You Can't Escape God, 1978
The Ministry of Christ and validity of miracles.
THE CREDIBILITY AND SIGNIFICANCE OF JESUS' MIRACLES must now be examined in the light of modern science as our study here begins an analysis of his teachings -- some of which were in the form of demonstrations while others were in the form of words.
Earlier in our study we have perceived it was a cosmic inevitability that a Son of God would originate in Heaven and that he would later be reincarnated on Earth by birth to a virgin. Further, we have noted how the identity of Jesus as being that Son was confirmed not only by certain events at the time of his nativity but also by others at his baptism. Nevertheless, Jesus subsequently provided many additional proofs of his divinity which now can also be explained and corroborated, including the events known as his miracles.
To consider the miracles adequately, however, we shall first need to show why Jesus didn't prove his divinity in a manner that would have caused an immediate World-wide recognition of it. For example, why didn't he lead a visible parade of angels in the sky above the streets of Rome and Jerusalem? Or, why did he perform his actual miracles only in a back-water nation rather than in the mainstream of humanity of those times?
Although such questions arise at many points of Christian theology, they must be answered equally often. Thus, here we respond that a World-wide demonstration of Jesus' divinity some 20 centuries ago would have been contrary to God's plan for preparing human souls for admission to Heaven. All people would have been immediately and totally convinced. Consequently they would have been over-awed by Heaven's rewards. Hence, their responsive good conduct would have made them superficially qualified for Heaven. In the event of admission under such circumstances, however, our reincarnated selves would have been untrustworthy because they could not have identified themselves with a previous personal experience with the consequences of evil, either as perpetrators, victims, or observers of it.
Accordingly, we perceive why Jesus had to stop short of providing an instantaneous World-wide demonstration of his divinity. Instead, although he actually succeeded in "changing the course of history" at a most critical time, his function as the savior of Mankind had to be intentionally limited to a compromise level. On one hand, his immediate impact on both the Romans and the Jews introduced a sufficient element of divine guidance to produce a turmoil which engulfed the existing turmoil that had been actually reverting humanity in the direction of Proto-man's animalism. On the other hand, however, Jesus did not fail to give proof of his divinity in sundry manners which can be far better recognized in modern times than was possible within his self-imposed restrictions while he was still on Earth.
Moreover, Jesus did not demand acceptance of his divinity -- either then or now -- as a matter susceptible only to blind faith. Instead, among his many proofs of his divinity were scores of miracles which enabled him to tell the witnesses that, "If you do not believe me (i.e., "my words"), believe my works." Yet, of necessity, he did not explain in scientific terms the how that the miracles were accomplished -- because in those days such terms could not have been understood. Hence, he left the explanations for modern Man to discover whenever the breadth of human knowledge would be sufficient to do so.
For the witnesses of the miracles it was sufficient that they saw what Jesus accomplished. In modern times, however, skeptics have charged that no explanations are possible because the laws of nature made it impossible for the so-called miracles to have actually occurred; thus, that the claimed phenomena were false pretensions of Jesus' divinity. To further complicate this circumstance, the Church -- heretofore unable to provide a scientific explanation of the miracles -- has been able only to retort that "all things are possible with God." Yet, this answer has simply played into the hands of the skeptics because it has placed the Church in the position of contending that Jesus did violate the laws of nature, a contention which our science-minded modern World increasingly rejects. Hence, it will be of profound importance that our new logic herein not only will explain in terms of modern science how the miracles actually were performed but also will show that they required a know-how and certain physical characteristic of Jesus which he could not have possessed except that he was truly divine.
Let us note, therefore, that there were several kinds of miracles that Jesus performed. Some were wonders related to inanimate substance. More numerous, however, were those in which he healed sickness and corrected bodily deformities. Accordingly, we shall presently analyze a representative sufficiency of all classes of his miracles except that we shall defer to the following chapter our analysis of Jesus' resurrection as the only example in which we shall explain an earthly restoration of bodily life.
To comprehend the processes by which the miracles were performed we shall need to keep in mind the new definition of the Holy Spirit which our logic has earlier provided -- that it is neither a person nor a co-God but is instead a kind of electronic particles which are called "holy" simply because they have come to Earth from Heaven at God's behest. Further, we shall need to keep in mind that these holy particles are capable of entering human bodies in various ways, into the lungs by breathing, into the stomach by ingestion of food, and through the skin by radiation. We shall also need to keep in mind that although everyone at birth breathes in a sufficiency of the Holy Spirit to make the soul-cell immortal, it is also possible under special circumstances for particles of the Holy Spirit to enter into ordinary cells of the human body, either as additions to or as substitutes for ordinary electronic particles which have been lost by one or another of the processes of cellular starvation.
