The Goal of Life, by Hiram Butler, , at sacred-texts.com
In Established Theology there have been two great points of conflict, between "Predestination" or "Foreordination," on the one hand, and what is known as "Free-Agency" or "Free-Will," on the other hand. But to quote from Robertson's Sermon's:
"All high truth is the union of two contradictories. Thus predestination and free-will are opposites; and the truth does not lie between these two, but in a higher reconciling of truth which leaves both true."
As we have suggested, man, like the animal world, cannot think or desire anything that is not in himself. He has perfect freedom of will so far as circumstances and capacity permit; but he can never get the will to be or to do that which is contrary to his nature. He must possess the quality before he can express it. The nature of the life-forces must be such as to produce desire and consequent action.
We read that it is God that worketh in us, "both
to will and to do of his good pleasure." It is true that man is free to do what he wills, but God is our potter and we are the clay in his hands; and the methods by which man is lifted to a higher degree of existence are the methods by which God is creating within man his own divine nature and quality.
Predestination is established in God's purpose, announced in the beginning when he said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." This is his purpose and this purpose will be accomplished. All nature works together to force its accomplishment (Romans viii. 22, 23), but man is given a "free-will" to act within the limits of his knowledge and his capacity, and the qualities within him producing desires.
To explain how man becomes Yahveh Elohim, it is necessary to look again at the "Three Steps" for attaining "The Likeness of God."
The "First Step," inspiring or indrawing from the creative forces, is common to all fleshthe method in pursuance of the law, that as man unfolds, new conditions demand higher qualities, which naturally flow in, producing nobler desires, loftier aspirations, and purer thoughts.
The "Second Step," the incorporating of the paschal lamb or the Divine Word, leads to the next higher plane where the evolutionary forces have refined and qualitated the human organism to a degree which renders it capable of receiving an
influx from that spirit-life that was generated and prepared for the world by the Lord Christ. Up to this time man has nothing directly to do with these steps, it is all of God. But when, as we have seen, this second quality is obtained, there begins in the man a struggle between the forces of the carnal or animal man, and the forces of the spiritual or divine man, and there are manifested in the man two natures, the one struggling against the other. This is the condition that has been active in the world since the time of the Christ.
At this point man's responsibility begins. While desire comes from development, yet that desire draws in, gathering to itself the spiritual qualities that were prepared through the Lord Jesus, which cause the individual to aspire to a higher and a holier life.
But there still remain active in the individual the appetites and passions of the flesh, causing a struggle between the two natures. Here begins the work of "overcoming," for by thought and by effort, man can coerce these appetites and passions and give special freedom and culture to the spiritual desires and aspirations, or he is free to neglect the developing of the spiritual qualities, even to the extent of crushing out from his own organism the divine life that God has given him, and thus he is lost, individually lost, in that he will leave the body without being able to carry with him a perpetual consciousness. He will then have to
return in another organism, and finish that which he failed to do in his former incarnation.
But if a person turn his thoughts toward God and give his entire life and all his efforts to know and to do the will of God, suppressing the appetites, passions and evil desires of the flesh, then will the spirit of life from God grow and mature in him. Before this maturity can take place, however, we are brought face to face with the "Allegory of Eden," "the fall of man," and his redemption through Christ.
The "fall," we are informed, was carnal generation, or the spiritual man descending into and becoming party to the generation of the flesh. Christ taught of two ways, the way of generation and the way of regeneration. Generation was the old order of life, wherein were found labor, sorrow, experience (experimentation) and final death; then reincarnation, a repetition of the experience whereby knowledge and development were obtainedand again, death. *
This has been the law and the order of life from the beginning of our history down to the present time, but we have reason to believe, that there is a people now in the world who have so far matured and through the evolutionary processes of nature have gotten so near the finished work, that they are able to grasp the knowledge and to apply the methods whereby they may become like God.
In this people is found the Christ-Spirit. They are now ready to take the "Third Step," namely, Man's re-birth, or the birth of the spirit-child. These are they who have received the word that Jesus sent forth to be preached to the worldit "has fallen into good ground ready to bring forth an hundred-fold." They have been partakers of the flesh and blood of Christ and they are now ready for the finishing work, ready to become one of the first begotten from above, the real sons and daughters of God.
In all cases where the spirit has become so strong that the whole desire and effort of the life of the
person is toward a life of righteousness, and the mind has become awakened to an earnest desire to know the truth that he may live in harmony with it, a desire so strong that it has become paramount, over-ruling all other desires, then will take place the rebirth, then will be sent into the person the spiritual child, the son of God, a child begotten of divine love and divine mind, begotten by the action of these two forces in the spiritual soul of those who have become Yahveh Elohim.
When this newly begotten child enters the organism, the person is many times unconscious of the change. Sometimes, however, he is conscious that a new life from an unknown and invisible source has entered into him, and when it comes it thrills the whole being, passing through all the veins as a living, loving fire. It produces in the person a feeling that he belongs to and is linked with the heavens in a way that he has not been before.
