Support for Christianity
- Chapter 29 -
THE LORD MAKES HIMSELF KNOWN AS JESUS TO THE BLIND BISHOP MARTIN. (Back with Me, Bishop Martin says): "My beloved lord, master, friend, and brother - what a dilemma my innate stupidity has got me into! Now I really do not know whether I am the fool or are those behind that door!
2 They fear you even more than the others do, and they, in all seriousness, take you not only for Jesus, founder of the Christian faith, but even for the Supreme Godhead in person, basing their convictions on a sort of logical philosophy which it is not exactly easy to prove wrong.
3 Do tell me, dearest friend, what makes all these souls and spirits have such a peculiar notion about you? I now do notice the well-known stigmata on your hands and feet, and am practically positive that you are the Savior Jesus; - but Godl Jesus and God at the same time? That, if I may say so, is overdoing it!
4 And still those spirits boldly maintain this! What gave them such an idea? Could it be that they are right after all? That would be too much for a poor soul like me. If that were true, although I could not comprehend it, I would be terrified. Oh, dear friend, do reassure me on this matter."
5 (Say I): "Friend and brother, you yourself, as a bishop on earth, preached Jesus the Crucified, and proved His deity to be present even in the smallest particles of the Host. And behold, all those whom we saved from the flames and who are now here with us, are sheep from your diocese and followers of your teaching.
6 Why then did you teach them this in the world if you now claim it to be nonsense? If it is nonsense, we must ask: Whose nonsense is it? If it is the truth, we must ask: What honor is there in it for their former teacher if he is now fighting his own doctrine in his students?
7 As a matter of fact, I am Jesus the Crucified, and in this brother here, I introduce to you the real old Peter, on whose assumed chair the Roman bishops are sitting and ruling. Of course, this isnot being done according to the order of the real Peter, but only the one they themselves have invented to be used to their best advantage. So, now you know who I and your first guide, Peter, are. Your own followers will give you further details.
8 I once said that the children of the world are more prudent than those of the light. Since you, like an emperor of China, consider yourself a son of the light, go to your followers, who are genuine Children of the world, and let them teach you at least good sense if you have no relish for their wisdom."
44 (Bishop Martin): "Oh, friend, although you are the Jesus who made himself known as the Son of the Most High, where then is the Most High, the almighty eternal Father? And where is the Holy Ghost coming forth from the Son and the Father - since we are now reverting to the dogma, disregarding the light of pure reason?"
10 (Say I): "How is it written in the Gospel? Behold, it says: 'I and My Father are one; who sees Me, sees also the Father!' If you do believe, why do you still ask, seeing Me? If you do not believe, why do you ask at all? Stay the way you are and I shall stay as I am and, I think, there is no reason for us to argue.
11 In that room there are your followers. Go to them and learn My teaching from them again. Then come back so that I may interpret it for you!
12 For I, the true Savior, am telling you here in My eternal kingdom that you are a foolish spirit in not recognizing My great love for you. I have treated you with the greatest consideration, and you are still deaf and blind. I gave you the bread of life, and you devoured it like a polyp, paying no attention to the sudden spiritual effect it had on these sinners.
13With open eyes and ears you neither see nor hear! I cause the strangest things to happen around you, and you do not even ask, 'Who is He Whom the seas and winds obey?'
14So return once more to your followers and learn from them how to recognize Him Whom you have all the time considered your equal. So be it!" (Sunsets to Sunrises, chap. 29)
Bishop Martin looks even more puzzled, but does as earnestly advised by Me.
2On his return to the fire victims, he is astonished to see them considerably changed in appearance. Their faces look younger and nobler, and their heretofore almost naked bodies are clothed in blue robes, their ample folds held together by purple girdles. Among the party, he notices the outstanding figure of a man with a shining white hat on his head, from under which his hair falls halfway down his back in rich golden curls.
3 This handsome man immediately approaches Bishop Martin and says: "Friend, it did not take you long to return to us. Did you find in the sublime Master and Lord of this house that to which we drew your attention? Is He Jesus, Lord of the heavens and earth in a natural and spiritual, as ell as a temporal and eternal sense?"