In turn, we shall need to comprehend that the quantity of the Holy Spirit possessed varies from one person to another, both as to the amounts in-taken and the amounts retained. Likewise, we shall need to perceive that, for reasons set forth in our earlier logic, Jesus possessed within his earthly body a greater quantity of the Holy Spirit than was or is possible for any member of our own earthly species. Hence, he could transmit great quantities of the holy particles from his own body to other bodies even while his own receptivity gave him access to limitless quantities of replacements.
Thus, let us proceed by examining certain aspects of the event known as the "transfiguration" of Jesus because this involved a phenomenon which will provide an exceptionally clear insight into his use of his content of the Holy Spirit for the accomplishing of many miraculous results. The circumstances leading to this event began when Jesus took three of his Apostles to the top of one of the hills near Jerusalem. The time for his crucifixion was then drawing nigh and, although his resurrection had been divinely planned to follow the death of his earthly body, it is obvious that his earthly brain was in need of a special reassurance. Thus, it is apparent that at this time he was particularly concerned with the question of achieving a successful bodily ascension from Earth to follow his resurrection. Hence, he prayed for his needed reassurance to be supplied.
How do we deduce that this prayer was concerned with a future bodily ascension from Earth rather than with the crucifixion or resurrection which would earlier occur? The answer is evident in the response which Jesus' prayer evoked -- the arrival of Moses and Elias, in bodily form, to present themselves to him while he was praying. Thus, it is significant not only that many centuries had passed since those two had lived on Earth but also that both of them had been among the rare persons who had themselves ascended bodily from Earth, as is also reported or implied in the Scriptures.
Of more direct significance relating to Jesus' miracles, however, is the testimony that as he prayed concerning his ascension-to-come, the three witnesses -- Peter, James, and John -- observed that "the fashion of his countenance was altered." He was, they said, "transfigured before them, and his face did shine as the sun." Even his clothing became "white and glistening." Yet, the fact that the witnesses did not know how to explain such radiance makes it all the more significant of their veracity that their description was recorded almost 20 centuries before the knowledge of modern science became able to explain it.
What happened, as our logic now perceives, is that the fervor of Jesus' prayer increased his receptivity to the Holy Spirit until the quantities which entered him made him visibly radiant. As a matter of fact, even our own bodies radiate small quantities or ordinary electronic particles, ordinarily detectable only as warmth, yet also "luminous" on exposure to certain kinds of photographic film. In the case of Jesus, however, his radiance was so powerful that even his garments became luminescent -- much as had the stones beneath God's feet when the Deity confronted Moses and the Hebrew elders on a mountain in the Sinai desert.
Thus, the transfiguration of Jesus was a visible demonstration of the fact that the Holy Spirit could be radiated outward from his body. Hence, his radiance on this occasion provides us with a preliminary corroboration for our forthcoming conclusion that it was by radiations of the Holy Spirit that all of the healing miracles he performed or authorized were accomplished, as we now shall observe in a sample number of typical cases.
The first of the varied miracles which Jesus performed was one in which particles of the Holy Spirit were radiated from him into inanimate substance. On this occasion, Jesus and the Virgin Mary were among the guests at a wedding feast when the father of the bride needed an additional supply of wine for the celebrators of the nuptials. As the circumstances prevented the host from purchasing more wine, Mary asked Jesus to solve the problem.
Accordingly, Jesus told the servants to pour water into a number of empty wine jars. Yet, moments later it was found that this water had been changed into wine; moreover, the host was assured by his guests that it was better wine than he had previously served.. Nevertheless, this miracle which the witnesses reported -- despite their inability to prove a scientific explanation of it -- was about the easiest that Jesus ever performed and is one of the easiest for modern science to explain.
Thus, we can know that in the water-to-wine phenomenon, Jesus applied a physical principle rather similar to that used by his Father when the Deity supplied manna for the Hebrews in the Wilderness. Manna, as previously noted herein, was a carbohydrate food, a form of sugar. Accordingly, we find it significant that wine's chief ingredient -- alcohol -- is also of the same carbohydrate family. Next, let us observe that the wedding guests declared the mystery wine was better than the host had previously served. What this means, we perceive, is that after their consuming of all the natural wine that had been available, it made little difference to the celebrators whether the new supply had any flavor whatever; what really impressed them was simply its mild superiority in alcoholic content. In other words, we deduce that the "wine" which Jesus provided was simply a mixture of alcohol and water.
We have already anticipated in part the process which Jesus used to convert some of the water into alcohol. To be more specific, however, we note that the only components of water are hydrogen and oxygen. Yet, an atom of oxygen contains eight protons in its nucleus, an atom of hydrogen has only one, and an atom of carbon has six. Hence, we deduce that Jesus simply injected electronic particles from his own finger-tips into the water to transform some of the hydrogen or oxygen atoms into carbon atoms, whereby a quantity of alcohol was the result. Significantly, we especially deduce that Jesus touched the water for much the same reason that common electricity flows better through a contact than it can jump across a gap.
