The Soul Comes First

Particularly during life’s difficult moments, religion is a source of comfort for us. When a child dies, when we lose a job: we are sustained by the relationships and wisdom that we develop in worship, study and charitable work.

Because this aspect of religion is so important to us, we seek in scripture for meaning that applies to us in our lives as human beings. We tend to emphasize that part of the story, and when we don’t find what we’re looking for, maybe even expand our searching into parts of the story that don’t really apply to us.

But if spirit is a part of the natural world, a form of consciousness woven into the very fabric of space, why should intelligence have manifested only here on Earth, in humanity? If spirit began evolution when the universe formed, or even earlier, it stands to reason that it’s got a long history of its own. What would coming to a planet be like? How would spirit go about learning about a new world? How would it go about improving itself through that investment?

When I re-read the Bible after developing a physical model of spirit (not really a theory, because the mathematics needs to be elaborated), I saw it in this light. The Bible made a whole lot more sense to me than it did when I turned away from it as a teenager.

That understanding is captured in The Soul Comes First, which you’ll see as a link on my sidebar.

Now the Bible is a complex book, with a lot of ideas in it. Summarizing it in seventy pages, even when looking at it from 30,000 feet, means compressing a lot of ideas into very few pages. So it’s heavy going. Here’s the short skinny:

  1. This reality was designed as a place of healing for souls infected by selfishness.
  2. The creation myth in Genesis records the investment of a collection of such souls as they explored the Earth through the evolving senses of living creatures.
  3. The founding of monotheism through Abraham is about creating masculine strength in a culture dominated by powerful women.
  4. The Old Testament, from Exodus on, records the expansion of monotheism as a national culture. The investment made by God at this point was in creating a capacity to reason through adherence to the law. The experiment failed for various reasons – the most significant being the desire of the people to centralize human authority. This eventually led to demotion of spiritual leadership in favor of political leadership, and destruction of the nation.
  5. Jesus came to demonstrate that love will overcome any system of tyrannical laws. Not only did he demonstrate the power of love through miracles, he trained a collection of men (the Apostles) to emulate his mastery.
  6. The Book of Revelation is exactly what John said it was: he was taken up to heaven, where the angels shared with him their relationship to and experience of Christ.. The visions of the seals are interpreted as the forms of selfishness that the infected angels brought to the Earth with them; the trumpeted disasters are the extinction episodes revealed to us by paleontology; the bowls describe the exhaustion of the natural resources humanity is exploiting.

Items 2 and 6 establish that paleontology and evolution science have revealed things that were known to the ancients long before we had the science to study them.

Mary, Contrarily

A statue of the Holy Mother at St Paschal’s has been a soothing presence to me for the last 18 months. I typically stand on her side of the sanctuary, as it puts me across from the children’s choir whose invocation has such a compelling simplicity. But the calling that reaches me through her image has become a compulsion of its own.

“Come here. Rest in my peace for a time.”

This confident and generous assertion of self contradicts the popular image of the young virgin. It began nagging at me this Christmas. Was she simply the passive, albeit perfect, receptacle for her nation’s Messiah?

I cannot reconcile that with the Gospel of Luke. The song that he records she sang to Elizabeth was not a literal event, but rather a way of placing into context the spirit that moved her into the tide of events. It reads, in part [NIV Luke 31-33]:

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

Would these have been the words of a 14-year old? Obviously not, but would they have been far from her concerns?

What is it like to be a child in a state ruled by tyranny? We in the developed world forget, but it is to be told to look to the ground when the tyrant’s men appear, to hide when they come with weapons at the ready, to¬†whispered news of families taxed into poverty. Not lessons shared idly, but as a parent’s moral necessity to ensure that children survive.

Would it have been unexpected for an empathetic and intelligent girl to contrast this reality with the promises of her faith? Would it have been a surprise for her to conclude that this was a time for God to honor his promises to his people?

There are two ways to fall on the edge of this dilemma: into doubt, and onto certainty. What I feel is the presence of certainty in this young lady. Certainty that God would honor his promises. Certainty that holy men always came into the world through a woman that loved their God. Certainty that such a woman would be found, perhaps a woman like her mother or a beloved aunt. Certainty expressed in prayer early in the morning and before laying down to rest at night.

And through that expression of faith, the angel that had waited, as angels must, for the day of their service to Love, awoke in heaven, and came down to explain: “Yes, it will be done, and this is how.”

The Gift I Would Give

Just this awareness I have of being surrounded by spirits that want so much to participate in my loving of myself and the people around me. That sense of them preparing the moments for me, of guiding my words and my hands, of giving gratitude for the opportunity to enter the world through me.

Such an amazing kaleidoscope of them, of all interests and persuasions, just seeking a place in which they fit, in which they are welcome, in which they are useful, in which they can experience the joy of a fulfilled purpose.

I would give you the gift of yourself, and the beauty of the angels that support your living.

Believe in you! It breaks my heart when you do not.