4 (Bishop Martin): "Oh, yes, he is Jesus all right, but as to his deity - that point has not been quite clarified as yet. In my opinion, one should be a bit more careful with an assumption that Jesus could also be God. For if it turns out that he isn't God after all, the Supreme Being might resent this assumption and the result could be our damnation, as has happened to many peoples of ancient times who dared believe in other gods besides Him.
5 For, according to Moses, it says once and for all: 'You shall believe in one God only, not worship any graven image, but praise Me alone. For I am the one Lord and God, Who made heaven and earth with all that is upon it or in it, that lives and breathes!'
6 Although Moses alludes mysteriously to a Savior Who is going to liberate the nations from the hard yoke of the old bondage, it does not say anywhere that Jehovah Himself would descend to earth in this Savior. Therefore, I consider this assumption of yours too rash and think it should be examined most carefully.
7 If you compare Moses with Jesus, you will find the God of Moses practically irreconcilable withthe Godhead within Jesus. Moses, at God's bidding, had to institute the death sentence for blasphemous actions, like sacrificing to a graven image or making a sorcerer, a prophet, or some hero, one's God. This was one of the reasons that brought Jesus to the cross, although he used to xpress himself about his alleged divine mission in most obscure metaphors in the presence of the scribes.
8 Besides, it is hard to understand why God should have founded a church through Moses with so much heavenly pomp, if the same church was later abolished through Jesus, who represented the same God, contrary to His promise.
9 In view of all this, dear friends, your rash assumption of the deity of Jesus is a risky matter in this realm of spirits.
10 It is obvious that in this house of Jesus your belief has improved your condition, thanks to some minor miracle. But you may rest assured that I do not envy you this as my principle is: 'He laughs best who laughs last.' "
11 (Says the tall man with the shining hat): "Friend, I am quite as familiar as you with all the things you have just mentioned, but you for your blindness and am afraid that you haven't a chance of 'laughing last.' I, and the whole of this party, think as follows:
12 Jesus Whose advent all the prophets predicted and of Whom David sings 'The Lord said unto My Lord' or 'The Lord said unto Himself: Sit thou at My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool!' and, 'Lift up your heads, o ye gates; and be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.'
13 Jesus Whose birth, according to all the evangelists, was accompanied by many miracles, and Whose whole life represented a miracle.
14 Jesus Whose teaching revealed only too often Who He really was in His innermost Being, and Who asked one of the ten cleansed who came back to praise Him: 'Where are the other nine that they did not return to praise God?'
15 Jesus Who, of His own power, rose from the tomb on the third day and walked on earth for another forty days to instruct His disciples, then ascended to heaven before the eyes of many of His followers, and soon after that sent the Spirit of eternal strength, might, love, and wisdom from the heavens down to His disciples.
16Jesus, about Whom John gives the most sublime evidence, both in his Gospel and his Revelation.
17Tell me, friend, are you still capable of taking this man of all men to be just an ordinary sage of the world?
18 Look, friend, I will tell you something foolish, which, however, appears to be wiser than your words: If God the Lord had not assumed human form in order that we, His creatures, could see Him, why would He have created us at all? Not for Himself, surely! For what could that give Him if we never could see or love Him? And what good would a life without a comprehensibleGod be for us? Think this over! Maybe it will help you to some enlightenment!"
19(Bishop Martin): "Leave me alone for a while so that I can ponder over your words."
20After quite a while, the bishop speaks again: "Friend, I have weighed your words carefully and can still see only the contrary of what you have maintained. However, I am not stubborn, and I will assent to your views with all my heart if you could give me satisfactory answers to some questions." (Sunsets to Sunrises, chap. 30)
(Says the wise man of the party): "Ask and I will answer, but it will be immaterial to me whether you find my answers convincing and satisfactory or not."
2 (Bishop Martin): "Why has the earth only one highest mountain? And does the Godhead in its fullness reside in or above it because it is the one highest mountain on earth?"
