METAPHYSICAL BIBLE INTERPRETATION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Fall semester 1975 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Lecture given on October 3 and October 13, 1975
Gen. 19:22-38, pp. 125-131 of transcript.
Lot’s Family Escapes
Now, Lot and his family take on a more specific symbolism in the narrative. The point of departure from Sodom and Gomorrah, well, Lot just departed from Sodom, of course, but his departure now changes his meaning as a personified symbol to where now he definitely stands for sense man. The sense man. He is now leaving the very lowest levels of existence as sense man, Sodom and Gomorrah, leaving that behind him and now evolving into something greater, and that is the condition of the sense part of our human nature right at this time. It is evolving also, but before we leave Lot, we have two points to consider.
First of all, the Lord wants Lot and his family to go to a mountain, a high mountain out of Sodom to a high mountain and Lot protests. He says, "Oh, not so, my Lord, behold now thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, thou hast magnified thy mercy and saved my life. I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me and I die. Behold now, this city is near to flee unto and it is a little one, - Oh, let me escape thither, is it not a little one and my soul shall live." And then the Lord gives him permission too, instead of going to that high mountain in the distance where the Lord originally would have liked him to go, He permits Lot to go to a much nearer place and much smaller in elevation. Now, I want you to figure this out. We're dealing now with sense man, part of us, evolving, improving, growing from the very lowest level it once inhabited. That would be sheer sensuality and animalism, Sodom and Gomorrah, and has now left that phase of evolution behind and now to evolve into something higher than just sheer sense animalism.
The Lord would like him to go straight from that state, Sodom, to a lovely high mountain, and Lot, sense man, said, "Oh, please, not something so far away and so high and so tough. I might die along the way." So the Lord, being good, said, "O.K., take a more convenient destination. Not so far away and not so high, that's O.K." What do we mean, folks? Metaphysically? "Let's not take it so much at once." Now, you're saying not to take it, that would be then the command of the Lord. Not, that you do not have to take giant steps in your evolution from sense man to something a little better than sense man. You do it in easier degrees and stages, for instance, this business of at one time, many of the Unity students went on, just like now so many are going on a fasting kick, there was a fad of "let's go on a celibacy kick". Folks, I mean the women were doing this mostly, they were dumping their husbands and their marriage relationship and just overnight they wanted to go to a high, pure mountain of virgin snow. That isn't the way it's done. That is not true unfoldment, that is taking the bull by the horns type of self-improvement and that can kill a person. See, Lot. If you thrust yourself too violently and too suddenly into plateaus of idealism that you haven't really evolved into in an orderly, natural way, in a cumulative way - if you try to jump from the plain of Jordan to the summit at Mt. Everest physically, what would happen to you - you'd die.
But if you were to condition yourself and join the right expedition and go through the acclimatizing and the disciplining and the thising and the thating, you might eventually to the summit of Mt. Everest. It's been done, it's being done more and more every day, and the same thing is true in metaphysics, in our what we call spiritual evolution, which is really the growth of our degree of awareness of our spiritual nature. We say spiritual evolution, that isn't true - it's a figure of speech - it is the evolution of your soul, your degree of awareness of your spiritual reality. O.K. So, trying to go to too big a jump by sheer will determination is not really according to law.
Q. In this experience though, there is a possibility for these very high peaks of accomplishment or of soul development through unique experiences, a set of circumstance that might be set up.
A. OK, I know what you're driving at, and I can see your reasoning, but you will still have to go by an orderly process. You are perfectly right when you say that there are times and circumstances where a sudden, or very high alteration of level of awareness occurs. It doesn't occur here with Lot because he doesn't want it to, but it does occur in the Gospels with a very interesting character named Zacchaeus, who climbed the sycamore tree. He had a good reason, he had a legitimate purpose for it, which was to see Jesus. He made this effort, got to that tree, accomplished his purpose and then some, but the first thing Jesus said when He looked up and saw him was, and I'm sure that when Jesus saw him that he approved of this, but then He said, "Zacchaeus, come down, for I must sup with thee at thy house." And then, this marvelous reformation occurs. It is permitted, these very spectacular elevations of viewpoints I call it. We sometimes call these revelations. These come and they are all right, but most of the time they are not permanent perches, they are temporary elevations of viewpoint to help us and better equip us for when we have to come back to our normal evolutionary level. So we have this first mention of that. That the sense man of us doesn't want to take on too much, too fast. People have tried this and there is too often serious reaction to their psyche when they do this.
Now, the next point is very well-known, but still is very mysterious, and of course, you know what I'm referring to, which is found in Chapter 19, verse 26, and all we know about this is one sentence. No explanation, no elaborations are given, and yet for some - they have this all figured out and I'm not so sure, but his wife looked back from behind him and she became a pillar of salt. Now, I've looked up all the Unity material we have published about this and, of course, my own notes that I've compiled through the years and I find that we've all taken too much for granted. We have all assumed and it does not say this, that what has happened here is something bad. Nowhere are we told what was in Lot's wife's mind when she did this. How did she feel? What was she thinking? We don't know, we're not told. How do we know she looked back with regret? How do we know she looked back with anger, or with longing to return? That's an assumption. The Bible text itself does not label her action, does not judge it, it just says she looked back and became a pillar of salt.
Now we know that the metaphysical, that that is a symbol of something metaphysical, which we just call crystallization, because of the pillar of salt. The MBD and the Mysteries of Genesis are quite adamant about this, but what kind of a crystallization is this? See, there we're left dangling. We don't really know, so, I think that to be fair to the idea in the book, that we mustn't judge this and give it a character, when we're not sure. But simply take a very objective view of this, a very unjudgmental view of this and just see what were being told on a very non-emotional level.
