maturity a more permanent transformation) I write unto you young men, because you have overcome the wicked one (transformation/salvation), I write unto you, little children because you have known the father. (awakening/conversion)
The idea that we have a spritual being/soul in embryonic form is riddled throughout the texts. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone but if it die, it shall bring forth much fruit. (John 12:24) The grain of wheat is the embryo which is destroyed in the process of bringing forth spiritual abundance.
Matthew 18:2-5 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them.And said, Verily I say unto you, except you be converted, and become as a little child, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoso ever therefore shall humble himself as a little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whosoever shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth
Becoming as a little child is confusing, some take it to mean that knowledge is not important, that study and wisdom are unnecessary. That we are to become innocent again, when this is not possible. As in the Garden of Eden what is known thru eating of the fruit of good and evil cannot be then unknown. So then, what does it mean to become as a child? The answer is given in a clearer manner in (1 Cor 14:22) Bretheren, do not be children in understanding, however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature. It is the becoming free of malice which is the ability that is developed.
If you look at passages in which malice is used you see along with it a number of sins (errors/deviation from our aim of purification of the heart) are mentioned. Being filled will all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, ful of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers. Romans 1:29. It's important to look at these verses from an adult perspective, free from the emotional reactions we've been taught to have. Becoming aware of your inner world and what it is comprised of, finding that which assists your aim and also that which hinders it. If your aim is to be free, these egoic manifestations need to be worked on and by that I mean observed. Naming them as bad, undesirable is the act of futility and childish, the self needs to be observed in action, without trying to change anything, and it is thru this passive act that transformation can happen.
There arises yet another question, why the use of little to preface the word child? Is there something more to the use of this adjective?
Acts 26:22 Having therefore obtained of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.
Even in common parlance 'small' means humble, "of humble origin'. In Acts 26:22 this is how it's used and it is used explicitly to mean humble in Matt 18:4 Whoso ever therefore shall humble himself as a little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. It even goes so far as to say that becoming humble is a prerequisite for entering the Kingdom of Heaven.
Luke 18:17 And said, Verily I say unto you, except you be converted, and become as a little child, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
The last portion of the first part is 'why 7'?
On the seventh day God rested from his labors and creation is finished (Gn 2:2).
The significance of a child seven days old becomes clearer when we look at the number seven and what it may signify.
Seven signifies the completion of an act of creation. This is significant as creation can be contrasted with invention. Creation is out of our control, we can't make ourselves forgive, something has to happen a transformation of energy. Invention is taking parts of creation to make something new but creation is always a mixing of higher and lower energies to bring forth something new. A child seven days old is the creation of a new man. This new man is the initial transformation which is not mature yet newly born.
Our old man is asking the newly awakened about the place of life. Where can this life be found? Upon transformation there is a vivification of the person, into a new life of spirit. It can only be found within.
Mathew 7:14 Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few that be that find it.
Matthew 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
John 1:4 In him was life and the life was the light of men.
John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springs up into everlasting life.
John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven and giveth life unto the word
John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it until life eternal.
Here are a few passages that speak of 'life'. There are two senses in which this word 'life' is used, firstly it is used to speak of a transformative life, and also there are the two verses; \Matt 16:25, and John 12:25 and both these talk of the pre-transformational life. Both of these verses talk about the need to hate your life, in order to have a second, and non-perishable life. This first life is the life of the ego, if you care to save it, you lose your possibility of a life of being.
Giving up the life of ego is that of examination of your ego, but not only that, there are efforts, silent efforts to sacrifice the rewards of ego. Allowing others to be first, and humbling yourself, not just to feel some sort of virtue but the excercise allows you to see the ego. When we humble ourselves, it pains the ego to do so. It's been trained to want to 'shine' and take it's place of honour as high as it can go. Letting go of the fruits of ego let's you see it in action. It is these acts of humility that allow for something new, a consciousness that is allowed to develop.
"And they shall become one and the same" Meaning they meet in a unification of being, unified and consistent in will. It is our will that is inconsistent because our being lacks unity.
I realise this took much longer than I hoped, I could probably take a few days more to go over it and fix this and that but I'm going to put it up and I can edit a bit later.