This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Part of Lecture 13 given on February 9, 1976
Here we will find a statement that Jesus makes that has caused a lot of concern in a lot of persons. As far as the meaning of the statement, I have to resort to something that I have often mentioned and that I'll probably have to mention a lot more as we go along because it seems to be the key to many dilemmas concerning Bible meaning. It does not solve the dilemma but it is a key that we could use to help the dilemma become a little less frightening and confusing to us, and that is the word multidimensional.
It means more than one dimension simultaneously and each level having its own standard of validity. Everything that is in what we call Being exists multidimensionally, including our own being; that is, we have an existence simultaneously on many different levels of dimension of Being and each dimension has its own validity. Now, at the current time we as a human family are not functioning multidimentionally in our awareness, in our thinking, in our understanding, in our perception; we are, for the most part, aware of only three of the multiple dimensions. We are aware of, we work in, we function in, we have our belief centered in a three dimensional being or existence. But we know that there are many, many more and that only God sees all dimensions all the time so that God does not have opinions, nor points of view and God sees nothing as duality or opposites; God sees all that is and all is good. On the multiple dimensions of reality all is good but we see from a three dimensional existence and therefore we have many opinions. We function in duality, polarity and so forth and we are tempted to lose sight of multidimensional validity; therefore, these metaphysical Bible interpretations sometimes will not cover the whole meaning that must have been in the mind of Jesus or in the minds of the writers of these books if not in Jesus. Sometimes we are going to have to limit ourselves to a comprehensible dimension of meaning but never losing sight of the fact that there are other dimensions of validity also which have a meaning. In this particular incident I have given it a lot of thought and a lot of people have, and that, of course, is taken from these sections in Mark and Matthew. (Read Mark 3:28-30, and Matt. 12:31-32).
You can imagine how the average Bible reader or church-goer would react to this, assuming that he takes Jesus' words very seriously. There would be outerly two alarming reactions to this. First of all, what is this sin, this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and secondly have I done it? How many times Silent Unity receives letters of this nature, because Jesus has this very alarming thing to say about it, that it is unpardonable, that it is unforgivable. Quite frankly I am not able to make my peace with this. I am not sure I comprehend what He had in mind but I have come up with a few insights that while not satisfying that, at least I believe, are organic enough so that things will grow and develop out of it.
This frightening doctrine of the unforgivable sin which many persons, even right now, are worrying and tormenting themselves with the thought of having possibly committed. One thing we can do, we can take any isolated statements of Jesus and kind of place them into context with the whole body of his teachings and then, even if we cannot intellectually interpret some of his isolated statements, the other teachings that he has given will shed some of their light on the puzzling portions and we can come up with at least not total darkness. Sin and blasphemy, as Jesus uses them here carry the connotations of errors, and lies, and rejections. They could be a combination of these three the way he uses it here. See, he doesn't say, to commit a sin, but to sin against, not just to blaspheme but to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is not an entity but it a word which is used to refer to an aspect of Spirit, of God; it does not mean the whole Spirit, it means the movement of Spirit, the activity of God, God or Principle in movement, in action, in expression, perceptive that a person can bear witness to it, can feel it, or sense it, or see it. It is just the activity-aspect of God rather than just pure Principle, not just Principle, because Principle alone can be static, can be theoretic, can be abstract. God is not just Principle, he is also Father, Son, Holy Spirit; he is the Principle, the idea within the Principle and then the activity of both the Principle and its idea. Now, what could a person be doing that constitutes a sin or a blasphemy against the activity of good, the mobility of the Principle?
Student: The only thing that can be done against an activity is to stop it.
