Introduction To Christianity & The Jewish People [UBS #16]

As stated in Introduction To “UBS” Study the following is: My opinions posted on this part of the study may or may not be my final feeling on the matter. I’ll be writing (or recording video) as I go, so it’s inevitable that some concepts may not have long enough to settle in my mind so a final thought or feeling can be reached. Some new and non-institutional concepts are going to be introduced, compared to the Bible, looked at with logic, and commented on. Whether or not you agree with these concepts are completely irrelevant. The purpose of this study is not whether you or I agree with the said study or with each other, but to help bring us closer to each other as brethren and ultimately closer to God. Your participation in this study is welcome and will be greatly appreciated.

Bestowal

Christ recieved much advice before he left to incarnate as man on Earth. This advice you may read at the end of this study, when the study-source is revealed.

Christ, while truly a dual-origin being, was not a double personality. He was not God in association with man but, rather, God incarnate in man. And he was always just that combined being. The only progressive factor in such a nonunderstandable relationship was the progressive self-conscious realization and recognition (by the human mind) of this fact of being God and man. Christ did not progressively become God. God did not, at some vital moment in the earth life of Jesus, become man. Jesus was God and man —always and even forevermore. And this God and this man were, and now are, one, even as the Paradise Trinity of three beings is in reality one Deity. Never lose sight of the fact that the supreme spiritual purpose of the Christ bestowal was to enhance the revelation of God.

The Occident of the First Century after Christ

Jesus did not come to this world during an age of spiritual decadence; at the time of his birth Earth was experiencing such a revival of spiritual thinking and religious living as it had not known in all its previous post-Adamic history nor has experienced in any era since. When Christ incarnated on Earth, the world presented the most favorable condition for the Creator Son’s bestowal that had ever previously prevailed or has since obtained. In the centuries just prior to these times Greek culture and the Greek language had spread over Occident and near Orient, and the Jews, being a Levantine race, in nature part Occidental and part Oriental, were eminently fitted to utilize such cultural and linguistic settings for the effective spread of a new religion to both East and West. These most favorable circumstances were further enhanced by the tolerant political rule of the Mediterranean world by the Romans. This entire combination of world influences is well illustrated by the activities of Paul, who, being in religious culture a Hebrew of the Hebrews, proclaimed the gospel of a Jewish Messiah in the Greek tongue, while he himself was a Roman citizen.

Nothing like the civilization of the times of Jesus has been seen in the Occident before or since those days. European civilization was unified and co-ordinated under an extraordinary threefold influence:
1. The Roman political and social systems.
2. The Grecian language and culture —and philosophy to a certain extent.
3. The rapidly spreading influence of Jewish religious and moral teachings.

When Jesus was born, the entire Mediterranean world was a unified empire. Good roads, for the first time in the world’s history, interconnected many major centers. The seas were cleared of pirates, and a great era of trade and travel was rapidly advancing. Europe did not again enjoy another such period of travel and trade until the nineteenth century after Christ.

Notwithstanding the internal peace and superficial prosperity of the Greco-Roman world, a majority of the inhabitants of the empire languished in squalor and poverty. The small upper class was rich; a miserable and impoverished lower class embraced the rank and file of humanity. There was no happy and prosperous middle class in those days; it had just begun to make its appearance in Roman society. The first struggles between the expanding Roman and Parthian states had been concluded in the then recent past, leaving Syria in the hands of the Romans. In the times of Jesus, Palestine and Syria were enjoying a period of prosperity, relative peace, and extensive commercial intercourse with the lands to both the East and the West.

The Jewish People
The Jews were a part of the older Semitic race, which also included the Babylonians, the Phoenicians, and the more recent enemies of Rome, the Carthaginians. During the fore part of the first century after Christ, the Jews were the most influential group of the Semitic peoples, and they happened to occupy a peculiarly strategic geographic position in the world as it was at that time ruled and organized for trade. Many of the great highways joining the nations of antiquity passed through Palestine, which thus became the meeting place, or crossroads, of three continents. The travel, trade, and armies of Babylonia, Assyria, Egypt, Syria, Greece, Parthia, and Rome successively swept over Palestine. From time immemorial, many caravan routes from the Orient passed through some part of this region to the few good seaports of the eastern end of the Mediterranean, whence ships carried their cargoes to all the maritime Occident. And more than half of this caravan traffic passed through or near the little town of Nazareth in Galilee.

Although Palestine was the home of Jewish religious culture and the birthplace of Christianity, the Jews were abroad in the world, dwelling in many nations and trading in every province of the Roman and Parthian states. Greece provided a language and a culture, Rome built the roads and unified an empire, but the dispersion of the Jews, with their more than two hundred synagogues and well-organized religious communities scattered hither and yon throughout the Roman world, provided the cultural centers in which the new gospel of the kingdom of heaven found initial reception, and from which it subsequently spread to the uttermost parts of the world. Each Jewish synagogue tolerated a fringe of gentile believers, “devout” or “God-fearing” men, and it was among this fringe of proselytes that Paul made the bulk of his early converts to Christianity. Even the temple at Jerusalem possessed its ornate court of the gentiles. There was very close connection between the culture, commerce, and worship of Jerusalem and Antioch. In Antioch Paul’s disciples were first called “Christians.”

The centralization of the Jewish temple worship at Jerusalem constituted alike the secret of the survival of their monotheism and the promise of the nurture and sending forth to the world of a new and enlarged concept of that one God of all nations and Father of all mortals. The temple service at Jerusalem represented the survival of a religious cultural concept in the face of the downfall of a succession of gentile national overlords and racial persecutors. The Jewish people of this time, although under Roman suzerainty, enjoyed a considerable degree of self-government and, remembering the then only recent heroic exploits of deliverance executed by Judas Maccabee and his immediate successors, were vibrant with the expectation of the immediate appearance of a still greater deliverer, the long-expected Messiah.

The secret of the survival of Palestine, the kingdom of the Jews, as a semi-independent state was wrapped up in the foreign policy of the Roman government, which desired to maintain control of the Palestinian highway of travel between Syria and Egypt as well as the western terminals of the caravan routes between the Orient and the Occident. Rome did not wish any power to arise in the Levant which might curb her future expansion in these regions. The policy of intrigue which had for its object the pitting of Seleucid Syria and Ptolemaic Egypt against each other necessitated fostering Palestine as a separate and independent state. Roman policy, the degeneration of Egypt, and the progressive weakening of the Seleucids before the rising power of Parthia, explain why it was that for several generations a small and unpowerful group of Jews was able to maintain its independence against both Seleucidae to the north and Ptolemies to the south. This fortuitous liberty and independence of the political rule of surrounding and more powerful peoples the Jews attributed to the fact that they were the “chosen people,” to the direct interposition of Yahweh. Such an attitude of racial superiority made it all the harder for them to endure Roman suzerainty when it finally fell upon their land. But even in that sad hour the Jews refused to learn that their world mission was spiritual, not political.

The Jews were unusually apprehensive and suspicious during the times of Jesus because they were then ruled by an outsider, Herod the Idumean, who had seized the overlordship of Judea by cleverly ingratiating himself with the Roman rulers. And though Herod professed loyalty to the Hebrew ceremonial observances, he proceeded to build temples for many strange gods. The friendly relations of Herod with the Roman rulers made the world safe for Jewish travel and thus opened the way for increased Jewish penetration even of distant portions of the Roman Empire and of foreign treaty nations with the new gospel of the kingdom of heaven. Herod’s reign also contributed much toward the further blending of Hebrew and Hellenistic philosophies. Herod built the harbor of Caesarea, which further aided in making Palestine the crossroads of the civilized world. He died in 4 B.C., and his son Herod Antipas governed Galilee and Perea during Jesus’ youth and ministry to A.D. 39. Antipas, like his father, was a great builder. He rebuilt many of the cities of Galilee, including the important trade center of Sepphoris. The Galileans were not regarded with full favor by the Jerusalem religious leaders and rabbinical teachers. Galilee was more gentile than Jewish when Jesus was born.

Among The Gentiles

Although the social and economic condition of the Roman state was not of the highest order, the widespread domestic peace and prosperity was propitious for the bestowal of Christ. In the first century after Christ the society of the Mediterranean world consisted of five well-defined strata:
1. The aristocracy. The upper classes with money and official power, the privileged and ruling groups.
2. The business groups. The merchant princes and the bankers, the traders —the big importers and exporters —the international merchants.
3. The small middle class. Although this group was indeed small, it was very influential and provided the moral backbone of the early Christian church, which encouraged these groups to continue in their various crafts and trades. Among the Jews many of the Pharisees belonged to this class of tradesmen.
4. The free proletariat. This group had little or no social standing. Though proud of their freedom, they were placed at great disadvantage because they were forced to compete with slave labor. The upper classes regarded them disdainfully, allowing that they were useless except for “breeding purposes.”
5. The slaves. Half the population of the Roman state were slaves; many were superior individuals and quickly made their way up among the free proletariat and even among the tradesmen. The majority were either mediocre or very inferior. Slavery, even of superior peoples, was a feature of Roman military conquest. The power of the master over his slave was unqualified. The early Christian church was largely composed of the lower classes and these slaves. Superior slaves often received wages and by saving their earnings were able to purchase their freedom. Many such emancipated slaves rose to high positions in state, church, and the business world. And it was just such possibilities that made the early Christian church so tolerant of this modified form of slavery.