Next, let us analyze certain of the miracles which healed bodily ailments, noting that all of these were accomplished instantaneously or in a matter of minutes; in other words, they were not instances of merely normal recovery, yet neither were they merely psychosomatic cases. Indeed, many of them involved structural deformities. Yet, we note that Jesus neither provided medicines nor practiced surgery. As for the Bible's accounts of him casting out "demons" from the bodies of the sick, let us simply remember that the ancients had no concepts of viruses or of the causes of mental illness. Even so, they were intuitively correct in realizing that some kinds of sickness implied the presence of something within the victim's body that was foreign to it. Thus, because Jesus had neither a necessity nor a feasible opportunity to provide the ancients with lessons in modern pathology, he simply allowed them to use terminologies to which they were accustomed.
The process by which Jesus achieved his cures is especially well suggested in the accounts of his healings of blindness. Thus, in one such case, he "took the blind man . . . . and when he had spit on his eyes and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw all right." The patient replied, "I see men as trees, walking." In other words, he had recaptured basic vision but not without a great distortion. Then, says the Scripture, Jesus "put his hands again upon his eyes and made him look up, and he was restored, and saw every man clearly."
Those details tell us that Jesus touched the eyes of the blind man so that a healing flow of particles of the Holy Spirit moved out from Jesus, through his hands, into the eyes of the patient. They tell us further that Jesus increased the rate of flow by providing a wet contact, thereby employing one of the most elementary principles of modern electro-knowledge. Thus, in combination with our awareness of what the Holy Spirit really is, and of Jesus' capacity to radiate it from himself, we have an inescapable identification of the therapeutic technique which he applied.
What of the healing process inside the eyes? To answer, our logic will draw further from the knowledge of modern medicine. As a starting point, let us note that grafts of bone-cell or skin-cells are often used in modern surgery. Such borrowed cells may later sluff off, after the patient's adjacent cells have used their own mytosis process of building replacements. Meantime, the borrowed bone or skin has served as a scaffolding to guide the patient's new cells to the correct replacement positions. Similarly, we are aware that the human body is limited in the size and complexity of the repairs it can make even when a borrowed scaffolding is supplied. For example, the cells of the hand can repair a lightly burned skin area with or without skin grafts, but the cells of the wrist cannot manufacture a new hand. Thus, it is significant that no claims were made of Jesus replacing any lost hands or of making a similar replacement; instead, he healed only in instances in which the cells at the point of trouble were capable of being restored to a healthy condition.
We must go still deeper, however, to comprehend the internal process of healing which took place in Jesus' miracles. Thus, in the case of the sightless eyes, we must perceive that the ultimate point of visual incapacity was at the level of certain cells which were in a "deflated" (i.e....., starved) condition. In more specific terms, they lacked a normal content of the ordinary electronic particles requisite to fill them out to a healthy condition and they had been rendered unable to obtain an intake of such particles by a normal process either to manufacture adjacent new cells or to restore themselves to a healthy condition. Yet, the eye structure itself was not in need of substitute scaffolding to assist a repairing. This was not a case in which the entire eye had been gouged out. Instead, it was an eye collapsed into a distorted shape which, however, only needed its thousands of cells to receive an intake of holy particles, flowing into them from the hands of Jesus, to have the effect of "reinflating" the entire eye structure to a normal shape and normal effectiveness.
Significantly, such healing was almost instantaneous because the in-taking of the holy particles was a high-speed process which by-passed the slow process by which bodily cells are normally nutrified for normal functioning and for simple cases of self-healing. Moreover, it is significant that the healing of blindness in the instance we have cited needed two successive stages of treatment. It shows it was practical to infuse the deflated cells at first with only a limited supply of the holy particles so that these cells had a few moments to stretch the totality of the eye structure part of the way back to normal shape before a second infusion completed the process.
In another miraculous healing of blindness, Jesus made a poultice of clay, softened by his spittle, and applied it to the eyes of the patient, and this variation of treatment adds further corroboration to our conclusions. It shows that a slower and longer infusion of holy particles was needed in this instance. Hence, instead of keeping his fingers in contact with the blind man's eyes for an extended period, Jesus simply caused particles of the Holy Spirit to enter the moistened clay and then left that poultice in contact with the eyes to complete the healing.
The Bible tells of a great variety of other healing miracles that Jesus performed, including cases of deafness, muteness, palsy, and arthritis, and suggests there were hundreds of healing not individually recorded. In all that were described, however, we perceive the basic principle was invariably the same, with particles of the Holy Spirit entering sick cells to reinvigorate them and to start in motion the construction of whatever new cells might be needed as replacements for cells that were dead or missing.
