For those people who are blind to the colour red, for them it just doesn’t exist. Such people live in a ‘redless’ world! It is almost impossible to explain to such people what the colour ‘red’ means to the rest of us. Discussions about ‘Good and Evil’ can sometimes feel a little like that. The Church confidently states that ‘sin is a state, not an action’. They have inherited several words for ‘sin‘, in Greek and Latin, but are not really sure what to do with them. In fact, for most religions, ‘sin‘ is an abstract idea used to beat the gullible into obedience.
Do we Suffer because we Sin?
Despite all this confusion, instinctively, most people suspect that ‘sin‘ has something to do with ‘suffering‘ but nobody is exactly sure how. The problem is that without an understanding of Hebrew language and Jewish culture, ‘Good and Evil’ is a colour most people just can’t see. To be honest, the truth is so profound that even Jewish people often miss the significance of the words. Most people are so busy talking in their heads that they miss the quiet explanation in the heart. To truly learn to hear and trust that voice we are going need to learn something of Jewish mysticism. To understand the teachings of the Jesus of History we are going to have to learn something of Kabbalah.
In fact, the answer is in the beginning. The secret of ‘good and evil’ is clearly explained in the book of Genesis, specifically in the story of Adam and Eve and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The Jesus of History explained and expanded on that same theme with the doctrines of the ‘Narrow Gate’ or the ‘Two Ways’.
Putting yourself First
Let me explain! Have you ever been in the situation when you had to choose between yourself and someone you love? Maybe you were making some food or some drinks. One for yourself and one for the person you love. You suddenly noticed that the plate, which you intended to give to the person you love, has something on it that you want. For a split second, you felt the urge to swap the plates. If you can learn to be very quiet and very still inside, you will notice that those thoughts begin life as a feeling. That feeling is born within your idea of your ‘self‘ as separate from the world.
Let’s look at another example. I knew a Jewish mother who had grown up in difficult times. She wanted to give her children all of the things that life had denied her. She was determined that her daughter would have the ballet lessons that her parents had not been able to give her when she was growing up.
That, in itself, is not a sin. Unfortunately, her daughter was built like a bricklayer and had all the grace of a pregnant elephant. Making the child go to ballet lessons gave the girl a complex and she ended up with anorexia and killing herself. The problem was that the Jewish mother had loved her daughter as an extension of herself. She had chosen herself over the will of heaven.
The Jesus of History taught that for a man to look at another woman with lust was the same as to commit adultery. We can deduce, therefore, that the direction of our intention causes something to happen in the real world. To understand what we must return to the book of Genesis and a little esoteric mumbo jumbo.
Our physical bodies are born from the ‘stuff’ of this planet but we are animated with a divine life force, which science still can’t explain or replicate. Kabbalah teaches that because of this design we have two natures. On the one hand we have our mortal nature, our ’burnt-in-operating-system’ or BIOS, on the other we have our own divine nature, which is a part of God. In Hebrew we call these two natures the Yetzer Ha’Tov and the Yetzer ha’ra, the good and evil inclinations respectively.
The story of Adam and Eve is an symbolic explanation of how the choice to ‘receive for the self alone’ (BIOS) solidifies our sense of self and from innocence we learn to know shame. It is this solidification of the sense of self that gives rise to the experience of suffering.
Our intention gives rise to actions that have an effect, in the real world, like a wave that ripples through time and space. That sounds even more esoteric so let’s look at what that might mean in real terms!
Was Jeffrey Dahmer Saved?
Let’s examine an obvious example of evil. The serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, after raping, murdering and eating people as a hobby, converted to Christianity in prison. The Church celebrated and stated that ‘Today, all the angels in Heaven are rejoicing because Jeffrey has come home (to Heaven)’. Because Dahmer decided to believe in the story of Christ Jesus we are told that all his sins are forgiven. If he is ‘forgiven and no longer living under Sin’ (as Saint Paul was fond of saying) how does that even work in the real world? In what way was Dahmer, ‘Dead to Sin’.
He took the lives of seventeen men and boys, does this forgiveness bring them back to life? No, of course not. What of the families of his victims, does his adoption of belief remove their grief or their thirst for revenge? No, of course not. What of the damage to his own mind and soul that his crimes were an expression of, does his decision to believe in the creed heal his soul? No, of course not! Does his decision to believe in the Christ Jesus wash away the hate and moral indignation that society feels for him? No, of course not. In fact, for Dahmer, nothing changed. From our example, we can deduce that our actions cause a wave of effect in the real world, which reverberates through both time and space. ‘Sin’ then is something ‘Real’ like a weight of water pushing us forward and changing the nature of our future. Just as wind is invisible until it is revealed by the leaves and the waves, the effects of our actions are invisible until they are revealed by events in the real world.
Can your Sins be forgiven?
Talking of the real world, the wave of cause and effect, which Dahmer had set in motion, finally returned to redress the balance of the universe. On November 28, 1994, Christopher Scarver beat Jeffrey Dahmer to death. It is self-evident then, that despite the assurances of his Pastor, Dahmer’s ‘Sins’ were still a force that were operating in the real world. Despite being ‘washed in the blood of the lamb’, the effects of his crimes still existed. Dahmer’s choices in life brought him to a prison filled with violent men. His crimes engendered a visceral moral indignation, even among ‘bad’ people, to the point that they were prepared to take up arms against him. Surely then, these are real world proofs that no man can say ‘your sins are forgiven’.
Sense of Self
We all know how easy it is to choose the self over the rest of the world, to choose the best, to push in front, to love only while it serves our sense of self. This path the Jesus of History called the ‘Broad Gate’.
” For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”
According to the Jesus of History this is how we create ‘sin‘.
The Narrow Gate is to choose to ‘receive in order to benefit the world’ but this demands that we crush the ego. It also means that we learn to watch the gate of our mind’s intention because it is the force of our intention that determines the power of the wave that might beat us to death like Mr Dahmer.
If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like to read: ‘What did Jesus teach about Sin?’ and ‘Evil and How to Avoid it according to the Jesus of History’
If you would like to learn more about the Sense of Self, read the Non-Fiction Book ‘Quantum Mechanics For Your Soul’
If you would like to learn more about the Jesus of History, read the Non-Fiction Book ‘The True Sayings of Jesus: The Jesus of History Vs. The Christ Myth‘