The Goal of Life, by Hiram Butler, , at sacred-texts.com
The mystery of the ages is involved in the consummating of the purpose of Godto make man in his image and likeness, in the preparing of man to become heir of God and joint-heir with Christ. In order to obtain a clear understanding of this subject, it becomes necessary to consider:
1. What is man?
2. How man is brought into the Divine Likeness. In the effort to answer the question
WHAT IS MAN?
it is necessary to consider the earth as it appears to our physical senses, because it is a reality to all physical existence. We find that man is limited to his planet; he lives from it, and without it he would. immediately perishman cannot live without food, water, and air. We find, too, that if the brain is diseased, the man becomes insane, and the change is as radical as if he were another being. This is evidence to the materialistic mind that man has no life beyond animal life, and this is true in itself and
is in accord with the teachings of Christ, for he said to those around him, "Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world." Thus he drew the line of distinction very clearly.
Again, he said concerning his life, and the life of men, "My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready," thus emphatically implying that during the existence of the "carnal man," upon earth, he is subject to accident, disease and death, so that he may pass out of the body at any time.
In order to rise superior to such conditions there must be something superadded, to which Jesus referred in the words: "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves," and to those who objected, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" he explained this eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood by saying, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." Thus he did away with the thought that the bread, or wafer, and the wine are the actual flesh and blood of the Lord; and left us to the indubitable conclusion that the eating of the wafer and the drinking of the wine, are simply symbolism, a memorial of the fulness of times when that which is symbolized will be realized.
But the great point under consideration is the emphatic utterance, "Ye have not life in yourselves."
[paragraph continues] Has man no life in himself? Christ said in another place, "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the son to have life in himself," implying that the son did not have life in himself, until it was given to him by the Father.
Evidences are abundant all around us that man has no life in himself, that he is dependent for his existence, as we have said, upon the food he eats, the water he drinks, and the air he breathes. And yet this is not all the life that animates men and animals, the spirit of the mundane is the life of all creatures. We have seen in former chapters that the planet earth was created by a word, that all is spirit, mind; this being so, all there is of man comes from the creative-word active in the earth.
Each world is a separate thought of God. A man thinks of his office, then of his farm, and each is separate from the other, and so it is with God's thoughts in the creation of worlds.
In the thought of creating the planet earth and man upon it, was the potentiality to make a world make itself, the potentiality of all creative-law; so that, when we speak of the spirit of the mundane, we refer to this one, definite, thought of the Creative Mind, which involves the process of bringing man out from the invisible and passing him through all the experiences of an earthly lifegeneration, labor, sorrow and death.
The fact that the Holy Spirit is separate from
the earth is set forth in the teachings of the Scriptures. Man is there spoken of as having been separated from God, as being purely of the earth, earthy, of the spirit of the mundane, the creative spirit. It is there shown that he must be redeemed from the power of the mundanein order to have any life in himself he must be made partaker of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that is above all. (See John iii. 31.)
From these conclusions it may be inferred that there is no immortality in man's existence. This is both true and untrue, for we read, "I know that what God doeth it shall be forever; nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth it, that man should fear before him."
As God created man, therefore man exists forever, and the very earth that he lives on, the very spirit of the mundane from which his thoughts are derived, is of God, is of Spirit, but it is one thought of the Infinite Mindto create this world and man in His likeness. This thought of creating the worldthe mundaneis separate from all the other thoughts of the Infinite, in the same way that one of our thoughts is separate from all other thoughts, or is devoted to a specific object.
It is a well-known fact that when a man's mind is centered and he works on one idea at a time, he is more efficient than when he tries to grasp too much at once, for then he accomplishes little. The same is true in regard to this earthly sphere. In
order that man may go on developing and fulfilling the object for which he was created, he is limited to his surroundings and to his earthly needs, and he must necessarily be limited and bound to this existence until he has finished growing and unfolding and has reached the condition where he feels the need of a higher life, a superior consciousness.
We have seen that reincarnation is a law, that the real man, the soul which is made up of the memories of a lifetime, survives the body and returns by reincarnating until it is sufficiently mature to recognize God, its Father. Here seems to be a direct contradictionman dies and the memory-body is reincarnated and yet man does not remember his former life.
