Friday, January 14, 2005


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This is a blog-book about obtaining a special kind of happiness that will never leave you nor forsake you and is as proof against as many forms of unhappiness as you will let it be.

Since what it offers you is happiness, I could have called it a self-help book. All self-help books ultimately offer happiness. But since this happiness comes from God, I have to call it a God-help book. Its purpose is to help you understand the happiness that is offered in the Christian Gospel. The word "gospel" comes from a Middle English word for "good news" Once you have read this book, and done the very consequential homework assignment I will give you towards the end of it, you will agree that it is indeed good news, because you will have gotten a grasp on a happiness that is able to grasp you back and not let go.

Unlike most books about the Gospel, this one does not relentlessly bang you on the head with the Bible. (At least not at first) What this book instead does is lead you through a cumulative set of metaphors, twenty-seven in all that inexorably guide you into a grasp of the best and highest happiness you can ever or will ever know. (But if you are the type who likes being banged on the head with the Bible, I have an appendix for you in the back.)

"What is a metaphor?" you may ask. A metaphor is a way of using language to bridge from one way of understanding something to another way of understanding something.

Sometimes it’s a bridge between something familiar, and another familiar thing. For a example, in a phrase or figure of speech, we say "drowning in work," bridging between the idea of water and the idea of having too much work.

Sometimes it’s a bridge between unfamiliar things to something familiar. Parables are like that. They are extended metaphors. Little stories that can translate things we are unfamiliar with (like the kind of existence that is yet to be) into things we are acquainted with in everyday life (the existence we have now).

The benefit of using metaphors is that you do not have to use hard words to explain things that might not be immediately obvious, and that you can say things as if they have been said for the first time, and thus have them heard as if for the first time.

So this book is a God-help book about some metaphors to a grasp of a unique and special kind of happiness. You may think of that happiness as being at the center of a flower that has not opened yet. As you read each metaphor, you are pealing away one petal after another, until you arrive at the core, and the nectar of happiness therein.

My only excuse for adding this book to the endless pile already in existence is that I wish someone has written a book like it for me a long time ago. I have been, for a good part of my life, very unhappy indeed, and I had a long twisting road before I finally got a grasp on the happiness that now grasps me. Walk with me then, down through the metaphors, and see if you can grasp that happiness too. I don’t guarantee that you will always be happy if you do (there are still times when I am not), but I do believe that it will grasp you back.

The first metaphor is about happiness itself.

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Metaphor 1 - Music as a Metaphor for Happiness

Consider music. Why do we listen to music? We listen to music because there is, somewhere in the notes, a divine moment, possibly several moments, in which we are taken out of ourselves and all our daily concerns of living and raised up to an ethereal place in our minds where a point-event occurs in our souls that we call "happiness." We can call it a lot of other things, depending on who we are: "fun," "cool," "groovy," "a blast," "felicity," etc, etc. For simplicities sake, I will call it plain old happiness.

But if you listen to music carefully, you’ll notice that not every strain of a song, or every note of a composition gives you that specific point-event in the soul. In fact, if you listen carefully, you’ll notice that a lot of music is about preparation for that point-event, rather than the point-event itself. The point-event is in fact quite small and very fleeting, and the preparation leading up to it makes up most of the song or the composition. It is this point-event quality that I take as being the characteristic of happiness in general.

Even if you are not a music lover, I’m sure you recognize the nature of that fleetingness I have pointed out. There are many things in life that we derive a measure of happiness from that involves a lot of preparation in comparison to how long the happiness of the thing lasts. Think about the card game, where there was waiting around for the guys (or gals) to show up, and then the amount of time spent talking and shuffling and dealing, and then the brief fleeting moments of happiness from points being made or from the chats with the guys (or gals), all of which are gone once the cards are back in the deck and the deck is put away and everybody goes home.

Think about the fishing trip where one spent time selecting were to do it at, possibly getting reservations for the venue, preparing the rod and reels, the bait, monitoring the weather reports, clearing the calendar to able to take the time, etc. etc. Then one does the fishing. One takes enjoyment from it. But how much of being there is really happiness, and how many moments of time were spent preparing for it in comparison to the moments of happiness experienced? You can notice this about virtually any hobby there is.

Then there is the larger happiness that comes from the events in a career or even a life. Now, I hope that you have seen more than one fleeting moment of happiness in your life, but if you care to think about it a little (and I’ll understand if maybe you don’t) , you will find that in the long run of a life or a career, you may have gotten the feeling that as far as happiness is concerned, there’s been a lot more buck spent than bang received.

You may have worked hard and long on projects that gave you happiness after their completion, but found the happiness lasted only a day or two. You may have been an athlete who had trained really hard for the big contest, won the prize, and then realized your satisfaction in the prize has lasted maybe an hour or a day. You may be in a career in which a lot of hard work was punctuated from time to time by the happiness of a promotion that lasted only a day and night. You maybe living a life in which your happiest moments are a few pages in a scrap book.

And some of you may have noticed that what happiness you’ve had in life has been due to blind chance rather that design. You are not deceived in that regard. In the dictionary, the word "happiness" is said to derive from "hap," the archaic Scandinavian word for "luck" or "chance."

In fact, one sad aspect of happiness is that if we really notice it, and then set out to make it our goal, the act of having it as a goal may be the very thing that will prevent us from experiencing it. And God help us if some untoward event "spoils" our attempt at getting a flash of happiness from something. Some of the books on happiness will in fact tell you that the best way to get it is to ignore it completely and just go about your business. But that can be maddening advice to follow when happiness bobs up once in a while and then vanishes as fast as it came.

Now you may think "So happiness is fleeting. Big deal. So what? I’ll just go after it more and more until I get it again and again." But you should consider, first, that some kinds of happiness do not lend themselves to constant repetition. There are only so many times you can listen to a CD tract without the point-events of happiness eventually draining out of it and actual boredom setting in.

Second you should consider that whole categories of happiness may exhaust themselves when you eventually realize how much alike they are in end. For example, you may get happiness from reading Sherlock Holmes, or Nero Wolf, or Ellery Queen. But eventually you reach the point where you see that the entire mystery genre is based on the principle of a tricky observation being wrapped around some plot devices designed to conceal it until the last paragraph. There after it becomes harder to read a mystery just for the mysteries sake. (The best mystery stories are the ones that contain observations about the human condition as well as just the mystery plot). Once you understand the operating principal behind a happiness, it becomes harder to get a flash of happiness from a instance of the genre.

Thirdly, when you were a child, your parents footed the bill for you quest for happiness. But now that you are an adult, you pay for it by working. If you haven’t realized it by now, as you get older, the ratio of fun to work decreases as work becomes more and more demanding and one happiness after another is exhausted.

There are no two ways about it. We must solve the problem of happiness. The frenzied search for it is what makes this wicked old world go ‘round and ‘round, and is the source of much positive unhappiness. We have to solve it.

So we ask the obvious question "what makes happiness so fleeting?" And our second metaphor comes to our aid.

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Metaphor 2 - Time as a Metaphor of Eternity

The chief problem of our happiness point-events is that time attenuates them. We say "time heals all wounds." But what we mean by that, rather, is that memory fades with time.

Time came into being with the creation of matter. Time is not just a clock ticking. It’s the creation’s processing. It is molecules moving, resulting in bodies decaying, hair turning grayer, and synapses in the brain gradually losing their connections so that, over time, a memory of a point-event that was once flesh and clear in our minds has now become less than what it once was to us in its immediacy, and may even have become lost to us altogether. It causes our experiences to be divided into an ill-remembered past, a minutely fleeting present, and unknown (at least by us) future. It serves us well enough indeed in healing wounds, but it minute by minute erases our point-events of happiness as if they were sand castles in a desert sand storm.

So, if we want a lasting happiness, one that is not always fading away and disappearing on us, we are talking about an everlasting happiness, or better yet an eternal one.

Is there a difference between something that is "everlasting" and something that is "eternal?" There is one I would like to make, even through they are used interchangeably. An eternal object can be conceived of as having no beginning and no end, and is therefore not subject to time, and indeed can be conceived of as existing outside time. While an everlasting object, like an eternal object, can be conceived of as not having an end, going on forever, but unlike an eternal object, one that is everlasting can be said to have a beginning and is therefore part of time. It is subject to having a past, a present, and a future.

But that is hard to imagine by creatures existing in time. So, I propose using time as a metaphor of eternity. The metaphor is this: to an object in eternity, every moment in time is being experienced as happening now. There’s no past, present, and future. All the moments of time are experienced as being in the present.

Imagine what the possibility of eternity means for happiness! The happiness of that ice cream cone you just tasted would not fade away as soon as you swallowed it, but would remain as fresh in your mind as if you had just tasted it again and again and again. The event of happiness would not longer be fleeting, but something that could be held, well, for all eternity.

But where can we find eternity? What has the quality of eternity? Well, here comes the next metaphor.

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Metaphor 3 - The Chain of Being

This metaphor comes with a decision. Before you consider this metaphor, you have to decide whether you believe Something can come out of Nothing or whether there must always be a Something (or rather a Someone) for anything to come out of. For before there was the Theory of Evolution there was the Chain of Being.

The churchmen of the middle ages, like us, were aware of design principles at work in the way all nature’s creatures were made, and so, with the assistance of ancient Greek thought, came up with this metaphor.

In the Chain of Being, there is always a Someone out of whom everything else came. There is a kind of similarity between The Theory of Evolution and the Chain of Being, but with a very big difference. Evolution works from the bottom (the slime), up (to man?), and has no purpose, no reason for anything. The Chain of Being starts at the top, with a designer and creator at the top, who then works from the bottom up, creating creatures of varying complexity of design and self-awareness in a metaphorical "Chain of Being" leading up to the Creator, who has a very specific purpose in doing so.

We ourselves are self aware beings. We perceive that there seems to be successive levels of design in the making of animals, successive levels of self awareness and, if we observe carefully, we perceive that each creature has a form of "happiness" peculiar to it, whether instinctive or learned.

Being that there are increasingly complex beings, we can perceive that there are increasingly complex forms of happiness that these beings can enjoy. Varying in complexity by the amount of time and energy required to enjoy them and learn how to enjoy them.

In animals, happiness is mostly the satisfaction of drives for hunger or procreation. Fish are made happy (in a sense) by gobbling up plankton and/or smaller fishes, and very likely, by being able to excrete. But we don’t know if they are made happy by their reproductive processes, other than that they innately know they have to perform them. Dogs are also made happy by food, excretion, and most obviously by procreation. But dogs also like to play games that, while related to their survival skills, are not just exclusively for that purpose. Monkeys and apes are known to get a form of happiness from relating to each other in a society, as scientific observation has revealed that they have grooming networks.

Human kinds of happiness vary in complexity as well. Enjoying music from other time periods is a more complex happiness than enjoying music from just your own generation, simply because of the time and energy required to recapture what it was that earlier people enjoyed about their music. The same can be said of movies, theater performances, and even television shows, and any of the other arts. Enjoying chess is a more complex happiness than enjoying checkers. Enjoying a game of Monopoly is a more complex pleasure than enjoying Candyland. And so on down the line.

Now that we are aware that there are different kinds and levels of happiness, we should go on to start thinking about our choices of which kind of happiness will best serve us. In a sense we are saying that only the best and most important kind will do, a kind that is suitable to our place in the Chain of Being.

In our sorting of the kinds of happiness, we can start with an old saw. It’s the old saw about there being three kinds of people: those who talk about things (possessions), those who talk about people (gossip), and those who talk about ideas.

As with talk, it is so with happiness. Things, people, or ideas are the basic choices ("places", i.e. vacations spots, can be considered a collection of "things"). As far as talk goes, ideas are certainly a better topic than gossip about people or talk of possessions, but in a sort of the kinds of happiness, ideas should, all things being equal actually come in the middle between people and things. For these reasons: 1.) Ideas are more important than things because ideas for creating things come before the things themselves and in fact shape their creation. And if your imagination is good enough, it is possible to enjoy many things in your mind with out having to have them in reality. 2.) People create things, and they conceive ideas. And like things, ideas can be good or bad, intelligent or stupid, worthy or worthless.

Our bloody centuries on this earth have revealed the consequences some people holding some ideas to be more important than other people. But there have also likewise been other people who have conceived ideas that increased the happiness of many people.

So with happiness, the order of what is best and most important comes down to people first, ideas second (for the most part), and things last. And so from there it then comes down to who is the best person and what kind of ideas that person holds.

So the next step in contemplating the metaphor of the Chain of Being is to think about the levels of being and happiness going up. Up from the level of human beings. This is where we come back to deciding about whether there has to always be something (Or Someone) in order for there to be anything. I.e., we come to the ideal of a Supreme Being.