3 (The wise man): "The earth has, it is true, one mountain that is higher than any other known mountain. However, that does not make it God of all the mountains. God knew why He set a highest mountain upon this planet. Probably to provide a general dividing point for the winds. For that same reason, the highest mountains are to be found in the tropical regions near the equator, as in those regions the winds, due to the earth's rotation, must be the strongest. There the effect of the centrifugal force is the most violent and, consequently, the rotation circles farthest removed from the center or axis of the earth.
4 If the Lord had not erected such high wind-regulators in these regions, they would probably be forever uninhabitable. In those areas - mostly in the largest continents, especially in Asia –where the air flows together in a main current, we find the highest mountains. Therefore, the highest mountain of all has to be in Asia, it being the largest of all continents. Are you satisfied with that answer?"
5 (Bishop Martin): "Perfectly - as far as that goes! But now a further question: Why is the Amazon in America the largest river on earth? Does it, perhaps for the same reason, hold the Godhead in
6 (The wise man): "Friend, I understand what you are aiming at, but I will still answer this extremely silly question as thoroughly as possible.
7 Look, America is a much younger continent, with very considerable mountain ranges in the Cordilleras, as well as the Andes.
8 These ranges are situated very close to the greatest ocean of the world and, consequently, their subterraneous bases contain a vast amount of water, incessantly welling up through the innumerable pores and the many larger veins and channels. On the other hand, especially South America, as a very young continent, having been above sea level for just a few thousand years, has many vast plains of loose sand, just slightly above sea level.
9 And in a region where extensive mountain ranges draw vast amounts of water, which then accumulates in the great plains, spreads unimpeded, and then flows towards the ocean only very slowly, there needs must be the largest and widest river. Naturally, this need not contain more of the Godhead than a raindrop! Tell me, does this answer satisfy you?"
10(Bishop Martin). "Perfectly, as far as that goes! Your answer is quite satisfactory, but let us continue.
11Tell me, why is the diamond the most precious gem and gold the most precious metal?"
12 (The wise man): "Because man made it what it is. And the reason he did it is that these minerals are less frequently found than others. If there were as many diamonds as pebbles and as much gold as iron, diamonds would be used in road-making and gold as mountings on cart-wheels.
13 However, the Lord knows best why these two minerals are rarer than others. Probably because they poison man's mind with hellish elements. In view of that, you wouldn't expect them to hold any considerable portion of the Godhead? Are you satisfied with this answer?"
14 (Bishop Martin): "I cannot raise any objections to your explanations, and so have to be satisfied! But I did not find in your answers what I really expected to find, namely: genuine proof for the deity of Jesus.
15 For there are on earth, as most likely on every planet, in all things, beings and men culminations which are unique and forever unequalled. Thus, there has to be some largest sun, a largest planet and on it a number of unequalled things. However, can a sage claim these to be deities because they are unequalled? Only the heathens did that ages ago, and the result was polytheism.
16No doubt there has been, at some time or other, a most intelligent ape, dog, or donkey, like the
one of Bileam, or the most beautiful and courageous horse, like Bucephalus, or a most beautiful woman, like the Venus of Medici, or an Apollo, a wisest heroine, Minerva, and a most jealous Juno.
17 The heathens deified all these high-ranking personalities; that cannot be denied. And if the inhabitants of a planet did this with superior things and beings from all the realms of nature, it is no wonder that man raised the wisest teacher and the greatest magus to their supreme Godhead - erected altars to him and are still worshipping him to this day - some with genuine piety, but the majority, for reasons of policy, in order to keep the others in the dark.
18 But because men did that to their wisest fellowman, would that be sufficient reason to completely deify him? Or did we ever see or hear higher beings that had come to earth to prove and confirm the deity of Jesus?
19There do exist tales of miraculous happenings at his birth - that angels descended visibly to earth and told mankind of his divinity. But have we seen any of this? Not I! You, perhaps?
20 Such stories have been fabled in the tedious and selfish dreams of monks and nuns, but if you investigate the truth, you will find only human desire to know more and better than your fellowman, although deep in his heart, everyone knows that he is blind and his knowledge is based solely on habitual, indifferent belief.