The case of ten men simultaneously cured of leprosy without being touched by Jesus has added significance. Let us note, however, that he refrained from touching them not from fear or from esthetic revulsion. Thus, what makes the case of these lepers noteworthy is that it shows Jesus could radiate particles of the Holy Spirit into patients even while he stood at some distance from them. Thus, he did so in this instance because a diffusion of the Holy Spirit was needed to cure ten different bodies simultaneously and because these men were suffering a disease which was not localized but rather was in need of a therapeutic cleansing that would extend to all parts of their bodies.
Now let us consider the case of a woman who for 12 years had suffered a continuous issue of blood. Weakened and embarrassed by her condition as she was, imagine how great was her desire to be cured and how great was her love for the holy person who, as she knew, had cured many other sick people and from whom she desired a similar cure. Hence, "If I may but touch his garment I shall be whole," she said. Then, after struggling through a crowd surrounding Jesus, she did touch his robe and was instantly healed. In turn, as she modestly sought to disappear among the throng, Jesus called her back -- whereupon she told of the nature of her now-cured affliction.
Why did Jesus assume someone had touched him rather than merely his robe? "Who touched me?" he had exclaimed, explaining that "I perceive that strength has gone out of me." What had happened, we now comprehend, was that some of the Holy Spirit from Jesus had lodged in his garments and thence had entered the woman. In turn, these particles had entered those of her cells that had been malfunctioning, making them instantaneously sound. Thus, the robe had served as an intermediate instrument much as the poultice of clay had served as a similar contact in the case of blindness previously described. However, what had departed from the robe to enter the woman had been instantaneously replaced in it by an equal out-flow of the Holy Spirit from Jesus' body so that he was aware of this temporary diminution;' hence he assumed she had touched himself rather than the robe.
The fact that others surely must have touched the same garment without Jesus experiencing a similar outflow of the Holy Spirit is also significant and easily explained. It simply shows that they either had no bodily ailments in need of a cure or had not made their attitudes receptive for the infusion which otherwise they would have obtained.
Now, again noting that many miracles did not concern the healing of bodily afflictions, as the following section of our analysis will amply explore, let us also note there had been miracles of healing by the use of the Holy Spirit even before the time of Jesus on Earth. Thus, let us now fulfill our earlier promises to account for the means by which Sarah and Elizabeth were caused to ovulate despite their advanced ages. The explanation is, of course, that God, in the case of Sarah, and Gabriel, in the case of Elizabeth, simply caused particles of the Holy Spirit to radiate into the bodies of these two women to refill the shrunken cells of their ovaries much as Jesus refilled the eye-cells of persons who had been blind. Indeed, this conclusion of our logic concerning Elizabeth was anticipated even in the Scriptures where it is related that Gabriel told Zacharias that the child to be born of Elizabeth would be "filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb."
HOW JESUS DELEGATED MIRACULOUS POWERS to certain of his followers provides a further corroboration of our logic, even as our explanations provide a reciprocal affirmation of the miracles themselves.
Usually the delegated powers were applied for healing but one of the exceptions is especially significant because, in using one law of nature to counter-balance another law of nature, it enabled both Peter and Jesus to walk on a surface of water, offsetting the downward tug of gravity. This case began when some of the Apostles were in a small boat on the Sea of Galilee while Jesus observed from the shore their difficulty in rowing against a strong wind. Thus, John's Gospel says, "So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing nigh unto the ship." Matthew's Gospel adds that "Jesus spoke unto them, saying 'Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid,'" and that "Peter answered him and said, 'Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee.'"
Then, as Jesus assented, Peter sought to comply -- and for the first several steps was wholly successful. Says Matthew "And when he walked on the water to go to Jesus," but when Peter "saw the wind boisterous he was afraid and beginning to sink, he cried, saying 'Lord save me.' And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught him, and said unto him, 'O thou of little faith, wherefore dids't thou doubt?" In other words, Jesus had been glad to have Peter make an experimental test of the electronic-type powers which had been conferred on the Apostles, and was disappointed when Peter's use of those powers was nullified by fear. Moreover, Peter's initial request shows that he already knew such powers had been earlier conferred; he simply had not yet tested them sufficiently to have full confidence in them.
Many skeptics have insisted, of course, that no such walking-on-water could have occurred; knowing of the force of gravity, they have simply assumed there could be no other force that could be bodily exerted in an anti-gravity direction. Before our logic disposes of the skeptics' basic challenge, however, let us exclude a dilution of the facts which some of them occasionally have suggested. Thus, some doubters have proposed that Jesus and Peter simply waded in shallow water. The fallacy of that suggestion is obvious; if the boat had been in shallow water all of the rowers would have jumped overboard to tow the craft to shore instead of struggling with the oars. Moreover, Peter would not have asked Jesus' approval to step out of the boat, if Jesus had been merely wading; Peter, a veteran fisherman, knew he didn't need divine consent for himself to wade in shallow water.