If I am a human being, and I have various kinds of happiness to chose from, of varying levels of complexity (or lack thereof !), and some of these are light years above the appreciation of any animal (one hopes), then what does the primary and most important happiness of God consist of? And what would be the quality of that happiness as opposed to human happiness?

Let’s take the question of quality first. If we have a Someone who was always there, who has generated everything else, including time (which comes into being with the creation) then we have an eternal Being. At the top of the Chain of Being by virtue of being its Creator, and thereby perfect, this Being would have to be eternal in the sense of every moment in created time being present to Him at once without defect. (Footnote 1) Therefore God’s happiness is perfect and never fades. This is the quality of God’s happiness.

Now let’s turn to the question of what is the primary and most important happiness of God. In a perfect being, happiness would have to sort by what is most important, perfect and best. And what (or rather Who) in the Chain of Being is most important, perfect, and best? If you think about it carefully, you have to conclude that God’s best, most important, and perfect happiness comes from His ideas, His conception and contemplation, of Himself as a Person. (Footnote 2)

In the Chain of Being, indeed as the Creator of the Chain, God exists as a Person, who then has ideas, which translate into things, and into creatures which culminate in people. But the most signifigant, and the most worthy Object of happiness of such a Creator is Himself because all else derives from Him, whereas He exists solely from Himself. In fact, everything that He creates is a reflection of Him as if it were a kind of mirror.

If it sounds a little strange to you, think for a minute about what mostly gives you pleasure to think about when you’re not forced to be thinking about something else. Nine times out of ten, I believe it will be yourself that you are thinking about. We are all, after all, the main characters in our own stories, or the action heroes of our own internal movie theaters. We all have the kind of secret life Walter Mitty does.

It’s just that since God is perfect, and has some other attributes I’ll mention later, it is perfectly all right for God’s highest and best happiness to be centered in the contemplation of Himself and want to see Himself in all He has made.

Now believe it or not, we are now ready to answer Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s famous question: "What are people for?" The answer is in another question. If we have a self-existent Being, who creates, and who’s chief happiness is the contemplation of Himself, then how may that Being increase His happiness if He is perfect and ultimate, and thereby can never change into a greater form than that which He has always had? The answer is: by creating other persons, other beings, who are capable of that same contemplation of Himself.

Make no mistake. Let none deceive you. That is what people are for. God has created us for the very highest happiness there can be, which is to have Him as our Object. In a very real sense, we were all meant to be mystics. It’s just that the degree can vary from person to person.

So, God increases His high quality happiness by creating a Chain of Being, which culminates in beings capable of the contemplation, adoration, and praise of Himself. There are design criteria for such beings.

The first is whether the beings will be based on what I would distinguish as Fecundity versus Fullness. A being based on Fecundity will be a being that starts its existence as something next to nothing and then within the fabric of time grows up into whatever degree of maturity it was meant to have. This design principle implies that the finite number of members of this class of being will come into being by being distributed in the fabric of time. Earthly life, and human beings are based on this principle.

The contrasting principle is Fullness. A creature based on Fullness is one created complete as it is, with no need of either growth or reproduction, since all the members of this order of creation are created at once. Presumably, any messengers of God who pass between Him (in eternity) and His creation (in time) are of this design. (And just to clarify things, I’ll mention that the Greek word for messenger is "angelos"). They would be an intermediate link in the Chain of Being between humans and God. They would be "everlasting", but not "eternal."

The second design principle is, in a very real sense, "a killer." In order for the contemplation, adoration, and praise of God to be in any fashion authentic, the being performing it must have the key ingredient called "free will." Think, if you will, of all the millionaires who have ever wondered if they were really loved for themselves (what ever that might mean). This is what is implicit in God creating a race of beings whose purpose in life is to love Him and worship Him because of the excellency of Who is He is. Worship cannot be performed by either robots or Clockwork Oranges. (Foonote 3)

The only worship that is worth anything is the worship of a free being who has the capacity to refuse that worship and that high quality happiness which God has in Himself. In a word, worship can only be performed by a responsible being.

And so now we get to our next metaphor.
(1) I am aware that the division of our species into male and female is a design principle of the creator and as such both states are reflections of His personality. (One of His names in Hebrew means literally "the breasted one," which indicates His nurturing nature). I use the "Him" because I will not call Him an "it" and my reasons for not calling "Him" a "Her" will become apparent later.

(2) I know that some people are in the habit of thinking of God as an impersonal "force" (an "it") because they think that is somehow better that being an icky "person." But think about this: human persons have learned how to manipulate and overcome some the impersonal forces of nature, like electricity, electro-magnetism, and even gravity. So thinking of the Supreme Being as an impersonal force is actually a way of demoting Him in our thinking. One is not after all accountable to an impersonal force, but one can be accountable to a person. I think C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity) has the right of it. If God is a person, then His personhood is of a Super Duper variety.

(3) In Anthony Burgess’ novel, A Clockwork Orange, there is a criminal anti-hero who is subjected to a behavior modification treatment that causes him to become immediately ill whenever he even conceives of committing a crime. Burgess is pointing out that this person is still basically a criminal because you have not really changed him, just his behavior. The impluses are still there. So you have a mechanically controlled organic being. A clockwork orange.

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Metaphor 4 - Self-maintaining Computer Programs

Having come along this way with a concept of a being at the top of a Chain of Being, who has the power to create beings beneath Him who are endowed with will, the question arises as to who bears responsibility for the consequences of that will.

Some people take the civil liability view that the creator is responsible for the results of free will by virtue of being the creator. One is, after all, legally responsible for the acts of one’s pets and one’s minor children.

I submit, from my long career as a computer programmer, that the civil liability involved in the maintenance of a computer program is probably a better analogy. Courts have held that the liability of a computer programmer for the defects of programs he has written ends when his maintenance of the programs ends. For example, if, initially, Tom the programmer writes a program that gets Dick’s payroll wrong, then it is Tom that is liable to Dick for the damage from the payroll foul up. But if Tom in fact wrote a good payroll program, and later turned it over to Harry for maintenance, it would be Harry who would be on the hook for any resulting foul up.

Given this, I would add the following: suppose it were possible to make programs that once created, were self aware enough to maintain themselves by re-programming themselves. Well, the liability would pass from the programmer to the program itself. And it is just this that I take as a metaphor of responsibility. One is not, after all, responsible for the acts of one’s adult children.

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Metaphor 5 - The Novel as a Metaphor of Time in Eternity

Now, I have just gone over the idea of there being not only free will, but also resonsibility for it. And yet I have also proposed a metaphor of eternity which is that it is like all the moments in time happening at once. How are we to reconcile these two ideas? If time is of a piece with matter in being part of the creation, then all the moments in time, including the future, are already known outside of time. How then can there be such a thing as either free will or responsibility? Well C. S. Lewis gave me a very serviceable metaphor that helps a great deal. (Footnote 4)

It is this. Imagine that you are reading a novel instead of reading this. The characters in the novel are talking to each other and getting on with the lives the author of the novel gave them. In the novel, time is passing for these characters. Depending on what kind of novel it is, the time passing could be a single day, or a lifetime, or several lifetimes, but it is a kind of time passing.

Then you may come to a place in the novel were two characters are having a momentary discussion, and put the book down and do not resume reading it until a month so later. In your own time, a month has passed. But to the characters in the novel, only a moment has passed between the time one of them said something and the other replied.

But now also consider that besides time passing, the characters in the novel are making decisions that cause actions to take place that change the lives they lead in the novel. Now as far as the characters in the novel are concerned, they have complete free will. But yet the novel has already been written. Everything they’ve done is forever predetermined. In fact, in literature, there is something called an "authorial intrusion" in which the author of a story can interrupt the flow of the story by commenting, as the author, on things that are going to happen in the "future" of the story.

So in one sense, that is what I think the eternity that is outside of time is like. It’s like being the reader of a novel in which time is passing and the creatures in it are making decisions and causing consequences from their decisions, but it is all a recording of what has already occurred. To an eternal being, seeing the future is like re-reading the novel.

And you would then ask me, "But where’s the responsibility in all this? Aren’t all the decisions fake if they’ve already written down before hand?" And my answer would be: in the very best novelists, most of the characters have free will before the novelist ever sits down to write his or her novel.

Frederick Buechner, in The Book of Bebb, is on record as saying of his Leo Bebb novels "I had heard about single characters running away with the show but never the whole cast - and not just running away with it but refusing to let it end." And Stephen King has likened writing stories to archeology. He senses that he’s not so much making things up as digging up things that were already deep inside the human race to begin with. Fiction writers in general will tell you that it’s a gift when a character "shows up" and takes on a life of its own in their fictive universes.

Now if we stretch this last idea a little with the idea that the Creator is the best possible novelist there could ever be, we come up with the idea that we really do have free will, and responsibility for it, even if the Creator knows all the moments of our futures in a moment of His eternity. We have free will and make decisions that we can be held responsible for, but the Creator has decided where in time He will place us and how He will use our decisions in the story that He unfolds in our time.
(4) C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. Where I do not specifically mention what work of C.S. Lewis suggested something to me, the work is this one.

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Interlude in the Dark Valley

So, here we are. Responsible, self-aware, self-programming beings, and creatures specifically designed for the worship, adoration, praise, and contemplation of our Creator.

Is that what all of us actually do on any basis more frequently than we take in any other pleasures? Is that what we feel? Do we even like the idea? Does our world look like it reflects that fact, or some quite different state of affairs?

Surely, and sadly, it is a quite different state of affairs with us. What most of us really seem to experience in real life is a blindness, or deafness, or deadness to anything whatsoever that even hints of a higher being who might make a claim to be our felicity. And what we definitely experience is a profound sense of aloneness. Or as Aldous Huxley poetically put it:

We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. ... Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies - all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable ... From family to nation,every human group is a society of island universes. (Footnote 5)

But if you have read this far, its probably because you are unhappy in some degree ( I did entitle it Twenty-Seven Metaphors to a Grasp of Happiness after all), and maybe you’ve known some people who seem to be happy on the basis we’ve just explored and would like, perhaps, to awaken a facility for it inside yourself. Keep on reading. I have some more metaphors. And they have to do with deadness, blindness, deafness, and aloneness.

Let’s take aloneness first.
(5) Aldlous Huxley, The Doors of Perception. Yes, the Jim Morrison rock group was named after this book.

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Metaphor 6 - A Robot Named Pierre (the Chicagoland Metaphor)

As a metaphor, or rather a thought experiment, I’m going to say that a team of scientists at the University of Chicago are going to perform what would in reality be a thoroughly wicked human experiment. I am, for the moment, not considering the wickedness of the experiment, other than to mention that it is wicked and I hope will never be attempted, but rather I present it as a thought experiment to highlight something we may never have considered about our lives here on earth.

The experiment is this. Imagine that the savants of the University of Chicago are able to obtain a pregnant woman who is ready to give up her child for science (there’s one wickedness right there). The child is taken out of the mother’s body and put in a scientific device or tank of some kind which allows it to continue life in an unborn state.

Simultaneously, in Paris, in a research annex of the University of Chicago, some French scientists have constructed a mechanical, robot-like body of some sort that has arms and legs, and hands, and a means of seeing and hearing, etc. etc. The robot body does not have a brain to run it, but rather, a series of telecommunication links (say by radio) between the various parts of the robot’s body and the University in Chicago.

Now imagine that before the baby is born, its optic nerve is disconnected from its own eyes and connected to the telecommunication link to the robot’s eyes in Paris. Then its auditory nerves are then disconnected from its own ears and linked to the robot’s ears in Paris. And it’s likewise for its arms and legs, and the other parts of its body.

When the infant in the tank finally becomes conscious and is "born," it begins to sense with the robot’s senses in Paris, and when it moves, it moves its robot body in Paris. Suppose then, that the wicked scientists let it grow up and live its whole life in the tank sensing with, and operating, its body in Paris, while the scientists monitor its incoming and outgoing communication links.

What misconceptions do you think the individual in the tank would grow up with?

Well, 1.) He would think he was a robot and not a human being.
2.) He would think he was a French robot.
3.) He would think that if a Mack truck (or whatever the French equivalent is) ran over his robotic body; that would be the end of him.
4.) He would think that he was alone inside his body’s head in Paris.

And he would be dead wrong about all four things. [Footnote 3-7]

Now what do we get out of this extended metaphor? Well, two things.

1.) We begin to arrive at a concrete idea of what might be meant by the words "spirit" or "soul". The fact that you have a body that is in a certain place at a certain time, and in a certain condition does not mean that your body is all there is to you. The fact that we can speak of something that’s not part of your physical body does not mean that it does not exist somewhere (even if away from where your physical body is) and have some kind of structure or components or function just as the parts of your physical body do. You have a "Chicagoland" that coincides with your "Parisian" existence.