There was no widespread social problem in the Roman Empire in the first century after Christ. The major portion of the populace regarded themselves as belonging in that group into which they chanced to be born. There was always the open door through which talented and able individuals could ascend from the lower to the higher strata of Roman society, but the people were generally content with their social rank. They were not class conscious, neither did they look upon these class distinctions as being unjust or wrong. Christianity was in no sense an economic movement having for its purpose the amelioration of the miseries of the depressed classes. Although woman enjoyed more freedom throughout the Roman Empire than in her restricted position in Palestine, the family devotion and natural affection of the Jews far transcended that of the gentile world.

Gentile Philosophy

The gentiles were, from a moral standpoint, somewhat inferior to the Jews, but there was present in the hearts of the nobler gentiles abundant soil of natural goodness and potential human affection in which it was possible for the seed of Christianity to sprout and bring forth an abundant harvest of moral character and spiritual achievement. The gentile world was then dominated by four great philosophies, all more or less derived from the earlier Platonism of the Greeks. These schools of philosophy were:
1. The Epicurean. This school of thought was dedicated to the pursuit of happiness. The better Epicureans were not given to sensual excesses. At least this doctrine helped to deliver the Romans from a more deadly form of fatalism; it taught that men could do something to improve their terrestrial status. It did effectually combat ignorant superstition.
2. The Stoic. Stoicism was the superior philosophy of the better classes. The Stoics believed that a controlling Reason-Fate dominated all nature. They taught that the soul of man was divine; that it was imprisoned in the evil body of physical nature. Man’s soul achieved liberty by living in harmony with nature, with God; thus virtue came to be its own reward. Stoicism ascended to a sublime morality, ideals never since transcended by any purely human system of philosophy. While the Stoics professed to be the “offspring of God,” they failed to know him and therefore failed to find him. Stoicism remained a philosophy; it never became a religion. Its followers sought to attune their minds to the harmony of the Universal Mind, but they failed to envisage themselves as the children of a loving Father. Paul leaned heavily toward Stoicism when he wrote, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
3. The Cynic. Although the Cynics traced their philosophy to Diogenes of Athens, they derived much of their doctrine from the remnants of the teachings of Machiventa Melchizedek. Cynicism had formerly been more of a religion than a philosophy. At least the Cynics made their religio-philosophy democratic. In the fields and in the market places they continually preached their doctrine that “man could save himself if he would.” They preached simplicity and virtue and urged men to meet death fearlessly. These wandering Cynic preachers did much to prepare the spiritually hungry populace for the later Christian missionaries. Their plan of popular preaching was much after the pattern, and in accordance with the style, of Paul’s Epistles.
4. The Skeptic. Skepticism asserted that knowledge was fallacious, and that conviction and assurance were impossible. It was a purely negative attitude and never became widespread.

These philosophies were semireligious; they were often invigorating, ethical, and ennobling but were usually above the common people. With the possible exception of Cynicism, they were philosophies for the strong and the wise, not religions of salvation for even the poor and the weak.

Gentile Religions

Throughout preceding ages religion had chiefly been an affair of the tribe or nation; it had not often been a matter of concern to the individual. Gods were tribal or national, not personal. Such religious systems afforded little satisfaction for the individual spiritual longings of the average person. In the times of Jesus the religions of the Occident included:
1. The pagan cults. These were a combination of Hellenic and Latin mythology, patriotism, and tradition.
2. Emperor worship. This deification of man as the symbol of the state was very seriously resented by the Jews and the early Christians and led directly to the bitter persecutions of both churches by the Roman government.
3. Astrology. This pseudo science of Babylon developed into a religion throughout the Greco-Roman Empire. Even in the twentieth century man has not been fully delivered from this superstitious belief.
4. The mystery religions. Upon such a spiritually hungry world a flood of mystery cults had broken, new and strange religions from the Levant, which had enamored the common people and had promised them individual salvation. These religions rapidly became the accepted belief of the lower classes of the Greco-Roman world. And they did much to prepare the way for the rapid spread of the vastly superior Christian teachings, which presented a majestic concept of Deity, associated with an intriguing theology for the intelligent and a profound proffer of salvation for all, including the ignorant but spiritually hungry average man of those days. The mystery religions spelled the end of national beliefs and resulted in the birth of the numerous personal cults.

The mysteries were many but were all characterized by:
1. Some mythical legend, a mystery —whence their name. As a rule this mystery pertained to the story of some god’s life and death and return to life, as illustrated by the teachings of Mithraism, which, for a time, were contemporary with, and a competitor of, Paul’s rising cult of Christianity.
2. The mysteries were nonnational and interracial. They were personal and fraternal, giving rise to religious brotherhoods and numerous sectarian societies.
3. They were, in their services, characterized by elaborate ceremonies of initiation and impressive sacraments of worship. Their secret rites and rituals were sometimes gruesome and revolting.
4. But no matter what the nature of their ceremonies or the degree of their excesses, these mysteries invariably promised their devotees salvation, “deliverance from evil, survival after death, and enduring life in blissful realms beyond this world of sorrow and slavery.”

But do not make the mistake of confusing the teachings of Jesus with the mysteries. The popularity of the mysteries reveals man’s quest for survival, thus portraying a real hunger and thirst for personal religion and individual righteousness. Although the mysteries failed adequately to satisfy this longing, they did prepare the way for the subsequent appearance of Jesus, who truly brought to this world the bread of life and the water thereof. Paul, in an effort to utilize the widespread adherence to the better types of the mystery religions, made certain adaptations of the teachings of Jesus so as to render them more acceptable to a larger number of prospective converts. But even Paul’s compromise of Jesus’ teachings (Christianity) was superior to the best in the mysteries in that:
1. Paul taught a moral redemption, an ethical salvation. Christianity pointed to a new life and proclaimed a new ideal. Paul forsook magic rites and ceremonial enchantments.
2. Christianity presented a religion which grappled with final solutions of the human problem, for it not only offered salvation from sorrow and even from death, but it also promised deliverance from sin followed by the endowment of a righteous character of eternal survival qualities.
3. The mysteries were built upon myths. Christianity, as Paul preached it, was founded upon a historic fact: the bestowal of Christ, the Son of God, upon mankind.

Morality among the gentiles was not necessarily related to either philosophy or religion. Outside of Palestine it not always occurred to people that a priest of religion was supposed to lead a moral life. Jewish religion and subsequently the teachings of Jesus and later the evolving Christianity of Paul were the first European religions to lay one hand upon morals and the other upon ethics, insisting that religionists pay some attention to both. Into such a generation of men, dominated by such incomplete systems of philosophy and perplexed by such complex cults of religion, Jesus was born in Palestine. And to this same generation he subsequently gave his gospel of personal religion —sonship with God.

Hebrew Religion

By the close of the first century before Christ the religious thought of Jerusalem had been tremendously influenced and somewhat modified by Greek cultural teachings and even by Greek philosophy. In the long contest between the views of the Eastern and Western schools of Hebrew thought, Jerusalem and the rest of the Occident and the Levant in general adopted the Western Jewish or modified Hellenistic viewpoint. In the days of Jesus three languages prevailed in Palestine: The common people spoke some dialect of Aramaic; the priests and rabbis spoke Hebrew; the educated classes and the better strata of Jews in general spoke Greek. The early translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek at Alexandria was responsible in no small measure for the subsequent predominance of the Greek wing of Jewish culture and theology. And the writings of the Christian teachers were soon to appear in the same language. The renaissance of Judaism dates from the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. This was a vital influence which later determined the drift of Paul’s Christian cult toward the West instead of toward the East.

Though the Hellenized Jewish beliefs were very little influenced by the teachings of the Epicureans, they were very materially affected by the philosophy of Plato and the self-abnegation doctrines of the Stoics. The great inroad of Stoicism is exemplified by the Fourth Book of the Maccabees; the penetration of both Platonic philosophy and Stoic doctrines is exhibited in the Wisdom of Solomon. The Hellenized Jews brought to the Hebrew scriptures such an allegorical interpretation that they found no difficulty in conforming Hebrew theology with their revered Aristotelian philosophy. But this all led to disastrous confusion until these problems were taken in hand by Philo of Alexandria, who proceeded to harmonize and systemize Greek philosophy and Hebrew theology into a compact and fairly consistent system of religious belief and practice. And it was this later teaching of combined Greek philosophy and Hebrew theology that prevailed in Palestine when Jesus lived and taught, and which Paul utilized as the foundation on which to build his more advanced and enlightening cult of Christianity. Philo was a great teacher; not since Moses had there lived a man who exerted such a profound influence on the ethical and religious thought of the Occidental world. In the matter of the combination of the better elements in contemporaneous systems of ethical and religious teachings, there have been seven outstanding human teachers: Sethard, Moses, Zoroaster, Lao-tse, Buddha, Philo, and Paul.