21 Where a man accepts another man's authority as proof, we cannot speak of genuine conviction.But since one has never heard anything from the real God except through men, where else could one expect to find any living evidence?
22Thus, a revelation is no more than the work of man. This is obvious, as we have never had a revelation that did not show human influence and imagination.
23 Therefore, dearest friend, I have to verify everything and cannot be convinced. Your proofs are insufficient for me! A man's desire for cognition of God can only be satisfied by God Himself, never by men; and I believe that we shall have to go through many and varied experiences in His spaces of creation before we are ready for a true divine revelation!
24 Everything that we have experienced so far is just an elementary school to prepare us for future great divine lessons. However, if you are in a position to reply to my arguments with something better, purer, truer, and more divine, I shall listen to you patiently and attentively." (Sunsets to Sunrises, chap. 31)
(Says the wise man): "Friend, I must admit that I am unable to cope with your arguments, although you have not removed an atom from the unique deity of Jesus the Lord with their help. On the contrary, you have made me see even clearer that God must be also man, the highest and most perfect man, of course. Otherwise, we could not possibly be human, nor could we love God, if He were not the most perfect man.
2 Love is our most sublime possession, our life, our beatitude! Why then would it exist at all if we could not love God in a human form?
3 Do now whatever you want - but do not expect any more wisdom from me. I gave you all I had!"
4 Bishop Martin ponders the words of the wise man of the party, and after a while, speaks rather to himself than to the other: "Basically you are right, for if the pentateuch of Moses is correct, God had to be a man or He could not have made Adam in His own image, which presupposes also the same nature.
5 Although a watchmaker need not be a watch himself to be able to make one, he must have the concept of the watch in him.
6 But there is a snag again! If a man can have a concept of something quite different and separate from himself, no doubt God would be capable of it.
7 Consequently, the text of the pentateuch could read: 'God created man in the image of His idea', i.e., in exact accordance with His idea!
8 If this interpretation were correct, which is quite likely, it would not mean at all that God created man in His shape, or that He would have to have a limited shape to form a man. Since every idea as such is formless, God Himself, as the fundamental principle or idea, may also be formless.
9 Assuming that God would have to have a human shape in order to create human beings, if He wanted to make a bear, a shark, or any of the innumerable beings, He either would have to be able to change into the shape of all these or He would have to be part of all these beings, once and for all, so that all things and beings would have in him a permanent archetype.
10 To assume this would be the barest sophistry! Therefore, God needs no form to be able to create men as human beings. And least of all does He need to be human Himself! This supposition would be totally contrary to the idea of complete divine freedom. For how could you imagine complete freedom if there were limitation through shape?
11Considering this, complete freedom must be formless, which also agrees with the text of the pentateuch, where Jehovah forbids Moses to form any kind of image of Him.
12 Yes, my dearest friend, from the viewpoint of pure reason, I am probably right, whilst you 'walk by faith,' according to Paul! That, of course, is also a sort of life, but one without discernment or opinion. I do not want to take it away from you nor make a proselyte of you. However, I have to show you clearly that a former bishop cannot be turned inside out like a hare's skin, and particularly not by those who used to be his sheep on earth!"
13 (The wise man): "I see now in what quarter the wind is! If you are the bishop who died only a few weeks ago, then it is easy enough to understand why you cannot comprehend the deity of Jesus. Ex trunco non fit Mercuriusl (A tree-trunk cannot become a Mercury).
14 I am the bookseller of the same town where you were bishop. I know only too well what you were like: outwardly a religious fanatic, but deep inside the sheerest atheist who used to read Kant, Hegel and Strauss with the greatest enthusiasm. And instead of the Vulgata, you had Voltaire, Rousseau and Helvetius on your desk - all the great minds you used to condemn from the pulpit and in your pastoral letters, but in your heart you greatly preferred them to Jesus!
15 I am well aware of all this because I had to supply these books to you, and you used to confide in me. But I was not influenced by you, and secretly pursued my own line by studying Swedenborg, whom you rejected as unsuitable for your Roman treadmill. Good that I know this now, for we might find some things to talk about!"