When you try to observe your Chicagoland - your soul or spirit - its kind of like a flash light in a dark room trying to shine its light on itself - the thing that you’re trying to shine the light on is the thing doing the shining. Just because you can’t sense it and weigh it in a scale does not mean it doesn’t exist. [Footnote 3-6] In fact, in The Record, one of the titles ascribed to God is "the Father of Spirits". So in very real sense this "Chicagoland" that looks out of your body’s eyes, and hears with our body’s ears is just as much a creation of God as the physical world your eyes see and your ears hear.

2.) We can start to speculate that we might not be so alone inside our own heads after all. Suppose for a moment that one of the scientists in the above metaphor decided to start speaking to the individual who thought he was a French robot. The scientist could, we can suppose, speak directly to the individual inside his tank by tapping directly into the comm links for his ears or eyes.

And what would be the effect? Doubtless poor Pierre would get the shock of his life and possibly start to think he was going cybernetically crazy (especially if the scientist was speaking English!). But notice this: the means of communication was always there. In terms of the metaphor, that communication would have been "by the spirit" and occurred "in the soul." And the scientists, being there all along, and from infancy, would know everything the individual saw or heard or said or did.

The individual thought he was a French robot and alone inside his own private mechanical skull. He was none of that.

But let’s add another wrinkle to this metaphor by proposing another. Consider the early days of the telephone and the radio. People who first encountered those inventions, without a prior knowledge of how they worked, used to jump out of their skins at having these new fangled contraptions speak to them as if they had little tiny people in them! This is another way to consider Chicagoland and its operating link to a Parisian existence. You may think of the brain as an electro-chemical colloid that is capable of receiving, instead of radio waves, what might be called "soul" or "spirit" waves.

Now let’s take it a step further and propose that not just what Pierre saw and heard and said and did was being transmitted between Chicagoland and Paris, but also what he thought. Suppose the "soul" or "spirit" waves transmitted, not just communications about sense and movement, but also the thoughts of the individual? Well then, Pierre would really have never been alone in his head!

So now we have an operating metaphor for how it can be possible for us never to be alone inside our own heads. The question is then, why are we? If we really consider this metaphor, we will soon conclude that what’s actually stranger than the idea of receiving communications from a Chicagoland is that fact that we have never received a communication from a Chicagoland.

And why haven’t we noticed this before? It’s because everyone we know of is not receiving communications from Chicagoland either. The no-eyed man in the land of the blind does not know he is as blind as his fellows. Nor as deaf, nor as dead (though he may be very aware of how lonely he is).

But now we get to our next consideration. If the Supreme Being is perfect, then whatever lack of communication we may have from Him on our end cannot be attributed to Him. If there is a defect in our communications through Chicagoland, it is more likely the problem lies with us.

And by this time we may be collectively asking ourselves, "Was it something I said?"

It’s time for another metaphor.

(3-7) Yes, I did see the movie The Matrix. It is an excellent realization of this metaphor, as is the movie eXistence, and The 13th Floor, and even Dark City. But the intent of these movies is Gnostic. Hollywood is on a Gnosticism binge right now. Something I will cover later.

(3-6) I remember once reading an unworthy religious tract that said that a scientist had once put a dying old man on a long flat scale to see if his weight changed at the moment after death. It did by a something like an ounce, and the tract writer said this proved the existence of the soul and gave its exact weight as an ounce. The tract writer was not a coroner, who could have told him that on death, the sphincters of the body relax and open, one consequence of which is that any gas in the colon is released. Most assuredly, one once is not the weight of a soul!

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Metaphors 7 and 8 - Skeleton Programs and the Tree in the Water

For this next metaphor, I’m going to turn back again to my long experience as a computer programmer.

When I was a young junior programmer, I had a fanciful notion that computer programmers spent all their time writing new programs from scratch, each a realization of a given stage of his expertise and personality. Little did I know.

In point of fact, what professional programmers do is write a basic skeleton program that does a variety of commonly done things, and then whenever a new program is required, they grab the skeleton program, make few changes to it, and then install that changed version of the skeleton into production as a brand new program. This is efficiency. The idea is now called "code reusability," and there are now whole programming languages based on this idea. It is marvelously efficient, but has one defect.

Imagine that, one night, a programmer at a company is called in because four payroll systems crashed in the same place in their runs on the mainframe. (I am dating myself with this example. Let me date myself further. These kinds of crashes were called "Abends" for "abnormal end").

The poor programmer comes in and starts sifting through the cybernetic wreckage like an investigator for the Federal Transportation Safety Board. He discovers that all four payroll systems crashed in the same place because all four different systems used a program that had been created from the same skeleton program. A defect in the original skeleton program (for example, an incorrect leap year calculation that shows up once every four years) had years later caused four different computer programs for four different payroll systems to fail.

This makes it easier for the programmer to fix, because the problem is localized in one place, but he still has to correct every program that was based on that same original skeleton program.

Now, let’s think back again to living in Paris while truly residing in Chicagoland.

Another way to think about this is to consider the robot’s body in Paris to be, as it actually would be, hardware, just like a personal computer that sits on a persons desk at home is a piece of electrical hardware no different from a television.

Then think about Chicagoland as being a piece of software that runs on that hardware. Chicagoland Version 1.0 running on RobotBody Version 1.0. That can be a picture, however strange, of all of us. Some of the cyberpunk science fiction authors think along those lines, referring to human beings as "meatmachines" running "wetware."

Admittedly, this is not a pretty metaphor, but it does get us closer to a crucial truth, which is, namely, if Chicagoland Version 1.0 has a defect in it, every meatmachine running it will have that same defect.

Now, lets step back a minute and consider this.

A while back ago, I said that the key thing about Chicagoland was that you could not observe it, because the thing you would be observing it with was in fact Chicagoland itself. And if its true location happened not to be located solely within your head, you would not be able to know that. And if it had some kind of structure, components, function or parts, just as your physical body does; you wouldn’t know that either. Consider now, if Chicagoland does indeed have parts, structures, and maybe a history that precedes your own personal existence.

For a good part of medical history, human beings had an inkling about the idea of genetics. There were expressions like "blood will tell", "the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree," and "a chip off the old block." There were inklings about heredity before there was any knowledge of DNA, chromosomes, and the like.

It was only with the advent of modern science that the physical mechanisms of heredity were finally uncovered. With the discovery that 50% of our genetic material comes from each parent at our conception, we now understand that within each of us, there was, in the past, a vast tree of many many branches (human beings of many different kinds) that grew in reverse, consolidating downward into a single trunk that became us, and that we in turn become the trunk of another vast tree going upward and onward into the future (provided, of course, that we are able to convince a member of the opposite sex to help us reproduce).

Science has even discovered that there is in fact a "Mitochondrial Eve." I.e. there is a piece of physical genetics that all humans in the world have, that seems to have come from a single human female. [Footnote 3-8]

Now, most people today, who are educated about our modern concepts of heredity by DNA, would have no intellectual problem with the idea that they might have a hereditary disease transmitted to them by the DNA of one or both of their parents. (Though assuredly they might have an emotional problem) And even uneducated people understand and accept that a hereditary disease is a dubious gift of nature. But the one thing both educated people and uneducated people have a really hard time accepting is the idea that their "souls," their "spirits," their "psyches," their "personalities", their "Chicagolands" might have a hereditary disease that affects the part of them that they can’t examine.

The attitude is very much that of the atheist philosopher Ayn Rand who is on record as saying "I can account for every emotion I have." Just so. The response is "Call me a leper. Call me a hemophiliac. Even call me a schizophrenic. But do not even imply that there might be anything wrong with the part of me that’s not my body." That might be your response. But consider that your bias to the idea of owing your own soul (which you did not by yourself bring into being) may be just the thing that may prevent you from getting a grasp on eternal happiness.

Consider. Suppose it is true. Suppose your Chicagoland has a history, heredity, and a DNA just like your physical body does? Suppose that in our Chicagoland, as with our bodies, there is besides the stuff the makes us personally our own selves, also stuff that is part of all the people who have ever been?

I was once driving by a pond and noticed that some kind of pretty water plants I had never seen before were dotting out of the pond in a noticeable pattern that didn’t look natural. So I pulled over and walked over to the pond and found out what it really was: a tree in blossom that had been cut down and thrown into the pond. What I saw as individual water plants in a pattern were actually branches of a tree that, below the water line, went down into a common trunk.

Suppose that our "souls," our "spirits," our "Chicagolands" are actually the branches of a tree leading down into a common origin that can affect us all even while we think we are autonomous individuals? Well, we can start to understand where our Chicagoland’s defects of blindness, deafness, deadness, and aloneness may have come from. They may have originated with the first people who were on the planet.

Does science have any inkling about such a thing as a spiritual heredity? Believe it or not, there is some science lying in this direction. The depth psychologist Carl Jung wrote about the existence of something called the Collective Unconscious whereby collective ideas residing in a collective human psyche can affect the behavior of autonomous individual humans.

The physicist Rupert Sheldrake has proposed that there may be something that can be called a "human morphic field," which is a field in the sense of a "magnetic field," in which collective human behavior can have influences on individual human behavior.

There are also depth psychologists who examine peoples reported dreams, who see certain patterns over and over again that appear to have an archaic origin, as if they were artifacts from great-great-great-great-great grandma’s own spiritual attic.

And then there are scholars who study the myths of the many primitive (and not so primitive) peoples of many lands, who have noticed that some of the myths are like some of those re-occurring dreams, and have observed re-occurring themes in those myths.

And then lastly, there is the phenomenon of inventions and scientific discoveries being made by several different people at about the same time in different parts of the world.

Personally, I do not endorse some these researchers, because I have noticed a tendency for their studies to degenerate into studies of the occult. (This is especially true of C.G. Jung’s). There is a reason for this, but that is a topic I will address later.

So, we have the possibility that Chicagoland may have a hereditary element to it. Where does that bring us?

Recall, if you will, that one of the design criteria for a being who can worship is that it be responsible. It can start out with a perfectly fine Chicagoland and thereby receive the responsibility for the continued maintenance of its ability to relate to the Creator who created it.

Having engendered a creature of free will and responsibility, the Creator must then, in line with certain personal attributes I will soon describe, test these new creatures. For the Creator is a wise hunter who tests whoever he takes his next hunting trip. And that’s my next metaphor.
(3-8) I have a niece who as of this writing has four little boys. Each of them looks completely different from the other. But all of them look unmistakably like their father. I would have to say, of a woman, that spamming her man into the gene pool is the highest compliment she can pay him.

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Metaphor 9 - The Wise Hunter

In a church I once attended, we had a Texan who hunted animals for a hobby.

One day, some boys from the church entreated him to take them with him on a hunt. But he was a very wise hunter, who knew that one just doesn’t take anyone on a hunt, because it can be a dangerous business and it has to be done quietly if any game is to be taken.

So before the hunt, he left the boys in a field and told them he would be back in a while to begin the hunt with them. Then he went off to a place where he could remain out of sight, but still observe the boys. And sure enough, boys being boys, and time being time, restlessness set in and they started making noise, and even firing their rifles at ant hills and other nearby inanimate targets. And so the Texan came back and told them he had witnessed their undisciplined behavior and the hunt was off.

If we can conceive of a Supreme Being, who is a Creator, and who has created for His own highest happiness some self-aware, responsible beings who have free will, then we can perfectly well imagine this Supreme Being putting His new Creatures to such a test as that described above.

It is a test to find out what the responsible creatures will do with their free will. Will they retain the Creator as their right and proper contemplation and so retain a character inoffensive to that Creator? Or will they change their character to one unlike that of their Creator and thus dethrone Him from His right and proper place in their hearts?

Our blindness, deafness, deadness, and loneliness would strongly indicate that the first people failed that test, and that their failure has become our heritage in the part of us that is Chicagoland. Being responsible self-programming beings, the first people in effect changed Chicagoland Version 1.0 into Version 1.1, and in the process introduced a profound and global failure into it.

And with these latest metaphors we have now arrived at a foundational notion of what might be meant by the idea of original sin, which is very nearly the hardest concept for modern people to accept.

Some of you, having come this far with me, may here say "Okay, we as a species in the Chain of Being have gone haywire and become unable to perceive our Creator. So what? Why doesn’t God just leave us alone? We leave Him alone don’t we?" Or more likely "Why don’t we all just get along?"

That’s the subject of my next metaphor.

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Metaphors 10 and 11 - Synesthesia and Perfect Pitch

Synesthesia is a physical/psychological condition in which a person perceives one sense as through it were through a different sense organ. For a example, a person’s ears can hear a sound or some music, but their mind will perceive it as light of some color or quality, or a taste sensation, or even a smell.

I like the thought of that. Imagine perceiving Beethoven’s ninth symphony as a wonderful fireworks display, or a delicate and exquisite perfume, or as the best thing your tongue has ever tasted.

But the reality of that condition maybe just the opposite. The brass section of an orchestra may come though as a head-splitting blinding flash of evil looking red light. Certain movements of the violin section may come through as a whiff of the most rotten substance in existence. And certain strains of the wind instruments may come through as worst thing one has ever tasted.

