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 September 30, 1975
Gen. 11:1-9, pp. 102-109 of transcript.
The Tower of Babel and Expression
In the symbol of Mesopotamia, where a stream becomes divided into two rivers, that could very well stand for that point or that place where man's consciousness becomes the polarizer of the one pure substance of energy. The pure substance of energy is spirit and is complete unity, oneness, but the substance of energy must be converted into expression of energy, which will result in manifestation. So at that point where the oneness of pure substance of energy becomes the polarized energy - with me? Substance of energy is one, pure, perfect, eternal but for the substance to become the thing, it has to enter the realm of polarity and duality; and man's consciousness is the cosmic instrument that does that on our planet. [TruthUnity note: for more about Ed Rabel's focus on the importance of polarity, see Basic Self Knowledge, 14:10, "All energy expressions have to be polarized in order to be creative".]
And Jack's idea was, that that Bible symbol stands for that, that point where it occurs. And that's true, he's absolutely correct. Then his thought was, and if I don't read you right, Jack, stop me, I'm interpreting you now, not quoting so much as interpreting based on what you said. But then, from that point where the one substance then polarizes into energy, then it must find expression and result in materialization or polarity.
This dividing of the substance of energy into energy itself then is referred to in its development as the birth-brick and the slime for mortar and the working efforts on the part of the builders, and they then, through this activity, begin to construct a city and a tower which was intended to reach heaven, simply meaning human efforts at materializing substance into things to be used, to be lived with, and even an attempt to duplicate in the manifest realm, heavenly things, things to represent the divine, spiritual, the deity, God, heaven.
Even man's attempts to bring the divine, the spiritual, the perfect, into the realm of manifestation, no matter how good it is, can never be as good as the thing it is meant to represent. The thing which represents or illustrates the thing is never as good as the thing it's meant to illustrate or represent. So, in the realm of heavenly manifestation, we have many beautiful and wonderful things to represent divine ideas; but they all fall a bit short, they have to. That's the very nature of manifestation.
To some degree, it does not reach heaven itself, although it points toward it and represents it. In this category we have the wonderful manifestations of works of art, compositions of music, poetry, painting, architecture, the human body, all of these are efforts or the results of effort of consciousness to produce something perfect or heavenly but it always falls short.
And yet, even though it falls short, is it a failure? No. It is a great contribution to enhance the loveliness and the interest and variety of the manifest realm, but it never is equal to that which the manifest is representing or an attempt to duplicate the divine or the heavenly. It's never completely heavenly. This is behind that term divine dissatisfaction, it's never quite perfect; it can always be better, better, better.
Now, the other thing which was also from Jack, was this business of the predicament, the dilemma, that we have about divine mind being in us. The question is, is divine mind in us or are we in divine mind, which is it? And I think it's both. It's a matter of perspective. If you're looking at it from the viewpoint of the divine, of the infinite, then you would say we are in divine mind. But if you're looking at it as an evolving entity, as a human being struggling to make it, you're more apt to think of divine mind as being in you, this is my feeling; and I say we can have both.
We can shift our viewpoints like I've talked about shifting gears. It's very good once in awhile to think of yourself and all your fellow human beings from the standpoint of the divine, whatever it is in your mind, and at another time, view it all as fellow human beings. You know, folks, that no analogy is perfect; is that accepted? Don't blame me when my illustrations aren't perfect, because I don't think they can be. But they can at least point toward what we're trying to say.
We have our old friend, the drop of water and the ocean. But, you see right away we have a built-in imperfection, because the ocean, to be used for a symbol for divine mind, the ocean itself is limited. The ocean, itself, is a matter of quantity; divine mind is not limited, and it has nothing to do with quantity. But we'll have to use it, because I can't think of a better one. You say, you have a drop of water and you have the ocean, and from one point of view, it's ridiculous that that drop of water is down there screaming, "The ocean is in me. The ocean is in me." It should be saying, "I'm in the ocean. I'm in the ocean." But then, from another point of view, look at it now from the drop of water's point of view. It realizes it contains the essence of the ocean, and so from it's point of view, it will often get the realization, "Well, in degree, the ocean is in me." Which is correct? Well, they can both be correct. The essence of Divine Mind, which that Divine Mind is which is the quality of knowingness, is in us; but we are in it. You know the old saying, "Man is the microcosm of the macrocosm." All that is in the macrocosm is in man, but we have to think of the scale of degrees, when it comes to man. So that it's okay to think of Divine Mind in you and you in Divine Mind.
