New Creation Story
Exchanges Between Friends
Wendell Krossa (Feb 7)
We now have a fairly decent appreciation of the grand universe story/narrative. That there was progression from a Big Bang toward a more organized environment with all sorts of infinite fine tuning to make it suitable for life (this being evidence of the great care shown to provide for later life- the multi-billion year process of birthing and dying stars to produce carbon, the basis of life) . And on at least one small planet situated just right (distance from sun, relation to moon, on a perfect place in the Milky Way) life began to emerge and develop. And then the greatest of all things to happen- conscious persons emerged (were embedded, created, emerged) and this began the exodus toward a promised land.
This is the great background to what now becomes more personal. People, conscious persons, then barely above the animal, began to feel these urges, impulses for something better. They fully experienced the horrors of the violence of their lives. The intense selfishness, hatred, retaliation, and all the rest. And they also felt stirring in them these other impulses, what they felt toward their families, spouses, children. Something better. Some better form of existence than the small band exclusion, retaliation, and destruction.
And as Bob has outlined, this becomes evident in the writings of the prophets. The Buddha was also active at this time in another part of the world, as were others. Human persons feeling the desire for something better than what was. Armstrong- compassion emerges as a major theme in all the main religious traditions of this period.
And then it can get down to one personal story- Joseph and Jesus is as good as any.
It would be good if someone with a flair for writing short stories could capture and express these grand narrative themes in new stories such as the Joseph/Jesus story. Bringing this larger narrative context down into a personal story of someone exodusing, surrounding darkness and creating a new promised land in their life and family. Each life is a microcosm of the larger exodus from animal darkness toward the light of something better. With all the struggle and fun that is human story.
And each life has to wrestle with the major beliefs that inform the consciousness of every generation. Whether religious, philosophical, scientific. These beliefs shape human worldviews or perspectives and how people will act in that generation to improve the human condition or worsen it. This gets to issues of courage, bravery, the fighting spirit, sacrifice, personal cost, and so much more that makes personal story so interesting.
Wendell Krossa (date unknown)
Why refer to love as primary or fundamental? There are so many other elements to being human as Herb noted. Why focus on the importance and primacy of love?
There are two basic elements to the old narratives constructed by the ancients that have formed a dark background to people’s perceptions the fundamental nature of reality and life. One of these basic elements of the mythical/religious narratives was that there was something threatening, punishing, harmful, and angry behind all natural reality/life. This threatening reality (God/gods) needed to be placated or appeased and this was a never-ending endeavour motivated too often by guilt and fear. Tied directly to this was the belief that people were corrupted, nasty creatures- evil, and even demonic. These two beliefs formed a general background environment to a lot of other belief (the salvation systems of religions are founded around these two core beliefs). And this was true of Eastern traditions also as Eliade noted in History of Religious Ideas. I think it is important to grasp the darkening impact these elements have on human consciousness.
Some people long ago tried to counter this with new insights that there were also humane features in the gods (e.g. kindness in the pharaohs). It could be argued that the real breakthrough came with the Palestinian sage Jesus and his insights on a good and generous Father behind creation, though Armstrong has noted that similar breakthroughs were also made in the Axial Age (700 to 500 BCE) regarding loving kindness (this theme emerged in all the major religious traditions).
Here is my concern and interest. What has been the impact of these beliefs on human consciousness over the millennia? This may explain something of my own personal emphasis on the centrality and primacy of love, especially the element ‘unconditional’. This element liberates utterly from all the burdensome obligations of religion, from the demands for appeasement, propitiation, or payback. Unconditional as taught by Jesus undermines all religious obligation and darkness.
Just by way of example, regarding the impact on human consciousness: Some years back, I shared some very terrifying experiences I had (that was around the time Bob shared his strange hotel experience). There is a lot of research on these darker experiences and they have been referred to by some as possibly related to the ‘entity experience’ which has a long history- the sense of being possessed and pulled down to somewhere dark and terrifying. Others try to explain this in terms of the brain mechanism which leads to a letting go of the body as you fall asleep and this can give a sense of falling. This one never resonated as a full explanation to what I experienced.
My experience was not a dream. It was very real and intense for the several times that I went through it, notably only during the years of my religious adherence. My original religious interpretation of that experience was that it was demonic. This was how my religion taught me to view such things. I have tried to understand it more over the years and what it might have possibly been about. I think the NDE researchers may have come up with some more plausible explanations as they have tried to understand some of the darker NDEs (hellish ones). They have explained these in terms of religious beliefs (hell) and suppressed fears and what not. Things that we as people cannot handle so we suppress them somewhere in the back of our minds.
Part of this darker impact on consciousness arises from the fact that I had been taught a God in Christianity that was quite frightening. That religious God had become in a very real sense, the ultimate monster, a threatening, all-pervading darkness, even a terror at times. One who sent people to hell. Maybe I had to go right to the gates of hell to experience first- hand the full darkness and terror of that belief system. Only then would “Don’t be afraid, don’t be anxious” or something like unconditional love come through in its full liberating meaning (something valued only can be appreciated in contrast with its opposite). I also wonder now if those dark terror experiences were something like an epitome experience- a condensation of all the dark things shoved back in some repressed manner- of all that I had been taught about divine anger, hell, demons, punishment, human unworthiness, and all the rest.
And yes, the qualifier- there was also love taught in the Christian tradition that I was part of but it was so often mixed in with the other darkening stuff that it resulted in confusion and distortion of basic categories of meaning (e.g. unconditional love but this was highly conditioned with such things as don’t fellowship with unbelievers, unless they convert, and prerequisite payment to an offended deity).
So this theme of unconditional love has resonated as something essential to me and it has led me to change entirely my views of the great creating Reality behind all else .and to change entirely my views of what we are as human persons. I have come to understand that there is no darkness in God, the great creating and sustaining Spirit or Source or Consciousness in all things. There is no threat, nothing to fear in this Ultimate Reality. God is indeed Love and Light. Just as important, we also beings of light and love, pure and perfect in our essential nature, in what others call our real selves.
As Armstrong and Schwartz note, anything in us that is less than human comes from an old animal inheritance in our brain and it is not from our true self or person. This is an important and helpful distinction.
To re-affirm this point that the Source behind all reality is love and the essential human self is similarly love and light, let me quote these sections below from Ken Ring’s Lessons From the Light. This first part is the experience of Peggy Holladay (there is a lot more in the context from which these quotes are pulled).
“I can remember not knowing where I was while I was floating until I saw a small but bright light…as everyone says who has ever seen this light, it looks like the brightest blue-white light in your imagination- multiplied by 10,000…I clearly and instantly knew the light was not just a Light but was ALIVE! It had personality and was intelligence beyond comprehension….I knew the light was a being, and I also knew the light being was God and was genderless…”
(Peggy then began to experience the energy of the light) “I knew completely and without any shadow of a doubt that it was the strongest force in existence. It was the energy of Pure Love….It showed me the world is an illusion…there are invisible things that are far, far more real…the mind was paramount…time was also an illusion….”
(Ring interjects- but of all the things Peggy took in, in this state of tremendously expanded consciousness, the most meaningful had to do with the all-pervading and primary nature of love in the universe) “…I continued to see other amazing truths…one was when the light told me everything was Love, and I mean everything. I had always felt love was, as just a human emotion people felt from time to time, never in my wildest dreams thinking it was literally EVERYTHING!…I was shown how much all people are loved. It was overwhelmingly evident that the light loved everyone equally without any conditions. I really want to stress this because it made me so happy to know we didn’t have to believe or do certain things to be loved. We already were and are no matter what ! The light was extremely concerned and loving toward all people. I wanted to cry I felt so deeply for people…If they could only know how much they’re loved, maybe they wouldn’t feel so scared or lonely anymore….”