Then too, think of the "gift" of perfect pitch. This is the ability some people have to exactly distinguish one musical note in the scale from another musical note, just by hearing it once. Most people have to hear a number of notes in secession to get a relative sense of where they stand in relation to each other. People who have perfect pitch need to only hear a single note to know which one it is.

For musicians, perfect pitch is a perfect gift. But it comes with a price. They have to endure people who do not have perfect pitch who insist on singing or playing musical instruments. They are even prey to random inharmonious noises. For someone with perfect pitch, this can be like enduring a physical illness or even an assault.

Now here’s the question. What is all this a metaphor of? Well, two things that are very hard for human beings perceive that are very real attributes and characteristics of the Being who resides at the top of the Chain of Being. These attributes are righteousness and holiness.

Righteousness is right relation to other beings (or treating other beings right). Holiness is a related attribute that can be described as righteousness in itself without relation to another.

Being perfect, God has a perfect perception of the quality called righteousness, and is Himself most holy. God, as Creator, is at the top of the Chain of Being, and by that position is the sole arbiter of what is right and wrong, good and evil, and is in Himself good, and incapable of doing wrong. He is the Maker of the "rules of the game." Therefore a lesser being than God would say that righteousness and holiness are super-developed in Him.

Now think for a minute. A more highly developed being is more easily transgressed against than a lesser developed being.

A fish will only get annoyed at you (if he is even capable of that) when you actually get your hook in his mouth. A wild dog will get angry at you as soon as you step into an area it has marked as its territory. Apes, even if you have successfully negotiated stepping into to their territory, will get angry at you if you smile at them because among them bared teeth are interpreted as a challenge to a fight.

And in a similar vein, I recall a story about Washoe the chimp or one of the other chimps who have been taught a form of sign language from using a specially made computer keyboard. The story is that the special keyboard had a sign for "scientists" and a sign for "feces," and one day the scientists denied the chimp something and the chimp immediately tapped back and forth on the key for "feces" and "scientists!" True story or not, you get the picture. A more highly developed being is more easily transgressed against than a lesser developed being.

Now consider again, climbing up the Chain of Being, whether it is more than very likely that with a being like God, there are offenses that might not seem like they are a very big deal to us (indeed we might not even be aware of them or even think we are doing Him good by doing them), but do in fact strike very heavily at the center of His own happiness, just like Beethoven’s ninth might make a person with synesthesia ill, or our singing in the shower might make a person with perfect pitch cringe in their inmost being.

By experience, which I myself have shared, I know that most people, when they think of God at all, they think of Him as either an annoying stickler for rules who is like the Princess in the fairy tale of the Princess and the pea - someone easily annoyed by seemingly petty little things.

Either that, or they believe He is a jolly fine old fellow who can be easily entreated of any offense against Him because either they’ve had dealings with corrupt officials who can be bribed, or they’ve had authority figures over them who were given to moods they could take advantage of (which are merely the product of time passing), or more likely they or others they’ve hurt have experienced the baneful healing that time brings, which is merely forgetfulness, and found themselves easily absolved of offenses.

Whatever the reason, there is a failure to see that with God, righteousness and holiness are like the air we breath, the food we eat, and all that strikes our senses. It is His atmosphere. And it is of a piece with the intentions He has for creatures created to worship Him.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It is also the sincerest form of worship. It goes right to the heart of God’s happiness. If you have God as your Object, and He is your contemplation, then if you do something that is contrary to His personality, to the air He breathes, you have in fact become something unendurable to Him, and in all likelihood He has dropped out of your contemplation because what you have done is contrary to what He is.

Just how unendurable is it for God? We have discussed the quality of God’s happiness. We should now consider the quality of His unhappiness. Time for another metaphor.

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Metaphor 12 - Imagination as a Metaphor of Creation

Consider this. God creates "ex nihilo" or "out of nothing." What in human comprehension is the one thing that is like that?

Answer: the conception of ideas.

You cannot create materials without using pre-existing materials, but in your mind, you can create dream houses, dream cars, and (unfortunately) dream relationships out of nothing.

In your imagination you can say "Let there be a mansion in Bermuda," and lo! it is there. It only requires a certain amount of imagination. But note well, it is in your mind that you are having this creation. It is intimately apart of you in a way nothing external can be.

So realize that in a very real way, God’s whole creation, though separate and not the same "substance" as Himself once it was brought into being, is still very much connected to Him and that very intimately.

And also realize that you are in this Creation, and that all the moments of your time in this Creation, both of as to your thoughts, and as to your deeds (remember Chicagoland?) are present to Him as if they had just happened, and they will always be that way to Him for all eternity. They will be, as the expression goes, "in His face."

And consider now the works of all men everywhere and everywhen and consider that if the Creation is anything like a dream of God’s, then we who are in it have surely become His nightmare.

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Metaphor 13 - Defense Mechanisms

It’s time to turn back once again and consider the Chain of Being.

We can perceive in nature that every creature in the Chain of Being has a means of maintaining itself in its environment against threats to its being. As with the complexity of the creature, so is the complexity of its defenses.

The amoeba has within its nature and its power the ability to ooze slowly away. The fish has within its nature and its power the ability to swim quickly away and be very slippery. The hound has its teeth, its cunning, and its instinct to band into a pack with it fellows, while monkeys and apes have their roaming societies which operate in a yet a more complex fashion than dog packs.

And humans have become supreme in their maintenance of themselves, even to the extent of it being at the expense of many other species. Humans can "get at" any other species in the creation.

Should it come as any surprise to us that God has within His power and His nature a means to maintain His personal integrity in the face of a nightmare?

That means has a technical name. As a human metaphor we call it "wrath." It is a good metaphor in that it correctly conveys a vital emotion that a threat to one’s integrity would call forth. Where it falls down is the fact that we have known human beings in our lives who have been unreasonably and unjustly wrathful.

The thing to keep in mind about wrath in reference to God is that, since He sits at the top of the Chain of Being and is perfect and righteous and holy, any anger that is kindled in Him and any wrath that is provoked out of Him, has all three of those attributes, and will be perfectly in line with the rest of His character, and therefore just.

Now, here is the kicker. You will recall that when something happens in a moment in time, it becomes, to an eternal being, as if it were always happening, never fading away. Since God is eternal, anything that happens in a moment in time that activates His wrath will cause that wrath to fall with the that same attribute that God has, i.e., it will be as everlasting (beginning in a moment of time) as God is eternal (having no beginning and going on forever).

And since God is in eternity and all the moments of time are as one to Him, the time His wrath will eventually fall is up to His convenience and not that of any creature in His creation. His sword is truly the sword of Damocles. And His defense of His integrity is a more fearful thing than any weapon of man or beast.

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Metaphor 14 - Pets

Maybe that doesn’t bother you. Maybe you are thinking, "So what? I’ll be dead and buried and gone, one day, and the wrath of God won’t matter to me then." But you would be forgetting about the metaphor of Chicagoland. Remember that one of the things Pierre the pseudo-robot would have been wrong about was his existence ending when his robot body was destroyed by a Mack Truck.

Just so is it with us. The body may be destroyed, but the spirit that inhabits it goes on. And there is another aspect of the Chicagoland metaphor I should like expand upon with another metaphor, one suggested from something C.S. Lewis once wrote.

Imagine wild dogs. In the wild, dogs have their own drives and instincts and a particular mental makeup that drives their behavior.

Now consider domesticated dogs that we have as pets. Their long association with us humans, while not changing their basic drives and instincts, has changed their mental make up to a remarkable degree. Pet owners will tell you that their dogs, overtime, eventually develop personalities that have human qualities to them. In a sense, human association with a dog has raised the dog’s mental makeup up into a higher degree of being then it would have had as a wild dog.

Now remember that human beings were created for the express purpose of contemplating God, and that one of the characteristics of God is eternity. So a consequence of the creation of our Chicagolands, our spirits, is that they have some of God’s quality of eternity "rubbing off" on them. We have eternity in our hearts. Our bodies and our spirits inhabit time, but once the body dies in time, eternity is the home of the spirit, the Chicagoland.

This is another reason why God must "do something" when such being as ourselves becomes unlike Him. And why we should be very concerned indeed about what the "something" will be.

So we’ve now come around to the idea of the eternal wrath of God. And you may be asking me, Robert DeNiro style, "Are you talk’in to me?" For which I answer, "Yes, I am." And I have another metaphor.

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Metaphor 15 - The False Friend

Since I have gotten personal with you now, I would like you to consider for a moment, personal relationships.

Imagine, if you will, that you enjoyed the friendship of a close personal friend. You have enjoyed for a number of years, all the outward trapping of a condition that is presumed to be an indicator of a inward condition, i.e., conversation that goes deeper than chit-chat, some degree of gift giving and gift receiving, mutual visits in each other’s homes, the sharing of food and drink, etc., etc.

Then, one day, you and your bosom friend meet a person who is wealthier, smarter and more interesting then you are. What would your reaction be if suddenly your so-called friend dropped you out of his life altogether, treating you as if you never existed, and then took up with that other person to the exclusion of yourself?

I imagine that you would feel something very like wrath that is thoroughly mixed with the cutting wound of betrayal. But I think the thing that would really get your goat would be the realization that all the time you were friends with this person, the possibly of him or her doing this thing to you was latent. It was there all along, just waiting to happen.

As with a human being, it is more so with the Supreme Being. Our personal Chicagoland, connected as it is to the first people who failed and damaged it, makes latent in us every characteristic and act that is contrary to the personality and character of the Supreme Being. And therefore it makes us subject to, and a target of, His wrath.

And by now, you would probably like to say to me "Who do you think you are, talking to me this way?" And now it comes to the point were I must get personal with you indeed.

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Who I Think I am

I once read where a man had said

"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old, Thou shalt not kill and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of judgment; But I say unto you that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of judgment and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [a term of abuse], shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

When I first read that I thought it was an instance of overdeveloped righteous, or of someone being a fastidious stickler for the rules of good behavior. And I thought the punishment greatly outweighed the crime. And I thought that way until two events came together in my mind and convinced me otherwise.

When I was a pre-school child, I was living in a predominately Polish/Irish Catholic neighborhood. But one of my friends was a little Jewish girl who I will call Rachel.

As I got to know Rachel, I noticed a peculiar quality in her from time to time. She would easily become emotionally hurt and go off for a long time to be alone with her hurt.

Had I at all thought about it then, I would been able to conclude that this had something to do with her being one of the few Jewish children in a largely working class Catholic community which had its problems with the casual anti-Semitism of most largely gentile communities. (I should point out the religious background of my own family was most definitely disposed against anti-Semitism. My parents would not have countenanced any expression of it in our home.)

Anyway, there came a day when Rachel and I were playing, when, apropos of nothing whatsoever, I turned to Rachel and said "Jew." I did not say this word to identify her as a member of an ethnic group, nor did I say this word to identify her by religion. I said this word as if I had preceded it with the word "dirty." And Rachel did not mistake my meaning, for her face, at first mortally astonished, fell with a collapse like that of the most delicate work of stained glass art being smashed by a big crude brick. And Rachel ran off to be alone a long time with her latest hurt.

Later my parents were called, and I was made to apologize. But there was a powerful part of me that did not want to admit I had committed this deed and indeed did everything I could to conceal the fact that I had done it, and tried wriggling of out admitting I’d done it. And I tried to explain it away. But there was also a part of me that knew exactly what I’d done. And things were never the same between me and Rachel thereafter. Something had been done that could not be undone.

That was the first event.

The second event occurred on a sunny Saturday afternoon, again while I was a child. I was lying down watching television and got up to switch the channel from one cartoon show to another, and while switching the channel I came upon a documentary of Adolph Hitler which stopped me in my tracks.

The documentary was displaying a brief strip of grainy film footage of the operations of a death camp. It was a scene of bodies being pushed put down a slide to go into a deep pit. And what I first saw was the body of a small emaciated child going down the slide. When the body got to bottom of the slide one of its legs fell forward across the rest of its body in such a very unnatural angle that I knew immediately that the child was dead. She had in fact been deliberately killed. And it was done by deliberately acting adults.

Being a young child, I had never seen actual death before. But here it was in front of me in all its ugliness and on an inconceivably massive scale.

G.K. Chesterton is on record as saying that adults are generally guilty and so insist on mercy, but children are relatively innocent, and so demand justice. I would correct him only by saying that what they want is not so much justice as wrath. For that is what my small body and mind felt then with every fiber of my young being. "HOW DARE THEY?" screamed my small child mind. And my small mind was filled with what I can only describe as a wrath that was but a tiny reflection of that of the Creator who created my mind and the mind of that child who perished. It was a wrath that I wished would remain as everlasting as the doom I wished would fall all the malefactors who committed these crimes.