Many, but not all, of Philo’s inconsistencies resulting from an effort to combine Greek mystical philosophy and Roman Stoic doctrines with the legalistic theology of the Hebrews, Paul recognized and wisely eliminated from his pre-Christian basic theology. Philo led the way for Paul more fully to restore the concept of the Paradise Trinity, which had long been dormant in Jewish theology. In only one matter did Paul fail to keep pace with Philo or to transcend the teachings of this wealthy and educated Jew of Alexandria, and that was the doctrine of the atonement; Philo taught deliverance from the doctrine of forgiveness only by the shedding of blood. He also possibly glimpsed the reality and presence of the Thought Adjusters more clearly than did Paul. But Paul’s theory of original sin, the doctrines of hereditary guilt and innate evil and redemption therefrom, was partially Mithraic in origin, having little in common with Hebrew theology, Philo’s philosophy, or Jesus’ teachings. Some phases of Paul’s teachings regarding original sin and the atonement were original with himself.

The Gospel of John, the last of the narratives of Jesus’ earth life, was addressed to the Western peoples and presents its story much in the light of the viewpoint of the later Alexandrian Christians, who were also disciples of the teachings of Philo. At about the time of Christ a strange reversion of feeling toward the Jews occurred in Alexandria, and from this former Jewish stronghold there went forth a virulent wave of persecution, extending even to Rome, from which many thousands were banished. But such a campaign of misrepresentation was short-lived; very soon the imperial government fully restored the curtailed liberties of the Jews throughout the empire. Throughout the whole wide world, no matter where the Jews found themselves dispersed by commerce or oppression, all with one accord kept their hearts centered on the holy temple at Jerusalem. Jewish theology did survive as it was interpreted and practiced at Jerusalem, notwithstanding that it was several times saved from oblivion by the timely intervention of certain Babylonian teachers. As many as two and one-half million of these dispersed Jews used to come to Jerusalem for the celebration of their national religious festivals. And no matter what the theologic or philosophic differences of the Eastern (Babylonian) and the Western (Hellenic) Jews, they were all agreed on Jerusalem as the center of their worship and in ever looking forward to the coming of the Messiah.

Jews and Gentiles

By the times of Jesus the Jews had arrived at a settled concept of their origin, history, and destiny. They had built up a rigid wall of separation between themselves and the gentile world; they looked upon all gentile ways with utter contempt. They worshiped the letter of the law and indulged a form of self-righteousness based upon the false pride of descent. They had formed preconceived notions regarding the promised Messiah, and most of these expectations envisaged a Messiah who would come as a part of their national and racial history. To the Hebrews of those days Jewish theology was irrevocably settled, forever fixed. The teachings and practices of Jesus regarding tolerance and kindness ran counter to the long-standing attitude of the Jews toward other peoples whom they considered heathen. For generations the Jews had nourished an attitude toward the outside world which made it impossible for them to accept the Master’s teachings about the spiritual brotherhood of man. They were unwilling to share Yahweh on equal terms with the gentiles and were likewise unwilling to accept as the Son of God one who taught such new and strange doctrines.

The scribes, the Pharisees, and the priesthood held the Jews in a terrible bondage of ritualism and legalism, a bondage far more real than that of the Roman political rule. The Jews of Jesus’ time were not only held in subjugation to the law but were equally bound by the slavish demands of the traditions, which involved and invaded every domain of personal and social life. These minute regulations of conduct pursued and dominated every loyal Jew, and it is not strange that they promptly rejected one of their number who presumed to ignore their sacred traditions, and who dared to flout their long-honored regulations of social conduct. They could hardly regard with favor the teachings of one who did not hesitate to clash with dogmas which they regarded as having been ordained by Father Abraham himself. Moses had given them their law and they would not compromise. By the time of the first century after Christ the spoken interpretation of the law by the recognized teachers, the scribes, had become a higher authority than the written law itself. And all this made it easier for certain religious leaders of the Jews to array the people against the acceptance of a new gospel.

These circumstances rendered it impossible for the Jews to fulfill their divine destiny as messengers of the new gospel of religious freedom and spiritual liberty. They could not break the fetters of tradition. Jeremiah had told of the “law to be written in men’s hearts,” Ezekiel had spoken of a “new spirit to live in man’s soul,” and the Psalmist had prayed that God would “create a clean heart within and renew a right spirit.” But when the Jewish religion of good works and slavery to law fell victim to the stagnation of traditionalistic inertia, the motion of religious evolution passed westward to the European peoples. And so a different people were called upon to carry an advancing theology to the world, a system of teaching embodying the philosophy of the Greeks, the law of the Romans, the morality of the Hebrews, and the gospel of personality sanctity and spiritual liberty formulated by Paul and based on the teachings of Jesus. Paul’s cult of Christianity exhibited its morality as a Jewish birthmark. The Jews viewed history as the providence of God —Yahweh at work. The Greeks brought to the new teaching clearer concepts of the eternal life. Paul’s doctrines were influenced in theology and philosophy not only by Jesus’ teachings but also by Plato and Philo. In ethics he was inspired not only by Christ but also by the Stoics.

The gospel of Jesus, as it was embodied in Paul’s cult of Antioch Christianity, became blended with the following teachings:
1. The philosophic reasoning of the Greek proselytes to Judaism, including some of their concepts of the eternal life.
2. The appealing teachings of the prevailing mystery cults, especially the Mithraic doctrines of redemption, atonement, and salvation by the sacrifice made by some god.
3. The sturdy morality of the established Jewish religion.

The Mediterranean Roman Empire, the Parthian kingdom, and the adjacent peoples of Jesus’ time all held crude and primitive ideas regarding the geography of the world, astronomy, health, and disease; and naturally they were amazed by the new and startling pronouncements of the carpenter of Nazareth. The ideas of spirit possession, good and bad, applied not merely to human beings, but every rock and tree was viewed by many as being spirit possessed. This was an enchanted age, and everybody believed in miracles as commonplace occurrences.

Previous Written Records

The New Testament records had their origin in the following circumstances:
1. The Gospel by Mark. John Mark wrote the earliest (excepting the notes of Andrew), briefest, and most simple record of Jesus’ life. He presented the Master as a minister, as man among men. Although Mark was a lad lingering about many of the scenes which he depicts, his record is in reality the Gospel according to Simon Peter. He was early associated with Peter; later with Paul. Mark wrote this record at the instigation of Peter and on the earnest petition of the church at Rome. Knowing how consistently the Master refused to write out his teachings when on earth and in the flesh, Mark, like the apostles and other leading disciples, was hesitant to put them in writing. But Peter felt the church at Rome required the assistance of such a written narrative, and Mark consented to undertake its preparation. He made many notes before Peter died in A.D. 67, and in accordance with the outline approved by Peter and for the church at Rome, he began his writing soon after Peter’s death. The Gospel was completed near the end of A.D. 68. Mark wrote entirely from his own memory and Peter’s memory. The record has since been considerably changed, numerous passages having been taken out and some later matter added at the end to replace the latter one fifth of the original Gospel, which was lost from the first manuscript before it was ever copied. This record by Mark, in conjunction with Andrew’s and Matthew’s notes, was the written basis of all subsequent Gospel narratives which sought to portray the life and teachings of Jesus.
2. The Gospel of Matthew. The so-called Gospel according to Matthew is the record of the Master’s life which was written for the edification of Jewish Christians. The author of this record constantly seeks to show in Jesus’ life that much which he did was that “it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet.” Matthew’s Gospel portrays Jesus as a son of David, picturing him as showing great respect for the law and the prophets. The Apostle Matthew did not write this Gospel. It was written by Isador, one of his disciples, who had as a help in his work not only Matthew’s personal remembrance of these events but also a certain record which the latter had made of the sayings of Jesus directly after the crucifixion. This record by Matthew was written in Aramaic; Isador wrote in Greek. There was no intent to deceive in accrediting the production to Matthew. It was the custom in those days for pupils thus to honor their teachers. Matthew’s original record was edited and added to in A.D. 40 just before he left Jerusalem to engage in evangelistic preaching. It was a private record, the last copy having been destroyed in the burning of a Syrian monastery in A.D. 416. Isador escaped from Jerusalem in A.D. 70 after the investment of the city by the armies of Titus, taking with him to Pella a copy of Matthew’s notes. In the year 71, while living at Pella, Isador wrote the Gospel according to Matthew. He also had with him the first four fifths of Mark’s narrative.
3. The Gospel by Luke. Luke, the physician of Antioch in Pisidia, was a gentile convert of Paul, and he wrote quite a different story of the Master’s life. He began to follow Paul and learn of the life and teachings of Jesus in A.D. 47. Luke preserves much of the “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” in his record as he gathered up these facts from Paul and others. Luke presents the Master as “the friend of publicans and sinners.” He did not formulate his many notes into the Gospel until after Paul’s death. Luke wrote in the year 82 in Achaia. He planned three books dealing with the history of Christ and Christianity but died in A.D. 90 just before he finished the second of these works, the “Acts of the Apostles.” As material for the compilation of his Gospel, Luke first depended upon the story of Jesus’ life as Paul had related it to him. Luke’s Gospel is, therefore, in some ways the Gospel according to Paul. But Luke had other sources of information. He not only interviewed scores of eyewitnesses to the numerous episodes of Jesus’ life which he records, but he also had with him a copy of Mark’s Gospel, that is, the first four fifths, Isador’s narrative, and a brief record made in the year A.D. 78 at Antioch by a believer named Cedes. Luke also had a mutilated and much-edited copy of some notes purported to have been made by the Apostle Andrew.
4. The Gospel of John. The Gospel according to John relates much of Jesus’ work in Judea and around Jerusalem which is not contained in the other records. This is the so-called Gospel according to John the son of Zebedee, and though John did not write it, he did inspire it. Since its first writing it has several times been edited to make it appear to have been written by John himself. When this record was made, John had the other Gospels, and he saw that much had been omitted; accordingly, in the year A.D. 101 he encouraged his associate, Nathan, a Greek Jew from Caesarea, to begin the writing. John supplied his material from memory and by reference to the three records already in existence. He had no written records of his own. The Epistle known as “First John” was written by John himself as a covering letter for the work which Nathan executed under his direction.