We have mentioned the struggle that exists between the carnal man and the spiritual man after the second step is attaineda struggle well known to the Christian, since the time of Christ. But at this point, the third step, comes another, a deadlier struggle, a struggle between Generation on the one side and Regeneration on the other side. As the fierceness of any battle is measured by the strength of the opposing forces, so here a deadly conflict ensues, for marshalled ins
battle array, on the one side is all Creationthe whole world of generation, visible and invisible; while on the other side is all Re-Creationthe Holy Spirit, and the great body of Yahveh Elohim in the heavens, aiding man in his final great struggle to become "Yahveh Elohim." This "step" or way is the "Narrow Way" so often spoken of by the Christ and referred to in II. Esdras vii. 6-10:
"There is another thing: A city is builded, and set upon a broad field, and is full of all good things; the entrance thereof is narrow, and is set in a dangerous place to fall, like as if there were a fire on the right hand, and on the left a deep water: and only one path between them both, even between the fire and the water, so small that there could but one man go there at once. If this city now were given unto a man for an inheritance, if he never shall pass the danger set before it, how shall he receive this inheritance? And I said, It is so, Lord. Then said he unto me, Even so also is Israel's portion."
The presence of the spirit-child in the organism at once causes the person to repel, to hate every act of the old generation, to stop all waste of the life fluids, and to consecrate all the life generated in the body to the developing of mind and soul powers, to the developing of the newly begotten child. He is now literally a son of God, and all that belongs to the Holy Spirit and to the state symbolized by
the "Garden of Eden," is attractive to the heavenly guest that occupies the templethe body.
This brings us to the question of individuality, for there has entered into the organism another soul, a spirit-child, from above, entirely distinct from the individual, and there begins a struggle between the two as to which shall become the real man, which shall survive and which shall be absorbed by the other. It is not, however, wholly a question of which shall be absorbed, because the carnal mind, or human soul, can never absorb the spiritual child, but the spiritual child can absorb and must absorb the human soulnot destroy it, but absorb it into or unite it with its own consciousness. This is a process that the human intellect is incapable of understanding only as experience has taught the individual along these lines.
It is as if the Spirit of God should come to you and say: "The way you are going will ultimate in death and you will be as if you had not been, and another spirit sent from God will enter into your body and will become the real man, one of the builders of the kingdom of God on earth. Are you willing thus to die, that your body and all that belongs to the physical desires, appetites, passions, loves, sympathies, may be absorbed and transformed by a spiritual consciousness, in order that the kingdom of God, the conditions that now exist in the heavens, may have a standing on the earth?"
When you are ready to answer this question in the affirmative, then the spiritual child that has entered the body will be given freedom of action, then will this higher intelligence begin to take control of every appetite, passion and desire, and will gradually refine them and transform them into the likeness of the Spirit. In other words, it will gradually carry the individual up out of the low state in which he is found after years of generation, labor, sorrow and death, and bring him back into the form ("The Image"), and cause him to express the quality that was in the mind of his heavenly Father ("The Likeness of God"), the Creator of all things. He will be fitted to dwell in the Eden of God, the new heaven and the new earth.
We here meet a question that will arise in the minds of nearly all who read the foregoing: Does not this idea, in place of saving man, destroy him and save that which man is not? It appears so from a surface view; but when we remember the fact that man, like all growing vegetation, is constantly changing, taking on the new and throwing off the old, then we realize that this is not the destroying of the man, but is creating in him a center which only is immortal, which only can perpetuate his consciousness.
If you should retire at night and fall into a deep sleep and on awakening find that you had forgotten
everything that you had ever known, what would be the difference between your condition and that of a child just born?There would be no difference except in the development of the body and the mind organs, formed by the habit of the mind running in a certain channel, but so far as the individual man (consciousness) is concerned, your life would begin at that point. You would have an existence only from that point as a beginning. We think that this is clear to all who have given any thought to the subject.
This thought brings to our mind the fact that we live in our memories and we die in forgetting. The conditions that exist to-day will have passed away forever to-morrow, and new ones will have come in their place. Thus to-morrow we shall have died to much that exists to-day ("I die daily." I. Cor. xv. 31), and we shall live again in the new experiences, the new desires and aspirations that the occasion creates, and when these are of the earth, earthy, they continue to be as transient as the days, hours and minutes that succeed each other.
But when this newly begotten soul, this spiritual form, begotten of God, enters into the individual organism, his consciousness is then of his heavenly Father, and the absorption of all that belongs to the old man adds to, but does not take from the person, for all useful memories possessed by the person before the advent of the spiritual child, remain intact; but, as we have said, these memories
will be carried up and refined, and this spirit-life, this spirit-child that lives from God and is conscious in the cause world, throws a new light upon all things. In that new light all the desires, as well as all the happenings of the past life, are seen, understood and comprehended, even as God sees and knows. Then wisdom and knowledge of God begin to take form in the individual, and as they take form and succeed in overcoming the hypnotized state of the human consciousnesswhich causes man to think and to feel that the material world, the physical externality, is all there isfacts in nature begin to be realized and things appear as they are.
Science, as we have shown, is already meeting Revelation by showing evidences that all material things are, after all, spiritual substance, or at least that they are not material.