(Ring interjects again- then as if to drive home the incomprehensible immensity of this love Peggy received and infusion of the light’s energy) “…I vividly recall the part where the light did what felt like switch on a current of pure, undiluted, concentrated, unconditional LOVE. This love I experienced in the light was so powerful it can’t be compared to earthly love, even though earthly love is a much milder version. It’s like knowing the very best love you feel on earth is diluted to about one part per million of the real thing. As this stream of pure love went through me, I felt as if the light was saying simultaneously, ‘I love you completely and entirely as you are, because you are’…it was like being bathed in energy particles of pure love…I knew there was nothing wrong with me in any way. NOTHING! I was PERFECTION. I wasn’t just with the light. I became the light…”
(Ring- Peggy feels she took home an important lesson about the healing power of unconditional love) “…upon feeling even one moment of this pure energy, any human being alive would fall to his or her knees and deeply sob with unbridled and uninhibited joy at the perfection of the universe….one thing I learned was that we are all here to do an ‘assignment of love’”.
Ring adds this- “The individual realizes the perfection of the universe and that this is the realm of pure, unconditional love and acceptance, a primordial womb of light blazing with beauty and glory beyond measure, where all knowledge is revealed and where one becomes aware with a sense of incontrovertible certitude, that this is our true and eternal home…and the primacy of expressing empathic love and concern for others”.
He later sums up with these comments- “Of all the teachings in the world, the greatest is love. And of all the lessons of the NDE, none is greater than the importance, indeed the primacy of love. What the NDE teaches about love is that everything is love and is made of love and comes from love…We, too, are conceived in and by love. Love, therefore, is our true nature. Why do so many of us fail to experience this love in our lives and even come to feel so unloving toward ourselves at times? Why do we have such difficulty connecting to this molten core of love or even believing that it exists within us? What keeps us so estranged from the essence of what we are?…we have forgotten our true home…our connection to the Source…we need to be restored into the arms of Love…since Love is the essential truth of the NDE, it can set us free”.
And this from another person’s experience (Nancy)- “I became aware of a light- it was warm, it was radiant, it was peaceful, it was accepting, it was forgiving, it was completely nonjudgmental and it gave me a sense of total security the likes of which I had never known. I loved it. It was perfection, it was total, unconditional love. It was anything and everything you would wish for on earth”.
Ring again- “NDEers do not lose sight of their shortcomings…but despite them, they know that as persons they are loved infinitely by the Light and they are ultimately okay as they are and always have been…bathed in this all-accepting love…they learn with undeniable certainty that whatever harsh judgments you have imposed upon yourself for your perceived failings and inadequacies, these harsh judgments are not shared by the Light. What a liberation from the tyranny of your own judgmental self…the lesson of self-acceptance confers a tremendous liberation upon the individual in that he or she is now able to begin to shed the judgmental self that when stripped away also reveals one’s underlying essential being…’I found a central core within me, a spirit’…”
Further in relation to this lady’s experience- “(She experienced) deliverance from the bondage of other’s opinions about and expectations of her…free to be herself…once the old self begins to unravel the threads woven by a lifelong history of judgmental conditioning, the natural core self of the individual is free at last to emerge…The light of one’s own true nature, like the sun shining on the plants of the earth, brings forth what was primed to develop but only lacked the catalyzing stimulus. In short, the absolute and unconditional love of the Light reveals the essence of the individual’s true self…”.
These excerpts speak to these two fundamental dark themes of the old narrative- that God is a threatening, judging reality to be feared because we are sinful, defiled creatures deserving of punishment. They present an entirely different view of these two consciousnesses- the divine and the human. And this is about an entirely new and radically different narrative of reality and life.
So this is why I make a case for the centrality and primacy of unconditional love. Something I know so little of but wish to experience so much more of. Love is about the essence of reality, the essence of what we really are in our true selves. It is what life is all about and why it all exists. Love answers the most profound questions and the most profound impulses for meaning. It responds to the deepest of human desires and longings. It is at the heart of a grand narrative of reality and life. It drives out all darkness from the great Ultimate Reality that creates and sustains all visible reality. And it drives out all darkness from the essential human self.
A further note- Schwartz notes the five basic things: the qualities and gifts that all human beings seek from others. They are attention (genuine interest), acceptance (genuinely embraced), affection, appreciation (encouragement and gratitude), and allowing (safety to be yourself and express all you feel). Love answers all these basic human needs and longings.
Biblical literature and other past literature of many forms tried to come to grips with some of this but did not provide the graphic detail that modern NDErs are providing. We miss something helpful in not paying attention to all this fresh input from so many people all around us.
And yes, I get it that I had a problem- I took my religion too seriously and hence it’s more damaging impact on my consciousness. Others were fortunate to not do so.
Your story of Joseph would be as good as any a starting point into a novel for telling the New Creation Story. I was working over where this could start in my own head and emailed Wendell with an idea. But Joseph would be a good theme
Bob Brinsmead (Feb 6)
Man – male and female – are made in God’s image and likeness. This is the only place where God is revealed to us – the arena of human life and existence. “God is manifest in the flesh. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” We of course, have learned to give these NT statements a generic meaning as even JBA intended we should do. Even Paul says in one place, “That which may be known of God is manifested in them…”
All ideas and theologies have originated in the human mind, including all the distorting myths and the more edifying longings for a more humane order. The clearer revelation of what and who God is comes with the progressive dawning of a human consciousness. There is much in the OT that portrays Yahweh as the tribal God of the Hebrews and a celestial bully at that. Even in the prophets a true monotheism emerges slowly and progressively. There’s was a theology and a morality of the Exodus. God was manifested in what God did for Israel – delivering them from oppression. So Israel’s God is the One who “executes justice for all that are oppressed.” This sets the pattern for the kind of human behaviour that can create a Promised Land.
In creating a Land like this, the people of the Exodus must act out the story and the spirit of the Exodus in all their relationships including even the life of their beasts. God hates oppression. So the people must hate any and every expression of oppression. They must not oppress the poor because they too had been poor and oppressed. They must defend and protect the fatherless because they too had been fatherless in the land of Egypt. They must not oppress the stranger, because they too had been strangers in Egypt.
Even in the prophets Israel alone is portrayed as a special people with a special relationship to God. The meaning of this only slowly dawns. The real meaning of the election of Abraham, (“I will make you a blessing and through you I will bless all the nations on earth”) was yet to dawn, yet it emerges in the prophets who could have God finally say, “Blessed is Egypt my son and Assyria the work of my hand.” Or as one Psalm dares to express it, The Lord is good to all and his mercy is upon all his works. The story of Jonah is a powerful parabolic story of God’s love for the enemies of Israel, a revelation that made Jonah, representing Israel, angry. But one has to smile as this story unfolds because it shows that even Jonah had all along suspected that God did not have the heart to beat the tripe out Jonah’s enemies. That’s why he was a reluctant messenger. He did not want to risk giving Ninevah the chance that God would show mercy to them.
I think it was Karen Armstrong who pointed out that a true monotheism only emerges in the later prophetic writings of the OT.
All ideas about God are the human consciousness’s expression of what is thought to be the highest good. (JBA: “there is none good but One and that is God.”) How can God be anything less than the kind of love we conceive of in the un-conditionality of the marriage vow or the unconditional love parents have for their children? There are theologies that do not comport with what is truly human. The best expressions of the human spirit sometimes surpass what is ascribed to God. The latter come from the shadows of the beasts that still lurk around in what is to be our Promised Land.. The second book of Isaiah declares that as high as the heavens are above the earth so are God’s thoughts of compassion higher than ours. “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither has it entered the heart of man, what God has prepared (and I edit the prophet here) for those that hate him.” It is certainly not conditioned on our love for God, even as Paul suggests when he says, “All things work together for good for them that love God, for them who are called according to his eternal purpose.” The last bit here is fine because everyone who bears the imprint of God’s image is called according to God’s purpose. So I edit Paul to say, “All things work together for good for them who are loved by God.”
I laugh at the unknown poet of the OT who parades this kind of loyalty to God: “Do not I hate them that hate Thee? You bet I do! I hate them with perfect hatred.” So too I smile indulgently at those passages in the Bible that indicate how Yahwey really hated those Egyptians. What a surprise when a Promised Land emerges where the Egyptians too are included among the sons of God.