16(Bishop Martin, in a startled voice): "That does it! Why the deuce did you have to turn up here?"
17(To himself): "This bookseller chap knows of quite a lot of my tricks. Now there is going to be
some washing of dirty linen in the spirit-world !
18 I only hope Jesus, who no doubt is the master of this house, doesn't come in now. It would be most awkward for he has already uncovered some of my dirty tricks and has given me a piece of his mind.
19 But if this man with the shiny hat should start revealing some of my most secret rascalities, I may not fare too well. I might find myself once more in a terrible ocean or on a seashore for a million years. Oh, oh, how terrible that would be!
20 Whatever can I do to avoid this calamity? Ha! Well, I might do it some way. And if I don't succeed, I'll just have to spend all eternity fishing from some seashore! But I don't care any more, by God! Why did I have to meet this chap here? However, it has happened, and I shall have to think of some way out."
21(Here the bookseller interrupts him and says): "If you could share my well-founded belief, it would help you out of your dilemma. And do not take me for an informer, but rather for your friend whom you saved from the fire of his blind zeal, and whom you clothed when he was naked!
22Believe me, Jesus the Lord does not need us for spies and informers. For He knows our innermost thoughts even before we have become conscious of them ourselves.
23Look, brother, why shouldn't it be possible for Jesus to be the Lord of Heaven and all creation? Why couldn't He be God the Eternal, the Almighty?
24 Since God created all beings, limited by time and space, should not He be capable out of His love for us, His creatures, His children, to confine Himself in time and space without loss of His omnipotence, considering that time and space have gone forth from Him?
25 Or, should a painter or sculptor who reproduces a thousand forms and shapes in colors or formed matter, not be able to paint his own portrait or sculpt his own image? If a man can do that, though not in a perfect sense, why should we consider it impossible for God to do it?
26 Or, could God be the highest and most independent Being if there were anything at all He could not bring about? With your Hegelian principles, you only limit Him, making Him a prisoner of infinity, capable of creating primordial central suns with planets, men and beasts, but Who could not possibly have anything to do with infusoria. These, too, have life manifesting through their ingeniously devised organisms, but are much too insignificant for Him to be concerned with, the same as man until he has reached something like the size of a central sun. But how could he achieve this? Even Hegel and Strauss would be silent on that subject!
27I, your friend, hope you will now understand and no longer object to giving Jesus the honor due to Him for ever and ever; all the more since He has repeatedly shown you great mercy!"
28 (Bishop Martin): "Brother, friend, I saved you from the flames, but you have now awakened in me a different flame - one of the most powerful light! Thanks be to Him and to you! But allow me first to collect myself, for this new thought is too overwhelming!" (Sunsets to Sunrises, chap. 32)
(After a while, Bishop Martin speaks again): "Yes, dearest brother, from whatever side I look a
the points you made, I find them sound. The Master of this house is also the Master of Infinity. He is beyond doubt the Son of the Most High also known as the Father! But where then is the Holy Ghost - or so to speak, the third divine person?"
2 (The wise bookseller): "Friend, just refer to the Gospel. Here you have a Bible with the New Testament. Read what John says, namely: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God; . . . and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us [in Jesus Christ]
3 Another passage says: 'In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily'; and another: 'He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; for I and my Father are one; I am in the Father and the Father is in me'; and many similar passages.
4 If you meditate on such passages, and altogether the whole of the Old and New Testaments, you will become more and more convinced that Jesus is the sole Lord and Creator of Heaven and
5 When one of His disciples asked Him to show them the Father, since He had told them so much about Him, Jesus said: 'Have I been so long a time with you and yet hast thou not known me? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, shew us the Father?'
6 And you are now asking the same kind of questions the disciples asked the Lord when they were still spiritually blind!"
7 (Bishop Martin): "You are absolutely right! Now I am really convinced! He is the one and only
Lord, God, Creator, and Father of Heaven and the myriads of angels, as well as the suns, earths,
and all men. He will surely have His reasons why He chose our earth, and I hope one day to
understand this, too. (Sunsets to Sunrises, chap. 33)
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