The other point Jack made is, do we control or can we manipulate Divine Mind? No. We can control certain factors of our human nature, especially through meditation and prayer, and through awareness of the twelve powers. Through growing awareness of the twelve powers, you and I can control certain factors which go to make up our self-awareness, which will establish certain connections between personal self-awareness and the Divine Presence or Christ or Divine Mind within. We develop greater and greater awareness, not of manipulative skills, but greater and greater awareness of oneness.
And then we learn to re-adjust our priorities within ourselves and who and what to give first place to, and what to submit to what. We get our priorities straightened out, which is called divine order; and then Divine Mind lets us use it or us letting it use us. It becomes a perfect exchange of spiritual activity. John's question was concerned with knowing and believing and he equated it with our Unity teachings in general. My illustration of two plus two makes five is something you can see and something you might believe, but it is not something you can know with your knowingness, simply because it's not true.
The knowing part of you will discover that that's erroneous, and you will no longer believe it, because your knowing mind can't know it. It can't know an error to be true.
Then John's question was concerning our teachings. In general, he said we have a system of teaching, which we believe, for the most part. We say that this is truth, and we always know the truth. He implied that how can we be sure that all the things we teach are that truth which we know and not just something that may or may not be true, which we now believe? We all have to be in agreement and beyond dissension about one thing: there is truth, there is truth. And the Mind of Christ, which knows the truth, is in every man; and he is in that Mind. You start with that; we're on safe territory. Then we get a lot of leeway.
Unity is a result of the consciousness of many, many wonderful people. A lot of these people were very humble and very modest, very simple, but that doesn't reduce their greatness, in any sense. The distillation of the thoughts of the consciousness of all these great, great wonderful souls have resulted in a general system of beliefs, principles, insights, perceptions, respectful preservations of tradition. It's a conglomerate of many beautiful, wonderful, positive, uplifting results of consciousness, which in a very general way, synthesize into a body of teachings called the Unity Teachings and often equated with something called truth.
But that's poetic license; every man has his right to his share of poetic license and figures of speech. The Unity material, the teachings, are not in and of themselves the truth, because truth is something greater than anything that can be said about it, but what we have in Unity are our current accepted formulations of ideas; and I've named what they consist of, for the most part, which act upon an individual to stir and quicken and condition his consciousness into greater and greater awareness of this sublime, divine truth.
We put a truth facet into a teaching, and yet that teaching is a materialization of a heavenly truth; so that the teaching always falls short of that which it's trying to teach. Many of our teachings are still hopes that we have, beliefs that we have formulated, ideals that we have constructed. But some of our teachings actually are truth, not all of them, not everything we teach in Unity is the truth. Certainly everything that we teach is something that will help condition any person's consciousness to become more aware of truth, but there are certain things which we all instinctively know.
For instance, when I say, "Love is a divine idea, and that idea should find expression through you", there's nothing in you that rejects that or says, "That's only a theory. That's only his opinion." There's something in you which has already made peace with that; that knowing part of you has already said, "Come on, join the team; that's truth." When I say something like, "The source of healing is God's divine idea of life", the knowing part of you says, "Yes, yes, come on, join the permanent truth consciousness part of me."
Now, where do the Unity teachings fall short of that? Where we're still dealing with them, where we're still having discussions and things like this. I find that it's mostly in the area of human behaviorism and rightness and wrongness, where we're still "mixing the batter". In the Unity teachings, where we're not really on sure, unshakeable ground that this is the truth, this is the equivalent of truth. This is part of that raw material, which we're working for, to develop, and to use as food for thought, still trying to perfect and improve upon, always leading toward that one goal, which is increased consciousness of truth.
Now, I think that possibly I'm as critical as anybody else of what is now considered the "sorry, dogma" of the Unity teachings. I don't find fault with it. I do on many occasions think that a certain idea or principle could be stated more attractively or more accurately in the light of certain other types of knowledge, out as far as what we actually teach, no matter how it's said by any teacher, I'm perfectly willing to believe it; and I would hope that most of you are, because I've certainly never gotten into any trouble by believing what Unity teaches.
It's when I have gone off on tangents that I've often wandered off into a far country and have had to find my way home again. Be lenient; even though what we're teaching now may not be "the truth", it is certainly designed by persons who feel that it is something which will help you and everybody cultivate and stimulate a greater activity of consciousness, which will reveal or make you more and more aware of that truth, which is the goal of all our teachings. Let's give our attention, now to that very real, living spirit, not an entity, but a reality, who is very much aware of our efforts and which responds in a very wonderful way I am open and receptive to God's living spirit of Truth. Father, we are grateful.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on February 25, 2015.