I once started out to write a novel in which Joseph, the father of Jesus, was the hero. (a fragment of it has already been published) He was seen by his peers as a quirky oddball little Rabbi (Carpenter was the name for such teachers in those days) who did not go along with the rabid patriotism and sectarian hatreds of his day. There were some heated discussions when his peers quoted all those Scriptures at him about “hating them with perfect hatred,” “dashing the heads of their little ones against the rock,” “let not your eye spare no show them any pity” etc. It seemed they gravitated to all those hatefully inhuman passages of the Bible like flies gravitate to rotten meat. At the same time Joseph’s spirit gathered out from the dunghill (thanks for that one Jefferson!) all those gems about God’s love for the pagan woman in the time of Elijah, God’s compassion for the enemies of Israel as in the story of Jonah, that God is good to all and his mercy is upon all his works, that the Lord executes his saving kind of justice on behalf of all that are oppressed, etc. Joseph grasped this prophetic vision of the the Promised Land as a place where there is no violence, oppression or inhuman things of any kind. It was because his spirit embraced such things that he took a pregnant teenager under his protective care and was able to lay the foundation for JBA’s vision where this Promised Land becomes the Kingdom of God spread out on the face of the earth in the here and now.
Julia Tyack (Feb 6)
Bob thanks for this resetting of the affirmations in ancient literature and life of the gems amongst the notions of dark nature. In this context we find the evidence, in the human domain, for the God who is good to all, a God who tenderly gathers up his children in unconditional love, compassion and comfort and brings each to their promised land. This is surely the window into the New Creation Story, the glimpse into the why.
Julia Tyack (Feb 6)
Wendell, Thanks for the thoughts just posted for Bob and myself. I think that is the best explanation.
I just love what you have expressed here. Every day my mind plays with thoughts of how these truths can be woven into a novel, drama etc. I’m sure it will happen. I’ve watched only a few movies and even less TV so am not up on some of the best ways for dramas.
Today my mind started running along the lines of a novel. A human story of personal sacrifice – a young man as a suffering servant on behalf of others, then the journey and his life ending in a final deed of devotion, (like my Creation Story where the ‘consciousness before all’ talks), God tells the divine story to this suffering servant on his passing over. Here we tell not only the Divine story but include the best of NDE description. This suffering servant is instructed in this way by the Divine because the path he travelled in life has opened his understanding to allow him to be an interactive player in the Divine Creation Story and to have some comprehension of what creation meant to the Divine Consciousness.
William Ferguson (Feb 1)
I don’t run this list, although I have been thinking of moving it to a web forum if everyone is agreeable to that. Would save a bit on making sure we got everyone CC: into the discussion. For a couple of years there I was not healthy enough to keep the list going from a server. But my health is nearly fully restored now.
I think the theme in this iteration of the discussion group is “what is consciousness?” From that another of new directions are being explored by various individuals, as consciousness is central to the new trails of thought.
The list has really moved from thinking of life as some final exit into the mind of God to a dawning realization the mind of God was always within and thru that we begin to understand there is no death, except for the physical body. The individuation of this consciousness continues on after death to other adventures, education and service.
Herb Sorensen (Feb 1)
I should call attention to another feature of “the dream, or vision.” Someone said there is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time as come. We might say that there is nothing as powerful as the right vision. I referred to yesterday the working to bring the vision into reality, but we also had a discussion of the words and there power. This means that the vision, cast with the right words (“It’s a beautiful day . . .”) represents raw, unmediated POWER. Not only the excellent précis Bob gave yesterday of the Biblical word, but the same as Marx used when he said, “give me my 26 soldiers, and I will conquer the world.” He certainly understood the power of the alphabet, as you and I understand the power of the word, but it is the VISION behind the word that ultimately triumphs or fails.
Since I read an article back in the 60’s (really, I have some more current knowledge 😉 in a British magazine titled Endeavor (I can’t find hide nor hair of the article today,) about how the vision of the pyramids, before they were built, led to the development of the mathematics and engineering skills required for their building . . .In the same way the vision of going to the moon led to the creation of the aerospace skills to accomplish it. As I say, ever since reading that article I have wondered just what God’s VISIONfor this show is? Remember, the power is in the VISION and the vision will itself POWER the accomplishment.
OK, paint me with a little crinkly tail, but I have always thought God was not tipping his hand, until we get our acts together. In fact, he probably is looking for the human race to become more vision oriented, and is probably actually working in his wondrous ways to create visioning on an individual level, moving society en mass to align and move forward.
I’m not going to argue this further here, but simply tell you that I often tell my audiences, “Retailing is at the cutting edge of social evolution, always has been and always will be.” I don’t use what I said above as a preamble, but sometimes I do detail the filling of needs and desires. This last bit is what drives the population forward – desires are dreams and visions. It’s what I call aspirational marketing. The link between aspirations and visions is unbreakable. Lord knows people have needs, but it is the wants that drive them forward. No detail on this, but there is a living crescendo of progress expressed as: I wish, I want, I need, I got!
Now, you probably thought my diversion into trade, and retail specifically, was just all about money grubbing. But I can guarantee you that there is no greater force for peace and prosperity than trade amongst all peoples. I’m working at the final edge of that frontier: retail. So when I parted company with Bob back in the 80’s, to go out into the wide world, with my past as a springboard, I did. And now my church is the corner store! How convenient.
Wendell Krossa (Feb 1)
Tim, when any group of people get together and discuss, the thread of conversation wanders all over. And that is interesting to watch and take part in. All sorts of insights emerge. But perhaps I could suggest a few potential lines of thought that brought some together in this group this time around. One was this theme of grand narrative, or new narrative for humanity or human consciousness. This works very much in comparison and contrast with the old governing narrative (what some refer to as the religious narrative). Part of this has been looking at a new creation story, a new story of reality and life. And there are many diverse angles to approach this from. It is all-encompassing of human life and understanding.
Essential to this is something Herb noted yesterday- having a vision, a dream, and then working to fulfill it.
I think of it this way sometimes- we have this creative power and ability to dream, to envision something better, even though it may be sometimes an inchoate longing that we have trouble expressing to ourselves. But this very power to dream and envision points to possibility and eventually a new reality.
I sometimes put the content of this new reality in terms of public consciousness and what darkens and restrains that consciousness. Things, for instance, like apocalyptic mythology and its related brood of angry gods, demands for payback (bloody violent sacrifice), punishment, retaliation, hell, salvation rooted in payback thinking and much more. I see this brood of themes as a curse on consciousness, a darkening, defiling influence. Something unholy, to use a religious term. Something that has held humanity in bondage, that has prevented the full liberation of human consciousness over the millennia.
So here is the dream- why can’t we take human consciousness somewhere new. Why can’t we start a new exodus out to freedom? Or better yet, just continue the exodus of consciousness that sages like Jesus started. Exodus referring to the movement out from animal existence with its fear, retaliation, destruction of the other, its small band exclusion. Exodus to a promised land of authentic human existence, human thinking, human desires and impulses, and relating. Why can’t we all be part of such a grand new breakthrough, a new liberation movement and advance of human consciousness? This is about the exodus into a more human future.
I read recently a story of a dark NDE, or it started out dark and then turned into the more typical experience of love and light. But I reacted strongly to the dark part. Why should that have to be? Why should any human consciousness have to suffer such darkness and fear? Just like all through human history people have reacted to human suffering of all sorts and come up with responses that have made life better (reacting to disease, to violence, to…whatever).
This goes to human consciousness and what has informed and shaped human consciousness over the history of humanity. All those dark ideas about apocalyptic, hell, demons, punishment by angry gods, and all the rest that has darkened consciousness. Like any other disease or suffering, such should be cured and cleansed. Just like cholera, any darkening thing in consciousness should be ended. It has gone on too long already.
So this goes to the heart of things, much more than any physical disease. This is about the core of the human spirit where there is still too much darkness and fear rooted in darkening ideas. Too much bondage at the core, in human hearts and minds. This type of slavery is much more binding than anything physical. This demands an exodus to freedom and a new promised land that surpasses anything physical.
So surely, if our consciousness lets us envision and dream of something better, to imagine it, then it can be achieved. Our words can point to something better and inspire others to seek that better reality.