But what was the means that enabled not only Jesus but also Peter to walk on the surface of the water -- overcoming rather than violating the force of gravity? In the case of Jesus it is abundantly clear that, by a mental decision alone, he could reverse the direction of his body's electronic polarity so that a force of repulsion between his body and Earth was sufficient to offset the normal force of attraction in the opposite direction. This does not mean that some kind of bodily fuel had to be expended internally or externally. Let us remind ourselves that gravity also is an electronic force which is likewise exerted without any consumption of fuel. Thus, even as a magnet can exert either attraction or repulsion in relation to other objects, we deduce that every cell in Jesus' body was capable of exerting a thrust in any direction he chose.-- and we shall see further evidence of this in our later chapters.
Why then cannot we achieve levitation, too? The basic answer is, of course, that -- unlike our soul-cells departing from Earth -- our other bodily cells are not subject to any ordinary human command to exert a thrust in a direction opposite to the tug of gravity. In contrast, however, Peter was in possession of the same means which Jesus was using when the Apostle observed him walking on the water. Thus, Peter momentarily lost his power of levitation simply because his fears made him doubt his possession of it.
The case of Peter momentarily walking on water has added significance because it begins to illustrate the fact that limited powers to work miracles had been delegated to the Apostles as well as to certain of Jesus' other followers. Most of the miracles performed with such delegated powers related to the healing of sickness and bodily deformities, and one of these cases is especially noteworthy because it involved a mental condition of a patient when Jesus healed after some of the others had attempted a healing but had been unsuccessful. This was the case of a boy described as "a lunatic and sore vexed" who "oft times falleth into the fire, and oft into the water." Clearly then, that boy had an affliction of his brain. Thus, in Jesus' comment that "this kind" of infirmity (i.e. of the brain) is more difficult to heal than others, we have a significant consistency with the knowledge of modern medicine that, unlike other bodily cells, those of the brain are not normally capable of being repaired by any human skills or processes.
How then did Jesus effect a cure in this case? The answer begins by noting that when our ordinary cells suffer a deficiency in their electronic content, the correction of such deficiency is dependent upon increasing a flow of new particles into them, conveyed to them by way of the blood-stream. Thus, even in a state of uncritical deficiency they are capable of absorbing the new materials taken to them. In contrast, however, the cells of the brain are almost totally incapable of such absorption. Thus, the persons to whom Jesus had delegated limited powers of healing had considerable success as long as they were dealing with sickness in ordinary cells. They simply caused infusions of the Holy Spirit to enter such cells by a radiant process which was quicker in its large volume deliveries than the previous but now by-passed process of normal nutrition had been. But when they caused similar infusions to enter the brain of the lunatic boy these deputized healers were unable to transmit quantities fast enough or large enough to accomplish a healing. In contrast, Jesus was able to flood the boy's brain with an overpowering quantity of the Holy Spirit. As a result, "the child was cured from that very hour."
Significantly, let us note the remarkable analogy between the curing of a sick brain by an intake of the electronic particles of the Holy Spirit and the electric "shock treatment" which modern medicine has used in certain brain afflictions. Thus, the relative ineffectiveness of the shock therapy, we perceive, is explained by the fact that ordinary electricity cannot supply either the electronic particles of normal cellular composition or any particles of the Holy Spirit. Even so, the use of electricity in the treatment of sick brains shows how far modern medicine has gone to apply principles analogous to those that were used in the miracles of Jesus. Similarly, there is an analogy in the modern use of x-rays; these also, however, cannot overcome a cellular deficiency but can be useful only to the extent of destroying cells afflicted with a different kind of sickness in the hope of preventing its spread to others.
Although the delegated healers failed to cure the boy with a defective brain they had many successes. Luke's Gospel tells of Jesus sending out the Apostles who "went through the towns, preaching the Gospel, and healing everywhere.." The Scriptures also tell of "other seventy also" who were appointed by Jesus and that these reported "with joy" of much success in the healing of physical infirmities. Moreover, the Apostles were still working such miracles long subsequent to the departure of Jesus from Earth.
Thus, from our analysis of the miracles performed by Jesus and by others to whom he delegated such powers we perceive not only that such phenomena actually occurred but also that they constituted a process of teaching by demonstration of the fact of his own divinity -- first to those who personally witnessed them, but later to everyone by whom these wonders could become well understood.
THE ADDITIONAL CATEGORY OF JESUS' TEACHINGS -- by words alone, as distinguished from his pedagogy-by-demonstration -- provides a parallel proof of his divinity, his status as God's Son but not as co-God.
Of course, some of Jesus' non-verbal teachings were not set forth until his last few weeks on Earth; hence, an analysis of these will be deferred to our subsequent chapters. However, a major part of his verbal teachings can be summarized at once, in two classes. Of these, the first group involved the theological relationships between God and Man; the second was concerned with the alternatives between good and evil in the economic-social-political relationships of nations and men.