All these writers presented honest pictures of Jesus as they saw, remembered, or had learned of him, and as their concepts of these distant events were affected by their subsequent espousal of Paul’s theology of Christianity. And these records, imperfect as they are, have been sufficient to change the course of the history of Earth for two thousand years.

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Religion And Faith – Part 2 [UBS #14]

As stated in Introduction To “UBS” Study the following is: My opinions posted on this part of the study may or may not be my final feeling on the matter. I’ll be writing (or recording video) as I go, so it’s inevitable that some concepts may not have long enough to settle in my mind so a final thought or feeling can be reached. Some new and non-institutional concepts are going to be introduced, compared to the Bible, looked at with logic, and commented on. Whether or not you agree with these concepts are completely irrelevant. The purpose of this study is not whether you or I agree with the said study or with each other, but to help bring us closer to each other as brethren and ultimately closer to God. Your participation in this study is welcome and will be greatly appreciated.

The Foundations of Religious Faith

Assurances of Faith
If any man chooses to do the divine will, he shall know the way of truth. It is literally true, “Human things must be known in order to be loved, but divine things must be loved in order to be known.” But honest doubts and sincere questionings are not sin; such attitudes merely spell delay in the progressive journey toward perfection attainment. Childlike trust secures man’s entrance into the kingdom of heavenly ascent, but progress is wholly dependent on the vigorous exercise of the robust and confident faith of the full-grown man. The reason of science is based on the observable facts of time; the faith of religion argues from the spirit program of eternity. What knowledge and reason cannot do for us, true wisdom admonishes us to allow faith to accomplish through religious insight and spiritual transformation.

Owing to the isolation of rebellion, the revelation of truth on Earth has all too often been mixed up with the statements of partial and transient cosmologies. Truth remains unchanged from generation to generation, but the associated teachings about the physical world vary from day to day and from year to year. Eternal truth should not be slighted because it chances to be found in company with obsolete ideas regarding the material world. The more of science you know, the less sure you can be; the more of religion you have, the more certain you are. The certainties of science proceed entirely from the intellect; the certitudes of religion spring from the very foundations of the entire personality. Science appeals to the understanding of the mind; religion appeals to the loyalty and devotion of the body, mind, and spirit, even to the whole personality. God is so all real and absolute that no material sign of proof or no demonstration of so-called miracle may be offered in testimony of his reality. Always will we know him because we trust him, and our belief in him is wholly based on our personal participation in the divine manifestations of his infinite reality.

Religion and Reality
Observing minds and discriminating souls know religion when they find it in the lives of their fellows. Religion requires no definition; we all know its social, intellectual, moral, and spiritual fruits. And this all grows out of the fact that religion is the property of the human race; it is not a child of culture. True, one’s perception of religion is still human and therefore subject to the bondage of ignorance, the slavery of superstition, the deceptions of sophistication, and the delusions of false philosophy. One of the characteristic peculiarities of genuine religious assurance is that, notwithstanding the absoluteness of its affirmations and the stanchness of its attitude, the spirit of its expression is so poised and tempered that it never conveys the slightest impression of self-assertion or egoistic exaltation. Religious force is not the product of the individual’s personal prerogatives but rather the outworking of that sublime partnership of man and the everlasting source of all wisdom. Thus do the words and acts of true and undefiled religion become compellingly authoritative for all enlightened mortals.

Religionists seem to live in effective emancipation from harrying haste and the painful stress of the vicissitudes inherent in the temporal currents of time; they exhibit a stabilization of personality and a tranquillity of character not explained by the laws of physiology, psychology, and sociology. Time is an invariable element in the attainment of knowledge; religion makes its endowments immediately available, albeit there is the important factor of growth in grace, definite advancement in all phases of religious experience. Knowledge is an eternal quest; always are you learning, but never are you able to arrive at the full knowledge of absolute truth. In knowledge alone there can never be absolute certainty, only increasing probability of approximation; but the religious soul of spiritual illumination knows, and knows now. And yet this profound and positive certitude does not lead such a sound-minded religionist to take any less interest in the ups and downs of the progress of human wisdom, which is bound up on its material end with the developments of slow-moving science.

Even the discoveries of science are not truly real in the consciousness of human experience until they are unraveled and correlated, until their relevant facts actually become meaning through encircuitment in the thought streams of mind. Mortal man views even his physical environment from the mind level, from the perspective of its psychological registry. It is not, therefore, strange that man should place a highly unified interpretation upon the universe and then seek to identify this energy unity of his science with the spirit unity of his religious experience. Mind is unity; mortal consciousness lives on the mind level and perceives the universal realities through the eyes of the mind endowment. The mind perspective will not yield the existential unity of the source of reality, the First Source and Center, but it can and sometime will portray to man the experiential synthesis of energy, mind, and spirit in and as the Supreme Being. But mind can never succeed in this unification of the diversity of reality unless such mind is firmly aware of material things, intellectual meanings, and spiritual values; only in the harmony of the triunity of functional reality is there unity, and only in unity is there the personality satisfaction of the realization of cosmic constancy and consistency.

Unity is best found in human experience through philosophy. And while the body of philosophic thought must ever be founded on material facts, the soul and energy of true philosophic dynamics is mortal spiritual insight. There is no real religion apart from a highly active personality. Therefore do the more indolent of men often seek to escape the rigors of truly religious activities by a species of ingenious self-deception through resorting to a retreat to the false shelter of stereotyped religious doctrines and dogmas. But true religion is alive. Intellectual crystallization of religious concepts is the equivalent of spiritual death. You cannot conceive of religion without ideas, but when religion once becomes reduced only to an idea, it is no longer religion; it has become merely a species of human philosophy.

Knowledge, Wisdom, and Insight
Material feelings, human emotions, lead directly to material actions, selfish acts. Religious insights, spiritual motivations, lead directly to religious actions, unselfish acts of social service and altruistic benevolence.

Religious desire is the hunger quest for divine reality. Religious experience is the realization of the consciousness of having found God. And when a human being does find God, there is experienced within the soul of that being such an indescribable restlessness of triumph in discovery that he is impelled to seek loving service-contact with his less illuminated fellows, not to disclose that he has found God, but rather to allow the overflow of the welling-up of eternal goodness within his own soul to refresh and ennoble his fellows. Real religion leads to increased social service. Science, knowledge, leads to fact consciousness; religion, experience, leads to value consciousness; philosophy, wisdom, leads to co-ordinate consciousness; revelation leads to the consciousness of true reality; while the co-ordination of the consciousness of fact, value, and true reality constitutes awareness of personality reality, maximum of being, together with the belief in the possibility of the survival of that very personality.

Knowledge leads to placing men, to originating social strata and castes. Religion leads to serving men, thus creating ethics and altruism. Wisdom leads to the higher and better fellowship of both ideas and one’s fellows. Revelation liberates men and starts them out on the eternal adventure. Science sorts men; religion loves men, even as yourself; wisdom does justice to differing men; but revelation glorifies man and discloses his capacity for partnership with God. Science vainly strives to create the brotherhood of culture; religion brings into being the brotherhood of the spirit. Philosophy strives for the brotherhood of wisdom; revelation portrays the eternal brotherhood, the Paradise Corps of the Finality. Knowledge yields pride in the fact of personality; wisdom is the consciousness of the meaning of personality; religion is the experience of cognizance of the value of personality; revelation is the assurance of personality survival.

The Fact of Experience
Man very early becomes conscious that he is not alone in the world or the universe. There develops a natural spontaneous self-consciousness of other-mindness in the environment of selfhood. Faith translates this natural experience into religion, the recognition of God as the reality —source, nature, and destiny —of other-mindness. But such a knowledge of God is ever and always a reality of personal experience. If God were not a personality, he could not become a living part of the real religious experience of a human personality. The element of error present in human religious experience is directly proportional to the content of materialism which contaminates the spiritual concept of the Universal Father. Man’s prespirit progression in the universe consists in the experience of divesting himself of these erroneous ideas of the nature of God and of the reality of pure and true spirit. Deity is more than spirit, but the spiritual approach is the only one possible to ascending man.

Prayer is indeed a part of religious experience, but it has been wrongly emphasized by modern religions, much to the neglect of the more essential communion of worship. The reflective powers of the mind are deepened and broadened by worship. Prayer may enrich the life, but worship illuminates destiny. Revealed religion is the unifying element of human existence. Revelation unifies history, co-ordinates geology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, and psychology. Spiritual experience is the real soul of man’s cosmos.