I was walking up a local hill last week- Thornhill- when it hit me. If we can imagine something far better for consciousness, some future free and liberated from all darkness and fear, then why can we not achieve it? It is something good for all humanity. Surely, it is the right thing to pursue. If we can imagine some good then surely this impulse within us is from God and is a shared desire with God.
Herb sometimes wonders about our dreaming here and the ideas we toy with. We are not too successful at getting them out to a broader audience. Oh, I don’t know about that. We have the attention of people like Benny Peiser who likes our ideas and offers us a respected forum to present them in. So dream on.
And I think of this sometimes in the words of Tom Petty’s song “I won’t back down”. “You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won’t back down. No, I won’t back down”. Each of us needs that steel in the spine to pursue our dreams, dreams of a much better future.
Anyway, just some musing on what some themes of this little discussion band have been about. And I see Bob’s life and writing have been exactly about this better future all along, even though at points along the way Bob may not have known exactly what he was looking for.
Ellen Townsend (Jan 5)
Did you ever wonder about the blind person? What does he encounter when he runs into a…wall, let’s say. Obviously, something, because look at that bump on his head! He didn’t observe it, after all.
Maybe…condensed energy? I’ve heard in the lectures that on the quantum level, we are literally 99.999% empty space. So, why is there ‘wreakage’ when two people runinto each other? The other mystery that keeps bringing me back is the so-called shape of the universe. Whaaaat?
William Ferguson (Jan 5)
Definitely! Matter and energy comes from consciousness, no the other way around. The more I learn, the more I realize how inadequate our descriptions or knowledge of God are! I got a feeling that’s going to be always true no matter how much we learn. But the search is half the fun!
Consciousness is prior to what becomes “real”, but it seems to me that is proof of creation by a supreme and prior consciousness
Wendell Krossa (Jan 6)
Einstein in his reply to Bohrs said (summarizing the discoveries of quantum mechanics that he felt uncomfortable with), “I refuse to believe that the moon is not there when I am not looking at it”. Einstein was subsequently proven wrong and Bohrs proven right. Its all real enough for all intents and purposes. But if we conscious creatures were not here….
I think the valuable thing to take away is the primacy of conscious experience.
Ellen Townsend (Jan 6)
Do you think that some advanced thinker, some pre-Darwin genius, told us in the Eden story about a point in creature-development when we became self-aware: “They saw that they were naked…”Ah, these apes became ashamed? Maybe some sort of extraordinary consciousness happened post-apple! A self-awareness, a shame, a guilt, and, most of all, a knowledge of good and evil. So, in pre-apple days, we were just one of the smarter creatures, like dolphins or dogs, not knowing good and evil, but just existing, following “instincts.” But, we became “as gods, knowing good and evil.”
Play with the following idea for awhile:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form and void…And God said, ‘Let there be light…’ ” KABOOM! (The Big Bang!) And, if we came from THAT, if we flew forth from THAT, could it be that our pre-Darwin genius is telling us in the EDEN story about being “cast out of heaven,”or “falling from grace.” And, the effort has been ever since to bring us back: “Return to me, saith the Lord…” And, there is a continuous longing inside of us to “return.” I suspect there is a memory of our Source in all of us. It’s the reason we reach and the reason for the glorious angst of the ‘sinner’. We KNOW that we were separated from our Source. And, scientists call that separation, “The Big Bang.”
Wendell Krossa (Jan 7)
The Genesis story expresses some powerful themes that the ancients put forth to explain many things. That we have failed miserably, that we are responsible for the mess that appears to be on earth, that we deserve punishment for being bad, that life was once better and now is in decline toward something worse, that we are now corrupted, defiled creatures, that women are to blame, and so on. It is very similar to much other ancient mythology, notably Zoroaster’s separation between good and evil, and the decline of life toward disaster. Other ancient themes held that early people were composed partly of demonic and divine substances and were responsible for the fall and decline of life toward something worse. Others – that the gods were angry and retributive toward people and their failings.
Early conscious people were trying to make sense of life around them and offered such explanations. There was disaster everywhere and they believed gods/spirits/forces were behind all elements of life, so obviously the gods must be angry and punitive.
I like to think that they missed something very important because they were new at all this and still learning. And after all, life developed/evolved into a very animal existence and among natural forces that were not always pleasant. And as early conscious persons responding to all this, they came up with some very dark explanations. They were young and inexperienced and still learning.
But over time with their consciousness they started to see something else- it is there in the early Sumerian belief systems- comments on the need to forgive enemies, not to retaliate. Or in Egypt in the comments that there was kindness and mercy in the Pharaoh/gods. The Hebrews also spoke of a new more humane reality in their comments on God seeking mercy, not sacrifice. Or God as liberating the oppressed and delivering from misery and slavery and promising something new and better. In this view consciousness is seen as emerging into a dark reality and gradually bringing light and love into that darkness and bringing humanity out of slavery and into a promised land. A better future. And this is a long, gradual trajectory of rise toward something better (advance, progress, development, improvement are all ways of viewing this).
This is not about separation which was so central to the old dark mythological explanations but about God incarnated in early humanity at the very beginning and involved intimately in the rise of humanity toward something better. Separation was a mistaken interpretation of early people based on their myths of seeing divine anger in the natural disasters of life.
Others, like Jesus, saw a different reality behind nature- love and generosity. He did not see disasters as evidence of divine anger- the tower falling and killing people, the son born blind. Rather, he looked at things like sun and rain given generously to all, at flowers clothed beautifully, and so on. All evidence of love and goodness behind all. This was a new breakthrough way of seeing the world and interpreting it. It was about optimism not despair. Love not anger. So he lifted consciousness to an entirely new perspective. And we have never been the same since.
A few more thoughts on this fascinating thing Ellen raised. Some stories are summaries of previous mythological themes and become iconic in history and hold immense sway over public consciousness, like this Hebrew story of origins and fall. Unfortunately, for following generations, early people focused on the theme of separation in this myth. That God was angry and had rejected humanity and punished people. And worse was yet to come. This spawned all sorts of things such as salvation or restoration myths. The ongoing endeavour to heal the separation or rupture and to appease the angry, punitive deity with blood sacrifice of innocent victims. Christianity developed a particularly gory version with violence and blood all over the place as necessary to placate offended deity. And what about the fear, shame, and even despair associated with all this? What an impact on human consciousness, a darkening, defiling impact. What does all this do to human confidence, self-image, and valuation of one another? Carrol (Constantine’s Sword) for one has traced the sad history of violence and antagonism associated with this mythology.
On the other hand, take the other grand narrative now becoming more clear. That there never has been a separation of God from humanity. Never. Not one drop of evidence for such a thing. God has never been angry with imperfect humanity. Rather, the emergence of consciousness we can associate with God incarnating in all humanity. A God of love bringing uniquely human features into or with this consciousness- generosity, love, peace, and whatever we consider genuinely human. This incarnation resulted in the grand venture of humanity to leave our animal background and to find a more human existence. This has been the natural impulse of people all through history.
This is the story of liberation, exodus, and the entry into a promised land of a better future. This is about humanity humanizing life. Overcoming the animal to live as human. This is about hope, optimism, and other liberating emotions. This is a story replicated endlessly in each human life in all sorts of diverse human experiences. And each person trying to be something better is taking a unique part in the overall grand narrative of exodus and liberation and discovery of a better future.
Bob Brinsmead (Jan 9)
In the world of the NT the difference between superstition and religion was that the former was private and the second something publicly established. So it may be appropriate to ask individualists, “What is your superstition?” You go to a hospital or fill in a Census and there’s that awkward question, What is your religion? or just a box where you nominate your religion. If you say None, it seems like you are declaring yourself an atheist. How would Herb, being the great defender of religion around here, answer that question?
Julia Tyack (Jan 9)
Isn’t consciousness before matter the very essence of the Creation story? God, ultimate unknowable consciousness, said let it be and it was good. A scientist who held a divinity degree with the Anglicans was on ABC a few years back and read his re-written creation story. From his scientific and theological understanding it went something like – In the beginning from before time, there was consciousness and consciousness said let there be ‘other’ and let other be what it will be – and so on. And consciousness burst forth in a great energetic force and there was a big explosion of creative energy and ‘other’ was born.