The memory of this event is so painful to me that it has taken me the better part of this day to write the above two paragraphs. You see, in order to write it, I had to undo the "healing" that time wrought by the mere fading of memory. And I take some comfort in the assurance that this crime that was committed so long ago remains in God’s eye as if it happened a second ago, and that the wrath He will inflict for it will remain as everlasting as He is eternal.

But, as we all know, it is easier to see the gross crimes of others than to notice the more subtle crimes of ones own self, which only a Supreme Being can see. There came a day when I was allowed to see that to a Supreme Being, the offense I once gave Rachel, and the acts of those murders in the documentary, were one and the same act.

A Supreme Being sits at the top of the Chain of Being, perfect in Himself, perfect in knowledge as to our deeds and our thoughts, perfect in perception as to holiness and righteousness, and who dwells in an eternity that allows Him to see all the moments of our lives as one moment of time going on forever. To such a Supreme Being, thoughts, latent, or otherwise, are deeds indeed. He does not look on our ability to carry out the thoughts we have, but on the thoughts themselves.

And truly, I had occasion over the years to reflect upon that day I sinned against Rachel. And the thing that most strikes me about it is the fact that the impulse seemed to have come out of nowhere. As soon as I committed the sin, I knew it was a sin. So I must have known that it was going to be a sin before I committed it. And yet there was a moment when I had not committed the sin, and then another moment when I had sinned and released all the evils in the world like Pandora and her famous box.

Did I say "impulse?" Perhaps "latency" is a better word. And Chicagoland is a seeming nowhere that a lot can come out of.

Who do I think I am? I think I am a creature in time who became unlike His eternal Creator and who, unless there is some intervention, will experience His wrath for all eternity.

I have learned that some psychiatrists and psychologists treat a good many people in their consulting rooms for what they describe as an irrational fear of going to Hell. Some of these learned healers even think the idea of Hell is itself irrational. I would wonder though if they haven’t considered that if some humans can make a version of it here, why that shouldn’t be reason enough for one to exist hereafter. But in any case, this shows that the idea of eternal Hell, latent in anybody with a conscience, is one of the most unacceptable ideas to modern human beings. It is right up there with the idea of original sin.

And as it is true that there is no amount of labor human beings will not go through in order to avoid the true labor of thinking, there also no amount of thinking that humans beings will not go through to avoid thinking about Hell.

There are several species of false thinking. I am now going to go talk about one that is foundational and two others that are derived from it.

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Metaphor 16- Caricature (The Not So Secret Life of Walter Mitty)

Remember earlier where I wrote about the fact that God’s best and most important happiness was His contemplation of Himself? Do you remember your first reaction to that statement? I’m willing to bet that your first reaction, if you did not already have religious training of a certain kind, was probably something like "Well, how very selfish!"

And you would have been right, had you been talking about any other being than God!

But I then went on to use the metaphor of our own "Walter Mitty" like habitual contemplation of ourselves. If you think about that carefully, you will notice something profound: God’s contemplation of His Person and our contemplation of our person, is an antithesis like matter and anti-matter. If we are in habitual contemplation of our person, then we are not in habitual contemplation of His Person. It is either one or the other. It cannot be both.

Is this seriously a problem? Well, let’s consider The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The story was written by James Thurber, and the movie starred Danny Kaye. Both are intended as humor.

And what was so funny? Well, the basic idea that a Comic Relief character (played by Danny Kaye) is day dreaming that he is the Heroic Protagonist or the Romantic Lead in the movie that is his own mind, while we are watching and realizing just how unfitting it is for Mitty to be having these day dreams.

The roles Mitty day dreams for himself are roles proper to a Heroic Protagonist or a Romantic Lead, not a Comic Relief. There is, if you will, a kind robbery going on here, in which a lesser being is robbing a greater of its proper props and accouterments, which then ends in the kind of comedy that we call caricature. The lesser being, in mimicking the greater has brought out, not the character of that greater being, but a caricature of that greater being.

Okay, so Walter Mitty is a caricature of a Hero Protagonist and a caricature of a Romantic Lead. What’s the harm in that? Simply this. Suppose that Walter Mitty was a person in real life who was actually having a secret life like his (and don’t we know of such a person?).

While performing this caricature, Mitty is engaging, in his mind, in relationships with people he knows in real life, and those relationships in his mind are making those people caricatures of what they are in real life. Suppose that one day, through some science-fictional means, the real people that Mitty had made caricatures in his mind were one day able to see into his mind and see those caricatures of them there? Do you think they would be very pleased to see that?

Some, I suppose, might laugh at it, but they would also probably hold poor Mitty lower in their esteem for needing to caricature them like that. Others would get angry at him for holding a lie about them in his mind like that. And I would think that the female objects of his Romantic Lead fantasies would be "creeped out" enough to call the police.

But the most serious business about Walter Mitty having a secret life is if his secret life included a mental relationship with God Most High in which that Worthy Being was caricatured. There is a technical term for this. It is called idolatry.

Think back a bit to where I wrote about God creating "ex nihilo," or "out of nothing." I likened it to our ability to create things out of nothing in our minds. So if we are having a day dream relationship with God in our minds that is a caricature of Him, then we are are reversing the Chain of Being and making the creature the creator of the Creator. That is the classic definition of idolatry. It is this which forms the foundation for all other ways of thinking falsely about eternal things like God Himself and His wrath.

But before we go on, consider this. What is one way that you can tell whether or not you are dreaming? It is when you pinch yourself. And what’s one way to tell when you are not having a day dream about someone? When they cross you and annoy or hurt you or do something your heart is not expecting them to do.

One of the things C.S. Lewis lamented about the death of his wife in A Grief Observed was that he knew that over time (which "heals") the actuality of being with his wife would gradually give way to his own day dreams about what his wife was. She would go from being able to argue and fight back with him intellectually, to being a mere punching bag for his great ideas.

It is no less with God. It is when we are most in disagreement with Him that He is most real to us. And original sin and eternal wrath are the facts which are most disagreeable to us, but inescapable consequences of His character and attributes.

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Metaphor 17 - The Microscopic New Leaf

Another species of false thinking that a great many people engage in is the idea of "turning over a new leaf." I.e. they come to a realization that they fall morally short of their Creator, and decide that from this moment of realization on, they will conduct themselves by what they perceive to be that Creator’s desire.

The problem with this solution is two fold.

One is that, as creatures in time, who have experienced its baneful "healing," they have forgotten that their past is still as real to God as their present moment of realization is to them. The term of abuse they leveled at someone five years ago is still right in God’s face at the present moment, and will in fact remain there for all eternity no matter how else they have behaved since then. The "new leaf" is simply too small to cover over all that a human being might do in a lifetime of latent thinking and actual doing.

And it is this same problem that invalidates the idea of "working" for one’s escape from wrath. A time bound creature may think that "a righteous act" (however defined) can wipe away a previous act of sin from before the face of eternal God. But that creature forgets that it is still in time, and therefore any "righteous act" that creature may perform would simply sit right next to its last unrighteous act before God, the two both being eternally present in His face for all eternity.

Now you may think that this state of affairs is okay with God. But you would be wrong. In the Record, there is a incident where God commanded one of His prophets, as a visual metaphor, to eat bread that had been baked by using human manure in the process. (Ezekiel 4:12-15). In another place in the Record (Isaiah 64:6 to be exact) God likens our little acts of righteousness to used menstrual rags. The point is that God does not like righteous acts mixed with unrighteous acts. The unrighteous acts of a creature in time are simply not erasable by that creature in time.

The other problem is with actually being able to perceive what the Creator’s desire might be at any given moment. I.e. with defining what a righteous act would be. It is the problem of determining what would not run contrary to His fundamental nature and character.

Remember, from the first people we all have our defective, time-based Chicagoland Version 1.1, out of which the contemplation of the Creator has been dropped so that we are blind, deaf, and dead to the Creator. We are all morally stupid enough not to know that a term of abuse we leveled five years ago is worth the perfect Creator’s everlasting wrath.

Who among us is a good enough accountant to keep books on what only eternal God can see?

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Metaphor 18 - The Letter Strict Teenager

In the last paragraph above, I mentioned the problem of perceiving the Creator’s desire at any given time, and the thought may have crossed your mind that maybe we could perceive our Creator’s desire if He gave us a set of rules to live by.

Well, that’s really beside the point, isn’t it? We have no shortage of written rules for how to conduct ourselves. Any reasonably competent scholar can go through all the legal systems that have ever existed, from Hammurabi’s Code to the latest 10 step program of the today’s best selling self-help guru, and find a great body of similarity in all their injunctions.

The problem is not a shortage of knowing what the rules are. The problem is that the rules - the law - even not just the law but the principal of law - is itself a metaphor. It is a metaphor of what?

Well imagine that you are a good parent who has done the best job of parenting as could ever be done, but your children are now teenagers, and that has, just by itself, brought your relationship with them to the breaking point. (I have it on good authority that this is not farfetched).

There comes a day when, if they do not actually rebel against you entirely and completely, that they will say to you, "Don’t bother us, just write down your rules and we will obey them." And this is a day that makes you very sad indeed because you realize that such a set of rules would only be an incomplete metaphor of your personality and how your personality relates to your children’s personalities.

The law - any system of law - the very principle of law, can only be a very incomplete metaphor for the personality of God, who is eternal, holy, and righteous altogether. It can only point at His quality of moral synesthesia and perfect pitch. It cannot describe all of the relationships and interactions we can have with Him. It cannot be our whole relationship with Him, anymore more than a parent’s set of written rules to his child can be the whole relationship with the child. And it is because law is a representation of God’s personality that breaking one even one commandment means you have broken all of them.

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Metaphor 19 - The Second Copy of the Ten Commandments

In fact, one of the things that may distress us about a teenager demanding a set of rules is that we know that the rules will always be incomplete, and the incompleteness maybe what the teenager is really after.

We are told to love God with all our hearts, all our minds, all our strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. And the first thing we ask is "Who is my neighbor?"

We desire to find incompleteness and limitation in the law, because, however incomplete it already is, it still is a good metaphor of the personality of God. And in our current state, we can't stand God, and he can't stand us.

And that last is the reason why God added law to revelation in the first place. Like any good depth psychologist, God wants to make what is unconscious, conscious, and what is latent, explicit.

The Tablet of Stone that the ten commandments were inscribed on became a second copy as soon as Moses brought it down from the mountain. Moses angrily broke the first copy when he found that his people had already broken the first commandment by making an idol (a conception of their own minds.)

The purpose of the law is to show us that we can’t stand God, and, unless something is done, God will not be able to stand us.

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Interlude in the Darker Valley -C.G Jung, Rupert Sheldrake, and Things That Go Bump in the Night

I have previously told you that I do not care for the researches of C.G. Jung and Rupert Sheldrake. And I have also mentioned Hollywood’s recent fetish for Gnosticism. Well, here is where I will address those items.

I would really like not to even mention these items, but there is that very consequential homework assignment I’m going to be giving you soon, and you will need this information in order to evaluate what you will encounter during that assignment.

To start off with, there is my problem with C.G. Jung. I’ve mentioned him earlier, because he is one the few modern scientific thinkers who thought that there is such a thing as a "collective soul," or "collective unconscious." I’m of the opinion that his doctrine of the collective unconscious is an unconscious inheritance from his father, who was a Swiss Reformed minister, and therefore well acquainted with the apostle Paul’s writings about "the flesh," or "the carnal nature," or "old man," or "sinful nature" [ Chicagoland Version 1.1!]. That is the only reason I have mentioned C.G. Jung.

My problem with him is that he once had what some have called a psychotic break in which a being named "Philemon" appeared to him in his imagination.

Jung explained that this creature was an autonomous manifestation of his deep unconscious, because he had no conscious control over the creature when it appeared in his imagination. Jung wrote of this creature that

"He said I treated thoughts as if I generated them myself, but in his view thoughts were like animals in the forest, or people in a room, or birds in the air, and added ‘If you see people in a room, you would not think that you had made those people, or that you were responsible for them.’" [Footnote 6]

And how did Jung describe this creature that appeared to him?

"Suddenly there appeared from the right a winged being sailing across the sky. I saw that it was an old man with the horns of a bull..." [Footnote 6-1]

Ahem. As I said, things that go bump in the night. For you see, Chicagoland, like its earthly namesake of some decades ago, is sometimes visited by gangsters.

Its time for me to take you back to the metaphor of the Chain of Being.

Recall, if you will, that the Chain of Being starts with a Supreme Being at the top, creating from the bottom up, creatures of increasing complexity and intelligence. And as we have seen, parallel with the physical world we know around us, there is also the inner world of the spirit, the place where human beings have their thoughts, emotions, and dreams, and where the deepest part of their spiritual existence is connected together in some mysterious fashion.

