1953 First New York Closed Class
53A – Questions and Answers
Good Evening. Better had be!
- Q. I make peace and create evil. I, the Law do all these things. In Genesis we read: And God saw the light that it was good. And God divided the light from the darkness. Then we have these passages that seem to bring out such similar ideas: Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity, and so forth and so on: this idea of God creating good and evil.
- To begin with the Bible must be read spiritually and not from a material or human or intellectual basis. To compare statements of the Bible with each other as if the words meant what they say, will only bring on a state of confusion. If carried far enough, I don’t know why a person shouldn’t jump out of a window. The Bible is a compilation of books brought into existence primarily by mystics, by individuals who have had some measure of God consciousness. They didn’t write these things down because they had no pencil and paper. These great revelations went from one man to another man by means of speech. Rarely did any individual come across in his whole life time a single statement of truth, except it was someone already in the religious world. And these truths were meant to pass back and forth between men of religious vision.
In some times, truth was considered to be too serious, too dangerous for the average man. It wasn’t considered wise to let the ordinary man or woman know about truth. I don’t know what there was dangerous about it, except perhaps that when a person has the light of truth you can’t control them anymore. You can’t hold them in domination. You can’t hold them in membership once they know truth.
However, these great revelations passed back and forth in the religious orders of the day always by word of mouth, and was only after hundreds, hundreds, hundreds, thousands of years that ultimately wisdom found its way onto stone and then onto manuscripts. As truth passed from man to man, we find it veiled. There is no such thing as truth in plain language. Truth cannot be uttered in plain language. Even our truth of today is mysterious to the people outside.
I’ll give you just one sentence to show you how impossible it is to understand truth from the standpoint of language: Evil is unreal. Now go downstairs and tell that to the people in the lobby of this hotel. Evil is unreal. Nothing could be that fantastic, to the minister in the church, to the doctor in the hospital, to the guard in the insane asylum, to the general on a battlefield, to the diplomat in his particular sphere. Evil is unreal? How could you be so nonsensical?
Now, do we mean that evil is unreal, thinking of that sentence in terms of a dictionary? Do we mean that it doesn’t exist? Do we mean that there is no such thing out there as sin, disease, cemeteries, wars? No. We have a special meaning for that sentence. “Evil is unreal,” and we understand what we mean, and they never can until they come to the same state of consciousness in which we find ourselves; then the unreality of evil will be as clear to them as it is to us, but they must first come to that state of consciousness.
Oh yes, another thing: There are states and stages of consciousness of truth, and because of this, even we can misunderstand what we are talking about even among ourselves. And so, we very often are apt to say that there is only one power, and then say, “Be careful, if you sin you’ll be punished.” Now where does that come from if there is only one power, what is the punishing power? And if there is only one power, whence comes the capacity to sin? Ah, now were talking in mixed language again.
So it is in scripture. In the Old Testament you have a God of good, God of power, and you have a God of evil. You have a God that does beautifully for the Hebrews when they’re in battle. But oh! Just look what that same God does to the enemy. As a result of that, we today in a so-called Christian world, accept that same God and believe that God is on the side of the allies, but just look what God is going to do to our enemies. The same God that is protecting, let us say, the Catholics and Protestants and Jews on our side, just look what it’s going to do to the Catholics, Jews and Protestants on the other side. Why? They have just as many priests, rabbis, and ministers praying for them, just as convinced that they are in the right, and sometimes they are, and yet we believe they’re going to be punished, but we are going to be protected. In other words, all of this comes from a misapprehension of what God is.
Now then, when Moses formulated the Ten Commandments, he also said, “The Lord said, ‘God said you should do this.’” Do you really believe that God said, “You shall not eat shellfish,” or “That you shall honor your father and mother?” No, no. He was dealing with a type of thought that had to be controlled and couldn’t be controlled; they didn’t have large enough police departments, and probably they wouldn’t even have been respectful of it, but they were respectful of, “And God said . . . and God commands.” And so, because we had no iceless refrigerators in those days to keep and preserve shellfish, shellfish would quickly spoil, and so would the meat of pork. So it becomes necessary for Moses, speaking for God, to tell the people not to eat the meat of pork or not to eat shellfish.
Now as we read back in the life of the intellect, we find the Ten Commandments, or most of them, to be very human and certainly far less intelligent than rules that we would formulate today. Now the truth is this: The nature of God is fulfillment. The nature of God is good, and nothing can flow out from God but good. You can’t believe that as you look out with your intellect upon this world. That is why Paul had the vision to say that the natural man knoweth not the things of God. Of course, the natural man is looking out and seeing just what we are seeing with the eyes, hearing with the ears. And so we can know nothing of the things of God, but once you catch a glimpse of the Soul, of the Spirit of God, you will know one thing: The nature of God is fulfillment. I am come that ye might have life and that ye might have it more abundantly.
The nature of God is fulfillment of good. Then the only evil that can ever take place is in the absence of God, but there is no absence of God since God is omnipresent. Then since that is true, there can only arise what we call a sense of absence from God, a sense of separation from God. Just as if we were to go blind and while this light is still in the room, we would not be aware of it. In other words we would have a sense of separation from the light, but the light would be here. Well, the Master used those same words, “Do you have eyes and do not see?” In other words the light was there and you have eyes to see with; do you not see? No, no, because we have become blinded. Only not physically blinded—spiritually blinded, so that we cannot see God or the things of God, nor could we know the things of God, because we have no longer spiritual discernment.
The nature of the sun is warmth and light. Can you imagine at any time under any circumstance anything emanating from the sun but warmth and light? No. And the nature of the sun is to shine. Can you imagine the sun then, withholding any of its nature, light, and warmth? No. Supposing then, we are in darkness or cold. That suggests the absence of the sun or at least, our sense of separation from the sun. So it is with God. Any form of discord in our experience represents our sense of separation from God. God does not reward and God does not punish. God is a state of eternal, infinite, harmonious being. God is an infinite state of good, forever expressing Itself in infinite form and variety as good. When we are not in conformity with that good, we attain a sense of separation from God or good, and we call that being punished, not being punished by God—being punished by our sense of separation from God.
Now, here we have true vision: Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil and canst not look on iniquity. That actually is truth. I said the other night, “God knows nothing of humanity. God knows nothing of our sense of changing good and evil. God is.” God is not responsible for darkened human thought. We are responsible in the degree that we have wandered from the Father’s house, divine consciousness, to this sense of selfhood apart from God, this I that calls itself Joel when I really is God. Now as we return to the Father’s house and I give up the use of the word I, and always remember: God is living my life, never taking credit for the good that comes into my experience, always recognizing God as its source, never blaming God for any evil that comes into my experience, but recognizing it as my own sense of separation from good, in that degree do I return to that Father consciousness, and then I realize what I told you the other evening: I can never succeed and I can never fail. God is the only success there is. God is the only grace there is, and God cannot fail. As long as I have an I, though, I can believe that I can succeed, but if I do, I can also believe that under other circumstances I can fail. But doing away with the I and acknowledging God as my being, God remains the success, and nobody remains to fail. It requires the humility of the man Jesus in order to accomplish it. I can of my own self do nothing. . . .My doctrine is not mine, always the remembrance of the Father.
There too, in the three temptations: Why should Jesus demonstrate his supply? Where is God? And Jesus recognized that. Why should Jesus try to be successful? Where is God? Only God can supply us, therefore we have no right to work, mentally or spiritually, for supply. We have no right to succeed. Only God is the success of individual being, and we should learn to let the success flow as the activity of God, and then not be too proud of it.