The Supremacy of Purposive Potential
Primitive man had more religious fear than faith, and the supremacy of spirit potentials over mind actuals is demonstrated when this craven fear is translated into living faith in spiritual realities. You can psychologize evolutionary religion but not the personal-experience religion of spiritual origin. Human morality may recognize values, but only religion can conserve, exalt, and spiritualize such values. But notwithstanding such actions, religion is something more than emotionalized morality. Religion is to morality as love is to duty, as sonship is to servitude, as essence is to substance. Morality discloses an almighty Controller, a Deity to be served; religion discloses an all-loving Father, a God to be worshiped and loved. And again this is because the spiritual potentiality of religion is dominant over the duty actuality of the morality of evolution.

The Certainty of Religious Faith
The religionist of philosophic attainment has faith in a personal God of personal salvation, something more than a reality, a value, a level of achievement, an exalted process, a transmutation, the ultimate of time-space, an idealization, the personalization of energy, the entity of gravity, a human projection, the idealization of self, nature’s upthrust, the inclination to goodness, the forward impulse of evolution, or a sublime hypothesis. The religionist has faith in a God of love. Love is the essence of religion and the wellspring of superior civilization. Faith transforms the philosophic God of probability into the saving God of certainty in the personal religious experience. Skepticism may challenge the theories of theology, but confidence in the dependability of personal experience affirms the truth of that belief which has grown into faith.

Convictions about God may be arrived at through wise reasoning, but the individual becomes God-knowing only by faith, through personal experience. In much that pertains to life, probability must be reckoned with, but when contacting with cosmic reality, certainty may be experienced when such meanings and values are approached by living faith. The God-knowing soul dares to say, “I know,” even when this knowledge of God is questioned by the unbeliever who denies such certitude because it is not wholly supported by intellectual logic. To every such doubter the believer only replies, “How do you know that I do not know?” Said Jesus: “If you love your fellows as I have loved you, then shall all men know that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35)

Materialism cheapens human life; the gospel of Jesus tremendously enhances and supernally exalts every mortal. Mortal existence must be visualized as consisting in the intriguing and fascinating experience of the realization of the reality of the meeting of the human upreach and the divine and saving downreach.

The Certitude of the Divine
The Universal Father, being self-existent, is also self-explanatory; he actually lives in every rational mortal. But you cannot be sure about God unless you know him; sonship is the only experience which makes fatherhood certain. The universe is everywhere undergoing change. God is the one and only self-caused fact in the universe. He is the secret of the order, plan, and purpose of the whole creation of things and beings. The everywhere-changing universe is regulated and stabilized by absolutely unchanging laws, the habits of an unchanging God. The fact of God, the divine law, is changeless; the truth of God, his relation to the universe, is a relative revelation which is ever adaptable to the constantly evolving universe.

Those who would invent a religion without God are like those who would gather fruit without trees, have children without parents. You cannot have effects without causes; only the I AM is causeless. The fact of religious experience implies God, and such a God of personal experience must be a personal Deity. You cannot pray to a chemical formula, supplicate a mathematical equation, worship a hypothesis, confide in a postulate, commune with a process, serve an abstraction, or hold loving fellowship with a law. True, many apparently religious traits can grow out of nonreligious roots. Man can, intellectually, deny God and yet be morally good, loyal, filial, honest, and even idealistic. Man may graft many purely humanistic branches onto his basic spiritual nature and thus apparently prove his contentions in behalf of a godless religion, but such an experience is devoid of survival values, God-knowingness and God-ascension. In such a mortal experience only social fruits are forthcoming, not spiritual. The graft determines the nature of the fruit, notwithstanding that the living sustenance is drawn from the roots of original divine endowment of both mind and spirit.

The God-knowing individual is not one who is blind to the difficulties or unmindful of the obstacles which stand in the way of finding God in the maze of superstition, tradition, and materialistic tendencies of modern times. He has encountered all these deterrents and triumphed over them, surmounted them by living faith, and attained the highlands of spiritual experience in spite of them. But it is true that many who are inwardly sure about God fear to assert such feelings of certainty because of the multiplicity and cleverness of those who assemble objections and magnify difficulties about believing in God. It requires no great depth of intellect to pick flaws, ask questions, or raise objections. But it does require brilliance of mind to answer these questions and solve these difficulties; faith certainty is the greatest technique for dealing with all such superficial contentions.

If science, philosophy, or sociology dares to become dogmatic in contending with the prophets of true religion, then should God-knowing men reply to such unwarranted dogmatism with that more farseeing dogmatism of the certainty of personal spiritual experience, “I know what I have experienced because I am a son of I AM.” If the personal experience of a faither is to be challenged by dogma, then this faith-born son of the experiencible Father may reply with that unchallengeable dogma, the statement of his actual sonship with the Universal Father.

The Evidences of Religion
Regarding the status of any religion in the evolutionary scale, it may best be judged by its moral judgments and its ethical standards. The higher the type of any religion, the more it encourages and is encouraged by a constantly improving social morality and ethical culture. We cannot judge religion by the status of its accompanying civilization; we had better estimate the real nature of a civilization by the purity and nobility of its religion. Many of the world’s most notable religious teachers have been virtually unlettered. The wisdom of the world is not necessary to an exercise of saving faith in eternal realities. The difference in the religions of various ages is wholly dependent on the difference in man’s comprehension of reality and on his differing recognition of moral values, ethical relationships, and spirit realities.

Religion, when reduced to terms of reason and intellectual expression, has always dared to criticize civilization and evolutionary progress as judged by its own standards of ethical culture and moral progress. While personal religion precedes the evolution of human morals, it is regretfully recorded that institutional religion has invariably lagged behind the slowly changing mores of the human races. Organized religion has proved to be conservatively tardy. The prophets have usually led the people in religious development; the theologians have usually held them back. Religion, being a matter of inner or personal experience, can never develop very far in advance of the intellectual evolution of the races.

The Reality of Religious Experience
The religious tendencies of the human races are innate; they are universally manifested and have an apparently natural origin; primitive religions are always evolutionary in their genesis. As natural religious experience continues to progress, periodic revelations of truth punctuate the otherwise slow-moving course of planetary evolution. On Earth, today, there are four kinds of religion:
1. Natural or evolutionary religion.
2. Supernatural or revelatory religion.
3. Practical or current religion, varying degrees of the admixture of natural and supernatural religions.
4. Philosophic religions, man-made or philosophically thought-out theologic doctrines and reason-created religions.

Philosophy of Religion
Rationalism is wrong when it assumes that religion is at first a primitive belief in something which is then followed by the pursuit of values. Religion is primarily a pursuit of values, and then there formulates a system of interpretative beliefs. It is much easier for men to agree on religious values —goals —than on beliefs —interpretations. And this explains how religion can agree on values and goals while exhibiting the confusing phenomenon of maintaining a belief in hundreds of conflicting beliefs —creeds. This also explains why a given person can maintain his religious experience in the face of giving up or changing many of his religious beliefs. Religion persists in spite of revolutionary changes in religious beliefs. Theology does not produce religion; it is religion that produces theologic philosophy. That religionists have believed so much that was false does not invalidate religion because religion is founded on the recognition of values and is validated by the faith of personal religious experience. Religion, then, is based on experience and religious thought; theology, the philosophy of religion, is an honest attempt to interpret that experience. Such interpretative beliefs may be right or wrong, or a mixture of truth and error.

Religion and the Individual
The evolutionary soil in the mind of man in which the seed of revealed religion germinates is the moral nature that so early gives origin to a social consciousness. The first promptings of a child’s moral nature have not to do with sex, guilt, or personal pride, but rather with impulses of justice, fairness, and urges to kindness —helpful ministry to one’s fellows. And when such early moral awakenings are nurtured, there occurs a gradual development of the religious life which is comparatively free from conflicts, upheavals, and crises. Every human being very early experiences something of a conflict between his self-seeking and his altruistic impulses, and many times the first experience of God-consciousness may be attained as the result of seeking for superhuman help in the task of resolving such moral conflicts.

Religion and the Human Race
Religion is designed to change man’s environment, but much of the religion found among mortals today has become helpless to do this. Environment has all too often mastered religion. Remember that in the religion of all ages the experience which is paramount is the feeling regarding moral values and social meanings, not the thinking regarding theologic dogmas or philosophic theories. Religion evolves favorably as the element of magic is replaced by the concept of morals.

Man evolved through the superstitions of mana, magic, nature worship, spirit fear, and animal worship to the various ceremonials whereby the religious attitude of the individual became the group reactions of the clan. And then these ceremonies became focalized and crystallized into tribal beliefs, and eventually these fears and faiths became personalized into gods. But in all of this religious evolution the moral element was never wholly absent. The impulse of the God within man was always potent. And these powerful influences —one human and the other divine —insured the survival of religion throughout the vicissitudes of the ages and that notwithstanding it was so often threatened with extinction by a thousand subversive tendencies and hostile antagonisms.