Julia Tyack (Jan 9)
Ellen enjoying your contributions again too. You have just written what I was going to suggest but thought if it were a good idea someone in the group would come up with it. I actually wrote something like this for one of our previous practitioners and her young family. She is a Canadian who now runs a multi-disciplinary practice back in Canada.
My Dearest Earthling,
You may not know me. We haven’t talked like this before. I am the Consciousness behind all. It’s time for us to get to know each other. After all, I’ve left you messages for more years than you can count now. Some Earthlings have guessed that these messages have been piling up for 13 billion years, give or take a few billion years.
And how old do you think you are? Nine? Thirteen? How about 13 Billion years old too? You are part of me – you have never been separate from me? In fact the biggest message that you have from me is your Consciousness. That was a gift that cost me everything, in fact the cost was so great that it will take all eternity and you will still be reading this message, delighting in it, and using it for great things like new creations. That’s why I’m going to tell you a story about me, which is about you too.
Dear Human, I’m the unimaginable, indescribable, beyond all, source and ground of everything that exists, I’m the consciousness behind all that is. I’m the mind present and active now in a way that remains beyond your imagination. You have searched for me but I have disappeared. Yet I have talked to you often. You see I have disappeared into those people you meet every day, your family, friends and even your enemies.
I’m the ancient one before the universe began those eons ago. You are a part of me, you have never been separated from me. That is why this story I’m going to tell you is our story. First we must celebrate your birthdays. Everything that exists was my gift to you and you share it’s common origins. Energy that was to become your unique life burst forth, very fast, in a great blast on this birthday. Every time energy made itself into a particle it’s exact opposite an anti-particle, would appear and both the particle and anti-particle would be destroyed. These were your birthday celebratory fireworks. These particles were oppositional, at war and just kept destroying each other. Then another miracle happened, for every billion particles that zapped each other, one extra particle was born.
Now the particles were winning, there were more and more and more because I was the Consciousness from which this creation came, and opposition cannot destroy Consciousness. Soon there were enough not only to make your body but enough for the whole universe. Then bunches of particles joined into atoms like Lego pieces (your birthday present was a Lego set so big you can’t even imagine it). From this Lego set, suns, galaxies, mysterious black holes and your earth was formed. All that you call the universe was born from a tiny speck more than 13 billion years ago in the first second of this birthday of yours.
After this first birthday you had many other birthdays when the matter that was to become you went through rebirths as your genetic code was written. Amazing things happened on each of these birthdays. Fish swam in deep blue seas for the first time, insects were on flowers, reptiles basking in the sun, birds swooping and eventually mammals were all over the earth. But like the particle and anti-particle war on your first birthday there were always wonderful things appearing as well as oppositional things that caused a lot of destruction. Each birthday was a special time for doing things or the chance would be lost to the opposition.
In this precise timing the oppositional was not able to stop progress. Like the birth of the first particles life prospered and progressed until all this mystery was embodied in your unique person. In telling you this story I wanted to share with you the knowledge that dreams turn into reality, everything progresses from simple to more complex, life is an adventure that turns out for the best, that you are not alone. Now you are consciously here it is you who tells the universal story of how the universe was born and grew up to become consciousness in action. Your reverence for this story of universal birth, is your gift back to me, it is why you appreciate life in its full excitement and grandeur.
Thank you for listening intently and understanding we have come to the birth of a new capacity in human relatedness and love. I can see how excited you are about your birthday story. Can you even imagine how excited I am? I’ve been preparing for this for billions of years and now in your life time great works are bursting forth from human hands, magnificent buildings, grand music compositions, art forms, and above all vibrant compassionate Earth communities.
This birthday is the celebration of your consciousness and my gift of all gifts to you is; inside your heart is my love over-flowing. In this gift you experience the divine peace, light and ultimate love and no matter what oppositional things come against you this gift will never let you forget that everything will be alright in the end. This gift of my divine love never dies and to know our story is to remember that there was never a time when you were not with me, never a time when you were separated and there will never be a time when this greatest gift of all gifts is your connectedness to live as active players in the New Grand Narrative of Universal wonder. Remember the ancients wrote; “He who divine love wishes to talk to, never ceases to exist.”
Wendell Krossa (Jan 10)
Julia- the scientific movement has been an incredible benefit to humanity, notably in removing the hocus-pocus fear-promoting mythology of much ancient belief. Nothing was more significant in this regard than the belief that behind all material reality there was a malicious Spirit (or spirits) seeking to harm humanity and life.
But on the other side philosophical materialism – also a belief system – could not leave well enough alone and also took science beyond the science/belief boundary and tried to convince the public consciousness that it was all meaningless. This was an endeavour to drag science into metaphysics. More than the fear engendered by the old mythology, this new mythology engendered despair and hopelessness.
And then science itself can only take us to its limits and no further and these limits fall far short of the human longing for meaning. Science can only feebly point us to the wonder and mystery that lie beyond comprehension. Then each of us with this powerful human impulse to find meaning needs to make our own sense of it all. To create our own stories.
And nothing engenders wonder more than a Creator with personhood. A Supreme Consciousness or Mind that is fully personal as we ourselves have tasted in our own experience. And a Creator that exhibits nothing frightening to a humane consciousness. Nothing dark or despairing. Much like the Father Creator of the Jesus tradition.
You have expressed something of this in your new creation story. This is something other than the drier more science-oriented attempts at new creation stories that are based on major stages of the evolving universe and life on earth (as interesting and helpful as those are). But this is a personal story, something we all can identify so fully with. The Creator’s personal story.
Bob Brinsmead (Jan 15)
A comment on Personhood as it relates to God/Consciousness/Creative force or whatever. Spong has abandoned or will not have it that God is a person. It seems Morwood takes a similar position. I have not been able to follow down that track which de-personalizes God. Are some of us dragging our feet on this one? I am just trying to provoke a response on something very basic
Julia Tyack (Jan 15)
Bob- It was a car trip with Morwood around 2003/4 just after his book “Praying a New Story” was published that he was speaking about the book and its concepts. I was asking a few questions when it surprised me that he said, “God is not person.” What on earth does that mean? Morwood went on to say that it meant God was not local as a person is localized, he does not answer, direct or respond to requests, or punish, etc. Morwood sees God as coming to personhood in humanity i’e “Each gives God unique and personal expression. “Praying a new story page 21. “God comes to visible expression in each of us.” ….”earthen vessels carrying a treasure, God expressed in human form. “I personally find it hard not to imagine God as person probably due to prior programming. I see that some define the essence of personhood as the ability to relate. There is also the problem of how a word has evolved its present meaning. One of the stories that I treasure as a concept for forming a concept of who God is, is the story you told, Bob, of how Jesus gained his concept of Abba Father.
How can we rewrite creation stories without this question first being addressed? Is it but another universe story? The universe is a pretty cold, dark, explosive, unpredictable place without some warm, loving presence planning and sustaining. Is consciousness defining of personhood or only self-consciousness? Is it true, for one to be self -conscious one must also be conscious of the other? I know psychologists have said that a baby until a certain age between 1-2 years isn’t self conscious because they sense themselves as one with the mother. Gradually self consciousness dawns as an awareness of separation occurs. An awareness of self and ‘other’ occurs and hence the first early memories. If God were self-conscious then it would follow, would it not, that God is first person in his own right? Personal-hood is also defined as a continuous self-conscious awareness or memory. What a question and how much it changes one’s spiritual imagination? If for God to be described as Abba, personhood has to be ascribed, then Jesus must have thought in the Jewish way of God as person.
In the sacred scriptures of Judaism, Islam and Christianity, God is conceived and described as being a personal creator, speaking in the first person and showing emotion such as anger and pride, and sometimes appearing in anthropomorphic shape.In the Pentateuch, for example, God talks and instructs his prophets and is conceived as possessingvolition, emotions (such as anger, grief and jealousy), intention, and other attributes characteristic of a human person.
William Ferguson (Jan 16)
This is a tough thing to wrap ones head around, but then again science is already treading in that area.
