1 result for (session:829 AND stemmed:christ)

NoME Chapter 4: Session 829, March 22, 1978 15/53 (28%) christ resurrection ascension luke gospels

[... 9 paragraphs ...]

It is now nearing Easter (on March 26), and the yearly commemoration of what is considered historic fact: the [resurrection and] ascension of Christ into heaven.1 Untold millions have in one way or another commemorated that occasion through the centuries. Private lives have merged with public sentiment and religious fervor. There have been numberless village festivals, or intimate family gatherings, and church services performed on Easter Sundays now forgotten. There have been bloody wars fought on the same account, and private persecutions in which those who did not agree with one or another’s religious dogmas were quite simply killed “for the good of their souls.”

[... 1 paragraph ...]

All of those religious and political structures that you certainly recognize as valid, arising from the “event” of Christ’s ascension, existed — and do exist — because of an idea. The idea was the result of a spectacular act of the imagination that then leapt upon the historical landscape, highlighting all of the events of the time, so that they became illuminated indeed with a blessed and unearthly light.

[... 2 paragraphs ...]

(Intently:) Again, Christ was not crucified. The historical Christ,3 as he is thought of, was a man illuminated by psychic realities, touched with the infinite realization that any one given individual was, by virtue of his or her existence, a contact between All That Is and mankind.

Christ saw that in each person divinity and humanity met — and that man survived death by virtue of his existence within the divine. Without exception, all of the horrors connected with Christianity’s name came from “following the letter rather than the spirit of the law,” or by insistence upon literal interpretations — while the spiritual, imaginative concepts beneath were ignored.

[... 14 paragraphs ...]

In evolution man’s nature is amoral, and anything goes for survival’s sake. There is no possibility of any spiritual survival as far as most evolutionists are concerned. The fundamentalists would rather believe in man’s inherent sinful nature, for at least their belief system provides for a framework in which he can be saved. Christ’s message was that each man is good inherently, and is an individualized portion of the divine — and yet a civilization based upon that precept has never been attempted. The vast social structures of Christianity were instead based upon man’s “sinful” nature — not the organizations and structures that might allow him to become good, or to obtain the goodness that Christ quite clearly perceived man already possessed.

[... 8 paragraphs ...]

  1. I added “[resurrection and]” to Seth’s passage because Jane told me that according to ordinary teaching Christ’s resurrection from the dead took place on Easter Sunday, the third day following his crucifixion (on Friday), while his ascension into heaven transpired at an indefinite later time — up to 40 days later, as stated in the writings of St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles (AA 1:10). As far as we know, Seth’s inference that Christ’s resurrection and ascension took place on the same day is contrary to popular belief.

“Here Seth seemed to telescope the two events into one, “Jane wrote, “or refer to them together, as if the distinction didn’t exist for him … Seth may be implying that the ascension was the main issue in the Christ story, rather than the resurrection, or telling us that the two events are so intertwined thematically as to be treated as one.” Since we do not arbitrarily change Seth’s copy, his reference here to the ascension rather than the resurrection, and a similar one that soon follows, stand as they were given. But, obviously, we did decide to add this note.

At the same time, Jane and I checked a number of biblical references on the New Testament — and discovered that Seth’s passage seems to be a case where he shows a knowledge we don’t consciously possess. For we learned that of the four Gospels (according to Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, in that order), some scholars believe that Luke and John can be read as stating that Christ’s resurrection and ascension took place on the same day. Yet in Acts, Luke postulates the 40-day interval between the two events. (Originally Luke composed his Gospel and Acts as one treatise; the two were separated early in the second century.) Out of such contradictions as those implied in Luke’s case, however, confusion and opposing opinions reign when one studies the Gospels and related material. Christ himself left no written records, nor are there any eyewitness or contemporary accounts of his life.

In the 591st session for Seth Speaks, I noted claims for an earlier date for the origin of the first Gospel, that according to Mark; nevertheless, most authorities still believe that the Gospels were written between A.D. 65 and 110. Since Christ was presumably crucified around A.D. 30, this means that some 35–40 years passed before the advent of Mark’s account. There are many consistencies in the Gospels, but also inconsistencies that cannot be resolved. Even the authorships of the Gospels according to Matthew and John are now being questioned. A study of the New Testament books alone can quickly lead one into a maze of questions: Why isn’t the resurrection itself described? Why are there so few references to the ascension? Matthew doesn’t mention it at all in his Gospel, for example; and Paul alludes to it only once (1 Timothy 3:16) in his writings. Is the Gospel according to Luke merely schematic, rather than chronological? If time (as much as 40 days) did elapse between Christ’s resurrection and ascension, where was he physically during all of that period, other than on the few occasions cited in the Gospels and in Acts, when on various occasions he revealed himself to the women who discovered his empty tomb, to the apostles, and to some others? Sometimes Christ appeared as an apparition — but as Seth commented in a private session: “You could not have a world in which the newly risen dead mixed with the living. An existence in a spiritual realm had to follow such a resurrection.”

I’d say that in this 829th session Seth spoke out of a knowledge of biblical tradition and history; that is, he wasn’t saying that Christ did rise from the dead or ascend into heaven, but referring to Christianity’s interpretation of its own creative Christ story. Seth has always maintained that Christ wasn’t crucified to begin with — indeed, he told us in the same private session that “… in the facts of history, there was no crucifixion, resurrection, or ascension. In the terms of history, there was no biblical Christ. In the terms of the biblical drama (underlined), however, Christ was crucified.

“It was the Jewish tradition that nourished the new religion in its early stages. Christ, as you know, was a common name, so when I say that there was a man named Christ involved in those events, I do not mean to say that he was the biblical Christ. His life was one of those that were finally used to compose the composite image of the biblical Christ.” (In Chapter 20 of Seth Speaks, see Session 586 for July 24, 1971.)

And finally, here’s an answer to a number of inquiries from readers. The 647th session for Chapter 21 of Personal Reality was held on July 2, 1973, and in it I quoted a remark Seth made to me the following September: “You can have more material on Jerusalem or Christ now, or when you want it. You can have The Christ Book when you want it….”

So far, we’ve done nothing about producing The Christ Book, except to talk about it once in a while. “Well, it’s true that I have ambiguous feelings about doing a book on religion,” Jane said as we discussed this note. “But for all that, if Seth started dictating it tomorrow, I’d do it. Many issues would be involved — maybe even current national events. I guess I think Seth would know the best time for such a book to be done and publicly introduced.

“When he said, ‘You can have The Christ Book when you want it,’ I think he was just stating his willingness to comply. Maybe he knows that really wanting it might take a while, at least on my part. But I do know my attitude about getting such a book has improved a lot in the last year or two.”

Neither of us has any doubt that The Christ Book would be controversial indeed.

[... 4 paragraphs ...]

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