The primary theological truth that Jesus taught was of the existence of the One God, abiding in Heaven, and of the Deity's status as a person-with-body, possessed of limitless love, omniscience, and a supremacy of power. Jesus also taught that he himself was, and ever would be, God's Son and that he had come to Earth to help save Mankind from what, as we now perceive, was a critical drift of reversion toward Proto-man's primeval animalism. Jesus further taught that the Holy Spirit is a "Comforter," a something that strengthens mind, body, and soul in proportion to the quantities in which it is received.
That there is a Heaven which is a place, not just a condition, and that it is the normal abode of God and himself as well as of numbers of other beings, were among other theological truths which Jesus' teachings supplied. In turn, he taught that he had pre-existed in Heaven before his earthly body was born to the Virgin Mary. Often he coupled the fact of his pre-existence with deferential references to his Father. "I came down from Heaven not to do mine own will but the will of him that sent me," he said. On the other hand, Jesus left it for human logic in our modern World to discover how he had been able to traverse the distance between Heaven and Earth, and not only the how that he was born on Earth subsequent to his pre-existence in Heaven but also the why that this birth was of a virgin.
Another principal theological teaching of Jesus was that each human being possesses a soul, and that God has provided a means whereby each possessor can qualify his soul for reincarnation in Heaven. Cryptically, Jesus even explained that each soul must obtain its new body by means "of water and the Spirit" upon admission to Heaven. Further, he taught that adult souls which fail on Earth to acquire the qualifications to take them to Heaven must go instead to a place called Hell where pain is experienced as a consequence of the previous earthly failure.
Jesus omitted from his teachings any scientific definition of what the soul really is; also, he did not explain how immortality is conferred upon it, how it traverses the distances between Earth and Heaven or Hell, or by what specific process involving "water and the Spirit" the soul is put in possession of a new body. He knew, however, that sufficient clues had been provided to assist human logic to find the answers whenever human intellects would achieve the ability to do the discovering.
Likewise, Jesus left it for human logic to discover that the pains of Hell are mental rather than physical and that the duration of an experience there varies from one reincarnated soul to another. Also, to avoid complications of attempting to explain such matters in ancient times, he omitted mention that further training by a post-Earth experience (but not in Hell) is required even for the reincarnated souls of children, preparatory to their ultimate admission to Heaven. His teachings further asserted that the adult soul can avoid Hell by the earthly repentance of its possessor, a process of achieving God's "forgiveness." He left it for modern logic, however, to discover that the obtaining of a forgiven status as a product of repentance is actually an automatic process, not requiring specific acts of assent by God; that it is achieved by the soul's possessor simply by successively abandoning all evil attitudes in favor of the corresponding attitudes of love.
Finally in the realm of theology, Jesus taught that after his return from Earth to Heaven he would come again to Earth "with power and glory" for a "Judgment Day" in which he would find some souls worthy of admission to Heaven while others would be consigned to Hell. He left it for modern logic to deduce, however, that even such "judging" would be by the usual self-measuring automatic process and that this Last Judgment would apply only to Earth's final generation; that all previous souls would have previously judged themselves. Also he left it for modern logic to deduce that although Hell itself may be deemed eternal, even the worst of sinners will ultimately be released from it -- after they have experienced the torments of correcting themselves.
On the other hand, Jesus taught that no man can foretell when the return of God's Son to Earth will be. He implied that his return will be related to a destruction of our planet or to its becoming uninhabitable. Yet, he did not imply that such an "End of the World" will also mean an end of the Universe, such as some modern scientists of the Big Bang school have envisaged. To the contrary, Jesus left it open for a combination of modern science and modern theology to conclude that it will be by God's own harnessing of the cosmic forces that at least Heaven itself will be eternal regardless of what everywhere else may possibly occur.
A NEW PERSPECTIVE FOR MAN'S EARTHLY CONDUCT, applicable to all aspects of economic-social-political relationships, was also provided by Jesus' teachings.
How great an advancement was set forth in that new perspective may be seen by comparing it to earlier conduct conceptual levels. Thus, in the amoral times of Proto-men, the only restriction on conduct might have been expressed as "Don't injure your neighbor if there is any likelihood that you will suffer an unacceptable degree of reciprocal injury in the process." In the second stage of our species, that of early Real-men, the position of the Ten Commandments was: "Don't injure your neighbor; God forbids it." In the third stage, however, Jesus made it clear that Mankind must progress toward adoption of a positive rather than negative form of conduct guidance. Thus, a paraphrased summary of Jesus' moral teachings is: "Choose to do good toward your fellow men because of your own volitional motivations of love."