That the memory-body does not die, however, but is reincarnated and persists in man, has been brought to light by the hypnotist; for a very illiterate person is frequently found, when under hypnotic influence, to be highly educated. The interior individual has had a superior education, for he is able to speak different languages and to converse in the most perfect diction; but when the hypnotic spell is removed, the consciousness returns to the same illiteracy. The explanation of this is found in the fact of reincarnation, that is, there is a memory-body latent within the personality which is incapable of uniting with the external consciousness.
We have seen that man has no life in himself, and even this memory-body has no life in itself, but lives from spirit. It must, however, live from the spirit of its own sphere; that is to say, a stream cannot rise above its source, neither can the memory-body, or the physical body, do more than to act from its own qualities or from the sphere from which its own qualities have been derived. Now, as all that constitutes the memory-body has been derived from the experiences of a material existence in the physical world, it must continue to exist from that world, which means that it must continue to live from and express the spirit of the mundane, and as there is nothing in the spirit of the mundane that has any power to perpetuate the physical structure, therefore there is no immortality in the individual consciousness, for man is of the earth, earthy.
The work of the spirit of the mundane is unfinished work; it is merely preparatory, or preliminary, to the ultimate purpose of creation. The earth is a thought expressed for a purpose, and the purpose, or trend of the creative activities, is to make man in "The Image of God" and in "The Likeness of God."
We have presented man as a creature of earth, subject to all the vicissitudes of an earthly existence, to all the changes that are constantly taking place on the earth; a creature subject to all the laws governing an earthly existence, without
any capacity at his command to perpetuate himself. He has no life in himself, but is dependent for life upon the planet and upon the spirit of the mundane; he is carried forward by the work of evolution, generation after generation. He has a free-will, it is true; he is free to act his real nature; he can get the will to do nothing more, nothing less. So is every animal free, but every creature must act in accordance with its nature. It is accepted by many psychologists that man cannot even think that which is not in himself; he cannot think a thought, the qualities of which are not within.
Jesus often expressed the same thought, "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God;" and again, "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." Here Jesus seemed to carry out the idea that they were of the earth, earthy, and could think only the thoughts of earth. Again, he said to Nicodemus, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" The earthly things of which Christ was speaking were in relation to the rebirth, the being born from above, for he said, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
Having viewed man as of the earth, earthy, we come now to a consideration of
HOW MAN IS BROUGHT INTO THE DIVINE LIKENESS
That man has nothing directly to do with being begotten from above, is clearly brought out in the text last quoted. We merely recognize that the wind blows. We know not why it blows, where it comes from, or where it goes.
When man through growth and development has reached the point where he is capable of receiving a higher influx from the Spirit, the Spirit flows into him as naturally as the flower gathers to itself the added qualities that make up the blossom, or as the fruit-tree gathers the qualities that make the luscious fruitperhaps through an unsavory quality of sap that nourishes the tree. This, in vegetable life, is a manifestation of that wondrous law of being begotten from above. A wonderful metamorphosis takes place in the tree when, after it has grown year after year and has reached maturity, it puts forth beautiful blossoms, a thing never known of it before. The blossoms drop their petals and the fruit appears, which finally ripens and becomes pleasant to the eye and to the taste and is good for food.
So man has been growing, generation after generation, throughout the cycles of the world's existence, until now isolated individuals put forth the blossom of spiritual desirea blossom which
is by virtue of the inflowing of an added quality, a quality that did not exist in man before.
What did Jesus mean by declaring, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves"? A question he partially answers by saying, "The words that I have spoken unto you, are spirit, and are life"as much as to say, That is what I am talking about; not the flesh, not the blood, but the spirit, for "the flesh profiteth nothing." Here the mystery deepens. Why does not man become a partaker of the Holy Spirit long before he does? Is it because the Spirit is not present?The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, fills all things, all space. There is no space in the whole universe that is not filled with the Holy Spirit; but we cannot touch Spirit; to Spirit, man is but a shadow.
That which is in a lower sphere is always but a shadow to that which is in a higher sphere. Therefore, though the higher is all-pervading, it can never touch the lower except through intermediaries. Like can touch like only, and the consciousness can be conscious only of that which is like itself.
As we move about the Spirit passes through us as if we were not, and there is nothing in man to give him even a consciousness of the existence of Spirit. Consequently some of the brightest minds of the day are denying the existence of God and Spirit and of everything beyond their own conscious life.