In this process the individual who has been begotten from above, is transformed from a mere physical consciousness to a consciousness of God, his Father, a consciousness that is of the heavens. As Jesus said, the heavens are opened and man discovers the angels of God ascending and descending upon the son of man. At this point he is made acquainted with the occupants of the spiritual heavens, and there awakens in the inner consciousness of the man, a realization of perfect oneness with the heavenly occupants, the untold millions
of perfected souls that form the Eternal Brotherhood of which Christ is a member.
It should be borne in mind here that the father and mother love that exists in man is a derivative of the heavens, that the father and mother of the spirit-child love it; and that their special care and even solicitude are for the prosperity, growth and unfoldment, not only of the spirit-child, but of the body and mind that it occupies. Think for a moment of that wonderful love of God, and then think that that love is all turned toward you, to care for you, to protect you and to provide the necessary conditions for your highest possible good.
When the spirit-child has gotten sufficient control of the animal body and mind to transfer the consciousness of the flesh to the consciousness of spirit, then the old passions, the old likes and dislikes, will have all passed away. Of such the angel said to John, "He shall go no more out," for he has entered into life, his consciousness is one with the immortals, and the things of this world are only secondary considerations; they serve for the uses of the body in the consummating of the object in the creation of the world.
Thus the individual becomes a co-worker with God and his angels, and, as we have seen that the "Image of God" is consummated in the gathering of the first ripe fruit of the earth, the 144,000 or the 288,000 individuals, all of one mind; therefore the one great desire of the individual brought to this
point will be to follow out and to accomplish God's purpose, and the same desire and all-controlling impulse will be in the heart of the whole body. The Spirit of the highest will be the dominant, leading spirit of every individual, and, consequently, this body will be caused to come together from all parts of the world; the members will be moved as by one mind, one spirit, and they will come as the prophets have prophesied in the following:
"Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children." (Isaiah lxvi. 8.) (See also Ezekiel xxxiv. 11 to 31; * Rev. chapters i. vii., xiv., xxi, and xxii.)
By virtue of the foregoing conditions brought about by being born of the Spirit, men are to be drawn together by one common impulse, to unite in one organic structure, a structure which was revealed in the symbology of the temple of God, the cubical city. Herein is found the great truth referred to by the Apostle Paul when he said, "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."
When this Great Body is drawn together by the one Spirit, there can be no jealousies or schisms among the members, for each will love above all
things to live in harmony with the mind and will of the Father, and to be the expression of that mind. As God is one, but will have many manifestations through the varied organisms of men, each one will delight most in being what he or she really is, will delight in the use for which he or she was designed in creation. Therefore no one will desire the position occupied by another, and the whole Body will come into its functions of use "without the sound of a hammer," without an effort on the part of any, except to know and to do the will of the Father. (I. Kings vi. 7.)
Thus they will stand forth as a multitude of members constituting one "Grand Man," one glorified individuality, as the Spirit proclaimed by the apostle, speaking of the Christ:
"Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God."
After saying that God had no pleasure in sacrifice and offerings and burnt offerings, and sacrifices for sin, which are offered under the law, the apostle adds, "Lo, I come, to do thy will, O God," "he taketh away the first, that he may establish the second."
This Glorified Man made up of 144,000 members or 288,000 individuals (male and female) will be the
[paragraph continues] "Image of God," and as God is the life and mind thereof ("The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silent before him"), therefore the "Likeness" will also be manifested. As we have seen in a former chapter Yahveh Elohim is the great center and God of the Solar System, and, consequently, of all that belongs to our earth; and according to the revelation to John, when this Body is organized its members are made "to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon the earth." By virtue of being the embodiment and expression of Yahveh, they will inherit the earth.
They will then be in truth and verity the sons of God, and they come into the image of their Father through coming into the unity of the Body that is composed of many members, a Body which becomes the Christ, the anointed Savior of the world, as well as the king and ruler of the planet earth. The accomplishment of this will be the accomplishment of the work declared in the words:
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
237:* It is evident that Jesus and his disciples believed and accepted as a truth the law of reincarnation; otherwise, why did not the Christ correct his disciples when they asked him, concerning the man who was born blind"Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" That this is a question concerning reincarnation is evident, for how could the man sin before he was born, and suffer the consequence of that sinbeing born blindunless reincarnation is the law? Jesus did not correct his disciples in that thought, but he answered, "Neither did this man sin, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him," implying that if the man was working out the result of his sin it would not have been in order to have opened his p. 237 eyes, but it was done for a specific purpose, therefore he gave him sight.
Again Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am." Many Christian people ask: Was he not Melchisedek? They little know when they ask this question that they are believing in reincarnationbut this is true, however. And there are many inferential evidences throughout the teachings of the Christ that reincarnation was accepted as a law, and as it was settled beyond question in the minds of the people with whom Christ was dealingfor nearly the whole Oriental world believed in reincarnationit was unnecessary that it should form a part of his instructions.
246:* It should be borne in mind that according to Usher's chronology this prophecy was uttered about 400 years after the death of David.