In the Chain of Being, Man (Humans) stand at the top of the physical Chain of Being, and there stands alone of all physical creatures in having a special and unique access to the spiritual world as well.

Man is kind of like a duckbilled platypus. The platypus has the body of a ground creature, but has a bill like a duck’s. It is a ground creature, with the mouth of an air creature. Man is a physical being with a spirit that subsists in the spiritual world.

And now recall that I distinguished two kinds of created beings, those based on Fecundity (temporal Humans), and those based on Fullness (the everlasting messengers). The Records speaks of these two kinds of existence as being two different "estates," I.e., two different dwelling places and spheres of activity. They are generally kept separate. And it is time for me now to write at length about this other order of beings, the ones based on Fullness, who stand in the Chain of Being between eternal God, and temporal humans.

These beings are intelligences greater than human, who have never had physical bodies. They have their own Chain of Being, based on their varying degrees of intelligence and power. The Record seems to say that they came into existence with the creation of the Universe or just before it:

"Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"

One of their functions is to bring messages from the eternal God to temporal man. [Footnote 7] Hence the derivation of their designation from the Greek word for "messenger," "angelos." We are speaking here of angels.

And before we go on, it would greatly help matters if you removed from your mind the many too-pretty pictures of babies with wings, young women with wings, and decidedly un-masculine young men with wings. The Record repeatedly states that when an angel appears to human beings, they tend to fall to the ground, shaking with fear and needing some reassurance that no harm will come to them from the visit. Angels, in reality, are very fearsome creatures to behold.

And now, if you will recall what I wrote about the first people failing a test that the eternal Wise Hunter subjected them to, and also recall that the test was necessary because free will is necessary if there is to be any true worship of the Supreme Being, it should not then surprise you that the Record says some of these everlasting messengers failed their test also.

Of course the most famous of these failed non-physical worshippers is a being who was once known as "The Light Bearer" (Latin: Lucifer).

In a metaphorical sense (because we cannot physically understand this) this being stood the closest to God’s presence of all the beings of his order, and his role was to shine his (metaphorical) light on the Almighty. The Record says that evil was eventually found in him, and he was ejected from the presence of God, taking with him a host of other disgruntlets of varying degrees of intelligence and power.

His name then became "The Adversary" (Hebrew: Satan). Those who followed him are commonly called "demons." [Footname 8] He has the name "the Devil" from the Greek word "diabolos" (literally "a slanderer") passing through Middle English. His lessers are given as the plural "devils."

Now, before we go any further, I want you to purge from your minds all the Hollywood images of heads spinning around, young females shouting obscenities in a deep masculine voice, and buckets of vomit flying. I have just alluded to the intelligence of these creatures, and that means subtlety as well as stealth. [Footnote 9]

What are they applying their subtlety and stealth to?

First, to the reversal of Lucifer’s original function, i.e., casting eternal God in a bad light. (That is what is implied by the Greek word "diabolos," "a slanderer").

Secondly, to eternally damaging God’s second creation, Man, in anyway they can, out of sheer spite, while enjoying themselves in the process.

The best way that I can describe what’s going on between eternal God, Man, and the diabolic realm, is to give you a new metaphor.
(6) C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 183

(6-1) Ibid.,pp 182,83

(7) See Jacob’s ladder in Genesis 28:11-13. I think their other function is to bring messages back and fought between God and the material world. I think they somehow underlie the material universe without being part of it.

(8) According to Webster’s, from the Greek, daimon - a deity, spirit, one’s genius, or an evil spirit. Daimon originally had a neutral connotation, and acquired its negative connotation with the advent of Christianity.

(9) If you really need a Hollywood image of what these creatures are like you can do no better than to rent a video of William Dieterle’s 1941 classic The Devil and Daniel Webster (Edward Arnold, Walter Huston), and watch how Mr. Scratch operates.

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Metaphor 20 - The Artist's Mistress

There once was an artist who had a mistress living with him. (They are bohemians after all.)

One day, the mistress had a falling out with the artist and he kicked her out. (Happens all the time.)

The artist then began to paint a picture, and the picture ended up becoming that of a beautiful woman, who was not the mistress.

The mistress, keeping tabs on the artist, eventually snuck back into his studio when he was not there, and discovered not only his new painting, but his all too apparent passion for his new painting. She then took a paint brush and proceeded to mark up and mar that painting with all her might and vindictiveness, and then left the artist forever.

The artist, on his return, saw the spite that had been done to his painting, and then picked up a brush, and then with many hours of many deft strokes, turned the painting of a woman into something that was even more beautiful than what it was before.

In the above metaphor, eternal God is the artist, Satan the mistress, and humanity the woman in the painting. It is a metaphor of the theological term redemption. It is a work that God is busy at today with human souls, even as Satan and his underlings are busy at theirs.

Gangster of Hate

Mick Jagger not withstanding, sympathy is quite wasted on the Devil and his kind because they are beings of Fullness and not Fecundity. They do not have the ability to repent. I’ll explain what I mean by that.

C.S. Lewis has pointed out that the moments of unsteadiness we have with regard to religious belief have more to do with our being fleshly creatures than with anything else. [Footnote 3-9] We are creatures of flesh and blood, digestion and disposition, and our mental states are always going to flutter from time to time.

The atheist has his moments from time to time when he briefly thinks there might be something in Theism. And the Christian has his moments from time to time when he briefly thinks of Atheism.

That flutter is the hinge on which repentance turns. As human beings, the incarnation of our spirits into flesh guarantees us that as long as we are flesh and blood, repentance is possible. The Devil and his like are creatures of pure spirit, and great knowledge, who have changed themselves by sinning, and now cannot change themselves back. And that is likely the source of their spite against the human race.

Now, I have briefly alluded to these fallen angels as "enjoying themselves" in the process of bringing human beings to eternal ruin. What do I mean by that? Well, C.S. Lewis has given me a clue about that also.

There is a letter C.S. Lewis wrote once, where he makes an observation that angels, though they have perfect knowledge of everything in the physical universe (Fullness), they do not have tongues that can taste like a human, noses that can smell like a human, eyes that can see like a human, or ears that can hear like a human. They are creatures of knowledge, but not experience. [Footnote 10] Whereas human beings, who have the ability to have experiences with their senses, have an intellect that has to be gradually built up over time (Fecundity).

So basically, what some of the fallen angels are after is the ability to sense as a human being does. That requires a human host, and a breach of the estates. Or as the Records says:

"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."

The reference to Sodom and Gomorrah is a reference to perversion. The Record is saying that the angels who left their original estate to enter the human estate for the sake of getting human experiences are spiritual perverts.

Now before I go any further, I want to quickly make clear that we must not let our imaginations run away with us when entering into a discussion of this topic. The tradition Christian phrase "the World, the Flesh, and the Devil" has the right of it. The diabolic realm is the last thing a human should be worried about.

"The Flesh," is the apostle Paul’s word for the fallen Chicagoland v1.1 that’s inside us (also called "the sinful nature," and "the old man"). "The World," (Greek: Kosmos - "the system of things") is every non-personal system of evil that arises out of the collective urges of humankind to sin. Policemen are very well aware of the world as a system. They keep arresting individuals for individual crimes, but the system of evil just seems to keep running on and on as new individuals take the place of the ones they incarcerate.

There is a dynamic among the three. The World tempts the Flesh in us, and the Devil keeps the World moving on and on by his appeals to individuals. And individuals who yield to temptation keeping the World moving on and on, also.

I would say that ninety-nine percent of the time, our problems with temptation to sin are due to the Flesh within and the World without. But ultimately, what matters is not where the temptation comes from, but how we respond to it. That is what is up to us.

Now, I’ve just said that "the Devil keeps the World moving on and on by his appeals to individuals." But I want to make clear that we must again not let our imaginations run wild when speaking that way. People tend to think of the Devil as if he were God’s "evil twin." That, he is not. He is a creation of God, and therefore he is not omnipotent ("all-powerful"), he is not omnipresent ("everywhere present"), and he is not omniscient ("all-knowing"). He is a created being, he has limits.

When religious people sometimes say something like, "I am being tempted by the Devil," they could be right that the very Devil himself is tempting them, but more likely it is that an agent of the Devil - a devil or devils, is doing the tempting.

For example, we sometimes read in the newspapers that "Senator Smith introduced a bill into the Senate." But what actually happened is that a committee of the Senator’s staffers got together, and then were had at by another committee of lobbyists, and then were had at by yet another committee of anti-lobbyists, and then Senator Smith was cozened into putting his imprimatur on the resulting mess. Senator Smith did introduce a bill into the Senate, but a whole set of lesser persons and processes went into that.

I would say that ninety-nine percent of the time, an equivalent thing is going on when we speak of "the Devil" as "doing something." (And one prays to God that process is as inefficient as the U.S. Senate!)

Unquiet Mind

Now, having gotten some clarity on the nature of the diabolic realm, we are now ready to look at what it is up to.

I’ve already said that it is involved in casting eternal God in a bad light, and in eternally damaging the eternal God’s second creation, Humankind. How does it do that? Very simply, they do it by inserting thoughts into the minds of human beings that the human beings go on to mistake for their own. Like the scientists in my Chicagoland metaphor, the beings of the diabolic realm have access to our inner self, and can speak to it.

In Zen Buddhism, there is an interesting exercise that is done to qualify a neophyte for its higher mysteries. The exercise is called "thought stopping." The neophyte sits quietly all day, and simply tries to stop any thought that comes up in his head before it has a chance to grow and turn into other thoughts and distract the neophyte from achieving what is called "quiet mind."

What the neophyte learns from doing this is that most of the time, for most human beings, the mind is in a riot of all kinds of different thoughts going on all at once. Thoughts about what happened in the past. Thoughts about what is going to happen in the future. Thoughts about what somebody did. Thoughts about what somebody will do. Thoughts about what somebody said. Thoughts about what somebody will say. Thoughts about what somebody meant when they did or said something; etc., etc., ad nausuem.

When the neophyte begins to get really good at "thought stopping," he eventually gets to the point where he is having thoughts only about what his body is currently feeling at the moment, moment by moment. The temperature in the room. The feeling of air on his skin. The movements of his internal digestive processes. And then the neophyte begins to stop those thoughts too. And at some point, "quiet mind" results.

The point of the exercise is to teach the neophyte just how much his perception is affected by the riot of thoughts his mind conjures up from within himself and from his environment without.
And here is where I make my point: in the riot of thoughts that most people have, it is fairly easy for a being that has access to our inner world to slip in a thought or two that we go on to mistake for a thought of our own. If such a being can convince us that having a thought that is not our own is okay, that is so much the better.

Philemon’s little chat with C.G. Jung is worth re-reading in this regard:

"He said I treated thoughts as if I generated them myself, but in his view thoughts were like animals in the forest, or people in a room, or birds in the air, and added ‘If you see people in a room, you would not think that you had made those people, or that you were responsible for them.’"

And that is one of the places where temptations come from. But as I said, ninety-nine percent of the time, it’s the World and the Flesh, and not the (a?) devil.

Possession States

I have alluded to the fact that devils may take a liking to the sensory experiences of a human host, but have really not gone into that topic in detail. Its time for that topic now. And let’s call it what it is: demonic possession. Scary term, no?

There are two books with that term as a title that I have read: Demon Possession (John Warwick Montgomery, editor, Bethany House Publishers), and Demon Possession (John L. Nevius, Kregel Publications). I have also read Christian Counseling and Occultism (Kurt Koch, Kregel Publications). And what is my take away from having read those works?

Eight observations.

The first is the crucial one: The diabolic realm will pay attention to you, only to the degree that you pay attention to it. The phenomenon is a matter of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And it’s also why I don’t recommend you read the above books if you have no particular need to.

Second, demonic possession is rare in comparison to the total population of the planet. Because of the advance of Western secular culture, there are fewer people today who even believe that there is such a thing as a diabolic realm. And the few people who do, do not like to spend their time thinking about it.

Third. Demonic procession occurs more frequently in cultures that have a belief system which supports the idea.

Some African cultures still support the idea of one or more "gods" taking over an individual temporarily during a ceremony of some sort. In Haiti, the "Voodoo" religion (or "Voudun." Yes it is an actual religion) supports the idea of a supernatural being becoming the "horseman" of a human "horse" temporarily. And in Latin America, there are religions where, during a specific ceremony, a human being becomes possessed by a "saint." (Actually this is said to be a "deity" of an earlier pagan religion which has been renamed as a saint as a matter of syncretism from the Roman Catholic religion).

If the culture you are in supports the idea of possession states (however defined or labeled), it will be easier to succumb to such a state.

Again, its the same principal as above: if you pay attention to the diabolic realm, it will pay attention to you. And this is even more true when talking about a whole society and its culture.

Fourth. Demonic possession should not be thought of (if at all) as being an either/or situation (i.e., you are, or you are not). Rather, the influence of the diabolic realm on an individual should be thought of as being on a continuum, and being a matter of degree.