Spiritual Communion
The characteristic difference between a social occasion and a religious gathering is that in contrast with the secular the religious is pervaded by the atmosphere of communion. In this way human association generates a feeling of fellowship with the divine, and this is the beginning of group worship. Partaking of a common meal was the earliest type of social communion, and so did early religions provide that some portion of the ceremonial sacrifice should be eaten by the worshipers. Even in Christianity the Lord’s Supper retains this mode of communion. When primitive man felt that his communion with God had been interrupted, he resorted to sacrifice of some kind in an effort to make atonement, to restore friendly relationship. The hunger and thirst for righteousness leads to the discovery of truth, and truth augments ideals, and this creates new problems for the individual religionists, for our ideals tend to grow by geometrical progression, while our ability to live up to them is enhanced only by arithmetical progression. The sense of guilt (not the consciousness of sin) comes either from interrupted spiritual communion or from the lowering of one’s moral ideals. Deliverance from such a predicament can only come through the realization that one’s highest moral ideals are not necessarily synonymous with the will of God. Man cannot hope to live up to his highest ideals, but he can be true to his purpose of finding God and becoming more and more like him.

Jesus swept away all of the ceremonials of sacrifice and atonement. He destroyed the basis of all this fictitious guilt and sense of isolation in the universe by declaring that man is a child of God; the creature-Creator relationship was placed on a child-parent basis. God becomes a loving Father to his mortal sons and daughters. All ceremonials not a legitimate part of such an intimate family relationship are forever abrogated. God the Father deals with man his child on the basis, not of actual virtue or worthiness, but in recognition of the child’s motivation —the creature purpose and intent. The relationship is one of parent-child association and is actuated by divine love.

The Origin of Ideals
The early evolutionary mind gives origin to a feeling of social duty and moral obligation derived chiefly from emotional fear. The more positive urge of social service and the idealism of altruism are derived from the direct impulse of the divine spirit indwelling the human mind. This idea-ideal of doing good to others —the impulse to deny the ego something for the benefit of one’s neighbor —is very circumscribed at first. Primitive man regards as neighbor only those very close to him, those who treat him neighborly; as religious civilization advances, one’s neighbor expands in concept to embrace the clan, the tribe, the nation. And then Jesus enlarged the neighbor scope to embrace the whole of humanity, even that we should love our enemies. And there is something inside of every normal human being that tells him this teaching is moral —right. Even those who practice this ideal least, admit that it is right in theory.

Human happiness is achieved only when the ego desire of the self and the altruistic urge of the higher self (divine spirit) are co-ordinated and reconciled by the unified will of the integrating and supervising personality. The mind of evolutionary man is ever confronted with the intricate problem of refereeing the contest between the natural expansion of emotional impulses and the moral growth of unselfish urges predicated on spiritual insight —genuine religious reflection. The attempt to secure equal good for the self and for the greatest number of other selves presents a problem which cannot always be satisfactorily resolved in a time-space frame. Given an eternal life, such antagonisms can be worked out, but in one short human life they are incapable of solution. Jesus referred to such a paradox when he said: “Whosoever shall save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for the sake of the kingdom, shall find it.” (Matt. 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24, 17:33)

It is fatal to man’s idealism when he is taught that all of his altruistic impulses are merely the development of his natural herd instincts. But he is ennobled and mightily energized when he learns that these higher urges of his soul emanate from the spiritual forces that indwell his mortal mind. It lifts man out of himself and beyond himself when he once fully realizes that there lives and strives within him something which is eternal and divine. And so it is that a living faith in the superhuman origin of our ideals validates our belief that we are the sons of God and makes real our altruistic convictions, the feelings of the brotherhood of man. Man, in his spiritual domain, does have a free will. Mortal man is neither a helpless slave of the inflexible sovereignty of an all-powerful God nor the victim of the hopeless fatality of a mechanistic cosmic determinism. Man is most truly the architect of his own eternal destiny.

But man is not saved or ennobled by pressure. Spirit growth springs from within the evolving soul. Pressure may deform the personality, but it never stimulates growth. Even educational pressure is only negatively helpful in that it may aid in the prevention of disastrous experiences. Spiritual growth is greatest where all external pressures are at a minimum. “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Cor. 3:17) Man develops best when the pressures of home, community, church, and state are least. But this must not be construed as meaning that there is no place in a progressive society for home, social institutions, church, and state. When a member of a social religious group has complied with the requirements of such a group, he should be encouraged to enjoy religious liberty in the full expression of his own personal interpretation of the truths of religious belief and the facts of religious experience. The security of a religious group depends on spiritual unity, not on theological uniformity. A religious group should be able to enjoy the liberty of freethinking without having to become “freethinkers.” There is great hope for any church that worships the living God, validates the brotherhood of man, and dares to remove all creedal pressure from its members.

Philosophic Co-ordination
Religion has to do with the spiritual viewpoint, the awareness of the insideness of human experience. Man’s spiritual nature affords him the opportunity of turning the universe outside in. It is therefore true that, viewed exclusively from the insideness of personality experience, all creation appears to be spiritual in nature. When man analytically inspects the universe through the material endowments of his physical senses and associated mind perception, the cosmos appears to be mechanical and energy-material. Such a technique of studying reality consists in turning the universe inside out. A logical and consistent philosophic concept of the universe cannot be built up on the postulations of either materialism or spiritism, for both of these systems of thinking, when universally applied, are compelled to view the cosmos in distortion, the former contacting with a universe turned inside out, the latter realizing the nature of a universe turned outside in. Never, then, can either science or religion, in and of themselves, standing alone, hope to gain an adequate understanding of universal truths and relationships without the guidance of human philosophy and the illumination of divine revelation.

Always must man’s inner spirit depend for its expression and self-realization upon the mechanism and technique of the mind. Likewise must man’s outer experience of material reality be predicated on the mind consciousness of the experiencing personality. Therefore are the spiritual and the material, the inner and the outer, human experiences always correlated with the mind function and conditioned, as to their conscious realization, by the mind activity. Man experiences matter in his mind; he experiences spiritual reality in the soul but becomes conscious of this experience in his mind. The intellect is the harmonizer and the ever-present conditioner and qualifier of the sum total of mortal experience. Both energy-things and spirit values are colored by their interpretation through the mind media of consciousness.

When the philosophy of man leans heavily toward the world of matter, it becomes rationalistic or naturalistic. When philosophy inclines particularly toward the spiritual level, it becomes idealistic or even mystical. When philosophy is so unfortunate as to lean upon metaphysics, it unfailingly becomes skeptical, confused. In past ages, most of man’s knowledge and intellectual evaluations have fallen into one of these three distortions of perception. Philosophy dare not project its interpretations of reality in the linear fashion of logic; it must never fail to reckon with the elliptic symmetry of reality and with the essential curvature of all relation concepts. The highest attainable philosophy of mortal man must be logically based on the reason of science, the faith of religion, and the truth insight afforded by revelation.

Science and Religion
Science is sustained by reason, religion by faith. Faith, though not predicated on reason, is reasonable; though independent of logic, it is nonetheless encouraged by sound logic. Faith cannot be nourished even by an ideal philosophy; indeed, it is, with science, the very source of such a philosophy. Faith, human religious insight, can be surely instructed only by revelation, can be surely elevated only by personal mortal experience with the spiritual Adjuster presence of the God who is spirit.

Logic is the technique of philosophy, its method of expression. Within the domain of true science, reason is always amenable to genuine logic; within the domain of true religion, faith is always logical from the basis of an inner viewpoint, even though such faith may appear to be quite unfounded from the inlooking viewpoint of the scientific approach. From outward, looking within, the universe may appear to be material; from within, looking out, the same universe appears to be wholly spiritual. Reason grows out of material awareness, faith out of spiritual awareness, but through the mediation of a philosophy strengthened by revelation, logic may confirm both the inward and the outward view, thereby effecting the stabilization of both science and religion. Thus, through common contact with the logic of philosophy, may both science and religion become increasingly tolerant of each other, less and less skeptical.

The truth —an understanding of cosmic relationships, universe facts, and spiritual values —can best be had through the ministry of the Spirit of Truth and can best be criticized by revelation. But revelation originates neither a science nor a religion; its function is to co-ordinate both science and religion with the truth of reality. The science of the material world enables man to control, and to some extent dominate, his physical environment. The religion of the spiritual experience is the source of the fraternity impulse which enables men to live together in the complexities of the civilization of a scientific age. Metaphysics, but more certainly revelation, affords a common meeting ground for the discoveries of both science and religion and makes possible the human attempt logically to correlate these separate but interdependent domains of thought into a well-balanced philosophy of scientific stability and religious certainty.

Reason is the act of recognizing the conclusions of consciousness with regard to the experience in and with the physical world of energy and matter. Faith is the act of recognizing the validity of spiritual consciousness —something which is incapable of other mortal proof. Logic is the synthetic truth-seeking progression of the unity of faith and reason and is founded on the constitutive mind endowments of mortal beings, the innate recognition of things, meanings, and values. Science discovers the material world, religion evaluates it, and philosophy endeavors to interpret its meanings while co-ordinating the scientific material viewpoint with the religious spiritual concept. But history is a realm in which science and religion may never fully agree.