Ed: Yes, but how would you do it, connected with sin and blasphemy which I said is a combination of lies, errors and rejections, deliberate outright unbelief. By just simply saying, I don't believe in it, in reality there aren't such things as, "seeing is believing," "tasting is believing," "smelling or touching is believing," "there isn't such a thing as Spirit or Principle that is all knowing and omnipresent, and what I can't comprehend I reject, I refuse." You see? There is only one case in the entirety of the Gospel where persons could not get the blessing of Spirit that Jesus was offering by himself being a channel of Consciousness; only one thing is mentioned that stopped a person from getting what he could have gotten. What is the word the Gospels use? Unbelief, to me that would be a form of blasphemy against the H.S. "I don't believe it is for me." So Jesus says that attitude of Mind, that erroneous state of a person disqualifies him from that which Spirit would give. If you won't have, then Spirit can't give it to you and I think he uses the word unforgivable in that sense, not that after you have done then you won't get it forever but that while you are in that state, Spirit can't give Itself to you. It doesn't mean that the individual who makes the mistake will never be forgiven but that state itself can never be forgiven because Spirit, being what it is, will not shove Itself down a person's throat. If a person simply won't have It, he won't have it. We can take this on a very human scale. Example, in your counseling situations, with all that great skill of the minister and counselor, all you can do is to bring verbally to that person an opportunity for choice, that is all you can do; you know that folks, that is all we can do in our work as counselors. It happens at times that for some reason that we can't figure out the counselee down-right refuses to make the right choice: they will choose the thing that is going to cause them further suffering. There is nothing that you can do about it if they don't want to choose for the spiritual decision, you can't manipulate them and as long as they are in that attitude they are in that state of blasphemy or sin against the Holy Spirit which can't be forgiving while it is the existing state, but supposing a little light gets in, a little receptivity instigates itself, the humility factor suddenly is touched somewhere, usually through your silent prayers and blessings and the radiations of your Truth consciousness, then what is the case if that person then chooses the other, abandons his rejection or his refusal or his blasphemy and chooses the Truth that will set him free. What happens to that unforgiveness? It is forgiven because it is no longer his state, but as long as that is his state, the state itself constitutes unforgiveness. The state itself constitutes its own unforgivability, but if the state changes the person will receive whatever the new state consents to. The opportunity for choice is always there.
Now, please understand, I am presenting only one possible dimension of meaning, there may be others that I can't see yet. I have in my notes here that sin and blasphemy refer, among other things, to errors and lies and rejections. To sin or blaspheme against the Holy Spirit would mean to believe errors and lies about Spirit. Now what is one of the most common lies about Spirit that many people believe? That it is not real, that it is idealism, that it is nothingness, that is a terrible lie about Spirit. It is just the opposite to the Truth, but there are people who do have that attitude about things spiritual. Also, anything that denies or rejects the Almightiness of Absolute Good of Spirit is a sin or blasphemy against Spirit. A person who is entertaining such feelings or attitudes within himself has placed his state of consciousness in an unforgivable state, that is, he or she has made himself incapable of being given the blessing which only Spirit and Truth can give. If the person refuses to believe in healing or if he rejects the possibility of healing, if the person will not accept the thought of God as law, if the person simply will not to be made free, he makes its choice and the law works according to that choice, but the unforgiven state lasts only as long as the sin or the blasphemy lasts. When the attitude of mind is changed, then the sin changes and the unforgiven state changes; then all is forgiven and a new phase of development begins in that person. Paul gave the solution in a nut shell, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."
Now, that is O.K. as far as it goes, but Jesus had to throw in a little phrase which could knock a hole in all that I've just said, "..it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come," and in another translation it reads, "neither in this world, nor in the next," Here he could have meant that this attitude, this erroneous, sinful, blasphemous attitude of rejection of Spirit is unforgivable in this current dimension of existence and this would also be the case in the next dimension that we are going to from here, but then the question, "what about the next," Well, he doesn't mention it; he only mentions two, and the third and the fourth from here, I don't know, but remember this dimension I am talking about. We don't get to it in a vertical direction, please keep in mind the image of multiple dimensions from center to circumference in all directions, not straight-line-ladder-climbing or forward half-way walking.
He could also have meant the after-death-state; if you take that attitude with you until the after-death state, it would also be an unforgivable sin.
Remember also that the statement does not say, "God shall not forgive him," it says, it shall not be forgiven, and who is the forgiver? Yourself, expressing the love of God.
Do you agree, folks, that this only poses the dilemma but we need a solution which I think is in Paul's words, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." or again, in one of those wonderful affirmations that May Rowland used to have us drill on in Silent Unity, "The forgiving love of Jesus Christ sets me free from states of the past and the results of states of the past."
Question. How do you know when you should interprete the Bible metaphysically or when only literally?
Ed: In some cases you know that it cannot be interpreted literally in the light of your intuitive knowing about God and Spirit and Truth, you trust your Superconscious and its servants and you begin to draw forth a pattern of logic metaphysical validity and yet keep the connection with what Jesus actually says; your intuition knows when beyond the harshness of the letter of the word there is a spiritual or metaphysical law or principle which can be derived, which can be distilled from it. You do not abandon the text or pretend that it was never printed and you also do not forsake the Principle that you made your commitment to, which is that God is good and that there is a good purpose behind all things and all Truth teachings; then these kind of give birth to themselves in consciousness. Logic and intuition are beautiful companions, let them work together. That is the ear mark of contact with Superconsciousness. If logic isn't present, look out, and if intuition isn't present then you could miss the mark".
Text of the original transcript from the second paragraph of page 79 through the first paragraph of page 83.
Transcribed by Nita Strauss on September 25, 2013