The most empty and nothing place to most humans is outer space, yet even in that there is the solar wind, fast moving particles (ions) streaming out from the Sun. But even if that didn’t exist, and there was only the cold vacuum, we know from quantum physics that this is teaming with virtual un-manifested particles. It only takes certain conditions and they come into existence or go out of existence like sea drops splashing upward and then sinking down into space-time.
Space is cold to us, because we associate warmth with infrared light, that’s what keeps us warm and we have skin sensors for that energy. It is empty to us because the gases that are there are not sufficient to inflate our lungs. We require the gravity of the planet to create enough density of gases to sustain our lives.
We know from the Hubble that space is full of colors in spectrums our eyes can’t see. We have such a narrow band width of vision, there is much we do not see. Everyday people photograph amazing things on digital cameras that their eyes cannot see. Digital cameras have “vision” in frequencies that can see infrared light and ultraviolet light. Even among humans there are different sensitivities and perceptions to light. Some are even color-blind confusing two or more colors.
I see God as the source, ground of all being. The question that I have is ,does God delegate creation? The Bible speaks of the Elohim in Genesis. It means the supreme ones. Plural. Who were they? Is this simply a gaff of incomplete understanding as man transitioned from polytheism to monotheism? Or did Christians completely misunderstand what older religions were talking about? What do we mean when was say “God”? That idea is clearly in transition. Were the Elohim the planetary construction crew?;The terra-formers?; The botanists?; The zoologists? And why does Genesis put them in the role we normally assign to God in Christianity. Just as we are beginning to see that humans are part of the whole that is “God”, could it be that God works through all life including beings of such power and intelligence we cannot even conceive? I think it’s very likely, but I don’t have the answer.
Is there a hierarchy of Universes? That’s such an enormous idea its hard to even pose the question. If there is a local God to each Universe that is also part of a large Source, perhaps I should get the nesting Russian dolls out and paint galaxies on them.
Bob Brinsmead (Jan 16)
God gave us an incomplete creation like an incomplete or if you like, a less than perfect Promised Land. We are God’s hands to fashion it according to the dream of a Promised Land without hunger, sickness, war, injustices, oppression and so on. Listen to the song/prayer of the little girl that I sent Wendell. In this sense we have become the co-creators. God could not give us the gift of love without at the same time giving us the gift of liberty – so great as to be scary. In this, God’s love is so great and bewildering that God put God’s self in human hands and became subject to a lot of random chance along the way as we ourselves are.
In a sense, we need to keep re-writing and up-dating the Biblical story. We stand on their shoulders – that is, those who wrote the Bible. We listen to any wisdom that is relevant to us, use it, edit it, revise it, and so on. How could we ever surpass that brilliant flash of insight, the foundation of the great story of humanity, that appears in the first chapter of the Bible, namely, that man and woman were made in the image and likeness of God. Take that gift to me from that unknown ancient writer, and I would have nowhere to start my own theological edifice. That to me is almost the foundation of all the theology that I will ever express. In that sense, do I believe in the inspiration of the Bible? You bet I do – and I believe in a lot of human inspiration other than what you can find in the Bible too.
I got out Dawkins (The God Delusion) the other day, and what a field day he had exposing some of the violent, inhuman, and embarrassing stuff from the OT, and if that was not enough, he jumped all over the NT and mocked the shocking stuff about blood sacrifice (atonement), hell, end of the world and such like. The blows he rained on the Bible were for the most part all very true – and he was so obsessed with this garbage drawn from the Holy Bible, that he had no insight at all into its true inspiration. But he did illustrate how a certain atheistic group advises people to read the Bible as the very best means of turning people into atheists.
Let me here acknowledge that most if not all of the insights that are important to me have been drawn from the Bible or begin with some Biblical insight – it is like my Promised Land, or my own farm here – if this farm did not have a certain potential to start with, I could never have turned it into a farm that thousands want to come and see. In the case of my farm, nature conspired for millions of years to bring about a big volcano to make this soil, this aspect added to this climate, with the kind of topography to create some Disney-like illusions of space, size and imagination. I simply worked on things that were givens.
So I have worked with material, ideas, insights, inspirations handed on to me by Biblical authors. I value what they did, and that’s why I don’t hesitate to edit, revamp, polish and even add to what they have contributed.
Wendell Krossa (Jan 17)
They do articles on how pervasive the influence of the Bible has been on Western culture. How often even today in so-called secular arenas we hear an endless stream of biblical references- David and Goliath, turn the other cheek, and on and on. Each of us takes and uses what we were fed from this source, and do some tinkering, or wholesale revision, or whatever we find helpful. Sometimes the shifts in perspective are quite radical. I think for instance of the Christian doctrine of holiness. This was the supreme attribute of God in our Evangelical tradition. This was the “glory” of God. Even love had to kowtow to holiness. It had to be first and foremost ‘holy love’.
But in rethinking these things over the years, I took a second look at such ideas. Holiness is really about separation. It is about clean/unclean, pure/impure. It reinforces the myth of separation from God, that God is separate from this defiled world and defiled humanity. And of course Evangelicals like Spurgeon even got into the ‘angels on the head of a pin’ aspect in debating how an omnipresent holy God could be present in, say, a dunghill.
This holiness doctrine gets to the heart of salvation mythology- that offended holiness must be propitiated, a holy separating law has been broken and payment must be made. Holiness supports the whole system of belief.
For me, things like this teaching on holiness became an issue of dare to blaspheme and dare to be free. To see that this holiness feature was a distortion of God. That such a God may be in actuality more of a Devil (your God is my devil). Such radical change in perspective is part of liberating oneself from those deep inner slaveries of mind and spirit. To confront those deepest fears of offending some potentially offended deity. These things are not easy to let go of, after having the fear of God beaten into one’s consciousness. But part of human liberation is to let go and find something more humane to replace it.
I have mentioned before that my earliest memory as a child of 3 was of my Dad standing beside our wood stove and quickly touching the hot top and telling us, “This is what hell is like, like when you burn your finger but only it’s all over your body”. That kind of fear gets deeply burned into one’s consciousness, and can be traumatizing.
Some of us face such residual fears of things taught long ago; Biblical things; Holy things; things that we now know were wrong-headed. But this does not depreciate much else that was valuable. Its more about sorting things out; picking and choosing. The ongoing work is to create a narrative for oneself, to guide one’s life story.
Bob Brinsmead (Jan 17)
Mark that down, Wendell, as one of the big things we learned along the way. What about listing more of the big break-throughs we have enjoyed on this journey? Each one can be expressed in a short pithy aphorism – let’s tell the good news that “he may run that readeth it”
Wendell Krossa (Jan 20)
A list of theses breakthroughs? How about writing a new creation story of Someone personal incarnating in a species of bipeds with big brains, Someone bringing the wonder of consciousness into biological life. The purpose being to have this grand exodus out of the darkness of animal reality, out to create a promised land of a more humane existence, human civilization. This grand venture to struggle against animal drives and thereby learn their opposites (we learn from adversity and struggle and suffering).
All those breakthroughs could be embedded in such a story- no authority over this new species of conscious persons. They would be granted freedom to live as equals, to escape the domination and pecking orders of the animal and show what freedom could be. Each contributing something unique to better the human condition or civilization. A new species that would eventually discover the wonder of unconditional, in absolute contrast to the payback, retaliation and punishment of the animal. This is the brilliance of light against darkness. Freed from the animal by consciousness, to make a great exodus and create a new promised world or life: a truly human or humane world. All those great breakthrough insights could be embodied in a new creation story- outlining the purpose of creation in those breakthroughs.
Julia Tyack (Jan 20)
Wendell you have done well in gathering up the threads. To recap some aphorisms from your last few Emails. These really hit between the eyeballs.
“No authority over personal human consciousness”
“Personal human consciousness are equal in authority”
“No diety to placate”
“No Separation to heal”
“God is incomprehensible love; beyond all imaginings.”
“Freed from the animal by consciousness” Wow!
