Mankind’s Inner Envoy

The true origins of the human being remain a mystery to this day.  Darwinists and materialist evolutionists using the scientific method are constantly making new discoveries and creating new theories, but their self-imposed materialism limits what they will conclude.  Religious creationists make literal the poetry and mystery of the scriptures to satisfy their own ultimately rational minds.  But the authors of scripture bear witness to a great mystery they call “God,” understanding that this mystery can never be fully probed by the rational mind. At the same time, the scriptures also witness to something in the human being that is leading it to a full revelation of the mystery of God and existence.  Preston Harold begins:

The idea that man has incorporated in his being from one-cell creature onward a knowing Authority-Ego in an unconscious domain may seem fantastic. But the concept that the unconscious may have played a role in man’s biological evolution from some point in the past to the present has been voiced.  Dr. von Franz writes… ‘The physicist Wolfgang Pauli has pointed out that, due to new discoveries, our idea of the evolution of life requires a revision that might take into account an area of interrelation between the Imageunconscious psyche and biological processes.  Until recently it was assumed that the mutation of species happened at random and that a selection took place by means of which the “meaningful,” well-adapted varieties survived, and the other disappeared.  But modern evolutionists have pointed out that the selections of such mutations by pure chance would have taken much longer than the known age of our planet allows.”

So if random chance and mutations can’t adequately answer the origins of the human or it’s ultimate purpose, what can at least lead us in the right direction?

God-sense voicing itself in man insists that something other than chance had brought about the housing of his soul: “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it…”

ImageMan’s evolutionary journey could come of his having to know all being and form in order to be representative of the tree of life itself.  The last and most highly developed of all life forms, man yet possesses a sense of being before creation was.  This sense tells him that all he partakes of is the flesh of God, coming into being before him to prepare the way, and that everything that lives is living through God’s being, even as he, himself, is.

Harold says that because of this sense, the human being practices theophagy, a ritual of “feeding on a god, or God.” In the Christian Communion rite, this ritual enfolds the power, glory, art, and grace of God, of life. In the Gospel of John, at the Last Supper Jesus says,

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit… Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches.” 

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 Harold ponders these words of Jesus during the Last Supper:

Jesus, as symbol of Son of man – which is to say, as symbol of Adam become one with his knowing Authority within – indicates that man represents in his being the whole of the tree of life which his consciousness longs to know, and the vine of it is still growing – “I” go on to prepare a place from which “ye” spans of knowing may branch out higher in every direction while the a priori “cell of Father-being,” love and truth in action within each one, acts as a husbandman: truth purges and prunes, love restores and is fruitful. But toward what is the vine growing? And how is man’s growth accomplished?

 Provocative questions indeed! Let’s see where they lead. Until next time, peace…

Cain’s Children

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The great anthropologist and author of “African Genesis,” Robert Ardrey, chose the Genesis legend as the poetic backdrop against which to pose his work.  He presents Homo sapiens as “Cain’s child.”  Preston Harold states that

In the view of this work, (Ardrey’s) book is of great value, because it brings to the attention of a wide public some pieces of the puzzle, dramatizing the questions that engage the specialists, and it highlights one aspect of man’s evolution that cannot be denied by any faction: the extraordinary turns a creature took to follow the path that led him to become a man, a being “special” beyond belief.  Whose child is he and how did he evolve?

Because atomic dating has upset the timetable of what Darwin thought was the most probable way man evolved…

Ardrey concludes that after seventy million years of slow development, Imageman’s brain leapt to the human condition and came about when it did in an evolutionary instant as an ultimate answer to the Pleistocene’s unprecedented demands.  His theory involves the bones of the creature he likens to Cain, A. africanus, discovered in 1925 by Dr. Raymond A. Dart.