By his emphasis on the love motivation, Jesus did not de-emphasize Man's need to refer to specific rules conforming to the broad guidelines of the Ten Commandments. Moreover, his teachings did deal with numerous conduct specifics, often in the form of parables wherein he showed practical applications of the Decalog in terms of the love motivation. On the other hand, he knew there were as many ways of doing specific good or specific evil as there may be stars in the sky. Thus, because there ever will be too many possible specifics of good or evil for him to have dealt with them all, this was one of his reasons for emphasizing that the presence or absence of the love motivations is the ultimate measurement of every form of conduct -- good or evil -- whether of Man towards his fellow men or of Man toward God.
Thus, Jesus understood that a great many specific definitions of good or evil conduct would need to be codified as secular laws, not only for ready-reference convenience but also because human illogic can too easily assume a contemplated act is motivated by love even in cases in which it is really motivated by an absence of love. In the same sense he also obviously recognized that conduct is not necessarily motivated by love just because it may be a product of so-called "good intentions." Jesus knew it is not enough for a person merely to guess that the consequences of an action will be good for others and then find out, too late, that the actual results were evil. In other words, Jesus recognized that Man has a moral obligation to make himself able to act intelligently in choosing conduct toward his fellow men. Hence, to fail to make an optimum effort to fulfill that obligation to act intelligently is itself, a sin, an evil.
One instance in which Jesus stated a specific conduct guideline in words that seemed to make it a no-exception absolute was when he uttered a condemnation of divorce. On the other hand, numerous arguments have been offered in support of a view that he was not as absolute in his condemnation of divorce as his words have sounded. Accordingly, we shall deal at some length in this volume's appendix sixth, the general subject of "situation ethics" with the topic of divorce as measured by motivations of love when applied in special circumstances.
Jesus was aware, of course, that some form of stealing is the essence of every form of sin. Moreover, he emphasized that stealing can be a sin of omission as well as of commission. Thus, the crowning parable among the many he related was his story of the "Good Samaritan." This began with an account of evil done to an anonymous man when he was set upon by thieves. First, they beat him, thereby stealing a portion of his bodily wealth. Secondly, they robbed him of an unspecified sum of non-bodily wealth. Later, two other men passed by but failed to offer him any assistance. Finally, a Samaritan saw the victim and voluntarily provided him with charitable aid.
Through that lesson-story Jesus made it clear it was not enough that the two men who passed by had superficially refrained form violating the Decalog's "Thou shalt not steal." Instead, they were themselves guilty of stealing because they had deprived the wounded man of the aid which -- by the law of love -- was actually due him. Theirs was thus a sin of omission, even as the acts of the recognized thieves had been sins of commission. In contrast, the Good Samaritan had deserved God's blessing because he had acted in response to the motivation of love.
On the other hand, it has been too little noted that Jesus pictured the victim of the robbers as one who had individually possessed a right-of-ownership relating to whatever it was that was stolen from him. Moreover, Jesus made no distinction between the bodily wealth and the non-bodily wealth that were involved when the robbers violated their victim's right-of-ownership. Jesus didn't hold that the non-bodily wealth stolen had belonged to the "Brotherhood of Man" -- the sophistry that the robbers had actually been co-owners of whatever they stole. Moreover, it was made clear that the victim's need for material assistance was not a condition of his own making. He needed food and medical attention, for example, but not as a result of his having refused to self-earn the price of what he needed; neither were his needs for charity the result of his having squandered previous earnings by improvident conduct of his own choosing.
Next, let us note that the robbery victim didn't turn about -- with a bullet or a ballot -- and himself become a robber of the Good Samaritan. Thus, Jesus left it for human logic to perceive even from this parable that charity, whether provided individually or as public aid, should be to help the unfortunate in emergency conditions and can be injurious both to the suppliers and to the recipients if it becomes a non-emergency substitute for the principle of the self-responsibility of Individual Man.
Moreover, Jesus left no doubt that the victim of the robbers had possessed a right to defend himself from being robbed, even though any such defense in this case had plainly been unsuccessful. Indeed, it was also implicit that the Good Samaritan likewise had a right to have defended himself from any violations of his property ownership if robbery had been attempted against him, too. Nevertheless, many Christians have erroneously believed that Jesus demanded that victims of evil should offer no physical resistance. This error has been chiefly derived from his saying that "if anyone smites you on the right cheek, offer him the other cheek as well." Now it is true that men should not use excessive force to defend themselves from evil. On the other hand, good men are not morally obligated to let evil-doers run amuck. Thus, Jesus didn't suggest that modern policemen, as defenders of the public, should use powder-puffs as their weapons against criminals armed with Molotov cocktails or guns. Neither did he suggest that modern judges or juries should release murderers from prison in six years or six months.
Thus, Jesus' reference to "turning the cheek" has been misinterpreted by shallow thinkers as a result of their blindness to two related facts. First, the divine wisdom of Jesus was incapable of desiring the World to be conquered by evil-doers. Second, his use of that phrase was actually directed only to a special group of his followers and under special circumstances.