Yes! Stories – they say can be more powerful when they are removed from the familiar
Wendell Krossa (Jan 20)
It will take someone with a poetic flair to write it properly. Let me do something like Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed a Dream or Jackie Evancho’s believing, hoping for a better world.
I think of Bishop Kalistos Ware’s suggestion that Love must express itself, it must create as it is the nature of love to be outgoing, to share with another, to create a world for others to enjoy. It must share life and existence. It must share itself. So Love created a universe. And we can see the purpose of it all from where we are now. From how far we have come. And in it all- universe, life, civilization- we see what we have hoped for, what we have dreamed of and longed for. These dreams and longings are the very impulses and desires of God in us. We are the very image and likeness of God, co-creators, co-dreamers.
Central to the dream of a Creator has been love and freedom, the inseparable two, the primary human values. Love first gave life the urge to be, to exist, to express its unique nature in freedom. This has resulted in immense diversity of all the forms of life. Life exploring every possible option of being. But without advanced consciousness, life learned to feed on others (the earliest cells), to dominate and use others in order to thrive. Life explored all options and ended up in many dead ends. It became dark nature and this too was from the freedom to choose; and it is essential to learning. But Love still dreamed of a better way. It still hoped and believed. And Love incarnated its very likeness- consciousness- into this darkness; into one species in particular. It buried itself in the human species (not entirely alone, as other species have varied levels of consciousness also). This is the heart of the creation story- the wonder of consciousness in biological life. Mind in meat.
Humans were honoured to be made co-creators, stewards of the universe. A vast 3-dimensional realm of energy, all sorts of energy forms created to experience life and learn, and always to desire something better. To experience imperfection and be restless in searching for a better future.
Humanity would eventually emerge to lead all life into a promised land of a better existence. To experience a grand exodus out of the darkness of animal existence and create a promised land of a more human or humane world. The very darkness of the animal is necessary to value something better (Simon- our problems inspire us to find solutions, to be passed on to the benefit of others). All the cruelty, fighting, disease, all the suffering of the dark existence of the animal is a background of experience to spur desire for something better. To create a longing for something better in contrast to such darkness. To urge us to struggle against the animal and thereby learn better behaviours, opposite behaviours.
And Love knew this could only be accomplished in absolute freedom, again freedom being so opposite to the animal with its domination, coercion, subjection, and following. And because it has been accomplished in freedom it has been a slow process of learning. There has been no coercion, no domination, no overwhelming intervention to spare suffering. The freedom of each individual has been respected supremely. This has been critical to learning and to accomplishing the dream of a more human future. Each person has been free to choose a better way, to create a better existence. This freedom of choice is supremely valued by Love.
The height of this long process is the dream of unconditional. This is so entirely a brilliant light compared to the darkness of payback, retaliation, and punishment of the animal world. This is the ultimate freedom from base animal drives. The ultimate freedom to be truly human. In this unconditional we achieve the brightest image and likeness of the Creator who is Love.
Ahh, there are many elements to a new creation story. It is so entirely different from the old story. The story of prohibited curiosity, prohibited learning. No freedom of choice.
Hank Hasse (Jan 22)
Wendell, this is a great beginning! I wish I was more of a story-teller to make an attempt to take it from here. My children thought I was. It takes great imagination while still working with truths learned the hard way. Is there any easy way? I doubt there is, even when choosing a better way there are challenges. The road taken (chosen) does make all the difference.
I am still having some difficulty with starting us all out with “animal-like” behavior. If there is any truth to be found in the Genesis writer’s vision of the beginning, especially in the first chapter, and I still think that there is, then I have come to think that a loving Source did create beings, with reason, sometime during its creative process, “minds in meat” as you say, unlike the other creatures around them, not animal-like, but with a consciousness somehow connected to a greater creating Consciousness, “in its image” but not totally so, rather with the freedom to choose to become more like it by learning a better way to interact with each other in a loving way through living experiences. This, I think is what made it “good” because it was filled with potential. (I know, animal lovers may differ with this distinction. Yes, they too seem to recognize that being cared for by humans is better than caring for themselves in the wild, but I do not think that they have actually reasoned this out and made the better choice.)
But the “road less taken” was not always the loving way to go, maybe because what they saw around them was an animal-like behavior displayed in a survival of the fittest in the stronger and best of the lot. Then, of course, there was also the natural and changing environment which did not always provide a completely safe and inviting environment to live in. There were also those who yearned to rule over and control others with their own ideas instead of loving them and allowing them the freedom to grow in their knowledge, individually, through their experiences, the Source’s way.
Choosing the destructive way over the Source’s way always ended up as a dumb idea because it either ended in an early demise while not having learned much, or it brought the learning process to a halt, at least until some left it behind hoping to find a better way to live. The loving behavior which yearned to be tried and to be discovered as a better idea for the betterment of all concerned seemed to seek its own freedom. This learning process seemed to take ages, but the better way finally seemed to prevail little by little. Improvements continued to be made. Some of them were truly inspired and made life easier and better for all. In the meantime, the Source remained endlessly patient with its being discovered within humanity where it chose to exist from the beginning. Iit was always happy when another of its endless and marvelous facets was finally discovered and shared.
Yes, the history of humanity has had its dark times, but only because it chose the wrong road for a season. Perhaps the less said about those choices the better, especially the gory details. Not to deny that they in fact happened, but simply to learn that those choices did not work, that they were poor examples to follow, and that there is a better way that does not destroy – the way of the Source!
Bob Brinsmead (Jan 22)
Henry, According to Genesis 2,3, the ancients sought answers to such basic questions as – why is the soil often so hard and unproductive, more conducive to growing weeds than things we need, why do women have such a hard time in child birth and why are they subordinate to males, why are humans naked from birth unlike other animals and what is the origin of human shame in respect to nakedness and how did the making of clothes begin, why does the snake go on its belly but lives forever by simply changing skin and why do we dream of immortality yet die? The story told to answer these questions is now completely unsatisfying nonsense to us – but being human, humans told stories to answer such basic questions. We need to tell a better and more accurate story according to a modern worldview.
Let’s attempt a simple, even crude outline of the old narrative.
In the beginning God created a perfect world and a perfect garden environment for mankind. There was no pain, no illness and no death in a life of blessed fellowship with the Creator.
Mankind quickly ‘blew all this away’ in one act of disobedience to God – apparently inspired by a woman’s curiosity and some human skepticism. God immediately enforced his‘strict policy of “one strike and you are out.” Mankind lost immortality, the idyllic environment and was sent out to confront a threatening wilderness of a world full of weeds, thorns, difficult child-bearing, dangerous animals and the prospect of a life that was harsh, brutal and short. Mankind was cut off from access to God and fellowship with him, and the whole race was destined to inherit a fallen, corrupt and evil (rebellious) nature instead of one that was pure and in harmony with God. It seemed as if God had withdrawn to his high heaven and had shut the gate.
Yet out of his great love and pity, God had devised a plan of salvation, a means of bridging this gulf between a holy God and the sinful human race. The plan was that after the passing of some thousands of years, God would send his own son to become the new Adam of the human race, that against great difficulties he would live a life of perfect obedience to God as the first Adam should have done: and having done that, he would offer his life as a bloody sacrifice to God so as to make an atonement (payment) for human sin. Then by his resurrection from the dead and return to God in heaven, he would pave a way for man’s forgiveness, reconciliation and restored fellowship with God.
A period would be given for this “gospel” of Christ’s atonement and redemption to be offered to the world. After this Christ would return to save (translate or resurrect) those who believed the gospel and take them to live with him in fellowship with God forever, and to destroy the rest with the brightness of His coming and to punish them in hell fire. After that, mankind would live happily with God for ever after – and would never again doubt, disbelieve, disobey or indulge in a woman’s natural curiosity ever again.
Now why is it taking more than another two thousand years to get this message out to all the world so that the end can come, as Jesus was credited with saying. To be blunt, why don’t the ungrateful bastards on this God forsaken earth embrace this good news with both hands?
I don’t think that in the above brief sketch I have in any way misrepresented the core Christian message. You can find it in any simple Christian Catechism, both Catholic and Protestant. What now? Where to now?
Julia Tyack (Jan 22)
A Parable; it is true!!