Philosophy and Religion
Although both science and philosophy may assume the probability of God by their reason and logic, only the personal religious experience of a spirit-led man can affirm the certainty of such a supreme and personal Deity. By the technique of such an incarnation of living truth the philosophic hypothesis of the probability of God becomes a religious reality. The confusion about the experience of the certainty of God arises out of the dissimilar interpretations and relations of that experience by separate individuals and by different races of men. The experiencing of God may be wholly valid, but the discourse about God, being intellectual and philosophical, is divergent and oftentimes confusingly fallacious. A good and noble man may be consummately in love with his wife but utterly unable to pass a satisfactory written examination on the psychology of marital love. Another man, having little or no love for his spouse, might pass such an examination most acceptably. The imperfection of the lover’s insight into the true nature of the beloved does not in the least invalidate either the reality or sincerity of his love.

If you truly believe in God —by faith know him and love him —do not permit the reality of such an experience to be in any way lessened or detracted from by the doubting insinuations of science, the caviling of logic, the postulates of philosophy, or the clever suggestions of well-meaning souls who would create a religion without God. The certainty of the God-knowing religionist should not be disturbed by the uncertainty of the doubting materialist; rather should the uncertainty of the unbeliever be mightily challenged by the profound faith and unshakable certainty of the experiential believer.

Philosophy, to be of the greatest service to both science and religion, should avoid the extremes of both materialism and pantheism. Only a philosophy which recognizes the reality of personality —permanence in the presence of change —can be of moral value to man, can serve as a liaison between the theories of material science and spiritual religion. Revelation is a compensation for the frailties of evolving philosophy.

The Essence of Religion
Theology deals with the intellectual content of religion, metaphysics (revelation) with the philosophic aspects. Religious experience is the spiritual content of religion. Notwithstanding the mythologic vagaries and the psychologic illusions of the intellectual content of religion, the metaphysical assumptions of error and the techniques of self-deception, the political distortions and the socioeconomic perversions of the philosophic content of religion, the spiritual experience of personal religion remains genuine and valid. Religion has to do with feeling, acting, and living, not merely with thinking. Thinking is more closely related to the material life and should be in the main, but not altogether, dominated by reason and the facts of science and, in its nonmaterial reaches toward the spirit realms, by truth. No matter how illusory and erroneous one’s theology, one’s religion may be wholly genuine and everlastingly true.

Religion without faith is a contradiction; without God, a philosophic inconsistency and an intellectual absurdity. The magical and mythological parentage of natural religion does not invalidate the reality and truth of the later revelational religions and the consummate saving gospel of the religion of Jesus. Jesus’ life and teachings finally divested religion of the superstitions of magic, the illusions of mythology, and the bondage of traditional dogmatism. But this early magic and mythology very effectively prepared the way for later and superior religion by assuming the existence and reality of supermaterial values and beings.

When theology masters religion, religion dies; it becomes a doctrine instead of a life. The mission of theology is merely to facilitate the self-consciousness of personal spiritual experience. Theology constitutes the religious effort to define, clarify, expound, and justify the experiential claims of religion, which can be validated only by living faith. In the higher philosophy of the universe, wisdom, like reason, becomes allied to faith. Reason, wisdom, and faith are man’s highest human attainments. Reason introduces man to the world of facts, to things; wisdom introduces him to a world of truth, to relationships; faith initiates him into a world of divinity, spiritual experience. Faith most willingly carries reason along as far as reason can go and then goes on with wisdom to the full philosophic limit; and then it dares to launch out upon the limitless and never-ending universe journey in the sole company of TRUTH.

When reason once recognizes right and wrong, it exhibits wisdom; when wisdom chooses between right and wrong, truth and error, it demonstrates spirit leading. And thus are the functions of mind, soul, and spirit ever closely united and functionally interassociated. Reason deals with factual knowledge; wisdom, with philosophy and revelation; faith, with living spiritual experience. Through truth man attains beauty and by spiritual love ascends to goodness. Faith leads to knowing God, not merely to a mystical feeling of the divine presence. Faith must not be overmuch influenced by its emotional consequences. True religion is an experience of believing and knowing as well as a satisfaction of feeling.

Growth of the Trinity Concept

The Trinity concept of revealed religion must not be confused with the triad beliefs of evolutionary religions. The ideas of triads arose from many suggestive relationships but chiefly because of the three joints of the fingers, because three legs were the fewest which could stabilize a stool, because three support points could keep up a tent; furthermore, primitive man, for a long time, could not count beyond three. Triad deities all had a natural origin and have appeared at one time or another among most of the intelligent peoples of Earth. Sometimes the concept of an evolutionary triad has become mixed with that of a revealed Trinity; in these instances it is often impossible to distinguish one from the other.

Trinity Concepts
The first Earth revelation leading to the comprehension of the Paradise Trinity was made by the staff of the Planetary Prince about one-half million years ago. This earliest Trinity concept was lost to the world in the unsettled times following the planetary rebellion. The second presentation of the Trinity was made by Adam and Eve in the first and second gardens. These teachings had not been wholly obliterated even in the times of Machiventa Melchizedek about thirty-five thousand years later, for the Trinity concept of the Sethites persisted in both Mesopotamia and Egypt but more especially in India, where it was long perpetuated in Agni, the Vedic three-headed fire god. The third presentation of the Trinity was made by Machiventa Melchizedek, and this doctrine was symbolized by the three concentric circles which the sage of Salem wore on his breast plate. But Machiventa found it very difficult to teach the Palestinian Bedouins about the Universal Father, the Eternal Son, and the Infinite Spirit. Most of his disciples thought that the Trinity consisted of the three Most Highs of the universe; a few conceived of the Trinity as the System Sovereign, the Constellation Father, and the local universe Creator Deity; still fewer even remotely grasped the idea of the Paradise association of the Father, Son, and Spirit.

The followers of the Islamic faith failed to grasp the idea of the Trinity. It is always difficult for an emerging monotheism to tolerate trinitarianism when confronted by polytheism. The trinity idea takes best hold of those religions which have a firm monotheistic tradition coupled with doctrinal elasticity. The great monotheists, the Hebrews and Mohammedans, found it difficult to distinguish between worshiping three gods, polytheism, and trinitarianism, the worship of one Deity existing in a triune manifestation of divinity and personality. Jesus taught his apostles the truth regarding the persons of the Paradise Trinity, but they thought he spoke figuratively and symbolically. Having been nurtured in Hebraic monotheism, they found it difficult to entertain any belief that seemed to conflict with their dominating concept of Yahweh. And the early Christians inherited the Hebraic prejudice against the Trinity concept.

The first Trinity of Christianity was proclaimed at Antioch and consisted of God, his Word, and his Wisdom. Paul knew of the Paradise Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit, but he seldom preached about it and made mention thereof in only a few of his letters to the newly forming churches. The Christian concept of the Trinity, which began to gain recognition near the close of the first century after Christ, was comprised of the Universal Father, the Creator Son, and the Divine Minister —Mother Spirit of the local universe and creative consort of the Creator Son.

Not since the times of Jesus has the factual identity of the Paradise Trinity been known on Earth (except by a few individuals to whom it was especially revealed) until its presentation in the revelatory disclosures of the study-source. But though the Christian concept of the Trinity erred in fact, it was practically true with respect to spiritual relationships. Only in its philosophic implications and cosmological consequences did this concept suffer embarrassment: It has been difficult for many who are cosmic minded to believe that the Second Person of Deity, the second member of an infinite Trinity, once dwelt on Earth; and while in spirit this is true, in actuality it is not a fact. The Creator Sons fully embody the divinity of the Eternal Son, but they are not the absolute personality.

Trinity Unity and Deity Plurality
Monotheism arose as a philosophic protest against the inconsistency of polytheism. It developed first through pantheon organizations with the departmentalization of supernatural activities, then through the henotheistic exaltation of one god above the many, and finally through the exclusion of all but the One God of final value. Trinitarianism grows out of the experiential protest against the impossibility of conceiving the oneness of a deanthropomorphized solitary Deity of unrelated universe significance. Given a sufficient time, philosophy tends to abstract the personal qualities from the Deity concept of pure monotheism, thus reducing this idea of an unrelated God to the status of a pantheistic Absolute. It has always been difficult to understand the personal nature of a God who has no personal relationships in equality with other and co-ordinate personal beings. Personality in Deity demands that such Deity exist in relation to other and equal personal Deity.

The Trinity is a supersummative Deity reality eventuating out of the conjoining of the three Paradise Deities. The qualities, characteristics, and functions of the Trinity are not the simple sum of the attributes of the three Paradise Deities; Trinity functions are something unique, original, and not wholly predictable from an analysis of the attributes of Father, Son, and Spirit. For example: The Master, when on earth, admonished his followers that justice is never a personal act; it is always a group function. Neither do the Gods, as persons, administer justice. But they perform this very function as a collective whole, as the Paradise Trinity.

Trinities and Triunities
Man is passing through a great age of expanding horizons and enlarging concepts on Earth, and his cosmic philosophy must accelerate in evolution to keep pace with the expansion of the intellectual arena of human thought. As the cosmic consciousness of mortal man expands, he perceives the interrelatedness of all that he finds in his material science, intellectual philosophy, and spiritual insight. Still, with all this belief in the unity of the cosmos, man perceives the diversity of all existence. In spite of all concepts concerning the immutability of Deity, man perceives that he lives in a universe of constant change and experiential growth. Regardless of the realization of the survival of spiritual values, man has ever to reckon with the mathematics and premathematics of force, energy, and power. In some manner the eternal repleteness of infinity must be reconciled with the time-growth of the evolving universes and with the incompleteness of the experiential inhabitants thereof. In some way the conception of total infinitude must be so segmented and qualified that the mortal intellect and the morontia soul can grasp this concept of final value and spiritualizing significance.