Much like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Harold explains that Ardrey’s synopsis of an evolutionary jump resulted in a capacity for killing:

Ardrey submits that A. africanus was…”a transitional being possessing every significant human qualification other than man’s big brain” – thus he presents him as an ancestor of Homo sapiens.  This creature was a carnivore, a killer.  There is abounding evidence that he armed himself with weapons of bone which he appears to have shaped sometimes – and apparently he, too, relished the “fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” brains.  If he was ancestral-man, then the “human being in the most fundamental aspect of his soul and body is nature’s last if temporary word on the subject of the armed predator.  And human history must be read in these terms.”  History must also be read in these terms: the remains of the South African apemen present a “positive demonstration that the first recognizably human assertion had been the capacity for murder.”  The Cain-Abel legend reports this.

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There is a deep instinct in us to be over and above our fellow man.  This is our “inner Cain.”  But what about Abel?  We’ll explore him in our next post.  Until then, peace…

In Spite of Rationality

The existence of mankind, when looked upon from a Darwinian viewpoint, makes no rational sense.  Preston Harold ruminates that

Darwin considered natural selection to be the most important factor in organic evolution.  This is a natural process that tends to cause the survival of the fittest, of those forms of animals and plants best Imageadjusted to the conditions under which they live, and the extinction of poorly adapted forms…. If this be true, one is likely to assume offhand that rational interventions led man to the pinnacle of animal life.  But to the contrary, irrationality marks the course of his triumphant evolutionary trek. 

“How so?” you ask. “That isn’t a very rational statement to make because, hey, we’re rational and, well, here we are!”  Not so fast…

A rational evolutionary path led to creatures that grow clothing upon their bodies; only an irrational course could lead to nakedness and a body that cannot increase the density of hair covering according to climactic requirements.  A rational course would not lead to retention of certain embryonic features into adult life; only an irrational course would lead to such imbalance between the development of body versus brain as man displays… These and many other irrational turns mark the evolutionary course in man.

On the other hand, animal life is where we find rationality making its mark.  Harold observes:

All other animal life behaves rationally and thus animals are predictable, will serve to confirm elegant theories.  Man will not.  He bedamns his irrationality – and yet the power, the freedom, to behave irrationally for no good reason may be the secret of his dominion over the animal world.  Man’s irrationality may free him from bondage to conditioned responses; it may prevent his automatically reacting to immediate needs and obvious force, thus preventing in him the limiting biological overspecialization seen in all other species.  Aberration marks the turning points along his course.

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In our next post we will reflect on the differences in animal and man in light of the understanding of ancient Egypt.  Until then, peace…

The Mystery of Mankind

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The biggest question human beings can ask is the question of existence.  Who are we and why are we here?  Is there a reason?  Is it all just meaninglessness and nonsense?  Lots of people have claimed to have the answer to the delight or consternation of many.  In his “Cipher of Genesis,” Carlo Suares muses that once you really try to comprehend your true beginning and why you are here, you come upon a brick wall of meaningless that is utterly hilarious.  There really is NO reason; nothing “out there” will provide the answer!  And it is then that you become born of God, your search for meaning truly beginning as you are left to find it completely within yourself.  Preston Harold tells us the Bible doesn’t tell us in a scientific, objective way where we come from but rather WHO WE ARE.  And WHO WE ARE still remains a great mystery:

Ardrey observes, “Were a brotherhood of man to be formed today, then its only possible common bond would be ignorance of what man is.”  Perhaps the question of man can never be answered to the satisfaction of scientists, but as each man seeks to answer it to his own satisfaction there is a source to which he may return that by its very nature should inspire his confidence: humanity’s legends…  The Genesis legend may be viewed as telling the story of man from the dawn of life, retelling it through each day.  It tells the story from every point of view and it is also a mound of truth enfolding the inner facts of life just as a “Tell” enfolds artifacts that reveal the lives of those who built and rebuilt upon the same spot.

Even though science has gifted humanity with great strides in knowledge and will continue to do so (it has by no means exhausted its promise), it does have its limits.  Our author states…

 Freud’s contribution to knowledge cannot be denied, and the value of Darwin’s work is inestimable, but together their theories do not suffice to explain Homo sapiens.  

ImageFrom the beginning, Darwin’s theory was questioned by Wallace, who could find no explanation for the sudden, unparalleled growth of brain evidenced by man.  Adler added to Darwin’s theory Lamarck’s: that the least fit often survive and become superior.  But in the combination one still cannot find the germ through which was born in an animal the feeling of guilt for killing an enemy, the idea of a supranatural diety, and the concept of life after death.