What we're being told here is that as a part of our sense nature, our evolving sense nature, our becoming more than sense man, part of the equipment of our evolving sense nature is a very wonderful faculty. The longing through the feeling nature which is here designated as a pillar of salt, a preservative of our past in the form of memory.
To me now, this pillar of salt simply is a symbol for the faculty of remembering. Don't call it good, don't call it bad, because, when you and I are remembering, we're remembering not only good things, not only bad things, but we're remembering all of the past that we feel a need to recall at that moment, unless it is completely subjective. However, the fact that she was looking back when this crystallization occurred is another factor. This would refer then to remembering of a backward-looking type, which there I would call negative. Because there are two kinds of remembering. One is very good and very useful, the other kind can prove to be a stumbling block and may require another purification. The two type of remembering are this. Here's Lot's wife - going forward - is there anything wrong with while a person is going forward, progressing, he or she remembers, remembers. The point is, where is this (the nose) facing, not that remembering is occurring, because if you are going forward, any memories which come to you from the past don't become crystallizations.
What do you and I use our power of memory for when we are progressing in our direction of consciousness? We use it for knowledge based on experience, we use it for comparisons, we use it for help in evaluating and differentiating between the old and the new. You see, I'm going forward, I'm learning as much as I can and being as productive as I can and if memories come to me from the past, must my progress necessarily stop? By the act of remembering? In fact, what can memory often do for a creative, progressing person? Become further food for greater accomplishment. See?
I often use the example of my mother's first marriage, it was a very unhappy marriage and she divorced my father and then remarried him and had an even worse second marriage to him. O.K., then, my mother had to divorce him then the second time, but all the while my mother was learning, growing, building a better life for herself, developing her personality, then she met the man who became my stepfather, who was a wonderful man and provided my mother with a wonderful marriage and my mother used to often say, "When I remember what it was like with so-and-so, it makes me ten times more appreciative of what I now have and I want to do much more now to make this a successful, harmonious family."
But the other kind of remembering would be this, same body but stopping my growth and progress in order to remember. In order to maintain a memory. Getting stuck in that memory, and we know such people, we call these crystallized memories that interfere with a person's progressive unfoldment, we call them by many different names. Nowadays I think the most popular usage is "hang-up", it used to be psychiatric terms like, "fixations and psychosis, etc." In metaphysics we call these "crystallization", which is a place in consciousness where memory has replaced progress. It is the unconscious cause of many, many psychosomatic illnesses.
Now, if you found a literal pillar of salt in your front yard that you didn't want to stay there, you would get rid of it probably by turning the hose on it, dissolving it back to the substance. All right, if you discover a pillar of salt in your consciousness, or even if you suspect it's there, it could be in the unconscious, and you wouldn't know what it is, but you have symptoms which indicate a crystallization, and there are many illnesses today which materia medica declare untreatable, incurable which are really unconscious pillars of salt. Alright, can they be healed? Can they dissolve? Do you have to know why it is?
Alright, what faculty do you have which is the hose with the water that pours onto the pillar of salt? The renunciation faculty, which can practice denial and you do not have to know the thing you are renouncing or denying. To renounce sin generically or forgive it -- You see, we aren't told the result of this idyll for all we know, Lot was glad to get rid of her, who knows? We're simply not told, and it is mystifying that we should just be given that little bit of information and then the whole thing is dropped as if it never happened. But, with our hindsight, and referring to it metaphysically, or at least part of it, we can give it a happy ending. We can change her from a pillar of salt back into a living woman again, metaphysically, because we know how.
Q. What did you say on renunciation, denying something generically that we don't need to know exactly?
A. Yes, let's say that you have a condition or problem that you're working with and your intuition tells you that this is - somehow the cause of this is a crystallization which quite possibly now lodged in the unconscious, not the subconscious. Because anything in the subconscious is still able for recall, but when it is gone over the border of recall, we call that then the unconscious and that's where your crystallizations are. There is a way to treat that, to heal it and it is through the renunciatory faculty and the technique of using that faculty called denial, which does not necessitate your knowing the thing itself at to what it is, for instance, I threw a virgin to the lions three incarnations ago and I have an unconscious memory of that, I've got to find out what that is and deny that - you know, you can't do it - but just the fact that there is a crystallization in consciousness which Jesus simply calls sin, you can deny, or forgive or renounce generically whatever it is. You will get a comfort.
A.Yes, these crystallizations are of the feeling nature, they are emotional.
A. No, I don't believe crying and emotionalism are the process, but they can often be the result accompanying the right process. For instance, it isn't because I cry, it's because I'm doing something else which makes me feel better and I also cry. The release is not in crying, no, the crying may accompany the release because you feel emotional about the whole thing. You may go into a crying spell and then you'll feel better, but then you'll make the mistake of saying, "Oh, crying is the way to do it. If I could just cry, that's it. Uh-huh. The crying doesn't affect the cleansing, knowing the truth of your spiritual nature, that you have this nay-nay, yea-yea faculty, that you can reject error, negativeness, or if you want to use Jesus terminology, you can forgive sin. Forgive the fact that sin has happened, or occurred, within yourself, or another person. This has the most wonderful solvent action on crystallized negation in the unconscious.
Oh, friends, really, if we were stuck with that old-time teaching, you've got to go into the subconscious to find out what wrong there and then treat that, we would need to have a 43 hour day, doing that on ourselves and we would never get the job done, but we've learned through the study of Jesus' teachings and the increase of our metaphysical understanding that this is not necessary, that we can use our twelve faculties to do the work spiritually, rather than psychiatrically, and so the forgiveness of sin - how much better than the zeroing in on different mistakes and faults and treating them to psychiatric therapy. You don't need to do that, if you know the truth and accept yourself as a spiritual being. Spiritual faculties do this work for you which otherwise would be very painstaking, very risky.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on February 24, 2015.