While reason demands a monotheistic unity of cosmic reality, finite experience requires the postulate of plural Absolutes and of their co-ordination in cosmic relationships. Without co-ordinate existences there is no possibility for the appearance of diversity of absolute relationships, no chance for the operation of differentials, variables, modifiers, attenuators, qualifiers, or diminishers.

The Paradise Trinity is not a triunity; it is not a functional unanimity; rather is it undivided and indivisible Deity. The Father, Son, and Spirit (as persons) can sustain a relationship to the Paradise Trinity, for the Trinity is their undivided Deity. The Father, Son, and Spirit sustain no such personal relationship to the first triunity, for that is their functional union as three persons. Only as the Trinity —as undivided Deity —do they collectively sustain an external relationship to the triunity of their personal aggregation. Thus does the Paradise Trinity stand unique among absolute relationships; there are several existential triunities but only one existential Trinity. A triunity is not an entity. It is functional rather than organic. Its members are partners rather than corporative. The components of the triunities may be entities, but a triunity itself is an association.

There is, however, one point of comparison between trinity and triunity: Both eventuate in functions that are something other than the discernible sum of the attributes of the component members. But while they are thus comparable from a functional standpoint, they otherwise exhibit no categorical relationship. They are roughly related as the relation of function to structure. But the function of the triunity association is not the function of the trinity structure or entity. The triunities are nonetheless real; they are very real. In them is total reality functionalized, and through them does the Universal Father exercise immediate and personal control over the master functions of infinity.

The Seven Triunities
The First Triunity —the personal-purposive triunity. This is the grouping of the three Deity personalities:
1. The Universal Father.
2. The Eternal Son.
3. The Infinite Spirit.
This is the threefold union of love, mercy, and ministry —the purposive and personal association of the three eternal Paradise personalities. This is the divinely fraternal, creature-loving, fatherly-acting, and ascension-promoting association. The divine personalities of this first triunity are personality-bequeathing, spirit-bestowing, and mind-endowing Gods. This is the triunity of infinite volition; it acts throughout the eternal present and in all of the past-present-future flow of time. This association yields volitional infinity and provides the mechanisms whereby personal Deity becomes self-revelatory to the creatures of the evolving cosmos.

The Second Triunity —the power-pattern triunity. Whether it be a tiny ultimaton, a blazing star, or a whirling nebula, even the central or superuniverses, from the smallest to the largest material organizations, always is the physical pattern —the cosmic configuration —derived from the function of this triunity. This association consists of:
1. The Father-Son.
2. The Paradise Isle.
3. The Conjoint Actor.
Energy is organized by the cosmic agents of the Third Source and Center; energy is fashioned after the pattern of Paradise, the absolute materialization; but behind all of this ceaseless manipulation is the presence of the Father-Son, whose union first activated the Paradise pattern in the appearance of Central-universe concomitant with the birth of the Infinite Spirit, the Conjoint Actor. In religious experience, creatures make contact with the God who is love, but such spiritual insight must never eclipse the intelligent recognition of the universe fact of the pattern which is Paradise. The Paradise personalities enlist the freewill adoration of all creatures by the compelling power of divine love and lead all such spirit-born personalities into the supernal delights of the unending service of the finaliter sons of God. The second triunity is the architect of the space stage whereon these transactions unfold; it determines the patterns of cosmic configuration.

Love may characterize the divinity of the first triunity, but pattern is the galactic manifestation of the second triunity. What the first triunity is to evolving personalities, the second triunity is to the evolving universes. Pattern and personality are two of the great manifestations of the acts of the First Source and Center; and no matter how difficult it may be to comprehend, it is nonetheless true that the power-pattern and the loving person are one and the same universal reality; the Paradise Isle and the Eternal Son are co-ordinate but antipodal revelations of the unfathomable nature of the Universal Father-Force.

The Third Triunity —the spirit-evolutional triunity. The entirety of spiritual manifestation has its beginning and end in this association, consisting of:
1. The Universal Father.
2. The Son-Spirit.
3. The Deity Absolute.

From spirit potency to Paradise spirit, all spirit finds reality expression in this triune association of the pure spirit essence of the Father, the active spirit values of the Son-Spirit, and the unlimited spirit potentials of the Deity Absolute. The existential values of spirit have their primordial genesis, complete manifestation, and final destiny in this triunity. The Father exists before spirit; the Son-Spirit functions as active creative spirit; the Deity Absolute exists as all-encompassing spirit, even beyond spirit.

The Fourth Triunity —the triunity of energy infinity. Within this triunity there eternalizes the beginnings and the endings of all energy reality, from space potency to monota. This grouping embraces the following:
1. The Father-Spirit.
2. The Paradise Isle.
3. The Unqualified Absolute.

Paradise is the center of the force-energy activation of the cosmos —the universe position of the First Source and Center, the cosmic focal point of the Unqualified Absolute, and the source of all energy. Existentially present within this triunity is the energy potential of the cosmos-infinite, of which the grand universe and the master universe are only partial manifestations. The fourth triunity absolutely controls the fundamental units of cosmic energy and releases them from the grasp of the Unqualified Absolute in direct proportion to the appearance in the experiential Deities of subabsolute capacity to control and stabilize the metamorphosing cosmos. This triunity is force and energy. The endless possibilities of the Unqualified Absolute are centered around the absolutum of the Isle of Paradise, whence emanate the unimaginable agitations of the otherwise static quiescence of the Unqualified. And the endless throbbing of the material Paradise heart of the infinite cosmos beats in harmony with the unfathomable pattern and the unsearchable plan of the Infinite Energizer, the First Source and Center.

The Fifth Triunity —the triunity of reactive infinity. This association consists of:
1. The Universal Father.
2. The Universal Absolute.
3. The Unqualified Absolute.

This grouping yields the eternalization of the functional infinity realization of all that is actualizable within the domains of nondeity reality. This triunity manifests unlimited reactive capacity to the volitional, causative, tensional, and patternal actions and presences of the other triunities.

The Sixth Triunity —the triunity of cosmic-associated Deity. This grouping consists of:
1. The Universal Father.
2. The Deity Absolute.
3. The Universal Absolute.

This is the association of Deity-in-the-cosmos, the immanence of Deity in conjunction with the transcendence of Deity. This is the last outreach of divinity on the levels of infinity toward those realities which lie outside the domain of deified reality.

The Seventh Triunity —the triunity of infinite unity. This is the unity of infinity functionally manifest in time and eternity, the co-ordinate unification of actuals and potentials. This group consists of:
1. The Universal Father.
2. The Conjoint Actor.
3. The Universal Absolute.

The Conjoint Actor universally integrates the varying functional aspects of all actualized reality on all levels of manifestation, from finites through transcendentals and on to absolutes. The Universal Absolute perfectly compensates the differentials inherent in the varying aspects of all incomplete reality, from the limitless potentialities of active-volitional and causative Deity reality to the boundless possibilities of static, reactive, nondeity reality in the incomprehensible domains of the Unqualified Absolute. As they function in this triunity, the Conjoint Actor and the Universal Absolute are alike responsive to Deity and to nondeity presences, as also is the First Source and Center, who in this relationship is to all intents and purposes conceptually indistinguishable from the I AM.

Triodities
There are certain other triune relationships which are non-Father in constitution, but they are not real triunities, and they are always distinguished from the Father triunities. They are called variously, associate triunities, co-ordinate triunities, and triodities. They are consequential to the existence of the triunities. Two of these associations are constituted as follows:

The Triodity of Actuality. This triodity consists in the interrelationship of the three absolute actuals:
1. The Eternal Son.
2. The Paradise Isle.
3. The Conjoint Actor.

The Eternal Son is the absolute of spirit reality, the absolute personality. The Paradise Isle is the absolute of cosmic reality, the absolute pattern. The Conjoint Actor is the absolute of mind reality, the co-ordinate of absolute spirit reality, and the existential Deity synthesis of personality and power. This triune association eventuates the co-ordination of the sum total of actualized reality —spirit, cosmic, or mindal. It is unqualified in actuality.

The Triodity of Potentiality. This triodity consists in the association of the three Absolutes of potentiality:
1. The Deity Absolute.
2. The Universal Absolute.
3. The Unqualified Absolute.

Thus are interassociated the infinity reservoirs of all latent energy reality —spirit, mindal, or cosmic. This association yields the integration of all latent energy reality. It is infinite in potential.

As the triunities are primarily concerned with the functional unification of infinity, so are triodities involved in the cosmic appearance of experiential Deities. The triunities are indirectly concerned, but the triodities are directly concerned, in the experiential Deities —Supreme, Ultimate, and Absolute. They appear in the emerging power-personality synthesis of the Supreme Being. And to the time creatures of space the Supreme Being is a revelation of the unity of the I AM.

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