Accordingly, the extent of the intended applicability of the cheek-phrase to humanity as a whole was simply to mean that it is better to be non-resistant to a minor injury than to risk an escalation of attack-and-defense to a still greater injurious level. Let us note, therefore, that Jesus did not imply that a man should submit to a major injury rather than to use force to subdue his assailant.
As for the audience to whom the cheek-phrase was specifically directed, let us note that the hearers of these words were confined to a hand-picked group of followers whom he was about to send out on a tour; thus, he was simply urging them to "keep out of trouble." In other words, he wanted them to avoid any encounters which, for example, might land them in jail -- because the time was not yet ripe for him to perform any miraculous rescues such as later extricating Peter from a prison. Thus, although Jesus also made some generally applicable statements, on this same occasion, it should be noted that the concept of non-resistance to minor injuries was directed primarily to just the limited number of followers who were present. Hence, it is significant that Matthew's Gospel specifically records that the related discourse by Jesus was given after he had departed from "the multitudes' and had been "joined by his disciples." Luke's Gospel, reporting the same occasion, lets it appear that larger numbers may have been present but makes careful note of the fact that Jesus "fixed his eyes on his disciples" at the time of the speaking.
At other times, Jesus' teachings also let it be clear that humanity cannot be equalized in terms of material possessions and that any attempts to do so are themselves manifestations of stealing. He understood that all men will individually vary in their inherited physical and mental capacities, in their inherited environments, in their various combinations of needs and desires, in their development and use of productive abilities, in their skill as self-managers, in the number of progeny for whom they are self-responsible, in their practice or non-practice of thrift, and thus in the total combination of factors which are the justice determinants of humanity's individualistic variations of the standards of living. Accordingly, he summed up that understanding in a single sentence: "The poor," he said, "will be with you always."
Jesus knew and implied in his teachings that a rightful measuring of each family's consumption and possession of material wealth must be hitched -- under normal circumstances -- to its own production of material values or received as wholly voluntary gifts. Thus, God's Son raised no objection to the fact that some men would be wealthy in comparison to others. Indeed, he was not condemning size of wealth even when he remarked it would be 'easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." In those words, he was simply indulging in Semitic hyperbole to emphasize that a rich man has a heavier burden of moral responsibilities as a spender, as a lender, and as a manager of wealth than is the case with less affluent people.
On the other hand, Jesus taught that not wealth but wisdom should be Man's primary objective; specifically, the kind of wisdom that wins the soul's admission to Heaven. But wisdom is not possessed until it has been acquired by a learning process, and he stressed this fact in the saying which, in English translations of the New Testament, had been poorly expressed as "Blessed are the meek." We can perceive the real truth in that Beatitude, however, by realizing it was not intended to mean a "meek-as-a-mouse" submission to evil-doers; that instead, to be "meek" meant to be non-egotistical, not to assume the possession of greater wisdom than has actually been acquired. In other words, what Jesus meant was that -- instead of risking injury to others as a result of unadmitted ignorance -- every man individually has a moral obligation to exert the sufficiency of cerebral effort by which an optimum clarity of moral wisdom will be surely acquired. Stated more succinctly: Even "good intentions" are a wholly unreliable guide for moral conduct; instead, Man has a moral obligation to make himself morally intelligent.
Finally among his teachings, Jesus made it known that the World would need and should have the services of an organized institution -- the Christian Church -- to teach as much of theological truth as it might possess and to teach the fundamentals of moral conduct. Likewise, in sundry ways, he made it known that its people, both clergy and laity, should ever seek and welcome the discovery of previously undiscovered truths to supplant whatever it had inherited of voids and errors.
Simultaneously, Jesus also made it abundantly clear (as will be amplified in a later chapter herein) that although the Church should teach, it should not seek to rule. In other words, there was to be a distinct separation of Church from State. Thus, Jesus did not propose that the Church's leaders should even attempt to do the translating of the morality fundamentals into ready-made proposals for secular legislation -- because any step in such a direction would be akin to making Mankind mere puppets of an (assumed but not granted) divine direction. In contrast, as Jesus well knew, it was God's intent that secular society rather than the Church should have the ultimate responsibility of finding the way to a recognition and adoption of the principles of conduct which not only would provide peace and happiness on Earth itself but also would be the process for the qualifying of souls for admission to Heaven.
Hence, Jesus laid the foundations for his Church by his choosing of the Apostles and by giving them a first-stage set of instructions for the performing of its great task -- even while he left many ecclesiastical and secular matters to be solved by human logic in later centuries rather than by anticipating them with specific instructions of his own. Thus, because the Church was still confronted with numerous unsolved problems even 20 centuries later, not only of basic theology and morality but also of pedagogical methods and organizational structure, we shall need in our present study to deal with many of these matters in later chapters herein, in as clear a sequence as seems possible to devise. More immediately, however, we shall need in the following chapter to resume our examination of the momentous events in the life of Jesus in the period in which he was still a visitor on Earth.
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