And thus the need of Homo sapiens for legends and the search for meaning: 

…the Adam legend says that man was sired by an energy or spirit proceeding from a non-animal being.  ImageAlthough man is born into the animal world, he is of this cast only in the sense that all in creation is of the supreme Creator… Humanity’s legends, man’s pristine and continuing concept of God, of deathlessness, and his conscience make of him a mystery that science has scarcely touched upon and psychology has served only to deepen.  Freud wrote, “The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence, “ but in truth the man who does not ask this primary question – or who does not admit that he asks – is sick, sick of evasion of the only reality he knows: himself in being.

How many among us in this day and age are sick?  Kyrie Eleison.  ImageUntil next time, peace…

Man’s Archaic Heritage

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We are now on to Chapter 3, titled “Man’s Archaic Heritage.”  Beginning with this chapter and continuing through chapter 5, Preston Harold takes us back to the ‘”beginning” in exploring the origins of humanity, how we come to be where we are today, and the role of Jesus’ message as applied to our genesis, for He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

ImageIn 1859 it was Charles Darwin who lead much of mankind to recognize it’s “origin” in the animal kingdom and thereby strike a major challenge and blow to orthodox Christian theology.  Twenty five years later Sigmund Freud began to publish his works, which also turned humanity to view it’s savage past:

…there probably exists in the mental life of the individual  not only what he has experienced himself, but also what he brought with him at birth, fragments of a phylogenetic origin, an archaic heritage…though different in extent and character [it] corresponds to the instincts of animals.

This theory also dealt a major blow to Christianity for Freud expounded on it to say that all religions are delusions containing a piece of forgotten, but historical, truth and thus imbued with psychotic symptoms.  Most religious origins revolve around themes of murder, patricide, infanticide, castration and cannibalism.  This takes us into the realm of myth and the hero’s journey which we briefly looked at earlier here.  In his “Moses and Monotheism,” Freud reconstructs the average myth:

The hero is the son of parents of the highest station, most often the son of a king.  His conception is impeded by difficulties… During his mother’s pregnancy or earlier an oracle or a dream warns the father of the child’s birth as containing grave danger for his safety.  In Imageconsequence the father (or a person representing him) gives orders for the new-born babe to be killed or exposed to extreme danger; in most cases the babe is placed in a casket and delivered to the waves.  The child is then saved by animals or poor people, such as shepherds, and suckled by a female animal or woman of humble birth.  When full grown he rediscovers his noble parents after many strange adventures, wreaks vengeance on his father, and, recognized by his people, attains fame and greatness.

The actual historical background for this mythic structure is where the “psychotic symptoms” come into play:

The story is told in a very condensed way, as if what in reality took centuries to achieve, and during that long time was repeated innumerably, had happened only once.  The strong male was the master and father of the whole horde, unlimited in his power, which he used brutally.  All females were his property… The fate of the sons was a hard one; if they excited the father’s jealousy they were killed or castrated or driven out….the brothers who had been driven out and lived together in community clubbed together, overcame the father, and – according to the custom of those times – all partook of his body.  This cannibalism need not shock us, it survived into far later times.  The essential point is, however, that we attribute to those primeval people the same feelings and emotions that we have elucidated in the primitives of our own times, our children, by psycho-analytic research….they not merely hated and feared their father, but also honored him as an example to follow; in fact, each son wanted to place himself in his father’s position.  The cannibalistic act thus becomes comprehensible as an attempt to assure one’s identification with the father by incorporating a part of him.

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“My father will come home and see what I did… He’ll have to deal with me. I’m just tired of being afraid.”