There is simple temptation, in which one receives thoughts in ones noisy little mind, which are then taken for ones own thoughts. If simple temptations are yielded to, these thoughts can become stronger and stronger as they fail to be resisted. Then over time (possibly a lifetime) the acts suggested become so frequently indulged in that they can become involuntary and the difference between a possession state and a non-possession state can almost become a moot point. In this regard, personalities like Hitler and Stalin and Osama bin Laden come to mind. But do realize that this can also happen to every day people who have a lot less political power at their disposal (for which we thank Almighty God!). [Footnote 11]

Fifth. There are specific activities that human beings can engage in that increase the likelihood of coming under demonic influence or possession. Some of these are: using an Ouija board, [Footnote 12] Flipping Tarot cards, [Footnote 13] participating in a seance, [Footnote 14], casting horoscopes[Footnote 14-2], performing ceremonial magick [Footnate 15], automatic writing (i.e. hand writing something that is not under one’s conscious control), participation in possession states as part of an occult ceremony, divination by whatever means, casting spells, necromancy (communication with the shells or shades of the dead) [Footnote 16], using consciousness-altering drugs like LSD, praying to any other being than the true, eternal, almighty God.

The common thread to all these activities is that a human being, on his or her own strength, is trying to obtain some benefit from the spiritual world (even if only a cheap thrill) without any reference to, or protection from, the true, eternal, almighty God. Here, human will is primary, and a breach in the two estates is committed, this time with human beings intruding into the realm of the angelic hosts. When a human does this, it attracts the attention of the diabolic realm.

Will a person always become demonically possessed by doing any of the above activities? No, it is not a automatic thing. Not every hare that darts across a field from one burrow to another will be caught by the hawk flying overhead. The demons have skills they have to exercise too. And one of their skills is convincing their prey that they are operating in safety. But more on that a little later.

Sixth. When a person who engages in the activities described above manages to breach the spiritual barrier between the two estates, they can sometimes a acquire what have been called "psychic powers," I.e. clairvoyance (perception of objective facts occurring in the past, the present, or the future, through other than one’s normal five senses. The person knows things by "seeing them."), clairsentience (knowledge of objective facts in the present through other than the normal five senses. The person just "knows it." For example, being able to diagnose an illness by merely touching a person), remote suggestion (a person is able to "think at" another person who may be miles away, and that person acts on the suggestion), automatic writing (it can be both a cause and a result), necromancy (the ability to see and communicate with the shells of the dead).

Now, how does all that work? Well, my Chicagoland metaphor gives a good indication.

Imagine, if you will, that instead of one individual being in the tank in Chicago, with a connected robot body in Paris, there is a second individual in the same tank with the first one, only this second individual has a connected robot body that is in Rome. They both think that they are located some distance away from each other because their robot bodies are located some distance apart. But in reality, they are very close to each other in the tank in Chicago.

Now imagine that the pseudo-Frenchman in the tank is aware of what the true state of affairs is, and begins to start nudging the pseudo-Italian in the tank with his elbow. Let’s even suppose they both know Morris Code, and the Frenchman is able to nudge the Italian in Morris Code. In our metaphor here, the nudging would be considered "extra-sensory communication." The two robot bodies with their five senses are too far apart for their normal five senses to communicate with each other. But their common residence in Chicagoland ("the spiritual world") allows the communication to take place. In the above example of clairvoyance, it’s just a matter of someone, somewhere else seeing or sensing something for the clairvoyant to pick up on it. Likewise for the other powers mentioned above.

The only part of the model that’s not covered is perception of the future. That part is accounted for by my earlier metaphor of "the Novel as a Metaphor of Time." The Record seem to indicate that angelic beings have some ability to read "the novel" a little ahead of our "living it," and that the fallen angels then make that information available to people who have acquired clairvoyant powers.

It may even be possible that when we dream at night, some of the future parts of that Novel bleed into our unconscious mind and can be read from there through the spiritual realm.

I believe our common existence in the spiritual realm is the basis for all "occult phenomena."

Seventh. Christian Counseling and Occultism brings out something that many people may not be aware of: if a person who has breached the two estates has children, sometimes their children or grandchildren or other descendent may spontaneously develop some of those "psychic powers," without ever having taken part in any of the practices their ancestor in engaged in.

Why would that be? Because Chicagoland - one’s spirit - is part of a spiritual tree, even as one’s own body is part of a genetic tree. This passing down of "psychic powers" is, in the spiritual realm, what having a genetically transmitted disease would be like in the body.

This is interesting because there are some modern writers, scientists, and even science fiction authors who have mistakenly called these powers "Extra Sensory Perception" (ESP), and believe that they represent the next stage of human evolution, and are therefore new powers that human beings are just coming into.

There is a particular author I am thinking of who is an example of the breed. He’s written a series of books on "spiritual development" and the occult, and had, early in his career, taken the view that the various kinds of psychic phenomena are emergent powers of a new humanity. But in one of his later books on the occult, he finally admitted that he had encountered a psychic phenomenon that didn’t fit his emergence model, and he went on to admit that, yes, there might be such things as demons. Good on him.

Another item of interest in this regard is the case of our friend, C.G. Jung. Many people are not aware of this, but C.G. Jung’s father, the Swiss Reformed minister, played around with something like an Ouija board. One consequence of that was that his father’s sermons tended to contain heresies. The other consequence, apparently, was Jung’s ability to receive visits from "Philemon."

A counter example of this is the Chinese Christian evangelist, Watchman Nee. In a book, The Latent Powers of the Soul, Nee said that psychic phenomena and psychic powers were a part of Chinese culture in his day. He said that he himself had the ability to understand what people were saying, even when they were speaking a completely different dialect of Chinese (in Chinese, that’s almost like speaking a completely different language). But he made it a habit not to use this power because he found that it actually interfered with his evangelistic work. He had deuced that the power came not from God, but was an inheritance from an ancestor who had dealings with the diabolic realm. Through neglect, this power eventually left him.

Eighth. The physical manifestations of an actual demonic possession are not those found in the movie, The Exorcist. As I said before, there’s no heads spinning, no young females shouting obscenities in a deep masculine voice, and most certainly no flying vomit. Or at least not in any of the cases I’ve read of.

The global impression I did get from reading those books is that a demonic possession should be thought of as a person acquiring a spiritual virus in the same manner that a computer acquires a computer virus.

a.) There can be more than one possessor, as a computer can acquire more than one computer virus. The Record says that Christ encountered a man whose possessor told him his name was "Legion." That meant this man had somewhere between 4,800 to 6,000 possessors in him, that being the number of men in a typical Roman legion.

I would hazard a guess that the reason for this is that demonic possession is so rare that when they do get someone, they like to "pile in."

b.) The possessor(s) drain off resources the way a computer virus drains off resources from its host. The possessed tend to be given to prolonged bouts of depression and exhaustion. And this can sometimes lead to suicide.

c.) The energy drained off is put into spasmodic activities the possessed has no control over, just as a computer virus will cause a computer to start doing a lot of extra things its operating system never requested. Possessed persons will often have spastic tics or impulsive falling spells, and sometimes exhibit seemingly superhuman strength while performing destructive activities.

Sometimes possessed persons are given to violent, uncontrollable fits of emotion, which can include anger. This sometimes expresses as extended bouts of shouted profanities (but in their own voice!). C.G. Jung was famous for telling his house keepers to completely ignore his tendency for extended outbursts of Swiss swearing.

Sometimes this impulsive behavior will manifest as addictions of one kind or another. I.e., food addictions (eating too much), alcoholism (drinking too much), sexual addictions (with the possibility of perversions showing up), and even drug addiction (intense pleasure through drug use). These are all manifestations of the parasitical possessors wanting more and more physical experience out of their host human.

One last item I should mention here is that it is possible for the descendants of a person who has breached the estates to inherit not only the "psychic powers" I’ve described above, but also some of the "spiritual viruses" and their attendant afflictions. Once demons become familiar with a human being, they take great interest in that human being’s offspring.

Honesty Is Not Their Policy

Now that I have brought some clarity to the topic of demons and demonic possession, how can I best describe the diabolic realm’s policy toward the human race? Well it is said that Cardinal Richeleu once summed up his policy towards his enemies as "All means to placate. Failing that, all means to crush!" In a similar vein, the policy of demons towards humans can be summed up as "All means to possess. Failing that, all means to deceive." We have talked about possession at length, so now we can go on to talk about deception.

There are basically two kinds of demonic deception. The first is deception with a view towards enticing a human being to lower his or her guard and allow a possession to take place. The second form of deception is that directed at preventing human beings from a getting a grasp of the happiness this book will soon reveal. Casting the one, true, eternal God in a bad light is common to both these forms of deception.

But before I go into this further, I want to suggest a movie for you to watch that gives a very good picture of what demonic deception is like. The movie is The Usual Suspects with actor Kevin Spacey. You may want to put this book down and watch it, because my next few paragraphs contain some spoilers. [Footnote 17]

Did you see it? And what did you see? You saw a very dangerous and evil criminal pretend to be a harmless source of information about a dangerous and evil criminal, who was able to talk a seasoned and hardened police detective into releasing him from police custody. And how did he do that? By making up a convincing story using the names of people, places, and things that were on objects in the room the detective’s interrogation took place in (which the detective was unaware of). The use of the names of people, places, and things gave the criminal’s story a veneer of believability so that the detective believed the criminals story and released him from custody. The detective had been presented with a landscape of belief.

That is a terrific picture of how demonic deception works. The demons use whatever is already in our own minds that we already believe (facts, memories, opinions, cultural beliefs, etc.) to spin out a convincing story about something that will then prompt us to do something that promotes their agenda.

So what is a good example of demonic deception with a view towards possession? Well, believe it or not, the practice of ceremonial magick. In ceremonial magick, the practitioner does two things.

First, he trains his imagination so that he gets to the point where he can actually see in front of him some object that exists only in his imagination. I.e., he trains himself to have something like an eidetic memory, where things that are recalled in the mind actually seem to be really in front of the person recalling the memory of the thing.

The second thing a magician does is study the "cookbooks" of previous generations of magicians. These "cookbooks" are called grimoires (from which we get our word "grammar"), and they basically direct the practitioner of magick in what kinds of ceremonies and rituals have worked in the past in causing various kinds of non-physical beings to appear in the magician’s imagination (which being trained as it is, causes the creature to seem to "appear" in reality.)

If the magician is especially good at what he is doing, a creature may put in an appearance that seems to have an existence outside of the control of the magician’s own mind. (The similarity of these creatures to "Philemon" is not purely coincidental.)

Historically, there are a goodly number of grimoires out there, left behind by their practitioners, and some of which go back to the middle ages, if not further on into the classical era of Greece and Rome. I have heard that if you strip away all the cultural accretions in these grimoires, you will find that there is a distinct similarity in the descriptions of these beings from one age to the next, from one century to the next. They have different names in each era, but the same basic description. This leads to the conclusion that they are not solely products the magick practitioner’s mind. They would seem to have an independent existence. When they put an appearance in a particular magicians imagination, they then take on the cultural trapping that are already in the magician’s mind.

A basic outline of a grimoire is that it lays out a program for how to "keep away" creatures that are not wanted, while "attracting" the one or more creatures who are wanted. Then in the climatic moment in the ceremony or ritual laid down by a grimoire, the magician throws his heart, mind, and imagination into the "reception" of the creature or creatures that he wants to have "appear."

The purposes of this transaction with non-physical beings could range from just knowledge itself, to wanting something in the physical world to take place, or just simply to have a cheap (if costly) thrill.

But where is the demonic deception in all this? Well, first of all, in the whole spiritual landscape that is presented to the magician. Instead the of the one, true, eternal God, and his messengers, a whole host of "elementals," "imps," "demi-urges," "demi-gods," "gods," and yes, even angels and demons, are presented to the magician, for his belief in them. Along with that is a whole landscape of different "levels" of "reality," that are controlled by the beings supposedly responsible for them. (I am thinking here of the occult use of the Kabalistic "Tree of Life," as well as the Gnostic "demi-urges").

This whole deceptive landscape, much like the background scenery in a theater play, has been maintained by the demons, over the centuries, because it has one purpose: to convince a human magician that he can control what the final outcome is of the magical ceremony or ritual. The magician thinks he controls the beings he is dealing with. The reality is that these beings eventually end up controlling him. All his "banishing" and "summoning" are to no affect in the end (being things the magician was lead to believe in the first place), because the creatures he has called are intellects of longer experience than any one human being.

The magician has, by his own will, placed himself in a spiritual realm where God cannot protect him from the consequences of his acts. One of the consequences may be eventual insanity. If you think about it, magicians are deliberately doing with their minds what insane people are trying to cure their minds of.