Well, then by anyone’s standards this Genesis story started too good to be true. The root, the tree of life in the perfect garden, chosen by the creator for grafting in new life was a cursed choice. A bit like children, who have it too good, all too easy to blow. There was no toughness, hardening process, patience, skepticism or knowledge of how to use freedom. But as Bob said they weren’t questions that the story was answering.
But there is another unbelievable creation story. The creator chose the “family Tree” whose root was of animal DNA (meat), for grafting in human consciousness. But, wait a minute; you can’t tell a tree by its root, it is the fruit that is the proof.
There was a horticultural creator who lived in the shadow of a unique mountain. The garden he created was the wonder of people from all over the earth as they looked upon, tasted and tested the rarest of delectable fruits. One orchard was to be the crowning act and the creator longed for this orchard to have hanging groves of bright, red, egg shaped fruit. To produce this crowning specimen of all, a strong grafting stock must be found. Much thought and investigation rejected all the rarest most prize roots for such a task. Then, low and behold, a root of great distain was found. It was a wild, unruly, pestilent plant reproducing in abundance on land far away. The shrub, a proscribed ‘pest’, belonged to a small tree bearing some of Australia’s nastiest thorns . But the desired delicate orchard fruit would be made strong by this tough connection. This hard environment would produce fruit of quality both rust, pest and weather resistant, This orchard would delight visitors from many lands as they looked upon its beauty and tasted its rare flavour.
I invite you to come visit this marvel and enjoy the fruit but don’t ask the creator about the root. It remains his secret and men wonder why there are thorns on every hand. The message must get out; the thorns are there for each to turn his plot into a rich paradise
Wendell Krossa (Jan 22)
Experiencing something unpleasant pushes us to seek something better. To value something better and to seek it until we find it and make it a part of our existence. This is what consciousness leads to. Awareness of the unpleasant, desire for the better, reasoning and planning abilities to actually gain the better (I use better as a general term because it encompasses pretty much everything- physical improvements, mental and emotional improvements and so on).
Years ago in some office there was a copy of O magazine (Oprah). It had this great little article on pleasure. Seeking pleasure is good. The desire for pleasure is behind much human endeavour and this is good. Our desire for pleasure leads us to create all sorts of things. To engage all sorts of things. It is behind much human improvement in all areas. Maybe it hit me more because I came from such an anti-pleasure culture in Evangelicalism.
In one sense this does help explain suffering. And not to diminish the horror of anyone’s suffering. But the presence of suffering in life does press us all to find resolutions, to prevent further suffering. It pushes us all toward creating a better future.
And it is unlikely we would discover the wonder of the positives of life without their opposites. The actor, Nicole Kidman, expressed this well in an interview many years ago. Referring to her own suffering, she said, we would not appreciate the good things in life without their opposites. The dark things make their positive opposites all the more precious and valued to us. E.g. Without the experience of hate we would not know love.
Bob Brinsmead (Jan 22)
Actually there is a nice insight expressed in Genesis 4:7. The Lord tells Cain that his anger and the evil stirring in him is like a wild animal crouching at the door, but he is challenged to master it rather than the reverse. I understand that this is the real sense of the passage.
I tell anybody who wants to learn what “original sin” is to go and read Lyle Watson’s Dark Nature. This book is a wonderful eye opener. Watson sat through the murder trial of the two boys who murdered the toddler on the railway tracks of Great Britain. Watson wanted to gain some insight into the source of human evil. He found it all in the animal kingdom. After his great survey of how mother nature can be “a wicked old witch,” Watson concludes the book by saying that civilization depends on the triumph of culture over nature.
An illustration of this is how civilized society does not condone incest which is perfectly natural in the animal kingdom. It is culture that forbids incest. There was an old Hollywood movie whose theme song was “I just do what comes naturally.” What do you say to a kleptomaniac who appeals to what is natural to him. Or a polygamist? The law of nature is the law of the jungle, and it is red in tooth and claw.
Culture is a human creation. Environmentalism attacks the Judeo-Christian tradition (Genesis 1:28) on the grounds it puts the human above nature.
Julia Tyack (Jan 22)
This concept of man the master of nature, even his own nature, is so powerful and so easy to lose if one does not live in awareness. I was asked what insight had impressed me most this start of a new year – it is just this concept Bob writes below. How amazing that strong as our neuropeptides, DNA etc, are in delivering animal instincts, being human is super-natural. Within consciousness is a freedom that can be claimed. I think this is where human inter-connection and culture can strengthen mastery. It is evident that such freedom for mastery struggles against great odds as has the whole out-rolling of emergence. I wonder if it isn’t a two sided thing where respect, charity in appreciation and acceptance of the other for their otherness somehow recreates/strengthens one’s own superior to nature consciousness?
Herb Sorensen (Jan 23)
I’ve been scanning all the material going by here, and don’t condemn the parade, even though it isn’t mine. I do hope to write something more on my own take of what moves society – vision and creativity – rather than what I consider a misguided evolutionary perspective. I’m still very suspicious of anything deriving from a Darwinian view, primarily because I believe an entire culture and mindset of hating religion drove the acceptance of Darwin’s “Origin.” As is often noted here, it’s hard to take seriously a committed Darwinist today. However, a large part of what hopes to replace the flawed Darwinism, retains its basic “hate religion” perspective.
That is not the grounds of my regular complaints here about present company. But rather the reference to things like our “animal nature,” etc. If I am uncomfortable with conceptions of God – “Omnipotence, and other theological mistakes,” Charles Hartshorne (and I tend to agree with Hartshorne), I am equally uncomfortable with the lying paradigm created, not so much by Darwin himself, but by his “hate God” contemporaries and successors. It reminds me of the recipe that I saw someone provided for cooking Carp: skin and gut the carp, place in a large cast iron pan, pack manure and spices to totally cover and infuse the carp, bake till the entire concoction reaches 375, remove from oven, remove and discard the carp and eat the shit! So there you have the current dietary of a great deal of what passes as the science of history – timelines, etc.
Bob Brinsmead (Jan 23)
Herb, I can’t let you get away with tripe. By religion, as I have often pointed out, we are not talking about spirituality. We are talking about a belief system that has been creedalized, texturalized, formalized, traditionalized, institutionalized, organized to become the one indispensible recipe for the way we must think and live.
It is what the Persians called the din/den – what was put together by the followers of Zaruthra who gathered up the sayings and teachings of their great prophet to preserve for posterity, committing the “truths” to the fixed form of written instructions. It is what the forger of Paul’s name in the letter to Timothy wrote when he talked about “the faith.”
Ah, the clear give away that the voice is not the authentic Paul who never talks about “the faith.” Anyway, this din or den of the Persians is what Torah was to the Jews, and what Paul means by living under the nomos which he also calls a written code or Scripture (see the entire book of Galatians, but especially chapters 3 and 4.)
And all of the forgoing is translated in Latin by the word religio. In every case we are talking about something that has been put together, packaged and handed on as “the faith” – and for sure a lot of people cannot distinguish between faith and “the faith.”
So now please tell us without beating around the bush what indispensible thing religion, properly defined as above, can give us – like saying that in this prescribed diet and only in this kind of prescribed diet, can you get all the essential nutrients you need – like telling us unless we eat this carp fish as per your lovely illustration, you are not going to get enough vitamin xyz to be in good health. It would be all too easy to answer, of course, no thanks, I can get all my xyz from a far less convoluted source.
I love those lines from Paul Sheehan: when he gets through telling us in very arresting terms what Jesus was really on about, he exclaims, “Who needs religion? The Father is here…” When there is some penetration into the essence of what it means to be human, to live in the freedom of loving and being loved unconditionally, there are no desserts to follow this repast. Oh, in response to anyone who hints that this is all pretty mushy or vacuous stuff, let him try to put it into practice for a while. It is not something for god or small children.
Try telling a person who has penetrated the veil in a genuine NDE that he needs more religion! Imagine Bhudda (the enlightened one) or Jesus after the enlightenment that followed his baptism, telling people, “You all need to become a lot more religious!!!”
Dare to blaspheme and dare to be free.