If this is indeed how the religions of man began, it certainly seems to paint a bleak picture.  There is no revelation from any type of God on high, no striving to become a better human being, no selfless giving involved.  Where is the hope, the faith, the love?  There is only striving for dominance and power.  To be at the top of the food chain is the ultimate goal.  How can this goal be transformed into something better for all of humanity?  This is what we will continue to explore, and in our next post will we begin to look at the role the Apostle Paul plays in his interpretation of the message of Jesus to affect this transformation.  Until then, peace…

 

 

THE PROBLEM, THE OBJECTIVE, THE CRUCIAL QUESTIONS – Part 1

The title of Chapter 1 gives us three foci, of which we will explore in order of importance.  Today’s post will focus on “the problem:”

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The decline of Christianity, religion of the West, bespeaks the decline of faith in the Pauline interpretation of Jesus’ meaning to mankind…

Jawaharal Nehru states: “Essentially, our problems are those of civilization itself.  Religion gave a certain moral and spiritual discipline; it also tried to perpetuate superstition and social usages.  Indeed, those superstitions and social usages enmeshed and overwhelmed the real spirit of religion.  Disillusionment followed.”

The pace of Christianity’s decline, in terms of declining beliefs in its tenets, accelerates.  J.B. Priestly writes: “…if we all joined a Christian Church tomorrow the fundamental situation would be unchanged, because no church existing today has the power – and we could not give it this power by joining it – to undo what has been done…the symbols no longer work, and they cannot be made to work by effort on a conscious level…No matter what is willed by consciousness, that which belongs to the depths can only be restored in the depths.” (emphasis mine)

The depths, huh?  Well then, can psychology help?

Today, psychologists explore and interpret the depths of man, but thus far psychology serves only to present again in professional terms the notion of original sin…man is victim of primordial sex drives incorporated in his being when he is expelled from the paradise of the womb.

(Psychology) cannot defend man against the dehumanizing collectives, or restore in his depths the hope that declines as religion declines – indeed, the human problem is compounded by psychologists theories, and man must seek defense against them.

But…

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Freud and those who followed in this field opened Pandora’s box, but they also presented humanity with vital knowledge, which must be dealt with now, just as nuclear power must be dealt with now – and just as the vacuum created by the decline of religion must be dealt with now, for in Priestly’s words, “it is doubtful if our society can last much longer without religion…”

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Harold believes that for Christianity to thrive, it must look past the Pauline interpretation which has dominated the past 2000 years, and try to make sense of Jesus’ words in the light of today’s knowledge and understanding. As a fan of Paul rightly understood I have a bit of a problem with this, but let’s let Harold have his say…

In orthodox theology, St. Paul’s compelling interpretation of Jesus is highlighted against the background of the disciples messages, obscuring much of their content.  The pre-eminence of Pauline doctrine precludes the idea that there could be another valid concept of Jesus and His mission.  But in the four Gospels another view of Him is precisely drawn, a view as natural and different from the Pauline concept as non-Euclidian geometry is natural and different from Euclid’s.  Since the advent of the Bible, which drew together fragments of His picture, this answer to the question of Jesus has lain before men’s eyes.  It is an answer St. Paul could not give.  In the early days of Christianity only a hint of it could be discerned, and was discerned by Saul of Tarsus – his mighty work is not to be decried.  Nor could this answer been given by those who followed and through the ages developed the Christian religion.  Indeed, not until the twentieth century, when the writings of Darwin, Freud, Einstein and many other scientists had been circulated throughout the world, and science had suffered it’s great revolution, and mathematicians had been freed of the limitations of Greek thought, could the concepts of Jesus to be offered in this study evolve as His own words, works, and drama are measured against the data now available.

After reading the book, it is my understanding that Harold’s problem with Paul doesn’t rest so much on Paul’s actual doctrine, but rather what the Church teaches regarding Paul and it’s understanding of his message.  But Harold will still take us into uncharted, ripe territory, and if he had to bypass his understanding of Paul in order to do so, I am certainly willing to forgive him.  The fruit is delicious!

Harold leaves us on a positive note concerning our present problem:

The problems confronting man in the twentieth century are colossal, but opportunity looms equally large: “…the present situation is a new one, in which new facts and new knowledge are available over new fields to an unprecedented extent, and could be distilled to provide us with the truth that alone can set us free.” – Julian Huxley

In the next post we will explore the crucial questions, and then move on to the objective of the book.  Until then, peace…