The foregoing was an example of deception with a view towards possession. Now we come to deception with a view towards preventing a human being finding the happiness which is the subject of this book. Or rather, deception for deception’s sake.

The smallest part of this, as the Greek word "diabolos" suggests, is putting slanderous thoughts about eternal God, and his servants, in people’s minds. [Footnote 18] But the really ambitious part of this program is about putting out false information, or rather, creating false religions and philosophies, for human beings to occupy themselves with instead of getting a grasp on the happiness that can grasp them back.

The Matrix

Gnosticism is a historical example of something which is both a false religion and a false philosophy. It is coming back into style of late. It figures heavily in the recent movie The Matrix and its sequel.

In a nutshell, the Gnostic (believer in Gnosticism) tries to answer the problem of evil (why is there evil?) by proposing that it is because we live in a false reality which was created by a false (or rather, less intelligent) "god." That is also the basic premise of The Matrix. But in a really full blown Gnostic system, it’s a little more complicated than that.

In a really good Gnostic system, you start out with a "god," who creates his own reality, who then spins off a slightly less intelligent and less powerful version of him (or her!) self. And then that less powerful, less intelligent being creates a reality of its own which is slightly less perfect than the one "above." And then that less intelligent, less powerful "god" spins off a slightly less intelligent and less powerful version of itself. And so on and so forth, in infinite regress, down a chain of lesser and lesser realties.

I suppose different Gnostic systems will differ in how many levels there are, and what the names of the different "gods" are, and in which level of reality human beings are "stuck in." But the basic goal of a Gnostic system is to, by intellect alone, get the better of the "god" who controls the "reality" one is in, and thereby attain to a higher and better "reality." Eventually one supposedly gets to the top of the heap, where one finally knows all things and is above all "realities."

I’m going to give you a spoiler for the next Matrix movie. I’m willing to bet that in the coming series of Matrix movies, Neo is going to find out that the Matrix is inside of another Matrix, where he will encounter two more "deities" like The Oracle and The Architect who control this outer Matrix. That would be the beginning of a fully blown Gnostic system. And it’s only the beginning, mind you! As you can well imagine now, there is a great deal of movie mileage to be had out of a Gnostic system. It just goes on and on and on.

And that is the point. That is why the diabolic realm first put these ideas in some human being’s head in the first place. It is all a intellectual game, which has nothing to do with a person getting a grasp on the happiness that can grasp them back.

Yes, there is a spiritual world, and along with it, a physical world, but they are both part of the same reality, and they are both creations of the one, true, holy, eternal God. The defect of evil is not in the reality, or the creator of that reality, but rather in the hazard that free will, and thereby true worship, entail.

But Gnosticism is only one of many false systems of belief that have been engendered by the diabolic realm. Gnosticism happens to be a cross between a religious system and a philosophical system. I have no doubt whatsoever that Communism, a philosophical system, had its origin in the thoughts of some demon before it was ever put into a human mind. And it took very many people a long time to realize that. And I have no doubt that Mormonism is a false religious system that has its root in the diabolic realm. [Footnote 19]

In your lifetime, you will meet with many a demon-inspired system of belief. There is one test for deciding if a belief is of the diabolic realm or not: if the belief brings you closer to the one, true, eternal God, it is likely not of the diabolic realm. But if it moves you further away from eternal God, then it is likely that it has its origins with some demon or another.

The apostle Paul is not kidding when he writes: "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [of human flesh], but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"

And that’s the basic truth about deception. Where it is not directed towards possession, it is meant to obscure the truth of God.


Now we come to Rupert Sheldrake and the problem that modern science has when it tries to investigate the spiritual world.

Sheldrake is a physicist who has written a book called The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature. One of the things he supplies in that book is an interesting experiment. The experiment was this: two groups of people were selected and isolated. They were both given a crossword puzzle from a widely distributed newspaper that millions of people every day attempt to solve.

The first group of people completed it at about the same time that millions of other people attempted to solve it. The second group of people completed it at a much later time than the first group did. After the accuracy of the two groups was graded, and all other factors were accounted for, the second group of people turned out to have a higher score than the first group that was statistically significant.

Conclusion: there was something about millions of people having solved it first that made the puzzle easier for the second group of people to solve it later. Sheldrake calls this "something," the "human morphic resonance field." The word "field" is used to signify that it is something like a magnetic field that magnetic objects have. I.e. something that affects matter which is not matter itself. Gravity is another example. Sheldrake’s contention is that millions of people doing something causes other people to get better at doing it.

It’s an interesting thing to think about from a moral perspective. This means that millions of people doing a moral act makes it easier for any one human being to get better at performing that moral act. But on the other hand, it also means that millions of people performing an immoral act makes it easier for any one human being to commit an immoral act, and get "better" at doing it. Frightening stuff, no?

But it seems to support the apostle Paul’s concept of a collective soul (or unconscious perhaps) which has its mind set on evil ("the carnal mind," or "old man"). So that is why I mentioned Sheldrake as another modern thinker who gives some support to the idea of a collective soul.

But I have recently learned that Sheldrake is now researching how dogs sometimes seem to know when their owner has died even when the owner is miles away. Which is to say, Sheldrake is starting to go down the path to researching Extra Sensory Perception, and like topics. Because of this, some of his fellow scientists no longer consider him to be a scientist at all.

This has happened before. And you will not believe who it happened to.

Remember Charles Darwin, of The Origin of Species fame? Well, many people do not know this, but Darwin published The Origin before he really wanted to. The reason he jumped ahead is that he realized that another scientist was getting ready to publish a work similar to his own and pre-empt him of the credit for his theory of human descent. That other scientist was Alfred Russel Wallace. But Darwin published first, and Wallace went on into obscurity as an "also ran" in the evolution game.

But there was another reason why Wallace fell into obscurity. It was because he later went a few steps further than Darwin. Where Darwin looked at the similarities between apes and men and remained focused on that, Wallace began to look at the abysmal gulf between apes and men. This line of thinking eventually brought him around to thinking about what would now be called Extra Sensory Perception. And he eventually ended up with the necromancers. Which is to say, he became a Spiritualist.

C.G. Jung, Rupert Sheldrake, and Alfred Russel Wallace. Three scientists. All probing into the spiritual aspect of human beings, as opposed to the physical. And all turned aside into things that go bump in the night. It all comes down to a simple observation: any attempt by human beings, however gifted, to probe into the spiritual world under their own strength apart from eternal God, will come under the influence of the diabolic realm.

A Difference in Spiritual Atmosphere

Now, what does all this interesting information have to do with the consequential homework assignment I will be giving you? Simply this: I want to bring to your notice a difference in spiritual atmosphere that exists between the Hebrew scriptures (in what is called "The Old Testament"), and the Christian scriptures (in what is called "The New Testament").

In the New Testament, and especially in what are called "the Gospels," one reads frequently about demonic possession, and exorcism. It seems to be in the very air of the culture of the time. But when one reads the Hebrew scriptures of the Old Testament, there is hardly any instance of demonic possession. Yes, there is a good deal of demonic influence to be sure, with very many devils having convinced human beings that they are "gods" of one sort or another who must have children sacrificed to them on abominably bloody altars. But you hardly read of any instance of demonic possession. Why is that?

The reason is very simple. The law that God gave Moses at the beginning of the life of the Hebrew nation contained very harsh provisions for people who engaged in occult practices. "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee." [Footnote 20]

Now if you consider the deception element in demonic activity, with its tendency toward engendering false religious systems, it quickly becomes apparent why Almighty God gave Moses this law: it was designed to keep the revelation He gave Moses from being corrupted from within by Hebrews who came under demonic influence or possession. [Footnote 21]

So that is why we find little in the way of demonic possession in the Hebrew scriptures of the Old Testament. But why do we find it in the New Testament? Because, very simply, during the inter-testamental period (the 400 years between the last book of the Hebrew scriptures and the first book of the Christian scriptures) the Jewish nation began to become overly interested in angels.

Where in the Old Testament, there is "Michael" and "Gabriel" revealed as arch-angels, in the inter-testamental period we start reading of "Raphael", "Asmodeus," "Semyaza," "Azazel," "Mastema," "Beliar," "Sammael," and a whole host of other names, who are not sanctioned by the scriptures.

And here my earlier principal is seen in action: some Jewish people began to pay more attention to angelic beings than to eternal God, and the result was that some of these "angelic" beings began to pay attention to them. Possession states then began to become the order of the day. [Footnote 22]

Consult Your Physician

Now before we go on, I want to make one thing very clear. If you happened to have any (or even, heaven forbid, all) of the physical problems associated with demonic possession that I have outlined above, that does not mean that you are definitely demon possessed. All those problems could simply have physical causes for which you should see a qualified physician. And before any considerations of a diabolic nature are entertained, you should definitely see a psychologist or psychiatrist.

I will reiterate what I wrote before: ninety-nine percent of the time your problems will be with The World, or The Flesh. But if there are some persons who should be reading this who think they may have a problem like this (and I hope they don’t), they should continue on reading. The kind of happiness which is the subject of this book is proof even against demonic forces.

No Exit

So in the light of the foregoing interlude, we now turn back again and reconsider Metaphor 19 - The Second Copy of The Ten Commandants. The law stands before us. It makes what is unconscious, conscious and what is latent, explicit. And we see in it the eternal wrath of God aimed right at us, who are beings made for eternity. How then can we escape?

If having my own day dream about God, and turning over a new leaf, and insisting on the law as a rule of life, cannot help me escape from the wrath of God eternal then how may I escape? And if some of my thoughts may not even be original with me, and some of the things I think I believe may be based on falsehood, and it is even possible that I may not even own my own soul, then how can I escape the eternal wrath of God?

The answer is that I can’t. In the Chain of Being, man is the only creature who can "get at" any and other creature in the chain. Think about this and realize that you cannot escape a confrontation with your Creator. The only question is when and what kind of confrontation that will be.

And if you think about it enough, you will have to conclude that the only way the Godhead can have us in our current state of being subject to His eternal wrath is if something occurs within the Godhead that allows the Godhead to remain righteous and holy while treating us as if we had not lost those qualities ourselves. It would have to be something that reconciles us to the Godhead.

Godhead? It’s time for another metaphor.
(3-9) C.S. Lewis, from "Religion: Reality or Substitute", in Christian Reflections.

(10) I have not been able to remember where I saw this. It was an extract of a letter in a book of pictures concerning Lewis.

(11) As the gangster Dutch Schultz lay dying of his bullet wounds, he began to babble in a Joycean streams of consciousness manner, and a police stenographer took down his nonsense sentences as his said them, hoping that some evidence would turn up. One of the sentence fragments Schultz uttered was: "don’t let Satan draw you in too fast."

(12) If you think I am kidding, read Ouija: the Most Dangerous Game (Stoker Hunt, Harper Collins). The use of an Ouija board has been likened to having an apartment on the first floor on an urban street that is in a high crime area. If you leave the door open at night, you’ll never know who is going to come through.

(13) The present author knows an everyday average person who used to flip Tarot cards as a way of entertaining friends. One time this person was alone in a room, flipping the cards, and then had an unmistakable feeling that an evil presence had entered the room. That person does not flip Tarot cards anymore.

(14) Stephen King is on record as saying he would never attend a seance.

(14-2) See Shirley Ann Miller, Tempera Mysticism, Starburst Publishers, PA, 1991. If I recall correctly, Ms. Miller had been an astrologer and left the occupation when evil manifested itself.

(15) Aleister Crowley, a deceased occultist, revived the ancient ritual and practice of summoning up actual demons. He gave his efforts the name ‘magick’ to distinguish them from stage conjuring, which involves optical illusions, sleight of hand, and misdirection.

(16) Shades or shells of the dead. I will explain this in an appendix.

(17) If you have moral objections to profanity, try to get a version edited for television. Since I live in New Jersey, I pretty much already know all the bad words. But I do remember the first time I was subjected to extended profanity as a child and recall how defiling it can be.

(18) The present author was once introduced to a new co-worker for the first time. We became friends. And much later, after we got to know each other well, she told me that the first impression I gave her, without my saying anything at all or her knowing anything about me, was that I was some kind of ignorant, bigoted, Fundamentalist Christian. The only reason we became friends is that I later turned out not to be ignorant, or especially bigoted.

(19) Some of its doctrine is taken from science-fictional ideas that were in circulation at the time of its founding. And communication with the shells of the dead is looked upon favorably among them. And the "angel" of their particular "revelation" is named "Moroni." That is what is called Clue One.

(20) Before you say "My, how very Puritanical!" you should be aware that Native American Indians used to put some of their witches to death. Do you really think that someone who has that kind of power is going to remain in the camp of sweetness and light for very long?

(21) But even as harsh as this law was, bad King Saul still managed to find a witch who would do necromancy for him.

(22) And when I muse on the recent fad we’ve had for "angels," I shudder to think what we might be in for next!

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