Because of this law that like can touch like only, it was necessary that God should send to earth one who had gained the right to be called Yahveh Elohimone of the masters that had passed beyond the need of a physical bodyto take on the flesh of man. Paul said, "he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren." Having been clothed upon with flesh, but being a master in his real essence and substance, he knew God, Spirit. He knew the Holy Spirit from past experience. He was begotten of that Holy Spirit. He was a son of God and God's Spirit was the substance of his being. He was able, therefore, absolutely to control the physical body, to inspire the Spirit of the Father, the Holy Spirit, and passing it through the brain-organs, he clothed the Spirit with the substance of the physical mind. *
In order to make the Spirit of God accessible to the vital currents and mentality of man, it became essential that a spiritual being clothe himself with a body of flesh, and by the power of the Spirit within him, transmute the flesh and fit it to become the clothing of the spiritual germ. As a seed clothes the vital germ and fits it to be planted in the earth, so Christ fitted the spiritual substance to be planted in his people. Man could never have known the things of God unless there had been such a
mediator, such a nature, to stand immediately between the Spirit, God, and the brain-power of the race, so that man should be enabled to partake of the things of God and to materialize them, so to speak, into his fleshly substancethus giving them clothing like those things that the human mind is accustomed to handling.
Certain experiences in modern life suggest this law; for instance, a person who is spiritually minded falls asleep and during the sleep state he dreams concerning spiritual things. The dream interests him intensely and it is so clear and so well defined that when he awakens he thinks he shall be able to recall it all to mind, but he finds that he cannot recall any of the particulars, the powers of re-collection cannot touch them. He feels the influence of the dream and seems to have drawn in a certain substance, but yet the mind cannot touch it. What does this mean?
It means simply that the soul-consciousness has become almost, but not quite, able to control the physical consciousness. When the physical is dormant, the soul can think from the soul-world, but when the physical comes into activity, the qualities of the substance of which these thoughts are formed are too subtile for the action of the brain, and therefore they cannot be called into the brain. They can not obey the call of the desire-mind.
Jesus came a member of that world of immortality, a world where the inhabitants live from the
substance of the Spirit. "He took on him the seed of Abraham;" he lived in that fleshly body, he thought in it, controlled it and thus qualitated it by the power of the Spirit. He made for that Spirit a covering of the transmuted substance of flesh and blood, thus clothing the Spirit of Godmaking it a seed.
We plant a kernel of wheat, composed apparently of very material substance, and it springs forth and grows. The material substance dies and disintegrates; but the life that is in it, that subtile, invisible, intangible something, gathers to itself like qualities and makes for itself a new body.
So the Christ came that he might take of the flesh and the blood of man to create a seed whose substance was spirit. This seed was planted in his people on the day of Pentecost, and like the kernel of wheat (See John xii. 24) it grew, matured and multiplied and will continue to grow until the fulness of time comes, when the "harvest of the world" is gathered inthe harvest of the first planting of Christ, the Seed-man. (See Mark iv. 26-29.)
Thus Christ generated in the world, through the unity of Spirit and flesh, a quality that did not exist therein until his timea superior quality belonging to a plane next beyond the plane of creative-life, or the spirit of the mundane. As the prophet said of him, "He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahveh shall prosper in his hand." (Is. liii. 10.)
The force of the prophet's words, "He shall see his seed," was strengthened when he said, "More are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith Yahveh;" for ultimately more will be the seed of the Christ-lifethe union of Spirit with matter that took place in his body, by which sons and daughters of God are bornthan the spirit of generation.
Again, "that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit"that which was begotten in the Christ was spirit clothed with the substance of flesh. This subtile element of the thought-qualities of the Christ, planted in the race, in the lives of men and women, being a quality purer, higher, holier and therefore more potential, than had before existed in the race, made the spiritual potency of man more tenacious. Through this potency, and through this only, can immortality be attained; through it, and through it only, can mind be formed in man that will be able to know spirit and, at the same time, to know the things of earth. Through it man, recognizing the Father, will unite with the Spirit of God, and become Immanuel, God with us, or God in us, God manifest in the flesh"The Likeness of God."
215:* We know that the thoughts that we think partake of the qualities of the body, because thinking exhausts the body.